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Thread: An exercise: The ultimate lite weight LF outfit

  1. #1
    Member: 4X5 ARCA-SWISS User
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    An exercise: The ultimate lite weight LF outfit

    A friend of mine in our local LF group is trying to put together the ultimate lite weight LF (4X5) outfit. For example, he's selecting a focusing aid based on which one is 1/2 an ounce less weight than another. He's looking for the historically smallest lenses at various mm sizes. He's entertaining ideas such as a combination tripod/hiking sticks where you take two legs off for hiking sticks and only pack the remaining leg and the head. Using dark cloth for lens wrapping. Taking plastic bags to fill with dirt as weights to offset really light tripod. Also, a combination camera backpack/portable changing room. Possibly using sheet film with only two film holders, rather than a ton of ready loads. The idea is less weight, cost and time aside. If you have any ideas about the best lite weight equipment, or ANY ideas about how to pack and make things super light, let's share. No wild ideas are unwelcome. Thanks.
    Michael J. Hoogendyk
    http://www.mikesfineartphotos.com
    http://www.imageworks.org

    "I really want people to see what I see ..."

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    An exercise: The ultimate lite weight LF outfit



    It weighs next to nothing.

  3. #3
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    An exercise: The ultimate lite weight LF outfit

    Cool. What is it? Did you make it? How much does it weigh? Describe, please.
    Michael J. Hoogendyk
    http://www.mikesfineartphotos.com
    http://www.imageworks.org

    "I really want people to see what I see ..."

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    An exercise: The ultimate lite weight LF outfit

    He wants to create the lightest possible outfit and he's going to take along plastic bags filled with dirt? Assuming the bags are necessary at all, I think I'd be inclined to carry them empty and plan on filling them on location or doing without (they're probably unnecessary anyhow, a light tripod will work as well as a heavy one within reason as long as it doesn't collapse under the weight of the camera and isn't used in a stiff breeze).
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

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    An exercise: The ultimate lite weight LF outfit

    Brian: I must have miscommunicated the plastic bag idea. Yes. He would carry them empty. And use locally available materials to fill them for weight should they be necessary, such as wind or whatever. Sorry for not being clearer. Mike
    Michael J. Hoogendyk
    http://www.mikesfineartphotos.com
    http://www.imageworks.org

    "I really want people to see what I see ..."

  6. #6

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    An exercise: The ultimate lite weight LF outfit

    The logical conclusion to this experiment is going to be at what point do you make an acceptable compromise? If you use a super light tripod that doesn't allow you to make stable, critically sharp images in a light breeze, then your 4x5 becomes no better than a medium format camera (or worse!) I guess he needs to find his limits. I know from experience as a photographer, clumsy woodworker (and engineering school drop-out) that you almost always need to add extra to the strength/stability/durability side of the equation.

    This is a fine example of the triangle law - you want a camera to be high quality, lightweight, and robust. Chose two of the three factors because all three are impossible. Oskar Barnack designed the Leica to solve the problem one way - lightweight and robust. The Anba/Toho solves it other - high quality and lightweight.

    That said, start with a Grafmatic holder because going out with only two sheets of film is silly. Second, reduce the number of lenses carried. And third, leave the tripod at home and consider handholding or bracing the camera on the ground, on studs screwed into trees, clamps, etc. A Crown Graphic can be lightened quite a bit and still form an inexpensive, robust little package.

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    An exercise: The ultimate lite weight LF outfit

    Frank: Good thoughts. As for the holders, the idea was that he'd be traveling somewhere hard to access (a thousand miles away and 10,000' up or something) and would use the two film holders by repeatedly changing the film in a film changing bag. So he'd have two holders, but lots and lots of 4X5 film to load into them. Does that make sense? Mike
    Michael J. Hoogendyk
    http://www.mikesfineartphotos.com
    http://www.imageworks.org

    "I really want people to see what I see ..."

  8. #8
    Donald Qualls's Avatar
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    An exercise: The ultimate lite weight LF outfit

    Hmm.

    It's not quite 4x5, but I have a camera from approximately 1935 that, in its leather case and with three plate holders (yes, it's originally made for glass plates), weighs about a pound. The camera itself is just about half that, with an f/4.5 13.5 cm Radionar in an early rim-set Compur (and including the ground glass with hood). My lightweight tripod weighs another pound or two, but I have an even lighter one that collapses very small -- not sure I'd trust my plate cameras on it, though; it's on the flimsy side for 35 mm.

    Oh, perhaps I shouldn't mention that I paid $16.50 plus shipping for the whole outfit -- camera, leather carry case, three plate holders in their little case, and it's required nothing done to it in the three years I've had it.

    The older one, from 1928, is a little larger and heavier, and with fifteen plate holders the bag is a bit heavier, too...
    If a contact print at arm's length is too small to see, you need a bigger camera. :D

  9. #9
    Is that a Hassleblad? Brian Vuillemenot's Avatar
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    An exercise: The ultimate lite weight LF outfit

    To me, it would be a real PITA to only have 4 film holders, and constantly have to change them. Why don't you just use a quickload holder and quickloads? That way, you can leave the film changing tent behind.
    Brian Vuillemenot
    Images of Enchantment
    http://www.imagesofenchantment.com

  10. #10
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    An exercise: The ultimate lite weight LF outfit

    Brian: Two Toyo holders in plastic bags (not filled with dirt) and a box of 50 sheets of TMax100 equals 8.5 oz, if my kitchen scale is correct. One box of twenty 100TMax readyloads is 15 oz. times 2.5 to get 50 sheets is 37.5 oz., if my math is correct. Difference is 29 oz. less weight for the holders and sheets. So - if you can find a way to use the camera bag/back pack for film changing, you have substantial weight savings. At least that's the idea we're playing with. Mike
    Michael J. Hoogendyk
    http://www.mikesfineartphotos.com
    http://www.imageworks.org

    "I really want people to see what I see ..."

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