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  1. #1

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    Burke and James 8x10

    I'm planning on buying a Crown Graphic later this week from a reputable older couple who sell photograpic equipment of all sorts ("Joe and Karen" in Quincy, MA; highly recommend them - send me a PM for their email). I bought my Rolleiflex off them and they are a pleasure to deal with and only sell top notch equipment.

    Anyway, they also have a Burke and James 8x10 camera I have the option to buy. Not too many details on it as of yet, but they say its a really clean black metal model with both 8x10 back and 4x5 back, and they're asking $425 for it. Its not exactly even in the same category as a Graphic, I know, but I've wanted an 8x10 for a while now.

    Does anyone have any experience with these cameras? I found hits all over the place on a google search, but nothing as to the quality and usability of this camera. My main concern is that it is something thats reasonable well built (not expecting a Deardorff at this price, but reasonable), and that its something I can hike with. I know they're heavy, but I'm young and the weight isn't a huge concern, as long as its something that can be fit into a backpack.

    I already have an Ilex 12" 8x10 lens, not in the best of shape but reasonable and it will do for now.

    Would it be silly of me to rush into 8x10 with a B&J? Should I just get the Graphic for now and get a nicer 8x10 when I can afford it?
    Last edited by mfratt; 12-29-2010 at 01:19 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    ~ Michelle

  2. #2
    Christopher Walrath's Avatar
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    Why not look at the camera before deciding. Given the opportunity I would probably jump at it.
    Thank you.
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  3. #3

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    I do plan on looking at it and making my decision on the spot, but being someone who likes to overthink things beforehand, I like to gather as much information as possible.
    ~ Michelle

  4. #4

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    Black metal? Hmmm.
    The only B&J 8x10s I've seen were wood flatbeds. Could it be a version of the Calumet Metal Monster? Is it a monorail or clamshell?
    It could be quite a nice camera---make sure it has a lensboard if it dosen't take a common size.

  5. #5

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    If you want to shoot 8x10 then shoot 8x10. I prefer 8x10 so I'm terribly biased.
    If it comes with holders, thats all the more incentive. You'll likely need a heavier tripod as well. Since you have a lens, if they can fix you up with a package that comes with what you'll need, thats a very good price!

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Kasaian View Post
    If you want to shoot 8x10 then shoot 8x10. I prefer 8x10 so I'm terribly biased.
    If it comes with holders, thats all the more incentive. You'll likely need a heavier tripod as well. Since you have a lens, if they can fix you up with a package that comes with what you'll need, thats a very good price!
    My only issue with shooting 8x10 is that I'll probably enjoy it too much. Problem with that is the cost, especially when it comes to color.

    I don't imagine the price includes film holders, but these people have so much stuff I'm sure they have some holders they'll give me a nice price on.

    The thing with shooting 8x10, for me, is that theres something really nice to me about contact printing. The problem with 4x5 is that, in many cases, its too small to make a contact that suits the image. Plus, I find that, even with 4x5, I'm a little too trigger happy. I'm sure that the cost of 8x10 film would solve that problem reeeeally quickly.

    I have a quite nice tripod. I'll have to see if it will support the heavy B&J or not, but its a Manfrotto CF leg setup with a Manfrotto magnesium 3-way pan-tilt head. The entire setup cost me some $550, but I figured it to be a long-time investment. It seems to support my monorail, quite well, so long as I secure the levels properly. I've got bopped in the face under the darkcloth a few times from the tilt lever not being secured properly.
    Last edited by mfratt; 12-29-2010 at 01:17 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    ~ Michelle

  7. #7

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    I don't have experience using a B & J 8X10, but from what I have heard and read, if it is one of the metal ones they are heavy and hard to lug around. Some have also complained that the camera does not lock down very well after focusing. 8X10 is nice, but yes the cost goes up considerably versus 4X5. Looking at the camera won't help you any, if you are like me, you will buy it and later wonder if you made the right choice. Depending on what you are planning on using it for. If you plan on using it to shot architectural photography, it may not have enough movements if it is the older painted grey wood camera. If you plan on shooting architectural, I would suggest a monorail camera like a Toyo or Calumet, that are not too expensive. There are others, but the price is twice or three times what the B&J is selling for. To be honest, $425 is kind of high if it does not include a lens and at least some film holders. To give you an idea, I paid just around $700 for my Kodak 2D 8X10 with a lens, two film holders, a wood tripod, a 5x7 and 4X5 back and some film. I have also seen the sell for less than what I paid. Good luck with your final decision.

  8. #8

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    Just re-read your original post. It is one of the black metal frame cameras. This would be a monorail type, but it still does not have the amount of movements that a Toyo or the later Calumet. If I recall correctly, the later Calumet was a Combo design.

    Like I stated before, if you are like me..... you are going to buy it

  9. #9
    Whiteymorange's Avatar
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    This auction listing shows a camera that might be something you can carry in a specialized backpack, but what are you doing about a tripod? Just asking, since I would love to go out with an 8x10 as well. I have an old Rochester Universal that fits, with lenses, holders and wooden tripod in a backpack cooler that I picked up at a yardsale. The whole system only weighs about 25 pounds - but the camera is fragile and the holders are specialized (non-standard) and difficult. I've yet to have a very satisfying outing with it all.

  10. #10
    Greg Davis's Avatar
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    You will definitely need a stronger tripod than the CF you have for a large and heavy 8x10 you describe. I had one of the B&J wood field cameras that came in with lens around 18 pounds. Even my 13 pound Kodak Master needs a very sturdy tripod. I wouldn't use CF for anything 8x10 because the weight is all on top. An aluminum Manfrotto 055 is the lightest and smallest I would ever consider for that format, and even then only for a lightweight one. Personally I use a Manfrotto 161, which is their biggest. It is rock solid, even my Ries A series seems wobbly after using this thing.
    www.gregorytdavis.com

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