View Full Version : How Much are you budgeting for 8x10 these days?

11-Feb-2016, 17:23
I'm pondering moving from 4x5 to 8x10 and what concerns me more than the equipment is the ongoing cost of film. I know how much film is new from Freestyle so I don't need help with basic math. I'm really curious how you 8x10 shooters are making shooting this format sustainable.

So if you don't mind my asking, how much are you spending per month on 8x10 darkroom supplies?

Erik Larsen
11-Feb-2016, 17:34
I'm not that prolific a shooter, but the way I approach 8x10 is if I don't envision a nice print from the scene I refrain from clicking the shutter. That said, I still have piles of crappy negatives that I shouldn't have wasted the film on[emoji56]
If cost is a concern, either be selective or stay with a smaller format.

11-Feb-2016, 18:11
I am cheap, cheap, cheap. I would not be shooting LF at all but for xray film. I already had three cameras, mostly given to me, for years before I discovered xray. That said, I am using about one box of 100 sheets a year---$40. I mix my own developer from scratch, and I think it costs me about a dime a sheet for that, plus fixer, which I'm buying in the largest possible quantity. So I guess that all would add up to around $60 a year.

My big blow-out items, which I would not do this without, were three of Vinny's tanks, for about $150, and a bunch of Kodak hangers, maybe another $30 for those. It seemed like a lot of money, but worth it.

I just bought twenty pounds of sodium sulfite on Ebay for about $1.75 a pound--I go through more of that than anything else, so I figured to buy in bulk. Generally, I'm treating everything that way as much as possible, to save bucks.

When I shoot, and I'm doing studio portraits for fun, I limit myself to two shots as much as possible. If I think I have a difficult subject, I switch to 5x7 or 4x5 so I can shoot more but still stay in budget.

Keeping the expenses down is a nice challenge, and I don't mind it at all. I spend the money I save, on lenses, it seems.

John Kasaian
11-Feb-2016, 18:19
First, I don't shoot 8x10 color film.:o
Second, I won't expose a sheet of 8x10 unless I really feel good about the shot.
No "spray and pray" LOL!

I always keep two unopened boxes of Ilford in the freezer as a hedge

$109 (25 sheets of Ilford, from Badger Graphic)
$76.99 (100 sheets of Arista Ortho from Freestyle)
$132.71 (50 sheets of Arista.edu from Freestyle)
$31.30 (100 sheets of Fuji X-ray from CSX Online)
There are plenty of alternatives for every budget.:cool:

Fr. Mark
11-Feb-2016, 21:19
I built my current 8x10 around a projector lens and 5 matching plate holders with film sheaths. Lens and film holders under $100. Film:Ektascan BR/A zzmedical under 100$/100 sheets. I shoot it mostly as 5x7 because I like the format and I have a much better 5x7 camera. I mix my own chemistry from bulk. if I built a different back the 8x10 could be used as an enlarger but increasingly I want contact prints. I also proof negatives as cyanotypes on 25% cotton typing paper from the thrift store. Silver's ok for some things but increasingly for prints I'm liking Iron and Chromium sensitized materials. If you have to carry water to the basement in jugs as I do 8x10 will up your water consumption and jug filling time. I built tanks and also have hangers for 4x5 and 8x10 but prefer single sided X-ray film one sheet at a time. This is a hobby not a production environment. Though if single sided films become unavailable I will use hangers more or make my own films.

Tin Can
11-Feb-2016, 22:39
The last 2 days I shot 8 sheets of 8x10 Ektascan cut into 32-4x5 as test shots for tomorrow's 4 sheets of 8x10 Ektascan. My Chems and film are bought once a year.

That way I don't think about it all the time.

That said, after tomorrow I will shoot bulk 35mm in 12 shot rolls until next month.

Anybody remember the Cone Heads?

11-Feb-2016, 22:42
My budget for 8x10 is about half of that of my 11x14, but about twice that for my 5x7...:cool:

Alan Gales
11-Feb-2016, 22:50
My budget for 8x10 is about half of that of my 11x14, but about twice that for my 5x7...:cool:

Good answer, Vaughn! ;)

11-Feb-2016, 22:55
X-ray is great for those budget-oriented folks. Personally I buy most any film being blown out because it's a few years past expiration and stick it in my fridge/freezer. This applies to 4x5 too. Once it's paid for and sitting in the fridge I shoot it without hesitation. If I need more later I'll deal with that then.

I try not to take crap photos obviously but you can't win 'em all - I still shoot photos that I'm not totally sure of, and sometimes I even bracket. Last weekend I shot 3 8x10 sheets of the same scene (though two were x-ray) that I wasn't 100% sure were going to turn out...I even had heavy vignetting from coverage limits. The slightly cropped scan from one of those printed to 12x15 looks real nice though.

Maris Rusis
11-Feb-2016, 22:58
I don't budget. Cost is not the limitation. I have hundreds of 8x10 black and white sheets in cold storage. What constrains film usage is finding subject matter that carries the themes I want to explore. And then there's limited energy, vision, imagination, and talent. I spend several months of the year pursuing grand and not so grand landscapes. My expenses in transport, accommodation, and sustenance grossly exceed the mere cost of film. In the end I spend more on fibre base photographic paper exploring the negatives I make than I do on the film itself.

Alan Gales
11-Feb-2016, 23:05
I'm with John on 8x10 color. I can't afford it so I shoot 4x5 color.

I've got a Harrison tent but no darkroom. I develop my b&w film with a Jobo expert drum and a Beselar motorized drum roller. Color I take to a lab. I have an Epson flatbed scanner to scan my negatives for prints. Eventually, when my daughter graduates college and moves out I plan on turning her room into a makeshift darkroom for contact printing.

So right now I buy no paper and just chemicals for developing b&w film.

Jim Noel
16-Feb-2016, 15:32
Although I have about 200 sheets of FP4+ and almost as much HP5+ in the freezer, most of my imaging is done on X-ray film.
I do this not only because of cost, but also it takes me back to my beginnings in LF in the 1930's. At that time orthochromatic films were far more prevalent than were panchromatic. The look is distinctive, and for me nostalgic. I have even gone back to the developers I used at that time.
I use about 30-40 sheets per month and photograph almost anything that gets in front of my camera. I also use X-ray film in the 7x17.

Lachlan 717
16-Feb-2016, 16:16

What do you use in the 7x17", please?