Thursday, August 31, 2006

Big 'Ol Cameras... for handholding!

No rosewood here. No gold plate, no hand rubbed finish. No attitude. Its bloodline is more Jeep than Rolls Royce. We wanted a large format 8x10 camera that could ride in the trunk with the spare tire and jack and feel comfortable. We wanted an 8x10 that could be hand held. We wanted a lot. This is it.
Take this rugged lightweight instant-ready camera with you wherever you go and you are loaded for bear -- literally!
And here's an interesting article on shooting very large cameras.
Frustrated with the d.o.f. problems of larger formats (in terms of working speed/spontaneity, not results), I've been fascinated with fixed-focus larger-format "cigar box" cameras. I purchased the 8x10 Hobo ( and it worked well (I probably wouldn't have bought it if I didn't already own the 120SW lens for 4x5). I modified the Hobo a teeny bit, adding a metal handle (w/built-in thumb-operated cable release) on the right side (after finding that gripping the camera with my right hand often flexed the film holder, causing light leaks). I also replaced the four lens board bolts with wingnuts and cut a set of lensboard-shaped gaskets (out of mat board, each maybe 1/16" thick) so that by undoing the wingnuts I can (relatively) quickly add or remove gaskets to change the optimal zone of focus from, say, 100 feet to 12 feet (yes, everything is supposed to be in focus from 4' to infinity with the 120mm/f8 lens, but of course that isn't really true; I figured it'd be nice to be able to alter the focus distance at least for infinity landscapes/cityscapes vs. closer street/people shooting). This camera made possible some shots that would have been much more difficult with conventional 8x10 cameras (e.g., handheld shooting from atop a huge ferris wheel and from a helicopter flying over downtown Chicago).

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