New 8x10 Deardorff w/4x5 back - question... : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Hello all,

This past week I was fortunate enough to find an 8x10 Deardorff in excellent cond. The camera only has a 4x5 back, and there are no lines on the ground glass indicating framing (sorry, I am brand new to large format so this may sound silly)... I would normally assume that the entire piece of glass would show you the area you have framed - such is the case with my Rollei TLR. But the corners are cut off of the ground glass making exact framing impossible. By the way, I purchased a 12" Kodak Commercial Ektar with the camera. I believe 12" = 300mm?? Any help here would of course be much appreciated.

Thanks, Mark Minard

-- Mark Minard (, January 28, 2001


12" is pretty much 300mm, actually it's 305 or 308, but close enough.

Yes you compose with the entire frame. The corner cut outs are to allow you to check for mechanical vignetting due to lens shade, movements, filters,etc. If, when looking through the corner you see an "Cat's eye" shaped aperture, yoiu're vignetting - so stop down some more until you get a round aperture, or ssee what's causing the blockage. It is a bit frustrating to compose when you can't see th corners, yes, but you learn how to work around it.

-- Sean yates (, January 28, 2001.

Mark... having the corners open will allow you to look in and check for vignetting before you expose the film. That can happen when using extreme camera movements. Filters and lens hoods in front of the lens can cause problems as well. It's better to peek inside the corners and be sure things are clear, than to discover unwanted vinetting after developing the negative! Congratulations on finding a sweet camera, and the Ektar is a well respected lens! :0)

-- Dave Richhart (, January 28, 2001.

Thanks for the help - I couldn't find an explanation for the cut-out corners in any of the books I checked... It seems that an errant stick or twig not seen in the corner might ruin an otherwise perfect contact print - does anyone else have this problem and fit their back with a full piece of ground glass??

-- Mark Minard (, January 28, 2001.

Mark, I wouldn't get a "full" GG. The corners are a necessary tool. In composing, loosen the horizontal swing on your tripod head and go left to right a little to get the exact composition you want. At least this is the way I do it. You can also use the rear shift but for me, the tripod way of doing it is easier. Cheers

-- Scott Walton (, January 29, 2001.

Mark: You can actually see the image in the air space left by the cut off corners. All you have to do is look through the opening in the general direction of the lens. Focus your eye on the edge of the ground glass on the side toward the lens. Then, without changing the focus of your eye, look at the air space and you will see the image floating in midair. Actually, if you could somehow focus your eye on the correct plain without any assistance, you wouldn't even need the groundglass at all.

-- Ken Burns (, January 29, 2001.

AA stated in The Camera that the corner cut outs are for ventilation when opening and closing the camera. He also suggested putting a fine wire over the space at the focus plane to focus your eye on. This will allow you to see the aerial image the previous poster mentioned.

-- Erik Asgeirsson (, January 29, 2001.

Go ahead and replace the ground glass with one that does not have the corners cut out. If you think it will help in your composition, it probably will. Some like corners cut out and others don't. Just as some can't stand having the ground glass marked up with the lines and grids that others can't seem to live without. As for closing the camera with a full ground glass not letting the air excape, just close the camera a bit slower. The Deardorff is not airtight.

-- Dan Smith (, January 30, 2001.

Sorry my laziness kept me from doing the math 12" = 304.8, not 308

-- Sean yates (, January 30, 2001.

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