I just assembled my bargain 8x10 Fatif and am pleased to report -- no doubt making Tim A. very jealous -- that for $258.21 I got a really nice 8x10 monorail. I have had several Sinars, Arcas, and Linhofs and the Fatif compares very well to them in terms of design and workmanship. The controls are very solid and logical, and even though this is a well used camera, it is still smooth and locks tightly. The quality is somewhere between a Sinar and an Arca (Arcas are the best IMHO), with a excellent leather bellows and light baffles on the standards and lensboards (it would be hard to duplicate lensboards but it came with a Copal 1 and 3 board so I'm set to start with). The 8x10 back has a smooth bail. There are no bubble levels but each standard has a shoe mount, so I could insert some plastic shoe mount cubed levels. The detents are all good, and only one tilt scale is off, although the detents are aligned vertically (just the mylar scale is in the wrong place). It has both axis and base tilts, so I'm thrilled. The front rise is limited for 8x10, but I can lower the rear if I need to, or use indirect tilts to get more rise. The rail is like a Sinar (not exactly though) and you can get yaw by rotating it in the tripod mount. The shifts and focus are geared, the rest are friction locks, with the rise being a great press-thumb lever that works really nicely. It kind of reminds me of the Linhof monorails, only rounded off. It seems like it would be an excellent studio camera for still life, although I prefer making portraits and observations.
I am guessing it is nearly 20 lbs and will require a 5 series Gitzo or maybe a sexy Fatif tripod...
I still need a larger tripod, some film and holders, and of course a shuttered portrait or longer lens... if anyone wants a nice website design or a stack of 4x5 holders/Readyload/Gnass Gear wrap in trade?
Once I get going, I'll write up a review for the site. It's nice to have an analog outlet again. Ciao e grazie!