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Thread: Sticking with 8x10 or just holding on to 4x5 format?

  1. #1

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    Sticking with 8x10 or just holding on to 4x5 format?

    I'm sure this is a debate that's happened here many times. I am trying to justify to myself the cost of maintaining an 8x10 habit.

    I bought a Cambo 8x10 through the forum in parts and after many months managed to scrape together a full kit including a nice enough lens and 2 8x10 holders. I also have a 4x5 Sinar F1 and 1 lens, which tbh I use more than the 8x10.
    I reckon I need 8-10 holders to make the 8x10 usable for the kind of projects I have in mind (predominately portraiture). Deep down I know that it's not really about the format or the look with portraits, but rather the connection and engagement.

    My thoughts are this: either retain the lens and holders plus unused film for future use (possible with a sinar conversion for my F1) and sell the Cambo (to fund a w/a lens for the F1 and some other bits and bobs) or sell the whole 8x10 kit and concentrate on 4x5 and smaller.

    I reckon I could get back into 8x10 at a later date for between $400-$600 if I retain the lens and film holders.

    I work p/t as a photography teacher and whilst I used to get 'enough' freelancing work, it has declined significantly, I will lose my teaching position in September due to Govt cutbacks and will have to try and make a 'proper' go of the freelancing. My business 'voice' which is pretty quiet, says "sell the 8x10", but the other voice says, "you busted a gut to get the kit together-hang in there"

    Has anyone faced a similar dilemma and what did you do?

    Many thanks

  2. #2
    M
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    Re: Sticking with 8x10 or just holding on to 4x5 format?

    Same dilemma, decision made: my 8x10 projects are well finished, it was fun and definetly worth it,
    but the 8x10 kit I used will make its way to the classified section very soon.

    4x5 is still my main photographic interest and a lot of experiments are yet to come.

    These kind of decisions are also based on whether you have any sort of income from
    your photography of if it is just an expensive, joyful mode of self expression.

    Cheers,
    Mat
    Last edited by Sdrubansky; 16-Mar-2013 at 05:18.

  3. #3

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    Re: Sticking with 8x10 or just holding on to 4x5 format?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sdrubansky View Post
    Same dilemma, decision made: my 8x10 projects are well finished, it was fun and definetly worth it,
    but the 8x10 kit I used will make its way to the classified section very soon.

    4x5 is still my main photographic interest and a lot of experiments are yet to come.

    These kind of decisions are also based on whether you any sort of income from
    your photography of if it is just an expensive, joyful mode of self expression.

    Cheers,
    Mat
    Thanks Matt, you sound more decisive than me. It's always a balancing act. There's no doubt the 8x10 has a 'look' but in my case, in spite of my education in photography, and the fact that I should know better, I tend to mistake a 'technique' or 'format' with having a photographic 'vision' or 'voice' and then remind myself however briefly that Avedon has the same voice whether he shot in 6x6 or 8x10. In my case it's a mode of self expression and needs to become more of a income source. I make a very modest amount from stock, used to do lots of editorial assignments(albeit badly paid). Nobody has commissioned any l/f work specifically, nor are they likely to. Lots of thought required.

  4. #4
    M
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    Re: Sticking with 8x10 or just holding on to 4x5 format?

    Very undestandable doubts. 8x10 is a very difficult yet seductive format, with inherent pathos and charm.
    Yet one should not overemphasize the format and always make sure the medium is coherent with the overall
    goals and processes. It is, as you say, a question of balance. Ask yourself why you think/feel you need to use
    8x10 film rather than other film or digital formats. If it is an integral part of the language and the story, use it.

    For me at the moment it is about getting rid of all excess and redundancy and trying to find the marrow of vision.
    Depending on the ideas being developed this may be achieved using anything from 4x5 film to phone camera digital.

  5. #5

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    Re: Sticking with 8x10 or just holding on to 4x5 format?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sdrubansky View Post
    Very undestandable doubts. 8x10 is a very difficult yet seductive format, with inherent pathos and charm.
    Yet one should not overemphasize the format and always make sure the medium is coherent with the overall
    goals and processes. It is, as you say, a question of balance. Ask yourself why you think/feel you need to use
    8x10 film rather than other film or digital formats. If it is an integral part of the language and the story, use it.

    For me at the moment it is about getting rid of all excess and redundancy and trying to find the marrow of vision.
    Depending on the ideas being developed this may be achieved using anything from 4x5 film to phone camera digital.
    Yes, indeed. 8x10 is very seductive, I guess what brought me into it is the slowness, and the detail. The main thing putting me off is the cost. I just invested in 1 box of Fomapan 8x10 film, but realistically I'd need to invest in another 6 or so film holders in order not to be changing film with every sitter. I'd be interested to see some of your work, best, D

  6. #6
    Large Format Rocks ImSoNegative's Avatar
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    Re: Sticking with 8x10 or just holding on to 4x5 format?

    strange thing is I have been thinking over the exact same thing for the last few days, I decided I need to let the 8x10 go, the camera and everything that goes with it, 4x5 is where I started and that is where I will return.
    "WOW! Now thats a big camera. By the way, how many megapixels is that thing?"

  7. #7

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    Re: Sticking with 8x10 or just holding on to 4x5 format?

    Quote Originally Posted by ImSoNegative View Post
    strange thing is I have been thinking over the exact same thing for the last few days, I decided I need to let the 8x10 go, the camera and everything that goes with it, 4x5 is where I started and that is where I will return.
    Interesting coincidence, did you make much work with the 8x10 & any thoughts on how the process or result differed for you vs 4x5? D

  8. #8
    Joel Edmondson
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    Re: Sticking with 8x10 or just holding on to 4x5 format?

    Faced with the same decision not too long ago I reluctantly decided to scale back from 8x10 to 4x5 and slowly disposed of all of the 8x10 equipment. At this stage (70 years) I am certain it was the right decision though I do look back on the many years when 8x10 was my only format - with fondness. For me, despite the similarities in the actions required for both formats, there is still a difference in the approach with the 8x10 simply being more contemplative. I enjoy the 4x5 and am completely satisfied but, if there were absolutely no constraints (expense, weight, diminishing visual acuity, etc.) I would still be working with the 8x10. Good luck with making your choice!

    Joel

  9. #9

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    Re: Sticking with 8x10 or just holding on to 4x5 format?

    I've gone back and forth with 8x10 - bought a Deardorff, sold the Deardorff, bought another Deardorff, sold another Deardorff. The problem for me is that I find no difference in the technical quality of 8x10 photographs compared to 4x5 at my usual print sizes. But I really enjoy using an 8x10 camera and gear, much more so than any smaller format. So I vacillate between the practical - forget 8x10 - and the pleasure - keep 8x10. For the last several years practical has won out. Sorry that this probably is of no help to you since it likely mirrors what you're going through.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  10. #10

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    Re: Sticking with 8x10 or just holding on to 4x5 format?

    I did 8x10 for about three years. I loved it. (Bought my first 8x10 lens from AJ above!). When I got into it, I thought I was going to be doing contact prints; that's why I went up from my short time in 4x5 before. However, once I started shooting it, I realized what I loved doing was shooting chromes (and a lot if it at night or dusk) and scanning them. And the project I found to work on at the time was a good fit for the tonal and resolution capacity of 8x10.

    My tiring of that project coincided with Kodak's stopping production of E100G, which had become my favorite film by far. I also then got a D800E and more into digital than ever. So I sold off all LF gear.

    Then I missed the workflow of LF, so I decided to get a 4x5 monorail, as my 8x10 had been a field camera. And only to shoot B&W. I also never stopped shooting MF, and in fact, that is what I still shoot the most of.

    So now it is a Sinar F2 4x5, a Rollei 2.8F and the D800E. I am happy for now with all those riches.

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