View Full Version : 8x10 studio camera

8-Dec-2008, 19:29
Hey everyone,
I'm looking to buy my first LF setup, and figured I'd dive straight into 8x10. I'm a little confused about which camera might suit me best, though. I'd like to try potraiture using the older classical lenses like the heliar 30/36/48(/60?) and brass barrell lenses. I'd be working in a studio like environment, so size/weight/portability arn't of any real concern. I guess I just want a camera that can swallow the big glass (maybe 9x9 lens board?), be reasonably stable, and yet have a long enough bellows capacity to accomidate portraiture distances. Price isn't a real constraint either, I could go new or used.
Thanks in advance, and I'm excited to begin my journey into LF. Hopefully I'll have some photos to share before spring! Kenny

Dennis Felty
8-Dec-2008, 20:10

I use a Sinar P2 8x10 with the "Auto Aperature Shutter". This is a shutter that mounts behind the lens and lens board and allows use of any number of barrel lenses. It is a Copal shutter with speeds fron 1/60 to 8 seconds. This is a great solution to using older lenses that do not have an internal shutter. The Sinar 8x10 also has reduction backs to 5x7 and 4x5 for when you don't want to use 8x10. Keep in mind that if you are going to enlarge your images 8x10 requires an entire system including an 8x10 enlarger. The Horseman 8x10 can also use the Sinar Auto Aperature shutter with a little modification. The Sinar system allows extended bellows draw with rail extensions and use of an intermediate auxilary frame and two sets of bellows, one 8x10 and one 4x5. A used Sinar P2 8x10 in excellent condition on Ebay will be $2500 to $3500 and a new one will be about $9000.00. Great info is available at:


Good luck

Steve Hamley
9-Dec-2008, 08:57
If you're truly considering 48cm and 60cm f:4.5 Heliar/Tessar lenses, then the Sinar is out just because of the size of the lensboards. Neither will fit. A 60cm Heliar also weighs 17 lbs according to a recent ad. Also check the maximum size of the Sinar shutter aperture versus a 48cm or 60 cm Heliar. If you're going to limit yourself to 36cm f:4.5 lenses then the Sinar board will work although the Sinar shutter size would seem problematic.

For lenses larger than a 36cm/360mm f:4.5, you're going to need 9" lensboards or better and a fixed front standard (or a very strong one), with a Packard shutter behind it. Your prime choices would seem to be a Century or Agfa studio camera and stand, a Deardorff studio camera (not the folding field camera, the one with a double post stand), or a Linhof Kardan Color 8x10 (the older one with 9" lensboards), and a Linhof tripod or equivalent like a Majestic or Saltzman with whatever head-to-camera adapters that work.



Robbie Shymanski
9-Dec-2008, 10:06
The Calumet C-1 is a good start. You can pick them up for a song. Mechanically, they're like a Model-T or an old VW. There's always one on e-bay for less than $200 and the reducing backs are always popping up. For mine, I just made my lens boards out of plywood. Plus, they were good enough for the Westons!

9-Dec-2008, 10:58
your best bet is a century studio camera! they have 9x9 boards and a very strong front standard. it is what i use for the big lenses. big petzval lenses and the like do not go on 6x6 boards very easy....atleast not the ones for 8x10.....

pm sent to you as well

Peter De Smidt
9-Dec-2008, 11:01
I have a Kodak Century No. 7 8x10 camera, which is great for studio portraiture. Big lenses? No problem! Using a big Packard shutter with sync will allow you to use all sorts of lenses. These types of cameras are best used with the matching twin column stands.

With these very old cameras you will usually need to replace the bellows. Since they aren't compressed very much or twisted at extreme angles, though, you can probably get by with taping them.

Jim Galli
9-Dec-2008, 11:44

The big one on the left is an 11X14 Century 8, and the smaller one on the black iron stand is a Century 10A 8X10. The old timers knew exactly what they were doing when they designed these, they are very easy and handy in use. The lensboard on the 10A is 9X9 as are the ones in the chair. You need every bit of that. The 11X14 has a 10X10 board.

9-Dec-2008, 14:41
Excellent info, guys. Thank you very much. I just scored an apartment with a ton of windows, and even a fancy little sun room off in one corner. All I need now is the camera!... and lenses... and shutters... and stand... and darkroom... and film ...and the chemicals... It may not be as easy as digital, but with my film mf experience, soooo much more rewarding. Thanks again.

9-Dec-2008, 21:10
Toyo 810G. It is one of my studio work horses.

10-Dec-2008, 06:36
One more vote for a Century camera; I have two but the 7a is my workhorse. Large board, plenty of bellows and generally available for cheap. Be prepared to put lots of tape on the bellows or replace them, though.

Several folks on FleaBay make custom wooden boards ...


Gene McCluney
10-Dec-2008, 11:28
A studio camera sits on a studio stand. It is for dedicated use in a studio. It is really not applicable if you wish to do outside work...unless your "outside" is right outside your studio door. If you want to use old lenses on a camera that (with effort) you can do location work, and the key here is "old" lenses, then you might consider an Agfa/Ansco 8x10. It is a tripod mount camera, that folds up, but has nice big wood lensboards. These cameras came in several configurations, some with full front movements, and were popular enough to still easily find on the used market. I have seen several for sale over the last few months here and at APUG.

Gene McCluney
10-Dec-2008, 11:30
I should add, that the Agfa/Ansco 8x10 has removable, reversable backs, and 5x7 and 4x5 backs were made for them also.

10-Dec-2008, 17:28
i also would suggest a century camera ...
i have one of the 11x14 ones,
they are great.

Peter De Smidt
10-Dec-2008, 17:37
There are also reversible backs for the Century cameras. In addition, my 8x10 has 5x7 and 4x5 backs.