Beginner 8x10-on-eBay question
I am very new at this, but think I would like to make the jump to LF 8x10 in the future. Thinking along these lines, I have begun to watch eBay. I am curious how, as experienced LF photogs, you would look at an auction like the one below and begin to evaluate this used camera. What kind of questions about the camera would you be asking the seller?
(I am thinking here more along the lines of actually evaluating the camera than trying to prevent eBay fraud. I have bought enough through them to understand how to protect myself.)
If I were considering this camera I would ask the seller these questions:
Originally Posted by ghinson
1. Are the bellows guaranteed light tight?
2. Are there any separations is the bed of the camera
3. Are the geared tracks in good shape (no noticeable wear or stripped teeth)
4. Is there any signs of wood separation elsewhere on the camera?
5. What shape is the plating on the metal of this camera (cosmetic only)
6. Is there any noticeable wear on the back latches?
7. Are the back springs tight?
I would ask these questions based on my experience of having bought three V8 Deardorffs and refinishing them.
Also for a Deardorff and in addition to the above, does it have front swings? This one appears to not have them. Deardorffs can be adapted to front swings, but without them the value of the camera is significantly lower.
Originally Posted by ghinson
I agree with what Donald and Steve said. If it passes the test it would be a super camera. As already mentioned, you can get by without front swings or have them added so I wouldn't let that be too big a factor if everything else checks out. The lens and all those holders certainly make it an attractive looking kit. I'd guesstimate $1600-1900 would be a fair price considering all the goodies $1100-1400 would make it a real steal. I think $1200 should get you an experienced "user" with front swings but no lens or holders if you're patient. Happy 'dorffing!
Before you jump onto the LF bandwagon, talk to JMOORE. He did just as you are contimplating. He recently decided LF was not for him, and went back to medium format. Learn how to use medium format that you have and to develop the film and prints. Once comfortable rent the LF equipment for a couple of weekends to make sure you really like it and will take the time to learn it. LF is a different type of photography from what you are use to.
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Good advice above on the Deardorff. It looks like a good package. The ad says the bellows are new and the shutter has been serviced ("recalibrated"), so that's a good sign. If you want to hedge your bets, budget about $80 for a CLA on that shutter from S. K. Grimes. I've had them do a Compound shutter of the same type recently (i.e., after Mr. Grimes' passing), and it works great.
If the 18 filmholders are all modern plastic types like the one shown, those are worth $30-40 a piece by themselves. If some are wooden, I'd say those are worth around $15 a piece.
Do ask around and try things to consider whether you really want to get into LF before sinking too much money into it, but by the same token, don't be afraid to jump straight into 8x10". That's what I did after trying out a friend's 4x5, and I feel I made the right choice following my intuition.
Ever camera I have bought on ebay that said bellows is light tight has leaked... just food for thought. The bellows on this one look pretty good though.
Just a couple more things to consider. You don't have to have a Deardorff to go 8X10. $$$. But they sure are nice. I would be curious why a convertible symar is in an antique compund shutter rather than a compur.
Keep an eye out, occasionaly you can find a sleeper.
The Convertible Symmar was introduced in the early 1950s. At that time there was no such thing as a Compur (or Copal) No. 3 shutter. So, the big lenses of the day usually came in Ilex or Compound shutters. Eventually, larger Compur shutters became available, and Copals as well. There was a period of overlap, where the customer had a choice of Compur or Compound. Based on the serial number, the lens in the auction listing dates from 1957 and the Compund shutter is more than likely original.
Originally Posted by Shaggy
As far as the shutter being "recalibrated", I don't think that means it's had a recent CLA. If you look at the photos, there are lables on the lensboard that show the actual shuter speeds for each setting.