Last night I made some contact prints of negatives exposed yesterday. I came to the conclusion that the big meniscus lens just isn't as sharp as I'd like; in fact, comparing these contact prints with ones from a cardboard 8x10 pinhole camera (with optimized pinhole), the meniscus lens images are softer.

So I considered other alternative lenses I have at my disposal. One obvious candidate is my 150mm binocular objective, which I've used repeatedly in my Speed Graphic. It has incredible off-axis softness and blurr, depending on aperture, but knew it would be too short for infinity focus in the big 8x10 box camera. Still, for close-ups where bellows extension is the norm, I figured I'd give it a go.

I fashioned a bracket from scrap wood and foamcore that mounts the binocular lens in place of the meniscus. Surprisingly, it covers the 8"x10" format. So I concocted this still-life on my workbench, the main subject being my WWII-era Anniversary Speed Graphic. Preflashed grade 2 paper negative, 7mm aperture (f/38 effectively), 50 second exposure. You can see the reflections of my work light in the lens.

I'm pleased!