1. Either shoot 1/4 as much as you do with 4x5, or spend 4x more money. Or something in between the two.
2. Don't limit yourself to contact prints. While they are beautiful, you have to see enlargements from 8x10 film to believe them. If you stay with 8x10, definitely get an enlarger for it. $30,000+ 10x10 enlarger setups can now be had for a few thousand or less. And as a bonus, it will also allow you to print enlarged contact sheets from your roll film.
3. You can generally stop down a bit more without suffering the effects of diffraction, in order to regain some of that lost D of F (if you want it).
4. If you like long lenses, know that it is very tough to use them with 8x10. You need lots of bellows to use a 600mm lens (at the shorter end of long lenses for the format), even if it is focused at infinity. I love long lenses on 4x5. I use a 360mm and sometimes a 540mm. But the equivalent focal lengths are not feasible for me on the larger formats with the setup that I currently have. That will require a lot more investment on my part.
5. Off topic (sorry), but you also owe it to yourself to make at least one high quality drum scan of a frame, just to see what kind of crazy quality you can get over a small format digital SLR, while sharing all the benefits of digital adjusting and printing.
6. Make sure to have a heavy duty tripod. What good are 80 sq-in of negative if the image suffers from camera shake?
I had an 8x10 for a while, but I sold it. I have decided that 5x7 is the best large format for me. I like the aspect ratio better, for one. And it offers a definite quality advantage over 4x5, but at only 2x it's the cost (and half the cost of shooting 8x10). The problem with 5x7 format is if you shoot color. 8x10 has the definite advantage. Though you can slice down 8x10 film to 5x7 size.
"Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."
- Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)
Not only will the gg look like a TV screen, but it will be LIGHT like a HDTV screen. You will see things you would not have seen on a 4x5 gg and be able to adjust for them. Example, I was shooting the front of a car with my 4x5. A friend was following with his 8x10. He asked me how I was dealing with the sandbag next to the left front wheel. I wasn’t because I hadn’t seen it on the 4x5 Linhof TK45. I looked at his 8x10 Linhof and could see the print on the bag. That was my conversion to 8x10 day.
"If you want to be famous, you must do something more badly than anybody in the entire world." Miroslav Tichý
You use 4x5 if you want to make 1:1 contact prints of your cat's ass. You use 8x10 if you want to make 1:1 contact prints of your dog's ass. Any questions?
Just try things out and pick what suits you best. There are no arguments in favour of this or that format that are worth more than your experience and preference. If the gear associated with a particular format doesn't work for you, it can become an encumbrance. So just try for yourself.....
Mentioned briefly earlier, but be prepared to conduct impromptu public seminars. Aspiring students will come, whether you seek them or not, no matter where you set the thing up.
It's a wonderful opportunity to present a hugely different alternative definition of photography to rapt audiences. Except, of course, when that audience shows up ten minutes before the best-light window you may have worked hours - or days - to be able to photograph through.
Be patient with them.
"They are the proof that something was there and no longer is. Like a stain. And the stillness of them is boggling. You can turn away but when you come back they’ll still be there looking at you."
— Diane Arbus, March 15, 1971, in response to a request for a brief statement about photographs
You will get attention, no question about it. It's great to have someone with you who can field some of that so you can actually make a picture, but that can be really fun. I started having my assistant record audio of some of the comments and questions we would get, people will surprise you.
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Yes, be prepared to socialize while using it. The upside of the additional size/weight is that you will think more before setting up.
8x10 scans even nicer than 4x5 in an epson scanner (v700/v750). You make nice 8x10 alt process prints which are more useful than 4x5 contact prints in many situations.
You can also use a 4x5 back so as to continue to get nice 4x5 negatives after you run out of 8x10 holders or if you like the "cropped sensor" field of view.
Thanks everyone for commenting and providing your thoughts. I shot and developed my first sheets of 8x10 Tri-X today in the studio. I have a lot of 4x5 experience and routinely develop 6 or more sheets in the tray but I felt it was wise to develop single sheets for now. I am glad I followed that advice and everything turned out great. On my first exposure I actually got part of the backdrop in the frame and didnt even realize it! I think I was so excited that I didn't follow my normal routine of checking the perimeter of the gg before taking the exposure.
I am going to do a contact print tomorrow in the darkroom and then do a scan on my Epson V750. When I get something worthy of a tango drum scan I will send it to West Coast Imaging and give that a try. I have had them do a lot of my 4x5 and have been very pleased. I will be taking it out for some landscapes over the holiday weekend so I wanted to get comfortable with the routine before heading out.
Someone mentioned a sturdy tripod. I use a Gitzo GT5541LS which is rated at over 50 lbs and a RRS BH-55 ball head which also has a rating over 50 lbs so this should provide the stability that is required. My camera weighs 4Kg/9 lbs so I am well below the limit. I am a black and white fine art photographer but I am going to have to put at least a couple sheets of Velvia 50 in a holder and hopefully marvel at the results.
I do have a quick question. I only took two exposures today but both of them had a very slight amount of light leak in one corner. I am not sure if it was the holder or from me pulling out the dark slide. I even placed the darkcloth over the camera when pulling the darkslide. My plan is to use a different film holder for my next exposure and see the leak is still there. If you have any tips for removing the darkslide and avoiding this problem let me know.
Here is a link to my first 8x10 exposure. I used Tri-X, EI 200, 3 second exposure in studio using cool lights. Fujinon 300mm at f/45.
check your borders, if your borders are light leak clean then its most probably the back, it could also be the lens shutter letting light through, i've been there!
well shooting 8x10 is pretty demanding as an ealier poster said, you see thing you wouldn't normally see on 4x5 and that can be a problem since it makes it harder sometimes to stick with the big picture- most times i notice i have to really step back more to take it all in!
Its those times that i get the more hooked!
I think the biggest difference is the lenses: try a +4 close-up lens (250mm) on a 4x5", then a +2 close-up lens (500mm) on 8x10" to compare.