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Thread: Choosing an 8x10 field camera

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    New Jersey, USA

    Choosing an 8x10 field camera

    I know I haven't been active here in a while, but I'm a senior in high school, and between my classes, college applications (and acceptances, thankfully), AP classes, and EMT school, I don't have much time to surf the 'net. It appears I'll be going to RIT. And, as a graduation gift, my parents are going to buy me a field camera. I currently shoot with a Cambo 810N, which I love, but will be impossible to bring with me to school. Unless I choose to sleep on top of the box...

    As much as I love Wisner's cameras, and think he's a great guy, $3000 is too much for a graduation gift. I've been looking at some of the cheaper alternatives, in the $2000 and under range, and it seems like a Wista or the like is the only option in the new market.

    I have nothing wrong with a used camera, but it would have to be in good condition. My main concern is strength and flexibility with lenses and movements. I know Wisner is the only one (at least that I've seen) with an interchangeable bellows, but the TF is much too expensive for me.

    And so...let the onslaught begin. Opinions, please?

  2. #2

    Choosing an 8x10 field camera

    Although I have no experience with it, I've read posts by people who are happy with the Shen-Hao 8x10. (I have the 4x5. It's an excellent camera at an astoundingly low price. It doesn't have the cachet of an Ebony, and may not be as precise an instrument, but those things don't show up in my photographs.)

    If you're willing to go for used, 2 grand will buy you a very nice Deardorff plus some film holders and perhaps even a cheap lens.

  3. #3
    Ted Harris's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    New Hampshire

    Choosing an 8x10 field camera

    $2000 is a respectable sum. It should put in range of a used Canham or Phillips or a Wisner if you want one bu8t I'd go for the former two.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Feb 2000
    Reykjavík, Iceland

    Choosing an 8x10 field camera

    The Tachihara 8x10 is probably as much of a camera as you can have for 1300 $ new!
    I can only recommend it!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Frisco, Texas

    Choosing an 8x10 field camera

    Hi Jason,

    Congratulations on your acceptance to RIT. Lots of luck with your career as a professional photographer. You certainly deserve a new camera, and $3000 may sound like a lot of money now, but consider it to be a long- time career investment.

    For an 8X10 camera that will fill the bill for both comercial and personal fine art photography, in your price range, consider the Canham 8X10's. The all metal JMC 8X10, or the lightweight wood and metal Traditional 8X10's are excellent choices.

    Both Canham 8X10 models fold compactly and are easy to transport. As for price, the JMC is under $3000, new. The Traditional is just over $3000, new. Good previously owned ones are difficult to find. However, a new 8X10 Canham is a good investment. Service from Keith Canham is outstanding and resale value is high. Good luck with whichever camera you end up choosing.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Orange, CA

    Choosing an 8x10 field camera

  7. #7
    multi format
    Join Date
    Feb 2001

    Choosing an 8x10 field camera

    hi jason -
    good luck next year & good luck dealing with a bad case of senioritis

    i am not sure if it is in your $-range,
    but shen-hao sounds like a pretty good deal.

    - john

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Jul 1999
    Paris suburbs, France

    Choosing an 8x10 field camera

    I second Gudmundur with a vote for the Tachihara 8x10 : nothing more than that you really need in field, but all that you need. The 70 mm front rise and 40 mm fall are easily expanded with some tilt. The double bed, priced at 1300 $, is limited to 550 mm extension, but this is enough to accomodate a 450 mm if you don't shoot close up.
    Very well built, light, and a clear screen. Really better built than that you may imagine considering the price tag.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Tonopah, Nevada, USA

    Choosing an 8x10 field camera

    Wehman, WEHMAN, WEHMAN!
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot gain that which he cannot lose. Jim Elliot, 1949

  10. #10

    Choosing an 8x10 field camera

    The really obvious advantage of the Tachihara over the Wehman (apart from a cool $500) is the Wehman's limited movements - if you intend shooting architecture, I am pretty certain that you will find the limited rise of the Wehman seriously compromising. As a "landscape only" camera, it's tough to beat. I suspect that as you have been using a monorail, your subject choice has not been compromised by the camera - you will need to consider this carefully when moving to a field camera - they all have design compromises.

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