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Thread: Travelling with a 4x5 and a low budget

  1. #1

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    Aug 2006
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    Travelling with a 4x5 and a low budget

    Hi!

    I will be leaving in one month to work on a photography project in Latvia for 9 months.
    I am in the process of deciding what type of film I should use, and I would love some advice....

    I have a typical Graflex 4x5 and in the past have used a variety of films.
    In Latvia I will be creating a hodgepodge of work, using digital image collecting, 35mm film, but most importantly, my 4x5.

    I am interested in using black and white 4x5 film, color 4x5 film, and possibly print film. Right now I am uncertain if there is a lab in Riga that can process my film, so I am planning on bringing all developing tools necessary. I am basically starting from scratch, and so not only will I need to buy film, I will need to buy all of my tools.

    With this said, I need to find a practical way to process my film.

    Options:
    1. Polaroid back and instant polaroid film (expensive but easy)
    2. Color 4x5 film developed in a Jobo (don't really understand the developing process, or how much money this will entail, but eager to learn)
    a. Can I get tanks that I can use for color and black and white.

    Maybe I will have more questions, this for now!!! Love any help!!!
    tammy

  2. #2

    Join Date
    May 2006
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    2,590

    Re: Travelling with a 4x5 and a low budget

    Quote Originally Posted by tzibs
    Hi!

    I will be leaving in one month to work on a photography project in Latvia for 9 months.
    I am in the process of deciding what type of film I should use, and I would love some advice....

    I have a typical Graflex 4x5 and in the past have used a variety of films.
    In Latvia I will be creating a hodgepodge of work, using digital image collecting, 35mm film, but most importantly, my 4x5.

    I am interested in using black and white 4x5 film, color 4x5 film, and possibly print film. Right now I am uncertain if there is a lab in Riga that can process my film, so I am planning on bringing all developing tools necessary. I am basically starting from scratch, and so not only will I need to buy film, I will need to buy all of my tools.

    With this said, I need to find a practical way to process my film.

    Options:
    1. Polaroid back and instant polaroid film (expensive but easy)
    2. Color 4x5 film developed in a Jobo (don't really understand the developing process, or how much money this will entail, but eager to learn)
    a. Can I get tanks that I can use for color and black and white.

    Maybe I will have more questions, this for now!!! Love any help!!!
    tammy
    The most important thing you'll need is experience using the camera and your film developing method. Probably the easiest developing option for bw is to take a 4x5 daylight developing tank though they have some problems. If you're already familiar with one method of developing film, switching to another method while you're on the road can require some pre-travel practice.

    It would be a lot easier just come back and develop rather than carry this stuff over there. But if you insist on developing in Latvia, I hope you're planning on buying the chemicals in Latvia too because airlines don't like to see that stuff in luggage (especially now!)

    Freestyle sells Arista.edu film which I have found to be excellent value for BW. Will you be using double-dark or a grafmatics? What about a tripod? You'll need a changing bag if you're leaving a darkroom behind (and then you really should spend the additional 40 dollars and just get a changing tent instead)

    Oh, and of course a thermometer, and measuring cups, and stirrers - those I guess you can get in Latvia.

    You can pretty much forget about color developing IMHO.

  3. #3

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    Re: Travelling with a 4x5 and a low budget

    Why not hold on to the color and develop it after your return.

    For b/w I like TMX and TMY, but FP4 and HP5 are just as good.

    Jobo are great daylight tanks, and are easy to hand-roll.

    Check with the airlines, but you probably can take developer and fix in powder form.

  4. #4

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    Re: Travelling with a 4x5 and a low budget

    You may also wish to consider taking a Graflex 2x3 roll film back, especially if your Graflex is set up to focus with the rangefinder properly. Using roll film, you can get a lot of shots into each small roll, which could come in handy.

    If you practice using it, a Combiplan can produce good results with 4x5 film. Best if you work something out that has longer development times for it. If the development times are too short, it's more difficult to get even results in a Combiplan.

    Whatever stuff you end up getting, be sure to practice using it a bit well in advance.

  5. #5

    Re: Travelling with a 4x5 and a low budget

    In the U.S., I like to travel with TMY and I take HC110 with me, with 5x7 trays. I mix the fix from small packets. Process in the bathtub.

    I've often thought abotu what I'd do if I made a trip to Europe with the large format. The suggestion to just bring the film back is a good one. That way, you can shoot to your heart's content and not worry much about stopping to process.

    Another suggestion is to contact photography clubs in Riga and see if they'll help you out. The Europeans are very internet savvy and there is a high interest in photography.

    good luck and have fun.
    "I meant what I said, not what you heard"--Jflavell

  6. #6

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    Re: Travelling with a 4x5 and a low budget

    Thank you for all of your good advice!
    One thing I didn't mention is that I will have an apartment, and will be fairly stable while I am there. I am working on a project, and planning on having a show at the end of my stay, which is why I stress my desire for doing my developing a printing there.

    I am now thinking that maybe the best idea would be to:
    1. get some good Jobo tanks, and bring chemicals only to develop black and white (try to get the power stuff on the plane...call before) Otherwise, I know that the Latvians love black and white photography, and I must be able to purchase some chemicals there.
    2. get a Polaroid back and a little color Polaroid film for my 4x5
    3. use color film with my 35mm.

    I wonder.....

  7. #7
    Eric Biggerstaff
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    Re: Travelling with a 4x5 and a low budget

    Jobo tanks are great tools for sure, but the BTZS tubes might travel better and will pack better for sure. They are great tools as well and I can recommend them for travel. They take very little chemical and are tough as nails so getting them banged around in airports is no problem.

    I use both he Jobo and BTZS tubes and each will easily get the job done.
    Eric Biggerstaff

    www.ericbiggerstaff.com

  8. #8

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    Re: Travelling with a 4x5 and a low budget

    Using the BTZS tubes, does each tube hold 1 sheet of 4x5?

  9. #9
    Eric Biggerstaff
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    Re: Travelling with a 4x5 and a low budget

    Yes, each tube hold one sheet which is great as you can process different sheets for different times as you determine is needed. The kit is available (sometimes) on eBay and always from The View Camera Store which I think charges $150 for the set.
    Eric Biggerstaff

    www.ericbiggerstaff.com

  10. #10
    Ted Harris's Avatar
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    Re: Travelling with a 4x5 and a low budget

    I think that your best option for traveling (and cheaper than the tubes) is a Combiplan daylight tank. Put that together with a mixture of Ready/Quickload films in the flavors of your choice and some Polaroid T55 and you should be good to go. This is the combo I use when traveling by air. You can easily take a lot of film this way and not take up much space or weight as long as you don't take the boxes. As for developing, I am assuming you will be buying your chemistry in country and, if that is the case, no reason not to do E6 as well. Temperature stability is important but managable and if you are not right on the money with the recommended temperature 7 to 9 times out of ten you will still be fine, the rest you can correct with Photoshop. All this assuming you don't want to look for and use a local lab.

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