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View Full Version : 8x10" in my mind..help needed...



scavenger73
11-Jan-2010, 10:52
First of all I want to thank anticipatly all who will have the patience and the will to read and answer to my actually disturbed state of mind....I will try to explain what i am talking about...as i said in some previous post I am a happy owner of a Shen-hao hzx 45 II; I feel very happy with it and I think it offers me all can be requested from a 4x5 without any complaint. I use to process at home my film sheet and to print them in my darkroom as well...since a couple of months my mind focused on the Shen Hao Fcl 810 A II ...the bigger sister and it's the only one i think i could afford new, imported from USA. I have to admit i have lots of doubt about it (who wouldn't a $6.000 ebony in his hands??) that, apart from the price, concern the real advantage (or disavantage) of holding a 8x10 format. I am considering that I am used to projcet and prints all my negs to 11x16 and i have to admit that using 8x10 i will have to print just contact prints since i cannot own an 8x10 enlarger. What's the point? I want simply to hear from you experts and more navigate in LF what do you think about buying a 8x10 camera... i think to have considered yet pros and cons so i know that the choice comes from the heart and not from the mind or from the wallet...neverthless....i really need help. :confused: :confused:

Jim Noel
11-Jan-2010, 11:12
If possible rent or borrow one for a week.
Some people make an easy transition from 4x5 to 8x10, but many have great difficulty with the larger format.
If you do decide to purchase one, why new? I have been i large format photography for more than 60 years and I have never bought a new LF camera. There must be some reliable sources of used equipment in Italy, or at least in Europe.
Good luck!

AJ Edmondson
11-Jan-2010, 11:44
8x10 is obviously a great format and the image on the ground-glass is mesmerizing to say the least. I used only 8x10 for many years and still love the format - but - having said that, I now use only 4x5. The main reason is because I very rarely print anything larger than 11x14 and, unlike many others, I just don't enjoy contact printing - despite the beauty of the resultant images. If I were limited to contact printing I wouldn't shoot 8x10. In my own experience I cannot see any difference in 11x14 prints made from 4x5 and 8x10 negatives and I made side-by-side comparisons (matching angle-of-view, film, developer... shot at virtually the same time).
Bear in mind that there wasn't anything "scientific" about the comparison... just an attempt to satisfy my own curiosity... and the result was the switch to 4x5.
The ground-glass image of the 4x5 is not as "magical" nor as detailed (to the unaided eye) but the economy of 4x5 (compared to 8x10) suits me fine!

scavenger73
11-Jan-2010, 12:18
@Jim: I sincerely considered that...but i have to say i didnt find any good source of used large format cameras here in Europe...it could be strange to hear but large format here in Europe is less diffused than in USA...i will try to find out more informations for sure...why new? New cameras have such a special flavour to me..that's all...

@AJ: maybe you have centered the point; It sounds like i am living as a sufferance the limiting of contact printing...i sincerely dont'know why, don't know if it's just the size...(what else could it be) or whatever, but i aqm sure that i must understand it so well before to make the step.

I am not discouraged by the idea of using larger format...i know it's more difficult, more expansive and that it requires more attitude and patience and that, at least, the only reason why you do it, nowadays, is cause you want to do it....heavy shoulders are needed too maybe...but just thinking to use an 8x10 in the field makes me go crazy...I know you can fully understand what i mean.....

bvstaples
11-Jan-2010, 12:34
I started in LF with an 8x10, and while I still shoot it occasionally, I predominantly use my 4x5s. They're easier to transport, less expensive (film-wise), and my processing set up allows me to process either one 8x10 or four 4x5s at a time. And, as AJ said, by the time I either scan/process/print, or print traditionally, I cannot see enough of a measurable difference between my 4x5s and my 8x10s to warrant shooting the 8x10s exclusively.

Brian

Steve Hamley
11-Jan-2010, 12:36
Why not start with a Kodak 2D or a nice Korona for $250-450 USD and then sell it for what you have in it if you don't like it. Trying 8x10 doesn't have to cost a lot. Just be sure the bellows is good and the camera isn't worn out. There are some nice deals out there, but you may have to be patient.

If you can't do an 8x10 enlarger, then the larger formats make sense. That is of course, the main reason there were 11x14, 16x20 12x20 formats and so on, the formats predated the enlarger.

Looking for a rational, and technical reason to shoot 8x10 and ULF is somewhat self-defeating. You can create art with any camera, but I enjoy using a view camera, and suspect that you do too!

Cheers, Steve

scavenger73
11-Jan-2010, 13:07
I know there's not a rational....there's the same thing where you choose to jump from 6x6 or such to the 4x5....as i said i think it's just feelings...for my expectations i will be able to develop one 8x10 at time in trays in my darkroom so it could be an easy way to complicate my life...

@Steve: i dont like buy and resell cause doing a such thing here in italy with this kind of camras would mean to add a skeleton in your closet....the camrea simply would stay there with no one buying it...ULF...i've consideret them too....but i havent found anything nice yet...11x14 would be a dream for me...but that, yes, would be very hard to manage...

Lachlan 717
11-Jan-2010, 13:19
Stick to 4x5 and buy some new/better glass with the money you would otherwise spend on a new 8x10.

Daniel_Buck
11-Jan-2010, 13:55
8x10 is obviously a great format and the image on the ground-glass is mesmerizing to say the least.

Indeed. This is what I like about 8x10, the shooting process and looking at the big glass! But as far as everything else, I like 4x5 better. The weight, processing the film, and so on. 8x10 is more enjoyable when shooting, but 4x5 (for me at least) is more practical. So at times when practicality is not really needed, I'll bring my 8x10 instead (or in additionto) the 4x5.

scavenger73
11-Jan-2010, 14:30
Stick to 4x5 and buy some new/better glass with the money you would otherwise spend on a new 8x10.

This could be a good idea...8x10 would mean to buy new lenses too :(

Michael Wynd
11-Jan-2010, 18:42
I used a 2nd hand Nagaoka 4x5 for years and then bought a new Shen Hao 4x5 in 2000. Then I bought a new Tachihara 8x01 triple extension and love it, although now I want to make my own 11x14 or bigger. I know it sounds crazy, but the big neg just makes it for me.
Mike

jeroldharter
12-Jan-2010, 11:32
I am in the midst of figuring this out for myself. I don't enjoy contact printing. I usually print 11x14 to 16x20. 4x5 is adequate but I love the big film. I retrofitted my Beseler enlarger to enlarge 8x10 negatives and now I am all set to generate some. I have done my BTZS testing with 8x10 TMY2 and am ready for an upcoming photo trip. Hopefully I will get some good enlargements out of it.

But I have hedged my bets. I have a Wehman 8x10 which weighs about the same as my 4x5 camera. Wehman will make a 4x5 reduction back for just $100 if you supply the 4x5 back which are easy to come by. I can use lenses down to 90mm on the wehman for 4x5 (with minimal movements - wish it had a bag bellows option). So I plan to use the 4x5 for focal lengths 150-600 and the 8x10 for focal lengths down to 210. That way I can economize on film at times with the smaller formats and utilize the long bellows of the 8x10 camera but still enjoy the big negatives when I want to. The Wehman is a great camera for those who are in between. You could also have a 5x7 reduction back made but the 5x7 backs are harder to find.

747sp
12-Jan-2010, 11:42
i missed out on 4x5 and dived straight in the deep end with 8x10...for the sheer challenge of it and the incredible quality. There has been more than one occasion when i have thought better of it - you only have to look at Joe Cornish' work to realise the smaller format doesn't lose much. I recon i have missed a couple of good shots due to the sheer weight an un-poratbility of the larger format....

Robert Hughes
12-Jan-2010, 12:42
I made an 8x10 box camera because I don't have easy access to an LF enlarger nowadays. Contact printing is a novelty for me.

Robert Hall
12-Jan-2010, 14:11
A camera is just a tool. Tools are generally built for speicfic jobs. An 8x10 is useless trying to photograph a restless child, but you can't make a reasonable contact print with a 35mm.

I have all the formats more or less up through really really big. I usually take a collection of tools on the road, just in case I need a different tool. I use my 8x10 as my "go to" camera, but if it's windy, I don't want a sail.

I love my 6x7 sized negs and they make great prints, but simply don't have the depth that an 8x10 has. Looking at an 8x10 contact is like looking out the window. What you see is what you get.

my 2

John NYC
12-Jan-2010, 16:34
But I have hedged my bets. I have a Wehman 8x10 which weighs about the same as my 4x5 camera. Wehman will make a 4x5 reduction back for just $100 if you supply the 4x5 back which are easy to come by. I can use lenses down to 90mm on the wehman for 4x5 (with minimal movements - wish it had a bag bellows option). So I plan to use the 4x5 for focal lengths 150-600 and the 8x10 for focal lengths down to 210. That way I can economize on film at times with the smaller formats and utilize the long bellows of the 8x10 camera but still enjoy the big negatives when I want to. The Wehman is a great camera for those who are in between. You could also have a 5x7 reduction back made but the 5x7 backs are harder to find.

My Wehman should get here on Thursday! Which 4x5 back did you get and think is best? I like this idea, and it might make sense for me to do something similar and get rid of the 4x5 dedicated camera.

jeroldharter
12-Jan-2010, 17:49
I picked up a used Sinar back from KEH. I had never used one before but they are ubiquitous and good quality. Mine has a latch which works like a bail which I like. The first time I used it I had light leaks in several shots which I think was user error. A little trickier getting the holder in the reducing back than the regular back. Also, it can be a pain to pull the darkslide with certain film holders on a reducing back because the film holder does not extend past the edge of the camera back like on a 4x5 camera. I like bail backs but would also consider a Toyo back (spring back with no bail) because they are good quality and readily available used.

One problem I have not solved is how to carry the reduction back in a backpack with the camera. It is a bit bulky and awkward. I put it in a Pelican case wrapped in a Blackjacket darkcloth and under the camera with no problem. But in a flexible bag like a backpack I don't think that is secure enough. So when I use the backpack, I commit to one format only.

Robert Skeoch
15-Jan-2010, 15:51
There seems to be a lot of intangibles when shooting large format. Some people like one thing, others like another.

I've shot 8x10 eight times so far this year. That's just a touch more than every other day. I had a number of 4x5's in the past but have sold them all. There's just something about shooting on 8x10 that doesn't happen with the smaller cameras.

It isn't about final image quality... I know I can make a nice print with 4x5 or 120, so it isn't that.

For me it's all about the joy of the moment. I just find shooting with a 8x10 more enjoyable than the other formats.

Yes, the smaller cameras are easier to carry, yes the film is less costly, yes you can make a great print or scan... but none of my cameras are as enjoyable to use as the 8x10.

-Rob

Bruce A Cahn
15-Jan-2010, 20:57
8x10 is the better format because you can use contact prints. 4x5 contacts do not have the same feel. 5x7 a little bit, but not enough. I shoot all 3, but only 8x10 or larger contacts really please me, on silver or platinum. They have a richness you just cannot get from enlargements or scans. My working process is to shoot digital to warm up the model, but when the good stuff starts to happen, I get it on 8x10 film. I choose 5x7 sometimes to break it up. Nothing is as boring as hundreds of 8x10 prints, no matter how good they are. And if there are questions about how good the model will be (I shoot nudes), I set up 5x7 or 4x5 instead. But there is no question that if I could have only one camera, it would be an (Ebony) 8x10.