View Full Version : Dimensions needed to build a 10x8 folding Camera

27-May-2016, 13:03
Hi Everyone,

Firstly i am quite new here. I'm a 55 year old British fine art photographer who started out in film (there was no other choice at the time - 1975), but after several years in the digital world i'm heading back to film, having gone back to 35mm, then Medium format 6x7, and now
i am heading into the world of 10x8 and large format.

I'm afraid funds aren't what they used to be, so i am going to build two 10x8 Cameras. One in traditional wood and another in composite plastics and carbon fibre, and have the expertise ready and waiting to go.

I have been trawling the internet for the past couple of weeks looking for the dimensions of the rear standard for a 10x8 capable of shooting in both the landscape and the portrait formats, therefore a square is going to be the obvious way to go.

So here is what i need, nothing more.

1 - I need the inner and outer dimensions of the rear standard. So basically all i'm asking for here is the dimensions of a hole, yes you read that right, a hole. it's not a state secret to know how wide, or high or deep something is.
2 - The inner and outer dimensions of the the front standard. Yes the same response here. All i'm asking for here is the dimensions of a hole, yes you read that right, a hole. it's not a state secret to know how wide, or high something is.
3 - All the dimensions for the rear film holder and back.

From here i will be able to design my own LF camera.

I am not in the position to get my hands on a 10x8 camera which is why i am posting here.

One thing i have found during this short journey is the COMPLETE lack of information on the internet 2016, which i find astounding. I think it would be easier to find the dimensions to construct a bomb than a 10x8 camera.

I am not asking for Plans, just a few of the basic dimensions to build a large format camera to my own design, although the fundamentals remain pretty much the same since the first camera over a 100 years ago.

So if their is someone out there willing to help a fellow photographer continue his passion then please do not hesitate in responding, apparently from reading through the various threads on the forum there are quite a few of you out there with 10x8 cameras.

Looking forward to your responses.

Many thanks for your time.

All the best


p.s. if anyone reading this has a 10x8 or has built one but has inadvertently lost their tape measure i will buy a new one, postage worldwide. :) :)

27-May-2016, 13:17
Buy yourself a 10x8 holder and work from that?
(its what I did when I built lf cameras)

27-May-2016, 13:33
Hi pdh,

Many thanks for taking the time to respond.

It all seems so easy when you know how, so i will take your advice and look at this. I was reading that their is a critical area concerning the film plane and the ground glass distances. Any pointers??


Jim Jones
27-May-2016, 15:51
Mike, with a 10x8 film holder in hand, you can measure the dimensions of the holder, including the critical distance between the face of the holder and the back of the film. A spec sheet gives that as 0.260 +/- 0.016 inches. One source of other dimensions is http://home.earthlink.net/~eahoo/page8/filmhold.html, although there are a few errors in this source. You're right in assuming the back of the camera is square, and can be mounted for either vertical or horizontal or vertical photos. The front standard just has to be big enough to accommodate whatever size lens board you decide on. That should be big enough to mount any lens you will ever use. Adhering to one of the standard size lens boards is practical.

27-May-2016, 18:53
Actually, no. The back does not have to be square. You can design the camera as a vertical then have the capability to tip it sideways 90 degrees for horizontals.

A few days ago I was watching an old episode of the TV show "Bonanza" which featured their town's photographer. That's how his 8x10" camera was designed. As a matter of fact, the TV shows' camera showed a close-up of it doing exactly that.

Were cameras made in the 1886-era made that way? I do not know.

Watch the program here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrGNnkw9lvM

Later scenes were filmed in a "darkroom" using red lighting.

Overall, the handling of large format cameras was fairly realistic.

Tim Meisburger
27-May-2016, 19:10
I recently built an 8x10 back, but unfortunately it is already in my shipment on the way to the US (I'm moving), so I cannot measure it. I based it on a 4x5 back, and used an 8x10 holder for critical measurements. Essentially, you build from a square frame at least large enough to accommodate the holder. Mine was 12 1/4 x 12 1/4. The thickness of the wood for the camera case was 5/16, so the internal dimensions of the case were 12 1/4 - 5/8 = 11 5/8. I did draw the 4x5 holder, and that sketch is attached, if that is helpful.


Paul Ewins
27-May-2016, 22:46
FWIW, here are the dimensions from my Kodak 1B, circa 1920, an all wooden studio camera and my Sinar P, an all metal monorail. Both have rotating backs (i.e. remove the back and rotate it 90 degrees and replace to change from landscape to portrait):
A) At the ground glass the Kodak is 199mm x 249mm, Sinar is 220m x 258mm (GG on Sinar is larger than 8x10).
B) The aperture for the rotating back is 262mm x 262mm for the Kodak and 309mm x 309mm for the Sinar.
C) The aperture at the rear of the bellows is 250mm x 250mm for the Kodak and 290mm x 290mm for the Sinar.

27-May-2016, 23:48
Even for a skilled builder, I think it is a good idea to start out with a (even bad) commercially made camera, struggle with shooting with it for awhile, and have a pattern model to design your new camera with it, esp if you are new to LF... That way you can design the good points into it, and avoid the bad points you will discover later...

Use your skill on a restoration for now, because after buying bellows, hardware, wood/materials, tools etc, it will at least be close (or more) in price to what an old camera would cost to start shooting, and learn the nuances of it's design...

Good luck!!!!

Steve K

28-May-2016, 12:13
Hi Jim,

Thanks a lot for responding. I really appreciate you taking the time. :)
Thanks for the link, i have already seen this and also that there are several errors in the dimensions.
A big thanks for all.

All the very best


28-May-2016, 12:16
Hi Atlanta Terry,

Many thanks for the response and the video link, that was fun to watch, although i skipped to the part of interest, and i'm not sure i'll take that route, but i had a good giggle.
Thanks for all the info, much appreciated.

All the best


28-May-2016, 12:30
Hi Tim,

Many, many thanks for that invaluable piece of information, and also the pdf a real, real help for me.
Thanks for taking the time. Much appreciated.
All the very best


28-May-2016, 12:35
Hi Paul,

Perfect. Many, many thanks for the info i really appreciate that and your taking the the time to respond. Invaluable piece of information for me.
All the very best


28-May-2016, 12:39
Hi LabRat,

Many thanks for the info. I've used LF before when i was much younger, so know the Ins and outs of a completely manual camera and it's movements, but i really want to attack this project. I will of course be building a full scale working model before attacking the real project. Many thanks for responding. All the very best.


Michael Roberts
30-May-2016, 05:59
I have 2 8x10s on hand:
1. my Kodak 2D (~1948) is 294mm and 282mm
2. my 1890s Rochester King is 296/286mm

Michael Roberts
30-May-2016, 11:16
I have 2 8x10s on hand:
1. my Kodak 2D (~1948) is 294mm and 282mm
2. my 1890s Rochester King is 296/286mm

These are the outside/inside dimensions for the rear frame. The 2D has brass supports for the rear standard mounted on the outside of the rear frame; the ROC King has brass supports mounted inside the rear frame. So, the dimensions of the rear standard depend on whether you are planning a tailboard design or a clamshell design.

My 2D takes six-inch square lensboards; the King takes 4 1/2 inch square lensboards, so again, the dimensions of the front standard will depend on the size lensboards you want to use.

Feel free to email me for more measurements on either of these cameras.

I also have a spare 8x10 back (sans hardware) for a Seneca tailboard on hand.

31-May-2016, 09:31
Many thanks for the info Michael.

31-May-2016, 09:34
Hi Michael,

Many thanks for getting back, much appreciated.
Sorry for my ignorance, but what is tailboard design and a Clamshell design.
As for the front standard i started to realise this after posting.
All the best

I'll mail you later.

Michael Roberts
31-May-2016, 14:27
The Kodak 2D camera (Eastman Kodak View No. 2 Dark, aka EKC) is a tailboard. It has a detachable (often lost) rear rail that allows the camera to extend from ~18-30 inches.

The Rochester Optical (aka ROC) King is an example of a clamshell--it closes up into a sealed wooden box (except for the exposed gg).

The Deardorff V8 is another popular example of a clamshell design.