View Full Version : Folding up a B&J 8x10? err..right way how?

8-Feb-2004, 09:21
Hopefully this doesn't take the cake as stupid question of the day, but, uhm, can someone who's got one of these hopefully enlighten me on the correct way this thing stores?

OK, so I've got the main bed for it, with a "solid" end and a folding end. The solid end contains the tripod mount.

When this camera arrived, it was set on the bed in a manner that when I closed it the front standard was facing (actually HANGING) off the sold portion, and the ground glass side of the rear standard faced the folded up bed, a sort of protector for it. There's a screw in the top of the rear standard and the folded-up top of the bed that has a little hook on it. Throw this over, and the bed protects the glass.

OK, this seems right BUT: The front standard is barely on the track, if at all. When opened and used normally, I mount the tripod under the front standard, if I crank the rear standard to the end of the rails for ease of use then the center of gravity is WAY over the tripod, and not nearly so sturdy. Yes, I am using an under-spec'd tripod for this, but even so this hardly seems safe or remotely sturdy at all. My tripod head, a Bogen 3055S, was listed as "super heavy duty" and supposedly supports a weight of 15#, threatens to dump this config over to the side.

So, I smile to myself and figure the guy who's owned this thing for all of five minutes knows more than the guy who owned previously, and I take the standards off, flip 'em round, and put them back on. Now, when I close it up, I can crank the rear standard to the end of the solid portion of the bed so the GG is off the edge (but the gears are engaged on the track), I move the front standard all the way back, and fold it up. Well, this sure fits nicer. The front rails provide protection to the wee little lens on the front now, and its all still on the rails. Sturdy, right? Right! I put it on the tripod, open it up, and can now focus primarily with the front standard, the heavy rear standard is over the tripod, and its much more sturdy.

This also seems right, BUT (again!): There's absolutely NO protection for the ground glass. Uh, this is a "field" camera, surely there should be something going on, right? Those little latch systems earlier? Nope, don't line up to anything anymore. Sure, the rubber band attached to the bellows' support screw can go over that latch, which then hooks to the front standard, but at the same time I'm not so sure if this is right either.

So, tell me: How does it go? Am I right or was the other guy right or is there really no right at all? What does one use for ground glass protection on something like this? I figure I can just put the extended bed over the rear GG, with the darkcloth between them, then use a set of bungie cords to lash it all together, but if I don't need that extended rail then I'd rather not carry it: Its heavy enough as it is.

John Kasaian
8-Feb-2004, 10:11

I had a B&J and as I recall the hinged rails folded up against the lensboard side of the camera(I could be mistaken!) As for protecting the gg, well, be careful! I think there are directions for making a homebrew gg protector somewhere in the archives, if thats an issue...FWIW, on my 'dorff the gg vulnerable as well. I protect it by folding the dark cloth and using it as a cushion. ----Cheers!

David E. Rose
8-Feb-2004, 10:59
As for the balance on the tripod, the B&J originally came with a sliding tripod block that allowed for the centering of the camera's weight. Don't feel bad, mine doesn't have one either! As for the proper orientation on the base, I can see arguments for both directions. I have seen photos of B&J's on Ebay that were assembled in both ways, so I think you should do what seems right for you.

John Kasaian
8-Feb-2004, 12:35
FWIW, on my Agfa, reversing the standards is a very useful feature, as you can use an ultra wide lens without getting the rails in the picture (of course, then you've got the bed of the camera pokin' you in the guts while you're focusing with the loupe!)


Michael A.Smith
8-Feb-2004, 13:59
For GG protection, be careful. Get a case. but if you must. Get 4 velcro circles. Put it on camera outside 4 corners of GG. Put matching velcro on oiece of Plexi. Press together. Voila!

Brian Ellis
8-Feb-2004, 14:29
Canham makes a nice ground glass protector that fits most 8x10 cameras. I used one on my Deardorff. Nothing wrecks a photo trip like breaking the ground glass in the middle of the trip so personally I wouldn't be without a good protector.

Tim Curry
9-Feb-2004, 05:57
The 8x10 B&J is a bit of a beast, I'll give you the phone number of my chiropractor. There is a sliding base made for the 8x10 which deals well with the center of gravity issue, but good luck finding one. Be very careful when trying to focus with a lot of extension if you don't have it. The 1/4" inserts which are pressed into the bottom section are not enough to support the weight when focusing with a lot of extension and pointing down on a subject. I nearly lost mine this summer when doing this the first time.

My solution was to remove both inserts, clean in denatured alcohol (removes all reside and dries without water, don't use isopropyl) and pot them in epoxy from a hardware store. Make sure you wax the internal threads with a screw and paste wax first (just enough to insure that any epoxy can't squirt into the screw's threaded area). Leave the screw in place when potting, tap it with a small hammer and then remove it once the epoxy cures over night. Much better to get the sliding chingaso, but this will work.

If possible, get both a rear and front extension bed to allow for adjustments which will center the mass over your tripod. As John said, watch out for your throat when using this configuration.