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Thread: Thoughts on the “tailboard” design for 8x10?

  1. #1
    lenicolas's Avatar
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    Thoughts on the “tailboard” design for 8x10?

    Looking for a new 8x10 camera I stumbled upon this :
    Click image for larger version. 

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    https://www.stenopeika.com/prodotto/...configuration/

    I’m interested/intrigued by the design ; easier to deploy than a folding field camera, easier to store than a monorail, don’t need to get a bunch of movements that I wouldn’t use...

    But I’m wondering about a couple of things :
    - The focus seems to be simply by pushing/pulling the rear standard on the rail. Is that precise enough? Is the tolerance that big with 8x10 than geared focus isn’t necessary?
    - The tripod socket is almost under the front standard rather than at the point of balance. Is this a sturdy design? Or is wobbling of the rear standard to be expected?

    I’d be using an 8x10 for portraits only, 90% of the time in my home-studio, probably with a 250-300mm lens as a only lens and on film only. (I already have a 4x5 for field work)
    "I am a reflection photographing other reflections within a reflection. To photograph reality is to photograph nothing." Duane Michals

  2. #2

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    Re: Thoughts on the “tailboard” design for 8x10?

    http://argentumcamera.com/eng/pages/other/home.htm

    This Hungarian producer has the same option of moving the back standard just by hand for 8x10 in the excursor line, so it shouldn’t be that odd. If the standards move smoothly it has little bearing on precise focusing, I’d say. At Argentum however, the explanation is that it is not a problem for landscape photography. But for portraits specifically I think would prefer geared focus. I take it you would like to play with selective focus in your portraits too, whereas in landscape you mostly want everything equally sharp.
    I guess the tripod mount under the front standard might come from the idea that an 8x10 lens is mostly quite heavy, so the balance would be more to the front.

  3. #3
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts on the “tailboard” design for 8x10?

    Tailboard cameras are very good at supporting heavy portrait lenses

    They are best on a dedicated flat board studio stand, which evolved to 2 fixed front wheels and a rear swivel

    The one I had, the camera was bolted to the stand, which could be easily moved in a studio and adjusted from the rear to capture people on floor to standing

    I recently bought a 1951 B&J Rembrandt Home Portrait Camera 5X7 with 2 OE lenses and 3 backs, 2 with sliders

    I need to adapt it to my tripod with wheels

    My next lens for it is very heavy and long, a custom lens board is in the works

    Historic tailboard cameras also use push pull focus with a lock

    Lastly I think the portrait camera must be always set up and ready for action

    I am sadly not letting anybody in my studio for at least the next 6 months

    https://www.largeformatphotography.i...-Portrait-Lens

    Xenar f4.5 240mm by TIN CAN COLLEGE, on Flickr
    where is the monolith

  4. #4
    Drew Bedo's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts on the “tailboard” design for 8x10?

    The tailboard cameras that I have seen do not fold up in any way. With the front and rear standards collapsed together, the camera seems to be as storage unfriendly as it is open. Admittedly this is from my limited experience with just a few cameras.

    When I could move up from a beat-up Speed Graphic, I picked up an 8x10 Kodak 2D. It is about as clunky as a tailboard camera, but the focus rail folds over the front to make a storable , though still massive, package and it protects a still mounted lens. Mine lives in a LowePro backpack in the closet. Only rise-fall on the front, but full moveents on the rear. When wiped dowen with furnature polish it looks like a piece of room decor.
    Drew Bedo
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  5. #5
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts on the “tailboard” design for 8x10?

    where is the monolith

  6. #6
    lenicolas's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts on the “tailboard” design for 8x10?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Bedo View Post
    The tailboard cameras that I have seen do not fold up in any way. With the front and rear standards collapsed together, the camera seems to be as storage unfriendly as it is open. Admittedly this is from my limited experience with just a few cameras.
    Just to be clear, the camera I’ve seen does fold :
    Click image for larger version. 

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    You push the rear standard all the way against the front standard, and then the rail/bed folds up.
    That’s the part of the design that makes me fear the back standard might not be very stable.
    On the other hand on the video shared by Tin Can the camera looks sturdy enough.
    "I am a reflection photographing other reflections within a reflection. To photograph reality is to photograph nothing." Duane Michals

  7. #7
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts on the “tailboard” design for 8x10?

    My B&J Rembrandt 5X7 is the non folding model 1, then they made a Model 2 that folds

    More history here

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reisekamera
    where is the monolith

  8. #8
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts on the “tailboard” design for 8x10?

    My 2D came with the sliding tripod block that could be positioned anywhere along the bottom of the camera.

  9. #9
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts on the “tailboard” design for 8x10?

    As does the Calumet C Series 8 X 10: a review which is a tailboard design with gearless focusing that is very smooth
    where is the monolith

  10. #10

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    Re: Thoughts on the “tailboard” design for 8x10?

    I use a Calumet C-1 8x10 now - as Tin Can said it uses a friction focusing system. Before the Calumet 8x10 I used a old wooden 8x10 Camera the was for the most part push and pull rear standard- as the knob focusing would un-thread. With 8x10 it just a matter of making the image - knowing the tolerances of 8x10. I have been using a 4x5 for many years; but the thing about 8x10 that still amazes me is how shallow the depth of field is with 8x10 format.

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