Stephanie, consider supplementing the B&J flatbed with a 5x7 B&J monorail. That way you'll have interchangeable backs between them, and a sturdy monorail when portability isn't an issue. The 5x7 B&J monorails sometimes are cheap. Mine takes the common 4x5 lens board instead of the 5.25 boards of my flatbed, but an adaptor isn't too hard to make for using the smaller boards on the flatbed. For decades the B&J flatbed, usually with a 4x5 back, was my main LF camera. Other cameras look better and work smoother, but one can't tell the photos apart. I have an Inba Ikeda to look at, and the B&Js to look through.
Ditto the comment that the Koronas are not that sturdy. The metal rear standards are under-built and a bit shaky. The wood is beautiful, however, and they are quite capable cameras (I believe Weston used one.) Whole-plate is a wonderful format and Ilford film is available, but film holders are pretty scarce. If you find a WP kit that has holders, you're in business. I look for them on occasion, but they show up on the LF forum and evil bay very infrequently. Another problem is that there was no standard for WP holder dimensions, each camera manufacturer's specs being a little different.
I see B&J's showing up around Portland on occasion (maybe it's the same camera being resold over and over, I don't know.) My impression is that they're awkward and bulky, but I'm sure they'd be fine in a studio setting. Nice 2Ds show up on occasion, they're probably your best bet. Be aware that at least the earlier ones do not have front tilts or swings.
Old wooden flatbed cameras are great. You can fix almost any problem with a screwdriver and some glue.
"Stephanie, consider supplementing the B&J flatbed with a 5x7 B&J monorail. That way you'll have interchangeable backs between them, and a sturdy monorail when portability isn't an issue. The 5x7 B&J monorails sometimes are cheap."
Ja, real cheap. I think I have offered to send her one for the cost of shipping sometime in the past. It just sits here at my house, the Deardorff V8 has supplanted all the other LF cameras around here.
The offer still stands Steph.
tim in san jose
The cool thing is that, while I'm still not rich, I'm not really the broke photographer I was. I have been upgraded squarely to 'frugal'. :D
Sticking to the equipment I have now will be okay because Jim has a point, but once I start looking around for something I wanted to have some idea of what I should look around *for*. :)
Now, if any of you guys have empty 5x7 film boxes, we can talk.
Sticking with what you have is always a great idea. I'm trying hard to do that too, but with only moderate success.
And in spite of offering you a 5x7 for sale, I was looking at what you said you want to do and kind of think your idea of an 8x10 camera makes sense. You can put a 5x7 or 4x5 reducing back on it, and generally, you'll end up with considerably more bellows draw, which you very well might need for portraits. Especially true if you've got some long lenses to mess with. Plus 8x10 is a wonderful format itself.
Usually, it shouldn't be hard to make a reducing back if you already have a working back in that format. It is mostly a flat board with a hole in it. Then just screw your old back to that. That is basically what the lovely Deardorff reducing backs are. You've got a 5x7 back from you B&J that could be a donor if some fabulous deal of 8x10 2D comes along.
I have seen Toyo 8x10 monorails around that price or a little more. They are said to be rock solid.
I made a decision about this just lately and figured I should share: I'm heading into 8x10 territory in about six months if the financial planning works out. I'm using 4x5 for the project I'm doing. Not just for the cheaper film, but also because I've learned that while I like 5x7 as a format, I end up cropping off the top to something akin to 4x5 anyway. My brain sees better in that almost-square or square format. I can do the same thing with my 35mm images, so it isn't anything new.
I'm going to work on a budget of $1000-ish for camera, holders, and probably an older wooden tripod. The 300mm Bausch & Lomb and the 14" and 18" focal lengths of the rapid rectilinear I just bought *should* work on it, so lenses won't be needed at first.
So...er...that's about it. Just thought I'd let everyone know. I'm starting my project after Christmas and it'll likely take a few months since I don't have as much time to shoot anymore and some of the stuff has to wait until spring...and until I have a place to shoot them.
I highly recommend the Fujinon-W 300mm f/5.6. It's tack sharp and renders beautifully on 8x10.
That's too new for me. ;) I prefer the rendering of older lenses. I'll save high contrast for 35mm and medium format. :D
Originally Posted by EASmithV
I'll be keeping my eye out for more rapid rectilinear types. Uncoated, probably. I'm weird that way.
I have both the 5x7 and 8x10 Anscos and they perform flawlessly. They do have a problem with weight, but my days of hiking into the back country are over. If I can't drive to the location, then I don't need to go.