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Thread: 8x10 metal field camera -- suggestions?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    632

    8x10 metal field camera -- suggestions?

    Hi guys, and Calamity and Ellen, happy Tuesday. I have a request for suggestions from the 8x10 crowd. Lugging around and setting-up/tearing-down this Toyo 8x10 studio monorail contraption is starting to wear on my vertebrae a little, so I'm thinking of switching over to a field camera. The Toyo 810MII seems to be about as solid and bombproof as they come, but the prices for new ones are outrageous ($1400 more than I paid for my Miata). Does anyone know where I could find a good used one? I'd also welcome suggestions for other similar cameras. My basic requirements are extreme stability and rigidity, reliable 90-degree angles everywhere, click-stops on all the movements so you can start out aligned in all directions, and smooth movements that can be micro adjusted (but don't have to be geared).

    Thanks for any thoughts or suggestions,

    ~cj

    www.chrisjordan.com

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Massachusetts USA
    Posts
    8,433

    8x10 metal field camera -- suggestions?

    Why not get an affordable used wooden one, and put it in an affordable used metal case ?

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Posts
    488

    8x10 metal field camera -- suggestions?

    The Wehman 8x10 is as bullet proof and light as it gets. I just got this camera 4 weeks ago and I am really impressed with it. I wrote up a preliminary review which you can find on this forum - just do a search for Wehman. The camera when folded up is completely covered by two aluminum shells which protect it from any harm. When you only shoot lenses up to 300mm you can leave one of the shells at home which reduces the weight even more. With my 300mm Fujinon C lens the entire outfit (minus one shell) weighs a mere 8 pounds. Call Bruce and discuss your needs with him - I think it'll be worth your time.
    Juergen

  4. #4
    Octogenarian
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Frisco, Texas
    Posts
    3,526

    8x10 metal field camera -- suggestions?

    Hi Chris,

    I recently received my second 8X10, a new Canham, all metal, JMC810 from Jim, at Midwest. I've been playing with it, but haven't had an opportunity to take it out and field test it, yet. My first impressions of the camera are excellent. It's kind of like a lightweight monorail, with a sliding collapsable rail. Simple to operate. Focusing is done by means of a single knob. Unfortunately, that knob is located on the left side of the camera. However, I'm slowly getting used to focusing with the left hand and holding the loupe with the right hand.

    The viewing screen is a Maxwell--outstanding brightness- lights up like a television screen. The standard bellows is what makes the camera. The best one I have ever seen, and I've seen quite a few.

    All in all, I think the Canham JMC810 is worth putting on your list to consider.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Posts
    114

    8x10 metal field camera -- suggestions?

    Sounds like the Toyo 810MII IS the camera for you. I had one once and it is a well built precision machine. Rock solid and the movements, even the non geared, friction-fit ones, are smooth. Locks down tight and rigid at all extensions. But...I love using the Deardorff and have my lenses on DD boards, so couldn't justify keeping it. They are fairly uncommon used, but if you come across the earlier model, it will probably be more affordable and very similar save for cosmetics and I think one feature with the front standard. I can't remember what, but it's something you can work around. I think the other metal field that comes to mind is the Master View, it has a similar design for the telescoping racks and front standard shift /swing lock and folds up even more compactly. Good luck, hope this helps.

  6. #6

    8x10 metal field camera -- suggestions?

    You need to find a used tan Toyo 810M. Using your criteria of a solid metal camera, this one is a tank. A bit heavier than its counterpart from Canham, but it is solid. Whoever designed the Toyo field 8x10 had to be a LF shooter as it has features like a bail back and a fail safe for reversing the back from horizontal to vertical that are welcomed features. Focusing is gear driven and silky smooth and if you are patient can be had for about $1,200 to $1,500 in the used market. Plus they are still supported by Mamiya in New Jersey and I believe take the identical lens board that you already use with your monorail Toyo.

    Cheers!

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Baltimore
    Posts
    89

    8x10 metal field camera -- suggestions?

    Hi Chris,

    It will not improve on the Toyo 810MII price problem (it's even a little worse), but you may want to consider the Arca-Swiss F models. I have an 8x10 F-metric which means the front rise, front shift, and rear shift are geared. This gearing costs you a little weight (about half a pound over the F-classic without the gearing) but it is worth it not to have to use one hand to hold the front frame is the desired position while locking with the other hand, especially with the long extensions of the 8x10. Even with the metric feature the weight is about 9.5 lbs, about 2/3 the weight of the 810MII. The engineering quality on the Arca-Swiss is legendary and deserved. I have no way of comparing its rigidity to the Toyo but I have no complaints and I couldn't find any in the archives before I purchased mine. The drawback that concerned me was compactness, but folks in this forum put me onto buying a 15cm rail unit and sliding both standards onto that rail, then removing that rail from the extension bracket that attaches to the tripod. In this state the camera is only 6in. deep and easily fits in a number of backpacks (I use the Lowepro Pro Trekker as I only have one lens). The Arca-Swiss system is extensive and all interchangeable so you have lots of possibilities for customizing a system to your needs. Of course none of this is cheap, but if it saves your back and gets the job done efficiently, the cost is probably worth it over the long haul. If you have specific questions about the camera and system, I will try to answer them. Also, there are several posters here with experience on this camera.

  8. #8

    8x10 metal field camera -- suggestions?

    Hi Chris:

    You might also consider a Kodak Master. About a pound and a half heavier than the Wehman. A few hundred bucks cheaper. Plenty of movements and loaded with retro goodness. They have the same kind of lensboard rise as the Deardorff--differently implemented, but functionally similar. They lock down solid and they're just way cool. For a lump of cast aluminum alloy, they're surprisingly soulful and handle great. Cheers.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Redondo Beach
    Posts
    551

    8x10 metal field camera -- suggestions?

    $4500 is ridiculous, I've seen them not too long ago at Midwest Photo Exchange, in the $2900 range which I dont think is too outrageous a price for a mint 810MII, you don't see a lot of them for sale these days, I don't know why, but I'd like to think that once folks get them, they don't want to sell them. What about some of these folks who travel to Hong Kong?

    You'll be able to shave plenty off of whatever you pay for the camera with your negotiating skills, like when you got that fabulous deal for your Nikon 450M from that really cool guy you bought it from.
    Jonathan Brewer

    www.imageandartifact.bz

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Minden, Nevada
    Posts
    79

    8x10 metal field camera -- suggestions?

    Chris,
    I got a Wehman and it works good. Light and rigid. But I agree with Marshall that a Kodak Master View would be the thing if you wanted to save a few bucks and get the same kind of rig.

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