Kodak Master Views are nice cameras. Getting lensboards for them is kind of a hassle. You should be able to find a beater 'dorff in your price range f you look hard enough. If everything locks down good and the darkness dosen't leak out of the bellows, that would be my choice (actually that was my choice and 10 years later I don't regret it! :) )
For a tripod---Ries! If you need to scrimp, find an old surveyor's tripod that you can adapt to a 1/4-20.
While nothing like a Verito (which imho would be too heavy for a 'dorff) a 14" Commercial Ektar is a fine portraite lens--Yousef Karsh used one!
Film holders---I like plastic Lisco Regals and the black wood Graflex ones marked "made for Eastman Kodak." Agfa/anscos work nicely too.
Originally Posted by Mark Fisher
Well, I just bought the Shen Hao as my first 8x10, and I think the build quality is awesome and it has all the movemnts you will need. I bought it in China and had it for for under $2000. If you are looking for a lens and some film holders your $2000 will come up short, unless you go second hand. I preffered the wood to metal. Better in the cold, and warping is definitely not an issue. I think you need to consider that these cameras are not for throwing around...and including wood will open up your options.
Hmm... maybe I need to consider wood after you have all mentioned it was a good choice. Maybe I was misinformed and thinking the wood cameras warp when it is the wooden holders that can warp.
wooden cameras and wooden holders can warp if they are mistreated or not made well. However, I have wooden holders that that are probably 70+ years old that are just fine.
Fortunately, most makers of these items know/knew how to use the material correctly. If you buy an antique wooden holder that is straight when you buy it, it's likely to remain that way.
With wood in the mix Deardorff can be considered Not especially light but a kit is in your budget. Just be patient while you're shopping around.
I have an Eastmant 2D in good shape if there's any interest. It's not a lightweight though.
I don't understand the obsession with lightness. In my opinion it is a red herring. In all cases you will need a very sturdy tripod, and that will weigh more than your camera by several kilos. With a lens that will weigh a couple of kilos on top of that, the difference in the main body weight of 1kg or so between brands/models is irrelevant. Wherever you take it..it will be an effort...K
Some of us aren't in the best of shape anymore. :) I can no longer hike but for those who do it's a matter of how far they're going to travel on foot. On a 20 mile hike 25 pounds makes a big back-saving difference. If I can cut down my system weight from 50 pounds to 25 or 30 it's worth it to me. I bought smaller/lighter lenses, a CF tripod (1.4 kilos plus head), and am looking for the lightest camera that still has all the features I want... I'm giving the Korona 5x12 serious consdieration. There are much greater weight differences between LF cameras than 1K. The lightest 8x10s are approxinately 14K and the heavier ones are twice that or a difference of 14K plus.
If wood is in the mix and you want to stay really cheap I cannot say enough about the wood Ansco/Agfa Universal cameras. Really really simple - not too heavy, durable, good extension with a built in non PIA extension bed. Decent movements, etc, etc. The really funny thing is that the grey painted ones with the nickel hardware were the higher priced deluxe models vs. the dark stained wood with brass hardware. Today the grey ones go for much less money because they are not as decorative but the wood is the exact same wood under the grey paint.
Check them out they go for a song on ebay and usually are sold with holders/lens/shutter all for way under $1000.
I also think you are shooting yourself in the foot by insisting on metal for the reasons you give. I like metal simply because I often shoot in really foul weather conditions and I feel bad exposing a nice cherry or mahogany box with leather bellows to the wet. But it is not because of warping. I have used quite a few wooden field cameras and that has never been a problem.
If you want a good metal 8x10 for under 2K, then the Kodak Master 8x10 is the camera for you. They are not easy to find but they do pop up from time to time. You may have to wait a little while. I use one and find it very sturdy and easy to use. They weigh about 12 lbs which is about average for a field camera of that quality. You can certainly get lighter for $$$
As for a "portrait" lens, don't make the mistake I did. I figured that since a portrait lens in 35mm format is about 100mm, I would want a 600mm for 8x10. Dumb idea, since I also need a huge bellows to focus the damn thing any closer than the end of my street. I use a 14 inch Commercial Ektar, which is considered about normal for 8x10, and I do a lot of people photography (although not traditional head and shoulders portraits). Since you want to stay under $2000, the Commercial Ektars are a good buy.
If I were you, I would definitely not get the Calumet unless you are in training for the Iron Man competition or do not plan to shoot anything more than 20 ft from the car. Yosuf Karsh used one but it never left the studio.