Tim Layton Fine Art | 8x10 Large Format Gear

I use my 8x10 Chamonix camera more than any of my other large format cameras.  I specialize in making very large (48x72, 40x60, 30x40) silver gelatin darkroom prints, and I require the ultimate quality and resolution.  

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, it sets up fast and very easy, and offers every movement and adjustment that I need for my style of photography.  The minimum image circle required for 8x10 is 312.  

My 8x10 Large Format Lenses:

  • 120mm Nikkor Superwide F8-F64 Copal 1, Filter 77mm (IC 312), 610g/1.34lb (no movements)
  • 150mm Nikkor SW F8-F64, Copal 1, Filter 95mm, 112mm Center Filter, (IC 400), 1050g/2.31lb 
  • 210mm Schneider Super-Symmar XL F5.6, Copal 3, Filter 135mm, (IC 500) 2002g/4.41lb (unlimited movements, large and heavy lens)
  • 240mm Nikkor W F5.6-F64, Copal 1, Filter 82mm (IC 336), 820g/1.81lb (limited movements)
  • 300mm Fujinon-C F8.5-F64, Copal 0, Filter 52mm, (IC 390), 250g/.55lb (small and great backpacking lens)
  • 300mm Schneider APO Symmar F5.6-F64, Copal 3, Filter 105mm (IC 425), 1155g/2.55lb (my most used lens)
  • 300mm Rodensock Sironar W F5.6-F64, Copal 3, Filter 127mm (IC 490), 1610g/3.55lb (big and heavy, but unlimited movements)
  • 450mm Fujinon-C F12.5-F64 Copal 1, Filter 52mm (IC 486), 270g/.6lb (small and great backpacking lens)
  • 600mm Fujinon-C F11.5-F64, Copal 3, Filter 67mm (IC 600), 575g/1.27 (small for a 600mm lens, great backpacking lens)
  • Note: I have a collection of vintage lenses dating back to the 19th century that I use for special purposes and some creative fine art work that I do.  These lenses have unique optical signatures and are unlike modern multi-coated lenses.  

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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