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View Full Version : 8x10 cameras: Sinar Vs Ritter or Canham



Gary L. Quay
26-Dec-2009, 23:42
Howdy folks,
I have finally thrown in the towel. I'm selling my Deardorff, my Calumet C-1 and my Kodak Commercial, all 8x10 cameras, and will buy 1 camera that can use both in the field and in the studio. What I am looking for is precision. I'm tired of loose standards, lack of tilt and swing, and parts that don't line up anymore. I have my eye on a used Sinar F2 8x10 from Lens and Repro in NY. I also am considering a Ritter or Canham camera, both of which cost about $2000.00 more than the Sinar. I shoot primarily in the field, and sometimes hike miles to reach a location. I'd really like to support a craftsman like Canham or Richard Ritter, but I don't know enough about them. I like the levels and scales built into the Sinar, which would offer me some of the precision I'm looking for. I need a well-built 8x10 that can withstand years of long treks and won't break my shoulders carrying it in the F64 backpack my wife bought me this Christmas. Any thoughts?

Thanks!
--Gary

Ken Lee
27-Dec-2009, 04:31
Which Sinar ?

Gem Singer
27-Dec-2009, 04:50
Hey Gary,

I'm preparing to sell my 8x10 Canham Traditional.

The camera is in pristine condition. Very lightly used.

Contact me if you are interested.

Walter Calahan
27-Dec-2009, 05:21
The Sinar is probably the most precise. But for field work, used while backpacking, I prefer my traditional lightweight Canham.

John Bowen
27-Dec-2009, 05:31
I need a well-built 8x10 that can withstand years of long treks and won't break my shoulders carrying it in the F64 backpack my wife bought me this Christmas. Any thoughts?
--Gary

Gary,

I know the Ritter will fill this requirement. I own one of the first 8x10s Richard produced. The camera weighs something like 6.5 lbs and has every movement known to man... with the exception of rear rise. I realized many benefits from the purchase of my ritter. Due to it's light weight, I was able to put both my tripod and tripod head on diets. This further lightened my load.....considerably.

I should also let you know that the 8x10 was my second Ritter camera. I purchased Richard's 1st 7x17 camera and just loved the lightweight design.

My prior camera was a Zone VI 8x10. I keep it as a back-up, but it has done nothing but collect dust since I purchased the Ritter. I've been shooting 8x10 for a little over 5 years now.

I would advise you to contact Richard and see if anyone in your area has one they would be willing to let you demo.

I can't speak for the Canham because I've neverr used one.

PS 100% of my 8x10 photograpy is field work. I don't think I have ever photographed anything indoors with an 8x10.

Mark Woods
27-Dec-2009, 06:58
The 8x10 Sinar is a beast, I own one and bought a Deardorff for field work and haven't looked back. Working in the studio is another matter entirely....

Bruce Barlow
27-Dec-2009, 07:05
I own both a Sinar Norma 8x10 and a Richard Ritter 8x10. The Ritter got me actually using 8x10 because it is so light and portable. No, no front levels like Norma, but I have one of those hot-shoe levels that serves me well when in need. Norma is now relegated to being my 5x7 camera (reducing back), and I find I make more 8x10s than 5x7s, even though I love 5x7 more than 8x10. Go figger.

In the end, you can't lose, but if you want to lighten your load, go with Richard.

Frank Petronio
27-Dec-2009, 07:06
I don't know what a Ritter 8x10 goes for but I imagine it's North of $2000 and the waiting period to get one is months and months, unless you're very lucky and you find one of the few used ones.

So why not get the 8x10 Sinar F (or a Norma, nicer camera but maybe a tad heavier (idk)). Bust your ass for the $1000 savings or decide you can rationalize investing in a Ritter. You can take a couple of months or years, but you can probably unload the Sinar for about what you paid for it, which makes it a nicer savings plan -- higher interest -- than the bank ;-)

The problem is going from your older wooden cameras to a Sinar may spoil you from it's the rigidity and ease of use. I think a solid camera is much easier to use, so going to something lighter that is still solid means spending a lot more money on a Ritter -- Arca -- Ebony. There is no inexpensive or pain-free alternative for a camera that does it all.

Anyone got some Ritter pictures and general info? It's just pornography to me but I like to look. They seem like great cameras. What size tripod and head did you manage to get it down to? If someone says they've used an 8x10 on a 2-series CF Gitzo I'll laugh and want to see some photos.

fuegocito
27-Dec-2009, 07:47
Howdy folks,
What I am looking for is precision.......I shoot primarily in the field, and sometimes hike miles to reach a location...... I like the levels and scales built into the Sinar, which would offer me some of the precision I'm looking for. I need a well-built 8x10 that can withstand years of long treks and won't break my shoulders carrying it...
--Gary

Hi Gary,

I think you are describing two very different design philosophy here...The Ritter is build with one thing and one thing only in mind, lightness and sturdiness, OK that is two. The Sinar is primary build for in studio use, even if it can be packed into the field, it's certainly not at its best going for miles into the wood. You need both:-)

The camera porn is for Frank:-)

Rob

Richard M. Coda
27-Dec-2009, 08:06
Any reason Arca was not included in the mix?

Ken Lee
27-Dec-2009, 09:16
http://www.kenleegallery.com/images/forum/vectors.png

Lightness, Compactness, Rigidity, Speed of Use, Availability, Affordability... You get to pick a few of these, but not all.

We might say that some attributes are orthogonal (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/orthogonal) to others.

Which are important to you ?

John Bowen
27-Dec-2009, 09:18
What size tripod and head did you manage to get it down to? If someone says they've used an 8x10 on a 2-series CF Gitzo I'll laugh and want to see some photos.

Frank,

My prior tripod and head were the original Zone VI "beast" and the Bogen 3057 head. At my first Fine Focus Workshop, Ted Harris volunteered to be my Sherpa. I was moving my camera about 50 yards and while I grabbed the camera, holder bag and lens case, Ted carried the Zone VI Tripod. Ted NEVER made that mistake again! :eek:

I'm 6'6" tall and so that taints my tripod requirements. I found the Zone VI lightweight tripod and 3047 head too short for my needs. With the Ritter, I was able to change to a Ries J100-8 (8" longer than the standard J100) and Ries J 250 head. The weight savings must be at least 10 pounds!

I also use the J100-8 and J 250 combination with my Ritter 7x17.

The OP would have to call Richard to inquire, but I doubt the wait for a new 8x10 is "Months and Months."

Dave Langendonk
27-Dec-2009, 09:42
Howdy folks,
...Sinar F2 8x10 from Lens and Repro in NY... I shoot primarily in the field, and sometimes hike miles to reach a location.
--Gary

These two statements don't generally go together. I had a Sinar F2 8x10 and eventually sold it to go with a Shen-Hao 8x10. The Sinar is very well made and very precise but it's just too heavy. It also seemed to be more prone to vibrations sitting on top of the rail clamp, which sits on a tripod head, which sits on top of the tripod. You get the idea. Its center of gravity is pretty high above the tripod.

Jason Greenberg Motamedi
27-Dec-2009, 10:01
I love my Canham, but I would not call it a precision camera. It locks tight, is relatively light weight, has all the movements I need, but when compared to a Sinar it is really no different than a Deardorff. That said, I would not carry an 8x10 Sinar to the "field". Choose the right tool for the right use--you may need two cameras.

Louis Pacilla
27-Dec-2009, 10:40
Hi Gary

I have & use a Canham Standard Wood 8x10 & it's a fine compact, light weight & convertible camera. The Ritter is at the least comparable to the Canham (may be better. I have no experience w/ Richards cameras but he is a Great fellow & tops as far as resources go).

My experience w/ 8x10 Rail cameras is they are just to dam heavy for field work. That being said for precision you can't beat em'.

I must say this because I believe we buy these pricey cameras & then want EVERY point covered in this one camera. know what I mean?
VERY LIGHT WEIGHT & compact but EVERY BIT AS STURDY & robust as a camera that weighs twice as much. Here you go **** JUMBO SHRIMP ****oxymoron

IMHO the rail camera is the sturdiest & the most precise camera one can have.

There is always a give & take w/ field cameras when it comes to weight, compactness, bellows draw,rigidity, color.(THE MAGIC CAMERA) My Canham is fine & as sturdy as a 9.4lb 8x10 w/ 36'bellows draw can be. The rear end is the biggest issue in this department. I would like this to be a bit sturdier when locked down. It locks down solidly enough. It seems more a case of too little material used .I figure when the designers take weight into account they take away as much material as they can leaving some areas less stout than they could be. IF more material was used & that means yep you guessed it ((( MORE WEIGHT))). The dance goes on . This to me is not a deal breaker I just have to keep this in mind & use care when loading holders.other than this one issue. I'm very happy w/ the Canham.

I have a Wisner Tech 8x10. weighs in the neiborhood of 15lbs This camera is the only field camera I have owned that was or is as sturdy as a 8x10 rail camera. Again the Wisner weighs about the same as the rail cameras. I figure this whole strength to weight ratio is very true . If you do not have unrealistic expectations you'll be as happy as happy can be.

If you are going to consider a Canham wood 8x10, I would try & pick up Gem's . It is more than likely in fine condition & you will save a bunch of $$$ You will adjust to what ever nuances you may encounter w/ any & all light weight field cameras & it will be like a luxury car compared to the cameras you are using at present.

I find that I must have one foot in reality when it comes to picking & using any camera out there.

All have compromises. All will preform very well.

All above are based on MY personal experience. so again, this is MY humble opinion

Now this is fact. I'm heading out the door w/ My 8x10 Canham, WAY to many lenses(dumb ass)& a bunch of loaded holders . The weather is just beautiful here at the moment.:)

Peace
Louis

Bruce Barlow
27-Dec-2009, 10:45
Frank,

I use Alice (my Ritter 8x10) on a Zone VI "lightweight" tripod with a Bogen 3047 head. I use that tripod and head for my 4x5 Wista, and swap the heads for a Sinar head for Norma and her 8x10 bulk. The tripod is plenty for Norma, and very much plenty for Alice.

I've also used Alice on a Quickset Husky, but I don't trust the head to lock down and so don't make a habit of it.

Richard's 8x10 is roughly $2,900, I'm not sure what delivery time is at the moment, but I don't think it's months. I suspect he has all parts but bellows, which he sources and can't really afford to keep in inventory. I think bellows turn-time is about 6 weeks, but don't quote me. Call Richard for accurate information.

Tim Povlick
27-Dec-2009, 11:11
Anyone got some Ritter pictures and general info? It's just pornography to me but I like to look. They seem like great cameras. What size tripod and head did you manage to get it down to? If someone says they've used an 8x10 on a 2-series CF Gitzo I'll laugh and want to see some photos.

Not Ritter but a Canham 8x10 Traditional on G2257 tripod with ReallyRightStuff ballhead. Note large glass. I took a picture using this setup and will post once the neg dries and I can scan it.

:-)
Tim

brian mcweeney
27-Dec-2009, 11:12
[QUOTE=Louis Pacilla;541642
If you are going to consider a Canham wood 8x10, I would try & pick up Gem's . It is more than likely in fine condition & you will save a bunch of $$$
Peace
Louis[/QUOTE]

Having seen Gem's 8x10, I can say it is definitely in fine condition!

Mike1234
27-Dec-2009, 11:43
If I just had the money....

Lachlan 717
27-Dec-2009, 13:32
What about a Toyo-Field 810MII? (http://www.toyoview.com/Products/810MII/810MII.html)

Folding, rigid and accurate.

Bit hard to find and a bit expensive, though.

Bob McCarthy
27-Dec-2009, 15:41
Gem let me use the camera at a shoot in Pilot Point this past summer. It's essentially a brand new camera, that he stored and lovingly cared for the past 2 years.

If any camera deserves to be called mint, this one does.

Buyers, "don't" beware.

highly recommended

bob

Tim Povlick
27-Dec-2009, 17:19
I use a Canham 8x10 traditional and have made some decent hikes with it (10 miles RT). If people see it on the tripoed, it evokes lot of compliments. I've used it in studio without issue also with models commenting on the "pretty camera". A good rail camera would obviously be preferred.

Attached are images with the 8x10 on a more substantial tripod (Berlebach) with an extra monopod for stability when using the 480mm lens. This worked out well with the Canham and tripod. The Canham has a 1/4"-20 thread on the bottom of the front plate. A Trek-Tech magnetic ball head attaches the monopod. The foot fits nicely in the slot in the wood tripod. Makes the bed very solid. The monopod serves as a walking stick.

_ .. --
Tim

Gary L. Quay
28-Dec-2009, 01:10
Any reason Arca was not included in the mix?

Because I can't seem to find any 5x7 reducing backs for the Arca.

Thanks for all the replies. I read each one. The consensus seems to be that I can't have both precision and portability. The Sinar F2 is supposed to be a "field" camera due to the fact that one can fold it up, but its weight may make long treks a pain. The Ritter and Canham are fine cameras, but they don't offer the precision. Perhaps the criteria should also include ease of use, and rigidity.

Thanks!

--Gary

Gary L. Quay
28-Dec-2009, 01:17
What about a Toyo-Field 810MII? (http://www.toyoview.com/Products/810MII/810MII.html)

Folding, rigid and accurate.

Bit hard to find and a bit expensive, though.

It's the "expensive" part that I don't like. It's $700.00 more that the Ritter. If I am going to pay that much, I'd rather support and independant craftsman with my purchase. It seems like a good camera, though. I'd have to buy a used one.

Thanks!

--Gary

Joerg Krusche
28-Dec-2009, 02:13
Hi,

I did not read through the entire thread .. but did you consider a 8x10 Sinar Norma .. weighs 5 kgs .. and as for rigidity and precision does beat most other cameras .. and folds up ... regarded as one of the best and most beautiful cameras ever made .. also available in 5x7.

best,

Joerg

Gary L. Quay
28-Dec-2009, 04:38
I don't know much about the Norma. I'll do some snooping.

Thanks!
--Gary

Richard M. Coda
28-Dec-2009, 08:05
Because I can't seem to find any 5x7 reducing backs for the Arca.

Thanks for all the replies. I read each one. The consensus seems to be that I can't have both precision and portability. The Sinar F2 is supposed to be a "field" camera due to the fact that one can fold it up, but its weight may make long treks a pain. The Ritter and Canham are fine cameras, but they don't offer the precision. Perhaps the criteria should also include ease of use, and rigidity.

Thanks!

--Gary

Arca IS making a 5x7 camera now... I'm sure there is a conversion back. Talk to Rod Klukas to Photomark in Phoenix.

jeroldharter
28-Dec-2009, 08:17
It's the "expensive" part that I don't like. It's $700.00 more that the Ritter. If I am going to pay that much, I'd rather support and independant craftsman with my purchase. It seems like a good camera, though. I'd have to buy a used one.

Thanks!

--Gary

I have a Toyo 8x10 field camera that I have been thinking about selling. Solid as a tank. Mine is used but in good condition. It would fit several of your criteria, especially the precision.

Gary L. Quay
28-Dec-2009, 14:22
Arca IS making a 5x7 camera now... I'm sure there is a conversion back. Talk to Rod Klukas to Photomark in Phoenix.

OK. There's also an Arca Swiss 8x10 on eBay right now. It's an older one. Can you get 5x7 reducing backs for the 8x10? My dream is to have a camera that has three formats available to it. Weight could also be an issue, though.

Thanks!
--Gary

jb7
28-Dec-2009, 14:42
I was the under bidder on an older 5x7 back and bellows frames just last week-
I don't think they come up very often,
and you might have to bid high to secure it.

So no, going for an Arca is a very bad idea...

I don't know how much the older Arca weighs,
but I'd be surprised if it was more than around 4kg...

With 8x10, the holders will often weigh more than the camera, but you know that...

Frank Petronio
28-Dec-2009, 14:59
That's an older Arca 8x10 for $3999 right? ridiculous. They are excellent cameras, I've had one and loved it -- light yet solid -- but mine cost $600 and even on a good seller's day, you shouldn't have to pay more than $1200. One languished here unloved for a month -- with extras no less -- at a $1000 steal price.

So don't give that greedy SOB $4K, that is so wrong!

Bruce A Cahn
28-Dec-2009, 15:44
After trying out and then selling at least a dozen 8x10 cameras, I know that there is no sure answer. Everyone's requirements are different. The Deardorff is a good camera, but it wobbles on the front end and is heavier than necessary. It is very tough though. I will avoid saying anything negative about any currently made cameras. My favorite is the Ebony SV810UE. It is insanely expensive and is also heavy. But in every other way, the best 8x10 I have had. The asymmetrical tilts are a terrific time saver. The ebony wood does not ding like mahogany. The camera is solid, steady and very accurate. Ground glass visibility is excellent. In the spirit of full disclosure I should say that I imported Ebony cameras for some years. I am now in the process of retiring. I also imported Lotus, and sold other great cameras, such as Linhof. I do believe that if you can afford an Ebony that is the camera to get. The best model for field use is the RW810 in mahogany.

Eric Leppanen
28-Dec-2009, 18:03
To the best of my knowledge, the lightest 8x10 field camera with studio monorail class precision is the Arca. My 8x10 Arca F-Line Classic (I have the latest version with the 141mm front standard) weighs around 9.5 pounds in its basic configuration (30 cm optical bench with two 15 cm rails), and can support wide-angle lenses (no bag bellows required) to lenses as long as 360mm. Lenses longer than 360mm require a longer rail(s) which of course adds to the weight. The Arca is very precise and I find it a joy to use, but of course it is not perfect. Because the same front standard is used with all the different film formats (I use 4x5 and 8x10), it is necessary to apply some front rise just to level the front standard with the rear film back when formats larger than 4x5 are used. In the case of the 8x10, so much rise is applied to the front standard that little additional rise remains, which is why I purchased an optional spacer block which solves this problem. Some folks object to this added spacer block but I find it to be adequately stable in the field.

Also, as Richard alluded to, I believe Arca did a 5x7 build fairly recently. Rod Klukas at Photomark would definitely be the right person to talk about this.

A possible downside to monorails such as the Arca or Sinar is that they take up more room in the backpack than folding field cameras. I don't know how well they would fit into your f64 pack. The best backpack I have seen for an 8x10 Arca is the Photobackpacker P2, in which the Arca fits like a glove.

Of course, possibly the biggest downside to a new Arca is its price (well over $6K). Various older versions show up fairly regularly on Ebay, although it is my understanding that they are heavier than the current model.

Frankly, given how dirt cheap studio monorails are these days, I think you might be better off using a super heavy but cheap monorail for the studio and get yourself one of the latest lightweight 8x10 folding cameras for field use. The Ritter (6.4 lbs) and Chamonix (8.5 lbs) are relatively new products; other candidates include the Wehman (8.7 lbs.) and Canham traditional (8.4 or 9.4 lbs.). Such a combination would cost you roughly half the price of a new Arca solution.

Bruce Barlow
29-Dec-2009, 04:18
"the dirt-cheap monorail plus field camera" solution sounds right to me. I guess that's why I am so resistant to selling Norma, even though I don't really have a studio per se.

The Ritter isn't inexpensive, but I long ago decided that I'm worth it. The Ritter can be easily modified to take Sinar lens boards, which may be a consideration in getting a studio camera. The Norma is outstanding, fairly easily available, and relatively cheap. I also have 5x7 and 4x5 reducing backs in my arsenal, the 5x7 of which sees a lot of work.

Ken Lee
29-Dec-2009, 05:34
"I'm tired of loose standards, lack of tilt and swing, and parts that don't line up anymore...I shoot primarily in the field, and sometimes hike miles to reach a location... I have my eye on a used Sinar F2 8x10".

When we consider the weight of an 8x10 camera for trekking, how important are a few pounds one way or another - in light of the overall weight of film holders, lenses, filters, light meter, loupe, focusing cloth, tripod, tripod head, etc ?

I hike with a 5x7 Sinar P. I don't have a nice pack - just a cheapo bag and a beer cooler (http://www.kenleegallery.com/html/tech/index.html#Gear). When one arm or shoulder gets tired, I shift things around. Sometimes it hurts a little: big deal. I'm not large or strong or macho. Just the opposite.

This image (http://www.kenleegallery.com/html/landscapes/58.html) required all the vertical rise I could get. The lens was a barrel-mounted APO-Nikor. It may not be the greatest photo in the world, but it would have been impossible with many lighter cameras. With a Sinar, it was trivial.

I'd rather reach the location with the camera I really want to use, even if it takes a little longer or requires a bit more exercise.

Frank Petronio
29-Dec-2009, 06:34
Ken -- I agree, unless you are a serious backpacking nut it isn't the camera's weight or bulk that keeps you from carrying an 8x10 that much further from the car. If you can't take a solid tripod, the lens(es) you want, or you find that you can only take a couple of holders, then what is the point?

A while back one guy was describing his ultra-light 8x10 backpacking rig and towards the end he said he only took two holders. Four shots. While I can appreciate the beautiful discipline of his approach, it also seems kind of... stupid.

Putting a heavier 8x10 rig into a jogging stroller may look funny but I bet the strollerographers are way more productive (and fresher!) than the backpackographers.

Gary L. Quay
29-Dec-2009, 09:13
Ken -- I agree, unless you are a serious backpacking nut it isn't the camera's weight or bulk that keeps you from carrying an 8x10 that much further from the car. If you can't take a solid tripod, the lens(es) you want, or you find that you can only take a couple of holders, then what is the point?


I'm not a serious backpacker, but I'm in decent shape for my age. I can take long hikes. Most of the LF field work that I do is not at the end of a long hike, though. I just want to open up that opportunity. Although, I find the "photostroller" idea to be interesting to say the least. I have a cart that use for city photography, but it's muct too unruly for trails. The plan thus far is that I will carry the backpack while my wife sherpas the film, and maybe takes turns with the tripod. On solo hikes, I will take as much film as I can stand to carry.

Thanks for all of the replies. I have a few ideas that I'm following up on: 1) whether to downsize to 5x7 due to it being lighter; 2) Monorail Vs. Field (still haven't decided); and 3) how to achieve multiple formats without breaking my wallet or shoulders. I really want to have three formats at my disposal, but it may be a bit much to carry. Also, the adapter boards for brands like Toyo, Sinar, and Arca are fairly expensive, and also require that you carry the different backs. Perhaps the best plan would be to buy a 5x7 and an 8x10 camera, and just deciding which format to take based on the length of the hike. I can always use my 4x5 Sinar Alpina for the really long hikes.

There are a lot of good ideas here... lots of food for thought, and I've gotten leads on some fine cameras that are for sale. I appreciate all of the input.

--Gary

Andrew O'Neill
29-Dec-2009, 10:04
I have the 8x10 Canham lightweight. Nice and light. Everything locks down nicely but, not very rigid compared to a mono-rail I had long ago. The mono rail was solid but weighed a lot. What I didn't like about it was that it wasn't portable like the Canham. It took quite a while to set up out in the field. I also have a 4x5 reducing back for it. A 5x7 back is available for it, too.
I have the f64 backpack. Not good for long hikes. So if you do go for a really solid and heavy camera, I would get a better backpack...

Ken Lee
29-Dec-2009, 13:07
Perhaps the backpack is a well-meaning, but limiting factor here. With a canvas bag or beer cooler, the camera is always fully set up. You can leave a lens on it if you like. There is no setup time per se, as there is with cameras of a folding design.

We get the same advantage keeping a monorail camera in a rigid "carrying case" - like I did back in the 1970's, when I used a 4x5 Calumet. The camera is always set up. You take it out of the case and put it on the tripod.

On Fred Picker's recommendation, I spray-painted it white, and things stayed cool inside, even under hot sun. Fred carried his Sinar the same way back then. The case was strong enough (when I was thin enough) to function as a step-stool, giving me another foot or so for landscape shots.

Here's a photo of Paul Strand, with 8x10 Deardorf - on the beach in the Outer Hebrides, in the early 1950's. That box to his left, looks like one of those old-fashioned rigid cases. He travelled with 8x10 and 5x6, using only one lens, a 300mm Dagor. At that time he was in his eary 60's, and my guess is that he simply carried the case in one hand (or with shoulder strap), and the tripod in the other.

http://www.kenleegallery.com/images/masters/strand.jpg

Andrew O'Neill
29-Dec-2009, 15:35
How do you backpack a rigid camera case? I guess if you mount it onto a backpack frame.

Gary L. Quay
29-Dec-2009, 20:42
We get the same advantage keeping a monorail camera in a rigid "carrying case" - like I did back in the 1970's, when I used a 4x5 Calumet. The camera is always set up. You take it out of the case and put it on the tripod.
[/IMG]

I have two rigid cases, one that holds my monorail Calumet 45N, and the other housed my Deardorff. The trouble was that I can't carry them very far from the car. I've often dreamed about inventing a hover cart that I could pack the rigid cases and the tripod and the film holders, etc. into for hikes in the Columbia Gorge. My wife suggests a pack mule, which would be a lot simpler.

--Gary

Frank Petronio
29-Dec-2009, 21:17
I think nearly all the early photographers of the 1800s used hard, rigid, wooden cases for their cameras. Think of those Old Topographics photographers getting their 20x24s up the Rockies and across the deserts.

Ken Lee
30-Dec-2009, 04:33
"My wife suggests a pack mule, which would be a lot simpler".

WWAD - What Would Ansel Do ?


http://www.kenleegallery.com/images/forum/aatruck.jpg

Gary L. Quay
30-Dec-2009, 05:03
I have thought about the Ansel Adams sulution. I'm certain that the roof rack on my Volvo could stand my weight plus a piece of plywood. I just haven't figured out how to get my Volvo up to Punchbowl Falls other than by helecopter.

I just found out that the Sinar F2 is 18 pounds. Eeek.

--Gary

Frank Petronio
30-Dec-2009, 05:19
Did Ansel ever actually 'backpack" at all in his life? I always got the impression he used mules and assistants to carry his gear, and later in life did mostly car-camping. Even when he led Sierra Club trips they went from "hut to hut" so to speak.

Steve Hamley
30-Dec-2009, 05:38
I don't know if he backpacked (stayed overnight carrying all gear) solo, but he certainly mentioned being thin and wiry and running up mountains with 8x10, WP, and 5x7 cameras with all the view camera accoutrements.

In those days, the issue probably was the weight of tents, food, stoves, sleeping bags, etc and not the weight of the cameras. We sort of take featherweight hiking and camping gear for granted these days. If you're talking canvas tents for 2 or more people for 2 or more days, canvas and wool sleeping bags, hemp ropes, and canned food, you're talking wagon train even without a view camera. And double the mules if it gets wet!

Cheers, Steve

William McEwen
30-Dec-2009, 05:45
I have thought about the Ansel Adams sulution. I'm certain that the roof rack on my Volvo could stand my weight plus a piece of plywood. I just haven't figured out how to get my Volvo up to Punchbowl Falls other than by helecopter.

I just found out that the Sinar F2 is 18 pounds. Eeek.

--Gary

My Wisner 8x10 TF is 17.5 lbs without lens. I've taken it all over the U.S., and logged a lot of hours in all seasons with it in a Michigan swamp back when that was my project. If you want LF, and want to use a good camera, that's what you do.

My Nikon D-40 weighs about a pound, I guess. Maybe a DSLR is the route you should take...

Gary L. Quay
30-Dec-2009, 06:35
My Nikon D-40 weighs about a pound, I guess. Maybe a DSLR is the route you should take...

For the kinds of distances I would like to hike with the camera, I have to take weight into consideration, especially since I've had back troubles in the past. If I can shave a few pounds off, I can go farther, and I will be able to do it for more years. I'm approaching 50, and I want to make a purchase that I can hike with into my 70s. That doesn't mean that I won't buy an 18 pound camera. It just means that I have to consider it harder. You can keep the DSLR.

--Gary

Frank Petronio
30-Dec-2009, 07:07
You might want to ask yourself what you want to accomplish by using 8x10? If it is simply a matter of resolution then you might consider alternatives like using a really optimized 6x9 or 4x5 workflow, better drum scans, using tighter cameras (Alpas, Linhofs) and the best modern lenses, slower film, etc. You certainly could move faster and shoot more with a smaller format.

But if it is the bokeh and dimensionality of a larger format, perhaps using vintage lenses and alternative processes, then you're doomed... but can't you do that stuff closer to the car? Nobody wants to lug a heavy brass lens through the desert.

Michael Kadillak
30-Dec-2009, 07:10
I valiantly made an attempt to standardize with one 8x10 camera and seem to have lost the battle. I started out with the Kodak Master and ended up with a Linhof Color Karden, a Toyo 810M and a Cahnam 8x10 (that seems to stay converted to 8x20) and a like new Calumet 8x10. Each one is unique and I use them all. The Toyo, Canham and Calumet all use Toyo lensboards so there is interchangeability. The Toyo is the quick shot and the wide angle shooter. The Calumet is the in the wind and the long lens shooter (24 and 30") and the Canham is the camera that goes on the hikes. I am building a special padded case for the Linhof. The compulsive camera therapy sessions are not doing me any good.

There are no perfect cameras that encompass all that we might want to accomplish with 8x10 photography. Every one of them has strengths and weaknesses.

That said for interchangeability, weight and innovation if I was driving this process to one camera I would certainly find a way to get behind the Ritter camera with a few 8x10 holders and give it a test drive. I like the ability to expand to other formats, the bail back and the flexibility with panoramic formats to shoot vertical without rotating the camera base.

Good Luck with your decision.

Ken Lee
30-Dec-2009, 07:18
For Ansel-type landscape images, IE scenery with trees, mountains, rocks, and clouds, nothing beats 8x10 - except something larger still.

One could argue that for those photos, all you need is a little front tilt and some occasional front rise or fall. If you don't need fast setup, and you're not trying to shoot under high wind conditions, then your Deardorff should work fine 99% of the time. Best of all, you already have it.

My 2 cents: Make peace with yourself, put a few levels on the Deardorff, and place your efforts elsewhere.

Ultimately, its a matter of developing our artistic awareness. With it, we can shoot anywhere, even in the kitchen. Without it, we can hike to the ends of the earth... :)

William McEwen
30-Dec-2009, 08:00
Don't laugh -- I'm thinking of all kinds of options here. What about one of those pre-built pinhole cameras that takes film holders?

William McEwen
30-Dec-2009, 08:06
Or maybe a Wisner Expedition?

Gary L. Quay
30-Dec-2009, 13:39
One could argue that for those photos, all you need is a little front tilt and some occasional front rise or fall. If you don't need fast setup, and you're not trying to shoot under high wind conditions, then your Deardorff should work fine 99% of the time. Best of all, you already have it. :)

I can never get front tilts to stay put on the Deadorff. The hardware on that camera is old, and I have processed too many blurry negatives which were made blurry due to the front standard slowly untilting itself. I want to give it a good home with someone who doesn't use tilts. This is what started me on this path.


I valiantly made an attempt to standardize with one 8x10 camera and seem to have lost the battle...

I like the idea of multiple cameras, each one for a different purpose. I will probably keep my Ansco and the Calumet C-1 as portrait cameras. The Kodak I will most likely sell due to lack of front tilt (Although, the 36" bellows draw is nice). If I had the financial wherewithall, I would buy both a nice field camera like a Toyo, Ritter, Canham, or Wisner, plus a monorail F series Sinar or Arca Swiss.

I use a mixture of old an new optics. In my dreams, I own one of those new Cooke Series XV Convertable lenses. That's about as close as I'm likely to get to one, though. With a price tag of almost $4000.00, they are out of my league.

Thanks for all the responses!

--Gary

Rod Klukas
30-Dec-2009, 20:39
The Arca is a modular design. You can get Format kits for all thr formats. If you buy it set up with a 6"(15cm) and a longer second rail, the camera will collapse into a most compact setup. 8x10 141 is less than 10 lbs.
The 5x7 and 4x5 are even less. The degree of precision and the rigidity is second to none. I have used it in 4x5 and 8x10 for over 20 years.
I'll try to help you if you want to email etc.
Rod

Gary L. Quay
31-Dec-2009, 19:19
I've been looking at the Arca Swiss stuff at B&H. It seems like you can build whatever camera you want. The weight of the camera is impressively light. I appreciate the offer of help. I would have to piece together a setup from used parts, bcause new Arca Swiss cameras are far beyond my ability to pay. I've also been watching eBay and this site for cameras for sale. Folks seem to satisfied with their Arcas. So satisfied that there are almost none for sale anywhere. I've wanted an Arca for years, but the price has always scared me away. Some on this site have said that I should be able to get one for as little as $1000.00, but I have yet to see one.

Thanks!
--Gary

Frank Petronio
31-Dec-2009, 19:23
The OLD 8x10 Arcas are ~$1000 and there are only a few for sale -- 3 or 4 -- per year.

Like this incredible deal over the Summer -- Check the time line, it took almost two months for someone to buy it, ridiculousness....

http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=51032&highlight=Arca

You just have to be patient or lucky.

More Arca info: http://precisioncameraworks.com/

JosephBurke
31-Dec-2009, 20:52
....Hmm! Lightweight & Rigid...... Field or monorail ?....Personally, I'm yet to have the "perfect" combination.....If I spent as much time actually putting the camera to use as opposed to trying to find the "right" camera......well.....surely I'd be a better photographer BUT after having had a Sinar F 8x10, still having a Deardorff V-8 (third one is a charm), having had a nice KMV and now having a Toyo M II (which I really bought for the 12 film holders and 2 lenses it included) ......I'll throw in my 2 cents. I sold the Sinar because it was not only too heavy for "field" use but just too dang "top" heavy. I have my 8x10 Deardorff still because I have a heap of accessories for it and I'm just kind of attached to it. I think the KMV (a tight one) is far superior to the Deardorff in terms of rigidity and now after acquiring my Toyo 8 x 10 M II (which is, in essence, an improved version of the KMV) I think it is "my" choice as the best of the lot. It lacks nothing regarding precision and rigidity, the focus is smooth and precise (a big leap above either the DD or KMV)....but it is limited to 32 inches of extension and is a bit of a plumper at 15 lbs. I can live with the 15 lbs and the limited bellows...the rigidity and precision is the scale tipper .. so I think I've wasted enough time "looking" and "trying" and "acquiring"...I'll take the Toyo 8x10 M II.

Gary L. Quay
1-Jan-2010, 03:24
I have my eye on one of those Toyo 8x10s, but the owner of the camera shop where I have my Deardorff for sale told me to hold off on deciding for two weeks to let his repairman have a go at the Deardorff. I'm not holding out too much hope for it, but I'll wait the two weeks as a favor. He's given me a lot of good deals, and pulled off a few miracles in the past. Plug: Blue Moon Camera & Machine In St. Johns (Portland) Oregon.

Thanks!
--Gary

sha_hong
16-Jan-2010, 08:41
Arca Swiss F-line 8X10

Dvenosa
16-Jan-2010, 10:32
Arca Swiss F-line 8X10


Its a terrific camera, I played with one once.