Page 1 of 5 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 41

Thread: 8x10 Camera mainly for portraits

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Portugal
    Posts
    10

    8x10 Camera mainly for portraits

    Hello there!

    I'm looking for a LF camera to be used mainly for portraiture. I'm a fan of ULF, but this time I decided to keep it at 8x10 -- it's a good enough size for what I have in mind and lets me build up from there if I so decide.

    A little about myself and what I'm looking for:


    - My experience with LF cameras is limited; I never owned one but worked with one in college

    - I know 4x5 is probably the most logical entry-point for Large Format, but I feel I'd be wishing for bigger negatives if I chose that format instead. Is it too bad an idea to have an 8x10 as my first LF camera?

    - Since I'm going to work mostly with portraits, I like the idea of being able to focus with the sheet already in place, so I looked into Rangefinders as an option -- in your experience, how relevant is this ability to focus until the last moment, assuming you're working with very shallow depth of fields (which is something I definitely would like to do)?

    - Weight is not an issue for me. I don't intend to carry the camera around too much

    - I'd like to have the ability to use glass plates as well as film

    - Movements are of course appreciated, but since I'm working with portraits most of the time, I don't think I'm going to need too much

    - Regarding budget, I'd like to keep it under 1000€, but a quick ebay search suggests I might have to spend a bit more. It's not a huge issue, I'll just have to save money for a bit more. I'd rather spend more and get something I really want

    - I live in Europe, so buying from the US will probably mean a lot of money spent in shipping and customs. I'd like to avoid it if possible (or is this not that much of an issue at all?)


    And I think that's it!
    Thanks in advance for all the help and see you all around the forum (I'm new, if you couldn't tell already )

  2. #2

    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Germany, Bremen
    Posts
    45

    Re: 8x10 Camera mainly for portraits

    Does your budget of 1000 Euro include only the camera? Or all the other stuff that you need for 8x10, like a lens, holders, loupe, focussing cloth, probably a tripod etc.?
    To my mind, a budget of 1000 Euro is a good starting point for 4x5, defintely not for 8x10.

    Working with Rangefinders or even with SLR's is quite common when it comes to 4x5 but not when it comes to 8x10.

    - Since I'm going to work mostly with portraits, I like the idea of being able to focus with the sheet already in place, so I looked into Rangefinders as an option -- in your experience, how relevant is this ability to focus until the last moment, assuming you're working with very shallow depth of fields (which is something I definitely would like to do)?
    To my experience with very shallow DoF (Aero Ektar on 4x5) you will miss focus quite often, because sometimes the model moves after focussing and sometimes you move the camera while inserting the holder. Up to 1/3 of all of my shots with my Speed Graphic and the Aero Ektar are out of focus.
    Since I am using a 4x5 SLR I can nail the focus almost every time, because I do not need to insert the holder and I can adjust focus until i press the shutter.
    “When we have no thought of achievement, no thought of self, we are true beginners... This is also the real secret of the arts: always be a beginner.”
    - Shunryu Suzuki -

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Portugal
    Posts
    10

    Re: 8x10 Camera mainly for portraits

    Quote Originally Posted by shoshin View Post
    Does your budget of 1000 Euro include only the camera? Or all the other stuff that you need for 8x10, like a lens, holders, loupe, focussing cloth, probably a tripod etc.?
    To my mind, a budget of 1000 Euro is a good starting point for 4x5, defintely not for 8x10.

    Working with Rangefinders or even with SLR's is quite common when it comes to 4x5 but not when it comes to 8x10.



    To my experience with very shallow DoF (Aero Ektar on 4x5) you will miss focus quite often, because sometimes the model moves after focussing and sometimes you move the camera while inserting the holder. Up to 1/3 of all of my shots with my Speed Graphic and the Aero Ektar are out of focus.
    Since I am using a 4x5 SLR I can nail the focus almost every time, because I do not need to insert the holder and I can adjust focus until i press the shutter.
    Hi there!
    The budget is just for the camera, yes. And maybe a few holders if I can manage it.

    I thought about a 4x5 SLR as well for some time, but then I figured I'd like to go a bit bigger -- hence the 8x10. But nailing the focus on shallow DoF is very important to me, so maybe I need to give 4x5 SLRs a second look, even if it means having smaller negatives.

    Any recommendations of 4x5 SLRs?
    Thank you very much

  4. #4
    Moderator
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Posts
    7,335

    Re: 8x10 Camera mainly for portraits

    Large format SLRs: by far the most common are Graflexes, available in formats up to 5x7. Another possibility is a TLR, which unlike an SLR will allow viewing at the moment of exposure, as well as accurate focusing when properly calibrated. Peter Gowland made large format TLRs as large as 8x10, though the 5x7 and 8x10 models are pretty scarce, and the 8x10 has been extremely expensive on the rare occasions when it has turned up for sale.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Germany, Bremen
    Posts
    45

    Re: 8x10 Camera mainly for portraits

    Quote Originally Posted by 3LeggedPanda View Post
    Hi there!
    The budget is just for the camera, yes. And maybe a few holders if I can manage it.

    I thought about a 4x5 SLR as well for some time, but then I figured I'd like to go a bit bigger -- hence the 8x10. But nailing the focus on shallow DoF is very important to me, so maybe I need to give 4x5 SLRs a second look, even if it means having smaller negatives.

    Any recommendations of 4x5 SLRs?
    Thank you very much
    There are Graflex SLR's and Mentor SLR's as far as i know.
    Graflex SLR's in 4x5 are rare and expensive. In good shape and with an interesting lens you will have to pay at least 1000-1500 Euro
    It's almost impossible to find a 5x7, and If you find one, you will usually have to replace the shutter. They are very heavy and focussing is difficult.

    I have got a 4x5 Graflex Super D with the Dallmeyer Pentac f 2.9. and three smaller 3x4 Series D which I modified to shoot 4x5 Film with a coverage of 4x4.5. They are my favorite LF- portrait-cameras.

    Mentor SLR's are not that hard to find in Europe, but repairing is much more difficult.
    “When we have no thought of achievement, no thought of self, we are true beginners... This is also the real secret of the arts: always be a beginner.”
    - Shunryu Suzuki -

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Posts
    4,356

    Re: 8x10 Camera mainly for portraits

    Problem with 8x10 is not only the camera, but also the glass.

    You have to know what focal you want for your portraiture and what kind of glass. 14" or a 360mm is suitable, but you may want to go as long as 600mm, which it would behave like a 105mm or a 135mm in a full format dslr.

    A lens I use is an old Symmar 360mm convertible to 620mm, which is a cheap choice since it offers two focals in shutter. The 620 conversion is excellent for head and shouders framing, while the 360mm (14") was the Yousuf Karsh favourite focal for 8x10 portraits.


    Quote Originally Posted by 3LeggedPanda View Post
    - I know 4x5 is probably the most logical entry-point for Large Format, but I feel I'd be wishing for bigger negatives if I chose that format instead. Is it too bad an idea to have an 8x10 as my first LF camera?
    Even in the case you get a 8x10 I'd also practice with 4x5. A reduction back would allow to shot 4x5, which it would we convenient to not waste expensive film while you practice. At the beginning you may burn a lot of film while you practice movements and -/+N development.


    Quote Originally Posted by 3LeggedPanda View Post
    wishing for bigger negatives
    No problem if you scan or contact copy. If wanting to use an enlarger then you face the drawback of dealing with a 8x10 enlarger, which has almost the same size than an aircraft carrier.

    If wanting to enlarge the negatives then better not going beyond 5x7. Consider starting with 4x5 and then enlarging to 1m if you want with an "small" enlarger: this is "easy" 1m prints with 300mpix efective image quality.




    Quote Originally Posted by 3LeggedPanda View Post
    - I'd like to have the ability to use glass plates as well as film
    This is about having the glass plate holders, same camera will take both kinds of holders.


    Quote Originally Posted by 3LeggedPanda View Post
    - Regarding budget, I'd like to keep it under 1000€, but a quick ebay search suggests I might have to spend a bit more.
    Regarding the camera model, a suitable model may be cambo SC or SCX : https://www.ebay.es/sch/i.html?_from...p2045573.m1684

    In particular the SC is not a very refined model but it's simple, relatively cheap, sturdy and very easy to repair, and it can be found in the EU from time to time. Also you may make a long rail with a bare piece of square 25mm pipe, it's modular so you may attach a cheap 4x5 for extra long bellows(https://www.flickr.com/photos/125592...5/27823423611/). I prefer a Sinar, but a CAMBO SC also does the job. Problem is hauling around the 810 SC for landscape.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Posts
    149

    Re: 8x10 Camera mainly for portraits

    I have not ventured into 8x10 yet, but another consideration is printing. If you do not spend a good deal for an 8x10 enlarger, you will be limited to 8x10 contact prints, which is by no means a negative (pardon the pun). If you are going to scan your negs, that is a different story, of course. 4x5 enlargers can be had for very reasonable prices (LPL and Durst excluded).


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  8. #8

    Re: 8x10 Camera mainly for portraits

    I think 8x10 makes perfect sense. For me it has been the ideal size for portraits. I went up to 11x14 this winter and have had a ball working with that, but really am finding the 8x10 more useful. Except for gallery shows the 8x10 seems like a better size. Most people really don't have much use for an 11x14 print. Even 8x10 is bigger than most people ever see in prints anymore.

    8x10 is very easy to contact print yourself with minimal gear, and is still a fairly easy size to scan.

    I don't think you mentioned what country you are in, but I probably wouldn't know what is common there anyway. In the US something like a Eastman 2D or Agfa/Ansco would be dandy. There were early offerings from Century that were much the same camera to the Kodak, but cheaper. Any simple camera works fine as long as it has enough bellows. More is better; less is limiting. One weird quirk is real studio cameras with the big studio stands that can sometimes be had very affordably due the lack of demand and impracticality of shipping. I know of several around here. You need to check local lisings and ask around old photographers and collectors; once these make it online they usually have unrealistic prices. They often come with a Packard shutter and lens, but usually something like a 12" since most were being used for shooting 5x7 and split 5x7 late in their careers.

    Lenses are often expensive. The cheapest in a longish focal length will be something like a Beseler lens from an opaque projector. The work nicely for absurdly low prices, but not shutter or aperture. A shuttered lens is going to be expensive unless you get very lucky, or go for a shorter focal length, so a Packard shutter seems wise. I actually find some advantages to that sort of setup, though I've been really lazy and just using a lenscap and haven't bothered to install my Packards yet. Affordable 14" and longer lenses do show up, but it can take some hunting. The numerous really cheap choices can work as well, or at least hold you over until something shows up.

    8x10 and 5x7 plate holders are very common, often with film sheaths to allow use of either plates or film.

    Good luck with your adventure.

  9. #9
    William Whitaker's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    the Southern Part of Heaven
    Posts
    1,289

    Re: 8x10 Camera mainly for portraits

    I would suggest first of all that you establish a goal. You want to make photographs, yes. But what do you want to do with them? Do you want to amuse friends and family? Do you want to build a portfolio? Do you want to decorate your walls? Do you want to go into commercial business?

    Establish a budget. Unless you're in the "1%". And even then, it's a good idea. Maybe more so. But I wouldn't know. But this will allow you to both control your spending and give you a shopping list of things you need.
    Once you know how much you have to spend on each item, you can begin shopping. But be careful. It's very easy to get carried away.
    Don't ask me how I know!...

    If you're sold on 8x10, that's fine. Don't let anyone dissuade you. Just understand that with any choice you make there will be disadvantages. And generally speaking, the larger your format, the more expensive it will be, however you slice it. And cost does not increase linearly with format. IOW, don't fall victim to the misconception that because 8x10 is twice the size of 4x5, that it must cost twice as much. No, the cost runs away far in advance of the format size. And if 8x10 is bad, then ULF is a monster! But back to practicality...

    Lenses for 8x10 are very common and do not need to be expensive. For suggestions, take a look at the recurring monthly "Portraits" thread to see what others have used as well as the format they used. Some of the best portraits have been made with some rather plain lenses. You don't need a Cooke or a Heliar although you may want one and indeed, they are wonderful lenses. A Wollensak Velostigmat or a Tessar 1C will make lovely images, too.
    Much depends on your light. After all, that is what photography is about. Light. Consider what kind of lighting equipment you need/want and work toward that goal remembering that, again generally speaking, lighting is independent of format. But you do need it. And you need to control it. Especially if you should get into soft-focus/diffuse-focus portrait lenses which, if you're like the rest of us, you will.

    Regarding cameras, my own 8x10 is an old Ansco. It has a fixed front standard without either tilt or swing. And it doesn't fold like a field camera. It collapses and the tailboard folds up to make it transportable. ("Transportable", as distinguished from "portable"). I can take it with me. But it's not easily backpacked (Especially not by me. Age is a bugger!)
    The lensboard is 7 1/2 inches square which allows using old fast portrait lenses which tend to be large. For me it's an excellent tool as it does what I need with the minimum fuss and expense.

    I hope you will consider 5x7. It's a lovely format for contact printing. And if enlarging, a 5x7 enlarger is going to cost much less than an 8x10 enlarger, but still yield very large prints if you desire. And a 5x7 enlarger will take up a lot less room than an 8x10 enlarger.

    And (hint) a Kodak 305mm Portrait Lens is a very nice lens to use. If you're patient and wait, you can find one in a factory-mount Ilex #5 sync shutter. That sync is really nice to have if you're using strobe.

    A good solid 5x7 camera for portraiture is an old Burke & James Rembrandt. This camera was designed for portraiture and does not have the bells and whistles of other cameras. In fact, it's dirt-simple. But long ago, 5x7 was a common format for professional portraiture. And this camera was made for that market. They occasionally show up used. Ebay is probably the best place to look for one.
    Yes, the Rembrandt is limited in what it will do. But it does what you need for portraits. Plus one more thing. It will help you save your money for what you really need, which is film, paper, chemicals and other disposable inventory. It all costs money.
    Work toward your goal and use your resources wisely.
    Good luck!

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    San Francisco
    Posts
    75

    Re: 8x10 Camera mainly for portraits

    I'm shooting some with 8x10 and a lot with 4x5. There are many cameras which could serve your needs for 4x5. I have for example a polaroid conversion fitted with a Komura 152mm lens which is quite fast but the rangefinder is accurate and I can take the picture without having to stop and load a film holder. Also I have a 4x5 Graflex Super D that still has it's original Ektar lens with auto diaphragm. You'd be surprised how shallow DOF is even at f/11 and such a camera makes it even more convenient. Probably I would go with a 4x5 Graflex for your needs. The 4x5 format can make also film development and scanning easier. There are 6 sheet film holders, like the grafmatics, that make the shooting experience so much faster and easier. btw- Jeff Perry of 20thcentury Camera (https://www.instagram.com/20thcenturycamera/) makes several parts for these cameras such as modern film back holder plates, prism finder adapters, tilt front lens boards, and he even services them. He supplied me my 3x4 graflex (converted to 4x4 and uses 4x5 film) and has totally rebuilt my Graflex 4x5 super. You can see a lot of what he has done with the graflex's on his instagram. There are 5x7 Linhof Technica's that have rangefinder focus and I have one, and they are also quite good cameras, but the issue with rangefinder for focus is that when you employ any movements, the rangefinder won't be accurate. Also I would not really rely on the rangefinder in that camera to focus for example on the eyes with wide open lens. If you do go with a 8x10 or other view camera I would suggest one that has a bail lever for the film back and that can really lock down the movements tight since it's so easy to mess up critical focus when you are loading the film holders after focusing.

Similar Threads

  1. 5x7 camera for portraits
    By fairmn in forum Cameras & Camera Accessories
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 12-Apr-2014, 09:44
  2. 4X5 Camera for portraits
    By Songyun in forum Cameras & Camera Accessories
    Replies: 38
    Last Post: 21-Feb-2011, 17:24
  3. Which Camera for portraits?
    By Pete Bartlett in forum Cameras & Camera Accessories
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 24-Jul-2008, 12:10
  4. Some of my 8x10 portraits too
    By Frank Petronio in forum Cameras & Camera Accessories
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 10-Feb-2006, 12:01

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •