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View Full Version : Yet another 8x20 camera thread



pound
26-Jul-2016, 08:52
i have an old 8x20 camera coming my way. It will probably take a month or 2 to reach me but I am excited and have been reading the various threads in this ULF section. Meanwhile I also can look at the challenges I will have in using this camera

1. Bringing it out. I do not own a vehicle so usually I will take public transport. This 8x20 beast will probably be too big for me to take a bus so I will need to get a bag locally for it. I hope to find locally a big front panel back pack for it. If that fails, then I have a Tenba boxy bag that may fit. I will use a small 4 wheel trolley to move it around. Probably can't hit the trekking trails.

2. Film - I have to start shooting paper negatives first by cutting 16x20 photo papers into 2. In the long run, I will try to use 2 sheets of 8x10 b&w film to shoot just like this gentleman did (http://eliotdudik.com/). I can't figure what what rig did he build. I will test how difficult it is to get the sheets to align nicely when I get hold of the holders. Any suggestions on other options will be helpful.

3. vertical shooting. I will like to build a L bracket in order to shoot in the vertical orientation (portrait).Thanks to the other thread, I have some ideas on how to fabricate one. The trick is to find the right materials to build it.

4. What to shoot ? i am worry I may not have good scenes to are suitable for a panoramic format. My country is a small place with mainly cityscapes. I will have to hit both the parks and the urban buildings to shoot interesting photos.

Sorry for the rambling. I hope to hear from other 8x20 users their experience.

Andrew O'Neill
26-Jul-2016, 14:34
What you could do is make a small cutout of the same proportions of the camera format from a piece of white tagboard, and wander around your city looking for compositions before you actually take the camera out. Do you have a lens for it? I'm sure you'll find something interesting.

Lachlan 717
26-Jul-2016, 14:54
80ltr+ backpack will work with this. Get one with a front opening, rather than top.

pound
27-Jul-2016, 02:29
Thanks. I have just cut a small cutout mounting board. I guess how far i hold it away from my eyes will depends on the focal length of my lens

Yes looking at some backpack now. most are top loading. An army luggage bag with wheels may fit.

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Lachlan 717
27-Jul-2016, 03:52
I have a Black Wold "Cuba" 85ltr bag for my 7x17 with 4 lenses and 4 holders. Plenty of room for an 8x20 if I was to need it.

N Dhananjay
27-Jul-2016, 18:27
I would suggest you wait before jumping into 8x20 verticals. Not because it can't be done but because it means doubling everything in your darkroom - you will need to store twice the number of window mounts (unless you want to have everything dead center which really does not look good). Also, if my experience is anything to go by, your vision seems to eventually settle one way or the other. And the long extended format makes for different visual interests in the horizontal vs. vertical formats - the horizontal has what I clumsily call a linear rhythm probably because of the typical reading from left to right (or vice versa) kind of orientation, while the vertical orientation has more of a Japanese woodblock kind of narrative rhythm. Once I start seeing one way, I find it difficult to switch to the other. I think the advice you have received of walking around with a cutout in the 8x20 format is very useful here. Use the cutout to look at how you like to frame things - this should give you some insight into your own visual concerns.

8x20 (compared to 8x10) is heavier but depending on your age and physical condition, it is the bulk rather than the weight which is the real bugbear. By the time you pack camera plus a couple of holders, a robust tripod and all the other paraphernelia, the sheer volume of stuff is large. I did get a large backpack but the bulk makes for a cumbersome sort of package, with the weight poorly distributed. I actually find it easier to carry the camera by the strap in one hand, the Ries tripod in its case in the other with all the other stuff in a smaller backpack - the weight is better balanced and I can actually walk some distance with that. Mind, its not easy but anything beyond 8x10 isn't. May not be the best solution to carry the camera in the open in city confines but maybe a good Pelican style case would work. I did look at rolling cases but they are inordinately large and bulky and I ruled against it. Some have reported good luck with rolling carts with large wheels but again that may not be workable in city confines.

I think your film choices will be down to Ilford during the special order done once a year. Do give some thought to your darkroom space. 4 16x20 trays take up a huge amount of space on the sink - see if you can find trays around 10x22 from greenhouse or restaurant suppliers. Getting even film developing can be a challenge because the long, skinny sheet of film is prone to flopping around. I settled on a 16x20 tray for this, where I develop about 6 sheets at a time coralled at the bottom edge of the try and slide the bottom sheet out to the top and left it with both hands and set it down on top. You might have to experiment to find a good regimen that works for you. Try it with paper and an extremely weak developer to mimic film development rates.

Good luck. It is a beautiful format which will change the way you look at the world.

Cheers, DJ

Andrew O'Neill
27-Jul-2016, 18:30
Thanks. I have just cut a small cutout mounting board. I guess how far i hold it away from my eyes will depends on the focal length of my lens

Yes looking at some backpack now. most are top loading. An army luggage bag with wheels may fit.

Sent from my Redmi Note 3 using Tapatalk

It depends on how big you cut the opening. If you cut if 8x20, then yes. If you cut it in half to 4x10, then whatever distance you hold it from your eye, you will have to double it to get a more accurate. I always use a 4x5 viewer when I'm out with my 8x10. Easier to handle. Which lens do you have?

pound
27-Jul-2016, 18:56
I actually find it easier to carry the camera by the strap in one hand, the Ries tripod in its case in the other with all the other stuff in a smaller backpack - the weight is better balanced and I can actually walk some distance with that. Mind, its not easy but anything beyond 8x10 isn't. J
Thanks for the insight especially on the weight distribution bit, DJ! I may end up with different options like using a backpack for trails and a trolley/cart for areas with well paved ways.

My darkroom will be the the small bathroom with really limited space. I was thinking of using only one tray. that is to pour away the chemicals after each step and rinse the tray with water before pouring in the next chemicals.

pound
27-Jul-2016, 18:59
It depends on how big you cut the opening. If you cut if 8x20, then yes. If you cut it in half to 4x10, then whatever distance you hold it from your eye, you will have to double it to get a more accurate. I always use a 4x5 viewer when I'm out with my 8x10. Easier to handle. Which lens do you have?
orh... I only cut the same aspect ratio (8cm x20cm) onto a A4 card. The camera is supposed to come with a Gundlach Perigraphic #5 Lens. I read that is actually a 11x14 convertible lens with 16,25,34" FL so I have to test to see how big is the image circle.

Barrie B.
29-Jul-2016, 23:31
Greetings , I often use ' one tray ' to process large sheets of paper :- use three buckets ( or containers ) for your chemicals (i) Developer (ii) stop (iii) fix ) and tip the chemical back into its bucket . You only need to rinse out the tray after the fixer . This way one can manage quiet a few large prints per session. Of course I use three 5" x 7" trays for my test strips for the large prints I use un-ribbed bottom trays and the print sticks to the bottom when pouring out the chemicals . Cheers Barrie B. Australia.


Thanks for the insight especially on the weight distribution bit, DJ! I may end up with different options like using a backpack for trails and a trolley/cart for areas with well paved ways.

My darkroom will be the the small bathroom with really limited space. I was thinking of using only one tray. that is to pour away the chemicals after each step and rinse the tray with water before pouring in the next chemicals.

pound
2-Aug-2016, 01:40
Greetings , I often use ' one tray ' to process large sheets of paper :- use three buckets ( or containers ) for your chemicals (i) Developer (ii) stop (iii) fix ) and tip the chemical back into its bucket . You only need to rinse out the tray after the fixer . This way one can manage quiet a few large prints per session. Of course I use three 5" x 7" trays for my test strips for the large prints I use un-ribbed bottom trays and the print sticks to the bottom when pouring out the chemicals . Cheers Barrie B. Australia.
thanks Barrie for sharing your experience. I just not used to use to working in total darkness when developing film. I will update more more when my camera reach me. Cheers!

Jim Fitzgerald
2-Aug-2016, 06:55
I built my first camera many years ago and it is an 8x20. At first the format will be hard to "see" in order to compose. I've taken many wonderful images especially tall trees (redwoods) with this camera. Here is some of what I've learned. Finding a backpack. I use a MEI backpack for all of my cameras except the 14x17. You can find them on E-bay. They have good suspension and they are not filled with all of the extra padding that will make the bag weigh a lot. You can add your own as needed. The lens I use most is my Rodenstock 360mm Gerogon. The lens is not in a shutter and is light weight and amazingly sharp and the coverage is huge. Wide open at F-9 it covers. It will take 77mm filters as I recall.
Keep your eye out on e-bay and on the forums for film. I've found a lot of expired film and right now am using some Berger 200 from 2006 and it is very good. The Ilford run is the way to buy film. Even in this format I love to shoot slow film. Depends on your subject matter and how you wish to print. For years I shot Efke 25 in 8x20. An amazing film with a huge range and I've made some wonderful carbon transfer prints from these negatives. You will generally be shooting at F-45 or greater and will be doing long exposures so find a film and learn it. Same with a developer. I started with Pyrocat HD as I knew that I would be doing an alternative printing process. So consider that as well.
For years I worked in a small bathroom. 3 feet by 5 feet. I developed and printed up to 14x17 in there.You have to get creative for sure. For 8x20 use a 16x20 tray or trays. I used the 10x22 seed trays and got surge marks on my negatives. You can use one tray but it will be a pain in the dark changing things out. Use four trays just make sure the developer is in a tray that is big enough and use plenty of chemical. I use 4,000 ml of Pyrocat HD to develop. I've done 3-4 negatives in this. 8x20 that is.

Now when I've done shows my 8x20 work gets the most attention. It is a format that a lot of people don't see. The contact print is what counts, at least for me. Also, I feel that if you have at least four film holders you will have enough if you go on a trip. It will make you think about your compositions much more. Most of all enjoy and expect some attention.
Have fun!

pound
5-Aug-2016, 02:39
I built my first camera many years ago and it is an 8x20. At first the format will be hard to "see" in order to compose. I've taken many wonderful images especially tall trees (redwoods) with this camera. Here is some of what I've learned. Finding a backpack. I use a MEI backpack for all of my cameras except the 14x17. You can find them on E-bay. They have good suspension and they are not filled with all of the extra padding that will make the bag weigh a lot.
Thanks Jum for the various tips on the bag and lenses. I read one of the older post that you mentioned the MEI backpack. Unfortunately I did not win the last one that was on Ebay recently. Will be sourcing locally for alternatives . I guess I will have more questions when I start to use the camera. :)

pound
5-Aug-2016, 05:50
Thanks Jim for the various tips on the bag and lenses. I read one of the older post that you mentioned the MEI backpack. Unfortunately I did not win the last one that was on Ebay recently. Will be sourcing locally for alternatives . I guess I will have more questions when I start to use the camera. :)
Thank Jim. Sorry about the typo. I cannot edit my reply.

Fr. Mark
5-Aug-2016, 20:29
Ken Lee on this forum recommends using a night vision goggle. This would make working in the dark much easier for the one tray thing assuming you aren't using IR film. The goggles emit and "see" IR.

pound
30-Aug-2016, 19:24
my camera is here and I am happy with it. One of the dark slide disintegrated but I have quickly DIY one with a black acrylic sheet. Still looking for a bag for it. I think just for the camera i would need one that is 25x16x8". The new MEI Voyageur seems to a bit too small but I will be on the lookout for the older models on ebay unless I can find something locally.

I have also tested a paper negative with it and processed it with tray. Amazing details on the paper neg. I will continue to shoot with paper neg until I can get hold of some film.

Lachlan 717
30-Aug-2016, 23:05
I use one of these for my 7x17", along with 4 holders and 4 lenses. Heaps of room to spare.

http://www.blackwolf.com.au/product/Cuba/14/category/31

pound
31-Aug-2016, 05:39
I use one of these for my 7x17", along with 4 holders and 4 lenses. Heaps of room to spare.

http://www.blackwolf.com.au/product/Cuba/14/category/31
Thanks ...it looks good, good size and front panel loading but never see this brand here in Singapore. Will look closer to home before exploring shipping one in..

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