View Full Version : Sell my 8x10 and 4x5 to concentrate on 5x7 ?

Ron Bose
21-Dec-2009, 21:39
Should I sell my other LF cameras just to help me concentrate on 5x7 work ?

I love 5x7 contact prints ...

I did get my 8x10 gear before I fell in love with 5x7 ... I suppose I could keep the 8x10 because my Canham 5x7 front standard is too small for the Sinar mounted Kodak 305mm Portrait lens I have and I do have a 5x7 reducing back, hmmmm ...

21-Dec-2009, 22:04
Why not use a reduction back for the 5x7 if you already have the gear? That way you have plenty of bellows draw and more versatility when you change your mind again.

Eric Woodbury
21-Dec-2009, 22:14
I use 45, 57, MF, 35mm, and I have tried 8x10 twice. I love the 5x7. I use it whenever I can, but I hike some and then I carry the 4x5 because it is lighter and I'm weaker. I don't contact print though. Mostly I print on 8x10 paper. So I don't really know for you. If you are strong and carry this stuff everywhere, I'd sell the 8x10 and keep the 4x5 or just get a 4x5 back for the 5x7. Many lenses will work for either. But that is me and your situation is surely different.

Brian Ellis
22-Dec-2009, 00:24
Based on my own experience, no. I like the 5x7 aspect ratio and so when I decided to concentrate on contact printing for a while I bought a 5x7 camera. I quickly found that for me it was too small a size for many of my photographs and since I didn't have a 5x7 enlarger I was stuck with a size that I didn't think worked well very often (this was pre-digital, today I'd just scan and enlarge).

Your situation might be different, I don't know, but you asked. My own favorite format just for the sheer pleasure of making photographs with the camera is 8x10 but I do like the 5x7 aspect ratio better.

22-Dec-2009, 01:21
Should I sell my other LF cameras just to help me concentrate on 5x7 work ?

It really depends on what your needs are. I started with 4x5, and then moved up step-wise: 5x7 first, 8x10 next. I love contact printing, and 5x7 was the first format it consistently "made sense" - but then 5x7 contact prints are small, and it doesn't always work. I find 8x10 to be the minimum format for prints to "always" make sense. I love the 5x7 format, and I have a very light camera, so there would be no advantage of taking my 4x5 with me when hiking - taking the 8x10 around is out of question. So currently my solution is to take 5x7 with me when there is a lot of gear carrying involved (hiking, or some such), and 8x10 when I can get closer to the shooting location on wheels (car, or dragging around of some trolley). I really love the 5x7 format (have I mentioned that already?), but it won't completely replace my 8x10. (Oh, and I still have some Type 55 Polaroids, so the 4x5 is of use, too…)

So the question for you would be: is there a reason why you could not use the 8x10 with a reduction back? If weight matters, then getting a 5x7 is a good idea, if it doesn't, just get a reduction back. If you choose the 5x7 well, you won't need a 4x5, and maybe just a reduction back for those few odd "small" shots.

Hope it helps to get some food for thought…
Merry Christmas,

Bruce A Cahn
22-Dec-2009, 05:03
I love 5x7 but believe that if Kodak wants to cut down on sheet films, 5x7 will be the first to go because it is less used than the other sizes. So I think you should keep at least one other camera.

Steve Hamley
22-Dec-2009, 05:27
8x10 and a pair of scissors.

Cheers, Steve

evan clarke
22-Dec-2009, 05:31
Which camera do you work best with??..Evan Clarke

jim kitchen
22-Dec-2009, 07:05
Dear Ron,

Periodically I must crop an 8X10 negative to fit a format that seems to be just as natural, if not more natural than the 5X7 format, and I crop to a 5X8 format. There are times when certain segments of a negative do not add any value to an image, so logic might dictate that any excess should be removed to improve the image's balance. Although I must qualify that process by indicating that I do not introduce the "da Vinci or Golden Ratio" format to any vertical image.

That might be a solution for you to consider... :)

jim k

Ken Lee
22-Dec-2009, 07:53
Keep them all. It's great to fiddle around with different ones and see what... develops. Kinda like composing music for different instruments: it keeps your seeing fresh.

Every now and then I take out my 6x6 folding camera, or digital point&shoot - and try to make some nice images. It's fun.

Michael Alpert
22-Dec-2009, 15:21
There are various solutions. After I bought a 5x7 enlarger, my 8x10 camera became inactive. My folding mahogany 5x7 Ebony camera takes Sinar boards and has worked flawlessly in all kinds of weather conditions. My shortest lens is a 72mm, my longest is a 600mm Fuji C. If you like wooden field cameras, you'll love the Ebony.

john biskupski
23-Dec-2009, 04:17
A question for Michael re the last post, if I could pick your brains, could you please elaborate on the reasoning of not using 8x10 much once you had the 5x7 enlarger? I am interested because I was mulling over trying 8x10, and I have a 5x7, but I do not have a LF enlarger. Thanks, John

Robert Skeoch
23-Dec-2009, 07:13
It's your call Ron, but if I was starting over I would go with the 5x7.

I don't shoot any 4x5 only 8x10 but 5x7 or even whole plate is a nicer size camera and I like the ratio. I do have an enlarger and don't feel there would be a quality drop going from 8x10 to 5x7 to worry about.

I do like the large ground glass of the 8x10 though.... which is why I use it.

Don't get a reducing back.... carry all the weight of an 8x10 for a smaller negative doesn't make sense to me.

I'm at the age where I'm not switching anymore. I just want to get really comfortable with what I have.

Of course like spaghetti sauce and cameras, there is no perfect solution.

-Rob Skeoch

23-Dec-2009, 08:09
I used a 5x7 exclusively for many years, and it indeed is an elegant aspect ratio. However, I love contact printing and wanted a bigger negative and moved up to 8x10 about 5 years ago. However, I am of the mindset that objects and scenes come in all shapes and sizes and to quote Steve - an earlier poster - "810 and a pair of scissors" An 8x10 negative trimmed to approx 7-1/8" x 10" is the same ascpect ratio as 5x7. I also have a pair of spiltters for my 8x10 and routinely shoot 4x10 and 5x8 on 8x10 film. 1size holder to carry and you get twice as many images out of each holder. I too can only enlarge 5x7, so I have no problem trimming the 5x8 neg if necessary. I also have a reducing back for the 8x10, but have never used it and question whether I ever will. With the ability to shoot multiple formats with the splitters, I found my "sweet spot" between ULF and 5x7 - I'm enjoying the best of both worlds in a fairly compact package that I can easily carry on any full size plane.

Michael Alpert
23-Dec-2009, 09:56
A question for Michael re the last post, if I could pick your brains, could you please elaborate on the reasoning of not using 8x10 much once you had the 5x7 enlarger? I am interested because I was mulling over trying 8x10, and I have a 5x7, but I do not have a LF enlarger. Thanks, John


I have found that enlarging a 5x7 negative to about 6.75x9.5 yields prints that have all the integrity of contact prints. The resolution of these small enlargements greatly exceeds the resolving capacity of gelatin-silver paper. My 8x10 camera was always awkward for me, and I found myself becoming somewhat restrained when faced with a questionable image or situation. With 5x7, I am much more likely to take the picture and think about it later. Photography with a 5x7 camera is less expensive and more spontaneous. That means that I take both very very bad photographs (sometimes) and worthwhile photographs (sometimes) that I would have missed in 8x10. Often what makes an artist uneasy is new aesthetic territory that feels unfamiliar but is actually in a deep sense true. I also have the option to crop the negative or to print on a larger scale, so my editorial possibilities are enhanced. For these reasons my 5x7 enlarger has been very helpful to me. If you work with alternative printing techniques, this solution would obviously not be appropriate.

Paul O
23-Dec-2009, 10:06
Another advantage of using 5x7 is the fact that you can easily scan this format on something like the V700 with a Betterscanning Station. This gives you the choice of contact printing to 5x7 or "enlarging" via a digital workflow.

john biskupski
23-Dec-2009, 12:08
Michael, Paul, many thanks for your insights, much appreciated. I hadn't thought about it before but I can imagine that the larger 8x10 format could sometimes be dissuasive to use. I would love to try a 5x7 enlarger, results must be excellent with only small enargement ratios, but I had been warned off due to bulk and space requirements. I will reconsider. The scanning route is also of real interest, although I believe that the V750 pro (and maybe the V700) can also take 8x10 size, with specially cut AN glass (there is an old thread from 2006 on this forum about this).

Ron Bose
23-Dec-2009, 17:19
Thanks for the many responses guys ...

I already have all of the gear ... I purchased an 5x7 reduction back for my Phillips about three months before a very nice Canham 5x7 with a 4x5 back came along.

I was wondering why I don't shoot as much as I'd like ... too much equipment is sometimes the reason.

The 5x7 format is wonderful, I can load film in a standard Harrison tent, load a 3006 Expert drum in the same tent. I also love holding a 5x7 contact print in my hand.

I guess I should make an effort to shoot more ... and maybe I ought to sell the 4x5 gear, the Sinar F2 and the Linhof TK45S, keeping the Chamonix 45N for the missus ;-)