I would like to purchase an 8x10

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I am asking for advice from the master's. I currently us a wista 4x5d. I am very interested in purchasing an 8x10 field view. I would like it to be very similar to the wista I now have. Most of my work is in the field and tabletop. What type of lenses should I look for? I live in a small Arizona town with very little LF support. I will have to travel to phoenix to look for suppliers of 8x10 equipment. Where should I go? Which lens will give me the most flexibility? Which camera is sturdy, not too heavy and has fairly long bellows extension? Also movements are important; which field camera has the most movements? I am doing more platinum printing and I am not satisfied with enlarged negs, they have the quality of a second generation image. Oh one more thing I'm an adjunct faculty member in photo so you know i am broke. Any help you can give me will be greatly appreciated. I am not the type of person to ask for advice and then go off on my merry way in the other direction. Thankyou for considering my questions. jacque

-- jacque staskon (jacque@cybertrails.com), March 27, 1999


I have been very happy with the service and advise i have gotten from Rod Klukas at Photomark in Phoenix and from Darkroom Innovations in Fountain Hills, Arizona (area code 602). i would also go talk to Keith Canham, the designer/builder of K.B.Canham Cameras in Mesa, AZ (602.964.8624).

Y'all must have some awfully photogenic country out there to have such a concentration of Large Format Photography resources.

-- Ellis (evphoto@insync.net), March 27, 1999.

I would also recommend Photomark and Ron Klukas. I stopped in while on vacation, just to look at a Kanham 8X10, and Ron didn't hesitate to set one up and put 3 different lenses on it for me to try out. They have the cameras and lenses on hand, and the staff that wants to help, even if all your doing is "kicking tires". While I was trying the camera out I found a slick focusing loupe that he gave me to use and ended up buying it. If I hadn't had the opportunity to try it, I would have never just bought it, it's nice to find sales people that know how to sell and help. By the way, call ahead, I believe that Ron said he work's Tuesday through Saturday.

-- Marv (mthompson@clinton.net), March 27, 1999.

I too am from a small Arizona town and have to travel to Phoenix for LF support. My vote is also for Rod Klukas at Photomark. By far the best place to go to talk with knowledgable people and try things out. I have never used anything larger than 4x5, so I have no advice on 8x10 cameras. However, if you talk to Rod, I'm sure he will have plenty of advice.

-- Tom Hieb (thieb@cybertrails.com), March 27, 1999.

"Oh one more thing I'm an adjunct faculty member in photo so you know i am broke."

The cameras the others are suggesting are fine, I'm sure, but very costly. Why not scout around for an old Deardorf (w/o front swings; who needs 'em?)and a Kodak Commercial or Wide Field Ektar? You should be able to find something decent for under $1500 for the pair. The Deardorf is the standard by which the others must be judged: Great movements, built like a tank, very ergonomic controls. And the Ektars are wonderful old lenses. That's what I mostly shoot with, when I shoot 8x10. Try Midwest Photo Exchange. You also might look around on the Net. That's where I found my Deardorf.


-- Peter Hughes (leonine@redshift.com), March 27, 1999.

If cost is as much of an issue as you mention, buying new is very costly. I agree with the others, used 8x10's can be purchased relatively inexpensive compared to new. I use a Toyo 810MII, very sturdy, all metal, true field camera folding very small. I have seen used ones for under $2,000. New 8x10 start at about $5K. Since a lot of people find 8x10 to hard to handle, there are many used cameras almost like new out there. Film holders can be costly also, Toyo film holders seem to be the flatest at the most reasonable price, although they are more expensive than Lisco, Riteway, and Fidlelity. Some lenses like the Fuji 600C has a massive image circle, large enough for 20x24 camera and are very cost effective, new, about $1400 at Badger Graphics. So figure out your budget and then work backwards, it is a long exhaustive process for sure. Best of luck...

-- Bill Glickman (Bglick@pclv.com), March 28, 1999.

I would be inclined to agree with the last two replies. Being the owner of a used Deardorff 8x10 (with FS) and several used lenses, I would have to say that economically speaking, the second hand market has worked out well for me. I bought my camera in usable, but ugly condition, so I refinished it. The construction and controls are very straightforward, and there is a rich used market for backs (I have the original 8x10, a 4x5 and 5x7 backs). If you want versatility, availability and a price in the $1000-2000 range, I'd highly recommend a Deardorff.

I love used lenses. Wollensak made a 6.25" (159mm) Extreme Wide Angle Velostigmat that is VERY small and VERY light, which covers 8x10. These are pretty widely available and usually sell for $150- 300 in a Betax or Alphax #3. By the way, I bought one of these on Patrick Alt's recommendation, and it's terrific.

Without describing my entire collection, consider the Wollensak Velostigmats for black and white, any Goerz Dagor or Artar from 8" and the Kodak Ektars.

-- Chad Jarvis (chad_jarvis@yahoo.com), March 29, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ