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Thread: Opinions on upgrading from 4x5 to 8x10

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Mar 2017

    Opinions on upgrading from 4x5 to 8x10

    Hi all,

    I have been shooting LF for about a year - a Linhof Master Classic. It's a beautiful camera.
    I'm tempted to move up to 8x10. I think the lure of looking through such large ground glass has me under its spell!

    What's your opinion on the upgrade, especially now as things become more and more expensive?
    Lens, film, processing, etc.

    I would love to hear anyone's thoughts who made the jump and had the same sentiments as me.

    Thank you!

  2. #2

    Re: Opinions on upgrading from 4x5 to 8x10

    If I had better health and tons of money, I'd upgrade to 8x10. That's as succinctly as I can state my opinion, as the matter pertains to me. As it pertains to you, I haven't a clue.

  3. #3
    8x10, 5x7, 4x5, et al Leigh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Maryland, USA

    Re: Opinions on upgrading from 4x5 to 8x10

    I started shooting 4x5 with a Graflex press camera in 1960, adding cameras in the years since.

    I started shooting 8x10 with a field camera and a studio camera about 10 years ago.

    The main difference I have seen is the very limited selection of lenses for 8x10. I have about 20 lenses for the 4x5 systems, but only 3 or 4 for 8x10. That severely limits my 8x10 shooting options in the field, less so in the studio. Good lenses for 8x10 are EXPENSIVE.

    The film selection for 8x10 is also somewhat limited. I used to shoot Fuji ACROS in 4x5 (was never available here in 8x10). Of course, it's no longer available. But there are still more films in 4x5 than in 8x10.

    If your goal is 8x10 prints, you can obviously contact-print an 8x10 negative with superb results, no enlarger needed. For larger prints, you'll find an 8x10 enlarger is huge.

    - Leigh
    If you believe you can, or you believe you can't... you're right.

  4. #4
    Tin Can's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011

    Re: Opinions on upgrading from 4x5 to 8x10

    Maybe it depends on your eyesight.

    My eyes recently degraded and fresh RX is not doing it

    But last night I set up two 11X14, an 8x10 and 5x7.

    The bigger the GG the better for me in this permanent condition.

    Also if your mind is set on a bigger ‘engine’ you can only answer that question by getting the gas hog.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    now in Tucson, AZ

    Re: Opinions on upgrading from 4x5 to 8x10

    The increased size, weight, bulk, and cost will slow you down, even compared to 4x5. Most people choose to contact-print from 8x10; as Leigh said, 8x10 enlargers are rare, expensive, and very bulky. And so require a large darkroom.
    Consider what kind of prints you want to make. Is an 8x10 print big enough? Will your subjects of choice be suited to 8x10's detail and slow approach? Would you like to make 'alternative' prints, e.g. platinum, salted-paper, etc?
    And if you're worried about the cost, remember this. If after a couple of years, you decide to stop, your gear will have held its value.
    8x10 is a marvelous format. I hope you enjoy it.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    May 2010
    St. Louis, Mo.

    Re: Opinions on upgrading from 4x5 to 8x10

    I agree that there is nothing like looking at an 8x10 ground glass unless of course you go larger. Contact printing is better than 4x5 because it's 4 times as big. If you use an Epson Flatbed scanner then the largest negative you can use is an 8x10. An 8x10 flat bed scan is better than a 4x5 flatbed scan for enlarging. Leigh, is correct about an 8x10 enlarger. You will need a tall ceiling height for most of them. Most are expensive too and you may need to go pretty far to pick one up.

    There are great lenses you can buy cheap if you like a more normal focal length. Wides with coverage for movements and long lenses get pretty expensive. Figure about 60 dollars a pop for used film holders. You need a strong tripod for the camera. I use a J200 Ries with my Wehman. Some 8x10's require an A100 Ries or similar large tripod of another brand.

    One thing about buying used gear. If you decide to sell later and you bought right then you will get most of your money back if you sell.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Sonora, California

    Re: Opinions on upgrading from 4x5 to 8x10

    I dunno...I went from 4x5 to 5x7 to 8x10 and back to 4x5. I prefer 5x7 but could not find an enlarger so now I use only 4x5.
    Since you asked specifically about is a little bit of my experience.
    I had three 8x10 cameras. I started with an Deardorf and mmmm, very strongly disliked it - and the one I had was in very good condition after I replaced the bellows. They are heavy and old and just a pain in the ass to deal with. I sold it and got a much newer Tachihara..which I really liked - except for the gaudy gold plated hardware. It was lighter than the deardorf, used standard sized (Sinar) lens boards and was generally a great camera....but, again it was big and heavy. Too much to carry very far from the car. While this was in my possession, I happened upon an 8x10 Kodak 2D. I spent two years meticulously disassembling, cleaning, refinishing and restoring the Kodak. It was nice, and, I think, lighter than the Tachihara. I sold it at a considerable profit (not counting my many hours of labor, of course). Ultimately, for me, the crazy bulk, vastly increased weight, and really, the fact that the contact prints are the only viable choice for prints made it an easy decision for me to dump 8x10 altogether.

    I now have a few 4x5 cameras and am quite happy. I'll never do 8x10 again.

  8. #8
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Fond du Lac, WI, USA

    Re: Opinions on upgrading from 4x5 to 8x10

    Ask yourself what you hope to gain. Do you want to make contact prints? Bigger prints? Higher quality prints...?
    “You often feel tired, not because you've done too much, but because you've done too little of what sparks a light in you.”
    ― Alexander Den Heijer, Nothing You Don't Already Know

  9. #9
    Jim Jones's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Chillicothe Missouri USA

    Re: Opinions on upgrading from 4x5 to 8x10

    8x10 has the advantages others have mentioned above, but how many of us really need that? We may take many more good photographs with smaller cameras. Most of my favorite photos were taken on 35mm or digital. Good enough is good enough.

  10. #10
    Tin Can's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011

    Re: Opinions on upgrading from 4x5 to 8x10

    I have D750 with 3 great lenses.

    I must use AF but cannot gimp and see IF the image is in focus.

    Even tethered is crap to my ‘new’ eyes.

    Perhaps Pictorialists had poor vision. I am grasping for definition...

    So it goes

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