8x10" Film Holder Options

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I looked through the archives, and I din't come across anything that answered my question sufficiently. Anyway, my question is in regards to the various makes/models of 8x10 film holders, both current and past. Of those holders available either new or used through sources like eBay, which do 8x10 shooters on this forum prefer? Two of my four holders recently developed light trap problems and I'm weighing the options for replacements. I currently have one new-ish plastic Lisco, one Graphic, and two Kodak (which have the light trap problems). Of those, I like the Lisco least- seems to be less substantial in terms of general build and the darkslide seems a lot flimsier. The Graphic is easiest to service and I think the Kodak holders are lightest, but I'm not sure about buying more Kodak holders given my current problem. It seems that the options for used holders are generally Graphic, Kodak, and Lisco/Fidelity/Riteway and the options for new holders are Lisco/Fidelity/Riteway, Lotus, AWB, and Toyo. Did I miss any? Given that I plan on shooting 8x10 as long as I can still get film (which I'm hoping should be well through the next 60 years or so), I'm wondering if it wouldn't be better economy in the long run to shell out more cash for Lotus, AWB, or Toyo holders. The new plastic holders don't exactly inspire confidence, and I want something that will last. Any thoughts on the subject would be duly appreciated.

-- David Munson (apollo@luxfragilis.com), January 08, 2002


I've been doing fine with Lisco/Fidelity holders, but the Toyos do seem to be better made, if you want something a bit nicer. I wouldn't buy wooden holders when plastic ones are available, since wooden ones can warp and crack over time.

-- David Goldfarb (dgoldfarb@barnard.edu), January 08, 2002.

I've got a hodge podge too. The Lisco's with the metal slides are my favorites, but they're probably heavier because of the metal slide. The fidelity with the thinnish slide seems fine too and are lighter. And I like the old black wooden Kodak ones from the 1960's, but they're harder to get at the slide handle in the 'dorff because they're shorter. Good question, I'll keep checking back too. I've got some of the Toyo's in 4X5, and if $ were not a question I'll bet the 810 ones are very nice.

-- Jim Galli (jimgalli@lnett.com), January 08, 2002.

I find Fidelity/Lisco 8x10 holders fully servicable. Most of my holders have been in use for 15+ years, and two of them were already old when they came with my Deardorff 20 years ago. I'm familiar with good wooden holders from Lotus and AWB (I have them for my banquet cameras) but see no need to replace my plastic holders in 8x10. In the past year I made more than 300 8x10 negatives and the holders probably rode more than 20K miles in my truck, so they are surviving pretty heavy us

-- Carl Weese (cweese@earthlink.net), January 08, 2002.

I'm very new to 8x10, but have a lot of 4x5 experience. I bought the Lisco Regal holders with the Rhino-Lite unbreakable slide. Very new means I just developed my second 8x10 negative but my initial reaction to the Regal's is good. They seem comparable to the TOYO's I use for 4x5. They loaded easily, the slides moved well, they seem heavy to me but so does everything else in my new 8x10 outfit!

-- jeff schraeder (jeff@circlesofclarity.com), January 08, 2002.

David: I've had good experience with the 8X10 Fidelity holders, no problems whatsoever. I bought them new. I've dealt with much more of an assortment in 5X7 and 4X5, so my reviews are as follows:

1. Fidelity/Lisco are fine. The plastic slide tabs ones are better, on the metal tab ones the black paint comes off. Must be the same paint Schneider used in the 70's between the lens elements. If you sand them down and repaint they are fine. There are very sturdy black painted wood Lisco's out there, they are heavy but work very well. Clearly you are suspect of plastic, but the older ones I have purchased used (so used the pattern in the plastic is worn off from rubbing on the camera back, as was most of the paint on the inside of the holder due to the film sliding past it)have worked very well. Except for dust issues. (see below) 2. Riteways are very nicely made (older ones) though the slides tend to be very hard to slide in and out until you clean them off with Simple Green or Windex. Something builds up on them over time. When you clean the slides off they give off a brown residue. If you clean them off and then wipe them down with an anti-static cloth they slide pretty well. Car wax helps this problem too. 3. Old Kodak etc. wooden holders...sure look neat, I've spent time retaping the flaps and over and over they leak light and I've given up on them. The only holders I've ever had leak are the Kodak wooden ones. 4. Toyos are my favorite. Tight, well made, slick in operation. They're really nice. 5. Unless your time is worth nothing, I'm leaning toward buying new. I almost never had a dust spec until I started buying used ones (5X7) and then it started. Blowing out the light trap seems to help, but still, if I had to do it over again I might buy new ones. 6. Metal Masters. What a bizarre, heavy and difficult piece of equipment. Built like a tank, but is this necessary? I reserve these for very heavy duty like in and out the back of a Crown Graphic.

-- Kevin Crisp (KRCrisp@aol.com), January 08, 2002.

I use the Toyos at 8X10, and feel they are better made and more of a pleasure to use than Fidelity, etc. Can't tell you if they'll last 75 years rather than just 40, but they've certainly taken a lot of travel abuse from me and continue to work great. They are not light, which might be one advantage of a wooden holder. THe 12X20 ones I have from AWB are a work of art, and quite light for the size, but rather a sticker shock at $500 apiece!


-- Nathan Congdon (ncongdon@jhmi.edu), January 09, 2002.


You forgot Hoffmann 8x10 film holders. They are constructed with high grade aluminium, and will certainly last for years. Cheers,

-- Geoffrey Chen (DB45TEK@AOL.COM), January 09, 2002.

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