View Full Version : backpack recommendation for 4x5
Any suggestions on a backpack that is under $100 used?
I will be carrying a 4x5 shen-hao, 3 lenses, about 5 film holders, some filters, and a Pentax digi spot meter.
The tripod is bogen 3021 with bogen 3047 head. It would nice to be able to attach the tripod to the backpack but not a requirement.
I use a common Spaulding backpack from Kmart, the sort kids use to carry books and things to school. I paid $18 for it four years ago. I needed to re-stitch the straps and the handle on top a couple of years ago: it took an hour and will never fail again.
That said, it's no camera pack. It works but not nearly as slick as a specially made backpack for carrying camera equipment. In particular, it isn't designed to and I wouldn't want to carry it more than a few miles on my 52 year old back and aching knees! On the other hand, it was $18...
My outfit consists of a Zone VI 4x5 camera, three lenses in wraps (125mm f/5.6 Fujinon, 210mm f/5.6 Fujinon, and a 300mm f/9 Nikon,) half a dozen film holders, focusing cloth, Sekonic meter, Leatherman tool, filters, 35mm point 'n shoot, notebook, flashlight, spare this and that... I carry my tripod (similar to yours, with a quick-release adaptor,) on a separate sling.
Some people have had a change in philosophy and use a "regular" unpadded, un-photographic-specific backpack. The advantages are cost, weight, and more space. And with the larger backpacks, a better fitted and cooler harness/suspension than what the photo backpacks can offer.
What you do is put your gear into smaller protective containers... on the cheap it could mean wrapping the camera in your darkcloth and putting lenses into Tupperware containers. Gadgets in Ziplocs, etc.
The Photobackpacker gear is based on this concept -- they make beautiful cases for all this stuff and will sell you a customized backpack to carry it all - but for more than $100.
For just normal, couple hour type walkabouts, it sounds like a $39.99 bookbag-backpack would do the trick.
The downside to this is that they are slower to work out of and sometimes not as protective.
The photobackpacker system is excellent, but it's more than your budget.
Are you looking for something that can hold your outdoor equipment for a hike, plus the camera? Are you looking for something to carry just your photo equipment, maybe with a little room for a bottle of water and a snack? Or are you looking for something for urban/general use?
For under $100, a surplus military ALICE pack might be a good idea in the outdoors...
I was in the same position earlier this summer, with a new Shen Hao and looking for a lightweight bag that would carry just about what you mentioned. I went with one of the Joe Ferace bags from Adorama--$50. I took it on its first hike in the Adirondacks last weekend, and it did wonderfully. A really good bang for the buck.
At first I just carried my stuff in a nice mid-sized internal frame pack that I already owned. Since then I've gone to something different that I really like. My dad gave me his old external frame Kelty backpack, like the one shown to the left below. I was very excited about using it, because it has nice compartments. More on that later. Anyway, I took it out and it was far too top-heavy. I moved the bag down to lower on the frame, and it completely cured that problem.
The second and third photos show how I use it. The bottoms of two of the three legs of my tripod go into an open lower pocket to hold it up, and I then strap the top of the tripod to the frame and a leather piece that is standard on the pack. Looking in the top, I keep my camera, wrapped in the darkcloth, in the middle pocket. I'm using a metal field camera, so that is plenty of padding. When I was suing a wooden camera I had a home-made foam pad that I also wrapped around it. Below the camera are two lenses. Since the camera comes out for any photo, those two lenses are immediately accessible. On one side of the camera I carry a water bottle and a little bag with my loupe, light meter, cable releases, etc. On the other side I have another lens and usually some film holders and/or my compendium shade. Other stuff goes in various side pockets - 3 or 4 film holders fit perfectly in the upper side pocket opposite the tripod. In the bottom compartment of the pack I carry my 400 mm telephoto lens and some exra clothing if I'm going far from the car.
One of the great things about this is that if there is a rock, tree, fence, etc. Where I am shooting, I can just lean the pack on it and everything is really easy to get at. It is also very light.and it looks like you can get this pack or something similar for under $100 on e-bay. It was a bit of a chore moving the bag down,and if you choose to go this route I can fill you in on the one troublesome detail. That said, it took me about 1/2 hour to do it.
The last picture is of one of my home-made lens cases. I'm a big fan of contact cement and duct tape! I used some flat foam and some black pipe-insulating foam that I had floating around the house.
Before I went to 8x10, I was using a Lowepro Computrekker AW with the same complement of items you plan to carry, plus a little more. Worked well, but I carried the tripod separately slung around my back with the carry case strap across my chest.
You could buy just a backpack from photobackpacker and create the system over time.
Thanx for the suggestions. I ended up buying an f64 backpack that was listed on this forum.
I use a Deuter Futura Zero 40 to carry my 4X5 gear on day trips. It is a rucksack with a really nice suspension and the pack weighs about 3 pounds. I just have my gear in cases and wraps. And I've got room for a raincoat, food and a couple quarts of water.
For overnight+ backpacking, I'm using a Gregory Palisade, which is a bit heavy, but it is sufficiently stable and comfortable and has room for all the gear.
sun of sand
how much do you charge for rides in that?
Adorama has their own line of photo back packs. I have two of them. They have 3 sizes and are on sale this week for under $50.00
I use a Jansport Equinox for the 5x7 Speed Graphic and a Kelty Redwing for the 8x10 'dorff.
I'm not really sure if this has been resolved but the Amazon Basics Camera backpack is a great pack that could fit a medium sized 4x5 field camera, lenses, accessories. Film holders might be a stretch but I'm sure there would be room in this thing to maneuver them. And it's only $35 with free shipping. I was looking at it myself but I have way too many camera bags.
I just got a Timbuk2 backpack for a trip to Holland. It fits my 8x10, holder, Harrison medium tent, 17" MacBook Pro and 8x10 film box in the laptop compartment (handy for the airport), clothes, adapters, etc. It's really insane how much goes in there! Yet it remains very compact.
I had a real camera bag once, but it was so stuffed with dividers, padded compartments and zippers that it was useless. If you use clothes to protect your gear, you can basically consolidate two bags into one.
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