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Thread: 8x10 Photography Compared to 4x5 Photography?

  1. #51
    William Whitaker's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    NE Tennessee

    Re: 8x10 Photography Compared to 4x5 Photography?

    Quote Originally Posted by bernice loui View Post
    vast majority of the lenses mentioned (verito, cooke portrait lenses, heliars, pinkham smith, kodak portrait, spencer portland and ....) were made in focal lengths not specific to 8x10.

    ~lots of them were made in production not for 8x10. That said, imo these sort of focus lenses are best on film formats 5x7 and larger to produce contact prints. If projection printed, enlargement of no more than 2x.

    These sorta-focus lenses where only part of the overall portrait making practice from that era. What is often forgotten or neglected with sorta-focus lenses, lighting, portrait sitter's pose, props, back ground and more.

    Post camera often involved "retouching" of the negative to fix what was needed and deemed to make an acceptable portrait. This was one of the primary reasons why 8x10 was highly preferred by the portrait folks from that era. Once all that was done, contact prints were very common and often yielded the best results.

    From the 8x10 portrait industry back then imo, grew the wide acceptance of that image ratio due to exposure to images with this ratio and familiarity with that image ratio.

    To believe speciality or "interesting" lenses alone results in the image is no different than believing 8x10 results in the best image. Fact and reality is, there is a lot more than lens, image recording format size and all those commonly and easily obsessed over item that are mere tools and means in the expressive image making process.

    Lighting, composition, form tonality and all those lesser discussed and far more subjective-intuitive-creative aspects of image making is often shoved to the side in favor of camera-lens-format size and all those hardware centric objects.


  2. #52

    Join Date
    Jul 2008

    Re: 8x10 Photography Compared to 4x5 Photography?

    Ymmv ~will~ vary.


    Quote Originally Posted by William Whitaker View Post

  3. #53

    Join Date
    Oct 2019

    Re: 8x10 Photography Compared to 4x5 Photography?

    If you're comfortable sharing them, I know I'd love to see them. What size are they?

  4. #54
    Daniel Stone's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Los Angeles area

    Re: 8x10 Photography Compared to 4x5 Photography?

    I make less photographs with 8x10 than I do with 4x5. My Iphone is the number one go-to these days however(y'all keeping me busy sewing so much!). My "keeper" rate is higher with 8x10 than with any other format, even digital. $10/shot for Tmax 400 will make me think twice, thrice or more before going click

  5. #55

    Join Date
    May 2006

    Re: 8x10 Photography Compared to 4x5 Photography?

    I have to read OP's question before posting anything that makes sense:

    For those experienced in both 8x10 and 4x5 photography, how do the methods and the types of scenes or subject matter photographed differ between the two formats?

    I use multiple formats from 4x5 to 16x20 and the following are my personal experiences only.

    1. My background: I am an amateur hobbyist and use wooden cameras and various lenses for personal pleasure only. I have exposed less than 2,000 sheets of film of various sizes and sold less then five prints in last 20 years since my interested in LF photography began. I am very lousy with enlargers and know nothing about digital processing. My output is 100% contact prints. Well, not exactly true as sometimes I have to ask somebody to scan my prints to post them online. That didn't happen in the last two years. My twin love are old lenses and new cameras.

    For fast street shooting, I like to use Graflex 45 and 57 SLR cameras with their 12 sheets bag holders. Since I don't to put a holder in after focus and ask people to hold their pose, I can click the shutter at the moment I like the reflected image on the ground glass. So much fun, even sometimes I got many imperfect images, blurred, under or overexposed. I could shoot 36 images in a few hours. I use these Graflex cameras with a monopod.

    For serious portraits, my most used formats are whole plate and 8x10. Quite often I use my 11x14 camera with an 8x10 back because I can use many of my old lenses mounted in 8 inch lens boards and long bellows.

    For still life, I like to use 8x10.

    For landscapes and seascapes, anything from 5x7 to 11x14. I usually use my 5x7 camera as a scouting tool as it is light and easy to use. Many of these 5x7 contact prints are quite nice as well. If I find certain scenes in certain light conditions are interesting enough, I would go back with my 8x10 or 11x14 camera to make bigger images.

    When I travel to crowded cities where tripod is impossible, I usally bring my 4x5 Saber camera with a rangefinder. I usually use it with a monopod.

    I find that just looking into the ground glass and study the upside dowm reflected images sometimes give me more pleasure than actually making the images. Different compositions, lighting and characters of each lens. In this case, the winner is usually 8x10 and larger screens.

  6. #56
    Alan Klein's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    New Jersey was NYC

    Re: 8x10 Photography Compared to 4x5 Photography?

    Where could we see your photos, Hugo?

  7. #57

    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Los Angeles / Paris

    Re: 8x10 Photography Compared to 4x5 Photography?

    I have been shooting 4x5 for 30 years and played back and forth with 8x10 all along.

    But I always come back to 4x5 after each "crisis" !
    The attraction for the 8x10 ground glass in the camera is an incredible magnet.

    But there are too many but for me.
    I shoot handheld with a Graflex Super D or a Crown Graphic.
    I do lith printing and not any Alternative process.


    The fact that I have to use a tripod to make a picture is becoming a big issue for me.
    And the last time I used my 8x10 I missed the perfect pic because of the time for the setup. Classic...

    As for contact printing, I'm frustrated to not be able to enlarge them and I don't want an 8x10 enlarger.
    And Lith printing kind of kills all the subtle nuances you can get from an 8x10 negative.

    That's for reasoning.

    Every five year, crisis comes back again !
    8x10 is just an addiction like many other things...

  8. #58

    Re: 8x10 Photography Compared to 4x5 Photography?

    I find the 8x10 format to be the perfect image photographic capture tool for a number of ancillary reasons. First I have to qualify that 8x10 field work does not have to fall victim to less depth of field in any way over smaller formats. You just have to accept more "responsibility" to judiciously place your focus plane and validate it on the optimally large GG. Secondly, while I admit that 8x10 is more challenging to get to location I find the preview card (which is identical in proportion to the 4x5 card) validates the effort being contemplated and actually ensures that only high quality photographic options are "taken on". With 4x5 or 5x7 I would end up carrying them with me (many times unnecessarily - more convenient) and end up being far less discriminatory in the image selection process. Furthermore with 8x10 contact prints I can standardize my mat and frame size and only have to purchase a single size of printing paper. Efficiency personified.

  9. #59
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    SF Bay area, CA

    Re: 8x10 Photography Compared to 4x5 Photography?

    My personal needs are somewhat different. Doing complex masking tasks, especially with color film, is much more precise and efficient when using 8x10 film. Cost of film that size is a different story, since multiple sheets are often necessary to prep a single image for ideal printing. But in the more ordinary black and white shooting sense, I just love looking at that big opalescent 8x10 ground glass. It entices you to do your best.

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