View Full Version : 8x10 or 4x5: Can't decide on a camera for both formats

Daniel Stone
4-Feb-2010, 18:54
hey all,

I'm currently torn between shooting 8x10 and 4x5. Currently, I own a 4x5 Sinar F2, and a no-name 8x10, but having something more portable that could handle BOTH formats would be nice, so I don't have to load two cases into the car when I go out for a day or so of photographing. I'm 21, and still at home with my folks while at school, so I can't keep both due to space issues.

been looking at the Toyo 810mI/II series, any thoughts?
also Deardorff, and **rarely** the R.H. Phillips cameras(not really considering though)

the widest for 4x5 I use is a 90mm, so need something that could handle that with "some" movements. I've used a 300mm on 4x5 before, so ideally eventually I'd like to get a 600mm or so(way's down the road though). So, lets say a 80mm-700mm or so range of bellows extension.

I know this is a lot to ask, but I've searched and searched, but I just don't know what would be the best route for me to take.

just got a good deal on an anvil case that could store *almost* everything(got 52 4x5 holders, and 4 8x10 holders so far). I don't carry ALL the 4x5 holders at a time of course, but I got them all for like $2-3 each, all FE's or Lisco II's. so can't beat a deal like that I guess ;).

the other route would just to stick with 4x5, say with an Arca swiss(for weight savings), or a folding camera, like a Linhof Master Technika.

I don't currently have the ability to enlarge( no space for a darkroom, even one that's in a bathroom). I don't print any larger than 8x10(even from 4x5). Paper is just too expensive for my budget.

After seeing, and recently talking with, Michael A. Smith, contact printing might be the road for me and my work. But I'm not tying myself to one type of work just yet. I'm still in the "experimental stage". Currently working out a bottle of HC-110 with the Efke 25(can't get enough of this film, just love it!), but this is for another thread...


probably 1 of 4 or so LF people under 25 in the SoCal area...happy to be part of it though :D

Robert Hughes
4-Feb-2010, 20:09
Paper is just too expensive for my budget
And you want to shoot in LF? Hmm, maybe a nice little digital point & shoot is more appropriate? :D

But I can relate. I built an 8"x10" box view camera, specifically to get decent sized contact prints. If you're somewhat handy with a saw and box cutter, you can build one for less than $100 (not including lens, which can be something as simple as a magnifying lens, or even a pinhole). I'm using that green-sensitive x-ray film from CXS, and starting to get the hang of processing it without scratching the negative too badly. For prints, I'm alternating between standard silver-based photo papers and cyanotypes, with the intent of working into gum bichromate once I figure out how to get a decent exposure with it.

Richard M. Coda
4-Feb-2010, 20:25
Why not Arca for both? You can buy the 4x5 and then just get an 8x10 conversion kit. Two cameras in one.

4-Feb-2010, 20:47
Or, a less expensive 8x10 with a 4 x 5 back at a later date....or, if you decide to go full bore with the contact printing route you may find yourself using the 8x10 most frequently...

What about a shen hao or chamonix camera 8x10? the shen hao is nice and 'reasonable'...

I also enjoy contact printing. best of luck in your search.

4-Feb-2010, 21:49
it really sucks that certain lightweight 8x10 cameras have been discontinued, e.g. phillips compact ii and toho fc-810. they were really cool. =(

the new kid on the block is the ritter 8x10, but it doesn't light my fire. it's worth considering, though.

someone is selling a phillips explorer in the classifieds, but it doesn't have a reversible back and the bellows only goes a little more than 500mm.

have you thought about the kodak master view? it's a metal field camera like the toyo 810m, but costs less. i've thought about getting one that's really beat up just so i can repaint it grey hammertone and black.

there's also the canham jmc810. long bellows, 9lbs, not that expensive, especially when it's used. alec soth's backup only went for $1645 on ebay!

4-Feb-2010, 22:29
Hard to beat an Arca, but at your age you could pay for your retirement with the cost of an Arca 4x5 plus 8x10. You might check out a Wehman 8x10 with a 4x5 reduction back. Certainly wins on portability and is lightweight, reasonably priced and great on the long end. It can work pretty comfortably down to 120mm with the 4x5 but does not have a bag bellows to allow wide angle with 4x5. But it is a great field camera.

5-Feb-2010, 08:57
I would suggest spending more on consumables and shooting and less on camera gear. It's a little hypocritical of me though, because I've been studying and lusting over other cameras all evening and morning. (Can't be shooting at night or at while working is my excuse)

Daniel Stone
5-Feb-2010, 09:34
thanks all for the replies,

I think that the arca might suit my needs the best. Still a rail camera, but with the telescoping rail system, it can become a VERY small kit in no time flat.

but yes, there are rumblings about TXP availability, so I need to stock up on what I can afford.

I have some road trips possibly planned for this summer, but a standing offer from someone might nix that idea. who knows, I need a lighter, more portable option than the F2 right now.


John NYC
6-Feb-2010, 09:22
but yes, there are rumblings about TXP availability, so I need to stock up on what I can afford.



EDIT: It appears they are only getting rid of medium format TXP 320. They still list three LF sheet films as available:


John Kasaian
6-Feb-2010, 09:57
If a lightwieght monorail suits you, take a look at the Gowland.

John Kasaian
6-Feb-2010, 10:02
I've been migrating to Fomapan-oid Arista.eduUltra. Ilford and Kodak I use for specific shoots where I want to take advantage of better reciprocity and/or speed.

6-Feb-2010, 10:25
Sell the 8x10 stuff and buy some paper.
It'll go four times as far with 4x5 if you contact print.

6-Feb-2010, 10:49
Sell the 8x10 stuff and buy some paper.
It'll go four times as far with 4x5 if you contact print.


6-Feb-2010, 11:22
...I don't currently have the ability to enlarge...
An 8x10 contact print is the end product of photography in it's purest form. All that is needed is a light-bulb and a printing frame.
The same economy of means for shooting - a folder and one lens - helps to keep a man focussed.

philippe loizeau
6-Feb-2010, 11:57
Hello from France

(where the Arca Swiss camera are now manufactured)

If you can found an old Oschwald 8x10 camera, it would be nice for you, if you can not build any darkroom, and don't have enlarger, for 4x5
some part are usable with the new Arca stuff
some of them can be found on ebay for good price and you could build by yourself a good home made contact printing frame at a great price (if you can process in the dark a 8x10 film, you can print it by contact with just a tungsten lamp and paper)
If you can't afford paper ......

(please forgive my poor English)



6-Feb-2010, 15:09
I have had the same problem for a long time and haven't really made any progress on the dilemma. There are things that I like about the big ground glass, and the higher commitment in general that 8x10 involves. But the freedom and flexibility of 4x5 means getting shots you would miss with the 8x10.

Since my 4x5 Chamonix uses technika boards, I made an adapter for the Deardorff 8x10 that lets me use the lenses interchangeably. That has proven to be a good strategy for the time being, since I don't have to really decide which format until I get to the location (landscape shots). If it looks like a great shot and its not far, I'll reach for the 8x10. Otherwise I'll play around the with the little outfit. :D

6-Feb-2010, 15:21
Everyone should own a Deardorff before they die.

But you have plenty of time.

Seriously, your one real issue is that 8x10 bellows when compressed won't handle 90mm moves very well. You are probably better off sticking with two cameras, but using adapters so that you can interchange lenses.

There are tons of great 4x5 field cameras, many of which use the Technika lens boards. The list of great affordable 8x10's is smaller, but would include the Deardorff, The metal Kodak field cameras, and The wonderful Agfa/Anscos.

Gem Singer
6-Feb-2010, 15:49
Shooting 4x5 with an 8x10 camera is like shooting rabbits with an elephant rifle.

A 5x7 reducing back on an 8x10 camera would be a better choice.

However, the best choice is either two separate cameras, or just choose one of the two formats and be happy.

Richard M. Coda
6-Feb-2010, 16:39
Shooting 4x5 with an 8x10 camera is like shooting rabbits with an elephant rifle.

That's funny! And true.

Robert Hughes
7-Feb-2010, 16:19
That's funny! And true.
So that 6x9 roll film adapter I built for my 8x10 isn't appropriate? :confused: