Luminous Landscape Forum

Equipment & Techniques => Cameras, Lenses and Shooting gear => Topic started by: kevs on January 16, 2012, 09:26:04 pm

Title: Reccomendations for buying an 8x10 system
Post by: kevs on January 16, 2012, 09:26:04 pm
I'm going to do a people fine art project with 8x10. Any recommendations on what to buy? I'd want the best bang for buck and great quality.... thanks!

Any recommendations of film appreciated too.  thanks!
Title: Re: Reccomendations for buying an 8x10 system
Post by: theguywitha645d on January 16, 2012, 10:03:35 pm
Is this a studio project or an outdoor project?

The camera is basically a black box and so optics are really important. Do you want wide, normal, long?

Black and white? Color negs? Transparencies?

I think you are going to have to give a little more information if you want help...
Title: Re: Reccomendations for buying an 8x10 system
Post by: uaiomex on January 16, 2012, 11:10:34 pm
I think that at this level and category, there's not much difference in quality unless you go for cheap used old lenses. It mainly depends on technique. As for best bang for the buck, it clearly means buying used equipment.
Eduardo
Title: Re: Reccomendations for buying an 8x10 system
Post by: marcmccalmont on January 16, 2012, 11:34:23 pm
Try the Large Format Photography Forum  http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/
Marc
Title: Re: Reccomendations for buying an 8x10 system
Post by: kevs on January 17, 2012, 01:01:01 pm
Thanks guys;
this is studio and locations like hotels.
Shooting people -- small group and individuals.
Probably chrome. Any tips suggestions? I thinking ebay but am open to other ideas.

I will check out that forum thanks.

BTW, this forum, couple problems: seem to have to log in every post & email notification not working, problem with Verizon? this happened on another forum.
Title: Re: Reccomendations for buying an 8x10 system
Post by: Codger on January 17, 2012, 05:41:13 pm
Be sure to include KEH.com in your shopping.  They grade their products fairly and the pricing is good.  The inventory changes every few days.  If you're in the USA, this is a good source.
Title: Re: Reccomendations for buying an 8x10 system
Post by: gubaguba on January 17, 2012, 08:28:12 pm
Well a good monorail would be nice.  Toyo or Cambo were work horses back in the day. Probably can find a good deal on either.  Deardorff travels nicely as a folding camera.  Sinar is nice but won't really provide much of an advantage based on your usage.  Sinar will demand more money.  I agree a camera is just a box to hold a lens. As long as you can find a solid camera that locks in place. Spend you money on lenses and film holders.
Title: Re: Reccomendations for buying an 8x10 system
Post by: Ellis Vener on January 17, 2012, 10:57:49 pm
Keith Canham makes three terrific ones. An all metal : http://www.canhamcameras.com/8x10metal.htm 

and two wooden ones: http://www.canhamcameras.com/8x10standard.htm and http://www.canhamcameras.com/8x10lightweight.htm

And of course it is hard to go wrong with a Deardorff in good shape. They are real conversation starters. 

All are very suited to your project.

If you want a more technical camera then you want a monorail. I recommend a Sinar p2 but make sure it has the rear standard designed to support 8x10 backs. The Arca-Swiss FB 8x10 is terrific as well.

I never much liked the on axis tilt cameras like the Cambo, Toyo, and Horseman. Never worked with the Linhof L cameras but they are supposed to be great.

For lenses, the Nikon large format lenses are great and highly under appreciated. Rodenstock, Calumet Caltar II N (Rebadged Rodenstocks) and Schneifers are goos as well. The Schneiders always felt a little too "clinical" to me for portraits but they are great lenses.

As for sellers of good repute for large format gear, try Quality Camera Company http://www.qualitycameracompany.com/servlet/StoreFront  JeffWheeler there sells to people like Nicholas Nixon and Richard Misrach. He also has a great selection of lenses. Jeff also happens to be one of my neighbors but that is not why I am recommending him. I dealt with him for at least a decade before I moved to Atlanta and he really, really knows large format gear and sets his prices fairly, I seriously recommend him for large format over KEH.  Lens & Repro in New York City has traditionally been an excellent source as well: http://lensandrepro.com/
Title: Re: Reccomendations for buying an 8x10 system
Post by: bill t. on January 18, 2012, 01:31:27 am
And of course you must if at all possible obtain a 12" Golden Dagor lens.  Probably no better than a Symmar, but oh such poetic resonance in that name!   :)
Title: Re: Reccomendations for buying an 8x10 system
Post by: K.C. on January 18, 2012, 02:02:50 am
Shooting headshots and groups with any large format camera won't require much from the camera. You won't need extreme movements or ultra fine control focus so buy what ever you think you can resell without too much of a loss on ebay. If you're going to shoot chrome I guarantee you'll be reselling it sooner than you think.

I shot 4X5, 4X10 and 8X10 for years with SINAR, Arca Swiss and Canham cameras using all the best glass. Today I'd pick up my SONY A850 and CZ lenses over any one of them and with a little time in PS I could make you believe I shot film, it would just look much better.
Title: Re: Reccomendations for buying an 8x10 system
Post by: bill t. on January 18, 2012, 03:04:06 am
Let me digress a bit and mention that a large view camera can be a very daunting instrument to use in a person-to-person environment, even for photographers who are very accustomed to using them.

With all those swings and tilts and lock downs, just a minor tug on the focusing cloth or a bump from the film holder or the slightest wind gust can mess you up.  And that's the short list of problems, should also mention light-leaking film holders.  And the horrifically long exposures needed for those f64 shots.  And the obsessive check-every-corner-focusing that simply must be first done and then checked often.  There are probably 37x more ways to mess up a view camera shot than a digital shot.  The camera will constantly be imposing itself over whatever rapport you want to create with your subjects.  They're so big andso  clumsy and just waiting to punish you for the slightest infraction.

I have shot many a sheet of film from 4 x 5 through 8 x 10, and I would never choose those formats again for anything when medium format digital cameras, or scanning cameras, or even high pixel-count DSLR's are available.  I routinely shoot stitched panos using top quality, manual focus primes on a 5D2, and have not the slightest trouble getting better quality than on any 8x10 film I ever shot, sometimes in lighting situations that were formerly impossible.

But if you must, shoot color negative.  It'll give you a few more stops latitude and a rather understated, artsy type of tonality you can not easily get from transparency.  And if needed a scanned negative can be pushed a lot farther than a scanned transparency.  And good luck getting those sheets developed!

And remember that the little notches go in your upper right corner when the holder is facing you!  Let's, see, where's that damned Linhoff?  Or maybe the Anba Wood View...  Oh darn, the 1 second mark on the 65 Angulon is giving me around 5 seconds, I'll just click about 20 times, that'll fix it...
Title: Re: Reccomendations for buying an 8x10 system
Post by: K.C. on January 18, 2012, 03:29:39 am
Ahh yes, all those memories, you're so right Bill. As I posted earlier, never again. Hand my that 24MP SONY sensor and I'm no my way.
Title: Re: Reccomendations for buying an 8x10 system
Post by: bill t. on January 18, 2012, 04:04:09 am
Hi K.C., I guess we are of a single mind on this!  Was working on that post for some time while doing something else, I failed to see your earlier post.
Title: Re: Reccomendations for buying an 8x10 system
Post by: kevs on January 23, 2012, 07:49:51 pm
Ellis, great post. thanks!

couple questions.
why is a monorail more technical?

Axis tilt, cambo, Toyo, I thought all LF is tilt and shift no? Sinar does not do tilt/ shift?

for Sinar, "make sure it has the rear standard designed to support 8x10 backs"
What does that mean?  Don't all back have a place for the holders?

You like Nikon lenses over Schneider? I hear both opinions.   I'm going to dive in and just choose one brand of lens.  Do you see a real differences in the prints?

Bill, thanks! I hear you. I'm a 35 guy my whole life. So in a way, I glad I never soured on LF yet! I've always wanted things quick and easy. For this project, I will hire a helper to do most of the pesky details.
But I really want to get into the art of it all, the craft.
I have a Canon 5D2. For large prints, forget it.  MF iq180, $700 day rental and 50k to buy?  Definitely for commercial work.... with a client paying. Thanks for the tip on negative film. I was leaning to chrome barbecue of the finished look of chrome, but I did not know negative gives an artier look -- interesting.

There have been some remarkable post/test on quality here and 8x10 kills them all. Many claim though 4x5 would do just as good for large prints, let's say life size people prints what all think?
Title: Re: Reccomendations for buying an 8x10 system
Post by: Ellis Vener on January 23, 2012, 08:57:26 pm
Ellis, great post. thanks!

couple questions.
why is a monorail more technical?

Axis tilt, cambo, Toyo, I thought all LF is tilt and shift no? Sinar does not do tilt/ shift?

for Sinar, "make sure it has the rear standard designed to support 8x10 backs"
What does that mean?  Don't all back have a place for the holders?

You like Nikon lenses over Schneider? I hear both opinions.   I'm going to dive in and just choose one brand of lens.  Do you see a real differences in the prints

A monorail view camera like the Sinar P/P2/P2 or F/F2.  Arca-Swiss M or F /FC, and Horseman, Toyo and Linhof  monorails are considered tthe most complex and abest suited for still life work.  These cameras have rise, fall ,shift, tilt, and swing movements on the both the front (lens)  and rear ( film or digital sensor) standards, along with interchangable bellows and  monorails that that can be lengthened by adding additional rail segments - sometimes to the point of needing intermediate standards and additional bellows along with a second tripod.  My favorite studio only cameras  were the Sinar P and P2  because of  their adaptability and ease of use - the latter a an explanation of I'll get to in a moment.

There are three ways of designing movements for a view camera. The most prevalent in a monorail camera is the on axis tilt design. This means that the lens and film plane tilt around  horizontal line running across the middle of the standards. Most Axis tilt cameras alos have the rise/fall movement i nthe fiilm and lens plane.  this happened because once you start doing complex movements - ones involving tilt, with rise or fall and possibly swing on both the front and rear standards you end up often needing to go through multiple iterations of "correcting  your corrections " to achieve the effect you want. of yaw where the front and rear standard planes can get can form a geometry where the two planes intersect in a point and not a line.

For cameras designed to be used on location the  popular designs - wooden folders  and the Canham metal cameras, the Japanese made Ebonys, the Linhof TK45s (not available in 8x10), and the Arca-Swiss F/FC monorail cameras   are base tilt movements. Almost  as the name implies filed cameras are meant primarily for use on location but do excellent work as portrait as well as landscape cameras. With base tilts the tilt axis is at or just below the bottom of the film holder and lens holder. This has certain advantages over on-axis tilts but if you have learned view camera movements on an on axis tilt camera the process can be a bit strange.

A "technical camera would be like the "lunchbox" Horseman, Toyo and Linhof designs where the rail bed is the "lid' of the lunch box and folds down allowing the front standard to move forward to focus. Movements and bellows length on these cameras tend to be limited.

My favorite cameras for both studio and  field work are the Canham metal cameras and the Arca-Swiss FC series. As they have the precision and range of movement required for still life work and the portability needed for field work. 

The Sinar P series of cameras use neither an on-axis or base tilt design. instead they used a patented off axis tilt and swing design where the tilt and swing movements rotate around lines in the film and lens planes but  closer to to the edges than  the center. One of the things this allowed Sinar to do was to build in a calculator based on the actual degree of movements to help you determine what was the best (i.e., most wide open aperture) you cold use to achieve the depth of focus you wanted for a photo if you were using. The Sinar and the Arca-Swiss M and FC cameras were also yaw-free designs which really speeds up the process of determining how to best set the tilt, swing rise and fall movements.

As to my preference of Nikon lenses. one of the beauties of working with a view camera is that you are not limited to a single maker of really terrific, very  sharp, high resolution lenses  lenses. I did most of my LF work with a mix of Rodenstock Sironars (normal focal lengths) and Grandagons (wide angle designs) and Nikkor SW, W, M and T lenses  for both wide angle, normal and telephoto work. there was just something in the way these lenses  made my chromes look that appealed to me a little more than the look of Schneider glass.

I apologize for any typos. This has been a very long post and I'm tired.
Title: Re: Reccomendations for buying an 8x10 system
Post by: langier on January 23, 2012, 10:07:42 pm
If you are shooting inside and portraits, you may need a lot of light to make things work well. The larger the format, the more power you generally need.

When I shot 4x5 in the studio, with still life, it was a matter of taking 2000 to 4000 ws and popping it multiple times with the shutter open to get the look we needed. With people, you'll need to have enough lighting to do it in one pop of the flash.

With digital, I can do the same lighting as I did shooting 4x5 with battery portable TTL lighting, for the most part, though I sometimes need and use the power of the big lights for some shoots.
Title: Re: Reccomendations for buying an 8x10 system
Post by: bill t. on January 23, 2012, 11:55:17 pm
The Craft is in the print, nowhere else.  Do you what you gotta do to get it, and judge only the product.

For subtlety take a look at  Crewdson's (http://jpgmag.com/stories/1194) 8x10 color neg work.  He probably uses color neg with greater subtlety than anybody ever and it is a major element in his distinctive look, which only really comes through on original exhibition prints.  But you can get an idea on the link.  But seriously, except for a very limited range of subjects chromes are miles behind good digital now, and just a damned nuisance in general.

Also, I have been hearing from some friends that most film labs are in serious decline.  If your budget allows you need to hook up with a zealot lab technician to do it right.
Title: Re: Reccomendations for buying an 8x10 system
Post by: K.C. on January 24, 2012, 01:32:06 am
In the best controlled studio environment, with a lab that could tweak film for you in 1/4 stops, producing an image within the dynamic range of chrome and then translating it to the max of a Cibachrome print, took years of experience. Color negs give you a LOT of latitude and still produce good images. A talented photographer, which if you're just starting now, it's debatable you'll have time to become before the demise of film, can create vastly better images from a neg.

And with all due respect, given the questions you're asking, and Ellis was so indulgent to answer, your pursuit is a fools folly. Call it fine art, yeah, that'll cover you for while, but hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars in, you'll wish you'd spent your time and money another way.

Film is gone for a reason, it's look can be re-created and better images can be made without it. Large format cameras sell on ebay for 15 on the dollar for what they cost new and they're plentiful. That speaks to the reality of photography today.

And if you can't let go of the idea, consider this. Good images aren't about the gear used, nor the format. You could hand a Kodak brownie or an Arca Swiss 8X10 to a good shooter and he'd come back with great images from each. Getting past the gear infatuation is the first step to shooting anything you can call fine art.
Title: Re: Reccomendations for buying an 8x10 system
Post by: bill t. on January 24, 2012, 02:48:42 am
OK, in the days before LCD's on the backs of cameras there was this thing called TESTING.  We used to test the heck out lighting, exposures, equipment, film, composition, you name it.  And each test took many hours to view if there was a good lab down the block, and a day or two if there wasn't.  It's like you took a picture with your DSLR, but it took 24 hours for image to appear on the LCD.  Unless you had a Polaroid holder and some expensive film, which is a form of stinky, finger-staining, gooey punishment no longer available in these times.

So here's what I suggest.  Go get some film, borrow and old 4x5 kit, and shoot some TESTS!  It's the right thing to do and an integral part of the View Camera Craft.  Girlfriends are indispensable in these matters.  Make some scans or even optical prints.  See what you think.  While you're at it take a few shots with the 5D2 using a prime, manual focus lens.  This exercise will be enormously informative, I promise!

*end of meaningful post*

All of which reminds me of when I had a shop a short walk from the Kodak Las Palmas plant in Hollywood.  3 hour turnarounds on Kodachrome, 2 or 3 times a day.  It was an almost unimaginable, privileged, decadent luxury.
Title: Re: Reccomendations for buying an 8x10 system
Post by: Ellis Vener on January 24, 2012, 10:34:22 am
For subtlety take a look at  Crewdson's 8x10 color neg work.

My understanding is that of as last year Gregory Crewdson has switched to a Phase One back, probably  an IQ 180 system.

So here's what I suggest.  Go get some film, borrow and old 4x5 kit, and shoot some TESTS!  It's the right thing to do and an integral part of the View Camera Craft.

I fully agree.

Insert Quote
Let me digress a bit and mention that a large view camera can be a very daunting instrument to use in a person-to-person environment, even for photographers who are very accustomed to using them.


There were a couple of aspects of shooting portraits with a view camera (and I mostly shot with 4x5 not 8x10) that I liked.  My large format portrait work was generally assigned work (editorial work for Newsweek, Forbes, MTV/VH-1 and others as well as corporate, industrial and advertising work).

1) The way the bulk of the camera and the LF shooting process told the client this is not a quick snap - that changed the psychological aspect of the session and made them take it  and me a little more seriously.

2) The difference in the way the larger image and longer lenses ( a 90mm on a 4x5 is roughly the equivalent of a 28mm lens on a 5D MArk II or similar 24x36mm format cameras, and similarly a 300mm has the same vertical angle of view on a 4x5 as a 100-105mm lens on a 24x36mm camera) "drew" the iamge.

3) the use of movements on either the front or rear standard , lateral shift and rise/fall primarily, to compose the photograph exactly how I wanted to, and if needed
left me plenty of high quality image area to crop.

What stops me from shooting large format today is quite simply the dearth of good labs.

There is also  the expense,  While  I do charge a fee for digital processing and services it is  nowhere near the expense I'd rack up if I bracketed my ideas as much as digital allows me to do.   The freedom to experiment and make both mistakes and discoveries relatively inexpensively is for me the real photographic benefit of shooting with high quality digital cameras.

Kevs, if  you haven't seen it already take a look at http://wayneford.posterous.com/arnold-newman-and-the-development-of-the-envi and also http://www.arnoldnewmanarchive.com/
 
Title: Re: Reccomendations for buying an 8x10 system
Post by: bill t. on January 24, 2012, 03:10:43 pm
Seeing those links reminded that I acted as an informal assistant when Arnold Newman photographed Charles and Ray Eames.  I was an Eames Office employee at the time.  It's not his best work by any means, but craftsmanlike.

What Arnold shot (http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/portrait-of-american-designers-charles-and-ray-eames-news-photo/53466409).

He was this frumpy guy who cruised in, set up his little 4x5 on a flimsy little tripod and knocked of a bunch of photos in the ambient light in very little time.  He definitely knew the shots he wanted.  But I have to say, the experience was a very frustrating for the Eames themselves and they were untypically uncomfortable with the experience, and I think it shows.  Not everybody will respond favorably to formality imposed by a camera.

But OTOH, the Stravinsky shot is just a masterpiece!  Maybe this means that if you want to use a view camera for people, you've got to find subjects that are up to the task.

Of course intimidation can be used to good effect.  Who's the guy who plucked the cigar away from Winston Churchill just before snapping the shutter?  Now there's a portrait!  But you do get the feeling that the scene got pretty ugly right after that, good shots often come with a price.
Title: Re: Reccomendations for buying an 8x10 system
Post by: Ellis Vener on January 24, 2012, 03:15:05 pm
Who's the guy who plucked the cigar away from Winston Churchill just before snapping the shutter?
Yosuf Karsh. The magazine I write for (PPA's Professional Photographer ) has a four foot tall print of this portrait in their office. I always stop and look at it for a few minutes when I am there.
Title: Re: Reccomendations for buying an 8x10 system
Post by: Ellis Vener on January 24, 2012, 03:17:58 pm
And if you really want to discuss a really large format camera check this out: http://thefpac.org/ the negative for this camera is 4.5 feet x 6 feet.
Title: Re: Reccomendations for buying an 8x10 system
Post by: K.C. on January 25, 2012, 09:44:08 pm
So here's what I suggest.  Go get some film, borrow and old 4x5 kit, and shoot some TESTS!  It's the right thing to do and an integral part of the View Camera Craft.  Girlfriends are indispensable in these matters.  Make some scans or even optical prints.  See what you think.  While you're at it take a few shots with the 5D2 using a prime, manual focus lens.  This exercise will be enormously informative, I promise!

*end of meaningful post*

Bravo Bill T., a very sound recommendation and a positive approach.

The magazine I write for (PPA's Professional Photographer )...

Ah, that explains your propensity to pontificate.
Title: Re: Reccomendations for buying an 8x10 system
Post by: Ellis Vener on January 25, 2012, 10:04:34 pm
 :-*
Title: Re: Reccomendations for buying an 8x10 system
Post by: K.C. on January 25, 2012, 10:09:03 pm
"Ah, that explains your propensity to pontificate."

Feel better now?

I was trying to offend you, but you do go on, and on, and on.

Title: Re: Reccomendations for buying an 8x10 system
Post by: Ellis Vener on January 25, 2012, 10:15:57 pm
I was trying to offend you...


Well you failed at that too. 
Title: Re: Reccomendations for buying an 8x10 system
Post by: K.C. on January 25, 2012, 10:25:27 pm
Well accept my apology then.

Title: Re: Reccomendations for buying an 8x10 system
Post by: Ellis Vener on January 25, 2012, 10:30:18 pm
Apology accepted.
Title: Re: Reccomendations for buying an 8x10 system
Post by: Ellis Vener on January 25, 2012, 10:34:58 pm
Life is much too short and fascinating to hold internet grudges.
Title: Re: Reccomendations for buying an 8x10 system
Post by: K.C. on January 25, 2012, 10:59:18 pm
Cool. I'll adjust my dry sense of humor to be more obvious in the future.
Title: Re: Reccomendations for buying an 8x10 system
Post by: Ellis Vener on January 25, 2012, 11:04:29 pm
 :-*
Title: Re: Reccomendations for buying an 8x10 system
Post by: kevs on January 25, 2012, 11:58:45 pm
thanks Ellis, a bit of that went over my head.

ARe you saying that the basically that Sinars are much more complex compared to fiield cameras?

BTW, I spoke with Keith C. great guy. He was mentioning that Digital can't even shoot a chain linked fence properly.

And there are threads on this forum with amazing test other people have done showing that 8x10 still destroys 4x5 and the IQ 180. Night and Day.

I would have probably gone with the IQ 180, but at 40 to 50k, it's just too much right now. I'm sure down the road, I'll get it and it will be less money and twice as good -- and I'll use it for commerical work.

I can get the full 8x10 for 4-6k, and later sell the whole thing for not much less if need be.

Sad, there are bitter people on this thread who believe a 5D can stitch together a great file. How tedious if  you are shooting people . My 5D2 looks like crap for large peole prints, except for tight shots of faces. Once you get full frame, and full body, it falls apart.

It's either the IQ 180, 4x5 or 8x10 for large prints.  I figure go all the way.  The digital will always be there later at 3 x the quality and less money later....

Right now LF is fun venture for me, maybe because I did not burn out on it years ago by having to use it ever for jobs.

LF 8x10, is now for fine art. There will be no clients present, it's all self generated.  Sad Crewdson, is moving to digital if that is true, did not hear that, but he can afford it surely as made a fortune shooting with the 8x10.

BTW there is no cache is saying you shot digital. None at all.

Title: Re: Reccomendations for buying an 8x10 system
Post by: Ellis Vener on January 26, 2012, 12:12:28 am
ARe you saying that the basically that Sinars are much more complex compared to fiield cameras?
Yes and no. The construction and mechanics of monorail camera with precision geared movements is a mechanically complex machine than a field camera where there is little to no gearing except for focusing. The Canhams are terrific cameras and so are Ebony and Arca-Swiss cameras. There was a company called Phillips that was also really good at making modern field type cameras. I do not know if they are still in business.
Title: Re: Reccomendations for buying an 8x10 system
Post by: bill t. on January 26, 2012, 01:46:04 am
I will no longer argue for the 5D2 except to say no zoom can do it justice, you must use primes focused as carefully as a view camera to realize maximum quality.

I believe the reason Crewdson left 8x10 is that he was practicing techniques we now mostly associate with digital photography in ways that were very inconvenient with the large camera.

I'm drawing this information mostly from an Aperture interview (http://www.aperture.org/crewdson/).

He would often shoot separate exposures for different parts of the scene, and also shoot what amounts to focus stacking sets, where he would incrementally march the focus through the scene from near to far, shooting one or more plates at each position.  In the Aperture interview he said he sometimes wound up drawing parts of the final image from as many as 50 different plates for a single scene.  He also mentioned shooting separate focuses for a window frame and the subjects just barely inside the window, and from far away.  Basically, he was using intensive stitching and focus stacking techniques with film negatives!

The notion that you can swing and tilt an 8x10 camera into a position that will sharply record every part of any scene in a single exposure is simply wishful thinking.  Any time you work close with a view camera in a complex set with a lot of depth, something's got to give if you want to shoot just a single exposure.  So you've got to either simulate digital techniques with a film camera, or just shoot digital in the first place.

And I'm sure Crewdson was very happy to have the effectively increased depth of field from the smaller sensor on the IQ 180, versus the 8x10.  It's hard to convey how thin the truly sharp focus plane is on a big camera, but seriously it ain't much even at the smallest apertures when you're close to the subject and you want big prints.  I am quite convinced that when working in ranges around 15 or 20 feet and closer, the total amount of sharp detail contained in a medium format or DSLR shot is effectively much greater than you could hope to get from 8x10, and the reason is the slower fall off in focus surrounding the location of absolute prime focus.  The 8x10 might be sharper at the absolute prime focus, but it would fall off much faster away it, compared to a smaller negative or sensor.

Can't resist...If you want to shoot sharp chain link fences, use an 8x10 and nail that fence with a loupe on the ground glass.  If you want to shoot scenes in depth, use a smaller camera and/or digital.

Of course there are much more straightforward view camera approaches than Crewdson's for simpler subjects.  But as photography evolves in the digital age we are increasingly seeing the use of creative techniques that are best served by digital.  For instance check out Annie Liebowitz's Disney Character personifications (http://www.insidethemagic.net/2011/03/photo-archive-latest-in-the-annie-leibovitz-disney-dream-portrait-series-capturing-celebrities-as-colorful-disney-characters/) of Hollywood Stars.  In my old age I can finally relax enough to think that's a hoot.  Stuff like that is the new big thing, or one of them.

So for my money, the only argument for 8x10 is, umh, money!  And that I can fully understand.  But in the meantime, mama don't take my 5D2 away.

Title: Re: Reccomendations for buying an 8x10 system
Post by: Ellis Vener on January 26, 2012, 07:44:17 am
After looking at Bill T.'s web page I am inclined to take his word regarding image quality from different cameras. Any person who has won three technical Oscars for cinematographic camera technology likely knows more about this stuff than anyone else here.
Title: Re: Reccomendations for buying an 8x10 system
Post by: fotometria gr on January 26, 2012, 07:35:30 pm
I'm going to do a people fine art project with 8x10. Any recommendations on what to buy? I'd want the best bang for buck and great quality.... thanks!

Any recommendations of film appreciated too.  thanks!
I've listed a Sinar P2, it's 4x5 but takes kits from 8x10 to 6x9 and even down to P2-Dslr for Nikon or Canon. As Ellis has stated, they are the top in quality, accuracy and ease of use. Send me a PM if you are interested. Regards, Theodoros. www.fotometria.gr
Title: Re: Reccomendations for buying an 8x10 system
Post by: kevs on January 27, 2012, 12:13:19 pm
thanks Bill, Ellis, others. I may send few PMs.
Look, I realize now that 8x10 is over-kill and not necessary. Thinking of 4x5. But really I do have a Canon 5D2. But I tested stitching and it was a hairy mess. I would have no idea how to do it properly -- especially, these are people shots. I contact you guys offline in a minute.  Getting close to getting this decided.
Title: Re: Reccomendations for buying an 8x10 system
Post by: bill t. on January 27, 2012, 03:27:25 pm
What are you shooting, exactly?

For $200 you can buy a old, manual focus 55mm Micro Nikkor and a Nikon->5D2 adapter.  One of the sharpest lenses of all time at a bargain price.  Use a tripod and really truly hit the focus.  Use mirror lockup.  Get the lighting right.  Don't underexposure 2 stops because of a white cyc background faking out the meter.  Make a homebrew matte box to avoid getting flare from areas just outside the scene.

Will look positively marvelous compared to the hairy mess that can emerge from the long and winding sheetfilm -> digital print workflow.

And should have stated the following earlier.  Imagine this emerging from the clouds above, because it's that good...

You can use tethered shooting with the 5D2, or almost any digital camera.  Now that alone is the reason to use those film boxes for paperweights.

Set the lens to f8, or f11 for the Micro Nikkor, or f5.6 for anything wider than 40mm.  Import directly into Lightroom or Aperture.  Use some fancy Mac laptop if that feels good.  Reset all the controls, then don't so much as THINK about touching any slider except the white balance.  If you need more or less contrast, tweak the lights.  More or less exposure, adjust the shutter speed and/or the lights.  Zoom in 4:1 to check the focus.  Judge everything right there in near realtime on a screen that will closely resemble your final print.

And in most cases this will also help your subjects give you their best, but judgement is needed in that regard.

This tethered thing will get the most technically perfect image it is possible to achieve by any technology in the entire history of photography.  For basically zero money.  All that adds up to a freaking damned photographic miracle that makes it a sin against common sense to use a view cameras + film in almost any setting, amen.
Title: Re: Reccomendations for buying an 8x10 system
Post by: kevs on January 27, 2012, 05:06:32 pm
Bill, that's a lot of gobbly gook. Tethered, which I do sometimes, just a cable I bought, has zero effect on the quality of the image. Just a luxury.

Have you printed large print, full body from a 5D2, here look at this:

http://static.timparkin.co.uk/static/tmp/cameratest-2/large.html
Title: Re: Reccomendations for buying an 8x10 system
Post by: bill t. on January 27, 2012, 06:54:23 pm
I am very unimpressed with those wildly sloppy, result-anticipating tests, but I will say no more about it.

The only tests that make the slightest sense for you is to set up an example of the kind of shoot you plan to do, and shoot your own darned tests.  Be sure to include everything you would need along the entire workflow, to include some prints if that's your goal and some intelligent criticism of the results.

Nothing else is relevant, not even my own enlightened prattle, and all this internet blah-blahing is an absurdity.

So OK, the ball's in your corner.  I am genuinely interested to see what you can make of it.  Maybe I'll be surprised.

Please share your results.  Because it you don't that will only feed our worst suspicions.   ;D



Title: Re: Reccomendations for buying an 8x10 system
Post by: bill t. on January 27, 2012, 08:26:16 pm
I've got such a big mouth...

To counter that tunnel-visioned, apoplectic test page with a dose of reality, here is a screen grab of an 11" high crop of a 43 inch high x 96 wide image I am printing right this minute.  A stitch with a single 5D2 vertical frame, and a few more left and right.  This part of the frame is in deep shade.  It's gorgeous, Crewdson would cry.

Please note the 50% down at the lower left corner.  At pixel level what you see here is a little bigger than print size, but half the resolution.  It takes smooth paper to show anywhere near the full resolution on a print.  Not bad for a "crappy" 5D2 frame and a wee bit careful post processing.  And BTW this is from a corner of the frame, not the center.  Focus is everything, zooms stink, and so does autofocus.  Mama don't take my 55mm Micro Nikkor away, or even my 45mm T/S lens, or my manual focusing ring.

Be sure to look at this all the way scaled up.

Title: Re: Reccomendations for buying an 8x10 system
Post by: K.C. on January 28, 2012, 03:55:31 am
This tethered thing will get the most technically perfect image it is possible to achieve by any technology in the entire history of photography.  For basically zero money.  All that adds up to a freaking damned photographic miracle that makes it a sin against common sense to use a view cameras + film in almost any setting, amen.

Hear yea, hear yea!


Title: Re: Reccomendations for buying an 8x10 system
Post by: Ellis Vener on January 29, 2012, 12:36:12 pm
Hear yea, hear yea!




What K.C. said.