View Full Version : 8x10" film holders, Toyo / Fidelity / Lisco etc: fit to Gibellini camera?

Tim V
25-Jan-2018, 14:44
Hi all,

I've aquired a Gibellini 8x10" camera and need to buy some film holders. I read of another Gibellini user needing to modify his camera back to accept the Toyo film holders and I stated to wonder if the different brand holders are sized differenty?

My question is if they all conform to a size standard. I know the film plane / depth of the holder to where the film sits should be the same, but what about the physical size of the holders? If I find a good deal on the Toyo holders, do people think it would be safe to get them instead of the Fidelity or Lisco holders?

Any other things I need to think about or watch out for?



Jim Galli
25-Jan-2018, 23:18
Tim, I don't know the answer, but I do know how to find out. It's always up to the technician to measure his camera ground glass surface and compare that to his film backs with a piece of film in it. I wrote an article years ago that explains how easy and quick this is to do. It's here (http://tonopahpictures.0catch.com/ULF%20Back%20Measure/ULFMeasuring.html). I DO have experience with interchangeability of 4X5 toyo and Riteway holders. Perfect matches and I have to believe the 8X10 ones hold to a long standing industry standard. Once you go to ULF, all bets are off. But 4X5 and 8X10 have held to engineering standards for a century. Worst case would be you'd have to re-sell the Toyo's to someone else. Maybe easier for me than you. I've got the horse trader gene. I wouldn't hesitate to buy nice clean TOYO holders. Whatever you end up with; measure. It's quick and free, and film and opportunities to use it are expensive.

27-Jan-2018, 18:54
Hi Tim,
Both Linsco and Fidelity holders fit fine on my 2014 Gibbellini.

Tim V
28-Jan-2018, 02:24
Hi guys,

Thanks for your replies, much appreciated. I typed a rather long reply last night, but for some reason it didn't post–happened on two different threads, so I must have timed out or something?

Anyway, I appreciate your answers.

I'm not sure why the forum member (Ari?) had issues with his Toyo holders loadind into his Ginellini (N?) camera. I have ordered some Lisco holders in the meantime, as I know they work in the camera. At some stage I'd like to buy some brand new holders though–seems a good investment–so it'd be good to know the full story as to why his camera had to be modified to fit the Toyo samples he had.

As for the film plane, I'm sure as they all conform to the same standard that the film plane is exactly the same with the different brands, give or take manufacturing tollerances. I'm think though that the Toyo holders might be ever so slightly longer or wider, hense they didn't fit? Maybe the camera was made with almost no wiggle room for the Fidelity / Lisco holders, hense it had to be modified to accomidate one slightly larger?

Slightly OT below...

Thanks also Rorye for the info that the Lisco and Fidelity brands fit your camera, which I am assuming is a model D? I have an AC-D – I received it last week as an exceptionally generous gift from a very supportive family member, and must confess to not knowing much about the brand except from a few mixed reviews here on LF Forum. So far the camera seems exceptionally solid, if a little quirky. I will have a camera technician friend add some small spirit levels on the back standard so I know it's square–not sure why Gibellini didn't add detents in the struts for 90 degrees on the front and back–and eventually I will upgrade the focusing to the fine geard focusing system. Must say on this front thought that I am surprised at how smooth and easy the focusing action is. I might find I forget about this upgrade in due course, I'm just so used to it with my Linhof cameras it's hard to imagine not having it. I'd be interested to hear your expereience, either here or via PM, of your Gibellini camera and how you find using it.

Thanks agian to all who have relplied here.


28-Jan-2018, 18:59
Hi Tim,
I must say I love my Gibellini, and yes, it is a D.
I love how solid it is, with a 450mm at infinity locked down there is very little movement even in the wind. It's on a heavy Majestic tripod that helps.
I didn't know there was a fine focus upgrade and while that sounds great I don't think I'll ever feel the need for one. I can see if you're used to a Linhof that would be nice but I think you'll find the smoothness of the slider to be pretty sweet.
I would have liked indents and levels but I've kind of gotten used to not having them.
I will eventually upgrade the bellows, while they are beautiful ultimately I find them way too heavy, new bellows shouldn't sag. Meanwhile I prop them up. I also plan to put a Steve Hopf ground glass on it, I thought I'd get used to the plastic but I never did.
My only other issue is that it only has about 550mm draw so I can't use my 611mm lens, Allesandro has told me he can make an extension but I'm all out of cash, I use the lens on my Wisner instead.
I know that sounds like several issues but none of them are major for me and I really do enjoy using the camera, it's very sweet.
Feel free to pm me with any questions.

30-Jan-2018, 11:54
Hi Tim,
Yes, I had a problem with Toyo holders and my Gibellini camera.
But the problem wasn't the Toyo holders, it had to do with how the Gibellini back is designed.
Alessandro didn't take into account the "lip" at the top of Toyo holders, it sits in a slightly different place than on other holders.
This isn't a problem on any other 8x10 camera I've ever used, but it caused severe light leaks on my Gibellini, because the back was designed too specifically to one type of film holder.
I had to send my camera in for modification, and the problem was solved. I was also told that the back modification would be standard on all new cameras, but I don't know if that actually happened.
When I got my camera back, I ran some film through it, made sure that it worked 100%, and sold it.

I find the Toyo holders to be vastly superior to any other commercially-available 8x10 holder, so if you find some, buy them.
They're easily worth the extra cost. As the story above illustrates, I'd rather keep my Toyo holders than keep a camera that has trouble using Toyo holders.

Tim V
30-Jan-2018, 12:47
Thanks Ari, that's interesting and a bit worrying...

I have a AC-D model Gibellini, and I seem to remember you had the later N model? Unless they changed the back specifications between models, I'm assuming my D will have the same problems as yours...

Maybe I will contact Gibellini and report back.



(EDIT: I've sent them a message on Facebook to ask, as they were very quick to respond to me there a few days ago when I had a few questions about upgrading the focusing system on my camera. I will report back and share what they say.)

30-Jan-2018, 15:34
Tim, I had the AAN model of a couple years ago.
I don't know the production timeline, but if your AC-D is an older model, it's possible that you may run into trouble using Toyo holders.
Beisdes contacting Alessandro, you should also run a few sheets through the camera, and under bright conditions if possible (if you already own a Toyo holder).
Keep us posted.

Tim V
30-Jan-2018, 23:12
Thanks Ari, I've Facebooked Alessandro. He replied – it must have been midnight in Italy when he answered – and said that they are now producing their own aluminium holders. I replied to say I didn't know this and asked what they cost. I also asked again re the Toyo holders in the D series cameras (not sure why he didn't answer the question, but to his credit it was very late in Italy!) and look forward to his reply today. So far i've found him very easy to get in contact with, which is good.

While I'm a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to my gear – I absolutely must trust it to perform as it should – and I will do a few modifications on my own camera to improve its functionality, the camera was a very special gift to me from a special person, so I'm committed to it for the long haul. I just ordered som Lisco II holders to be on the safe side, and look forward to using them in the camera soon.

Regardless, I'll report back when Alessandro replies so that other people may learn something with me!

Tim V
7-Feb-2018, 03:15
I've run in to some problems with regards to my camera...

I got two excellent Lisco film holders and they fit perfectly, but have discovered that the camera's rear standard frame is slightly warped. This means that the ground glass does not sit flat and is able to be slightly rocked, as forcing the two parts together and using the clasps to lock the back into place makes the wooden parts of the ground glass back bow slightly. This also causes light to leak in around the edges where the two parts meet.

I've tried contacting Gibellini several times and not heard back yet.

So, good news is that the Lisco holders fit perfectly.

Bad news is that my camera needs some work and I'm waiting on Gibellini to answer their email... I'd prefer to send the camera to them to fix and maybe upgrade a few parts than try and DIY fix it myself. I'm no great home handyman!

7-Feb-2018, 10:13
Tim, I'll make a suggestion based on my own past experiences with Gibellini; you're free to take it or ignore it. This really only applies if you're in North America.
Get in touch with Richard Ritter in Vermont, and send him your camera when he will be available to work on it.
I've no direct experience with him, but he makes his own cameras and is well-versed in the use of various woods and metals.
If you find a Toyo holder, even as a loaner, send it to Richard so he can take care of that problem at the same time.
It's worth paying Richard the repair money, rather than trying to get a free repair from Gibellini.

Tim V
7-Feb-2018, 12:39
Thanks Ari,

I don't want or expect Gibellini to do the repair for free. I'm not the original owner and I have no idea what has caused the wood to warp – it's a natural material afterall, so prone to happen.

If Gibellini however aren't keen to reply with a price to do it I will start exploring other options like Richard Ritter. I've had a few email exchanges with them and received a price to repair plus upgrade the focusing mechanism, but not a price for the repair alone. Communication is a little stunted, due mostly I think to time difference and language. Fingers crossed they give me a better idea of cost of repairs soon.

7-Feb-2018, 16:57
Hi Tim,
One reason I suggested Richard is because when I sent my camera in to Alessandro, it took months for him to repair it, and longer to send me a refund for the FedEx Priority shipping (~$500.00).
The main repair needed was the light leak caused by use of a Toyo holder, but all of it was under warranty, as the camera had been with me for only a month or two before I shipped it out to him.
If cost of shipping & repair isn't important, perhaps your time spent using the camera is more valuable.

Tim V
7-Feb-2018, 17:12
Thanks Ari,

Appreciate the honest and direct answer. Yes, I would rather be using the camera that waiting for months for it to return... I'm lucky I have other brilliant gear to use in the meantime, but nothing as fun or lush to use as the 8x10". Plus I want to use the camera on a large commision during the second half of the year, so time is of the essence there...

Thanks again,


7-Feb-2018, 17:23
I just got my Wisner back from Ritter, it needed a complete overhaul and it was only gone for about a week.

Tim V
7-Feb-2018, 22:22
Wow, that’s quick turn around.
I’d be keen to hear what he did and how much it cost.

Tim V
9-Feb-2018, 21:15
I've heard back from Gibellini as to the cost of the repair and some additional modifications to the camera. Have also emailed Richard Ritter to see what he says. That was a few days ago and no reply yet, but hopefully he'll elaborate on what services he can provide and if he'll deal with someone from New Zealand.