View Full Version : Advice regarding 8x10 camera, Wonderview 8x10 Monorail

2-Jun-2014, 12:49
This is my first post. I am from Romania, I recentlly (re)discovered analog photography and from a Smena and a Praktica I now have Mamiya RB67 and Cambo 4x5 (and an Ilko 5x7 on the way from France).

But, of course, I want an 8x10 camera, only for contacts, I love the contacts from 4x5.

So, I found this strange camera on ebay:
Wonderview 8x10 Monorail View Camera, 305mm f/6.3 Caltar Lens, Floating Tripod

that nobody seems to want. It is relisted, unsold at 500 USD. I discovered it was bought last year for 425 USD. What is wrong with the camera ? only the lens and the tripod could cost more.

Normally I'd jump on it but the shipping is really expensive so I need your advice. It is a good deal ?

It is better to wait and pay more for a regular camera like Cambo or Calumet 8x10 ?

For me is just a hobby and I do mainly portraits for fiends and family, I don't go more than 10 meters away from the car with the camera.

Richard Johnson
2-Jun-2014, 15:58
It is German Plaubel camera, which might be more popular in Europe.

3-Jun-2014, 04:38
Thank you, I see couple of Plaubel on ebay Germany, this means I can find some parts for it.

Richard Johnson
3-Jun-2014, 04:49
$500 US is the threshold for 8x10 cameras where some can be very good or very bad deals so you have to be patient. An older metal 8x10 monorail meant for the studio can be a great bargain since most photographers want lighter weight wooden cameras. However the same caution applies to any piece of older equipment - corrosion, bellows problems, etc.

Also you need to budget for a much heavier tripod to hold such heavy cameras.

Cambo, Horseman, Toyo, Plaubel and some others made 8x10 monorails that are heavy and well-designed... these will sell in the $300 to $700 range. Sometimes more popular brands like Sinar (Normas), older Arca-Swiss, and older Linhofs will sell for lower prices too. I would not worry about the brand as much as the condition as they are all good cameras. The Sinar Norma and older Arca-Swiss are lighter designs that could be desirable field cameras as well.

I would avoid buying from too far away because if you have a problem, the cost of shipping it back for a refund are prohibitive. Perhaps the best way to find an inexpensive 8x10 studio camera is to buy one from a local professional photographer who may be retiring or giving up on 8x10.

I think there is a USSR-era brand called Mentor that may be available there but I know nothing about it. And of course there are many older wooden cameras that can be restored but none of them will be as sturdy as the heavy metal cameras.

3-Jun-2014, 06:27
Thank you,

I don't think there are many large format users in Romania so buying locally is out of question, and old Russian stuff from Russia is equally hard to get in US or Romania (in fact is harder in Romania). The most accessible market is Germany and the shipping is cheap (from US is expensive) but the cameras are expensive.

I think I'll wait for a better camera (for me) ideally from this community, I have better chances to get the right stuff.