Intermediate large format questions/photography misadventures

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MTGseattle

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I scanned through some of the oldest pages in this thread hoping to revive a thread here and there instead of starting a new one to no avail.

I just received an Osaka (Tachihara) 8x10 double extension field camera kit from @madsox . I had been waffling on getting an Intrepid 8x10 mark 3 for a while due simply to cost/weight, but there's a decent lead time right now. My first true "field camera" experience was with a Tachihara 4x5 in college. I've read a lot of poor reviews of them over the years and a lot of favorable reviews as well. To each their own right?
In full disclosure I would have ordered a Canham or Chamonix if I thought I could justify that expense.

The Osaka is the version that was sold by Bromwell Marketing. One thing I overlooked is that there seems to be zero front or rear shift. I consider myself a "landscape" photographer more than anything, so this shouldn't be too big an issue.

rear swing seems to be limited by how far one can independently focus the rear right and left without damaging the gears. Correct?

I've got a Gitzo GT3530ls set of legs, a 1370m 3-way head, an older Cullmann "magnesit" ball head (it's rated for a lot of weight, but the arca type mount is pretty small).

Lenses so far are a Caltar S-II 240mm f5.6 in Copal 3, An Osaka (yamasaki congo) commercial 300mm f6.3 in a Copal 3s and a Kodak wide field ektar 250mm f6.3 in an Ilex no 5 universal synchro shutter.

I also have a Fujinon 180mm f9 "A" series lens, but the image circle on that guy is listed at 252mm so I'm not sure why I keep seeing this as a "possible" 8x10 lens.

I haven't really asked a question yet have I?

Am I missing something regarding the Ilex shutter; it doesn't have a cocking lever, but cocks and trips in one motion. Is this right? It also tops out at 1/50th. The lens cells seem pretty large, is there an economical way to get them into a more modern shutter? I feel like I could easily surpass the value of the glass trying to do this. The lens has the little "L" inside a circle, but I can't find anything resembling a serial number. It still has the filter (series 9?) retaining ring, and two felt lined metal caps. It feels like it weighs about 3 pounds.

Can someone confirm whether the old small Schneider Angulon 165 f 6.8 does indeed cover 8x10? based upon what people are trying to sell them for, it would seem so. I'd like something equivalent to 90-100mm on 4x5 for the 8x10 but I don't want to shell out the cash for the big 150mm options. The camera is fairly heavy, so I want to try an assemble a light-ish lens kit.

Am I missing anything obvious as I try and jump in with both feet into 8x10 work? Everything is basically the same as 4x5 just bigger, heavier and more expensive right?

Does anyone have experience with the Fujinon "L" 420mm f8? 67mm filter, 480mm image circle. 4/3 tessar type if I'm reading the literature properly. It looks like I've got 500mm bellows draw to play with. Something in the 400-450mm focal length that doesn't cost $2k plus would be nice.
 

David Lindquist

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I scanned through some of the oldest pages in this thread hoping to revive a thread here and there instead of starting a new one to no avail.

I just received an Osaka (Tachihara) 8x10 double extension field camera kit from @madsox . I had been waffling on getting an Intrepid 8x10 mark 3 for a while due simply to cost/weight, but there's a decent lead time right now. My first true "field camera" experience was with a Tachihara 4x5 in college. I've read a lot of poor reviews of them over the years and a lot of favorable reviews as well. To each their own right?
In full disclosure I would have ordered a Canham or Chamonix if I thought I could justify that expense.

The Osaka is the version that was sold by Bromwell Marketing. One thing I overlooked is that there seems to be zero front or rear shift. I consider myself a "landscape" photographer more than anything, so this shouldn't be too big an issue.

rear swing seems to be limited by how far one can independently focus the rear right and left without damaging the gears. Correct?

I've got a Gitzo GT3530ls set of legs, a 1370m 3-way head, an older Cullmann "magnesit" ball head (it's rated for a lot of weight, but the arca type mount is pretty small).

Lenses so far are a Caltar S-II 240mm f5.6 in Copal 3, An Osaka (yamasaki congo) commercial 300mm f6.3 in a Copal 3s and a Kodak wide field ektar 250mm f6.3 in an Ilex no 5 universal synchro shutter.

I also have a Fujinon 180mm f9 "A" series lens, but the image circle on that guy is listed at 252mm so I'm not sure why I keep seeing this as a "possible" 8x10 lens.

I haven't really asked a question yet have I?

Am I missing something regarding the Ilex shutter; it doesn't have a cocking lever, but cocks and trips in one motion. Is this right? It also tops out at 1/50th. The lens cells seem pretty large, is there an economical way to get them into a more modern shutter? I feel like I could easily surpass the value of the glass trying to do this. The lens has the little "L" inside a circle, but I can't find anything resembling a serial number. It still has the filter (series 9?) retaining ring, and two felt lined metal caps. It feels like it weighs about 3 pounds.

Can someone confirm whether the old small Schneider Angulon 165 f 6.8 does indeed cover 8x10? based upon what people are trying to sell them for, it would seem so. I'd like something equivalent to 90-100mm on 4x5 for the 8x10 but I don't want to shell out the cash for the big 150mm options. The camera is fairly heavy, so I want to try an assemble a light-ish lens kit.

Am I missing anything obvious as I try and jump in with both feet into 8x10 work? Everything is basically the same as 4x5 just bigger, heavier and more expensive right?

Does anyone have experience with the Fujinon "L" 420mm f8? 67mm filter, 480mm image circle. 4/3 tessar type if I'm reading the literature properly. It looks like I've got 500mm bellows draw to play with. Something in the 400-450mm focal length that doesn't cost $2k plus would be nice.
Your observations regarding the Ilex shutter are correct. The Ilex "Universal" shutters operate with the cocking and releasing being a single operation. To work with a cable release, the cable release has to have a sufficiently long "throw". The number 5 Ilex was only made as a "Universal" model. The number 3 and number 4 shutters by Ilex were most commonly the "Acme" model; these were cocked with a separate operation and then released with a second lever or cable release. Ilex also made number 3 and number 4 shutters in the "Universal" model. The top speed of 1/50 will probably be more like 1/25.

The serial number will be two letters followed by three, maybe four numerals. See anything like that? The two letters will tell you what year the lens was made. I've never come across, e.g. while "window shopping" on ebay, a 10 inch Wide Field Ektar that had been remounted in a more modern shutter, You could ask SK Grimes if they consider it possible to, say, shoe-horn one of these in to a No. 3 Copal. The 10 inch Wide Field Ektar is, it's fair to say, a very desirable wide angle lens for 8 x10 work (as long as its size isn't perceived as an impediment).

I don't have any experience with the 165 mm f/6.8 Angulon. A circa 1960's Schneider brochure I have says it can be used with 8 x 10 but also rates its image circle at 300 mm which doesn't really cover 8 x 10.

David
 

abruzzi

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a number of 210s will cover 8x10, while not as wide as 180, it would be like a 105mm on 4x5. I've use the 210 G-Claron which will cover if stopped down to f22. The early 210mm Fuji W has 352mm image circle which will also cover. Below 200mm lenses that cover 8x10 get expensive
 
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MTGseattle

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@David Lindquist Ok, that makes sense. My sample of the lens has "RO 205" on it as well. I'm not under the impression that any large format lenses are cheap per se, but I've also got to set a limit somewhere. I've been reading up on some of the 210mm options. I placed a film order last night finally. I do have some expired stock, but I don't want to head out with holders only loaded with an unknown film.
 

jimjm

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Google "camerosity kodak" or similar and you'll find a number of links for Kodak's numbering system for lenses. Your WF Ektar appears to date to 1956, based on the first 2 letters. I have the same lens and the previous comments about the Ilex shutter function are correct. This lens has been a great performer for both landscape and still-life work. Really large image circle - about 420 I believe. I have the Caltar S-II 240 also. It's an excellent lens, very sharp.

I found an older 6.25" (160mm)/9.5 Wollensak Velostigmat Wide Angle in a Betax shutter for a decent price. Really small and light and very sharp.
 

MattKing

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Is "intermediate large" something like "jumbo shrimp"? 😁
I'm asking because I'm curious what you mean by that.
 

xkaes

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I also have a Fujinon 180mm f9 "A" series lens, but the image circle on that guy is listed at 252mm so I'm not sure why I keep seeing this as a "possible" 8x10 lens.

Fuji's A lenses are designed for close-up work, and in the capacity, the A 180mm will cover 8x10 -- so will the Fujinon W 180mm at normal magnification. See:

http://www.subclub.org/fujinon/indexfuji.htm
 

xkaes

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Is "intermediate large" something like "jumbo shrimp"? 😁
I'm asking because I'm curious what you mean by that.

My first guess was a 6x7/6x9 view camera. 8x10 intermediate? I guess that makes 4x5 "miniature".
 
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MTGseattle

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You folks are funny. “Intermediate” meant that I’m not new to view camera work, but I still had questions. So not another large format beginner thread.

I have seen much of the high praise for the wide field extra. I will definitely try it out. I still have mild concerns about my shutter being a limiting factor but I’ll try and figure that out as I go.

@xkaes that’s where I’ve been sourcing my Fujinon comparison data. There’s some optical formula about image circle in relation to magnification that’s escaping me regarding the 180mm. I’ll resort to practical means. One of our Orchids is in bloom, I’ll get the lens mounted and play around a bit.

I also need to dust off some machinery and make some lens boards.

I see a fair amount of “Linhof adapter” boards out there. How do you all feel about those? I feel like a Copal 3 is already close to maxing out a Technika board.
 

David Lindquist

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Copal/Compur No. 3 is the largest shutter for which Linhof currently supplies a pre-cut lens board. Larger shutters have been mounted, might require machining an intermediate fitting. I expect a No. 5 Ilex Universal would be difficult to impossible.

I was talking to Adam at SK Grimes today about another matter and asked him about the possibility of mounting a 10 inch Wide Field Ektar in a No. 3 Copal, he said it wasn't possible. You can't just machine two reducing bushings for the front a rear cells to screw in to the No. 3 Copal because then you can't get the front a rear cells close enough together for the proper spacing. I wasn't the first person to ask him about this :smile:

Off the subject of this post, I also asked him if presented with a pair of lens cells absent their original shutter or barrel (and the original shutter was unknown) did they have a way to determine the proper separation in order to mount them in a shutter. He said they didn't.

David
 
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MTGseattle

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I appreciate you asking SK Grimes the question. I need to get lens boards first and foremost. I have some film arriving tomorrow. There's a well-regarded maker of lens boards on ebay, I think I'll grab 2 from him to get me rolling and then try and make a couple myself.

I'd be curious to see the jig and/or tools needed to accurately measure lens cell spacing. Even if one had a production drawing, I know I don't have the stuff sitting around here to accurately set spacing. There are always orphan lens cells for sale, so it's something I've been curious about over the years.

@jimjm I looked into the Wollensak lenses a bit. Good lord. Talk about naming variations, jeez. It does look like a promising little lens. I wish they were still in the $200 range instead of creeping up on $500. I guess even $500 might be considered a bargain for an 8x10 lens that allows for some movement these days.

Catlabs has a Wisner convertible plasmat master set listed on the auction site right now. It's not something I will chase after, but I had not heard of it before. The image circles listed on the data plate look like some combinations may work for 11x14.
 
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MTGseattle

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I figured I would be brave and open up my Ilex #5 shutter. It was already missing one faceplate screw, and one of the others tried to destroy itself. I won the bad screw battle without causing damage, but I am now down to 2 faceplate screws out of 4. I may contact Flutot's and see if they have any guidance.
Inside the shutter, there is 1 pin that I think is bent, but trying to address that is where the fear of creating a paperweight set in. I cycled the speeds a few times with the case open to watch things move, and then re-assembled the shutter.
 
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MTGseattle

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If any of you participate in any vehicle forums, you've likely encountered a "build thread." These have vehicle acquisition data, modifications, repairs, etc. Basically a person's "journey" with their automobile. Some can get ridiculously detailed while some are fairly light. Depending upon the forum, they will typically derail a bit here and there due to tangential subjects. There don't seem to be so many of these threads in the photography community. Something like "My ______ format journey." Shall I bend this thread into that style?

I finally loaded some 8x10 into holders today. Technically I'm all ready to shoot minus a way to carry the gear that makes any logical sense. While I had the Harrison tent out, I thought I would explore the boxes of expired film I was given. One box that felt almost full was Kodak Tri-X pan with a date of Nov 1978 on the box. Inside, I found 2 white exterior/foil interior envelopes both of which were open and both of which contained sheets of film. I couldn't discern any notch code which had me pretty confused. Does anyone remember Tri-x packaging from that long ago? I feel it's more likely that I have some other film in an old tri-x box. Doesn't all sheet film have notch codes though?

I also pulled the trigger on a Wollensak Anastigmat wide angle 6-1/4"(159mm) f9.5 that looks almost new in the pictures. I think @Vaughn uses one of the many iterations of this lens? I've got my eye on a few other lenses with the intent of saving some weight. The cult-like status of the lightweight lenses that cover 8x10 are going to have me shelling out the cash though it seems.
 

juan

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Tri-X had three V notches all close together. I used it for years and never saw any without the notches. I have the smaller f version (12.5?). It’s a good lens with plenty of coverage. You will need a good dark cloth to see the image well on the glass.
 

Jim Jones

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We sometimes reuse film boxes for for film different than stated on the box. MTG's film might be anything, new or old. Try a few sheets with maybe two stop bracketing.
 
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MTGseattle

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My concern with the film (albeit small since it's already long expired) is that if there are indeed no notch codes, i will have to "kill" one sheet to inspect it so that I can load it properly. I also may need one of those cube style loading tents as the Harrison I have is a bit cramped for 8x10. It worked, but a cube shape might help. There's a thread on here where a lot of folks recommend the same version, I just can't remember the brand. The Photoflex maybe? I'll search a bit.
 
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MTGseattle

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I need to get back into the "tent" and try and figure the film out for sure.

The bigger issue: How is there no off-the-shelf bag that will hold just the camera body? I went to Kenmore Camera today and drug every insert/accessory pouch out and measured them. Nothing. They have the full range of F-stop ICU's on the shelf, most of the Shimoda inserts, plenty of the Tenba byob series, mindshift gear and some other brand I can't remember. Plenty are tall enough, but none are also wide enough. I then stopped at one of the bigger Fred Meyer stores and looked at soft cooler bags/luch bags. Again, nothing that made sense.
I've watched an older youtube video showing the f64 XL backpack. An 8x10 takes up 80 percent of that thing. There's another pack called the Evoc CP-35L. I've seen one person use that for 8x10 but again, the camera takes up 80-90 percent of the bag. The Evoc also retails at north of $400. In that price range, I think I would look at the F-stop 50 liter packs but that kicks us back to inserts that don't hold the camera anyway.

Do I actually hike that far away from camp/car with 8x10? I guess that's going to be what I have to figure out. If I don't "need" a few hiking essentials, the f64 would likely be fine.
 

Tom Taylor

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This is what I use to backpack the Toyo 810MII. The camera folded fits in the bottom portion to about even with the Lowepro small case shown in the upper right. You can make 3 cubes along that line for lenses on their lensboards and 1 additional lens will fold-up with the camera. Dark cloth, filters, spot meter, etc., can be placed inside the pack. The pouch on the outside of the pack will hold at least 5 8x10 holders and there are 3 positions for attaching the tripod.

That model is discontinued. I got mine as a replacement from Lowepro when I called them to see if I could get the zipper repaired on the predecessor pack I purchased new from B&H. Instead they swapped me the new pack for the old.
 
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MTGseattle

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Tom, that looks like a decent pack. I dug through some of the old threads and found the suggestion of pro audio mixer cases. I found a $40 case that should work well for the camera and 1 film holder.
I have an older Kelty Red cloud (I think) that I had forgotten about. The camera fits in there just fine. There's not a lot of space left, but it's something. I also have a big, older lowepro 70+15 liter backpack that the camera will certainly fit in. I have options, I just need to figure out what works.
 
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MTGseattle

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The 8x10 bag/backpack issue: Everything I own either needs modification or is ungainly and will lead to non-use. I've read a lot of the suggestions on here, and if something appropriate pops up used, I will likely grab it but for now, I'm going to resist throwing money at a "fancy" new bag.

Processing film:

I have the Stearman press sp-810. I was hoping to read some recent reports regarding user experience and hiccups dealt with. I can't seem to find anything the isn't approaching 2 years old. That may mean the kink are worked out?

I also saw Andrew O'Neil's BTZS video, and I like the idea behind them and the small use of chemistry. Do the 8x10 ones still exist new? For the time being, I am firmly stuck in/with daylight processing methods.
 

Sirius Glass

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The 8x10 bag/backpack issue: Everything I own either needs modification or is ungainly and will lead to non-use. I've read a lot of the suggestions on here, and if something appropriate pops up used, I will likely grab it but for now, I'm going to resist throwing money at a "fancy" new bag.

Processing film:

I have the Stearman press sp-810. I was hoping to read some recent reports regarding user experience and hiccups dealt with. I can't seem to find anything the isn't approaching 2 years old. That may mean the kink are worked out?

I also saw Andrew O'Neil's BTZS video, and I like the idea behind them and the small use of chemistry. Do the 8x10 ones still exist new? For the time being, I am firmly stuck in/with daylight processing methods.

I tried tray development for 4"x5" film, several tanks. I finally used the Jobo Expert Drum on a Jobo CPP2 Processor and now I get consistently properly developed sheet film in black & white and in color. The start up cost is high but when one spreads it out over all the times it is used, that is a purchase worth making.
 

DREW WILEY

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You'd need a LOT of bellows extension / magnification to get a Fuji 180A to cover 8x10 decently. Circle of illumination is one thing, corner detail another. But it works wonder on 4X5 film. The 250A makes more sense for 8X10. But I personally prefer to do closeups on 8x10 film with the 360A, which is almost as easy to find these days as an Ivory billed woodpecker. Schneider G-Claron lenses in shutter will do the same job significantly less cost, but are not quite as compact. Fuji L's are thick-element single-coated tessars once highly regarded by portrait studios. They're going to be a lot more affordable than Nikkor M tessars. But that 420L is a heavy beast that might tax the front end rigidity of a Tachi.

Bags? Forget em. Do what I do - get a true external frame backpacking style pack. It will hold way more, and be more comfortable to carry. I use a 70's vintage true Callifornia-made Kelty Tioga pack; but the same design has recently been re-issued by the current Kelty company. I've carried LF gear PLUS camping gear many thousands of miles in the mountains using these kinds of packs. No need for a bunch or redundant heavy built-in rubber padding or velcro dividers. Just use ordinary bubble packing, fomecore board dividers, the onboard pack side pouches, etc. Lighter and way more convenient.
 

outwest

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The 162 Angulon is a nice lens - on whole plate. Doubt if you would be satisfied on 8x10, at least I wasn't. The 159 Wolly, especially the f/12, has been a great lens for me. The 210 G-Claron will work.
 
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MTGseattle

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@Sirius Glass I think I'm 10 years plus behind the curve on finding free to nearly free Jobo processing units on the used market. If I happen to trip over one, I'll definitely consider it, but it's another item that would end up sitting around mothballed until I can dedicate a space for it. I like the ridiculous number of variables one is afforded by processing 1 sheet at a time while the counterpoint is that one is processing only 1 sheet at a time.

@DREW WILEY I was thinking of simply buying a Pelican or some such divider kit for now and adding some padding to the old Kelty I have. The bubble wrap idea is cheap and easy. I found a true vintage made in CA Kelty external frame locally, but the frame size was small.

Didn't Calumet or somebody offer an overgrown lens wrap at one point? I,e; a camera wrap?

@outwest Noted. I'm anxiously awaiting my Wollensak lens. I seem to have landed on an ebay seller whose shipping is not exactly timely. I can't fault them for that though as my biggest failing selling on ebay over the years has been prompt shipping. I once did a full work week with someone's fully packaged item riding around in my backseat. (They got a full shipping refund, but I still felt bad about it). There are all kinds of ways I could have avoided that situation, but I like to personally place items in the box or on the conveyor belt.

I know based upon other threads that some of you have classic cars and other hobbies in addition to that of photography. For those of you still engaged in a career, have you let other interests and hobbies get sloughed off in favor of photography? I derive zero income from photography, and I don't expect that to change anytime soon if ever. I'm really trying to decide where to concentrate my efforts.
When I actually get out shooting, that's a pretty welcome mental state for me. I'm not in a position to quit working anytime soon, so keeping most of my woodworking stuff is a given.
My Land Cruiser led down the road of welding, and some specialty automotive tools that I would otherwise not own. It also gets relatively horrible gas milage. There are a great many more suitable vehicles I could choose for what I use it for, but I enjoy driving it, and I have some blood, sweat and tears into it as they say. I'm not asking for anyone's opinion on whether to sell my personal vehicle, but simply any similar mental crossroads reached and which direction you chose.
 
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