View Full Version : An 8x10 kit for under $900?

John Kasaian
28-Jan-2005, 11:52
I'm home nursing a cold and thought I'd see how much it would cost to put together an 8x10 kit for the benefit anyone who aspires to try the format. Lately we've seen 8x10 cameras go fairly cheap---Calumet C-1, Kodak 2D, Burk & James and Agfa Anscos seem to have been topping out near the $400 mark on ebay. Assuming the bellows are good, these are all excellent user cameras but it takes more than just a camera to go out shooting. With cosmic budget of $900 I went internet shopping to see what I could come up with and thought I'd post the results. With the exception of the camera, I've chosen to use well known suppliers with good reputations in order to give the buyer confidence that their purchases will be sound investments and not junk.

CAMERA: $400(or there abouts)---eBay. You might even find a C-1 at Midwest Photo for near this price. I checked and none are listed on the MPX website this morning but if you want to buy from a dealer, they are worth checking out.

TRIPOD: $168---CST from Southern Tool. Usually considered a real budge killer, even used tripods on eBay that will handle an 8x10 are pricey items. The cheaper used ones in dealer's inventory are more often than not heavy studio models unsuitable for field use and expen$ive to ship. The CST is a new wood survey's model, 16 pounds heavy and includes free shipping. You'll have to come up with a 1/4-20 thread adapter which should be readily available. I doubt a comparable Berlebach or used Davis and Sanford, while desireable, can be had for anwhere near this price.

LENS: $225---Turner-Riech Triple Convertible in a Betax#5 from Igor's Three focal lengths for the price of one---what a deal! OTOH, if you're coming from 4x5 you might aleady have a lens that will "translate" into 8x10 such as the 240 G-Claron or a Dagor. Or you might forego usung a shutter and get a $40 process lens and use a lenscap for long exposures.

FILM HOLDERS:---3 for $45---E.P.Levine has kodak woodies in ex. condition at $15 each.

LIGHT METER:---"sunny 16" is as budget concious as it gets I you don't already have one.

LOUPE: $5.49---Arista 8X from Freestyle. It looks like an Agfa copy.

FILM:$33.99 for 25 sheets---Arista.edu from Freestyle. You can even go cheaper if you don't mind shooting Ortho.

CABLE RELEASE: $5.49---Freestyle.

DARK CLOTH: use an old raincoat or sweatshirt.

TOTAL :$882.97 plus the cost of a thread adapter.

That will get you started in8x10. Shop around and you might come up with even better deals. Darn, this makes 8x10 sound pretty affordable! So what are you going to do with your tax refund?

Bob Rogers
28-Jan-2005, 11:52
I bought a large military tripod from www.sovietski.com

It's similar to a wooden surveyer's tripod but it has a massive stainless steel post instead of the typical open hole. My plan is to make a wooden part that clamps to the post that forms a 2D head.

They still show the tripod on their website at a sale price of $49, but when you try to click the link it reads that the item might be discontinued.


Pat Kearns
28-Jan-2005, 12:45
I would like to put it towards a photo vacation, destination undecided at the present. Two years ago my wife (begrudgingly) & I went to Grand Tetons & Yellowstone. Beforehand all she could say was "there is nothing in Wyoming but ROCKS". Last week she remarked that she has been dreaming about the rocks in Wyoming and can't wait to get back.

Jim Rhoades
28-Jan-2005, 13:58
John; What tax refund? I'm retired and I still have to pay extra four times a year. I am considering dipping into my slush fund for a new convertible Deardorff. What camera? That old thing, oh I've had that for years.

David F. Stein
28-Jan-2005, 22:24
Good thoughts on the tripod. There are some brand new surveyor's tripods available less than $125, I believe.

Donald Hutton
29-Jan-2005, 10:26
I think I may have just done the deal of a lifetime - Sinar F2 8X10, extension rail, 3 holders, 355 G-Claron - $1000 shipped to my door. It arrived this morning - might have to go and spend $40K on new SUV to move it around though....

Donald Qualls
29-Jan-2005, 11:47
You might be able to improve that budget by a few dollars, John.

I have a tripod made by Porter Cable Delta for surveying applications -- sturdy aluminum, a bit lighter than the wood one you found but just as steady, with a strap to hold the legs together when folded, and another to sling it over a shoulder, adjustable legs for leveling and height adjustment, rubber spike feet that won't mar a floor but will still dig into soft earth, about four feet high to the platform, and unlike almost all other surveyor tripods, it has a 1/4" x 20 tpi screw as the standard (probably on the sensible basis that it's both easier and more ridgid to adapt up to the 5/8" x 13 tpi used in surveying equpment than to adapt down for 1/4" x 20 tpi for mounting laser levels). My Zeiss Ideal 250/7 9x12 plate camera needs a 1/8" shim under the bed to keep the screw from bottoming, but it would be simple to file 1/8" off the brass screw. This tripod doesn't include a ball head or anything similar, but neither would any other surveying tripod, and this one can be had for around $150 -- not from camera stores, but from tool dealers who sell to contractors (most areas they can be found by looking up "staple" or "staple and nail" in the yellow pages).

And for film, J&C Photo has their Pro 100 in 8x10 for $31.99 for 25 sheets -- and some folks might find them easier to deal with than Freestyle; I've found their shipping charges to be very reasonable as well.

Looks like around $20 savings...

Tony Karnezis
29-Jan-2005, 22:28
Don, I got a similar deal. A bit more expensive, but a deal nevertheless. I got a Sinar P 8x10, two 18" extension rails, regular and bag bellows, a mint 240/5.6 Caltar II-S on a lens board, barn door lens shade, 8 film holders, and a massive 20 lb. Quick Set Hercules tripod with head ($2-3k if new) all for $1500. Cha-ching! Then again, I can't move the thing, but hey.

The deal that got me into 8x10 was an 8x10 Bender (already assembled), 300/9 Nikkor M, a film holder, and a few sheets of Azo for only $400. The camera is so light (~6 lbs) that I could use it on the tripod I already had for medium format.