View Full Version : New to large format

Joan Girdler
10-Jan-2008, 12:13
Just purchased an 8x10 gorgeous Dorff and am taking tiny steps up to finally getting to use the camera. Still need a film holder and instructions on how to load and shoot, but just finished cobbling together a surveyor's tripod, bought a three way pan tilt head from B&H where I received excellent help and a wonderful Shadow Box film
changing tent. Can hardly wait to try out the camera, but need to figure out, among many things, how to develope the film as I gave up my darkroom. I am a serious amateur and am chided constantly about being an older woman with a big camera.:D :D

10-Jan-2008, 12:58
If you can carry the weight, others are at risk kidding you about it! A slight tap on their head with your pod should stop the kidding! There are some good books out there that others will probably refer you to--I don't have them, so can't remember the titles.

Welcome to the club! What sort of lens will you be using with that 'Dorff? And what type of images will you be making with it?


Joan Girdler
10-Jan-2008, 13:45
The only lens is a pristine Goerz Dagor F6.8 focus 12 inches. Old and uncoated. I love
portraiture of botanicals and sometimes people. Lens came from the same man from whom I bought the camera. Plan on doing contact printing -platinum/palladium.

Scott Knowles
10-Jan-2008, 13:46
Wow, talk about both feet into something. Ok, not that much difference between 4x5 and 8x10 except size, and costs (film and processing), but sure makes an expensive learning curve. I wish you luck and enjoy it. After my first year in 4x5, it's really cool and fun, and I get some good images too, as long as I keep my brain plugged in.

10-Jan-2008, 15:12
Great! Nice lens. I do pt/pd printing as well as carbon with my 8x10. Nice size to work with for contact printing. have fun!


Ralph Barker
10-Jan-2008, 16:53
Welcome to the LF Forum, Joan, and to the wonderful world of 8x10.

You'll find previous threads here discussing development techniques - trays vs. Jobo (rotary processors), etc. And discussions of changing bags and tents (Harrison tents are popular).

You don't need a darkroom, as such - only a suitable working space that you can make dark when needed. How much space depends on your work style.

John Kasaian
10-Jan-2008, 17:12
Hello Joan,
'Dorffs & Dagors rock! That sounds like a fine kit--- Welcome aboard! Loading 8x10 holders isn't hard. PM me and I'll send to a scrap piece of 8x10 film to practice on (I'm in Fresno.)

Joan Girdler
11-Jan-2008, 10:40
I think I sent a PM, but not sure. Thank you, but I have a pc. of old film.

Brian Ellis
11-Jan-2008, 19:24
You ask about developing the film and you say that you don't have a darkroom. Are you asking about labs to send the film to or are you asking about how to do it yourself without a dedicated darkroom? If the latter, it's certainly possible to develop b&w yourself pretty easily as long as you have a dark space large enough for a minimum of three trays to be spread out and a way to wash the negatives. There are plenty of books out there to tell you how to do it, one that I like is Ansel Adams "The Negative."

Congratulations on the camera, Deardorffs are great, I've owned two.

Jan Pedersen
11-Jan-2008, 20:12
Welcome Joan. That is quite a start into LF but i sense that you are dedicated and have your goals set.
Know from another thread that you are planning on doing your film processing in a 25"x25" changing bag using a 3005 for processing, it will be tight so working with a piece of film before you put something important in there will be essential.
Good luck, look forward to see some photos.

John Kasaian
11-Jan-2008, 22:51
If you use a Unicolor processor you don't even need space for trays----just a dark changing bag or tent or home made contraption big enough to unload your holders and load a unicolor drum. Check the LF Homepage for the article on Unicolor drums---it's written for 4x5 but it does a good job with 8x10 too.

Uri Kolet
11-Jan-2008, 23:16
Welcome from Vancouver in the Canadian Rockies, Joan; I've been itching to plunge into 8x10 but I'm not sure my (repaired) back can handle it. Great to have you here.
How big and heavy is your Dorf anyway? Cheers, Uri

12-Jan-2008, 01:15
Welcome from DK
I'm new to LF myself since I bought a 5X7 Sinar Norma Monorail just a couple of months ago. My reason for going LF was the lack of a proper darkroom. I have a bathroom I can black out with some cardboard in the windows and a tovel over the keyhole in the door. A piece of kitchen table plate on the bathtub is my wet area where I develop films and sometimes paper when doing contacts. I use a Paterson Orbital processor for my filmdevelopment and it works fine as long as I don't have too many negs to develop, It will take one 8X10", two 5X7" or four 4X5" so no bulkprocessing here :)
The nice thing about LF is that it actually needs less darkroom equipment than 35mm or 120. No need of an enlarger or a table to put that on and since the Orbital processor takes less than 100ml dev, stop and fix I don't need that much glassware, chemistry or water when developing. Loading and unloading the filmholders is very easy too on http://www.rogerandfrances.com/ you will find a module on the subject and on http://photondetector.com/blog/2007/10/26/how-to-load-large-format-film-video-tutorial/ there is a very good video showing how.
Kind regards

Geary Lyons
6-Feb-2008, 16:44
Hi Joan,
Welcome to the LF Universe! I am in the East Bay area, (although "original home" is much closer to you, Marysville). If you want some hands-on help I would be willing. You can come this way and get a darkroom tour or we can arrange up in your direction. You don't mention much in terms of your photo craft background. There are many good tutorials, but personally I do much better with "show&tell+try"!

I shoot 4x5, 5x7 & 8x10 and process in Jobo expert drums.

PM me if you are interested. You missed a great opportunity last weekend at Per Volquartz Joshua Tree workshop.


6-Feb-2008, 19:53
Hi Joan,

Another greeting from Vancouver, BC in Canada... welcome to the forum! :)

Look for the following books:

1. Using the View Camera - Steve Simmons

2. Large Format Nature Photography & The View Camera - Jack Dykinga

3. Using The View Camera - Jim Stone

All of these books will teach you the basics of using the LF camera.

Good luck and have fun learning...