View Full Version : Thoughts - 18x24 cm or 8x10 Film Format - Pros and Cons

16-Mar-2019, 06:33
Sorry if this is not following conventional formats for this Forum or if it is in the wrong place - its a first post and really inspired by the desire to give something back to the Forum for those new or looking at the potential of large format, as I have taken lots of useful information and opinions over the years - apologies also that whilst I didn't intend a long post, it has worked out that way.

I am writing this with some practical findings/thoughts which may be useful for others or spark contrary discussion as I have not found all this information in one place, but compiled here from my findings and others - 18x24 cm Film Format instead of 8x10" - Pros and Cons

I am experienced with large format up to 4x5 and whilst working on a new location portraiture project ( http://dglockwood.com/theallotments/ ) up pops a Sinar Norma 8x10 on a auction site at a price too good to pass by. I already have a 4x5 Norma and love the build quality, weight and flexibility of components as I was trained on them as a student, although I am using a Nagaoka Seisakusho 4x5 for the above project as it is fun to use and easier to cart around the locations. Having bought this 8x10 camera I ordered some DD slides and without reading the ad properly and fully understanding the difference get 18x24cm slides instead of 8x10" - after ordering realise that 8x10" and 18x24cm are very different and although fit the same camera have different internal measurements and can only accept that specific film size. So I am just about to cancel the order when I did some quick research and realised that there is a serious advantage to European 18x24cm over the US/English 8x10" (realise there are disadvantages also - can you get film still or other 18x24 parts if needed), which is less coverage needed from the lenses, so not so many new lenses needed to get it up and running.

So here are my calculations from the camera, DDs and other sources:

18x24cm is 7.2" x 9.6", not a massive reduction to the 8x10" format and still a good if not slightly more rectangular ratio 4:3 as opposed to 5:4 - I plan to shoot 'Allotment' landscapes to go with the portraits so this works for me.

Image circle needed is appx 288mm to cover film corner to corner instead of appx 320mm (I appreciate there are different calculations and alternative opinions for this, give or take a few mm, but I measured directly from the 18x24cm DD film holder and mask of the GG screen of the 8x10" Sinar which still has original masks/crop marks for both formats on it)

So many of my 4x5 lenses will work on 18x24cm but not on 8x10" because of the coverage needed - here are the calculation below as to 35mm equivalent focal length (to gauge usefulness) and coverage:

So basic equivalent of a lens used on 18x24cm (can't go off 8x10 as its bigger and can find this info on lists anywhere) to 35mm lens (again won't get in to equivalent ratio argument - its a basic guide) based on a diagonal of 288mm on film in holder – calculation factor 6.69 based on 288/43 (35mm diagonal)

125 = 19mm
150 = 22mm
180 = 27mm
210 = 31mm
240 = 36mm
305 = 46mm
360 = 54mm
480 = 72mm

My usable 4x5 lenses image circles at infinity (won't get in to 'what aperture' for each though)

Fujinon NSW 125mm f8
Fuji and others generally say 280 (this shouldn't cover, but when looking through camera in contrary to some posts here and Fuji brochures, mine covers the whole of the 8x10" screen at open aperture and stopped down, not just 18x24cm - it may lack mechanical vignetting though, but looks sharp on the 8x10" corners - mine also however has an 86mm front thread (chrome Copal shutter version) - Fuji literature lists this model as 82mm filter, so something is wrong here in the specifications in the literature - standard bellows won't allow rise or fall so I can't find at which point it vignettes - found this Fuji price list which then says 290 and is designed for 8x10!!! go figure - http://www.thalmann.com/largeformat/specs.htm . Based on this price list - its says a 100 degree angle of view, so I calculate a coverage of 298mm - plenty for 18x24cm if we believe online coverage calculators)

Fujinon NW 180mm
Fuji say 280 (when viewed through camera the mechanical vignetting is actually passed the 288mm diagonal - it covers 18x24cm comfortably (from f5.6), looks sharp in the corners, probably more like 294mm, but no real rise or fall is available)

Sironar S 210mm (late)
Sinar say 310 - 10mm rise/fall - tested and appx correct

Symmar S 240mm (1970s MC)
Schneider say 337 - 20mm rise/fall (great lens, very sharp benefits from the additional r and f of 18x24cm)

Repro Claron 305mm
My guess is 272 based on a 48 degree angle of view - a guess again of that type of lens - it has no mechanical vignetting so actually covers the whole of 8x10, but does look to deteriorate to the corners - would cover 18x24cm OK for closer than infinity subjects though)

Apo Ronar 360mm
Rodenstock say 318 - 15mm rise/fall (would almost cover 8x10 but is comfortable on 18x24cm with some)

Apo Ronar 480mm
Rodenstock say 396 - 50mm rise/fall

Ok, what are the limitations of 18x24cm:

Can you find DD holders - yes, I am in England and can find them readily here and in Germany (no import duty) and they are somewhat cheaper as less popular - 50 for an as new unused Fidelity Elite.

Can I find film - this is probably the real issue, but I shoot and like Fomapan and do no colour work (colour would probably negate the whole conversation) - I have sourced Fomapan 100 in 18x24" in Europe, new at 80 a box of 50 as opposed to 8x10" at 135, so yes for B/W and its very much cheaper, but for how long will I be able to get it....that's the gamble, however I can always cut down 8x10" in the darkroom to fit the smaller size in the future and there is plenty of XRay film in both sizes in Europe which could be cut down under red light as well if I get really strapped for cash on this new venture - Fuji Xray is 35 for 100 sheets in 18x24cm.

Processing - I use Jobo drums for 4x5 and have sourced someone in France who 3D prints film reels - bought a 18x24cm one for 60 that fits the 4x5 Jobo drum plus extension (this setup would take 2 but running on a budget for now) - its takes 4 sheets at a time and I semi stand develop in Rodinal which works really well for Fomapan and uses about 10ml a sheet regardless of water quantity, so not bad economy here either.

Enlarging.....not got to this as I am digitizing and inkjet printing for now, but in the future may use the camera as an enlarger in reverse (something that Sinar have products for the adaption of) but I have a DeVere 4x5 column mechanism which I can bolt it to and then would look to make an LED light source to illuminate

My Conclusion

Sorry long thinking and working out, but my conclusions was to stick with the 18x24cm format (prompted by accidental DD purchase) for now as it has big cost and usability advantages - there are lots of lenses that will work with it, but not 8x10". I can always buy 8x10" DDs in the future and shoot 8x10" but currently can't afford a Nikon sw 150mm or Schneider 165mm SA as 8x10 wide angles. How long will 18x24cm film be around for, though is perhaps the real question, but I can stock pile B/W from Europe.

Hope this time and information helps someone thinking about this though - excuse spelling and grammar.......

Tin Can
16-Mar-2019, 06:54
Makes sense to you and me.

We knew where you are from from the usage of whilst, which I sometimes use...:)

Bernice Loui
16-Mar-2019, 09:04
Similar why 5x7 _ 13x18cm has many advantages over 8x10. The 4:3 ratio appears to be the deciding factors.

IMO, unless one is doing contact prints, 8x10 has a lot of difficulties that are not initially apparent.


16-Mar-2019, 09:30
The only problem I see with 8x10 is the addictive nature of it. Once you use one and develop and print, you just want to shoot it over and over. Sometimes forgetting the 4x5 and even the MF.

16-Mar-2019, 09:44
Cool...have fun with it!

Bernice Loui
16-Mar-2019, 10:18
8x10, been there done that and well past done with it. The perk and emotional response from going from 4x5 to 8x10 is a SIGNIFICANT emotional WOW !!!

Then after many boxes of film later, that initial 8x10 WOW can fade when the reality of 8x10's limitations cannot be avoided.
There is absolutely a place for 8x10, IMO 8x10 is not a panacea or ideal for all LF image makers there IS a place for ALL image formats.


The only problem I see with 8x10 is the addictive nature of it. Once you use one and develop and print, you just want to shoot it over and over. Sometimes forgetting the 4x5 and even the MF.

16-Mar-2019, 10:30
What does "DD" mean?

Doremus Scudder
16-Mar-2019, 10:59
What does "DD" mean?

DD = Double Darkslide, British for two-sided filmholder. ...two peoples separated by a common language...



16-Mar-2019, 11:16
I wouldn't worry about enlarging it.. it's pretty close also to whole plate size which is a beautiful size for contact prints.

16-Mar-2019, 11:18
DD = Double Darkslide, British for two-sided filmholder. ...two peoples separated by a common language...


Doremus That is right, you speak English in Great Britain!

Bernice Loui
16-Mar-2019, 11:21
What should be done with 8x10, makes FAB contact prints. Contact prints have different demands on lenses or why a contact print with a lens set to f64 or smaller works GOOD.


I wouldn't worry about enlarging it.. it's pretty close also to whole plate size which is a beautiful size for contact prints.

16-Mar-2019, 11:30
I use both 18x24cm as well as 8x10... I bought a few boxes of brand new fidelity 18x24cm holders silly cheap some years ago (I think even before I had a camera for them)... As you said, fomapan is considerably cheaper in the European format. You can develop them comfortably in one of those 2830 jobo tanks which can be found for a reasonable price... I think visually I prefer the 4:3 ratio in this size contact print, the main advantage of 8x10 for me lies in the fact that I can use a half-darkslide and make 4x10 negs.

Steven Tribe
17-Mar-2019, 04:36
I too have an 8x10 Norma and bought a gaggle of new fidelity 18x24 holders during a clear-out sale at Bowens (I think). This was not a "better ratio" decision - but was ensuring an access to cheaper "Standard" FOMA film from Berlin.

I have never used these holders as there seems to be a rule that says "the larger the format - the fewer the exposures!" - thus my frozen initial purchases of 8x10" still covers my "Sinar" usage.

The Norma was one of my first large format purchases and I soon found out that it was overkill for the type of photography I was becoming interested in. I just didn't have use for all these movements and the bulk was a real hindrance out of the house! Looking at the OP's allotment series, I would have thought that framing/depth of focus would have more important than movements made available through a "Sinar" type technical camera.

So where is this going? Well just to point out that, if you don't need too much in the way of movements, there is another way of getting into the 18x24cm format. The French/German 18/24cm travel cameras were sold in 1,000's in the period 1890-1920. There are far more common (And more reasonable in price) than the UK 8x10" of any era. Probably more common than the UK full plate size, too. With DD plate (book style) holders, they are highly suited for dry and wet plate, as well as alternative processes.

17-Mar-2019, 16:39
I have had the 8x10 for a week only and I have shot about 9 black and white slides, testing filters, testing the camera, testing lenses, etc. I am in the honey moon period. However, this morning something happened. My wife wanted some shots of her flowering garden and I switched to my Intrepid 4x5 MkII to use Ektar 100. I found my 4x5 adorable now, so small and easy to use that I am thinking that the only benefit I would get from the 8x10 is the contact print. Let's see what happens in the future.