View Full Version : B&J Cameras

16-Oct-2009, 12:18
Hi, I'm new to this forum, and am thinking of buying a low cost 10x8 camera. I've seen a B&J 10x8 on eBay, anyone used one of these, any advice welcome.

Steve Feldman
16-Oct-2009, 13:43
Hi Eggnog,

B & J's can be a good deal for the novice. I'm assuming you'll be looking at a wood field flatbed model. Battleship grey. Overall they get a bit wobbly as they age. But if you're handy with a few hand tools, matchsticks, wood glue - it can be tightened up. An 8x10 is heavy! Film holders can also be expensive. You'll need a big honking tripod. And a yak to help carry it all. Try to get the extension bed at the same time as the body. Don't stress out on the camera body itself. It's just a box to hold film and a lens. Pretty or ugly - if it works, it works. A lens is what you'll need for quality images. Save up for a good one that has an accurate shutter and plenty of coverage for the format.


Start with a 4x5 B & J. See if you like it. Then move up. You can usually re-sell it for what you paid.

Good luck,


16-Oct-2009, 13:47
Eggnog i've had one for a couple of years now. I bought it on a whim and haven't used it all that much.
All i can say is they are heavy,ugly(eye of the beholder)and not real precise but for the price (paid under $200.00 for camera and 3 holders)i'll never get rid of it

16-Oct-2009, 14:12
Thanks for your input, I have owned 5x4s many years ago, and have used 10x8 in the studio. This is a kind of a whim really as an antidote to digital, though I don't want to spend very much as it's a sideline to my main photography. I just thought if I'm going to get back into large format I may as well go for 10x8. The camera for sale is the grey model with red bellows and comes with a film holder, and I already have a big tripod. I just wanted to hear from anyone who had used one to find out if they are useable out and about(from the back of the car) and will hold focus once you have put the film holder in place. I don't mind a little DIY to tighten things up if that's feasible. I will have to find a lens once I have the camera.

Armin Seeholzer
16-Oct-2009, 14:48
I have this wonderfull peace and like it very much.
Its more stable then most if not all fields because of its wight!
Its not like my Sinar P but its just good enough for taking pics outside of the studio!
Mine was in very good shape for its age the back was never used bevor and the rest is also okay!
As with all older cams it depens if you get a missused one you will maybe not be happy.
The battleship grey is a pain in my ass but I really like the red bellows!

Cheers Armin

Jim Ewins
16-Oct-2009, 21:02
I have a 8x10 B&J monorail. It is quite stable. I stripped the gray paint to reveal the lovely wood underneath. I've obtained although not completely refinished 4x5 & 5 x 7 backs. If you are serious, contact me I'm thinking of cutting back. I also have a 4x5 B&J monrail. It is easy to remove the rail and place in a back pack. Jim

17-Oct-2009, 04:37
I've used a flatbed B&J 8x!0 since the mid-'70's and it's always done the job. Along the way, I picked up a 4X5 graflock back and a 5X7 back; so it's quite versatile. I've found it very stable and able to hold up in whatever weather we may happen to have here in Cleveland.
It may be heavy and it might be ugly; but it's a worker.

17-Oct-2009, 06:03
It sounds like it could be low cost way into 10x8 photography, if I am willing to do a little maintenance and put up with the quirks of an aging camera. Anyone recommend a low cost lens to cover the format?

17-Oct-2009, 07:09
It sounds like it could be low cost way into 10x8 photography, if I am willing to do a little maintenance and put up with the quirks of an aging camera. Anyone recommend a low cost lens to cover the format?

I have a B&J 8x10 and have had it for a long time. It has its quirks but I've been putting the money into film and materials rather than the camera. I don't have the extension rail but wish I did. Not for bellows extension but rather to be able to balance the camera on the top of the tripod better.

To answer your question, I have been using a 375/6.8 Caltar in a #5 Ilex shutter. There is/was one on sale here a few weeks ago. It is a single coated Tessar design and it covers all the way to 11x14 so you have all the movements you could want. Works well in color and B&W. I would consider some kind of hood or shade because of the single coating but I haven't bothered to get one yet. I've seen 'em as low as $300 and as high as $600. About $400 seems to be common.

Len Middleton
17-Oct-2009, 12:36
There is another discussion under "Lenses" on 300mm plasmat lenses. One could probably buy 300 / 360mm f5.6 / f6.8 plasmat lens for little more than the price of the shutter they are mounted in. These are considered the "normal" (whatever that means...) focal length for the format.

Of course, if you find one mounted in a barrel without a shutter, those can be had much cheaper. And there are exposure timing options there; search "packard shutter", "Sinar shutter", or "Gali shutter".

Lots of options, and lots and lots of opinions...

Welcome to the forum and good luck,


19-Oct-2009, 03:36
Since a year I have a B&J 8x10.
Instead of the extension rail I made a sliding tripod mount to balance the camera.
The only shutter I have is a packard that is slow 1/8 instead of 1/25.
The lenses that came with the camera are 210 and 300mm F9 gerogons, that are process lenses but work well.

For transportation I made a wooden case wich also holds my lenses and filmholders.
That case is on top of a 3 wheel baby stroller:)

I have never had another 8x10 camera in my hands, so no comparison of other camera's


Lynn Jones
19-Oct-2009, 10:36
I own the last 8x10 B&J flat bed view camera ever made ( 1977 I know, I was VP at the time). It is a good camera that I have used for 32 years.


19-Oct-2009, 11:33

Since you may actually know, I have a long-time question about the 8x10 flatbed folding view camera...

There are two distinct models. One, the "Commercial View" as I know it has the double-wide rear standard bracket. Two sets of holes for the rear standard. It also has two screws to hold the rails to the center section.

The other has the less wide rear standard bracket with one set of holes and only a single screw for the extension.

Other than that, I have seen no differences, but I only own the "Commercial View" with the wide standard and two screws. I've never seen the other one first hand.

I've always been curious if they were made at the same time or maybe the change was made at some point from one to the other. To save money maybe?

I do really like the B&J 8x10 camera but man is it a beast...