View Full Version : Best 10 x 8?

15-May-2008, 02:28
Is there a 'best' 10 x 8 camera for general outdoor use? I'm inclined toward the metal Canham 'cos it is the least expensive in UK, but is the lack of back movements much of a drawback? Does anyone actually use one & can comment? Suggestions welcomed. Thanks. Dennis.:o

15-May-2008, 03:00
I suppose it's pretty subjective, define best -- lightest?, fastest setup?, most rigid?, most movements?, etc etc. I guess it depends which criteria are important for you.

I picked up a Sinar P2 and 10x8 conversion kit purely so I could have asymetrical tilts & swings, I'll be using it in the 'near field', ie close to the car because it weighs a ton. It may well be that a P2 is complete overkill for my needs, but I guess I can figure that out as I go along.

Walter Calahan
15-May-2008, 03:52
There is NO best. All is a compromise. Me, I use a Canham light-weight wood 10x8 camera. No raise and fall in the rear standard, but all the other movements. I live with it because of the healthy amount of rise and fall built into the front standard. Also for most field work outside the studio, I rarely need huge rise and fall.

15-May-2008, 05:04
First what are you looking for in a 8 x 10 camera?

Most field camera are petty much the same. Deardorf was the first to make field cameras as we call then, followed by a lot of other manufactures. Most of theses camera when lined up are petty much the same. Same size, same weight, same problems.

Brian Ellis
15-May-2008, 06:23
I've only owned two, a Deardorff and a Kodak 2D but I've played around with others. Obviously there's no single "best" camera. The Deardorff is a very nice camera, I liked its combination of excellent build quality, ease of set-up and use, and its smell. If weight is a concern there are lighter ones (e.g. Wehman), if you like spending money there are more expensive ones (e.g. Ebony), if you don't like spending money there are less expensive ones (e.g. Agfa Anso), if you like metal cameras there are more metal ones (e.g. Calumet C1), if you like a lot of movements there are ones with more movements (e.g. Shen Hao), if you don't like movements there are ones with fewer movements (e.g. Koronas). Just depends on what you want in a camera and want to spend.

Frank Petronio
15-May-2008, 06:40
Like Brian says above, the camera's smell is an important factor to me too.

I like to buy used ones from cigar-smoking clam diggers myself.

John O'Connell
15-May-2008, 06:42
Back movements are more important on 8x10 than on 4x5, because with long extensions you can't fiddle with the front standard and view the ground glass at the same time. I'd say back tilt is essential for me, and back swing is fairly high on the priority list.

Richard K.
15-May-2008, 06:42
||||| and its smell.|||||.

LOL but you're absolutely right. That is one of the great things I remember about my 8x10 Deardorff!

Phillips CompactII, though perhaps a little limited in movements is, IMO, the best combination of light weight and rigidity ever infused into a filed camera...

15-May-2008, 09:27
I say ease of use and compactness are the two most important factors to me...

Ole Tjugen
15-May-2008, 14:22
At the moment I have two 8x10" cameras - or perhaps more correctly an 8x10"/18x24cm one and an 18x24cm one. The single-size one (which happens to be quite useable with 13x18, 10x15, 9x12 and 6.5x9cm too) is an old plate camera; the dual-format is a newish Gandolfi Traditional.

Neither has front swings, which I rarely miss. Both have about the same rear movements, just about unlimited front tilt, plenty of front rise/fall and some front shift. The two cameras even weigh about the same, and are just about the same size when folded. Useable bellows extensions are similar, too!

But in everything except specifications, the Gandolfi is far superior on all the important counts: Stability, rigidity, smoothness, ease of use, and plain "likeitness". :)

The point of all this is that specifications are nice, but whether it's a "good camera" or not can't be read from specifications.

John Kasaian
15-May-2008, 15:18
The "best" is one that you'll enjoy using, because you'll be more apt to use it. These things are big and awkward and even the light ones are heavier than what you're probably used to---so if your really enjoy futzing around with a particular 8x10 camera then thats the one you should be futzing around with. Unfortunately the futz factor isn't a rating you'll find in reviews and the most enthusiastic proponents of any given brand of 8x10 in current or past production will not hazard to assign a futz factor to their COC (thats Camera Of Choice).

Except for me.
Except for now.

The 8x10 I enjoy futzing around with---the camera that hits a 12-point on a 10-point futz scale is a "dorff. Not just any 'dorff though---it's got to be beat up, preferably built from mahogany salvaged from a bar that was demolished during prohibition.
Thats' a futzing cool 8x10! :cool:

Tony Karnezis
15-May-2008, 15:22
Dennis, someone asked the same question recently. You'll find lots of varied opinions. It depends on what you need and what you value.


I use a Kodak Master 8x10. Built like a tank (a pro and con--it's a little heavy if you're looking to hike long distances), very quick to set up, plenty of movements for my style of photography (everything but rear rise and shift), large knobs that are easy to use with gloves on in the cold if that matters to you, and it has an aesthetic that is pleasing to me. Reducing backs for 5x7 and 4x5 are available as well. New lens boards are available from Michael Smith and Paula Chamlee. There have been a couple for sale on the forum over the past few months.


Glenn Thoreson
15-May-2008, 15:29
I like the ones I build myself. I just finished one based on an old 2D rear standard. It cost me about 65 bucks, plus eyeball. It smells nice, too. I did actually buy one once, though. An old Conley with a brand new bellows. Pretty nice. Not too heavy. Not much movements. I like it. Under 200.00. It smells okay, and it looks kinda cool. I'm happy. :D

16-May-2008, 03:36
Gee, thanks for all that input. You're all correct it does come down to personal choice. I currently use a Toyo 45A - metal field, so am inclined toward a metal 10 x 8 & the only one which is really light enough to carry far from the car is the Canham. It only has rear tilts at the back with fairly full front movements & rear only focussing which I don't see as a problem. But I cannot find anyone who has actually used one & can say how rigid; convenient etc the thing is! Anyone out there . . .?

16-May-2008, 03:51
This may sound silly, but have you tried searching for '8x10 canham' - note how I've swapped the 10 and the 8 around - that's the way our friends over the pond desribe 10x8 :)

16-May-2008, 04:53
Just sort of poking my nose in, but on the subject of metal cameras does anyone have any comments on the Wehman?

John Kasaian
16-May-2008, 08:26
I don't have any experience with Wehman, but I once had a Kodak Master View and it is a fine design---easily one of the very best metal 8x10s.

16-May-2008, 09:07
One problem with metal cameras they get very uncombable to handle when they get cold.