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Thread: Intrepid 8x10 experiences?

  1. #1

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    Intrepid 8x10 experiences?

    To start, I realize there is another intrepid related thread just below this, but having read through it I felt it was different from what I am asking. That said, if I should move this question to that thread just let me know and I will....Now to the question:

    How many people here have had experiences, good or bad, with the Intrepid 8x10?

    Im looking to start shooting 8x10, some film, but mostly plates, and am indecisive about what camera to start out with. Initially I had been thinking about trying to sell/trade my 5x7 Graflex series B and using the money to purchase either an older camera like a Kodak 2D, Ansco or even a tailboard camera or cheaper more modern camera like a Toyo, but when I saw the prices for the Intrepid 8x10 I started thinking about that as a way to get a "cheap" 8x10 and keep my graflex. My only worry is that I am not sure how well an Intrepid would hold up. I know that the older cameras, though they may not be in perfect condition, are obviously built to last and will likely keep working for some time to come with proper care. With the Intrepid I worry about craftsmanship, and how well the materials will hold up over time, especially when it comes to things like using plywood for the body and bungee for the spring back rather than actual metal springs and the like. And since I plan on using the camera for wet plate I also wonder how well it will hold up to that process. I think the camera would be great for me, especially given the light weight and portability, if it will last, but I have my doubts.

    Basically I was wondering of anyone has any comments on how well their cameras have held up over the time they have used them or if there are any other variables I should be thinking about that I have not considered.

    Thanks,
    Rob

  2. #2

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    Re: Intrepid 8x10 experiences?

    The Intrepid 8x10 only started shipping just about a year ago. It is a little soon to comment on longevity. There should be a thread on the camera around the time it started shipping that gives a lot of first impressions. For me, 8x10 is a niche interest. Practically everything to do with 8x10 is four times that of 4x5 - film costs, holders, size 8-), and by the time I have the lenses and holders, the actual cost of the camera is less significant as part of the whole. I know I will be doing the bulk of my large format work in 4x5 with a Wista DX or an MPP VII.

    Intrepid 8x10:
    You can replace bungee cord. Really useful stuff to have around.
    Build precision could be better, but this is not a geared technical camera. It might not be rigid enough in windy conditions - but 8x10 bellows area starts to be a problem in those conditions.
    The plywood is dimensionally stable, light, and sealed. I wouldn't soak it in water for long periods, but I hope never to do that with any of my cameras.
    Bellows is just under double extension, so a 600mm non-telephoto is not likely to be practical. I'm in 300mm territory, so it is not an issue.
    The 5x4 back will not allow a 90mm to focus with the standard front standard mounting position. You can move the front standard back with a bit of effort and a home made adapter, but the movements will be severely bellows limited. I'd say the best minimum for 5x4 is 120mm. On the other hand, you get close to 600mm of bellows to play with.
    I made a plywood panel to sit inside the back to give me 4x10 in horizontal or vertical, which is useful for some of my subjects.

    I cannot comment on wet-plate use.

    In automotive terms, it is closer to a mass produced basic/medium trim car than a limited edition hand-finished one. Both will probably get you where you want to go. Just a matter of comfort and utility.

  3. #3

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    Re: Intrepid 8x10 experiences?

    I agree with you on the 4x5 vs 8x10 film aspect regarding cost, availability, and general convenience. Right now the bulk of my LF work is 4x5 done with a Graflex Series D, Speed Graphic, or Toyo, depending on my particular wants/needs for the shoot. I wouldn't even have considered 8x10 for film only, but shooting plates is a different ballgame and I feel like 8x10 is a great size. That way people can get a plate in a "print" size that they are familiar with, 8x10 being one of the most popular portrait sizes.

    I appreciate your insights/evaluations, they are very helpful. I know I can replace the bungee, I think my worry is more having it break in the middle of a shoot, or worse in the middle of an exposure. As for the wood I also don't plan on getting it soaked, but for some reason I had a feeling it may warp more easily than solid wood. Not sure if that is true or not. Also not worried about build precision as much as long as it won't come apart. I don't need a technical camera, or super precise movements since I shoot portraits almost exclusively.

    In the end it sounds like it might not be a bad option for me unless I get a lot of other feedback that is negative.
    Last edited by robertraymer; 29-Sep-2018 at 13:14. Reason: grammer

  4. #4

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    Re: Intrepid 8x10 experiences?

    Quote Originally Posted by robertraymer View Post
    I agree with you on the 4x5 vs 8x10 film aspect regarding cost, availability, and general convenience. Right now the bulk of my LF work is 4x5 done with a Graflex Series D, Speed Graphic, or Toyo, depending on my particular wants/needs for the shoot. I wouldn't even have considered 8x10 for film only, but shooting plates is a different ballgame and I feel like 8x10 is a great size. That way people can get a plate in a "print" size that they are familiar with, 8x10 being one of the most popular portrait sizes.

    I appreciate your insights/evaluations, they are very helpful. I know I can replace the bungee, I think my worry is more having it break in the middle of a shoot, or worse in the middle of an exposure. As for the wood I also don't plan on getting it soaked, but for some reason I had a feeling it may warp more easily than solid wood. Not sure if that is true or not. Also not worried about build precision as much as long as it won't come apart. I don't need a technical camera, or super precise movements since I shoot portraits almost exclusively.

    In the end it sounds like it might not be a bad option for me unless I get a lot of other feedback that is negative.
    They build boats out of plywood. It will depend what type of plywood, exterior - or something else?

  5. #5

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    Re: Intrepid 8x10 experiences?

    True. They say "furniture grade" plywood. I don't know enough about different wood grades to know what that means in terms of likeliness of warping.

    One other thing I just started thinking about when looking at the cameras construction was lens selection. I noticed that the front standard has only one screw on each side for securing it as well as rise/fall and tilt, which got me thinking about lens weight. On top of that the camera itself is quite light. I tend to use a fairly heavy lens (Dallmeyer Pentac 8") as one of my go to lenses for portraits, and plan on using other brass lenses, which are definitely not known for being light. I wonder if the camera will have any issues with stability when using such heavy lenses.

  6. #6

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    Re: Intrepid 8x10 experiences?

    Quote Originally Posted by robertraymer View Post
    True. They say "furniture grade" plywood. I don't know enough about different wood grades to know what that means in terms of likeliness of warping.

    One other thing I just started thinking about when looking at the cameras construction was lens selection. I noticed that the front standard has only one screw on each side for securing it as well as rise/fall and tilt, which got me thinking about lens weight. On top of that the camera itself is quite light. I tend to use a fairly heavy lens (Dallmeyer Pentac 8") as one of my go to lenses for portraits, and plan on using other brass lenses, which are definitely not known for being light. I wonder if the camera will have any issues with stability when using such heavy lenses.
    I would worry about the plywood delaminating, as well as warping.

  7. #7

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    Re: Intrepid 8x10 experiences?

    Long focal length, heavy lenses may need some adjustment of the tripod center to balance the camera, but that can be an issue with any folding baseboard camera design like this.

    I will worry about warping or delamination of the plywood when it happens - assuming I am still around to use the camera!

  8. #8

    Re: Intrepid 8x10 experiences?

    Couple of comments on this topic.

    It is my understanding that Intrepid camera is going to metal GG support on the camera back on their next 8x10 production run fairly soon. They claim that the bungie cord works, but they are being responsive to a propensity of camera users that are asking for the inclusion of the spring. I am good with that move. There are unsubstantiated rumors that Intrepid could be going to a dual front standard clamp system - one for rise/fall and one for tilt. I think that could be wishful thinking. The fact is that the camera company is thin in the personal department and as a result informational and/or promotional details are thin if at all. They have their heart in the right place so I do not place fault on them in this regard.

    I question the sanity of any photographer that would attempt to use a lens on this camera equal to or greater than the weight of the camera and attempt to call this a problem. Come on man, the attributes of the camera is light weight and light weight is not structurally capable of handling such photographic objectives. If that is your gig, unfortunately this camera is not going to deliver the goods. And you do not have to be educated as an engineer to arrive at this conclusion.

  9. #9

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    Re: Intrepid 8x10 experiences?

    Regarding the plywood: they're using high ply-count Baltic Birch plywood. If you've bought plywood in the US from anything that wasn't a specialty/high-end hardwoods dealer catering to the art furniture market, you probably haven't ever handled anything like it. American plywoods are generally low-ply count and made from softwood. Those two factors, but especially the low ply count and the fact that we rush them out of the plant still damp and ship them to the big box store in the rain are what accounts for the bad impression of plywood. The hardwood used in the fancy plywood and the high ply count give it very good properties (especially compared to "normal" plywood). In my experience with it, it's LESS likely to warp or move with seasonal humidity changes than solid hardwoods and I've never heard of it delaminating other than when submerged in water for an extended period of time (days).

    The camera has some things to worry about but the plywood isn't one of them.

  10. #10

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    Re: Intrepid 8x10 experiences?

    Solid wood is just as likely to warp as the plywood that Intrepid is using to build their cameras. I have an original kickstarter 4x5 Intrepid and it has been heavily used all year round, Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter, and the wood it is made of doesn't seem to mind it at all. Neither are my "bungee cords" losing any of their strength.

    If you are looking for a studio camera then the Intrepid may not be the right camera for you. If you are looking for an ultra-light backpacking camera then the Intrepid might work.
    The Viewfinder is the Soul of the Camera

    If you don't believe it, look into an 8x10 viewfinder!

    Dan

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