View Full Version : 8x10 or 5x7

26-Feb-2005, 15:23

Anybody know where I can purchase an 8x10 or 5x7 camera, normal lens and film holders without ransoming the queen?

Gem Singer
26-Feb-2005, 15:34
From a person who sells photo gear?---- Is this a trick question?

John Kasaian
26-Feb-2005, 15:41

Unless you really luck out plan on spending at least $900 for a used 8x10 kit. You can do a wee bit better going the 5x7 route as many old wood flatbed 4x5s will accept 5x7 backs---also usable 5x7 flavored tripods, lenses and film holders will cost slilghtly less bucks than their 8x10 bretheren. If your a gamblin' sort Ebay has lots to offer. If you want a sure bet go with Midwest Photographic, Igor's or one of the other establishments that come highly recommended.

Vick Vickery
26-Feb-2005, 15:45
About the best bet for low-cost LF equipment seems to be e-bay and lots of patience...you often have to bid the most you are willing to pay on several items before you get one, but that way you can end up with a satisfactory camera at a price you dicide on. I bid on several view cameras without winning one before I won my current Cambo at about 1/2 of what I expected to pay. My normal stratagy is to enter my maximum bid and then forget about the item until it closes; then I look to see if I won it...often I do. I know alot of folks have ended up feeling taken on e-bay, but I have been very lucky...I've bought alot of camera stuff and only been sent one item that was not as described (a 3x3 gel filter that wasn't 3x3...it had 1/2" cut from one corner, leaving the maximum usable area 2.5x2.5 and off-centered). It was such a low-costl item that I didn't argue when the seller didn't want to make it good, but I did leave him negative feedback so that other buyers would be wary of him and reported to e-bay that he tried to SELL me a replacement. Good luck.

26-Feb-2005, 16:07
I picked up an Ansco 5x7 plus 4 film holders and a case for $127. It wasn't perfect. The bellows had been cut down to 16" I think. The rear track was missing which didn't matter with the cut down bellows. The back I think was really a 2.5x7 spilt back that had been changed back to 5x7. Still it was only $127 for a camera and when I added by 150mm G-claron it worked just fine.

I picked up an 8x10 Cambo super monorail for $225 or so. Both tripod mounts needed tightening. I really should replace the screws. The ground glass is from a B&J camera and isn't in the best shape. it weighs a good 15lbs+. But when I add my 240 G-claron it works just fine. I picked up four 8x10 holders for about $85 US including shipping for the set.

Neither of those cameras are perfect. Both still needed tripods. I had to buy some 8x10 holders.

I've seen 8x10s go for less but they had more obvious problems.

I'm not sure how much more I would have spent for "perfect". The tachihara 8x10 from Mpex isn't that much more money then many of the pristine cameras sell for. My Shen Hao 5x7 with all the bits wasn't too extreme. So for me the choice was more broken down older that I could fix up a little or brand new.

Ben Calwell
26-Feb-2005, 16:43
Try Midwest Photo (www.mpex.com (http://www.mpex.com)). Jim at Midwest could probably help you put something together that's within your budget.

Joe Smigiel
26-Feb-2005, 16:53
I just picked up a 5x7 Ansco with 210mm tessar and packard shutter from eBay for $125 plus shipping. I only bid on the thing for the Agfa tripod and head which i figured was almost worth the $125 alone. (I'm keeping the tripod and possibly the Packard Shutter and I'll probably be either selling the camera and lens or stripping the hardware from it for some other cameras I'm constructing.)

In the past I've purchased similar tailboard Ansco 5x7s sans lens for as little as $26. I think the lowest I've ever paid for an 8x10 (Eastman Studio Camera) on eBay was $67. You just have to be patient on eBay. It also helps if you can find an individual selling camera stuff about which they have no clue and they put ridiculously low Buy-It-Now prices on. Once I see one of their auctions (even if I'm too late for that particular item), I add that seller to my favorite seller's list and check to see what they list periodically.

A few weeks ago I got a 7" Verito lens in shutter BIN for about $125 IIRC. A few days later a similar lens in barrel went for over $400. Helps to be at the right place at the right time.

John D Gerndt
26-Feb-2005, 20:04
Percy, you'll do better starting out with 5x7 by far. Everything is cheaper. It is a very respectable format, quite large enough to contact print and enlargers are more plentiful as well as more reasonable in size. Even if you get bitten by the 8x10 bug, the 5x7 will sometimes be the better choice. It is OK to have two cameras. Seriously, start with the 5x7, deal with someone of high repute. That will be your bargin.


26-Feb-2005, 20:12
Keep your eyes open at garage sales. I have a couple of people who go to lots of garage sales and they call me if there is something. It paid off one time, I bought my 8x10 deardorf with 3 lenses, 5 film holders, original case etc., AND a 4x5 Pluabel Makina with case, holders and 2 lenses for $450. about 3 years ago.

27-Feb-2005, 02:33
why settle...
Call mr Philips and have him make a customized 8x10, call a respected LF dealer and order 2-3 new Rodenstock Apo-Sironar-S, 10 toyo 8x10 holders and some trix“es, a gitzo carbon tripod with an arca B2 head and a good lightmeter....have fun, pay later

Dave Moeller
27-Feb-2005, 06:58

It would be helpful if you would give us your definition of "ransoming the queen". Are you willing to pay $400? $500? $1000?

Having said that, I can tell you that I picked up a Calumet C1 (the lighter magnesium model), my first 8x10 lens (a Nikkor 480mm process lens), a Packard shutter, and about a dozen 8x10 film holders, all for less then $600. The trick is to pick the pieces up separately, and to use as many resources as are available for finding the equipment.

The C1 I got on eBay. I got it dirt cheap because the person who was selling it took lousy pictures of it. The pictures made it look like the black (and therefore heavier aluminum) model. The pictures were so dark that I loaded them into an image editor and played around with them to see what the camera actually looked like. Surprise...the camera was green (not a guarantee that it's the lighter model...but the odds are good) and was in excellent condition. I placed the only bid on the item. The seller's lack of photographic ability saved me a few hundred dollars.

The Nikkor lens I picked up from a member who posted it on a forum. It was listed along with another lens, both being shipped from Europe, for the princely sum of $150. The Nikkor was in excellent shape, but the other lens was disparaged in the seller's description, so nobody took the bait before I found the ad. The Nikkor was in pristine shape. The other lens was so pitted that I haven't yet decided if I'll throw it away or play with it to see what sort of artistic effects it might produce.

The Packard shutter is from KEH. The listing was confusing, and it was going for $19. It turns out that part of an old (probably pre-20th century) lens was attached to the shutter. I removed the old lens and had a perfectly functioning shutter.

The film holders were mostly from eBay, listed as "needing work". Not much can go wrong with a film holder that can't be fixed with a roll of bellows tape and a little patience.

Patience is the key here. If you need something now, you'll pay for it. You might as well order a new camera and lens, and pay the ransom for them. But if you can spend a few months trolling eBay and the various photo forums, you'll find the deals. In the end, it can pay off handsomely.

Be well.

Don Wallace
28-Feb-2005, 05:01
The procedure is the same as it ever was. Do some research on what you need/want and then start checking out the usual sources. Let dealers know what you are after and eventually some decent deals will come your way. In three different sales, I got an old Ansco (with 8x10 and 5x7 backs) in very nice shape, a 14 inch Commercial Ektar with a recent CLA, and three holders, all for a total of $1200. I had to get a new tripod but I COULD have continued with my old one as long as there was no breeze.