Zone VI 8x10 vs others : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I am being seduced by Calumet's ad for the Zone VI 8x10 camera. I have a Zone VI 4x5 and think it's a beatiful instrument; but I never researched their competitors. The 8x10 is not for day-to-day use. So, I'd appreciate any thoughts about the relative merits of Zone VI's 8x10. Thanks Steven Brooke

-- Steven Brooke (smbrooke, June 11, 1999


I own a Zone VI 8x10 and have had no problems with it what-so-ever. The only bad point is that I should have waited 8 months to purchase it, as it would have been $300 cheaper thanks to the sale Calumet is advertising! It really is a nice camera, both in looks and function. I researched 8x10's for several months before I made the purchase, and found that the only other possibility could have been a Wisner. (Which would have been about $200 more expensive.) I decided to go with the Zone VI as I have used their products for a number of years and have been quite satisfied. I discovered that Ron Wisner designed the original Zone VI field camera, which is the predecessor to the current model. It is built well, and has very generous movements for a field camera. (Compare the movements to something like Calumet's own 8x10 camera, and you'll notice a huge difference in specifications!) The only problem I encountered directly "out of the box" was a slightly (and I mean slightly) bent focusing knob. Everything else was just fine. People will probably tend to recommend either Wisner or Canham over Zone VI, but I think it's because those companies tend to revolve around one person, and it's possible to get more personal attention from the "makers" of the camera. With the sale that Calumet has going on, I'd say go for it. Zone VI is a great company with a good reputation, so you know there will be support if needed. I am curious, though, to know why Calumet is calling it a "close out" sale. I'd be tempted to ask them if they are going to continue the cameras, and if not, will they atleast still have the accesories (lensboards, ground glass, etc.)? Good luck.

-- Adam DeKraker (, June 11, 1999.

While I would not criticize the Zone VI, I WOULD counsel you to seriously consider purchasing a camera SECOND HAND for the additional savings!

While a sale is a sale, buying new is still buying new and the camera depreceates almost as fast as the new car when you drive if off the lot. A friend recently purchased a dream outfit on e-bay for $1600. (+/-) Ex++ 8 X 10 Kodak Master Camera (metal not wood) with case, 2 lens boards, 4 X 5 reduction back, 2 holders, universal iris clamp and a 300mm 6.8 Gold Rim Dagor! THE DEALS ARE OUT THERE!!!

-- Sean yates (, June 11, 1999.

I agree completely with Sean. I have seen several mint used Zone VI and Wisner cameras for sale recently at significantly reduced prices. Many think that 8 x 10 is for them only to find that form does always follow function. Say what you want about a warranty with a new camera, but I do not feel it is worth the incremental cost.

-- Michael Kadillak (, June 12, 1999.

While buying used has a lot of advantages, there is nothing quite like having your own brand new piece of gear, whether a car or camera. No wondering why the person you got it from "really" dumped it. Calumet is first class business and provides excellent service and has knowledgeable people who can help if you have any problems. Best of luck on the camera.

-- Dan Smith (, June 14, 1999.

Hmmm. Wood vs metal. I have used a Toyo View 8x10 since a987 and have been delighted with it. It is heavy, but the movements, durability and features have never dissappointed me. I believe Fred Picker made some wonderful gear but his primary strength is marketing. One point to look at on the Zone Vi is the front movements. If one wants to lower the lensboard, one loses the tilt. I like movements that are independant and I do not have to fiddle with.

-- Jon Dokken (, June 20, 1999.

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