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timberline12k
30-Jul-2009, 20:39
Are there less film availability issues using 5X8 color film compared to 5X7?

Chamonix offers a 5X8 camera described here, although it appears to be priced $1,000 higher than the 5X7.

http://www.chamonixviewcamera.com/58.html

I don't have a darkroom, but if it is possible to cut 8X10 film in half, are there labs where you can get 5X8 developed and scanned?

8X10 color film appears to have a better future than 5X7.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/396039-REG/Fujifilm_15474749_Pro_160S_8_x.html

Allen in Montreal
30-Jul-2009, 20:49
I really like the ratio of Juri's 5x8 work, drop him a PM, he is a very nice guy.

timberline12k
30-Jul-2009, 20:52
I really like the ratio of Juri's 5x8 work, drop him a PM, he is a very nice guy.

Who is Juri? Oh I think you meant Jiri: http://www.vasina.net/?p=94

After reading the info at the link, I thought of another approach. Since 4X5 is easy to work with and as long as you don't enlarge too much, why not crop photos to obtain the desired ratio? As an example here is a 4X5 cropped to 2X5.

http://www.diddephoto.com/photos/606685033_G73nB-X3.jpg

Kirk Fry
30-Jul-2009, 21:51
Yes, when you are cutting down 8X10 film you don't have to throw any out, otherwise all the down sides of 4 X 10. KFry

Eric Woodbury
30-Jul-2009, 22:59
It seems like a great format, but 5x7 is difficult enough. Why make it hard to get holders and film in this environment. Besides, you can crop any format to any other, so unless you are religious about printing full frame, it doesn't matter.

Jiri Vasina
30-Jul-2009, 23:19
Hi David,

I have the Chamonix 5x8 camera (as you have already found out :) ), so I'll try to answer some of your questions:

* I think that if you want to shoot color films in this size (5x7/13x18cm/5x8), you are best off with the 5x8 cut from 8x10. The availability is better, there are more emulsions to choose from. Though I do not know about labs willing to develop this not-so-standard format. (I process all my films myself, even the color ones when I have enough of them to buy and mix chemistry).

* cutting the film for 5x8 is no problem. Since you only have to cut once and exactly in the middle, there are not many ways how to screw (or that much handling to scratch the film). Without a darkroom it could be a problem, but it depends. I don't have a darkroom (per se) either, but our bathroom does not have a window and late in the night when all the family is already in the bed I can do whatever I want there - even develop films or cut them for size...

* the 5x8 format has a nice aspect ratio to me when used horizontally. When used vertically, I more often like the more squarish 13x18cm/5x7, but that depends on composition.

* as far as masking goes, it's one of the ways to try it. Ken Lee (another really nice member here whose work I admire) uses this approach - masking the 5x7 format to the aspect ratio of 5x8. In fact I think it's best to try the format this way, and if you like it enough, you can buy a camera in the format.

* as you probably have read, the Chamonix 5x8 can be very easily adapted to use also standard 5x7/13x18cm holders. I have done it. I can use any of the formats for the shot (adapting in a field in a matter of 5seconds), which fits best the composition, or which film I want to use...

Hope this helps

Jiri

Philippe Grunchec
31-Jul-2009, 03:56
Paul Strand masked his 5x7 camera to 5x6 -:)

Bruce Watson
31-Jul-2009, 04:06
There are two big advantages to 5x8 IMHO. First, you cut down 8x10 film. One cut down the middle. No wastage. So any film that's available in 8x10 you can use for 5x8.

Second and more important, the 5x8 aspect ratio (5:8 = 1:1.6) is very nearly the "golden mean (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_ratio)" of 1:1.618. This ratio has been revered from the time of the ancient Greeks and before, and is found in art and architecture all over the world, and in many aspects of nature (including human physiology which may explain why we like it so much). Many consider it the most beautiful aspect ratio for art works.

timberline12k
31-Jul-2009, 07:33
From the few 4X5 LF photos I have taken, I like the 5X8 ratio. I plan to take a couple B&W photos each week (use up my box of 100 sheets) to get comfortable with the adjustment and exposure process. After that I should have a better idea which direction to head.

A couple concerns I have are:

Recognizing a 5X8 has twice the film area of a 4X5, I will be effectively wasting half my exposed 4X5 film if I like the 1:1.6 aspect ratio.

What conversion do you use to equate a 35mm equavalent focal length? For example my 90mm and 210mm are similar to a 26mm and 60mm on a 35mm camera. It looks like the 90mm would not be usable on a 5X8. What top three lenses are appropriate for 5X8.

What labs would process and scan color 5X8 film?

What logical print (paper) enlargements are available? 10"X16"? maximum?

aduncanson
31-Jul-2009, 08:08
timberline,

I too love the idea of 5x8.

1) You can crop your 4x5 film to approximately 3x5 to achieve your 1.6:1 aspect ratio and only lose about 21% of your film area. (Don't forget that you only get about 3.75 x 4.75" in your 4x5 negs due to masking by the film holder.)

2) Convert your 35mm focal lengths to their 5x8 equivalents by multiplying by 5.33.

3) Your 90mm will be a 35mm equiv of about 17mm and should just cover the corners on 5x8.

Of course you could also crop 5x7 negs to about 4.2 x 6.75 to give you the 1.6:1 aspect ratio, losing only 11% of the film area and continue to use your 90mm with some movements, enjoy standard size film holders and development tanks, have a greater choice of enlargers (if you want to try that), and save $1000 (or more) on the camera, while perhaps having a slightly greater chance of finding a lab to process and scan your film.

Robert Fisher
31-Jul-2009, 08:21
Does anybody have a viable solution for using 810 holders to shoot the 58 format?

Michael Alpert
31-Jul-2009, 08:50
I know that some people love the well-made Chaminox 5x8 camera. I just don't understand why. If you are contact-printing 5x8 negatives and specifically want that ratio, then it would make sense to choose 5x8. Otherwise, I don't see any advantage in using a non-standard format. None. Cameras, film, and holders are easily available from a variety of sources in 5x7 but not in 5x8. Cutting 8x10 film to 5x7 is only slightly more difficult than to 5x8, with really insignificant waste. If you are going to use a traditional darkroom, a 5x7 enlarger is much more manageable than an 8x10 enlarger. You can crop 5x7 to different ratios without any discernable loss in resolution. If (as you mentioned) you are going to depend on a commercial lab to process and scan your film, the file size from a 5x7 scan should be more than ample.

timberline12k
31-Jul-2009, 10:05
timberline,

I too love the idea of 5x8.

1) You can crop your 4x5 film to approximately 3x5 to achieve your 1.6:1 aspect ratio and only lose about 21% of your film area. (Don't forget that you only get about 3.75 x 4.75" in your 4x5 negs due to masking by the film holder.)



I think I like this idea since 4X5 film has a lot of options for film, labs, etc.

If I crop (postprocessing) my 4X5 photos to 3X5 (or 1:1.618) aspect ratio, what enlargements are possible?

timberline12k
31-Jul-2009, 10:28
Recognizing a 5X8 has twice the film area of a 4X5, I will be effectively wasting half my exposed 4X5 film if I like the 1:1.6 aspect ratio.

Oops, I would only loose 1/4th of the film with a 3X5. I would loose half with a 2X5.

5X8 is still double the film area of a 4X5.

Allen in Montreal
31-Jul-2009, 11:16
Who is Juri? Oh I think you meant Jiri: http://www.vasina.net/?p=94.........

Yes I did,
I often post from an iPhone and it replaces what you write with what it thinks you meant to write, if you don't catch it....:(

So, Jiri and the iPhone's version, Juri, is a very good shooter and very nice guy.

Jiri Vasina
31-Jul-2009, 12:22
Allen, thanks a lot for the kind words. And I don't mind the misspelling of the name - I sometimes misspell other's names too, if they are in a language I do not know (Jiri is a Czech variant of George).


I know that some people love the well-made Chaminox 5x8 camera. I just don't understand why. If you are contact-printing 5x8 negatives and specifically want that ratio, then it would make sense to choose 5x8. Otherwise, I don't see any advantage in using a non-standard format. None. Cameras, film, and holders are easily available from a variety of sources in 5x7 but not in 5x8. Cutting 8x10 film to 5x7 is only slightly more difficult than to 5x8, with really insignificant waste. If you are going to use a traditional darkroom, a 5x7 enlarger is much more manageable than an 8x10 enlarger. You can crop 5x7 to different ratios without any discernable loss in resolution. If (as you mentioned) you are going to depend on a commercial lab to process and scan your film, the file size from a 5x7 scan should be more than ample.

Michael, I have to respectfully disagree in several points.

The amount of disadvantages of using a non-standard format only depends on how you look at it (it's similar to the old one: half full/half empty bottle). You are right that cameras and holders are much easier to come by on the used market, and the Chamonix has a rather long delivery interval, so even if you buy new. But if you think of film the situation quickly changes vice versa, especially if you consider color films.

In BW, a lot of (almost all?) the films that are available in 4x5 and 8x10 are also available in 5x7/13x18cm. So (almost) no problem there. But in color, most films are available in 4x5, some in 8x10 and only very few in 13x18/5x7. And if they are, it usually means ordering from far away for a premium. It's much easier to get 8x10 film than 5x7 one.

Cutting: each manipulation with the film in the dark is a chance for dust to get on the film, for the film to be scratched, for fingerprints from mistakes in manipulation. It's best to minimize the amount of handling. So IMO (and we may differ there), it's best to do only one cut (8x10 -> 5x8 or 4x10). You can prepare the trimmer with lights on, and then cut the film sheets, put the film back in the packs and you are done.

If you have to cut twice (8x10 -> 5x7), you have either to cut several sheets to 5x8 and then put them in a lighttight box, change the setting on the trimmer and cut 5x8 -> 5x7 (better workflow). Or you cut each sheet 8x10 -> 5x8 -> 5x7, where there is higher possibility of cutting for a wrong dimension (and as you all know, even milimeter can be too much of a difference).

You are right that if you enlarge, having a 5x8 mask for a 8x10 enlarger is more hassle (if it can be had at all), than having a 5x7 enlarger and masking for 4.25x7. And the quality difference is not detectable in most cases. But as I am scanning all my films and have then a digital workflow, there is no difference to me. Only gains from the larger film area.

You are also right that commercial processing of 5x8 might be more difficult. But since I do not know of any lab willing (or able) to process sheet films larger than 4x5 around me (for at least a partly reasonable price), I process all my films myself. You don't have to have a proper darkroom for processing, only darkness to put the films from holders to developing tanks. And you have to have that, otherwise you could not put the film in the holders, could you? :D

A question like yours was recently asked about the 7x11 format, why would people go for that instead of just cropping 8x10. One of the answers that I liked most was ~"if you have to ask, it can not be explained to you" (roughly).


Does anybody have a viable solution for using 810 holders to shoot the 58 format?

yes, there is an easy solution, but you need 2 spare darkslides. you cut a 5x8 window in each of them (or very slightly less, leaving a border around the window). In the first one you cut it far from the "flap"(?) (tab?, handle?), in the second you cut it close to the "handle". But you have to place the cuts to fit on the film and not overlap themselves.

Then for shooting, you pull out the (full) darkslide from the holder, replace with the proper window-darkslide (with the window on the side that was not already shot), get the shot, replace the window-darkslide with the full one, prepare a second shot and use the second window-darkslide...

(I hope it's clear enough).

Jiri

Michael Alpert
31-Jul-2009, 13:44
One of the answers that I liked most was ~"if you have to ask, it can not be explained to you" (roughly).

Jiri,

Okay. I mean your point of view is okay. Only what you are doing and what the original poster wants to do are not the same. (I wasn't trying to help you.) He wants to use a commercial lab to have film scanned. I don't think what he wants fits your situation. And I don't think 5x8 fits his situation. Perhaps it would make much better sense for timberline12k to use 4x5 film. That's his call. In any case, the answer (above) that you liked most seems a little too smug to me. But, of course, if you need to have its smugness explained . . .

Jiri Vasina
31-Jul-2009, 13:51
Michael, I did not mean it to be smug. English is not my native language (and in the past year my almost sole use of English was here in the forum, and for some books), so I may use it in a bad way involuntary not understanding the nuances. It was not meant to be smug (or arrogant, or anyhow negative. I had to look the "smug" word up).

I also understand that David's situation is different, and I completely agree with you, that 4x5 masked to the ratio is probably the best solution for him - and then later when he finds out his needs/wants/limitations, he can choose to drop it, or to pursue a 5x8" camera. I've written so in one of my previous replies...

Jiri

Michael Alpert
31-Jul-2009, 14:00
Michael, I did not mean it to be smug. English is not my native language (and in the past year my almost sole use of English was here in the forum, and for some books), so I may use it in a bad way involuntary not understanding the nuances. It was not meant to be smug (or arrogant, or anyhow negative. I had to look the "smug" word up).

I also understand that David's situation is different, and I completely agree with you, that 4x5 masked to the ratio is probably the best solution for him - and then later when he finds out his needs/wants/limitations, he can choose to drop it, or to pursue a 5x8" camera. I've written so in one of my previous replies...

Jiri

Jiri,

Thank you. All is well. With your explanation, I understand you better.

timberline12k
31-Jul-2009, 18:46
The 4X5 format has a low entry cost and will give me an opportunity to explore large format photography. I plan to experiment with aspect ratios to determine my preference.

I plan to crop photos to see what looks good with different ratios. Attached is an example how I plan to compare original 4X5s with various aspect ratios, in this case a 5X8.

I am assuming 3X5 film should still allow reasonable enlargements, although I suspect I may start to run into problems with 12X20 or 18X30 prints.

Donald Miller
31-Jul-2009, 19:24
Of course you could also crop 5x7 negs to about 4.2 x 6.75 to give you the 1.6:1 aspect ratio, losing only 11% of the film area and continue to use your 90mm with some movements, enjoy standard size film holders and development tanks, have a greater choice of enlargers (if you want to try that), and save $1000 (or more) on the camera, while perhaps having a slightly greater chance of finding a lab to process and scan your film.

I have heard that Paul Strand did in fact mask the ground glass on his 5X7 to gain the aspect ratio you speak of.

I shoot 5X7 and have shot everything from 4X5 to 12X20 at one time or another. I have found that 5X7 has a lot going for it. However, color emulsions are definitely a problem. Black and white film is not a problem.

timberline12k
1-Aug-2009, 22:14
How about this approach? Instead of masking can you just use a cardboard cutout for the ground glass with the desired ratio? Maybe that is what you call masking anyway.

As an example a 4X5 could use a 3X5 cardboard cutout over the ground glass to help compose the shot.

Or a 5X7 could use a 4.2X7 mask over the ground glass to help compose the shot.

Or an 8X10 could use a 6X10 mask over the ground glass to help compose the shot.

All these would result in a 1:1.6 aspect ratio.

Then you have the color film developed or scanned and after you order prints in standard sizes, just use a nice matte cutter to obtain the original framed shot with the cardboard cutout. The cost and availability of standard sizes should still be less than a dealing with special size equipment and film even after considering cutting off a fourth (depending on format) of the finished print.

I plan to try this out with my 4X5 (3X5). Let me know any limitations I should watch out for.

Or if there is a better method and process feel free to suggest. Feel free to explain how to mask the ground glass and if you work with standard size film, then just trim the prints.

I am also curious if you could cheat the image circle charts since you would be cropping off the corners. In other words, could you use a 90mm lens on an 8X10 that was masked to a 6X10 and avoid any vignetting in the corners since they would be cropped?

Jiri Vasina
2-Aug-2009, 00:51
David, yes, that was what I understood with masking - either using a cardboard mask on the GG, or taping the GG with dark opaque tape. This is the way I think is most suitable for you to try the format out.

And yes, you can "cheat" with the image circle, but not by much (only approx. 5-10%). You are effectively using a smaller format when masked, so you need smaller image circle. Also the angle of view on the smaller format would be very slightly less. But I don't think you could make a (common) 90mm lens work that way on 6x10 - you'd need an image circle of approx. 295mm - yes that's less than for 8x10, but not by much...

So if you have a lens with 300mm IC, it will vignette on 8x10, but might be used well on the masked 6x10...

Jiri

Findingmyway4ever
2-Aug-2009, 03:30
The 4X5 format has a low entry cost and will give me an opportunity to explore large format photography. I plan to experiment with aspect ratios to determine my preference.

I plan to crop photos to see what looks good with different ratios. Attached is an example how I plan to compare original 4X5s with various aspect ratios, in this case a 5X8.

I am assuming 3X5 film should still allow reasonable enlargements, although I suspect I may start to run into problems with 12X20 or 18X30 prints.

Great image, first of all. It's truly too difficult to compare the two formats like you are doing. I mean, the 5X8 conversion has a lot of the scene cut off and it wasn't even composed/meant to shoot the scene in this way. In spite this, you can probably gather a sense of a more intimate nature of the 5X8 cropped ratio of the 4X5 shot...at least this is what I get from it...a more intimate and different view into the world. One is like beaming the full composition, but in a "very square" looking way. The other is showing a more delicate look of the same scene/photo, something more intimate as I say. I think the only way you can really compare the two is to somehow "stretch" the 4X5 shot into a 5X8 ratio so you have the entire scene showing in both ratios.

I think the points about the two formats have been pretty much exposed of already, but I'll repeat and add my .02.

1) Since only Chamonix from what I understand makes a 5X8 camera, you not only have to pay substantial money for the Chamonix camera, but then you have to pay mega bucks for the holders. So price it all out, the amount of holders you will have, etc. and also the lenses you will be shooting with...and you will have a good sense if this is the format you want to go with. If only other companies offered 5X8 and the used pricing part came into play as it does with 5X7 cameras, then there would be zero thought about which format to go with when comparing 5X8 with 5X7.

2) 5X8 is a single cut of 8X10 which is much easier than cutting 5X7 film, IMHO. Jiri explained this and though it's still possible to cut up the 5X7 film, one of the bigger attractions for me to 5X8 is the fact that it uses up the entire sheet of the 8X10 film, cut in half, so that 2"'s of film is not wasted, nor is having to do two vs. one cut on it.

3) I'm not sure if there is an argument anymore about optically enlarged film vs. digitally enlarged film. Some will argue that the optical method is better, but not only do 99% disagree with these people, but you have to have a very large darkroom setup, dedicated towards enlarging film, even 4X5 film. If you have the space and devotion, and you agree with this very select group of people into optical enlargements, then by all means, 5X8 isn't what I would select.

4) Contact prints are larger, in spite it's only 1" difference, between a 5X8 and 5X7. I know this is a very small size for contact print work, but look at this person's work:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/laurensimonutti/

There is a load of 5X7 work in there as it is one of, if not her favorite format to shoot. Something to consider if you want to work in the dark without having to have a big enlargening device.

5) Developing film with a Jobo or with a roller machine is "very easy". Just get a Jobo Expert drum, and throw in the film to be developed. At least you then know you will never have anyone to blame for poor developing result but yourself. I know many labs have screwed up, so you can be assured having your own way of developing stuff via Jobo or just hand done in trays is going to spare the concern of a lab messing up. Not sure why developing was even mentioned.

6) You did mention digitizing the film rather than optically enlarging it. So 5X8 will fit onto a drum just as it will fit onto a flatbed scanner. See no issues here at all.


I would consider cost, just how large you want to be blowing up the photos, and "primarily", what feels right to you. In the end, as one mentioned about having shot formats from 4X5-12X20 and being very fond of 5X7, it comes down to what type of camera feels most natural to you, what you like to work with, etc. etc. Most that use the 5X7 format live with the compromises because they do like the aspect ratio, but they like the feel of it all much more than other formats.

Mike1234
23-Aug-2009, 06:29
I like 5x8 format (~2:3 ratio) but I personally prefer 4x10. It's only 20 percent narrower so quality difference is minimal and you can crop to 4x6, 4x8, or 4x10 (2:3, 1:2, and 2:5 ratios). It just better suits my needs. Yes, cropping to 4x6 is wasteful but so what? In the field versatility is key, IMHO.

timberline12k
23-Aug-2009, 18:36
I like 5x8 format (~2:3 ratio) but I personally prefer 4x10. It's only 20 percent narrower so quality difference is minimal and you can crop to 4x6, 4x8, or 4x10 (2:3, 1:2, and 2:5 ratios). It just better suits my needs. Yes, cropping to 4x6 is wasteful but so what? In the field versatility is key, IMHO.

Am I correct to understand 4X10 would require 8X10 lenses to provide adequate coverage?

Mike1234
23-Aug-2009, 18:51
Am I correct to understand 4X10 would require 8X10 lenses to provide adequate coverage?

Just my opinion but, yes and no. Generally speaking most (not all) lenses designed to cover 5x7 will do 4x10 just fine because there's usually a bit more wiggle room than the manufacturer claims. 8x10 has a diagonal of 315mm, 4x10 is 260mm and 5x7 is 210mm so 4x10 falls about in the middle with regards to diagonal.

timberline12k
25-Aug-2009, 06:42
Just my opinion but, yes and no. Generally speaking most (not all) lenses designed to cover 5x7 will do 4x10 just fine because there's usually a bit more wiggle room than the manufacturer claims. 8x10 has a diagonal of 315mm, 4x10 is 260mm and 5x7 is 210mm so 4x10 falls about in the middle with regards to diagonal.

Looks like my 90mm F4.5 CALTAR-II N would not cover 4X10 since the image circle is 236mm at f/22 according to the charts for the Rodenstock equivalent. My 90mm would cover 5X7 if I ever expanded beyond 4X5. I don't really know what image circle is required for a 5X8.

Ron Marshall
25-Aug-2009, 07:27
Looks like my 90mm F4.5 CALTAR-II N would not cover 4X10 since the image circle is 236mm at f/22 according to the charts for the Rodenstock equivalent. My 90mm would cover 5X7 if I ever expanded beyond 4X5. I don't really know what image circle is required for a 5X8.

Using Pythagorus about 239mm; but the filmholder would cover a bit of film so about 230mm would be needed.

Kirk Fry
25-Aug-2009, 11:01
So the real problem with odd ball formats (4X10 and 5X8) is that if you don't develop them yourself, no one much wants to mess with them and will charge at least as much as a single 8X10. This argues for doing the split dark slide thing on a 8X10 sheet of film. For 5X8 you use a half darkslide cut vertical to the long direction, shoot half the flim and then go into the darkroom and flip the film around. The down side of this is that you are using a big heavy 8X10 camera, where a dedicated 4X10 or 5X8 could be much smaller.

Why not just mask a 4X5? Because of the inky dinky image on the ground glass. I suspect this is why 5X7 is so popular. The viewing image is so much larger.

KFry

Mike1234
25-Aug-2009, 15:41
So the real problem with odd ball formats (4X10 and 5X8) is that if you don't develop them yourself, no one much wants to mess with them and will charge at least as much as a single 8X10. This argues for doing the split dark slide thing on a 8X10 sheet of film. For 5X8 you use a half darkslide cut vertical to the long direction, shoot half the flim and then go into the darkroom and flip the film around. The down side of this is that you are using a big heavy 8X10 camera, where a dedicated 4X10 or 5X8 could be much smaller.

Why not just mask a 4X5? Because of the inky dinky image on the ground glass. I suspect this is why 5X7 is so popular. The viewing image is so much larger.

KFry

All good points. IMO, it's the cost/size/weight issue that makes these formats worth while. A 4x10 is 4x the image area of a masked 4x5 (2.5x5) and that's significant enough to warrant the added total system cost/size/weight. OTOH, I was recently considering 5x12 but the slight increase in film area vs 4x10 does NOT warrant the difference in total system cost/size/weight (5x12 vs. 4x10). Of course, this circles around how "I" want to shoot and how much weight/bulk "I" can carry plus how much cost "I" can afford. It's dependant on "individual" needs.

Bruce Watson
25-Aug-2009, 16:13
Oops, I would only loose 1/4th of the film with a 3X5. I would loose half with a 2X5.

5X8 is still double the film area of a 4X5.

I think what I really want is a new format: 161.8 x 100 mm, or about 6.5 x 4 inches. This would give me the aspect ratio I want, at very little weight penalty over 5x4, and just about any lens that can cover 5x4 and every lens that can cover 7x5 would work well.

This would let me shoot the golden ratio as is, I could crop to get classic 5x4 at full size, and crop in the other direction to get classic 1:2.5 panos (that is an image area of about 158.8 x 63.5 mm, or about 6.25 x 2.5 inches). This would be a considerable improvement on cropping 5x4 down to an image area of about 4.75 x 2.9 inches for the golden ratio, and 4.75 x 1.9 inches for 1:2.5 panos.

The difficulty is of course designing and building your own camera, film holders, etc. and cutting film down from 5x7 or 10x8, tossing a fair amount out either way.

So the answer, much as I hate to admit it, is cropped 7x5 (the golden ratio image area would be about 6.75 x 4.2 inches). The cameras and film holders already exist, and the film is ready to go out of the box without cutting anything.

I guess it depends on how much of a wild hair I get, and how long it stays with me. Been around for a couple of years now though...

eshotwell
4-Feb-2010, 11:51
What an involved discussion! I too own a Chamonix 5x8 and love it. All of you who think that cutting film in half in the dark is easy... well it's not. I've actually got it down to a science by locking in a straight edge guide on my rotary cutter. I leave the guide in place most of the time because even being off by a 1/16" can make the film not fit the holder. Very frustrating!

But, what really took me by surprise when I first started cutting film in the dark is that I somehow would lose track of which side is the emulsion side. Since you are cutting off the notched edge, fully half of the cut film will have no guide to show you which side is which. I thought, no problem... I can tell by the film curl, or the tactile feel of the emulsion. No I can't!

It really wouldn't be a problem if I only had to handle the film once. You know, cut it, stack it and load it, all at once. The problem is that while you're cutting you may want more than the 8 sheets that you have holders ready for. Still, it should be easy to keep track of which side is which. It is not.

Then you have to pull the film out of the holders in total darkness and load it into a tank. Another opportunity to get turned around. I'll bet I lost 30% of my earliest 5x8"negatives in my clumsy attempts to keep track of the emulsion side.

What I do now, and it seems to work pretty well, is that after making the initial cut from 8x10 to 5x8, and while I still have a good handle on which is which, I use a simple hole punch to notch the top right of the cut sheet to mimick the original notches on the other half. Whether I choose to use the film today or 6 months from now I can tell by feel in the dark which side is "hot" and which is not.

If anyone else has had a problem with this and has a different idea, please let me know. -ED

Ken Lee
4-Feb-2010, 12:02
Do you use an Infra Red viewing device ? No more darkness.

R Mann
4-Feb-2010, 12:12
Get the IR goggles - this is one type of job where they will make your life much easier - the reduction is lost film would probably pay for them in a short time. Great for unloading holders also - plus, developing by inspection is something you can try with them also.

Ralph Miyashiro
5-Feb-2010, 10:10
David,
It does seem that 8x10 film may have a brighter future than 5x7, so there might be an advantage there. If you are considering enlargements then I think cropping 4x5 as others suggest is the way to go. For contact printing 5x8 will give you the beautiful golden mean aspect ratio in an intimate print size, one that you can hold in your hand while viewing. No darkroom is familiar to me. I started with a changing tent and processing drum and must have gotten the last run of printing out paper (POP), contact prints in sunlight. Now I have a "darkened room", no space for a sink and an enlarger, but enough for a light bulb and trays to develop the prints. If you can afford the camera and holders, don't mind cutting down 8x10, want intimate sized contact prints, and be willing to "limit" yourself to B&W then 5x8 seems desirable. 5x7 is my format, if money were less of an issue, I would go to 5x8.
Ralph

Ken Lee
5-Feb-2010, 10:30
I'd use a 5x8 camera in a heart-beat. Cutting 8x10 film in half, with an IR monocular would be trivial.

The problem is simply the availability of a modular metal monorail with fully geared view camera movements - which takes a Sinar Shutter. In the absence of such a camera, I mask the back with blue painter's tape, and shoot 5x7.

http://www.kenleegallery.com/images/forum/5x7a.jpg

Robert Hughes
5-Feb-2010, 10:49
Cutting 8x10 film in half, with an IR monocular would be trivial.
I'd rather use scissors...

Sal Santamaura
5-Feb-2010, 11:46
...It does seem that 8x10 film may have a brighter future than 5x7...I disagree. As Kodak continues to reduce its offerings, Ilford has become increasingly accommodating. With rising film prices, many will find 5x7 more affordable than 8x10, so I expect 5x7 sales volume to increase. Even if it doesn't, Ilford cuts special sizes once each year with no minimum order quantity.

Also, Adox is reviving Agfapan APX 100 and 400 films, and will offer them in all standard sizes including 5x7. I think the future of 5x7 film is bright indeed.

Ken Lee
5-Feb-2010, 11:56
"I'd rather use scissors..."

You is a weizenheimer ! :)