PDA

View Full Version : Large Format 4x5 Camera Hiking Backpack Question



jianglinxi
24-Apr-2017, 11:22
Hello everyone! I'm planning to take some landscape photos this summer but far from driving road which means I need hike 2 days to reach the location I want. I need to carry 4x5 camera with 4 lens with some accessories, sleep bag, tent, food, clothes. I have a friend is going with me, but he is not going to take any camera equipment. He told me that he can carry tent and some stuffs.

I's told that I need to use a professional hiking backpack instead professional camera backpack to carry camera gears and other stuffs. But all backpack for hiking has no foam protection layer, and fabric of hiking backpack is thin. Please give me some advises on camera gears protection. Thx

AuditorOne
24-Apr-2017, 11:36
I use an Intrepid 4x5 which is pretty small and light.

My longer lenses go in socks or, if flat enough and already in a lensboard, are wrapped in micro fiber cloth secured with rubber bands.

My camera gets wrapped in dark cloth. Ground glass is protected by this http://www.badgergraphic.com/opencart/index.php?route=product/category&path=2_82_166

Film holders are held together with rubber bands and then holders and spare film are tucked into the changing bag.

Tripod is attached to pack frame.

A small nylon bag from Delta Airlines that hangs from the outside of the pack contains odds and ends like loupe, etc.

Not too scientific but pretty inexpensive. Leaves lots of room for important things like food and water and sleeping needs.

faberryman
24-Apr-2017, 12:30
How far is a two day hike?

Peter Collins
24-Apr-2017, 13:01
I have used a light-weight top-loading backpack--ULA Circuit, and a panel-loading backpack. Now all my photo gear is in a Granite Gear panel-loading backpack. Panel-loading backpacks are much, much better than the top-loading kind for fishing photo equipment out of the pack.

When I have everything packed, there isn't much room for clothes, food, water, sleeping bag. This is not a problem as long as my photograph is not far from the car because tent, sleeping bag, food, water are elsewhere in the car.

If I were to undertake a 2 day hike to a location, I would reduce the number of film holders to just those I reasonably expect to use, leave my 90mm lens at home (you may lighten up in another way), and pack Mountain House freeze-dried meals, my Trail Designs' 'Tri-Ti' alcohol-burning cookset, a change of poly/nylon underwear, plus minimum clothes for the weather, sleeping bag, and my 1-person tent. Tripod lashed to the outside of the pack. And, believe it or not, an umbrella. Important clothes include a wind-resistant outer shell, water & wind resistant pants, and a hat that works in rain and sun--I love my poly Tilley hat. Take a stocking cap if you expect cold nights at high elevations; put it on and get into the bag, get warm, and sleep.

I hiked 120 miles of the Appalachian Trail (AT) last year, and persons with umbrellas were hiking in the rain, dry from the waist up. Worked much better than the poncho I took.

On my next hike I will take chocolate-covered roasting coffee beans. One afternoon on the AT my tail was dragging, and my sister gave me some of those beans. Eat 3 - 5 and in just minutes I was back in shape to hike the rest of the afternoon. A big stimulant. Actually, chocolate-covered coffee beans are useful in many other activities.

John Layton
24-Apr-2017, 15:18
put each film holder into its own ziplock bag...you'll be glad you did!

xkaes
24-Apr-2017, 15:28
I've taken one to seven day treks -- from Canada to Mexico -- with my trusty TOKO (NOT Toyo) 4x5 and lenses from 37mm Mamiya to 600mm Fujinon, PLUS 12.5mm to 100mm Minolta macros. With all the regular, essential camping gear and food, my backpack can easily top 60 pounds. All I have ever used is a standard framed backpack. It carries everything. I put my gear in a basic KIWI camera bag that fits in the top of the backpack. OK, not everything. I put my extra boxes of 4x5 film in a side pouch of the backpack -- but for photography before breakfast, after lunch or dinner, I just take the KIWI out of the top, unlash the tripod (on the side of the backpack), and I'm ready to go at a moments notice. Seven days has always been about my max. It's always possible to take shorter trips, which means less food weight, or take less gear, which means less photographic weight -- or both!!!

Keith Pitman
24-Apr-2017, 16:52
When I've backpacked, I put the camera gear in a small day pack attached to the top of my backpack with the camping gear. That worked well. I'd suggest you have a very light weight camera, limit yourself to two lenses, and also limit the number of filmholders you take or use grafmatics.

jp
24-Apr-2017, 17:15
I'd limit myself to two lenses rather than ditch film or film holders. You can save weight with a smaller and potentially less sturdy tripod and that's OK for occasional use.

xkaes
24-Apr-2017, 17:35
I solved the film holder "problem" by using the SUPER-thin, original, Mido holders. That saves at least a pound, depending on the number of holders you normally carry, but they are hard to find nowadays.

As to cutting down on lenses, you can always expand your repertoire -- simply and inexpensively -- with one or two close-up lenses. I know that sounds very odd, but check out:

http://www.subclub.org/fujinon/close-up.htm

jianglinxi
25-Apr-2017, 04:53
About 45KM two days

"How far is a two day hike?"

jianglinxi
25-Apr-2017, 06:05
Thank everybody for all useful advice!

jp
25-Apr-2017, 10:10
About 45KM two days

"How far is a two day hike?"

In New England where no path or route is straight, we regularly measure trips by time rather than distance.

neil poulsen
25-Apr-2017, 12:20
The best photo backpack I have was intended for hiking, with just cloth sides, etc. It's also the most comfortable. I cut a large, thick piece of foam to fit on the inside and then did cutouts to hold my camera and lenses. It works fine, and it's relatively light-weight.

I've found that the protection provided with "photographic" backpacks comes at the cost off substantial weight. I also find photographic backpacks to be less comfortable. I use them for smaller outfits. But in my view, they have a downside.

faberryman
25-Apr-2017, 12:31
In New England where no path or route is straight, we regularly measure trips by time rather than distance.
If you measure by time, it kind of depends on how fast you walk and how often you stop to take photographs. I've never seen a trail marked in time increments.

xkaes
25-Apr-2017, 12:43
It's odd, but he's right. At least in the "Old Days", the AMC's White Mountain Guide (New Hampshire) listed the time it took to hike the trail, not how long it was. It never made any sense to me. Maybe that's one of the reasons I moved to Colorado, but I've been to plenty of places out here in the West that do the same thing. It's probably the result of Easterners moving out here. But that's OK with me because most of the hiking I have ever done out here has been off trail -- not really feasible back East -- where I depend on a compass, a topo map, and my Toko 4 x5.

RocketScientist90
28-Apr-2017, 08:47
I am pretty happy with my F-Stop Ajna and the XLarge Pro ICU. The Ajna is too small if you also want to take some clothing, but the camping gear can be attached on the outside easily. I think if you go for a Suhka or a Shinn you'll have a camera and hiking bag that will fit your needs.

The Xlarge pro ICU fits my Toyo 45A, 3 lenses, 6 holders, light meter, LEE filters and some other small accessories neatly.
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C5CeorjWAAAL-Ad.jpg:large

Roy

jp
28-Apr-2017, 09:29
If you measure by time, it kind of depends on how fast you walk and how often you stop to take photographs. I've never seen a trail marked in time increments.

You kinda learn that if you are slower at driving/walking/etc then estimate high for the time to complete. Or if some place is 20 minutes away, then you need 20 minutes + photography time.

Larry the Sailor
3-May-2017, 05:13
I recently acquired a Osprey Aether 70 to tote my 4x5 stuff for off road expeditions.
I have no illusions of serious hikes lasting several days but I do plan to be hours away from the vehicle.
I use a couple of Mountain Smith padded inserts for my Toyo 45A and 3 lenses. Accessories go in smaller padded pouches and my film holders are in a plastic sportsman dry box in the lower compartment of the pack. Tripod is strapped to the side of the pack.
I have room for water, snacks, first aid kit, a little bit of extra clothing and rain gear along with a few comfort items and still keep the weight of the pack to about 35 pounds.

This video was part of the reason I made the choices I did.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qx8oa4I_YcE

trekkin
3-May-2017, 15:32
I fit my 4x5 Nagaoka camera outfit into a SMD lightweight backpack.

Vaughn
3-May-2017, 16:08
Must be younger than I am! For that distance I would have a quality backpacking pack. I suggest one with more volume that one might normally need. I have an internal frame top-loader...my 4x5 camera goes in last, with a little padding, on top of the shoulderbag holding the film holders, meter, etc. I only take one lens (150mm). If I want to make an image while hiking in, everything is right there.

Once at camp, the camera goes on the tripod. The darkcloth is over the camera and I slide a waterproof stuff sack over it and the camera (protects from rain, dust, and things that might poke the bellows, except bears). Everything else in the shoulder bag. Nothing has to be set on the ground, which is nice in snow, marshy areas, etc. or if you need to move quickly because of bears or other natural causes.

xkaes
3-May-2017, 17:16
That reminds me of an approach that I use to reduce weight while backpacking. Specifically, you can carry a lighter tripod than you might if, after setting up the tripod you drape the shoulder slap of your camera bag over the tripod. This not only holds the tripod down, it stabilizes the tripod. Perhaps best of all, if the top of the camera bag is left open, all of your lenses and other gear are within arms reach -- with no need to bend.

Drew Bedo
6-May-2017, 06:57
The best photo backpack I have was intended for hiking, with just cloth sides, etc. It's also the most comfortable. I cut a large, thick piece of foam to fit on the inside and then did cutouts to hold my camera and lenses. It works fine, and it's relatively light-weight.

I've found that the protection provided with "photographic" backpacks comes at the cost off substantial weight. I also find photographic backpacks to be less comfortable. I use them for smaller outfits. But in my view, they have a downside.

Of course, that is exactly what the now discontinued PhotoBackpacker system was all about. The bag was a Kelty Redwing variant and the protection and organization was provided by the semi-rigid boxes. There is still a need for this type of product line, but the market is apartently too small for someone to step in and replicate it. Yet I would think that the concept could be applied to DSLR/Mirrorless formats too.

RocketScientist90
6-May-2017, 10:47
Thats why I suggest the F Stop bags. That seems closest to that solution. Especially their largest ones.

Roy

Vaughn
6-May-2017, 15:12
That reminds me of an approach that I use to reduce weight while backpacking. Specifically, you can carry a lighter tripod than you might if, after setting up the tripod you drape the shoulder slap of your camera bag over the tripod...

True, but I tend to use my tripods a little roughly and appreciate the extra strength when scrambling off-trail. Plus I am tall -- so while the old Gitzo Reporter Performance is more than I need for the 4 pounds on the tripod (4x5, lens, filmholder and darkcloth), it extends to 56" without the center column, so I don't have to bend over with the head and camera on it (my eyes are about 67" above the ground.) The center column goes up another 24" (a two-part center column), which is silly high. The pod weighs about 5 pounds (w/o head), so I think that matches the camera weight nicely. And still does a decent job with the 5x7...but I also have a Gitzo Studex, the next size up for, everyday use.

My 8x10 equipment is not really pack-able. Size and weight of my 8x10 equipment is already at my limit for hiking...and at 62, slapping on a sleeping bag, shelter, and a hunk of bread for a several nights out is just not an option (unless with pack-animal help).

brad martin
6-May-2017, 20:32
So when you say "I need to carry 4 lenses" you're telling us you've never been on a hike before?

Mark Darragh
7-May-2017, 05:25
I second Vaughn's comments regarding using a quality backpack designed for hiking rather than photography. Their harness systems are much better for carrying loads on multi-day walks. I personally use old Photobackpacker and Gnass gear cases for camera and lenses (up to 6) and carry them along with all the other necessary hiking gear in either a One Planet or Macpac 90 litre pack. Using this system I've carried a 4x5 camera on trips of up to 10 days. It is a little more challenging in the post Quickload world but still perfectly possible.

If you want see what is possible with regard to large format wilderness photography, do some research on the work of Tasmanian photographers Peter Dombrovskis and Chris Bell and Rob Brown from New Zealand. Truly inspirational.

xkaes
7-May-2017, 05:35
True, but I tend to use my tripods a little roughly and appreciate the extra strength when scrambling off-trail. Plus I am tall -- so while the old Gitzo Reporter Performance is more than I need for the 4 pounds on the tripod (4x5, lens, filmholder and darkcloth), it extends to 56" without the center column, so I don't have to bend over with the head and camera on it (my eyes are about 67" above the ground.) The center column goes up another 24" (a two-part center column), which is silly high. The pod weighs about 5 pounds (w/o head), so I think that matches the camera weight nicely. And still does a decent job with the 5x7...but I also have a Gitzo Studex, the next size up for, everyday use.

My 8x10 equipment is not really pack-able. Size and weight of my 8x10 equipment is already at my limit for hiking...and at 62, slapping on a sleeping bag, shelter, and a hunk of bread for a several nights out is just not an option (unless with pack-animal help).

That's sort of funny since I use the Gitzo Reporter Performance myself. Great tripod, for super high and low shots. And the reversible center column is great for close-ups VERY close to the ground. For me, the big plus is that it is not nearly as heavy as what some people insist on carrying. With a Ballhead #2 (AKA 275) I'm good to go. And with my camera bag draped around the legs, it is super stable. The only problem I've ever had is using the camera with longer lenses in high winds, the problem is with the bellows and the dark cloth staying in place. And like you, most of my hikes are off-trail -- to get away from the crowds, among other things. I normally carry about a dozen super thin, lightweight Mido film holders and around eight to 10 lenses -- my four Minolta macro/micro lenses are all very small and lightweight, but I usually only bring two of them at a time.

Vaughn
7-May-2017, 08:33
Used a Gitzo #2 Ballhead with a set of Studex legs for years until that pod and camera (5x7) gear got ripped off from my truck in '95. Finally back to a ballhead for the 4x5 and Rollei.

I usually carry 5 to 6 film holders (and one lens) -- and if it is a two or three night trip, that might be all the film I take. Make 'em count!

jianglinxi
7-May-2017, 08:37
Hi everybody. I'm think if I can purchase a camera insert bag which is much more lighter than camera backpack (about 500g). And purchasing a professional hiking backpack. Put all necessary hiking equipment + camera equipment in the insert bag. It provides good protection to my camera equipment, and good for hiking.

angusparker
7-May-2017, 14:43
F64 pack is great for LF and if you use it for 4x5 you just might have enough to room for clothes, food and a sleeping bag strapped somewhere outside but I agree that a dedicated hiking pack would be better. Amazon sells a ton of small cases with foam which would probably be a good bet for the camera and another one for two lenses and the meter.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Drew Bedo
8-May-2017, 06:56
Hi everybody. I'm think if I can purchase a camera insert bag which is much more lighter than camera backpack (about 500g). And purchasing a professional hiking backpack. Put all necessary hiking equipment + camera equipment in the insert bag. It provides good protection to my camera equipment, and good for hiking.

This is a viable approach used by some. Do what works for you.

xkaes
13-May-2017, 12:07
Someone asked for pictures of my backpacking setup, so here it is. The three pictures are here and at:
http://www.subclub.org/toko/pack1.JPG
http://www.subclub.org/toko/pack2.JPG
http://www.subclub.org/toko/pack3.JPG

If I am doing an overnight I don't carry all of my lenses. I select them based on the type of terrain I will be in and the types of pictures I expect to take. For example, if I'm in canyon country, I concentrate more on wide-angle lenses, during flower season I have more macro gear, and above tree-line I'll concentrate more on longer lenses.

Here is where I start -- with my KIWI bag. I think it is a model 425, but they made a ton of bags in various sizes. This is one of their larger bags, and has a hand strap and removeable, adjustable, shoulder strap. I don't know if they are still in business, but their bags are great, reasonably priced and very rugged. I have several, and you can get used for next to nothing. This one is the perfect size for my camera, other gear and my backpack. Photo #1 shows the Toko Nikki II on one end -- just fits. And there is room on the bottom for lens -- in this case, SIX: Schneider 47mm XL, Fujinon CM-W 105mm, NW 125mm, NW 150mm, A 180mm, C 300mm.

164814

On top of that, I put my dark cloth -- a WOOD HOOD, silver on the outside and black on the inside with a flexible band around your head -- the best IMHO. Then I add another layer of lenses -- assuming I need/want more. In this case, I've added a Fujinon SWD 75mm, NW 210mm, and T 600mm, for a total of nine lenses from 47mm to 600mm. Sometimes it's more, sometimes less. It all depends. If I'm in the desert and need to carry water, it's USUALLY less -- but in the desert, I can often leave the tent behind.

164815

I don't close up the camera bag just yet. It has a pouch on the inside of the cover which is perfect for about 10-12 super-thin, double-sided, MIDO film sleeves. In addition, there are two pockets on the ends. One keeps the Mido sleeve holder along with my DOF charts for each lens. In the other pocket, I drop in my handy, tiny rangefinder (which I use with the DOF charts, to get what I want it focus, instead of relying just on my loupe. I also add in my pinholes and adapter(s), and well as a hand-held meter, lens cleaning tissue, cable release, self timer, filters, etc. I could save more space and weight in the main compartment, but all of my lenses are standardized to a 77mm filter, which means step-up rings. But that makes sense to me because it saves me time, finding and putting on and taking off adapter rings.

Then, after I have put everything else in the pack that needs to be there, I put the KIWI bag on the top -- usually at the trailhead.

164816

This is a REI TREKKER external frame backpack. They probably don't make it anymore, but I'm sure there are other similar ones out there -- and really cheap used. In the main upper compartment, I put clothes and the tent. For the tent poles, there is a place to slide them in through the top to the bottom. In the main bottom compartment, I put cooking gear and food. It has side pockets for other, smaller items such as water bottles. The pocket on the upper back, is actually removeable and turns into a great belt pack for short hikes. There is also a pocket on the top, which is where I put my film boxes under my film change bag. It is not seen in the picture but it covers the top and keeps everything dry. One the very bottom, outside of the pack, goes my sleeping bag and pad. All you can see in the picture are the external straps. My tripod -- a trusty Gitzo Reporter Performace gets strapped vertically on the outside -- note the strap on the upper right-hand corner.

Whether I'm hiking or in camp, all I need to do is remove the camera bag from the top, the tripod from the side, and I'm ready to go in less than a minute!

Alan9940
13-May-2017, 12:25
Based on an earlier post in this thread, I bought an F-Stop Gear XLarge Pro ICU (insert weighs about 2 lbs) that holds my Arca-Swiss F-line camera, 4 lenses, a few Grafmatics, and a dark cloth all of which fits beautifully into my Kelty P1 backpack. Compared to my previous backpack for this equipment, I lost about 4 - 5 lbs! Works for me!! :)

jp
13-May-2017, 14:23
I just bought one of these.. Hasn't shown up yet, so I don't know how suitable it will be. My major thing would be to not have to lug my tripod but it does make my arms strong. I'm thinking this sort of backpack might be able to hold a tripod centered in the double-rifle-holder that is supposed to hold upto 46" length.... Unknown how suitable the innards will be for cameras but the size bags look suitable for 4x5 film holders or my seltzer or gatorade bottle.

https://store.colddeadhands.us/collections/tactical-gear/products/b-tac-rifle-pack-bug-out-bag

Alan9940
13-May-2017, 16:22
My major thing would be to not have to lug my tripod but it does make my arms strong.

Carbon fiber...carbon fiber...repeat like a mantra. :D

AuditorOne
13-May-2017, 16:50
I just bought one of these.. Hasn't shown up yet, so I don't know how suitable it will be. My major thing would be to not have to lug my tripod but it does make my arms strong. I'm thinking this sort of backpack might be able to hold a tripod centered in the double-rifle-holder that is supposed to hold upto 46" length.... Unknown how suitable the innards will be for cameras but the size bags look suitable for 4x5 film holders or my seltzer or gatorade bottle.

https://store.colddeadhands.us/collections/tactical-gear/products/b-tac-rifle-pack-bug-out-bag

I guess we will both find out if it works for us. I ordered one as well. At that sale price it was pretty much a no-brainer.

Based on the dimensions it will pack my tripod and my 8x10 with extra gear.

During hunting season it can do double duty.

This is a twofer. :D

jp
26-May-2017, 17:09
The backpack I mentioned May 13 arrived. I think it will useful for my photography. Wearing it, the tripod seems very light on my back as it's well centered. Adjusting the shoulder straps places it where I want on my hips.

The backside, waist, and straps are padded.
The normal backpack interior easily holds 2 ammo boxes which hold 7 4x5 film holders each for me. (These are $5-10 water/dust resistant boxes from the sporting good section of Mal-wart or Cabelas.) This could also easily hold a camera and/or lenses.
There is a great deal of webbing about the backpack, so I could clip more items to it if needed such as an extra box of film holders.
The gun sleeve actually has a flexible divider so you could take 2 long guns if needed without them scratching each other. I use it for one tripod. Pictured is my Ries Junior (J series). I have not tried an A series in it yet.
It also has a handle at the top like a school backpack.
The tripod sticks out about 7 inches with the 3025 head shown, but there is plenty of clearance so I don't bump my skull on it, so it's fine.

165402

165403

xkaes
26-May-2017, 17:31
Where do you put your food, stove, tent, sleeping bag, etc? Curious minds want to know!

jp
26-May-2017, 17:38
Where do you put your food, stove, tent, sleeping bag, etc? Curious minds want to know!

I intend to use it for day hikes. I can put food and drink in the side pockets. I live with much woods around, so I don't have to go far to enjoy a variety of woods and be home by dark. If I did an overnight trip, I'd probably drop the tent, stove, etc. off where I intend to use it and then hike around for photos without all that.

xkaes
27-May-2017, 04:34
I intend to use it for day hikes. I can put food and drink in the side pockets. I live with much woods around, so I don't have to go far to enjoy a variety of woods and be home by dark. If I did an overnight trip, I'd probably drop the tent, stove, etc. off where I intend to use it and then hike around for photos without all that.

You still haven't said where you would put the "stuff" for an overnight trip.

6X17 Shooter
24-Jan-2018, 09:25
I have a different dilemma. I'm using a Shen Hao FC617A...this is the non-folding model, which is making a search for a "camera" backpack a bit tedious. Camera dimensions are about 11"W x 9"L x 6"H. I do have an older Osprey Aether 65, but I'm trying to avoid a situation where I'm having to remove an insert to get to gear, then slip back into the pack when its time to move on. My preference is to undo a single zipper, open a flap, and have full access at the ready. My F-stop Loka just isn't wide enough to do double duty. Considering a Lowepro Phototrekker AW II (also has a built-in tripod carrier pocket), but won't leave much room for anything else. Lowepro also has a Protrekker 650, but that thing is massive. The f64 extra large also looks interesting. The non-folding aspect of this particular camera is limiting the choices.

6X17 Shooter
24-Jan-2018, 15:13
I have a different dilemma. I'm using a Shen Hao FC617A...this is the non-folding model, which is making a search for a "camera" backpack a bit tedious. Camera dimensions are about 11"W x 9"L x 6"H. I do have an older Osprey Aether 65, but I'm trying to avoid a situation where I'm having to remove an insert to get to gear, then slip back into the pack when its time to move on. My preference is to undo a single zipper, open a flap, and have full access at the ready. My F-stop Loka just isn't wide enough to do double duty. Considering a Lowepro Phototrekker AW II (also has a built-in tripod carrier pocket), but won't leave much room for anything else. Lowepro also has a Protrekker 650, but that thing is massive. The f64 extra large also looks interesting. The non-folding aspect of this particular camera is limiting the choices.

Drew Wiley
25-Jan-2018, 15:29
I've only been on extended backpacking trips with large format gear several hundred times, and never once have seen the need of an overpriced camera pack with a bunch of heavy redundant cushioning and dividers. You can make custom dividers out of fome-core board, and use bubble wrap for cushioning, or even a down jacket. Carry only the lenses and filters you really need. Most of your pack will need to be dedicated to food and camping gear anyway. I modify classic Kelty (original US mfg) and Camp Trails external frame packs for this purpose.

xkaes
25-Jan-2018, 15:53
I've only been on extended backpacking trips with large format gear several hundred times, and never once have seen the need of an overpriced camera pack with a bunch of heavy redundant cushioning and dividers. You can make custom dividers out of fome-core board, and use bubble wrap for cushioning, or even a down jacket. Carry only the lenses and filters you really need. Most of your pack will need to be dedicated to food and camping gear anyway. I modify classic Kelty (original US mfg) and Camp Trails external frame packs for this purpose.

I'm with you. My OLD REI frame backpack is typically 2/3rds camping gear and 1/3rd camera gear. All of my camera gear -- except the tripod -- is in a simple, lightly padded, Cordura, carefully-selected, large, inexpensive, KIWI camera bag on the top.

174039

174040

174041

I've fallen over more times than I care to remember, but my body, backpack, and Kiwi bag have kept my gear intact -- even when I was sure the ground glass would be shattered.

I can fully understand why some shutterbugs want Fort Knox protection for their gear, and we all have to decide how far we want to go -- in the wallet and on the trail.

Vaughn
25-Jan-2018, 17:43
I'm with you. My OLD REI frame backpack is typically 2/3rds camping gear and 1/3rd camera gear. All of my camera gear -- except the tripod -- is in a simple, lightly padded, Cordura, carefully-selected, large, inexpensive, KIWI camera bag on the top...

That's about what I have been doing, but with Gregory internal frame packs and a shoulder bag that can hold the holders and meter (camera on the tripod with the darkcloth over the camera and a water-proof stuff sack over that). If I take more than 5 holders, they'll go in a separate bag. On the way out of the woods, the camera has room to go in the backpack.

Drew Wiley
25-Jan-2018, 18:12
My younger friends use huge internal frame packs, but these aren't so good for LF work. Not many side pouches and ya gotta dig a lot. I prefer the way an external frame packs has a protective box-like construction. But back when I was a teenager in my 40's, two thirds of my pack was camera gear and film holders. I learned to get along on one meal a day. A lot has changed! I still prefer Sinar or my Phillips 8X10 plus Ries wood tripods for day hikes. But on the long haul it's a little Ebony folder and carbon fiber. But I shoot MF too. It's all fun, except the fact of getting older.

xkaes
25-Jan-2018, 18:49
That's about what I have been doing, but with Gregory internal frame packs and a shoulder bag that can hold the holders and meter (camera on the tripod with the darkcloth over the camera and a water-proof stuff sack over that).

I smash into too many trees and cliffs too often to image that!

Vaughn
25-Jan-2018, 19:02
I smash into too many trees and cliffs too often to image that!
Well, I bought a new pack that was a little smaller --- to keep the weight down...so now I have to carry the camera on the tripod. Makes sense to me...:cool:

Fortunately, the camera and lens weights 2.5 pounds on a 7 pound tripod. And I can set it up and check out the view without taking my pack off. If I like what I see, the pack comes off and the meter and holders are right at the top.

xkaes
26-Jan-2018, 05:49
Well, I bought a new pack that was a little smaller --- to keep the weight down...so now I have to carry the camera on the tripod. Makes sense to me...

You must have developed incredible biceps! Most of my excursions are off-trail, and much of the time I need at least one hand to keep my balance -- climbing over boulders, etc. My guess is that half of the time I stop, it's because I want to take a picture. The other half of the time, I stop to give my back a break!

Peter Collins
26-Jan-2018, 08:41
I will add that I prefer a "panel-loading" to a "top-loading" backpack because in the case of the top-loading kind, you dig and dig some more to get anything. Especially photo gear. Hence the Granite Gear that Photobackpack sold is my happy choice.

xkaes
26-Jan-2018, 09:30
I will add that I prefer a "panel-loading" to a "top-loading" backpack because in the case of the top-loading kind, you dig and dig some more to get anything. Especially photo gear. Hence the Granite Gear that Photobackpack sold is my happy choice.

I guess it depends on the pack. Most of the external packs I've considered -- and all of the ones I've used -- allow access through the top and the back. But it's a non-issue for me since my camera gear always goes in on the top -- in a separate camera bag with shoulder strap -- that comes out in seconds (see third photo). All I need to do is grab the tripod -- on the outside of the pack -- and I'm ready to go.

Vaughn
26-Jan-2018, 10:28
You must have developed incredible biceps! Most of my excursions are off-trail, and much of the time I need at least one hand to keep my balance -- climbing over boulders, etc. My guess is that half of the time I stop, it's because I want to take a picture. The other half of the time, I stop to give my back a break!
Ten years of building and maintaining wilderness trails got me use to carrying tools in my hands on long hikes.

xkaes
26-Jan-2018, 10:46
Ten years of building and maintaining wilderness trails got me use to carrying tools in my hands on long hikes.

For me "wilderness" means "no trails". Sure, there are tons of "wilderness areas" with a ton of "trails", like the Maroon Bells in Colorado. They are more like highways. They even have "rush hours". For me, if I'm really in the wilderness, I'm no where near a trail.

This is the kind of USGS map I seek out:

174059

Drew Wiley
26-Jan-2018, 11:27
Welcome to the club. On numerous occasions I've scrambled up some remote cool and discovered obsidian chips or a broken point.

Drew Wiley
26-Jan-2018, 11:28
Col, not cool (this Dumbphone changes spelling), but often very cool and windy indeed.

xkaes
26-Jan-2018, 11:34
OK, I confess, sometimes I carry a Minolta 16mm camera in my hand while I hike. It's smaller than a pack of cigarettes. No need to focus with its 22mm lens and enormous DOF. It's just for grab shots. But if I'm falling over, it's the first thing that goes!!!

Drew Wiley
26-Jan-2018, 11:34
What I'm implying is that there were trails everywhere at least 12,000 years before you or I were ever born.

xkaes
26-Jan-2018, 11:43
Welcome to the club. On numerous occasions I've scrambled up some remote cool and discovered obsidian chips or a broken point.

I once hiked down Oak Creek in Utah -- no trail -- from the Boulder Plateau (National Forest) down through Capitol Reef National Monument. From snow up high to desert heat down below. We discovered a 200 foot tall "knob" at a creek junction that "the Ancients" obviously used as a look-out, and spent many a day chipping obsidian points -- probably from the obsidian field in Yellowstone. We left it as we found it, but it was a true treat to connect with the past.

Drew Wiley
26-Jan-2018, 12:06
Nice area, except for the idiotic commercialization of the little town of Torrey, and all the ATV damage to the clay hills on the opposite side of the Park. The Escalate drainage might be in trouble if coal interests ever do get in there. "Regulations" banning extraction waste getting dumped into streams have just been erased. But I'm looking at topo maps of the San Juans in CO instead. That looks like a heavily trafficked area. But I'd still like to explore it. Know of any quiet sections?

xkaes
26-Jan-2018, 12:58
Nice area, except for the idiotic commercialization of the little town of Torrey, and all the ATV damage to the clay hills on the opposite side of the Park. The Escalate drainage might be in trouble if coal interests ever do get in there. "Regulations" banning extraction waste getting dumped into streams have just been erased. But I'm looking at topo maps of the San Juans in CO instead. That looks like a heavily trafficked area. But I'd still like to explore it. Know of any quiet sections?

It's really too bad what has happened to little towns like Torrey and so many other places. They (AKA MOAB businesses) are now running constant TV ads in Denver -- and probably other places -- to get people to go to Moab in the Winter. They are already over-run in the Spring, Summer and Fall, so why not the Winter? There's money to be made!!

As to the San Juans, the main place to avoid is anything around the Chicago Basin. You can only get there by using the Telluride to Silverton railroad. Good luck getting a ticket. Last time I was there they only took cash. The only place you can get off the train is at Needleton (not a real town). There is an old dirt road that the backpackers use to get to the Chicago Basin. Today, it is basically a highway. Maybe the Forest Service requires a permit nowadays. Maybe not, as the size of the railroad keeps the traffic in control. It's beautiful, but you will never be out of sight and sound of humans. Not my idea of "wilderness" despite the official designation. If you go, leave some room in your pack to carry out other people's trash.

The BEST place in the San Juans is the Grenadier Range to the north of Chicago Basin. No one goes there because it is not easy. You can get off at Needleton, cross the Animas River, wave good-bye to the crowds (DON'T TELL THEM WHERE YOU ARE GOING), and walk north along the river -- NO TRAIL, but it's flat. You can turn right at Ruby Creek (one mile), No Name Creek (1.5 miles), or Ten Mile Creek (2.5 miles). You won't see anyone. There are no trails and the vegetation is lush, so forget about carrying your camera on a tripod! A Minolta 16mm in your hand can be useful, however!

You can go into the Grenadiers from the north or northeast, by Kite Lake and the Colorado Trail, but the north side of the Grenadiers are basically snow-covered all summer long.

Drew Wiley
26-Jan-2018, 13:16
Thanks. Still quite awhile away, but I make multiple travel options in advance due to fires almost always affecting one place or another. The northern Winds are also an option - easy to find solitude there. And of course, there are still remote bucket list destinations in the Sierras. We even get those Moab ads here on SF channels. But I've done ten day hikes in some of those canyons without encountering anyone else. The cyclist mob seems to have their own particular routes.

xkaes
26-Jan-2018, 13:48
[QUOTE=Drew Wiley;1427509]The northern Winds are also an option - easy to find solitude there. [/QUOTE

Anyplace along the Divide between Teton National Forest and the Wind River Reservation is superb. The only problem is getting in there. I've tried several times to get into the Brown Cliffs / Alpine Lakes / The Fortress Area with no luck -- over the Divide, over Hay Pass, etc. I won't pay the ludicrous Reservation access prices. Maybe in my next life!

But my friends and I have gotten into some incredibly remote areas around there. The last time I was there -- near Green Lake -- some idiot didn't put out a campfire -- ten feet from the trail. It exploded and burned the entire sides of several mountains. The Wind Rivers are the most beautiful mountains between the Canadian Rockies and the Andes. Pretty soon there won't be any forest left in the West, so I'm glad I got out there when I could.

Drew Wiley
26-Jan-2018, 14:22
It's quite a drive from here, so I've never gone in through the Reservation either. Did a two-week loop two years ago in the southern section, with complete solitude half that time. Good timing for pictures too. Have done several trips in the central part, again quiet except for Elkhart Park and headed toward Titcomb Basin. Some of our canyons in the Sierra are actually a lot harder to get into than anything in the Winds, but that story of a solo hiker getting his foot trapped under a rock back around the Brown Cliffs, and slowly starving as he wrote a diary about it, is certainly poignant. I did some shortcut travel near there once, but not quite that far east.

Vaughn
26-Jan-2018, 17:31
What I'm implying is that there were trails everywhere at least 12,000 years before you or I were ever born.
My concept of wilderness is slowly evolving -- changing from the 60s and 70s romantic notions of wilderness being "untouched by man", towards a deeper, fuller understanding of its history. A recent good read was 1491 -- a description of the Americas before the arrival of Columbus, and all.

When I was managing part of a US Forest Service wilderness area (attempting to manage the human impact on said wilderness to be more precise) we took a trail out of the system (stopped maintaining it and took it off the map) in order to create a large hole in the wilderness that was trail-free. I was already maintaining 150 miles of trail -- didn't mind having 6 miles less. Back then (all of the 80s), we'd spend 10 days out in the wilderness at a time, working on the trails and maybe see 4 hikers...many times no one. And that was when I finally got all the trails and signage up to our wilderness standards...tread 16 to 18" wide, trees bucked out and trail brushed out to 3' on each side, signage at all trail junctions (and only trail junctions), springs monitored, and all that stuff. Slightly toned down from the regular standards -- taking the use and conditions in the Yolla Bolly Mtns. into consideration.

Since then, those wilderness trails have gone 25+ years without serious maintenance...and a few fires. My last few one-week backpack trips (missed last season) I have seen no one out there...and the trails are disappearing in many places. Becoming a 'wilderness' again!

xkaes
27-Jan-2018, 06:47
My concept of wilderness is slowly evolving -- changing from the 60s and 70s romantic notions of wilderness being "untouched by man", towards a deeper, fuller understanding of its history.

Maybe it's the wilderness that's been evolving. It sure is different than it once was. Some wilderness areas -- such as the Maroon Bells -- require you to get a permit and then take a shuttle bus!

I'm lucky that I have a lot of old Forest Service maps, because many of the less popular trails have been removed from the new maps, due to no maintenance, due to lack of funds. The trails can still be used, of course, if you known where they are/once were. It was recently reported that half of the Park Service budget for last year went to fire fighting. You could say their budget went up in smoke.

Drew Wiley
27-Jan-2018, 10:22
I grew up right on the edge of a canyon rugged enough to protect itself, provided someone doesn't dam it (which has been proposed more than once). And every year, I don't feel like I've had a real break unless I can spend at least a week with no sign of human presence around - no trails, fire rings, even stone ducks or tree blazes. I have a reasonable success rate at that, though it typically involves trail use too, to get deeper in. I don't mind ancient reminders of man being there long before. I've pretty much avoided all the "freeway" trails out here, like the Muir Trail, though I've crossed enough sections of it over the years to be familiar with most of it. Trails per se are important around here on the coast during tick season. Head off through the brush and you'll get them.

m00dawg
22-Feb-2018, 13:00
Apologies if I missed it but I was trying to search through this thread about what changing bags/tents folks bring? I have a patterson bag which is very heavy but noticed the Kait bag on BH is much much lighter weight. What are folks typically using while backpacking to load the holders?

I'm going on a 5 day hike but the first/last day will be the 7 mile monsters. It'll be around Santa Fe with the days in the middle being 1-3 miles (basecamp for 2 days I believe as well). This would be my first long hike with the 4x5 (and am sort of debating if I should just bring my X-700 with a 28mm lens instead) so I was trying to see how minimal I can make the setup (hence worrying about the weight of the patterson bag).

Originally I was even thinking of bringing my MeFoto Backpacker Classic tripod. I used the TrailPix on my last hike with my Nikon N80 and it worked well enough, but my Intrepid may prove to be a bit much for it. The MeFoto is around 3.6 lbs.

Thought about bringing just 1 (maybe 2) holders knowing that I'll be having to load film more often if I do and probably just 2 boxes of film (for unexposed and exposed).

Paul Ron
23-Feb-2018, 08:09
I admire you guys taking 4x5 cameras n equipment on backpacking trips. When I backpacked the ADKs and Catskills upstate NY, ultralight was the only way to go. We trimmed our winter backpacks to 25LBs, even cut the strings off the tea bags to save a gram here n there. My backpack included tent, zero deg bag, food for 4 days, clothes and liquid fuel stoves with fuel to make water and cook.

To add in another 20 LBs of camera stuff was out of the question for off trails let alone on trail in the steep mountains on snowshoes or crampons. I tried carrying many different cameras and found the best of all was my 9x12 Maximar. Id load film in my sleeping bag at night, store my exposed film in an empty film box with the original black plastic bag inside. A regular tripod was just too big n clumsy and too much added weight let alone interfering with the balance of the load. I had the cheapest lightest small aluminum tripod I could find... it weighed less than 1 pound and folded to 10". The 9x12 with film weighed 2 pounds and took up hardly any space in the backpack. At 3 pounds it wasn't a problem, sat right up top inside the pack.

I don't know what kind of terrain or situation, or your physical condition; it may not be too strenuous for you with a heavy pack but I couldn't do it for where we were.

have fun and be sure to post your photos?

tgtaylor
23-Feb-2018, 12:57
I’ve been on numerous multi-day (3-7 day) backpack trips in the Sierra carrying either a 35mm, MF, or LF setup in addition to camping supplies using a Gregory Reality internal frame backpack. The packing order, from bottom up, goes: bearcan (required by law) with freeze-dried meals and toothpaste, down sleeping bag, socks, etc , stove, etc, personal hygiene items, lite jacket/wind jacket and then the camera and one or rwo lens on top (the Reality is a top loader). In the outside assessable pouch at the pack's middle goes the cleaning kit, film (in WP Outter box for roll film) or a box of 4x5 readyloads which I used before I wised-up to cut film holders. The air mattress, Harrison pup tent, poncho/ground cover, and sometime the tent are strapped in the side pockets. Two water bottles, one full, are on the packs waist area and the tripod in a holster at the center. The spot meter is attached to my waist belt in its case. A fuel bottle is tied to the outside of the pack and compass, water purification tablets, energy bar, lip balm, etc inside the top compartment with the film case with map and compass fastened to the top hood. When I switched to cut film holders 5 of them go inside an F64 film case attached to the outside of the pack and the lens cleaning kit in the middle compartment where the readyloads once went. Sandals for stream crossing are at the bottom pack. With everything on my back one or two hiking poles makeup my hiking kit. Because of limited space it is essential to choose wisely the choice of lens. This posed a problem with the P67II because of their size, but with the Toyo 45CF I carry a 150mm apo-sironar-s attached to the camera and a 90mm Nikon f9 and maybe a 300mm Nikon M. I use to bring the 90mm Grandagon f4.5 but it is a large lens so a couple of years ago I got the smaller Nikon specifically for backpacking. A Gitzo series 0 CF tripod works well with the 35mm and 4x5 but because of the big focal plane shutter of the P67II I find it necessary to use a heavier tripod tripod.

But a photo is worth a thousand words. Here is a snap of my pack on a 5 day hike in Torre del Paines NP in Patagonia carrying both a 35mm and the 67II (I must have been crazy!). The tripod is in the dark blue bag on the far left next to the lighter blue bag with the air mattress, and the tent is in the black bag on the far right.

https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5592/30114564660_f35ff90046_b.jpg

Thomas

tonyowen
25-Feb-2018, 09:14
[QUOTE=xkaes;1388585]I've taken one to seven day treks -- from Canada to Mexico -- /QUOTE]
Literally ?????? it is around 2,200km and at (say) 40km/day that is over 50days!!!
Or were you driving
regards
TONY

Drew Wiley
27-Feb-2018, 21:25
I try to carry a heavy pack on steep hills several times a month. Last-minute conditioning doesn't work very well approaching Geezerhood. 8x10 gear makes plenty of wt easy. But no, I'll never go back to 90 lb packs like in my 40's and early 50's.

m00dawg
28-Feb-2018, 14:34
What about lenses? I was thinking of taking just one lens. I have a Fujinon 150mm 5.6 and was thinking of buying a wider lens. The Nikkor W's seem to be quite light in 105 and 135mm (quite a bit lighter than my Fujinon) although they have a much smaller image circle (referencing the LF lens list (http://www.largeformatphotography.info/lenses/LF4x5in.html)).

That Kait bag I mentioned, I think I may get it and just shoot a test sheet while loading it in bright sun. If it works in that case, I'll probably work when I'm hiking where I'll likely be changing film in the shade or, preferably, at night.

m00dawg
3-Mar-2018, 09:16
On my own note above, I did a bit of looking and while those lenses are indeed lighter, it seems they aren't really meant to be used with 4x5. The Fujinon 125mm is a bit lighter than my 150mm though the different at this point is reaching marginal (265g vs 280g). Liked the idea of something a bit wider but may just get better at my 150mm for this upcoming trip.

Vaughn
3-Mar-2018, 10:31
I suggest getting use to the 150mm...learn how that sees on 4x5 for you.

A changing bag in the sun may be light-tight, but it sure does get hot and sweaty!

m00dawg
1-Jun-2018, 20:20
Ah thanks for the info! Got any brands to look at that have aluminium frames? For the hike I used an Osprey Atmos 65. Managed to fit everything though next time I might get a bear can and just strap the damn thing to the pack so I can leave room inside for everything else (camera included). Comfort wise it was ok but definitely not a Lay-Z-Boy.

I'm actually back from my trip now. The photos turned out...well I was trying too hard to get compositions that really required a wide angle lens (which I don't own and didn't bring, just brought the 150mm) but the experience itself was just wonderful. Will definitely take my Intrepid again.

Biggest awkward bits were changing film, which I knew would be the case but it took take longer than I thought. I ended up just climbing in my hammock and putting my changing bag on my lap which I then covered with my top quilt. I did that because I didn't know how much to trust my Kait changing bag (I didn't have enough time to test it before the trip). Cramped but I managed to slowly change film without much fuss.

My Chamonix holders weren't ready before the hike (I just received them _today_ in fact) but they are definitely lighter and want to see how changing film in a bag with them is. I found them a little harder to load than the Fidelitys but I'm also not used to them. They have smoother grooves so once I get the hang of it I think they will be easier. They certainly are gorgeous though (but of course function is the big thing here). I took 2 Fidelity's for this hike but given the lighter Chamonix I might ponder taking 3 so I can bag 2 shots of each film (some BW, Ektar and Velvia). If I was only taking BW, I think 2 would be plenty.

On that note, I took FP4 for the trip as my BW of choice. I didn't quite expect the results I got with it souped in XTOL and in hindsight HP5 might have been better to take as I'm a bit more used to it. I really want a good medium speed film in 4x5 though so may try Delta 100 next time. Or maybe TMX.

Anyways photos are here:

https://www.moocowproductions.org/2018/05/31/hiking-in-santa-fe-with-the-intrepid-4x5/

Nothing amazing, though the night shot ended up pretty cool. Again my compositions were too focused around trying to get too much of the landscape than I could really do with my 150mm lens. Also I didn't always have the benefit of great light but wasn't always able to wait for it as I was in a group that was sort of eager to move about.

AuditorOne
4-Jun-2018, 18:04
Nice write up M00dog. The shots you posted turned out pretty well and you will get better.

I'll have to weigh my Intrepid hiking set as I am probably fooling myself but I would expect mine to be more like 8 pounds with my Schneider Symmar 135 convertible, two Fidelity holders, box of film (I stay with B&W), a small nylon changing bag, dark cloth, loupe and tripod.

I have been very happy with my plastic Fidelity holders and they seem to load pretty quickly in the changing bag but it will certainly be interesting to see how the new Chamonix holders work for you.

m00dawg
6-Jun-2018, 05:54
Thanks! I think of those the one with the log was my favorite. Alas I scratched the negative really bad due to accidentally misloading the film in the V700 holders. That was a huge bummer :/ Hopefully I can get my hands on a 4x5 enlarger so I can move to just scanning prints made from 4x5.

Indeed if I were to go on that same trip again, I'd probably keep it simple and just bring a single BW film. Would have made only bringing 2 holders much easier to manage. That was really the biggest issue. I kept all the unexposed film in one box and exposed in another and separated them with plastic paper sheets. Worked out ok though I didn't have any great way to do -1/+1 type stuff. I also coulda/shoulda shot doubles. Didn't have any issues with the BW photos but I took a group photo and that one was grossly overexposed. I recovered it but not without color shifts and things. Doubles might have solved that (plus one of my friend's eyes were closed doh!)

The Fidelity holders worked quite well, although I am bummed I had one split on me (after the trip so didn't affect anything). They're cheap enough on eBay though. The Chamonix ones are definitely lighter. Glad I grabbed two for backpacking but I'll for sure continue to use my Fidelitys as well when I'm taking more than two holders.

callmebrick
6-Jun-2018, 09:08
Did you take the MeFoto you mentioned in your earlier post?

EdSawyer
6-Jun-2018, 10:25
get a couple of Grafmatics, way better than fiddling with DDS holders and changing film in the field.

John Kasaian
6-Jun-2018, 19:06
Mine is a Jansport Equinox, nearly 18 years old and just starting to show signs of wear to the stitching. A 5x7 Speed Graphic currently lives aboard her.

angusparker
6-Jun-2018, 23:21
get a couple of Grafmatics, way better than fiddling with DDS holders and changing film in the field.

Or new Toyo holders - they have the best registration and when bought new you know there is no warping etc. In many ways the holders are the most important part of an LF system.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

m00dawg
7-Jun-2018, 06:35
@callmebrick no I took a Sirui T-025X Carbon (without the center pillar). It was short but super lightweight quite nearly to a fault. I had to remember to make sure I weighed the tripod down using the bottom hook (usually I put my water in it). I found it was worth it for the extreme weight reduction but not sure how it would fair for windy conditions. It often wasn't windy during my last trip. The MeFoto I use most of the time when I'm not backpacking and it's quite sturdy for me needs there.

@Ed Hmm for some reason I thought Grafmatics were either hard to find or required special film. That's something that might be worth it. Changing film was a hassle but was ok. It's more the potential for dust I'm worried about at that point. I'm guessing they're rather heavy though.

callmebrick
7-Jun-2018, 16:05
Thanks so much!

Corran
7-Jun-2018, 16:29
Grafmatics do not use different film. They are heavy...but not as heavy as 3 DDS holders per! More expensive but...you don't need many. I use them religiously for long-distance hiking with LF.

You'll want a hiking pack. I am shopping for one myself, a larger pack. I am not worrying about heavy-duty protection - just don't toss your pack on the ground.

m00dawg
8-Jun-2018, 06:50
Actually yeah good point. I did some quick poking around and a Grafmatic weights about 482g (with film). I weighted my Chamonix and Fidelity holders and, without film, they came out to be 145g and 161g respectively. So bringing 3 holders is 435g and 483g. Watched Craig Sheaks video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgH5oJ7n7Ec) on Grafmatics and noticed another perk is burning the frame counter on the side of the film. I use a MOD54 usually and when taking doubles it's not always clear which one is which when filing them in a PrintFile or what have you. The one thing I did read is the registration isn't particularly good. Looks like the process of cycling the film also takes a bit more umph. Seems like that would require some care with the Intrepid 4x5.

They aren't too bad on eBay though - about $70. I just bought a 90mm lens so I need to recharge the bank account but yeah I think I'm gonna pick one of these up!

Corran, what camera do you use these on and do you just bring multiple Grafmatics or still change film in the field? Seems like a changing bag plus maybe doing it at night might not be so bad. 1 Grafmatic could last me at least a day (more depending on shots available) though I'd imagine I might take more then 6 shots in a multi-day backpacking trip. Reloading film all in one go seems a lot more advantageous than having to load multiple holders though for sure!

Corran
8-Jun-2018, 08:56
I use my Grafmatics on my Chamonix 45n1, Linhof Technikas, and other cameras included a 3D-printed 4x5 camera that holds it just fine.

I have 4, though one is currently jammed up and I haven't gotten around to trying to fix it. How many I bring depends - last week when I was in south Florida for several days, I had all 3 remaining filled with T-Max 100, and then some extra normal film holders with another film. Another nice thing about the Grafmatics is they have an area to write on, so I can write what film is in it or even development notes! Some people try to fit that in the white strip of a DDS but I don't write well small. Anyway, I just recently bought my first changing bag, in almost 10 years of shooting film. I don't use it for much though, it's an emergency bag that I keep in my car in case something weird happens, like if my 35mm camera gets jammed or something, so I can open up a camera and not destroy the film. I really am not interested in changing film in the field so I just bring enough to shoot for where I am going.

m00dawg
8-Jun-2018, 09:14
Awesome thanks for the advice! Yep I did some digging and Intrepid has the locks on it which made me less concerned. How do you like the 45n1? I'm kinda derailing the thread but their holders are gorgeous and their 45 series cameras, while a bit heavier than the Intrepid, still look lightweight but seem better made and easier to use?

Not taking anything away from my Intrepid, I love it! But if I wanted to up my game a bit, I was thinking of Chamonix cameras. Also pondered getting an 8x10 though so that might be my next step (I don't think I'll backpack with one though, Ben Horne is a better man than I).

Back to it, you've convinced me that I need to pick up a Grafmatic and try it out! For short day trips it would be perfect.

Corran
8-Jun-2018, 09:21
Funny thing is, I'd like to try the Intrepid. I have the oldest Chamonix. It has its limitations but it works for me. When I bought it the Intrepid didn't exist, otherwise I likely would've bought that. I like the weight but less is always better...unless the Intrepid has issues I couldn't reconcile with, but I don't know what I don't know. I have backpacked my 8x10 and even 8x20 up mountains so it's all a trade-off in terms of weight vs. size...

I don't use Chamonix holders. I wouldn't dream of buying such expensive holders. Just not my style. I have about 20 DDS holders that work just fine - mostly Fidelity. Others will tell you that using old, used holders means there's a greater than zero chance that they fail. Okay. Fun story - I have bought ONE new holder in my life, and after chasing light-leak issues for a year found out it was...the new holder with a faulty darkslide. Still need to talk to the manufacturer about that...anyway, my personal advice is get out and use the gear you have and figure out if you need something else, and what that something else is or does, and then you'll be more knowledgeable about what you need than anyone here :).

m00dawg
8-Jun-2018, 10:13
I really enjoy my Intrepid 4x5. It is my first LF camera so I don't know how it compares to others. It's super lightweight though the current model can only, sort of, do rear-tilt (no other rear movements - though it has front movements). It's built as a backpacking field camera and it shows - I suspect it requires more care and time per shot since it has few creature comforts and isn't super precise. So I always check focus after doing front movements, etc. But I love it! Much like Chamonix, it feels built with care and has a personality. It totally needs a fresnel though. I really wish Intrepid would offer that as a build to order option. I slapped a cheap one I bought off Amazon on the back but I had to cut it and such and did an ok job.

Of note the new version coming out should have more rear movements and switches from using elastic bands to hold the GG/back to metal clips. So if you want to get one, I'd wait until then and either get a used v1 or v2 or spring for the v3.

The Chamonix holders were indeed not cheap. I've had 6 Fidelity's for about 9 months and since then 1 finally split but they all worked well and I think I paid less than ONE of the Chamoix holders. So I tend to agree, those work great. Chamoix feel better built and are lighter but I think I'm happy with the two I have. If I'm bringing 6 or more holders (Grafmatic aside), weight isn't an issue and the Fidelity's will work just fine. If I was only going to bring 2, it'd be the Chamonix based on current usage (though I haven't finished testing them yet). I do like that the Chamoix, being new, have working dark slide locks :) No need to use rubber bands. I wanna try Toyo too (not the first time I've heard they have the best registration)

jim10219
16-Jun-2018, 14:22
I like the Grafmatics, but they've burned me a couple of times. Mostly they're bad about keeping dust out, and harder to clean that regular, plastic film holders. They also can jam a lot easier, though I haven't experienced that too often (usually caused by a bent septum). They also can get the random light leak, which can ruin 6 sheets at once, versus just one. And they're weird with light leaks. They may work fine for ten times, and then on the eleventh, the sunlight hits it just right and everything is ruined! Then they'll work fine for another ten times.

I actually got fed up and decided to replace the light seals on one just the other day. It seemed like a much easier project than it is. First off, finding the right thickness of wool felt is not easy. I never could find some. I tried using black flannel of the correct thickness, but that stuff wears away too quickly. So I eventually found some wool felt that was almost twice as thick and used it over the front of the internal springs, instead of covering the front and back like how it originally came. Also, finding replacement springs is not too easy, though McMaster Carr sells .005" thick phosphor-bronze shim stock that will work. I had to replace one because it had gotten corroded and fell apart when I tried to remove the old felt.

Greg
16-Jun-2018, 17:06
Up to a few years ago used Fidelities, Lisco, etc plastic film holders dating back to the 1970s and before. Then had 3 of them (11x14) fail multiple times on one trip... not being able to process film as I traveled accounts for the multiple failures not realized till I was back home and processed the exposed film. At that point decided to replace my holders with TOYO for 4x5, and Chamonix for my larger formats and have never looked back. Chose TOYO for 4x5 because I was able to purchase a bunch of them in like new condition for a bargain price. As for the Chamonix holders... yes it did take a wicked part of the money that I had dedicated to Photography, but they proved to be so worth acquiring in that none of them have failed me in the past years. With the Chamonix holders I also acquired their OEM cloth pouches. Adds a bit of bulk, but my holders look to be like new even after being used in the end totaling hundreds of times.

Graphmatic 4x5 holders are great and used them for a time till they jammed up on me on 2 Pro assignments bacon the 1980s. Both times cost me dearly, so after that just threw them out in disgust.