Burke and James 8x10

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Hello to all, I'm still on a quest for the perfect 8x10 for me. There is a nice guy in chicago who has an 8x10 Burke and James new in the box for 1000.00. He has been very helpful with my sometimes inane questions. What is the consenses of this camera. Does anyone have any experience with it? I have all but given up looking for a Deardorff there just don't seem to be any in my part of the world. I have queries out everywhere and no responses. What I really want is a light weight full featured 8x10 that doesn't cost anymore than a poor instructor can afford. Any patrons out there? thanks in advance for your continued advice. jacque

-- jacque staskon (jacque@cybertrails.com), April 17, 1999



There two (maybe more - I don't know) basic B& J models, the "Grover" which is a monorail and the flatbed model. My investigations of the flatbed model convinced me it was way too flimsy for field work. I owned and used a Grover and was pretty happy with it, actually. It is very hard to move around and it is not ideal but it is a pretty sturdy monorail camera, in my opinion. Plenty of movements. But it's no Deardorff, that's for sure. I sold it a few weeks ago for $260.00 on www.ebay.com, which is probably where you ought to be looking.

I don't know what you mean by "lightweight." I once carried the Grover and it's tripod about a half mile from the car and it took three trips.

-- Erik Ryberg (ryberg@seanet.com), April 17, 1999.

Jacque, don't give in to the Dark Side. There aren't any Deardorffs to touch in my part of the country either, but I still managed to buy one. Let's face it, large format just isn't very popular, demographically speaking, and most of us who are into the medium probably prefer it that way. If I have one credo, it's "Never settle." Don't settle for second best if you can afford better. We've all made costly mistakes, causing us to have to make another purchase to replace something we settled for and thought we could live with.

I'm not pushing the Deardorff, though I own one. I would also endorse a Kodak Master View or even a Korona. Ansel Adams once said (and I am paraphrasing) that a camera is nothing more than a device to hold a film and a lens. Obviously this belief can only be taken so far, but the basic function of every camera is best encapsulated by that statement. You have to decide on issues regarding weight and portability, movements and their effect (or lack thereof) on potential subject, bellows draw and lens focal lengths, etc.

The bottom line is buy the best you can afford. I guess it's the old "measure twice, cut once" rule at work. On second though, maybe I am pushing a Deardorff...

-- Chad Jarvis (chad_jarvis@yahoo.com), April 18, 1999.

I agree with Chad and Eric.

Get yourself a subscription to Shutterbug and View Camera and peruse those adds. There ARE reliable honest camera stores dealing in L.F. gear that have reasonable prices and favorable return policies.

There are also honest LF folks like Eric out there who want to change formats or unload something from time to time and will sell you good gear at good prices. Although a truly MINT B&J flatbed may be adequate for your needs, albeit bulky and a bit heavy, for $1k you could do better. See if the helpful guy in Chi-town will give you a trial period with an MBG of some kind.

Bide your time! I am glad I owned my Wisners, but I wish I'd saved the money and spent the time to find my current camera. We grow too soon old and too late smart.

-- Sean yates (yatescats@yahoo.com), April 18, 1999.

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