Kodak Master View

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I'm interested in a Kodak Master View 8x10. I wanted a Deardorff but I don't want to pay what they sell for, so I'm looking at the master as an alternative. How do they compare with Deardorffs as far as stability, quality in workmanship, movements? What's a good price for one of these? Are lensboards difficult to find? Thanks.

-- Bruce Schultz (bschultz@theadvocate.com), February 22, 1999


Bruce -- I'll let Sean Yates, our resident expert on the Kodak Master Camera, AKA Masterview, give you the details. In the meantime, check out the following page: http://www.greenspun.com/com/qtluong/photography/lf/8x10.html

For my two cents worth--it's an incredible camera. I now have two. Yes, boards are a little hard to find, but not so tough to fabricate. I am working on a design, to be executed in ABS plastic, for an adapter board, which will take the smaller and more common Tech IV/Wista boards. This way I can use my 300mm and longer lenses on my 4x5's also. I'll put you on my KMV owner's list and will let you know. Also, Kodak did not make a 4x5 adapter back, but modified Deardorff boards are out there.

Take it away Sean...

-- Henry Stanley (htstanley@prodigy.net), February 22, 1999.

There's a picture of one on e-bay auction right now. Check Shutterbug for prices, but I paid $1k for one that needed a new bellows, with a case, 2 lensboards, a 5 X 7 back (no 8 X 10 back) and 5 5 X 7 holders. I got my 2nd with 1 lensboard, an 8 x 10 back and a bellows in need of replacement for $700.00. The folks in New York seem to want too much for one to me, 1200 - 1450 (+/-), but if I had more fundage, I wouldn't mind paying that for one in ex- to mint.

I've posted all the stats for this camera model previously, under the comments section on 8 X 10 cameras on the main page. I should ammend that those stats are based on my own measurements, not the published specs from Kodak, but, except for the weight (13.5 lbs), they're pretty close.

It's hard to beat a Deardorff. The Kodak is aluminum so in some respects it's more rigid. However, the way the front extension is designed, it doesn't do very well with heavy lenses in a high wind at long extensions. The solution to this is to carry a small, stable but lightweight light stand or monopod with you, with a 1/4 -20 thread on top. This will screw nicely into the hole in the smallest part of the cameras front extension and stabilize things. Another option might be the Bogen Magic Arm, or a similar attachment clamped onto the tripod's front leg. The Deardorff extends backward and forward allowing you to balance the cameras weight on the tripod and making some close-up shots easier to execute.

I would not compare the two in terms of workmanship as one is hand crafted more or less one at a time by a family steeped in the old school and the other is a product of a large corporation with engineers and designers and machinists at it's beck and call. However, if you like the Kodaks design, i assure you, you won't be dissapointed in the workmanship.

Movement wise the 'dorff lacks front shift and forward base tilt. However, it has a greater amount of rear swing, close to twice as much, I think. The Kodak can be modified by removing two screws to achieve unlimited front swing.

To my mind the cameras main virtue is the rapidity with which you can compose and focus - by taking full advantage of the cameras sliding front extension. A poster on the comments section of the Linhoff Technikardan page considers the KMV to be the most versatile (I assume movement-wise) camera available. I wouldn't go that far, but, as I've stated previously, I swear I must have been adopted or something because I find using this camera very very intuitive, as if the designer and I shared some genes or something. yes, getting lensboards can be hard, but they're easy enough to make from masonite or aluminum, and then making a light trap from fairly thick adhesive foam rubber.

I am happy enough with mine that I'll never buy another camera.

-- Sean yates (yatescats@yahoo.com), February 22, 1999.

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