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Thread: bicycle camera and gear

  1. #1

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    bicycle camera and gear

    Hey. I haven't posted in quite a while, but I've finally got some free time again and my darkroom will soon be back in service, so I'm looking to dust off my gear and get back in the field. I normally shoot 8x10, but I've recently taken up bicycle riding and I'd like to put together a 4x5 kit to take with me on bicycle trips. My Deardorff is too big for cycling.

    I have the lenses covered already. I already have a couple of 4x5 cameras, but they aren't suitable for bicycle touring. One is a Toyo 45CX, and the other is a Cambo Legend. Both are monorails, and neither is compact. The Cambo is quite heavy. I have a Speed Graphic too, and I'd be tempted to just take it along with me, but it needs some TLC and maybe springs on the back to put it in good working order.

    The qualities that are important for a bicycle camera are probably about the same as for backpacking, albeit perhaps not to the same degree. Low weight, compact, quick setup and tear down. A camera that lends itself to quick setup and that is secure and compact when folded is a little more important than the weight, but the lighter the better.

    I'm looking to buy a used camera in good condition, not a new one. The Toho FC-45X is one camera I'm considering, but they don't come up used very often and they generally fetch a better price than I want to pay. The Canham DLC would be a dream, but I've never seen one for sale at a price I could afford.

    What are some other good candidates for a bicycle camera?

  2. #2
    Greg Lockrey's Avatar
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    Re: bicycle camera and gear

    Graphlex press cameras are tough enough.
    Greg Lockrey

    Wealth is a state of mind.
    Money is just a tool.
    Happiness is pedaling +25mph on a smooth road.



  3. #3

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    Re: bicycle camera and gear

    Yeah, I'd probably use my Speed Graphic if it were in working order. Having it repaired might be the most cost-effective solution after all, if I can locate someone who can do the work.

    I see your sig says this: "Happiness is pedaling +25 mph on a smooth road." Do you ever carry a LF camera with you when you ride Greg?

  4. #4
    Greg Lockrey's Avatar
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    Re: bicycle camera and gear

    Quote Originally Posted by Skip Abadie View Post
    Yeah, I'd probably use my Speed Graphic if it were in working order. Having it repaired might be the most cost-effective solution after all, if I can locate someone who can do the work.

    I see your sig says this: "Happiness is pedaling +25 mph on a smooth road." Do you ever carry a LF camera with you when you ride Greg?
    Yes I do, but on a touring bike with panniers and racks. I know a lot of guys trying to carry on a backpacks but all they have are sore backs.
    Greg Lockrey

    Wealth is a state of mind.
    Money is just a tool.
    Happiness is pedaling +25mph on a smooth road.



  5. #5

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    Re: bicycle camera and gear

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Lockrey View Post
    Yes I do, but on a touring bike with panniers and racks. I know a lot of guys trying to carry on a backpacks but all they have are sore backs.
    The touring bike is what I'm planning, Greg. I'm leaning toward building a touring bike based on a Surly Long Haul Trucker frame with panniers and racks. I don't want to wear a backpack while cycling.

  6. #6
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: bicycle camera and gear

    I would suggest something along the lines of a used wood field camera -- one of the Japanese ones would do (Horseman Woodman, Tachahara, or similar). Another possibility would be a Busch Pressman, if you want something more along the lines of your Speed Graphic, but a little more versitile...and a small lens stores inside the camera.

    A Bogen 3021 tripod, or something of similar size. would strap on the back of the bike fairly easily. Perhaps panniers on the back for the camera gear and your lunch. A daypack that can be rolled up and lashed on with the tripod is handy for hikes away from the bike.

    Some folks mention possible dangers of vibrations on the bike, but 20 years ago I traveled 2500+ miles in 5 months with a Caltar IIN, 150mm in a Copol 0 (w/ lots of gravel roads), and I am still using the same lens now.

    I'd love to bike with my 8x10, but a trailer and a lighter, more compact pod would be required.

    Vaughn

  7. #7
    Greg Lockrey's Avatar
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    Re: bicycle camera and gear

    Quote Originally Posted by Skip Abadie View Post
    The touring bike is what I'm planning, Greg. I'm leaning toward building a touring bike based on a Surly Long Haul Trucker frame with panniers and racks. I don't want to wear a backpack while cycling.
    Good plan. You sound like you want to do long hauls. One of those kiddie carts that add on the back of bike would work too. Or if you want to spend some real cash, those single wheel cargo towing carts. At any rate, some foam rubber to absorb the road shock would be smart too. I have an older Trek 520 steel bike that works for me.
    Greg Lockrey

    Wealth is a state of mind.
    Money is just a tool.
    Happiness is pedaling +25mph on a smooth road.



  8. #8
    SF Bay Area 94303
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    Re: bicycle camera and gear

    Forget the tirpod, get a graphic. Sunny 16 and forget the light meter and cloth. Three film holders and it fits in a very small backpack.... K

  9. #9
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: bicycle camera and gear

    Quote Originally Posted by Skip Abadie View Post
    The touring bike is what I'm planning, Greg. I'm leaning toward building a touring bike based on a Surly Long Haul Trucker frame with panniers and racks. I don't want to wear a backpack while cycling.
    Sounds like a nice bike (I just checked out their website...I had not heard of them before). For my long tour 20 years ago (and used a lot locally for photographing after that) I had a Trek 850 mountainbike. Actually a lousy mountain bike...but a great tourbike. It actually seems more like the bike you are looking at (long chainstay, etc). They were still made in the USA then...no longer the same bike now (design and quality).

    One thing I did appreciate on my tour was the wider tires (I think I had 1.9" hybrid tires). Not the most efficient, but I weighed 220 pounds and had 80 pounds of stuff on the bike...more if I had to stock up on food. All that weight and gravel roads made having that extra air volume nice. It also meant that if I was in one place for several days, I could do some single-track riding to get to some nice places to photograph.

    For some of the quick short trips, I did carry the camera gear in a pack...probably weighed no more than 10 pounds or so. It was nice just to grab the pod, dump the bike and go photograph. Usually this was within 5 miles or so from where I was staying.

    I was using a Gowland Pocket View 4x5 (2.5 lbs with the lens) and had a 300 series (Studex) Gitzo pod w/ a #2 ballhead. I could have gotten away with the smaller 200 series (Reporter) pod easily enough. I carried 6 film holders, Pentax digital spot, darkcloth, and a small bag of odds and ends.

  10. #10
    Greg Lockrey's Avatar
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    Re: bicycle camera and gear

    They are nice bikes. I normally use 25mm tires on the touring bike but if I'm planning to run on a lot of gravel and dirt roads, the 32mm tires are better and I like them for winter riding here in Michigan. I've seen whole families on their 4 person tandem's. If you are looking for some really nice light weight tripods, look at the Feisol brand. They are shipped directly from the factory in China and the customer service is the best. I got mine in 4 days to Michigan. I will say they are comparable to Gitzo's for half the money. http://www.feisol.com/english/feisolen.htm
    Greg Lockrey

    Wealth is a state of mind.
    Money is just a tool.
    Happiness is pedaling +25mph on a smooth road.



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