View Full Version : New article: What's inside QT Luong's general purpose camera bag

QT Luong
23-Sep-2004, 01:53
A new article QT Luong's general purpose camera bag (http://www.largeformatphotography.info/camera-bag/) has been posted. Please feel free to leave any contructive comments in this thread. Note:
It would be great if you would send me a similarly illustrated article describing your camera bag, especially if it is quite different (light kit, monorail kit ...).

Edward (Halifax,NS)
23-Sep-2004, 06:02
That is an excellent article. I enjoyed reading it very much. You are worlds more organized than I am, but I don't have to organize near as much stuff. For example, I keep my two film holders in the box they came in with a big rubber band to hold it closed/together. I think it would be fun to write an article for you. You can do with it as you please.

Don Miller
23-Sep-2004, 06:09
Interesting, thanks for writing the article. One note I'll add is that I believe that is the old model super treker backpack. Also that the new model will fit tall photographers. In my experience few photo-specific packs will fit a long torso.

My new kit is very similiar to the one shown, but I prefer to carry filters, hoods, etc. in a belt pack so as to not have to work out of the main pack after initial setup. I carry six lenses (80xl instead of the nikkor 90, 180 sironar-S instead of the 150 and 210), canham 6x17, and a 4x5 reducing back.

I would like to hear more about how people organize all the small stuff to work quickly in the field.


Leslie Gordon
23-Sep-2004, 08:39
Well done. Looking forward to your article on camera bags for hiking. (Been investigating the Kelty Redwing, based on opinions stated in this forum.)

Frank Petronio
23-Sep-2004, 09:01
You must be in good shape...

Graham Patterson
23-Sep-2004, 13:01
I am surprised that there are no maintenance tools included. Do you not have a need for them?

Everyone needs to find their own balance between weight and range of equipment. Equipment flexibility, or a flexible back... On day trips one can afford to tailor the kit more than if you are spending a couple of weeks in the wilds.

QT Luong
23-Sep-2004, 13:42
Graham, this bag is meant for working for about half a day. I do have a little maintainance kit with tools and spares, but it stays in the car, and I don't carry it with me on the trail.

23-Sep-2004, 14:29
I have the Super Trekker AWII - huge bag but more comfortable than my previous one, the f64 8x10 pack. In the main compartment is my Wisner 8x10 Expedition, 355 G-Claron always (plus one other lens, either a 240, 210 or 455), light meter, cable release, anti-static brush and focusing loupe. The pockets contain a notebook and pen and a filter pouch containing 6 filters. The inner net pouch contains 6 8x10 holders, each in its own zip lock bag. I carry my Ries tripod and head by hand as I hike.

Francesco (www.cicoli.com)

Graham Patterson
23-Sep-2004, 15:46
I was confused by the reference to Denali. Not the place to be if you have forgotten something important!

23-Sep-2004, 20:50
Good article. Can you speak about the Canon self timer? What model is it?


Andre Noble
23-Sep-2004, 21:31
What I like best is the beauty of the well-worn lens board on the 110XL.Thanks for sharing the info.

Ken Cravillion
24-Sep-2004, 19:56

I carry all of my 4x5 stuff in a Minitrekker. My entire system: 65mm f/5.6, 90mm f/5.6, 150mm f/5.6, 210mm f/5.6, 300mm f/9, L-608 meter, lupe, Shen-hao 4x5. Each lens also has a release. In the outer pocket is the QL holder and 40 sheets of film.

Andre Noble
25-Sep-2004, 08:28
You guys are strong! (Or I guess you get your hobby and workout in at the same time?)

Brian Ellis
26-Sep-2004, 06:17
Interesting article, thanks for posting it. My first reaction was "wow, what a lot of stuff." Then I started thinking about my own bag and realized I carry most of the same things except some of your more unusual accessories and the 35mm stuff, plus my filter and shade setup aren't as elaborate as yours and I carry only ("only?") five lenses, all very small except the same 210 APO Symmar you use. I own the same Lowepro bag that you have but I don't use it any more for 4x5, I found that the F64 8x10 bag works better for me - narrower, lighter, longer, more room inside and out (but not as well padded so I wouldn't check it on an airplane I don't think, it fits in the overhead compartment). For the first time I now actually have enough space in my 4x5 bag for water, a Polaroid holder, and Polaroid film, things I couldn't fit in my prevous bags. I now use the Lowepro for 8x10. It works for 8x10 because I carry far fewer 8x10 items than 4x5, though it does feel a little strange to be using an 8x10 bag for 4x5 and a 4x5 bag for 8x10.

Ken Lee
26-Sep-2004, 07:05

I just got one of these babies to carry all my gear.

The neat thing is that I can climb up on top, set up the tripod and get a little extra height for doing landscapes.

There's even enough room to hold a thermos for coffee.

Lars Åke Vinberg
26-Sep-2004, 07:28
Hmm, let's see... In my Supertrekker AW II goes 8x10 Gandolfi Variant w/ Technica board adapter & plexiglass GG protector, bag bellows, two 40-inch reflectors, foamcore knee pad, darkcloth, 5.6/150 SSXL w/CF, 5.6/240 Apo-Symmar or 9/240 Fujinon-A, 9/480 Apo-Ronar, a bunch of 77mm filters, steprings from 52/62/67 to 77, 3 8x10 filmholders. Lee filter wallet with 10 Hitech filters (0.3/0.6/0.9 soft/hard, plus a few others), Lee standard holder w/77 ring, Lee 100mm holder w/donuts for 95/86mm, Lee 115mm holder w/donut for 112mm. Lowepro waistbelt with Sekonic L-778 spotmeter, notebook&pen, cable release, air release, level, flashlight, lens cleaning stuff, collapsible lens hood w/cokin P holder & 77mm ring, digicam P&S w/extra battery, water bottle. Outside, Gitzo 1348 tripod, Arca-Swiss B1 ballhead, modified Manfrotto long lens support arm. Sometimes I also bring the 6x9 gear: Ebony SW23, 5.6/47 SAXL, 5.6/65 SA, 5.6/120 Digitar, 5.6/180 Apo-Symmar, Horseman angle viewer, 6x9 RFH, rollfilm, Gitzo 1128 tripod with small German ballhead, second notebook for 6x9.

Weight fully loaded about 28 kgs - 60 pounds. This pack follows me around the world - I am currently in the midst of a 9-month session in Australia. Yes, my legs are stronger now. The supertrekker also has a very good harness (although some regular backpacks are of course better).

28-Sep-2004, 20:23
I have a very recently purchased Photo Trekker AW II. I've only used it twice in the field so I'm still sorting out the best layout.

<li> Cambo reflex viewer (adapted with velcro to fit the Shen Hao)
<li> Soligor digital spotmeter
<li> Cheap plastic loupe (which I prefer to my Silvestri (lighter and will not break if dropped - and I don't care if it does!)
<li> Shen Hao 4x5 with DIY GG protector (plastic + velcro to hold it on)
<li> 90mm f/8 SA
<li> 180mm f/5.6
<li> 360mm f/5.5 Tele Xenar
<li> 10 film holders in plastic boxes to keep dust at bay
<li> Dark cloth
<li> Six B&W filters in original boxes
<li> 2 - 3 small boxes with odds & sods (or possibly bits & bobs)
<li> Tripod & head
<li> Notebook, pen, pencil etc go in the lid flap
<BR CLEAR=all>


The six filters fit snugly on top of the two smaller lenses and the plastic boxes containing cable releases, quick release plate, torch, tools, spare spotmeter battery, lens cleaning gear etc sit on top of the camera as shown (normally a sheet of foam between camera and boxes - missing in the photo).

The focussing cloth folds on top of the lot and the tripod fits in the holder on the back of the closed bag in the centre (although I am used to carrying the tripod by hand).

Alternately, the film holder area will take a box of readyload/quickload/T55 and a holder in ziploc bag as shown (that's actually Polaroid T-55 in the readyload box - the T-55 box is too big and too flimsy).

The camera will fit upright on its edge, making more useful room, but then projects an inch or so above the top edge of the bag. You can still easily close the zippers with the camera in the middle, but putting a tripod on the outside will locate it so it is pushing down on the camera's edge - not a good idea - but it works fine if carrying the tripod by hand.

When I decide on a final layout I will replace the dividers that came with the bag with ones made to size using sleeping pad foam and velcro.

I previously used a standard backpack with the lenses and other bits and bobs excluding film, holders and camera in a large plastic box using sleeping pad foam for dividers (useful stuff that foam!). The camera was folded in the cloth. Worked fine but nowhere to put the tripod, slow to setup and the camera, film and holder were a bit vulnerable. The Trekker is at least as adjustable as any backpack so no problems with the fit ( I am 5'8" and overweight...) - I believe from reading, and from looking at one in the shop I bought mine from, that older versions are not as adjustable.


David Brubaker
28-Sep-2004, 22:04
Has anyone used a backpacking pack and created a padded insert that would slide into the main pack? I thought an insert from a pelican case might work. I have several backpacking packs and would like to utilize them for large format.


Brian Stein
11-Oct-2004, 22:33
Regarding the use of a backpacking pack:

I have tried this, so far with mixed results. I used an outer layer of about 25 mm closed cell foam plus gaffer tape to make a prototype box with subdividers into which all the gear fitted. This then was to slide in and out of the pack with a lid of the softer acoustic type foam as in the Pelikan cases.

Pros: inexpensive, excellent padding, can be very much customized Cons: You still need a pack with one of the full zip down fronts like the Lowe ones to get good access. The packs I have either dont zip all the way down (frustrating as the bit you want is just out of reach) or are a bag with hole in the top type design (This was pretty much hopeless, as it was not nearly as easy to do the slide in and out as I expected. )

Arne Croell
12-Oct-2004, 11:17

I've done the homemade insert solution many years ago for 35mm and it worked ok, but was a lot of sewing for the velcro parts and not as good as the commercial ones. For 4x5 I started out with a Lowe Phototrekker (the original one) 12 years ago, then a Tamrac 787, and while they worked, the harnesses left something to be desired. Since several years I went back to regular backpacks (panel loading), but use a Lightware insert from there MF 1217 case that goes directly into the packs as one piece. The packs I use are the REI evening star (with room for additional stuff) and the Mountainsmith Ghost (smaller, but much lighter than the REI). Not a cheap solution, but works well for me. I have read that the insert also fits the Kelty Redwing. The insert holds up to a Technikardan 4x5 + bag bellows, Pentax digital Spotmeter, 7 lenses from 55-450mm, lightweight homemade dark cloth, 6 filters (67mm), Lee Kompendium with several step-up rings, Readyload holder, glasses, cable releases. Film or extra holders have to go on top of this in the backpack. The insert also fits my carry-on roller case for flying - in my experience a regular carry-on rollercase prompts less questions at the check-in counter about carry-on weight than a backpack.

Paul Butzi
20-Oct-2004, 12:41
Inspired by Tuan's great article, I've added a page to my website which shows, in gory detail, what I schlep around.

It's at http://www.butzi.net/articles/largeformatkit.htm

This is an amazing thread. I especially love seeing how other folks have attacked the problems of hauling gear around.

Brian Wallen
18-May-2005, 00:19
When experienced professionals like Tuan Luong and Kerry Thalmann do extended articles on some aspect of LF techniques and technology, they fill a knowledge gap seldom addressed by equipment manufacturers. This thread and Kerry's extended review of the Toho Shimo FC-45X (http://www.thalmann.com/largeformat/cameras.htm) are vivid examples.

I am impressed with the forethought and high-tech containers described in this thread. It seems that many who responded do their work in remote locations where backpacks are the only reasonable way to move equipment. I do most of my work in towns and cities where I face a different set of carrying needs and some security issues not typically encountered in the mountains. I've outlined my strategy on one of my sites.


You might call this strategy "champagne taste on a beer budget".

11-Dec-2006, 16:50
QT Luong, I just saw your photos online and can't believe the colour that you get on them. I swore for a time that it was digital but it's not. Reckon large format film deliveres better colour shades than digital up to maybe 14mpx.

Amund BLix Aaeng
11-Dec-2006, 17:39
Reckon large format film deliveres better colour shades than digital up to maybe 14mpx.


11-Dec-2006, 17:49

Hi Amund,

I agree. He hasn't seen original color transparencies or large drum scans and output from Chromira/ LightJet/Lambda printers from color transparencies and negatives. :eek:


Turner Reich
26-Dec-2006, 03:27
Love the article and love 5X7, what I'd give for a 5X7 Canham. I have the Schneider 210 and it's really a great lens.

Dave Parker
28-Dec-2006, 23:23
Reckon large format film deliveres better colour shades than digital up to maybe 14mpx.

I heard statements like this way back when I was in school, they were always followed up with "Duck and Cover"

Alls I can say is.......................WOW!!!!

:eek: :( :confused: :rolleyes:


Andrew O'Neill
1-Jan-2007, 11:25
stuff everything into a backpack and Bob's your uncle.

eric black
19-Jan-2007, 09:22
QT- Im curious as to why you have/use both the 110 XL SS and the Nikkor 90/8?- I personally own both and am considering selling the Nikkor as I dont see an advantage to keeping both these lenses for 4x5 work- are there any situations where you take both into the field?