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Thread: 4x5 vs 8x10

  1. #11

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    There are also horizontal 8x10 enlargers, useful if you don't have a particularly atmospheric ceiling. That's an option if you want to shoot 8x10 and enlarge. Unfortunately, they have the opposite problem and take up a lot of floor space. But if you're short on height and long on m^2 then that could be the way to go!

  2. #12

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    If I knew then what I know now, I would have started with 8x10, but only if I were a rich man. Learning on 8x10 can be a very expensive experience.

    It sounds as if you have not yet shot a lot in large format so I would recommend that you get a 4x5 camera and enlarger. Even if you start with only the camera, you can contact print 4x5. Sure it is a little on the small side, but you will still get the benefit of being able to expose and develop single sheets. Used 4x5 enlargers come up all the time and you might even be able to get one for free these days.

    I started in 4x5 without an enlarger and learned a LOT about exposure and development before I finally got one. I now also shoot 8x10 but I only contact print it. I have no real desire (yet) for an 8x10 enlarger.
    "The beauty and profundity of God is more real than any mere calculation"

  3. #13

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    Don makes a very good point. Supplying an 8x10 camera is an expensive proposition - more so if you are new to large format photography. There are all kinds of ways to screw up and waste film when shooting large format. Holders can get loaded incorrectly. You can forget to close the shutter before pulling the dark slide. You can mess up easily while tray processing the negatives and scratch the film. The list could go on, but you get the idea. 4x5 film can be had for as little as $.60 US per sheet from Freestyle. The least expensive B&W option for 8x10 film will set you back $2 US per sheet with the more expensive options coming in at around $5 US per sheet.
    Frank Schifano

  4. #14

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    I owned an 8x10 for a few years and decided I just didn't like to contact print. Heresy, I know, but there it is. I'm also over 50, and lugging my old Korona view camera and a big tripod was no picnic.

    I would follow the advice of those posting above and start with 4x5. That will tell you how involved you want to get. Modern 4x5 films will blow your socks off. As others have said, you likely can find a 4x5 enlarger cheap or even free. Used enlarging lenses can be found cheap, too. I gave my ancient Beseler away a couple of years ago when I found a great deal on a newer model.

    Heck, if you want to try contact printing a large negative, build yourself a pinhole camera and throw some film in it. Saves a lot of investment.

    I recently started using my 4x5 again after a period of a couple of years using rollfilm exclusively. Glad I kept my kit, it's worth the effort.

    Peter Gomena

  5. #15
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    Heck, if you want to try contact printing a large negative, build yourself a pinhole camera and throw some film in it. Saves a lot of investment.
    I already do that with paper negatives; I think I'm going to buy some xray film for my pinhole camera, and maybe experiment with crude lenses.
    f/22 and be there.

  6. #16

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    What gear do you have right now ?
    Just a pinhole camera ?

    The typical learning curve for LF starts normaly with 4x5": the camera's are not too expensive and so are the lenses for it and the same with film.
    Start with a Graphic or so or a cheap monorail, get some lenses and start photographing.
    Those lenses can be used again on a better 4x5" if you decide that LF is what you realy want.

    The lighter monorails can be used outside and in the studio, for the heavier ones like the Sinar P2 you will need some musselpower if used outside.
    A field camera is great for the outdoors and less suited for the studio where you want to focus with your back.
    (the distance between the lens and the object determines the size of your object and focussing with the lens means that that changes)

    A Sinar F (1 or 2) can be a great starter kit, it is light and you can add parts if needed and use the old parts for a lensshade and so on.
    Growing from a 4x5" Sinar to a 8x10" Sinar is a matter of changing the back, the rest stays.

    Keep in mind that the cost for film and processing between 4x5" and 8x10" is a factor 2-4.
    Lenses for 8x10" are more expensive, a lot.

    Right now I have a Sinar P2 4x5" + 8x10" and a Shen Hao 4x5" field camera, but that is after many years of saving money for it.
    I started out with an old Plaubel Peco 4x5" with a Tessar 150mm, a couple of film holders and a Polaroid back.....

    Peter

  7. #17
    Michael Slade's Avatar
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    Printed last night on the 8x10. Made 5 prints of one 4x10 negative. I had my JR AP Photo students shoot 8x10 and both contact print and enlarge their 8x10 negatives. They did VDB's for the contact prints.

    I asked them yesterday during their critique to give me some thoughts on the 8x10 camera and enlarging the negatives. I have 4 students in that class and 3 of them said that the enlargements were not worth it. We did 20x24's and they look really nice. One of the students said that enlarging the 8x10 negative was worth it. The other three loved the 8x10 contact prints. The one who liked enlarging did not like the 8x10 contact prints, instead she enjoyed 4x5 contact printing better. Their observations were pretty interesting to hear.

    Personally I love having that 8x10 enlarger. I drug it out of storage earlier this year and set it up in anticipation for this class. I'm glad I did. Not only for the student's sake, but for my own work as well. I am shooting all kinds of large format cameras and have really enjoyed enlarging both 4x10 and 8x10 negatives. These are some of the best GSP's I've ever made.

    Here are some shots of our setup.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails IMG_0007.jpg   IMG_0004.jpg   IMG_0010.jpg  
    Michael Slade

  8. #18

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    Michael, I am intrigued by the responses. Are these young photography students or older folks, like most of us?
    "The beauty and profundity of God is more real than any mere calculation"

  9. #19
    Michael Slade's Avatar
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    These are high school students in their third year. In the states we call them 'Juniors'. These are kids that are 17 years old. We have a 4 1/3 year long photo program where I teach that is modeled on the traditional university model. A very basic intro darkroom class for one term in 8th grade, a two-year course in 9-10, half is wet darkroom, half is Dig. There is an additional two-year course called AP that our juniors and seniors can take. This is mainly darkroom, large format and alt processes in 11th grade, and they can choose what process and format to pursue for 12th grade. They have a year-long project they shoot during their senior year and submit it for several major competitions at the end of the year. It's quite a program and we have churned out some very talented young photographers. A few have gone on to shoot professionally, but most will just use it to enhance the quality of their lives. The school I teach at is The Waterford School, located in Sandy, Utah, USA. www.waterfordschool.org
    Michael Slade

  10. #20
    DanielStone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Slade View Post
    These are high school students in their third year. In the states we call them 'Juniors'. These are kids that are 17 years old. We have a 4 1/3 year long photo program where I teach that is modeled on the traditional university model. A very basic intro darkroom class for one term in 8th grade, a two-year course in 9-10, half is wet darkroom, half is Dig. There is an additional two-year course called AP that our juniors and seniors can take. This is mainly darkroom, large format and alt processes in 11th grade, and they can choose what process and format to pursue for 12th grade. They have a year-long project they shoot during their senior year and submit it for several major competitions at the end of the year. It's quite a program and we have churned out some very talented young photographers. A few have gone on to shoot professionally, but most will just use it to enhance the quality of their lives. The school I teach at is The Waterford School, located in Sandy, Utah, USA. www.waterfordschool.org
    wow,

    i really wish that i had a program like that when i was in high school (i graduated in 2006). i'm just starting to shoot 8x10, having moved up from 4x5 quite rapidly... it sure has pared down the amount of negatives that i have to process ! the main thing that i appreciate the most about LF is that it slows me down and makes me have to think completely about the shot. 8/10 of the time, I look at the ground glass and think; "I don't want to shoot this, I'll never print it". It sure is nice having the Arista b/w film in 8x10 though. Making the learning easier though!


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