I used medium format and 4x5 large format for a long time before making the jump to the 8x10 format.  I always wanted to make 8x10 contact prints and eventually, I made a cross-country trip to source an 8x10 enlarger too.  I am able to make up to 40" x 50" prints in my darkroom from my 8x10 negatives and the detail is something that must be appreciated and experienced in person. 

Of all the formats, I use 8x10 the most.  The quality is undeniable and with my lightweight Chamonix 8x10 view camera, weighing only about 8 pounds, I can backpack with it just as easy as using roadside.  

I love this classic format just as the masters before me did too. I also have 4x5, 5x7, and 4x10 reducing backs for this camera because this is the one camera that is with me at all times.  

Since you are probably a large format photographer, you may be interested in my Large Format Quick Reference Cards, Split-Grade Darkroom Printing eBook, Color Film Quick Reference Cards, B&W Floral Still Life Fine Art Photography with Large Format Video Workshop, and the Darkroom Underground Magazine.  

MY 8X10 LARGE FORMAT VIEW CAMERA

I have more than one 8x10 large format camera, but I use my Chamonix view camera the most.  It is light enough for hiking, which I love to do, and it is a lightweight option (for 8x10), it sets up fast and very easy, and offers every movement and adjustment that I need for my style of photography.  I keep my other 8x10 cameras (Burke & James, Ritter 8x10) for times when I host in-person workshops and someone wants to try an 8x10 view camera. 

For lenses I typically use the following:

  • 150mm Nikkor SW F5.6-F64 Copal 1 filter 95mm, 112mm center filter, (IC 400)
  • 210mm Schneider Super-Angulon F8
  • 300mm Schneider APO F5.6-F64 Symmar MC 65 Copal 3 filter 105mm (425 IC)
  • 450mm Fujinon-C F12.5-F128 Copal 1 - filter 52mm (IC 486)
  • 600mm Fujinon-C F11.5-F64 Copal 3 filter 67mm (IC 600)

Note: IC = image circle

MISCELLANEOUS GEAR & EQUIPMENT

I use a Gitzo 5541-LS carbon fiber tripod with a Really Right Stuff BH-55 ball head most of the time.  If I am doing floral still life in a controlled environment, then I like to use my Manfrotto 400 geared head.   

For metering, I use a Sekonic 758-DR and I have an older Sekonic 508 that I keep as my backup.  I have been using the 758 since 2010 and really rely on it with a high degree of accuracy.  I still have my Pentax spot meter that was modified by Zone VI Studios and I use it as well.  

For a loupe, I use a Wista 5x (the black one) the most.  I also keep a pair of +3 reader glasses in my kit to set up the composition and get the focus fairly close, before moving to the loupe.  

For miscellaneous items, I use a manual stop watch for exposures, a lens brush and micro fiber clothes, an extra battery for my Sekonic 758 meter, extra rubber bands (needed many times in the field), a spanner wrench in case I need to work on lenses in the field, a flexible measuring tape to calculate bellows factor for exposure comp in case I do any close-up work in the field, and a couple cable releases, with one serving as a backup.  I use a dark cloth that has an elastic band around the front side and velcro along the seam.  It also stays in my case to help protect the ground glass too.  I also have an old black sweatshirt with a white t-shirt inside it that I use for a dark cloth too.  

For film holders, I store them in black neoprene cases that are intended to be used with tablets or thin laptop computers.  I typically only take 2 holders (4 exposures with me for a hike).  If it is for multiple days, I may take 3.  I have both film holders and dry plate holders to accommodate the medium I am using and I always store my film holders in zip lock freezer bags. 

If you have any questions, send me an email or post a comment below for others to see too.

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-Tim Layton

Tim Layton
B&W Fine Art Analog Photography
Darkroom & Large Format Training: www.timlaytonfineart.com/workshops
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