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.  Of all the formats, I use 8x10 the most.  The quality is undeniable and with my lightweight Chamonix 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.  

If you want the full list of my exact 8x10 large format gear, just click on this link, and I will email you a PDF.  

8x10 Camera Equipment

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 in my work.  

For lenses I 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

I use a Gitzo 5541LS carbon fiber tripod with a RRS BH-55 ball head and a 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.

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 closeup work in the field, and a couple cable releases, with one serving as a backup.  I use a darkcloth 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 darkcloth 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.  

Backpacks

I updated my backpack to the Denali Pro from the F64 pack. There are a number of reasons for the upgrade, but I will start with the F64 pack first.  The F64 pack has served me very well over the last five years.  I really like the ability to quickly get to my camera and gear based on the design of the pack.  However, I am doing longer hikes and so I needed a new pack that was designed for this scenario, plus, I needed more room for all the other items (e.g., food, water, camping, etc).  I still plan to use the F64 pack as a storage case for one of my 8x10 cameras or when I am doing roadside or very short hikes because of the convenience factor.  With the F64 pack, the camera and gear is instantly accessible and ready to go in minutes.  But, it is not designed for any type of real hiking and has no extra storage as well.  I was literally getting severe backaches from using this pack beyond its intended means.  

The new Gregory Denali Pro (no longer manufactured) is the highest rated backpack for long distance hiking for a reason.  This pack is an engineering marvel and is built for long and difficult multi-day hikes.  It isn't a camera backpack, so that presented some new challenges to make sure all the gear was safe in the mountaineering style pack.  The biggest challenge was finding a case for the 8x10 view camera.  After several suggestions from friends and hours of research, I stumbled upon a case manufacturer website where I found a 15x15 padded gator case.  This case was intended to be used for portable electronic equipment storage, so I knew it was well padded. After measuring the camera and the Denali backpack interior dimensions, I ordered a couple of these cases.  The case worked perfectly and had a couple extra inches where I store a few things in it.  It fits perfectly inside the Denali Pro pack and it is nicely padded.  

Tim Layton