Large format cameras can unfold like an accordion, and when stored fold up inside themselves and are relatively compact. With a bellows that can be nearly 30 inches long, this is one pretty big camera. Photographing in crowds with it is difficult, as you tend to turn into a spectacle of sorts yourself.
This is my widest angle lens that I use. On the 8x10 camera, this Schneider 120mm lens is about equal to a 18mm lens on 35mm camera. It's quite an extreme lens, but when you need it there is absolutely no substitute. This lens also gives me enough room around the edges of the image circle to have a bit of a rise and fall (technical stuff).
This lens came with the camera when I bough it, and at 12 inches long is considered 'normal'. All around this lens is a good performer, though not as sharp as modern lenses. This Kodak lens is probably from the 40's or 50's, and images taken with it have kind of an 'older' feel that's hard to put into words.
This Red-Dot 24 inch artar is the most recent addition to my 8x10 kit. I haven't taken many photographs with it, but it's an excellent lens, about a 100mm lens in 35mm format.
A spirit level is essential for getting the view camera set up just right. Many view cameras have levels built in, but the Deardorff does not. I use a simple two-way carpenters level for adjusting the camera. Also, a Toyo ground glass loupe is essential for checking focus. You don't want to screw up sheets of film this big.
A good lens cleaning cloth made out of microfiber is is what I prefer to any brushes or tissue. For big pieces of dust, canned air is great, but the microfiber clothes will remove oil and smudges better than anything else I've used. Also, the old Ilex shutters have a bi-post terminal for the strobe sync, so I carry an adapter cord just in case.
This is my 8x10 Kit.

In college my instructor, Craig Law, was shooting unbelievable images with large format cameras and I had to get a camera that shot film larger than 35mm. I started with 4x5, but once I learned how to do non-silver processes I knew I had to get an 8x10. This camera shoots sheets of film that measure 8 inches by 10 inches and are almost the ultimate in negative quality. The only way to get better is to go bigger (which I've considered actually). The camera has front and rear swings, a front shift and rise and fall. I have been told that it is an early Deardorff and might date from the 1950's. I like to shoot Kodak T-Max 400 black and white sheet film with this camera. I used to only shoot 100, but realized I wasn't losing any fidelity in sharpness by going up one film speed. With the lenses usually at f/45 or smaller, I need a slightly faster film. I plan to use this camera to shoot stuff for 'me' rather than for the website or commercial use on the B2B trip to the Klondike. Click here to learn yet more about these wonderful cameras!


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