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Thread: beginner 8x10 advice

  1. #1

    beginner 8x10 advice

    Im planning on getting into shooting 8x10

    plan to buy:

    a Deardorff
    360mm schneider symmar -s (people/portraits)
    1 landscape lens (please open to all suggestions) (assume a 210mm is enough? if the image circle covers the 8x10?)

    plan to shoot B+W and chromes.

    can anyone reccomend a scanner for edits and web that does 8x10 properly (as much as a sub 1000$ scanner can).

    Heard a lot of great things about this forum, so here I am ....

  2. #2
    Moderator Ralph Barker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Rio Rancho, NM

    Re: beginner 8x10 advice

    I use a 240mm f/9 Schneider G-Claron frequently as a slightly-wide lens for landscapes. For quite-wide, a Schneider 150mm Super Symmar XL. The 240mm G-Claron is small and light weight, the 150mm SSXL is large and heavy.

    Tastes for portraiture vary widely. Some use a normal (300mm) lens for upper-body portraits, or even a wider lens for standing, full-body portraits. Having an f/5.6 lens for interior work is helpful for a brighter GG, but outdoors, an f/9 lens works OK on 8x10. My personal preference for portraiture more toward the head and shoulders composition is a longer lens - a 450mm Nikkor-M or a 16.5" Red Dot Artar. You might also consider a tele design for this purpose, to reduce the bellows draw at closer distances.

    For general-purpose scanning, I use an Epson V-750. For "special" negatives, you might also consider having drum scans done by an outside service.

  3. #3

    Re: beginner 8x10 advice

    thanks v much for your POV.. what about the deardorff? am I pointing in the right direction in terms of body? or should I be looking for something newer / lighter in terms of a body?

    What about tripods? can I get away with a normal tripod or does it need to be more heavy duty?

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jun 2002

    Re: beginner 8x10 advice

    What Ralph said. One expense you will want to budget for is enough film holders -- I like to have at least ten -- so boxes of film can be loaded in their entirety. A changing tent, like the medium sized Harrision, is pretty nice when traveling or without a darkroom. And save enough for a good case, CLA of used lenses, lenshades, a loupe and darkcloth, and of course a heavy duty tripod and head.

    If that adds up and you decide you only can afford one lens, a 300/5.6 will do almost everything.

    Deardorffs are fine cameras, with any of these it more likely depends on the condition of the individual camera. In the same price range, the Kodak Master View 8x10 is an excellent camera as well, and maybe the Toyo metal field. You might get lucky and find a reasonably-priced used Canham or Chamonix for about the same money as a good Deardorff.

    You can also save about 33-50% by getting a slightly more unwieldily studio monorail camera, like a Toyo G or a Sinar, which maybe offset because they are more straight forward to operate, have larger movements, and are system-wide expandable... once you get them on location. The nicest 8x10 monorail in your price range would be a used, older version of the Arca-Swiss -- light and compact yet capable of expansion and wide movements -- but those are very rare and their price is rising because they are so desirable.

    I don't know what tripod you are thinking of, but in general you need a robust tripod, a Gitzo #3 is the lightest you might get away with unless you are a mad ultralight backpacker and go with an ultralight camera as well.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Westminster, MD

    Re: beginner 8x10 advice

    Epson V700 or V750.

    I too prefer a 240 mm over a 210.
    When I grow up, I want to be a photographer.

  6. #6

    Re: beginner 8x10 advice

    thanks again..

    yeah I guess a gitzo 3 will work.. what about a head?

    frank.. are all those portraits on your site done with the 8x10 camera or the 4x5?

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Aug 2000

    Re: beginner 8x10 advice

    I prefer a Microtek i900 scanner because of it capability of scanning negatives in a drawer below the flat bed. The negatives are scanned with transmitted rather than reflected light and thus a better scan, especially of highlight areas.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    San Joaquin Valley, California

    Re: beginner 8x10 advice


    I like Deardorffs, but there certainly are other excellent clamshell 8x10 cameras out there. As Frank mentioned, condition has a lot to do with whichever camera you choose. I think a 'dorff in good condition is an excellent tool.

    The Symmar (I'm assuming your considering the "convertable" version) would be a fine lens. They are relatively big, heavy and in "converted" form benefits from a yellow filter. 360mm is also a perfectly acceptable landscape lens for 8x10 IMHO. A good lens. If you have the urge to go wider, then for the sake of economy I'd suggest a Wollensak 1a triple convertible which will give you 3 focal lengths in one lens. They are way undervalued and if you find a later model "wollcoated" version it should give good color rendition as well (I'm guessing here---I don't shoot color 8x10--perhaps someone who has used a Wollcoated lens with color film can chime in)

    The 240 G Claron Ralph mentioned is also an excellent lens (well any G Claron save the WA's IMHO!) Tiny (for an 8x10 lens) and deadly sharp with plenty of wiggle room. It is one of my most used lenses. I've noticed the prices of these critters seems to be shooting up lately and while I won't recommend buying lenses "just because" if you find one for a good price you'll find that it is a true multi-tasker, even for portraits (if your sitter has smooth skin! These babies record a lot of detail!) As an added treat the filters from your Nikon slrs will likely fit.

    Other impediments:
    Tripod---Ries. Film holders---Kodak black woodies or Lisco plastics. All my opinions of course!
    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.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Jan 2001

    Re: beginner 8x10 advice

    I don't know what your previous photographic experience has been, but in addition to the equipment involved it is a different state of mind.
    Large Format is expensive and demanding. Don't jump into 8x10 until you've tried it. Rent, beg, borrow, (or, even better, workshop) first.
    Wilhelm (Sarasota)

  10. #10

    Re: beginner 8x10 advice

    Symmar - gonna get the fixed version.

    Will look into the 240G

    what do I give up if I just keep it in 4x5 ?

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