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Thread: 8x10 or 11x14

  1. #1
    jesse1996's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2016

    8x10 or 11x14

    Hi everyone! I've posted to the site before regarding cameras. Im saving up for an LF camera. initially i figured "oh 4x5 would be plenty for the massive prints i eventually want to do" then i read on the forum about the massive increase in detail and tonality with 8x10 (if done properly) and i figured "well if i get a half decent 8x10 set up it won't cost much more" and now with a few hundred saved up with my end goal being $3k, my friend asked "well if you want 8x10 for detail then why not get an 11x14!?!?"
    I've looked at and really fallen in love with the toyo810M and canham 8x10 but have no idea where to begin on 11x14 since the price jump is quite sharp between the two formats.

    the reeling of the continuously increasing sizes and narrower margins of error have led me to ask the sages up ULF on here, for someone who wants to print images akin to Massimo Vitali if not larger, is 8x10 plenty? The same friend gave me some of his own advice stating "one great square inch of film will give one great square foot of print" is there any base in this? if so I would imagine that 8x10 foot prints is big enough for even the most heavy stickler of presence and print nosing.

    Any help is appreciated and free stuff is too yay

  2. #2
    8x10, 5x7, 4x5, et al Leigh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Maryland, USA

    Re: 8x10 or 11x14

    One major concern is the selection of lenses available for each format.
    The selection drops dramatically as you go up from 4x5 to 8x10 to 11x14.

    There many high-quality modern lenses for 4x5, which will yield excellent results.
    A high percentage of these allow significant shifts and movements for perspective control.

    The number of similar lenses that cover 8x10 is far fewer, and movements are limited with most.
    That becomes even worse as you go to 11x14 or larger formats.
    Many of the suitable lenses are old, with simple or even no coatings, mounted in old shutters

    What kind of work do you plan to do? That will influence the features you need in the camera.

    Then look at the selection of films. For optimum quality you want very fine grain and high acutance.
    Again, the selection at 4x5 is broader than in the larger formats.
    Some folks might suggest using a faster 8x10 or larger film, but that has larger grain, so what did you gain?

    Then, what are your darkroom facilities? You can do 4x5 easily in a rather modest setup.
    Developing 8x10 film is more of a challenge, and 11x14 even more so.

    Then, you can enlarge 4x5 easily. 8x10 enlargers are far fewer and take much more room.

    Many generalities here, but that's what you must consider when selecting a format.

    - Leigh
    Last edited by Leigh; 19-Sep-2016 at 03:53.
    If you believe you can, or you believe you can't... you're right.

  3. #3
    Tin Can's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011

    Re: 8x10 or 11x14

    Research 5x7, many like it as a good format 'shape' and just right size for enlarging.

  4. #4
    Lachlan 717
    Join Date
    Apr 2007

    Re: 8x10 or 11x14

    If colour, 8x10".

    You miss 100% of the shots you never take. -- Wayne Gretzky

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    San Joaquin Valley, California

    Re: 8x10 or 11x14

    What took me out of 11x14 was the cost of the film holders. If you can find a kit with a good stack of film holders, so much the better.

    What is it you want to be able to accomplish? Traditional enlargements? Color prints? Contacts?
    Each format you mention has it's positives and negatives(bad joke!)

    My niche is 8x10 b&w contacts, but you may be looking for something else. Regarding 8x10:

    ---Grain isn't an issue unless I screw up the temperature of my chemicals, which is difficult to do.

    ---Loading and unloading film holders, as well as larger trays require more counter space in the dark room but if you're enlarging prints from 4x5, you'll need the room for the larger trays anyway.

    ---Color 8x10 film is prohibitively expensive for me. YMMV)

    ---Film, lenses that will cover 8x10, and chemical costs will be more expensive than 4x5 or 5x7, but not as much as with 11x14 or banquet formats.

    I hope this helps.
    "I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for men if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority"---EB White

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Madisonville, LA

    Re: 8x10 or 11x14

    If you're going to make big prints, how do you plan to enlarge them? 4x5 enlargers are plentiful, as are 5x7 enlargers-think Durst L138's. 8x10 enlargers are few and far between, much larger, costlier and harder to find and transport. 11x14 enlargers are nearly impossible to find and very very expensive once found. I'd stick to 4x5 or at most 5x7 due to enlargers. Also, most labs that still print film are still printing 4x5. As mentioned above, the cost of film also goes up exponentially. If you're planning to scan the negatives (something I don't do), then 8x10 may be an option, but I'd sure stick to 4x5 or at most 5x7 especially if you have no experience with large format! L

  7. #7
    Unwitting Thread Killer Ari's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Ottawa, Canada

    Re: 8x10 or 11x14

    I went through this very same argument with myself earlier in the year:
    The fact that I already had a great camera, lenses and scanner for 8x10 made the decision to stick with that format a lot easier, but you can put together a good 8x10 outfit for $1000 or so; there's an 8x10 Cambo for sale at $250 right now.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Bellingham, WA (displaced Canadian)

    Re: 8x10 or 11x14

    I moved up to 4x5 last year and then added a 5x7. I'm only contact printing and using Harman Direct Positive. I'm in the process of building an 11x14 camera.

    I can only back up everything written here. I'd add: 5x7 is a really nice format, where a contact print is sufficiently large to enjoy on its own and you're not yet worrying about film flatness, which starts to be an issue with even larger formats. You don't get more detail with a larger negative when your film plane is curved in the holder.

  9. #9
    multi format
    Join Date
    Feb 2001

    Re: 8x10 or 11x14

    hi jesse1996 :

    aside from the good questions and advice you have been given
    one thing that is often overlooked is the actual making the photograph.
    as you go up in format, wind and camera shake / stability become more of an issue
    i know from you original post / intro here you like photographing architecture/elements &c
    with a 4x5 it is easy to set up, as you go up, 8x10 is and 11x14 are more of a burden
    slogging the gear around, setting up a big bellows is like a mainsail on a boat ... and $$ of materials
    unless you are shooting xray film, paper negatives or ektascan/ektapan
    (non panchromatic, and a lot of people don't like the grey scale )
    films screw ups add up to being broke. and in addition to cost of film
    the way you have to process the film might be a hurdle as well. with 4x5 there are handfuls of ways to
    develop a negative - tray, hangers, combi plan, fr and the newer methods, as you go up in format, to 11x14 it
    becomes 1 sheet at a time and sometimes in an open tray unless you have large hangers and a nitrogen burst system
    or something equally as automated. the camera+format are just a small piece to the puzzle ..
    as randy said 5x7 is a great format, it is often times overlooked, but it is one of those
    formats that once you start using it, you love it. the dimensions make everytihng look good, portraits, architecture, still lives ..
    the lenses that cover 4x5 sometimes will also cover 5x7 so the additional $$ of giant + expensive lenses evaporates,
    film holders are cheap ( a few dollars vs a few hundred for a 11x14 ) processing is easier to deal with, and you can still
    find enlargers that aren't too expensive to enlarge 5x7 film.

    good luck !
    enjoy your coffee

  10. #10

    Join Date
    May 2015
    SooooCal/LA USA

    Re: 8x10 or 11x14

    I too went through the internal conflict of what LF format to shoot, but I came to my senses about continuing to use my 4X5 as it had more movements, wider lens range, easier to carry/set-up, easy to enlarge, cheaper to feed the holders, more DOF, less problems with vibration, faster to set-up/shoot, and get out of there, and I had the rig that I was using for commercial photography... (And I couldn't convince clients to pay more for 8X10's when the 4x5's looked great already...)

    I had considered stepping up to 8X10, but I liked the 11X14 format so I pondered... (I had shot 8X10 chromes in the commercial studio, but next to the 4X5 chromes, they were bigger, but just as sharp on the lightbox...) But I realized I could have about the same format with 5X7 OR 6X9 (sheet), but since I enlarge, it was my choice...

    If I were just contact printing, then the bigger the better...

    Hint; it's in the process, and how you hit the sweet spot... ;-)

    Steve K

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