This would let me shoot the golden ratio as is, I could crop to get classic 5x4 at full size, and crop in the other direction to get classic 1:2.5 panos (that is an image area of about 158.8 x 63.5 mm, or about 6.25 x 2.5 inches). This would be a considerable improvement on cropping 5x4 down to an image area of about 4.75 x 2.9 inches for the golden ratio, and 4.75 x 1.9 inches for 1:2.5 panos.
The difficulty is of course designing and building your own camera, film holders, etc. and cutting film down from 5x7 or 10x8, tossing a fair amount out either way.
So the answer, much as I hate to admit it, is cropped 7x5 (the golden ratio image area would be about 6.75 x 4.2 inches). The cameras and film holders already exist, and the film is ready to go out of the box without cutting anything.
I guess it depends on how much of a wild hair I get, and how long it stays with me. Been around for a couple of years now though...
What an involved discussion! I too own a Chamonix 5x8 and love it. All of you who think that cutting film in half in the dark is easy... well it's not. I've actually got it down to a science by locking in a straight edge guide on my rotary cutter. I leave the guide in place most of the time because even being off by a 1/16" can make the film not fit the holder. Very frustrating!
But, what really took me by surprise when I first started cutting film in the dark is that I somehow would lose track of which side is the emulsion side. Since you are cutting off the notched edge, fully half of the cut film will have no guide to show you which side is which. I thought, no problem... I can tell by the film curl, or the tactile feel of the emulsion. No I can't!
It really wouldn't be a problem if I only had to handle the film once. You know, cut it, stack it and load it, all at once. The problem is that while you're cutting you may want more than the 8 sheets that you have holders ready for. Still, it should be easy to keep track of which side is which. It is not.
Then you have to pull the film out of the holders in total darkness and load it into a tank. Another opportunity to get turned around. I'll bet I lost 30% of my earliest 5x8"negatives in my clumsy attempts to keep track of the emulsion side.
What I do now, and it seems to work pretty well, is that after making the initial cut from 8x10 to 5x8, and while I still have a good handle on which is which, I use a simple hole punch to notch the top right of the cut sheet to mimick the original notches on the other half. Whether I choose to use the film today or 6 months from now I can tell by feel in the dark which side is "hot" and which is not.
If anyone else has had a problem with this and has a different idea, please let me know. -ED
Do you use an Infra Red viewing device ? No more darkness.
Get the IR goggles - this is one type of job where they will make your life much easier - the reduction is lost film would probably pay for them in a short time. Great for unloading holders also - plus, developing by inspection is something you can try with them also.
It does seem that 8x10 film may have a brighter future than 5x7, so there might be an advantage there. If you are considering enlargements then I think cropping 4x5 as others suggest is the way to go. For contact printing 5x8 will give you the beautiful golden mean aspect ratio in an intimate print size, one that you can hold in your hand while viewing. No darkroom is familiar to me. I started with a changing tent and processing drum and must have gotten the last run of printing out paper (POP), contact prints in sunlight. Now I have a "darkened room", no space for a sink and an enlarger, but enough for a light bulb and trays to develop the prints. If you can afford the camera and holders, don't mind cutting down 8x10, want intimate sized contact prints, and be willing to "limit" yourself to B&W then 5x8 seems desirable. 5x7 is my format, if money were less of an issue, I would go to 5x8.
I'd use a 5x8 camera in a heart-beat. Cutting 8x10 film in half, with an IR monocular would be trivial.
The problem is simply the availability of a modular metal monorail with fully geared view camera movements - which takes a Sinar Shutter. In the absence of such a camera, I mask the back with blue painter's tape, and shoot 5x7.
Also, Adox is reviving Agfapan APX 100 and 400 films, and will offer them in all standard sizes including 5x7. I think the future of 5x7 film is bright indeed.
"I'd rather use scissors..."
You is a weizenheimer !