View Full Version : Opinions on Tachihara and Wehman 8x10

Roger Richards
25-Jul-2005, 08:13
Hi everyone, just looking for specific feedback from owners of the Tachi and Wehman cameras as I might finally start doing some 8x10. I currently use 4x5, and for a project I am doing that will end up exhibited at no larger than 40x50 prints I would also like your opinions on whether you see much difference between 8x10 and 4x5 at that size. Some that I have spoken to say it is very distinct, others not worth the extra cost and weight of 8x10. Thanks.

25-Jul-2005, 08:29
B&W or color? Color Neg or Trannies?

Ralph Barker
25-Jul-2005, 09:02
I use a Tachihara double-extension 8x10, and have generally been quite pleased with it - particularly considering the price. Note, however that the double extension model has only limited swing on the rear standard, and that is achieved via dual rear-standard knobs. If you are accustomed to doing rear-standard focusing, that can be a bit inconvenient.

I don't have an 8x10 enlarger, however, so all I use the Tachi for is contact prints. At 10x (with 4x5) versus 5x enlargement (with 8x10), one should be able to see a difference in the prints. Whether that difference is crucial is very subjective - rather like making 11x14s from 35mm negs. Getting lab-made prints from the 8x10 negs might also be more of an issue than with 4x5.

25-Jul-2005, 09:02
A search on "Wehman" will turn up some comments, including several of mine. If the bellows and movements are enough for you (they are plenty for landscape), it can't be beat, IMHO.

I was involved in another discussion here recently, SOT, about enlarging Widelux 35mm color negs. The consensus was that a good ballpark value for maximum enlargement was about 10x. For various reasons I ended up enlarging 13x, and yes, I can see more grain than I would really like to. I had tested with a 5x7 enlargement of some small complicated details, which were adequately sharp at 13x. The grain shows up in the simple blue sky.

Jeff Morfit
25-Jul-2005, 09:10
With many 8x10 cameras you can also change backs to 5x7 and 4x5 formats. That is one advantage to purchasing an 8x10.

Roger Richards
25-Jul-2005, 09:17
Bill, I will be shooting 160/400 NC color neg. Ralph and CXC, thanks for your feedback. I did do a search on the Wehman in the forums and read your previous posts, and they were helpful. Sometimes people have more to add after using the camera over a long period of time. Ralph, you were kind enough to reply to a question I asked a while back on the Tachihara. Since you have been using it a bit longer the info on rear swing is extremely helpful. The price is what I find attractive about these two cameras. A big issue for me though is fit and finish.

Ralph Barker
25-Jul-2005, 09:28
The fit and finish on the Tachi is quite nice, Roger, notwithstanding the affordable price. From what I recall of CXC's Wehman (we went shooting together a while back), it also appeared to be well-made.

Eric Leppanen
25-Jul-2005, 10:35
When printed digitally (drum scan plus Lightjet/Chromira), color landscape subjects printed at 40x50 will look substantially better when shot in 8x10 versus 4x5. Grain is effectively eliminated; fine details and texture are much clearer; and overall tonality is improved. The result is a more real, three-dimensional look to the photograph. Of course, to pull this off, you'll need to ensure that your lenses are up to the task, and multi-coated wide-angle (or even normal) 8x10 lenses can get pricey if you need room for camera movements.

With less detail-sensitive (presumably non-landscape) subject matter, I agree that the difference between 4x5 and 8x10 can become more subjective.

I gave up on non-digital color printing of large format subjects several years ago. It has been said that color digital printing gains at least one format size in clarity versus conventional printing; I think you would be better off digitally printing 4x5 than conventionally printing 8x10.

Tony Karnezis
25-Jul-2005, 16:58
I agree wtih Eric. You can see a difference between 4x5 and 8x10 in prints greater than 30x40. I have not done the comparison myself, but I have seen a friend's work (Velvia, drum scan, Lightjet print). When presented with 30x40 prints of similar subject material, you can pick out the ones shot with 8x10. Because he routinely prints 30x40 or larger, he now shoots 8x10 exclusively, despite the cost, weight, and inconvenience. With regards to the first part of your question, I have not used either camera.

Tom Perkins
25-Jul-2005, 18:19
I have used the Wehman for several years and it is an outstanding piece of equipment; portable, rugged and easy to use. Nevertheless, I would say that the strength of an 8x10 negative is in contact prints and not enlargements, particularly in color. It will be easier to get a sharp negative that can stand the enlargement at 4x5; at least in my case, very few of my 8x10 negatives would be good for enlargements. You are likely to get stunning prints from 4x5 done well. I don't doubt that Tony's friend is a master and that with the right equipment, technique and dedication you could make terrific large prints from 8x10, but it may not be necessary. Good luck.

Roger Richards
25-Jul-2005, 21:39
Jeff, Eric, Tony and Tom, thanks for your help.

Tom and CXC, how does the Wehman 'feel'? I mean, does it give that sense of having been put together with careful thought, in choice of materials and setup/breakdown? You guys have been really good with your descriptions, but there are always the intangibles that make one choose a camera over another. The Wehman strikes me as a serious photographer's camera, well-made but without any flash. Hope I don't sound too anal about this, just trying to make the right choice.

Brian Ellis
26-Jul-2005, 07:06
At that size I assume your ffilm will be scanned and your photographs will be printed digitally on an ink jet or Lightjet et al digital printer. I scan and print photographs from both 4x5 and 8x10 negatives on an ink jet printer. I see no difference in quality of the photographs as between the two sizes, though the photographs I print aren't as large as 40x50. My guess is that the equipment and skill of the people doing the scanning and printing will have a greater effect on the quality of the photographs than the difference between 4x5 and 8x10 film. Why don't you talk to whatever lab will be doing the work and see what they say? Obviously I'm assuming that you'll be using a lab for this since most people don't have access to a personal drum scanner and an ink net or other digital printer capable of printing photographs in the 40x50 range.

I've played around with a double extension 8x10 Tachihara and thoroughly investigated the Wehman before buying an 8x10 camera. As between the two it would be a simple choice for me. The double extension Tachihara weighs something like 12 or more pounds, the triple extension weighs 15 or more. The Wehman weighs around 8 IIRC and again subject to recollection from a couple years ago, has a bellows extension comparable to the triple extension Tachi. You can double check me on the specs but as between two otherwise comparable cameras, a difference of even 4 pounds would be the deciding factor. Of course there is the aesthetic/"feel" issue. The Tachihara is a gorgeious camera, the Wehman is . . . . well it isn't gorgeous but if it feels o.k. who cares?

Roger Richards
26-Jul-2005, 10:26
Brian, you are correct, the photos will be drum scanned and printed at large size by a specialist, I do my own for print sizes up to 12x15 with an Epson 4870/ 2200 combo. Thanks for your impression of the Wehman and Tachihara cameras. Not having seen the Tachihara in person I wonder if it is gaudy, as the photos I have seen are saturated and it looks a bit loud. Is this really so? The Wehman looks very utilitarian, on the other hand, not very attractive although the features are quite impressive.

26-Jul-2005, 11:04
The Wehman is made of quite a few different materials, each selected for its task, none selected for appearance. Compared to what Ralph mentions about his Tachihara, the Wehman has plenty of rear swing, and in fact it is geared and asymmetrical; if rear swing is more important to you than it is to me, that might matter. Also, it has the traditional geared rear focus on the right and lock on the left, definitely a plus. The front standard is a minus, insofar as the focus, shift, and swing are all controlled by one knob, and it is not too difficult accidentally to unhook the standard from its rails. Practice should conquer this shortcoming, but I assume the Tachi's arrangement is superior (which is part of why it weighs more).

The Tachi will also win any beauty contest.

The big difference to remember about 4x5 vs. 8x10 is the latter's reduced depth of field.