Intrepid 8×10: an affordable large format camera

Although you can still buy second hand large format cameras in the market, if you are after an affordable 8×10 camera, the Intrepid 8×10 is for you. The project is on Kickstarter.

Intrepid 8x10: an accessible large format camera

Digital may be king, but there is a nostalgia about film and a nostalgia about large format cameras. One British company, producer of 4×5 models, is now ready to deliver a 8×10 model.

If you’ve a passion for large format photography, if the names of photographers as Ansel Adams, John Paul Edwards, Sonya Noskowiak or Edward Weston make you dream of taking your own large format camera – anything from 4×5 up – to the field, but you don’t want to break the bank, then the Intrepid 8×10 camera is for you.  For £480 (somewhere around $620) you can have your high quality and super lightweight handmade Field Camera. It’s the starting point to explore the world of large format.

The Intrepid 8×10 is on Kickstarter, with 28 days to go, a goal of £18,000 and more than 200 backers that very quickly confirmed the viability of the project: the amount collected at the moment is £106,568. No doubt, there is interest in large format cameras.

Above: video for the first Kickstarter project

The company behind the project, from Great Britain, is called Intrepid Camera Co. and has been designing and producing Large Format Cameras – 4×5 –  for the last three years. It all started, as they say, to solve a problem: a love for 4×5 photography and a lack of money.

“The idea for an affordable hand made 4×5 camera first came to me about 5 years ago, I had just started with photography, building crude film cameras in a few hours, just to see what I could make. I used to, and still do enjoy the process of building a camera just as much as taking pictures”, writes Maxim Grew, one of the founders, on the company website.

Intrepid 8x10: an accessible large format camera

The passion and hobby turned into a university project and grew further, in 2014. With the involvement of the other founder, Eddie Garcia, a small loan and a vision, they moved on to Kickstarter, where the reception to the first 4×5 was overwhelming. In two days they reached their goal, decided a real company was needed, and these days proudly state that “be able to say that 90% of the camera is manufactured by hand in our little workshop in Hove on the south coast of the UK really means a lot to us!

With the 4×5 firmly present in the market, with over 1000 cameras shipped to happy customers, the duo wanted more, and that’s the reason why they return to Kickstarter. The Intrepid 8×10 takes, they say,  “everything we have learnt from our other large format cameras and refines it into the best camera we have ever made; a simple, beautiful and fully functional field camera, all for an amazing price. At Intrepid Camera Co. we genuinely care about the future of large format photography, a future that is dependent on people getting involved and having access to this incredible form of photography. That’s why we do what we do – and it’s what motivates us to keep innovating. “

Above: video demonstrating the 4×5 camera model from Intrepid Camera Co.

Made of birch plywood and anodised aluminium for structural components, the camera is the only affordable 8×10 made from high quality and long lasting materials. Opting to use a camera like the Intrepid 8×10 is like opening the door to a whole new world and a learning process that is a never ending experience. The camera is just the starting point, and you’ll have to buy the lens, the film holders, and other accessories you might need. The Intrepid Camera Co. has film holders, designed to be both practical, reliable and affordable, and an alternative to the “the hard to find and expensive 8×10 holders that are currently on the market”. When it comes to lenses, they can help you to understand the best choices and what to look for in the second hand market.

A lens need to be mounted on a board. A Sinar size board (140mm x 140mm) is needed, and here, again, the company says that “no worries if you can’t find a board, we will have our own affordable version on our website very soon and are also planning an adapter board for Linhof/Technika size boards. “

With the Kickstarter funding confirmed, the production of the Intrepid 8×10 will start in June, with August as the date that the machinery needed for the larger wooden components arrives. If all goes as planned, by late September the Kickstarter backers will receive their new large format cameras, right in time to go out in the field and photograph the arrival of Autumn.

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Journalist, writer and photographer since 1979, both print and online, with a vast experience in the fields of photography, software, hardware, web, aviation, History, video games, technology, having published content in almost all Portuguese newspapers…