View Full Version : Bail Arm vs Spring backs for 8x10 ?

16-Apr-2015, 05:07
Either I can't find a suitable set of search terms, or this hasn't been discussed much (probably the former)

SO ... why would one choose a bail arm back over a plain sprung back (or vice versa)?

As with many choices in equipment, I realise that it will probably be largely down to personal preference, but as someone who is looking around for an 8x10 at the moment, I'd be interested to hear people's rationales for their preference.


mike rosenlof
16-Apr-2015, 06:18
The springs on an 8x10 back need to be fairly strong to hold solidly with a (heavy) film holder in place, especially if the back is tilted upward. For this reason a bail arm makes it easier to insert a holder without bumping the camera out of position. With a bail arm, there will still be springs holding the back together, it just gives some leverage on those springs to open up the back.

16-Apr-2015, 07:05
The repetitive motion of prying open a spring back can also throw said back out of alignment, or cause a warp.
The bail back ensures that pressure is maintained evenly throughout the process of opening and closing the back.

16-Apr-2015, 09:09
The bail make loading the film holder easier. It lessen the chance of moving the back.

After teaching and watching many students, I can say with out doubt a good number of then when inserting a holder into a back with no bail move the back and when question about it, claim they never moved the back of the camera.

Ever would why the image you are looking at after making the contact print is not what you saw on the ground glass.

16-Apr-2015, 10:11
If you saw the camera I have been using Richard you would wonder that I ever got a sharp image at all (few and far between as it is)

16-Apr-2015, 11:12
My Calumet C-1 has a bail back, the Deardorff a spring back. I have noticed many C-1's for sale are missing the 8x10 groundglass. I think I may know why-- if the bail back snaps back too quickly the gg cracks. At least that's what I did! But the camera didn't move. The Deardorff requires care in inserting and removing the film holder or the camera may move. My out of focus shots attest to that. Either style has potential drawbacks, for me it's a toss up.

16-Apr-2015, 14:03
Thanks to all who have replied (my previous thanks got zapped).

It sounds as though, under most circumstances, there is little to be said against, and much to be said for, a bail arm back.

Bruce Barlow
16-Apr-2015, 14:41
Richard is The Man!

Tin Can
16-Apr-2015, 14:53
Per my 7x17 back comments. I have been testing spring backs and bail backs.

I open a back, stick a finger in and close the back.

All my bail backs are painfully tight, my 7x17 is not.