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  1. #1

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    Beginner 8x10 Field Camera?

    I've been lusting after an 8x10 setup for quite some time now, and for all the research I've done, I still cannot for the life of me decide which camera is best. So now I turn to you for some opinions.

    • Field Camera
    • Perferably Metal
    • Good Portrait Lens Available
    • Good Tilt/Swing Capabilities
    • ~$2000


    My list of requirements isn't very long. I shoot any number of things, so I need my camera to be good (or at least acceptable) for anything I can throw at it. I like the idea of metal because it doesn't warp as easily as wood. It needs to have a good portrait lens, as I shoot a lot of portraiture. I love shallow depth of field, so tilt/swing is a must. Finally, I'd prefer it be $2000 or under. Please do not suggest a monorail camera. I need the portability of a field camera.

    Any suggestions would be most appreciated. (If you could suggest a tripod to go along with the camera, that'd be great too!)
    Last edited by zrisso; 11-11-2009 at 06:24 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  2. #2

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    At good conditional like a Toyo metal field camera will likely cost more than 2000 even used. Take a look at a triple extension Tachihara, its a good beginner 8x10 which is fairly portable. For a tripod one of the big Carbon Gitzo Tripods or a Ries would be about as stable as you can get.

    I like my Wehman as well, its about as portable as you can get, but I am not sure that I would recommend it as a entry level 8x10.

    Good Luck with your search.

    Gary
    Build a man a fire and he will be warm for hours.
    Set a man on fire and he will be warm for the rest of his life.

    Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc.

  3. #3
    Greg Davis's Avatar
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    The Kodak Master 8x10 is a good metal field camera that you can get for usually around $1000 or less. They are all used, so you will need to do some shopping. A good portrait lens is really any focal length from 300mm to 420mm, as long as it covers film. I have used both a Ries tripod and a large medium Bogen tripod with a sturdy head. A metal field camera is going to be slightly heavy, so a sturdy tripod is a must, not a lightweight one.
    www.gregorytdavis.com

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  4. #4
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    You might reconsider your choice of materials. While it might have happened somewhere, I have never heard of the wood of any camera warping with normal use. Allowing wood into you criteria would open up the possibilities, such as the Tachihara mentioned, the Zone VI that I use, as well as many others.

    This is just a guess, but I figure more cameras have been put out of commission due to bent metal than warped wood.

    Vaughn
    Last edited by Vaughn; 11-12-2009 at 01:16 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: spelling
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

  5. #5

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    When I buy an 8x10 it will be one of Richard Ritter's. Weighs 6.4 pounds, costs more than 2K though.

    I agree with Vaughn regarding metal vs wood.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by bdial View Post
    When I buy an 8x10 it will be one of Richard Ritter's. Weighs 6.4 pounds, costs more than 2K though.

    I agree with Vaughn regarding metal vs wood.

    The Ritter would be a great choice. I own a Ritter 12x20 and it is awesome.If the Ritter 8x10 been available when I bought my 8x10 it would have been my first choice.

    Gary
    Build a man a fire and he will be warm for hours.
    Set a man on fire and he will be warm for the rest of his life.

    Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc.

  7. #7
    Mark Fisher's Avatar
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    I'd reconsider the material choice. Wood is a fine choice. I've played with a Shen Hao (https://www.badgergraphic.com/store/...uct_list&c=98a) 8x10 and I thought it was pretty amazing for under $2000. I just rehabbed a Calumet C1 (great camera for the price, heavy, a bit awkward). If I take to 8x10, I suspect I'll get the Shen Hao or a Canham (Canham is more than $2K, though).

  8. #8

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    I'd suggest getting a camera designed for your anticipated environment. For the field I use a Wehman:
    http://www.wehmancamera.com

    For locations, i.e., a studio, outdoor portraits, or a cathedral, I have a Sinar P2. Metal monorails are a pain to move, but they, especially a Sinar, can't be beat once setup. Good luck.

  9. #9

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    Well, you say no monorail cameras, so we can throw out the Sinar, the Arca, the Toho, the Gowland, and the B&J Grover.

    You say no wood, so you can pretty much toss 90% of the 8x10 cameras ever made.

    That leaves you with the Kodak Master (ancient, pricey, rare lensboards), the Toyo (heavy, expensive), the metal Canham (expensive, limited movements), and the Calumet C1 (heavy, cheap, no fun with wide angles). Of those options, I say get a C1 and spend your money on glass.

    Speaking of glass, you say you want a "portrait lens." This means a lot of things in 8x10. In general terms, this means a lens 360mm to 500mm with or without soft focus. I can't recommend a lens for you, but if by portrait lens you mean a soft focus lens, that could eat into your camera budget quite severely.

  10. #10
    2F/2F's Avatar
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    Wood is fine. I'd get the idea that it is not out of your head right now. There is nothing wrong with it unless it has been abused, and the same applies to any material, including metal. I'd look at Calumets, B&Js, and the like. They will get you shooting, they will give you more movements than most cheap 8x10 field cameras, and they will leave you plenty of money to invest in nice glass.

    Also, $2,000 is a ton of money to spend on a "beginner" kit. I really would be leery of spending that much at first. I'd make a smaller investment, and wait until you have used 8x10 for a while and determined if it is something that is doing your "work" any good. If it is, then some day you might sell off your camera and find a better one. If not, you can sell off the kit at no big loss.

    The term "portrait lens" is usually used to describe medium-long lenses. Is this what you mean? After all, every lens can be used for portraits...just depends on what you want the portrait to be like. If you really want a long lens for 8x10, you may end up spending lots of money on that. 360mm is normal, so a 720mm lens would be double that...about like a 105mm on 35mm. I would just start with a normal lens and do what you can with it. If you really can't do what you need to do using a normal lens, and all else fails finding something longer and affordable, you can "resort" to a graphic arts lens, like my Kodak Copying Ektanon 21-1/4 in. (approx. 540mm) f/11. They are cheap, long, and generally have tons of coverage. People may say that they are not suited for portraits, but I say phooey to that, especially as a stop-gap lens. They will be fine...perhaps too small a max. aperture for you, though.

    For tripods, I suggest a Bogen 3051 based on my own experience with them. I am sure that other brands have similar offerings, but I am not familiar with them. I can say nothing but good about my 3051, though.
    2F/2F

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