8X10 on a budget

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Recently I have been thinking about buying an 8X10 flat-bed camera to produce B&W contact prints. Currently I have quite a bit of $ tied up in Leica, Hasselblad and 4X5 Linhof. My wife is going to freak out if I mention buying another expensive camera. I'm giving consideration to buying a used B&J 8X10 flat-bed, Korona 8X10 flat-bed or Kodak 8X10 flat-bed camera. The camera will primarily be used for B&W landscapes and still life photography. I also plan on buying one lens, a 12" Commercial Ektar. Are these cameras worth the $300-$400 that they are bringing these days? Advice from persons with experience with these cameras will be appreciated.

-- Ron Lawrence (leica@interpath.com), November 23, 1999


Hi Ron, I have a Eastman 2D, I don't know if that is technically a flat-bed; it has foldning rails, like the B&J I believe. Is it worth having??? I don't know what your expecations are, but I find the results satisfying. And I find the Eastman's movements accomidating enough for landscapes too. You might check the image circle of the 12" Kodak just to make sure a 14" doesn't have more circle, if you use rise and fall. Good Luck, David

-- doc (doc@ellensburg.com), November 23, 1999.

:You might check the image circle of the 12" Kodak just to make sure a 14" doesn't have more circle, if you use rise and fall."

12" - 380mm, 14" - 444mm

-- sheldon hambrick (sheldon_hambrick@hotmail.com), November 24, 1999.

My advice is to explain to your wife that once you get the 8x10 you are going to cast aside the other formats in favor of those contact prints, resulting in a net financial gain from sale of all your other equipment.

Hey - it happened to me.

-- Erik Ryberg (ryberg@seanet.com), November 24, 1999.

Hi Ron,

I have been using an 8x10 Burke & James Commercial View for about 4 years now and have produced many excellent photographs (landscape, portraits and even some studio still-life)using this camera. I have also use a Kodak commercial Ektar 14" lens and a Kodak 10" Wide Field Ektar lens and have been pleased with both. My work is primarily in black & white from which I make contact prints in either the traditional silver or platinum medium. While I'm basically very happy with this older camera it certainly has it's drawbacks compared to a newer 8x10 filed camera such as a Wisner or a Toyo 810M (my dream 8x10). Basically the B&J's are quite functional BUT I have found it to be fairly flimsy particularly in the area of the front and rear standards attaching to the bed. I basically have learned to live with it's drawbacks. I do not think you could go wrong with any of the cameras you are considering for starting in 8x10, you can always sell the camera later to upgrade and keep all the lenses and various items needed, ie lenses, tripod, film holders etc. Just watch out for old worn bellows which will leak light during exposures.

-- Craig Maxwell (cm@craigmaxwellphoto.com), November 25, 1999.

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