A concern of mine while shooting with the 8x10 in studio was that even though I was using a Speedotron 2401 pack at full power I was only getting f/64.
Based on my subject distance, and the focal length, I figured out that I only had a 6” window of focus. So I spent my time constantly checking focus as the subjects kept moving, which is fine with an autofocus camera but not so good with a view camera, especially as you have to stop down the lens and load a film holder before you shoot.
After reviewing the images most were in focus but I still had some concerns so I started researching photographer’s head rests, to help keep the subject’s head in place. Surprisingly, ha ha, these items are not readily available at your local camera store anymore, so I decided to build one of my own. Opted for the non-screw or pincher type and opted instead for more of a head rest. For the base and support I decided on using a studio stand, a sandbag, and a Manfrotto Lite-Tite to attach the head rest to the stand. The Lite-Tite would give me the angle I wanted and the ability to adjust it if needed.
Tools and bits I found at my local hardware store::
3/8” Screw Shaft
A Head Rest (A Float Pad Handle for Grout, Concrete and/or Plaster)
Drill Spades, 3/8” and 9/16”
Two 3/8” Locknuts with a 9/16” in Diameter
The diameter of the umbrella holder hole on the Manfrotto Lite-Tite is 3/8”, so the the screw shaft had to be the same. I counter sunk the holes on the Float Pad Handle with the 9/16” drill spade to recess the locknuts. Wanted to make sure that the locknuts did not poke into the sitters head, ouch. I then cut off the ends fo the Float Pad Handle so you wold not see it, and viola a homemade head rest, see Fig 2 for the completed kit. I plan to paint the head rest black as most of my portraits will be shot against a black or dark background.
The head rest with the drill spades cost me $21 and it took me about 15 minutes to assemble. I have since cut down the screw shaft enabling me to make two out of the one shaft.
By the way Photo Buddy is a great app for view camera and film shooters it has just about everything you need, helping you figure out exposure factor, reciprocity, hyperlocal distance, depth of field and a lot more. This app is something I always use when shooting with the 8x10 or 4x5 view cameras.