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Thread: Travelling for a year; so which LF camera?

  1. #81
    Nicolas Belokurov
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    Jan 2009
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    Re: Travelling for a year; so which LF camera?

    Well, I'm Argentinian and I live in one of the most visited trekking places in Patagonia; so here goes a VERY personal opinion.
    Do you know how many DSLR toting "gringos" we receive each year? Hundreds, perhaps thousands. And I have yet to see one of them doing something remotely different from the guy who just left- all the market candids, all the "cute locals" doing cute local stuff has been already shot hundreds of times, both on MF, 35mm and digital.
    If a change to this routine is not an option, I'd at least try to do it with a different format. I'd really prefer 50 4x5 keepers and a bunch of casual digi PS shots to hundreds of MF slides or thousands of RAWs that replicate what has been done before in the same places. But that's just a personal opinion.
    At least in Argentina you can easily buy 4x5 film in Buenos Aires, both color and BW. And heck.... few people can say- I traveled through the whole South America shooting 4x5.

  2. #82

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    Re: Travelling for a year; so which LF camera?

    To put in my two cents, I say stick to your original idea and take the Ebony 4x5. You might also take a canon G11 p&s. I never leave home without it

  3. #83

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    Jan 2007
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    Re: Travelling for a year; so which LF camera?

    in 2006 and 2007 I had the singular good fortune to travel all around Ecuador and Northern Peru. I brought lots of film but only two cameras and only two lenses....it was not primarily a photo trip..

    A 1970's vintage spotmatic with the standard 50mm Takumar lens was my "backup camera".

    A top rangefinder 4x5 Crown Graphic with the standard 135mm Xenar was my main camera. I carried and used it every where. I shot mainly hand held and rangefinder focused. Exposure was guessed most of the time during the day but, I had a small gossen light meter too. I carried ten standard film holders, a changing bag and three film boxes.

    The beauty of the crown is that it is all self contained. It opens and shoots almost as quickly as a medium format SLR...it is rugged and dead simple. And it really isn't that heavy. It doesn't need any special backpack, case or other special considerations - just fold it up, put it in a big plastic zip lock (when travelling by dugout canoe or panga) and throw it in you bag with your other stuff. No fuss!

    Needless to say, I recommend that you seriously consider getting a 4x5 crown graphic immediately and acquaint yourself with all of its subtle beauty.

  4. #84

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    Re: Travelling for a year; so which LF camera?

    Inspirational. Can you post pictures?

    David

    Quote Originally Posted by BradS View Post
    in 2006 and 2007 I had the singular good fortune to travel all around Ecuador and Northern Peru. I brought lots of film but only two cameras and only two lenses....it was not primarily a photo trip..

    A 1970's vintage spotmatic with the standard 50mm Takumar lens was my "backup camera".

    A top rangefinder 4x5 Crown Graphic with the standard 135mm Xenar was my main camera. I carried and used it every where. I shot mainly hand held and rangefinder focused. Exposure was guessed most of the time during the day but, I had a small gossen light meter too. I carried ten standard film holders, a changing bag and three film boxes.

    The beauty of the crown is that it is all self contained. It opens and shoots almost as quickly as a medium format SLR...it is rugged and dead simple. And it really isn't that heavy. It doesn't need any special backpack, case or other special considerations - just fold it up, put it in a big plastic zip lock (when travelling by dugout canoe or panga) and throw it in you bag with your other stuff. No fuss!

    Needless to say, I recommend that you seriously consider getting a 4x5 crown graphic immediately and acquaint yourself with all of its subtle beauty.

  5. #85

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    Re: Travelling for a year; so which LF camera?

    Quote Originally Posted by mdm View Post
    Inspirational. Can you post pictures?

    David

    I had a bunch posted on my flickr place at the time. Took them all down to make room for more current stuff though. All the chromes are in my wine fridge

  6. #86

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    9,477

    Re: Travelling for a year; so which LF camera?

    Much of my stuff has been shot with a Crown similar to BradS's model (and my work is all over my websites).

    The only thing I would change from his suggestion is to use a small Harrison PupTent for changing since it is so much easier to keep the film clean, in my experience. And a Grafmatic film holder will take six sheets and be more "concise" than three separate holders.

  7. #87
    Scott Davis
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    May 2002
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    Re: Travelling for a year; so which LF camera?

    Although it wasn't hiking/backpacking across South America, I did drag my Canham 5x7 with me to Buenos Aires, Iguazu Falls, and Colonia, Uruguay. I ended up interviewed for a Latin American cable TV program, having some great conversations with policemen (who were also amateur photographers), and of course tons of wide-eyed kids who HAD to see under the dark cloth. It wasn't the most practical thing to do, but I had a blast and would do it again. The thing I loved about the Canham was the compactness and light weight of the outfit. I dragged along five lenses for it, some of which in retrospect I didn't need to bring, and others I could have substituted something smaller and lighter. I had it, the carbon-fiber Manfrotto tripod (for travel, a carbon-fiber 'pod is now a requirement in my book) and the usual accessories, along with a Contax G1 with 28 and 45 lenses for doing color snapshots of people and for when I didn't feel like bringing the big camera out.

  8. #88

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    Re: Travelling for a year; so which LF camera?

    Quote Originally Posted by mdm View Post
    Inspirational. Can you post pictures?

    David

    Here's one (attached) and I've uploaded a few to my flickr stream too. click the link in my signature to go there.

  9. #89

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    Nov 2010
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    Re: Travelling for a year; so which LF camera?

    I say go for it, it'll be an adventure. Try one of the Wista metal field cameras (SP, VX or one of the older ones). My VX folds with a 150mm lens into a very compact package. It's also very tough. It's not the lightest camera around, but I prefer it to a camera with exposed bellows when folded.

    I'd take two lenses--a 150mm and a small 90mm like the Nikkor 90/8SW. That will give you something somewhat similar to your 80 and 50mm MF lenses. Perhaps you could get by with just a 135mm lens for everything. It should also fold into some cameras.

    A camera that folds with the lens mounted not only saves space, it protects your lens and is very fast to set up and break down.

    Holders and film boxes will be your biggest problem, they're large. Take as many as you feel comfortable with.

    I buy 10-sheet boxes of film since I shoot kodak color neg. But the boxes can hold more--so I may combine two or three boxes worth of film into one box, to save some space. Don't forget an empty box or two for exposed film...and you'll proably need a changing bag/tent.

    If you do decide to go MF, then the Mamiya 7 is a wonderful system. But I used it on my last trip and I really regret not bringing 4x5 instead. (Though I was working in one spot, not backpacking!)

    If you're scanning your film and you shoot MF you'll need to scan with a drum scanner or at the very least a Nikon LS9000 to get decent quality. With 4x5 you may get by with a good flatbed. This is a serious consideration that you should think about before you shoot.

    Have fun!

  10. #90

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    Oct 2008
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    Buenos Aires, Argentina
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    31

    Re: Travelling for a year; so which LF camera?

    I will put in another vote for the Fuji line of rangefinders. They are a little bigger than a Mamiya 7 but built like tanks, half the price and still smaller and lighter than other medium format SLRs. They basically come in 4 flavors; 6x7 and 6x9, wide angle and normal. You'll need a light meter but a lot of times I just use a compact digital camera to judge the exposure. I'm actually getting pretty good about just guessing the light.

    Traveling with just a single camera and a single lens is elegant and appealing. But, if you want to take a 4x5 then do it. If Werner Herzog can lug a boat thru the Amazon then what's backpacking with some extra gear? Personally I use a Busch Pressman. It's like a Crown Graphic but the back rotates to vertical, which is helpful because I do a lot of portraits.

    The real issue, if you are traveling for such a long time, is what to do with all the film. I would be [am] paranoid about getting my stuff stolen. I live in Buenos Aires and there are two decent labs here that process large format [Buenos Aires Color and Megaphoto]. You can also buy 4x5 sheet film for about 50% more expensive than New York prices.

    I suppose you can Fedex film back to someone in the US, altho I'd be nervous about this. I guess it's pick your poison.

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