Reducing Film Holders : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Does anyone make 8x10 film holders that accomodate other film sizes such as 4x5 or 5x7 or 4x10?

It seems like an easy way to switch formats would be to have an 8x10 sized holder with the smaller film in the middle. Then you wouldn't have to have separate backs. Just compose on the big groundglass and slide in the proper film holder.

Does anyone make these?

-- Jonathan Smith (, May 08, 2002


I've only seen one example, and I got it in a batch of old Kodak and Graphic 8x10 holders off of eBay. It looks like it was made about 60+ years ago. It could be adapted to hold either 4x5 or 5x7 film. The one I have is set up to hold 4x5. I've never used it...never felt the need to. I've never even seen mention of holders like this elsewhere, and mine is the only one I've seen. But then, I haven't exactly looked around.

-- David Munson (, May 08, 2002.

I'm wondering if you could use grafmatic septums and tape them on on the long sides to the inside of the 8x10 holder?

I checked some non-gramatic 4x5 septums that I have, and it appears that they would work for this purpose. The back of these septums measures about 10 mils thick, so there would be this amount of displacement between the film and the plane of focus. But, I would think that there are many applications for which this displacement would have a minimal effect on focus.

Checking against a newer plastic Fidelity 8x10 holder, these septums are thin enough that there's sufficient room between the septum's guides and the darkslide that the latter can easily clear the septum as it passes over the top.

-- neil poulsen (, May 08, 2002.

This is what reduction backs are made for. Given the preponderance of backs like these that are available on ebay, why would you want to go the trouble of adapting film holder(s). Just seems like a lot of work. Also, 4x5 holders weigh a fraction of an 8x10. Are you going to carry some 8x!0 holders with 8x10 film and others with 4x5 film? Just think about all the weight you'll be hauling around just to expose smaller film. Carrying a reduction back would make more sense. Now from a technical standpont, the nominal depth of a 4x5 holder is .197" +/- .007". By putting anything in an 8x10 holder that would force the film toward the lens by even a couple of thousanths of an inch, could possibly cause focus problems if either your gg is not perfectly aligned or if your 8x10 holder is on the shallow side to begin with. Measuring all of this by the way, is very difficult to do with any accuracy unless you have dial depth gauges and the proper custom fixtures for making these kinds of measurements.

-- Robert A. Zeichner (, May 09, 2002.

Despite all the skepticism, Toho Shimo makes holders that accept smaller holders. Seems like a nice alternative for cameras that don't accept a reducing back, particularly if you wanted to do something like put a rollfilm holder in your 8x10" camera. Info at:

Badger Graphic imports Toho, so maybe they can get you one.

-- David Goldfarb (, May 09, 2002.

By coincidence, check Item # 1351257023 currently on E***. A 4x10 panoramic dark slide adapter made by Bender. Seems inexpensive and eminently sensible.

-- Donald Brewster (, May 09, 2002.


As David mentioned, Toho makes reducing holders (8x10 - 5x7 and 4x5 and 5x7 to 4x5). They are really quite clever. They should fit in any camera that can take a standard sheet film holder and unlike a homemade solution will actually hold the film in the proper plane.

Several nice things about the Toho holders... They are smaller and lighter and less fragile (no ground glass to break) than a reducing back. They will fit any camera - handy if you can't find a reducing back for your paicular make/model. Plus, you can share one with a friend, or if you own more than one camera of different brands. They accept standard sheet film holders in the smaller sizes (so you're not hauling around a bunch of big, heavy, expensive 8x10 holders loaded with the smaller 4x5 film). They even make a dedicated version for use with the Reayload and Quickload holders. I can't really think of any reason why they would not be the ideal solution for your needs.

I have not seen one in person, only the info on their web site and in a Toho brochure. From the pictures, can't tell for sure if the Toho reducing holders will also accept standard roll film holders. They might be able to accept the slip-in style, but I would ask to be 100% sure (if you want to further reduce down to roll film shooting on your 8x10, at which point I must ask, "Why?").

Like Bender, they also make make 1/2 darkslides for shooting the panoramic formats using conventional holders (4x10 in an 8x10 holder, 2 1/2 x 7 on 5x7 and 2x5 on 4x5). Again, an inexpensive, lightweight off-the-shelf solution to your problem. See:


-- Kerry Thalmann (, May 09, 2002.

Thanks for all the suggestions; the Toho ones sound interesting. I read about the Bender 4x10 setup, but is there any consequence to using the extreme top and bottom of the image circle? Or would it be better, qualitywise, to use the centralmost 4x10. More movements and such.

I appreciate all your responses.

-- Jonathan Smith (, May 09, 2002.

Yes, you might get more flexibility (depends on the camera and the shot--e.g., maybe you want lots of front rise/fall) by using the center strip for a panorama, but then you might as well just shoot the whole frame and crop after the fact. The 4x10" darkslide gives you two frames on one sheet.

-- David Goldfarb (, May 09, 2002.

Jonathan, I made 4x10 holders out of older 8x10 holders. I glued down guides on the inside of the holder, centered down the middle of the old image area. I converted three holders which gave me 6 shoots before reloading. That was about all I would shoot on a normal day, in addition to the regular 8x10 sheets.

After readng the above answers, you could ask, why modify a holder when there are reducing backs for different formats? I already had the extra 8x10 holders, so I did not have to buy a reducing back. Also, I didn't want to carry extra backs while traveling, all I had to do was carry a few extra holders.

You could also ask why not just crop the shot afterwards in the darkroom? You could do that, I like to contact print so that is not an option for me. If you normally enlarge you prints then that would be way to go.

Modifing the olders let me to shoot a different format in the 8x10 camera without a great deal of expanse, I think I spent less then $3.00 on the material to convert the holders.


-- George losse (, May 28, 2002.

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