I had thought I was perfectly happy with my 4×5 – seemed like the negatives were plenty large – and once I got into historical process printing I could make my (digital) negatives any size I wanted to anyhow. One small problem: you can’t enlarge a tintype. So I “needed” a bigger camera if I wanted bigger wetplate images.
For various reasons mostly financial I wasn’t going to get one any time soon, but an opportunity presented itself that I found I couldn’t refuse – my friend / boss was going to sell one of his on eBay. And he wanted to throw in an already-converted 8×10 wetplate holder for just a few bucks more. Heck yes.
So now I have an 8×10 camera. I wasn’t sure I had a lens that would cover that, but I figured this old aerial reconnaissance camera lens – which I think was for 7×7 film – might be the closest. I also don’t have a lensboard, so I fashioned one out of black matboard. (This works ok, but I need to remember that it’s not a sturdy fixture – I picked the camera up once and forgot and the flexible matboard and heavy lens wiggled out and bounced around on the concrete. Whoopsie.)