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Thread: A steady 8x10 camera for long and heavy lenses?

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  1. #1

    A steady 8x10 camera for long and heavy lenses?

    Hello everyone:

    I have been shooting 4x5 for a couple of years (with Sinar f1) and am preparing to jump into 8x10. As I know, monorail 8x10 are usually heavy and huge, so I would consider wood foldable cameras firstly. I was thinking about canham wood 8x10, which is not too heavy and the price is acceptable, before I consider the lenses that I'm going to use. But after knowing I will use apo-symmar 360mm (or apo-sironar 360mm) and possibly 480mm and 600mm lenses, I am not so sure if canham's structure is steady enough for heavy lenses (around 3-4 lbs) and long bellows extension. I know for sure that the ebony 8x10 is quite steady but the price is way beyond what I can afford. Wisner 8x10 was one of my option, but the delay and uncertainty of deliver time problem will be a headache. So, could anyone who has been in 8x10 recommend a camera that balance between weight, portability, steadiness and price?

    the following features are preferred:

    1.It will be better if foldable since I shoot mostly outdoors.

    2.I will expect the camera capable of using 600mm lens steadily.

    3.Sinar or Linhof type lens board are preferred since all my lenses use these two types of boards.

    Thanks a lot!

    Jeremy

  2. #2
    Geos
    Join Date
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    A steady 8x10 camera for long and heavy lenses?

    I've been shooting Canham's 8x10 (wood) for about 10 years now with lenses as long as 1200mm. The camera is not the sturdiest one out their but fine for field work. I've shot using a 600mm Apo-Ronar in an Ilex #5 shutter (read heavy) and gotten sharp results in strong wind. There is a 1/4-20 threaded socket under the front standard that will accept a second tripod or other support. Recommended.

  3. #3

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    A steady 8x10 camera for long and heavy lenses?

    Jeremy,

    I've used Canham, Deardorff, and Ebony.

    First, none of these cameras are as rigid at around 600mm as a 4x5 at full extension. They're not floppy, but they do tend to "sing" like a tuning fork when racked out, so you want to let things settle a bit before tripping the shutter.

    Second, this is one case when weight is your friend. The heavier the camera, the less rigid the camera has to be and the less prone to vibration. Obviously this is a tradeoff, since the Canham and Ebony are usable on the Gitzo 1348 and Kirk BH-1 (my 4x5 setup), while the 'dorff is happier with the Ries when it's extended far enough to use a 19" or 24" lens.

    Finally, a Fujinon 600mm C lens is quite light, and if this is the long lens, heavier lenses in the 360mm - 480mm range should be manageable with almost any field camera, since a 360mm lens really doesn't extend an 8x10 much over a normal 12" lens. I've had a 360mm f/4.5 Heliar the Deardorff and Ebony without a problem, didn't have it and the Canham at the same time.

    Nearly all 8x10 field cameras are certainly usable with a 600 Fuji C and a 19" Artar, bellows length to accomodate of course. You might check with Jim at Midwest, he occasionally has used Ebony 8x10s at a "resonable" price.

    Steve

  4. #4

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    A steady 8x10 camera for long and heavy lenses?

    Take a glance at the "Wehman 8x10" thread for comments on that camera by myself and others. As it is made up of solid metal U-shaped plates, the base is about as rigid as it can be. If the 30.5" bellows is sufficient for you, it is worth consideration.

    On the other hand, if you can get used to working with a less rigid camera, the Canham is longer reaching, has more movements, and is overall a more sophisticated and beautiful design. You get what you pay for.

    Both are compact and lightweight and have good reputations.

    And, of course, there are monorails and then there are monorails. Both Gowland and Toho make monorails that travel relatively well. They require some disassembly to stow in a backpack, but once you get it back together you have a monorail, with its various advantages. Would you really rather have a monorail? Then check out the Gowland at petergowland.com, and the Toho at badgergraphic.com. I have both a 4x5 Gowland and a 5x7 Toho. The Gowland is quite fiddley, but absurdly lightweight and compact. The Toho is much more substantial, and consequently heavier and bulkier. Neither is perfect: the Gowland is nearly impossible to square up; Peter told me not even to try. The Toho is a little tricky to focus, as it can shift as you tighten it down.

  5. #5

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    A steady 8x10 camera for long and heavy lenses?

    The Wehman 8x10 is reputedly a stable foldable platform for longer lenses. Here is the thread that CXC is alluding to:

    www.largeformatphotography.info/lfforum/topic/501627.html

    I use a Fuji 450C and 600C and Nikon 800/1200T with my Ebony 8x10 and Gitzo 1325 tripod. With the relatively slow films I prefer (Provia 100F, 100VS, TMAX 100), I find it necessary to use provide additional camera support to ensure getting sharp pictures. With the 600C and 800T, I use a Bogen long lens support arm to support the front standard, and with proper "wind management" (i.e., waiting for the wind to die down so that all bellows vibration is gone) I can usually get sharp pictures with any speed of film.

    With the Nikon 1200T (if you ever elect to go this way), life gets more complicated. When using this lens, I use the Bogen arm to support the front standard, plus a second tripod to support the rear standard. But even with this setup, camera shake in even slight wind can be a problem. To consistently get sharp pictures, I use faster films; either Provia 100F pushed one stop, Kodak 400NC, or Tri-X/HP5+ have worked fine for me. The Nikon is a moderate contrast lens, so pushing Provia doesn't block up the shadow areas very much, and the color is a bit more saturated.

    With my 450mm lens, I can usually get a sharp picture without any supplemental support.

    For the 600C, I suspect that use of a long lens arm such as the Bogen will largely equalize the stability of the various available field cameras (Ebony, Canham, Wisner, etc.) without need for a second tripod. It then comes down to which camera is available to you at the best price.

  6. #6

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    A steady 8x10 camera for long and heavy lenses?

    Size/weight and stability/bellows extension are an inverse proportion. If you want the best weight or size, get something like Canham's JMC810. If you want long bellows and great stability, a Sinar, or any other good monorail-type camera, will be your best bet.

    Now you just need to find a compromise.

    As to Wisner, all of the complaints that I have heard were from people who lived outside of North America/Eurpoe and/or were not able to be contacted by Ron.

  7. #7
    Michael Jones's Avatar
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    A steady 8x10 camera for long and heavy lenses?

    The only camera I know that meets your spec that is a Phillips. Rock steady, light and uses Sinar boards.

    Mike
    Donít ever forget where you came from, but donít let it define you.

  8. #8

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    A steady 8x10 camera for long and heavy lenses?

    When I talked to Dick Phillips, he stated that the Compact II was essentially maxed at 24" and the longest really usable lens was about 450mm -480mm. I chose an alternative because I did want to focus a 24" lens at least a bit closer closer than infinity.

    Steve

  9. #9

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    A steady 8x10 camera for long and heavy lenses?

    Hi Jeremy,

    I am using a Toyo 810M (pretty much the same as the current 810MII), and have always been satisfied with the stability it provides with big lenses (I have a 360mm f6.8 Symmar-S and a 500mm f5.5 Tele-Xenar which are both real boat anchors at about 3.5lbs each). I purchased the Toyo because I got an excellent price, but would not hesitate to recommend it to someone else. The big arguement against it always seems to be the weight. I have heard mention of bellows draw from some, but you can focus a 600mm to a "reasonably close" distance, which is fine for my uses. The difference in weight between the 810M and a wood field like the Canham is undoubtedly a few pounds, but if you are using lenses like a 360mm APO-Symmar, weight can't be that big a consideration! (I would suspect that the difference in weight between a 360 Fujinon-A or even a 355mm G-Claron and a huge plasmat like the 360mm Symmar must be almost a couple pounds by itself!). Point being - if stability is your criteria for selction, and you want to shed some weight, there is more than the camera itself to consider.

    Jeff

    P.S. I am also standardized on Sinar boards. Fortunately the Toyo-View boards are a bit bigger than the Sinar ones and a Toyo -to-Sinar lensboard adapter is readily available

  10. #10

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    A steady 8x10 camera for long and heavy lenses?

    In terms of lensboards, www.bromwellmarketing.com will take any lensboard you got and make it into a converter-to-Technika. Assuming it is big enough, of course. I did this with one of my Wehman boards, works fine. And they stock Sinar-to-Technika converter boards.

    There are many, many complaints about Wisner's untimely delivery local to the U.S., as a search of this forum will reveal. If at all possible go through a store, or, ideally, locate an already existing camera to purchase.

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