View Full Version : Recommend cheap lens for 8x10 box camera

28-Nov-2009, 19:14
I recently got two brand-new, new-style 8x10 film holders for only $30 each. I'm not sure what to do with them since I don't have, nor can I feed and care for, an 8x10 camera. I figure I can make an 8x10 pinhole that uses the film holders, but that's pretty expensive for a pinhole camera (I have opinions on how much one should spend on a pinhole camera). I also already have a single-shot 8x10 pinhole camera.

I figure I can make a fixed-focus box camera, with a lens set to be hyperfocal at some f/16 or something. The problem is getting a lens that will cover 8x10. It needs to be cheap (like sub-$50, preferably sub-$5) or it will bust the budget and I'd rather just sell the film holders. I was looking on Surplus shed for cheap $10 ish lenses but I can never tell if they will cover the format or not. I could try using some of the loose double-convex lenses I have around here but have the same issue with them

28-Nov-2009, 19:31
You're going to have a difficult time finding a lens that covers 8x10 for less than $50 if you want a shutter. However, if you can live with a barrel lens you may have some hope.

28-Nov-2009, 21:48
I don't care about shutters

29-Nov-2009, 03:50
Then if you don't mind some cosmetic issues and "maybe" a little edge separation you'll find lenses to fit your needs. Do you care what focal length?

29-Nov-2009, 07:25
Sounds like you'd want a Metrogon lens? Cheap, AND wide!

29-Nov-2009, 08:50
Well I can't afford to be picky, but wider would be better because it would have more DOF.

Robert Hughes
29-Nov-2009, 12:52
Hi, BetterSense. I just built an 8x10 box camera myself, and am using a Wollensak 10 1/4", f/10 Apochromatic Raptor (maybe from a process camera?) that I picked up on the Dreaded for about $50 a few years back. No shutter; I just stop down to f/64 and do the "one Mississippi..." thing. It works just fine.

29-Nov-2009, 13:00

Do you think this would work?

29-Nov-2009, 15:16
It might cover but the fixed aperture will limit your DOF. Why not just look for an old lens in a broken shutter... should go for cheap. If you can't repair the shutter it doesn't really matter.

Mark Fisher
29-Nov-2009, 21:44
Look at Alan Greene's book Primative pPhotography to see how to build a simple landscape lens, then go the Anchor Surplus or Surplus Shed and find the lens elements you want.....great fun! Even a simple miniscus or achormat (sp?) can be interesting.

2-Dec-2009, 22:03
I recently won the following lens:


I (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItemVersion&item=270491187340&view=all&tid=0 I)t's a f/5ish, 220mm barrel lens that "apparently" covers 8x10. If my calculations are correct, 220mm is a mild wide-angle on 8x10, so this should work for a box camera, correct?

I should figure out some way to reduce the aperture, or else I'll have to build my camera with focus.

3-Dec-2009, 09:29
300mm, f/5 for free. You find them in old overhead projectors. They are triplet design, already in a barrel. I mounted one yesterday and it covers 8x10 at infinity. Lets say its sub-zero winter price.

3-Dec-2009, 12:24
Where do you find old overhead projectors, though? Around here they seem to have passed the point of surplus into the point of "what's an overhead projector?".

3-Dec-2009, 12:37
As a matter of fact, I found mine in the rubbish. Any school must have some tucked away. It will cost nothing to ask (I asked for old cameras, and got 2 pristine nikon F3 with 250 exp back, different kinds of view finders, all for free). If the overhead projecter are not already trashed, I am pretty sure they are thinking about it and you will give them a service. I can always keep an eye open for you.

7-Dec-2009, 21:54
Well I got my "ednalight" f/5 apertureless copy barrel lens. It turns out that I could easily remove one of the retaining rings, pull out two of the elements, and insert a homemade stop. A slow process, but possibly even field-achievable. The lens seems to be symmetrical with two large meniscus type elements on the outside and two much smaller meniscus elements toward the middle.

Pete Watkins
8-Dec-2009, 03:16
Repromasters and Eskophots are excellent lenses but very hard to shutter conventionally. Available very cheaply.