As I recall, you haven't been shooting the 4x5 very long, maybe a year? Is there any particular reason you want to start with 8x10 already? I would suggest that you probably want to spend a whole bunch more time (and film) on practising to use the 4x5 and getting the absolute most possible out of that format before diving into 8x10.
8x10 is expensive, just the film, and that's without even worrying about camera costs.
Anyway to answer your question as-asked rather than what I think is a good idea:
- get a cheap lens that covers 8x10 like a 240 or 300 Symmar-S; it should be under $250 if you're patient
- make a sliding-box camera; you can light-seal it with felt or velvet
- make or buy ($100?) a film holder
- buy a box of x-ray film (super cheap!)
- get to it!
That will get you 8x10 but at IMHO no benefit over a decent 4x5 system other than larger contact prints. You won't have movements and you may not have accurate focusing and you sure can't afford one of the fancy soft-focus lenses (Verito, P&S, etc) that are one of the few purposes for which 4x5 is not sufficient.
If you have no enlarger and want into 8x10 in order to get bigger (contact) prints, I would suggest that you are much better off buying (or building if shipping is a problem) a 4x5 enlarger. I paid $150 for my DeVere 504 and $80 for the EL-Nikkor in it. Shipping will be horrible for you, but you might be able to buy just the enlarger head (bulb, mixer, bellows and lens) and rig up your own frame for it to support it above the paper and avoid shipping the huge+expensive enlarger frame. See some pictures of the Beseler 45MX for inspiration on the framework.
Edit: I also recall that you were struggling to get enough light for your 4x5 portraits. 8x10 makes it four times (two stops) worse! Unless you've solved your lighting situation, I think you would make far more improvement in your images from buying lights than any other camera-related equipment.
Last edited by polyglot; 12-10-2013 at 05:42 AM. Click to view previous post history.