View Full Version : Large format for backpacking and polaroid use...

Per Hammarlund
17-Sep-2005, 21:47

I need some advice, any help appriciated.

A while ago I bought a polaroid back for my Hasselblad (I haven't used a polaroid back with the Hasselblad for 20 years). It is tons of fun. The instant reward is fun.

I just find myself wanting to get a bigger polaroid picture with more control.

Please give me some recommendations on large format cameras that fold up compactly, are relatively light (for backpacking and travel), what polaroid back to get, what is a good starter lens, etc.

Something like a Toyo 45 cf, look interesting, but what are the options? Especially something that is available on the used market is interesting.



Wayne Crider
17-Sep-2005, 22:46
I shoot the Graphics which are reasonably cheap and usually plentiful, but you can also look at the Toyo 45 AX, another that I was very interested in. There are also the Busch 4x5's. The CF probably should be looked at before buying and check the older archives for reviews. Polaroid wise, backs can be found pretty cheap and the difference is older metal or newer plastic/metal; Again read the archives. In lenses I'm a big fan of a 135mm or 150mm as a starter lens. Reasonably inexpensive and usually sharp except for some older models, but base your selection on your favorite mf lens extrapolated to LF.

John Kasaian
17-Sep-2005, 23:19
The 454i holder will fit under the spring back of my Crown Graphic which makes for a neat, rugged, inexpensive hand holdable 4x5 if I use the sports finder. For a light 4x5 with movements I'd take a look at the Tachihara. Its a bit hard to find a used one so they must be pretty good if nobody's selling them off to move upward and onward. Besides the wood is really, really cool looking. My favorite (used) lens for 4x5 is the 203mm Ektar. These are probably more common in the US and Canada than in other parts of the world.

Good Luck!

Eric Biggerstaff
17-Sep-2005, 23:47

I double the suggestion above. I have used my Tachihara for over 10 years of rugged use, and it is still a wonderful little camera. Built great, easy to operate and beautiful to look at.

The Polaroid 454i is a great back to get and it will hold sheet film readylaods / quickloads from Kodak and Fuji, so you will have other options if you want them.

Lenses of course depend on what you like to photograph. I find I use my 150 mm about 80% of the time anymore, it just seems to work with what I like to photograph.

Hope this helps and have fun.


Paul Cocklin
18-Sep-2005, 00:08
I think everyone means the polaroid '545i', not 454i. Which I third, is a great polaroid back that I use for kodak readyloads, as well as polaroid film.

Brian Ellis
18-Sep-2005, 06:42
Tachihara 4x5 camera - Polaroid 545i holder - 150 or 210mm Schneider G Claron lens.

Per Hammarlund
24-Sep-2005, 18:51

Thanks for the suggestions.

I went and rented a Toyo 45AII at he local pro shop, just to get started.

Pretty fun, takes a while to get all the steps into a flow, keep missing things. :-) The toyo has a lot of built in support for setting it up true, 90 degrees etc.

The rental camera came with a Fuji B-45 instant film holder, any comments on that vs the Polaroid 545. Th fuji is very similar in operation to the Hasselblad back so I actually like it. Is the Polaroid as easy to load?

The other thing that has not worked so well for me is the darkcloth. The rental came with a simple one, I think I would like something taht actually fits snugly around the camera so light from top and below is kept out. There are some mention of something from darkroom innovation in the equipment page. Well, if I get started with this I can just sew one myself.

On the third picture I too, I realized I have to pay more attention to some sort of zone system, to make sure that all interesting areas get good exposure.

any way, fun, fun, and again, thanks for all good suggestions!