View Full Version : Needing some new 8x10" equipment

chris jordan
24-Jan-2004, 23:06
Hey guys, I'm finally getting annoyed with my big green metal Calumet C-1; having recently rented a Toyo G 8x10 now I know what a really smooth camera feels like! Incredibly fine and accurate movements; a real joy to work with. The C-1 is like driving an army jeep compared to a Porche Carrera. Wondering if anyone has experience with the Toyo in the field (not backpacking it-- working out of a car). They seem incredibly expensive for what they are.

I also think I'm going to get a G-Claron 305mm with it, to complement my Nikkor 450M. I looked through one today and it was beautifully sharp. What a nice rig that would be. Any suggestions for where to find this stuff?

~cj (Seattle)


25-Jan-2004, 05:19
I have used a Toyo 810G in the field (with a backpack) since 2001, and it is a joy to work with - as you say, the movements being geared is very slik, and the stability is stunning. The pack I carry it in holds the camera, 3-4 lenses and 5 film holders in a day pack, meaning when I stop to shoot, I can take off the daypack and just carry the film.

All that being said, the camera is heavy - in the pack with lenses and holders it came out to nearly 50 lbs, and while the pack is REALLY well built, with a great frame, it is still heavy. Keep in mind, that is without the tripod, other cameras, or food and water. The longest hike I ever made with the camera was 3 miles, and while it was doable (and lead to some great images) it was also pretty physically draining.

Moncton, NB, Canada


Tim Curry
25-Jan-2004, 06:27
Chris, I'm using an older 300mm Symmar-S as my "normal" lens and it is quite a hunk of glass. They are going begging on ebay when you consider what the cost of a new one would have been. The biggest drawback I have in using it is filters, they need to be 105mm and cost a fortune to buy. Coverage (411mm at f 22), clarity, ease of focus at f 5.6 and fine image quality are all a plus with this lens. It would be heavy if you weren't shooting out of a car as it weighs in at 1160 grams wearing the copal 3 shutter, or about 2 1/2 pounds.

Gem Singer
25-Jan-2004, 07:18
Hi Chris,

Midwest Photo Exchange (www.mpex.com) has two used 305 G-Clarons listed on their website at the present time. They also carry the complete line of Toyo cameras and accessories. Although there are no Toyo 8X10G's listed as of now, I'm sure they can locate one for you, new or used, given enough time.

Call, and talk to Jim (and only Jim). Tell him that you got the recommendation on this forum. He will give you a good deal on the combination of a camera and lens. He is very knowledgeable, and easy to deal with.

Jeffrey Goggin
25-Jan-2004, 07:51
I likewise use a Toyo 810G in the field, but because I shoot mostly in urban areas, this usually means that I'm carrying it no more than a few blocks from the car. So far, I've been able to tolerate its weight and bulk, and if you're mechanically inclined as I am, there are ways this can be reduced a bit (i.e., I've successfully trimmed mine down to a "svelt" 15 lbs and believe another 2-3 lbs reduction is possible). IMO, the main point favoring these cameras is that they can be bought very inexpensively on eBay: I've seen several sell for less than $400 since this past summer and in one instance, one sold for a mere $202.50! The second point in their favor is they share many accessories with the 45G series, which makes them readily available and reasonably priced, and the third point is they have a tremendous range of movement available in almost every direction. So much so, in fact, that I no longer use a head on my tripod (which saves a welcome 2 lbs. and makes for a more rigid connection with the camera) since I can effectively aim the camera up and down for my purposes by using the front and rear rise and tilt controls.

While I would definitely prefer to be using a camera that's lighter and smaller than the Toyo just as a matter of course, I'd be reluctant to give up its geared movements or pay more money for the privilege. I've tried using cameras that don't have geared movements and IMO, they're just too imprecise for my style of photography, where I like to compose right to the edge of the film and print full-frame. While the Toyo is an unusual choice for use outside of a studio, for my purposes, it's proving to be the best compromise between price and performance.

25-Jan-2004, 08:44
Wow, an 810G in the field. I thought my Cambo 810N was crazy.

I was torn between the 810GII and the Cambo 810N. At the time, last spring/summer, there was a used 810G-II on Ebay for $999. That was just the camera and back. The 810N (Cambo) had a shipping case and 4x5 plate with it, as well as three boxes of film, and was cheaper by about $350. So I went for that.

The 810G still made a great impression on me - the one time I tried one in the store.

It should be easily manageable from the car, I believe it's heavier than my 810N by about eight pounds.

Michael Kadillak
25-Jan-2004, 09:10
I use a Toyo 810 M field camera and really like it. Really designed well and you can really clamp that sucker into position even without a back middle lock. The back lock is located at the rear axis and makes it convenient to reach. As solid as your green monster in a smaller package. Focus is quite smooth and the bail back not found on many 8x10 cameras is a nice addition. They come up on E Bay in the $1,200 to $1,500 range occasionally. Mine weights roughly around #12.5 to #13. I have a 305 G Claron in Copal #1 and find it to be a nice compact sharp lens for 8x10. As others have recommended, just remember to shoot it at least at f22 to eliminate the lens aberations (symmetrical process lens design) that stopping it down takes care of. Cheers!

Jeffrey Goggin
25-Jan-2004, 11:57
I don't have my factory brochure handy at the moment, but as I recall, Toyo claims the camera weighs just over 19lbs. Mine, with a bag bellows on it, weighed 18lbs., 10oz. per the digital postage scale at work. Now, after my modifications, it weighs 15lbs., 3 oz., and I'm sure there's another 2-3lbs. that could be removed without compromising either its performance or reliability in any way (or at least way that I can ever conceive of using it. I'm sure Toyo must have had their reasons for designing it the way they did, but an awful lot of it looks like overkill to me.)

As for pricing, unless the price dip this past summer and fall was just a temporary glitch in the market, IMO, there's no reason to pay $999 or more for one from a dealer when less than $500 and a bit of patience can snag you one on eBay for a fraction of that.

Make no mistake, though, these are big, bulky, and heavy cameras and they're not for everyone or perhaps even most people. However, for what they have to offer and the price that must be paid for it (at least on the used market), their performance-to-value ratio is pretty difficult to beat.

25-Jan-2004, 13:16
The list price for an 810G-II is $7900. B&H sells it for $5100 or $4500 used.

Granted, B&H is way overpriced on all LF stuff. But I still thought that $1000 was a good deal.

Evan Ayers
25-Jan-2004, 15:39
I haul my Toyo G all over. In a real backpak made by North Face, not one of those glorified school bags you find at most camera stores.

As long as the hike is _flat_ :-) If there's any kind of verticality involved I switch to 4x5 ;-)

Out of the back of my pickup the Toyo is a dream. It's strong enough to survive everything I've done. Except for the one time a mule rolled over the Lightware case I keep it in. That busted the camera inside, but I got a replacement part from Toyo in a week or so. I have a hard shell case made by Anvil, but it weighs more than the camera <lol>. Haven't yet found a Pelican case that will fit the Toyo nicely, they're either too big or too small.

As others have mentioned, it's smooth and rock solid. Mine is quite old, and has been exposed to a lot of sun, sand and wind. California beaches, Rocky Mountains, Arches National Park, Grand Canyon, etc.

I really bang my gear around a lot. There's a set of nylon pads in the two standard holders that have seen better days and need replacing. If I neglect to blow out dirt and sand from the risers they tend to stick. The bellows I've patched twice. Otherwise I've had no problems with it at all. I'm sure that if I spent a little more time babying the camera and less time taking pictures I wouldn't have had any problems at all with it.

I augment the head with a pair of long lens stabilizers from bogen. This is not a fault of the camera at all, but my attempt at cutting back on tripod and head weight. The stabilizers have allowed me to cut back to a lighter head and pod, much to the relief of my aching back. The stabilizers come with "super clamps", which I replaced with a custom aluminum bracket to save weight.

Film holders are the biggest issue. I never have enough. What I _really_ want is a 8x10 grafmatic :-)

Evan :-)

Dave Benfer
26-Jan-2004, 08:46
HEY!!!! I love my C-1

Mark Sampson
26-Jan-2004, 13:43
Hahn Graphic in Rochester has an 8x10 Toyo monorail that they'd love to sell. It looks almost new, and they are a reputable shop. Try them at 585-254-5705.

Ron Bose
26-Jan-2004, 16:01
Be aware when buying lenses like the 305mm G-Claron. If possible I'd go and handle the lens before parting with your cash. I ordered a "9" rated lens over the 'phone from a reputable dealer and received a twenty-five year old lens (albeit in good condition). I thought that it wasn't great value, so I returned it and then bought a new 450mm fujinon-C.

The G-Claron's great reputation has inflated it's price somewhat. So watch out to avoid disappointment !!

tim atherton
27-Jan-2004, 17:58

Ed Candland
28-Jan-2004, 09:57
<<Granted, B&H is way overpriced on all LF stuff<<

Since when? Are you talking about used items? If so I'm not sure. But if it's new stock, I've seen some items slightly less than other stores (Badger, Robert White, etc.) and some slightly more. But everything was in the same ballpark....

28-Jan-2004, 14:48
Due to budgte constraits, I only seriously look at used stuff. I've found B&H to be WAY over the normal price - like their 810G-II for $4500 that sells at other stores for under $2000 or on ebay for $1000.

Ed Candland
28-Jan-2004, 16:14

I can relate to being on a budget and buying used. I would also agree that buying on ebay or from a private party can bring a better deal than from a company such as B & H which isn't really in the busness of selling used equipment. But to say that B & H is over priced is just not fair. I checked the price on a Toyo 810GII at 3 other popular dealers only to find the exact same price. If I mistaken and there's dealers out there with lower prices on new gear please let me know.

B & H: $5129

Badger: $5129

Adorama: $5129

Calumet: $5129


tim atherton
28-Jan-2004, 16:21
I think Jason was talking about B&H's used prices - in this case on the Toyo, of $ 4,499.00 compared to the $1000.00 to $2,000 you can often find it for used elsewhere. Although in this case,B&H's looks like new old stock or demo gear rather than actual used.

I must say I've also usually found B&H's used prices on LF gear to be quite a bit higher than most other places. Not always, but most of the time.

Ed Candland
28-Jan-2004, 16:29
That could very well be the case Tim. I was just commenting on Jason's statement that "B&H is way overpriced on all LF stuff". I have no interest in B & H but I hate to see anyone get a bad rap where one is not deserved. Something that happens on the net too regularly and sometimes without intent.

28-Jan-2004, 17:29
Sorry, guys. I was thinking "used" but didn't say it.

tim atherton
2-Feb-2004, 21:35
well here's some bellows


now somehwere I saw one for sale the other day sans bellows...