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Thread: my humble and honest review of Vist 8x10 camera

  1. #1

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    my humble and honest review of Vist 8x10 camera

    I have been meaning to do a review of this 8x10 camera I bought from Vist camera in Vilnius, Lithuania. I have no connection with the camera manufacturer and I want to provide an honest feedback.

    I have never owned a 8x10 camera before. I have used a Toyo 4x5 and an Intrepid 5x7 and have been itching to give 8x10 a try. I saw this really affordable camera on eBay and asked for feedback on this forum. If you are not familiar, this is a really affordable 8x10 camera with limited movements and features but designed specifically for compact shape.

    Despite a mixed bag of advice and suggestions, I decided to give it a try anyways. I contacted the seller, Virginijus and he was most courteous in answering my questions. He even decided to make some small tweaks to his off-the-shelf design to fit my needs, such as allow for a 3/8" tripod mount in addition to the 1/4" and put the side supporting frame on the right side that allows me to insert the film holder from the right when the camera is in landscape mode.

    It took a while for the camera to arrive shipped by postal service. But it arrived safely and it was packaged very carefully. I must say that the camera definitely exceeded my expectations. I believe I got more than what I paid for and I am at peace with the limitations of the camera. Its really nicely made with well trimmed wood frame and plywood trims. There were some issues in the new camera that I reported to the seller and he advised on how to make it better. For example, some of the metal hinges had sharp corners and I needed to use a fine sandpaper to deburr the edges. In addition to that I added some of my own blings: some liquid levels, arca swiss tripod mount plates on two locations with 1/4" and 3/8" screws (to prevent twist-out) and plastic spacers instead of metal washers in the hinge mechanisms. The mechanisms for opening up and folding down the camera work nicely now. The stock ground glass is pretty decent and bright. But I bought a fresnel for Intrepid 8x10 camera at a reasonable price off of eBay and ground down the edges with a dremmel to make it fit on top of the ground glass.

    The camera does have limitations. In its main setup, the portrait position, the only movements that you can use are front rise and front tilt. You cannot rotate the film holder to turn to a landscape position. Instead you have to undo the tripod mount and rotate the whole camera by 90 degrees to a landscape position. Consequently, you cannot use rise and tilt in landscape mode, but you are only restricted to shift and swing in the front. So far in field, I have tried to plan ahead and decided on the orientation and movement before setting up the camera. In cases where I had to switch orientation, it was clumsy but not that difficult. This is also helped by the light weight of the camera. With both the metal tripod mounts added, the camera I have weighs 6 lbs 3 oz. (~ 3 kgs).

    I consider the fact that you cannot detach the film holder for changing orientation is a positive: the rear standard is in one piece, quite sturdy and not vulnerable to wobbliness. The film holders go in and out quite smoothly into the spring loaded frame.

    There is no micro focusing knob. There is a linear bearing that allows you to slide the carriage and lock the position with a knob. It is very smooth and I could adjust the focus tightly, just needed some getting used to. It is tricky to focus when the camera is at an inline which I need to use to fake the movement and composition with an overall tilt. The bellows material is quite nice, it feels like fake leather on the outside and a cloth liner on the inside. It feels soft to the touch on the outside and is quite pliable.

    What I like about the camera is its really compact and easy to pack in a decent sized backpack. I can easily fit 1 or 2 lenses along with the camera and other accessories like film holders, dark cloth etc. in the main compartment of the backpack.

    If I was going to suggest any other improvements, it would be to make the back cover the ground glass completely. That way the ground glass is not exposed partially but protected. In my case, the fresnel acts as a plastic protector.

    I also bought a pinhole shutter along with the camera. I have not tried that yet. I plan to experiment with paper negatives soon using the pinhole and a standard lens.

    The lens board is a 5 in. x 5 in. wooden board. I got 10 of these along with the camera as part of a deal. I really have started liking these wooden boards because I can mount some old lenses using a retainer ring by cutting a hole with ease in the wooden board using a hole saw. The wooden board is quite thick and stiff, but can splinter easily, so need to be careful.

    At the end, I consider this a very decent camera especially for the price ($400-$450) to get started in 8x10. I really like the cleverness of the design and how well and compact it stows away. The movements are limited, but if you are interested in making pictures you can find a way to overcome them and use this camera as a nice tool.







    Last edited by kmallick; 12-Dec-2021 at 13:50.

  2. #2

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    Re: my humble and honest review of Vist 8x10 camera








  3. #3

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    Re: my humble and honest review of Vist 8x10 camera








  4. #4

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    Re: my humble and honest review of Vist 8x10 camera








  5. #5

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    Re: my humble and honest review of Vist 8x10 camera

    Thanks for the detailed review!

    The price is definitely attractive. What’s the maximum bellow extension you can get with it? How heavy a lens do you think the front standard can handle?

  6. #6

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    Re: my humble and honest review of Vist 8x10 camera

    Looks an intriguing camera. I like the way it folds, it is different from other cameras and folds up very compact. On the other hand I have similar tripod adapters and they look so tiny and the plate they are on so (relatively) thin that I'm not convinced about that part of the build.

    But it looks great and innovative. Maybe a bit limited in movements but then again, I rarely use anything else than front rise. So it depends on your photography. Thanks for showing this camera.
    Expert in non-working solutions.

  7. #7

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    Re: my humble and honest review of Vist 8x10 camera

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiwi7475 View Post
    Thanks for the detailed review!

    The price is definitely attractive. What’s the maximum bellow extension you can get with it? How heavy a lens do you think the front standard can handle?
    Appreciate the kind words.
    The camera is supposed to have bellows extension of 500mm. I don't have a lens that long. I am getting an artar 19” soon and will try it out. About the front standard holding a heavy lens, I have used it with a Rodenstock 300 f/5.6 (~2+ lbs/1 kg) and it did quite well. The board is sturdy and fits snug into the front. However I plan to use it with small, lighter lenses anyways for hikes and short walk etc.

  8. #8

    Re: my humble and honest review of Vist 8x10 camera

    thanks for the detailed review! i just received the camera too and share the same sentiments. i really like the fact that it is truly portable and can fit right into a standard backpack! i had some initial problems with the tripod hole. but VIST camera sort it out for me pretty quickly!

    this is mine, with a LOMO RF 350mm/f10 lens. the lens board is 3D printed by a friend of mine. i don't have the tools to drill the lens hole onto the wooden boards provided.

    Click image for larger version. 

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