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Thread: mystique of an 8x10 Deardorff?

  1. #11
    William Whitaker's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    No Fixed Abode

    Re: mystique of an 8x10 Deardorff?

    To each his/her own. I danced with the Deardorff. Three times in 8x10 and twice in 5x7. My card wasn't full, but she never asked me to dance again....

  2. #12
    Vaughn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Humboldt County, CA

    Re: mystique of an 8x10 Deardorff?

    I started 8x10 with a borrowed Deardorff. The operation of it was familiar since I used a copy (India) of a Deardorff Special (w/ 4x5 and 5x7 backs) for a few years.

    I have a Zone VI 8x10 now -- a nice camera but it has its faults. As good as a Deardorff in most ways, but it has been too long since I handled a Deardorff to say how.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  3. #13
    Corran's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    North GA Mountains

    Re: mystique of an 8x10 Deardorff?

    A friend of mine has a Deardorff 8x10 that he was given, and I've handled it a few times. Also my 8x20 is half of a Deardorff glommed onto a Korona...

    The 8x10 seemed not significantly different in operation to the Wista/Tachi I used to have. I wouldn't want one - too heavy, nothing much to make it better or worse than anything else I don't think. Perhaps Deardorff is similar to Leica and Hasselblad - a name that adds to the mystique and cache. It certainly has a better ring to it than Shen-Hao (someone asked if my Shen-Hao 617 was a Hasselblad recently) or "Cham-oh-nicks" as it is apparently supposed to be said, as opposed to the French-ified version I use in conversation.

    To each his own, but I won't be owning a Deardorff, unless the previous mentioned one gets passed on to me someday.
    Bryan | Blog | YouTube | Instagram
    All comments and thoughtful critique welcome

  4. #14

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    San Joaquin Valley, California

    Re: mystique of an 8x10 Deardorff?

    All I can add is that my ol' V8 'dorff works for me.
    I enjoy the heck out of mine.
    Sometimes, it's like it's going to speak.
    Weird, huh?
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  5. #15

    Join Date
    Oct 2015

    Re: mystique of an 8x10 Deardorff?

    I don't know of any magical powers that my 'Dorff may bestow upon me when in the field. And, I've never owned or used any other 8x10. It's simple...for me. Nearly 40 years ago, I asked my mentor what 8x10 I should buy and, without a bit of hesitation, he said Deardorff. I've dragged that puppy through hip deep snow, carried it through the deserts of the southwest, and generally have used it many times under rather intolerable weather. It has never broken or let me down! Regardless of any cult status it may hold today, it's one of the cameras that will be with me to the end. I won't even tell you what I bought it for would be too embarrassing! ☺

  6. #16

    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    North Dakota

    Re: mystique of an 8x10 Deardorff?

    Quote Originally Posted by View Post
    Willie, I am guessing you, and maybe Karl French are built like a bull. A good thing. I'm just a small guy who somehow lived through six years military service; 1964 to 1970. Joy of joys. Be well, Brothers.
    Jac, a wimp
    5'6" and 140 lbs. Grew up bucking hay bales on a farm and milking cows.

    The deardorff balances well. Looks nice also. I think the quest for lightness in large format cameras is a case of diminishing returns. Too light and you don't have a solid camera and it is subject to movement and vibration.
    I tend to procrastinate on stuff. One of these days I'll do something about it.

  7. #17

    Join Date
    May 2015
    SooooCal/LA USA

    Re: mystique of an 8x10 Deardorff?

    I don't own, but used them, and they are solid... Having used other cameras, I'm thinking it's like a big, old classic car (or truck), where the newer hi-tech cameras are like modern racers, but both do the job...

    But I like a camera that I learn (by touch), but the camera also learns me, so we can dance together... :-)

    Steve K

  8. #18
    Pali K Pali K's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    MD, USA

    Re: mystique of an 8x10 Deardorff?

    I love mine and besides the bulk, I never understood why others complain about that it has clunky controls. Maybe my camera is just in better condition than most but I find that it locks down steady and has plenty of controls for fine tuning a composition. My most used lense is a 360mm F6.8 Symmar-S which is a heavy monster and the camera handles it perfectly.

    This is from last evening with 360 Symmar-S:


  9. #19

    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Forest Grove, Ore.

    Re: mystique of an 8x10 Deardorff?

    I bought a Deardorff which happened to be in almost new condition. Very tight adjustments, which is a plus. It was an NFS camera, so I bought and installed a new upgrade for front swings. The camera felt right in operation, and I especially liked the Deardorff front rise mechanism to fine-tune that adjustment.

    Then at a swap meet, I stumbled onto a complete Sinar Norma camera kit for very little money and bought it. I was going to turn it over, but began comparing the two 8x10 cameras. I know that many photographers use, like, and produce great results with Dearodorff 9x10's, but I preferred the stability of the rail camera. The Deardorff was just a bit wobbly for my tastes, especially at longer extensions.
    Last edited by neil poulsen; 17-Oct-2017 at 12:43.

  10. #20

    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Carmel Valley, CA

    Re: mystique of an 8x10 Deardorff?

    I've never had a Leica nor a Deardorff, but perusing through old catalogs from the 1940's it's clear that the were both once within the same order of magnitude as other cameras, even though they cost somewhat more. (Same was true with Linhof, incidentally.) My guess is the mystique came about later. All sorts of mass-produced items from mid-century were poorly engineered and built. When folks found something that would hold up to use, not instantly break or fall apart from hard use, it was indeed something to crow about. (Excepting kitschy stuff like Diana camera-clones, there's just no tolerating that now.)

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