View Full Version : 8 x 10 View Camera to Process Copy Camera

2-Apr-2016, 14:45

Was looking at getting an 8 x 10 Canham or Cambo View Camera setup, but was wondering if it could also be used as a process camera.
I hear the lens to get should be at least 300mm but Im told that process lens is much different and cant be substituted for view lens.
It would be nice to get just one camera setup to use in the field and in the studio instead of getting a separate copy stand camera / enlarger.
I also hear that if I was to use the view camera indoors for processing, I would need some powerful lights as well.
Im not that interested in a large Agfa Repromaster type process machine as the paintings are on the wall and cant be removed.
Perhaps you know of an 8x10 process camera that I could modify to setup vertically?

Any thoughts would be appreciated, thanks.

Ted R
2-Apr-2016, 19:19
There are two differences between view lenses and process lenses. Process lenses are usually "barrels" without shutters, they are operated in artificial light by turning the lights on and off to make the exposure. The second difference is that a process lens performs best with the subject (fairly) close to the lens rather than at a great distance, the difference however may not be significant depending on the degree of enlargement making the print and how much scrutiny for technical perfection is applied to the image. The preferred lens is a view lens with shutter. Adding a shutter to a process lens is commonly done, usually at lengths greater than 300mm because these are more common as process lenses than view lenses.

In theory a view camera can be turned into an enlarger using the same lens except that if the view type lens is used it may not like the heat of the enlarger lamp. In my opinion the devil with this concept is in the details, making a lamp-house that is light-tight, arranging for a slide-in negative carrier instead of the dark-slide and ground glass, these are significant technical challenges, I'm not saying it can't be done but it is a project in itself that is a distraction from making pictures unfortunately.

Neal Chaves
2-Apr-2016, 19:27
I used a 355 G-Claron in Copal 3 for a number of years for taking and enlarging from cameras fitted with a cold light head. These lenses are specially corrected for close-ups, but I don't see how it could have been any sharper at infinity. You can't go wrong with a G-Claron.

Doremus Scudder
3-Apr-2016, 03:01
Sounds to me like you just want to use your camera to copy artwork. However you post is not really clear and could be understood as your wanting to use the camera for an enlarger.

For doing copy work, the only real consideration is finding a lens that will work well at the distances you intend to work at. If you're working close, then a process lens might be just the thing you need. At greater distances (say a couple of meters) a general-purpose lens will work just fine.

Yes, copy stands and studio stands are nice, but with just a little more effort you can level and align your camera to the artwork/copy work just as well. The final alignment would be on your ground glass anyway (a gridded glass helps a lot here). FWIW, I did quite a few museum catalogs with my standard monorail 4x5 camera and general-purpose lenses many years ago. That was on transparency material and printed up to magazine size. The quality was more than adequate for that size of reproduction. My working distances were in the 2-3 meter range. Many of the artworks were hung on walls with hooks and wire and were therefore not perpendicular to the floor. My challenge was to position and adjust the camera to preserve rectilinearity. I used a heavy-duty tripod with a good pan/tilt head along with small camera movements to get the back parallel to the plane of the artwork. Results were outstanding.

If you're trying to use your camera as an enlarger, then you need a light source and a negative carrier in place of the back plus a stand, etc. Often this is less feasible than just finding an enlarger. For enlarging, you'll need an enlarging lens; they're optimized for the distances in enlarging and are not all that expensive. 300mm for 8x10 is normal but there are some wide-angle models in 240mm.



3-Apr-2016, 05:19
I'd use a macro lens in shutter. Get an inexpensive monorail and use a laser to square it to your copywork.

6-Apr-2016, 20:27
Thanks for the help. Going to get 2 lenses, one for process, and one for view. G-Claron sounds good.
Heard SKGrimes is good for adding a shutter. Also some xenon lamps. Thanks again.