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Thread: A little help for the new newbie who wants to get started in 8x10

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2015
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    A little help for the new newbie who wants to get started in 8x10

    Hi guys, I registered a few days ago and it was a pleasure to find so much information here in the forum and the reviews.
    There are so many options that it is still difficult for me to understand what would be the best setting for what I'm looking for.
    Mainly I want a 8x10 camera to take portraits in studio with strobes or controlled locations. And with that make contact prints.

    Here are some questions
    Should I go with a field camera or a monorail?? I don't care if it's not light or compact. What camera would be good to start in the 8x10 world?
    Which lenses do you love and recommend for portraits? I'm looking for very sharp images. Should I avoid soft focus lenses?
    I will be in USA in a few weeks, can you recommend me some LF stores?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: A little help for the new newbie

    If I were you, I'd get an 8x10 monorail, such as a Toyo, Sinar, Horseman.... The reason is that there are a fair number of them for little money, they are very capable, they have extensive accessories. They're much less in demand than field cameras, because there are many more people who do landscape photography than studio portraiture with 8x10.

    Regarding lens choice, that depends on the type of portraits. I do fairly close up portraits with 8x10, mainly with lenses in the 400-500mm range. If you want to do full-length portraits, something around 300 would be good. Soft focus lenses can be great, but they're hard to focus. I'd recommend getting a regular lens first, one in a modern shutter with flash sync, something like a 420mm Fujinon L.
    May tomorrow be a better day.

  3. #3
    Cordless Bungee Jumper Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    Re: A little help for the new newbie

    Welcome to Large Format Photography Forum
    Nothing beats a great piece of glass!

    I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.

  4. #4

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    Re: A little help for the new newbie

    Yousuf Karsh used a Calumet C1. http://www.largeformatphotography.in...umetc8x10.html

    It's kind of a metal flatbed camera. They are plentiful, sturdy and very reasonable on the used market so you will have more money for some nice glass.

    I really like my 14" Kodak Commercial Ektar lens. It's a normal focal length and a favorite of Karsh also.

    Welcome to the forum!

  5. #5

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    Re: A little help for the new newbie

    I like my C1 in the studio too. Mine came with a 14" Ilex, a copy I have heard of the Kodak Commercial Ektar. I love it for portraits and the C1's can be had for not much money, often with a lens.

  6. #6

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    Jul 2015
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    Re: A little help for the new newbie

    Thanks for the advice!
    What would be a good price for a used Calumet C1?
    I don't see much in ebay this days.

  7. #7

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    Re: A little help for the new newbie

    I've seen them all different prices depending upon condition and if a lens is included. Also the lighter weight green magnesium models go for a little more than the black aluminum ones.

    I would think you could find a nice one without lens for $700 to $800 on Ebay. I have seen them go for less. Of course Ebay is an auction so a lot matters on who is bidding when.

    I paid $1500 for my Wehman field camera just a few years ago and decent Deardorffs were about the same. The Kodak Masters were running around $2000. I did consider the C1 as well as a Toyo G monorail, Cambo monorail, Burke and James, and Kodak 2D which could all be found under $1000 but I wanted a field camera.

  8. #8

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    Jul 2015
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    Re: A little help for the new newbie

    Thanks for all the info Alan!
    Maybe I should wait a few days so I can see here in the forum the sale section.

  9. #9

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    southwest PA, USA
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    Re: A little help for the new newbie

    Quote Originally Posted by kanishka View Post
    Thanks for all the info Alan!
    Maybe I should wait a few days so I can see here in the forum the sale section.
    And that gives you almost enough time to read everything on the main pages to see what you might want. Welcome to large format!

  10. #10

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    Re: A little help for the new newbie

    The C-1 would be an excellent camera for your interests. Get a really heavy duty tripod for it.
    The 14" Commercial Ektar is a classic (think Yousef Karsh) but Schneider Symmars might have more appeal for you as they come in more modern shutters. The 12" Dagor is also an excellent lens for portraiture as is a 10" WF Ektar and 12" Wollensak Velostigmat which is soft wide open but crisp when stopped down. Look at some examples and find out what kind of lens different photographers used----that will give you a good idea of the "look" a given lens will bring to the party but you can't go wrong with a 14" Commercial Ektar on an 8x10, IMHO.
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

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