View Full Version : How to pack a Monorail Camera?

James Olson
20-Jan-2007, 08:45
I just purchased a Linhof Kardan M camera and am looking for a good way
to carry it. I have a Kelty Redwing 2900 backpack that it fits in but I want to
make sure I protect it adequately. I took the bellows off and turned the
standards sideways and left them on the rail. The camera attached to the the
rail fits in perfectly and I wrapped it in a towell for some protection. The 2900
backpack is a front loader by the way and the camera is easily placed in it but does
fill the main compartment from top to bottom. Is there a better way to pack it
so it is more secure and protected. I did take the ground glass back off and
wrapped it in a towell and put it in another compartment but I think I will need
more protection for it. I would appreciate your suggestioins on how to do this best.
Jim Olson

David Karp
20-Jan-2007, 10:09

I have packed with two different Cambo monorails, which both fit in my Redwing.

The first thing I would do would be to get a groundglass protector. Calumet used to make one, but I think it is no more. You can get one from Midwest Photo Exchange (mpex.com) that looks like a different execution of the same idea.

My current monorail, a Cambo 45SF has base tilts, so I fold them forward, after releasing the bellows from the front standard. You can see a photo of this here (scroll down near the end of the review): http://www.largeformatphotography.info/cameras/cambo-45sf. I don't know if your Kardan can do this. My dim memory tells me it has axis tilts. So, if your camera can't fold up this way, try this:

Can you get a short (12") rail for it? That worked great with my Cambo SC/Calumet 45NX. It allows you to use lenses up to 210mm very easily, 300mm at infinity. I just pushed the standards close together so they would support each other, and did not worry about taking the standards off the rail.

Another thing to look at is this article: http://www.largeformatphotography.info/mono-field.html

I have to run now, but if I can think of anything else, I will add to this thread.

20-Jan-2007, 10:47
Wow Jim and David... you guys are either younger, stronger, or much more determined than me! My Cambo monorail lives in a Calumet molded storage case (the one that's bigger than a breadbox) and gets transported to locations that are "beyond the trunk" by being strapped onto a luggage trolley with the tripod... which I then drag behind me. Total weight is something like 40 lb. Needless to say, I don't travel too far over unimproved trails... and when I try to do that the progress is exceedingly slow.

20-Jan-2007, 11:31
Better than the gg protector that can slip you can put the gg to a flat semi rigid plastic box (one can find any possible size today) with just a minimum of inner padding.

20-Jan-2007, 11:34
How to pack a Monorail Camera?

First, tether the mule....

Ralph Barker
20-Jan-2007, 13:07
The method of packing I used with my first view camera probably falls under the heading of how not to do it. The camera was an old Calumet monorail that did not allow the standards to be (easily) removed. So, I just found a backpack large enough to accommodate the fiberboard hard case. :eek:

Now, when I take the Toyo 45C into the field, I simply slide the standards off the rail. I made my own GG protector from two pieces of masonite and nylon webbing, pop-riveted to the masonite at one end, and two straps at the other end with Velcro to hold it around the GG. Alternatively with the Toyo, the folding hood protects the GG on one side, and a blank lens board will fit on the other, where the bellows are inserted. A towel wrapped around the standards provides sufficient protection for them.

neil poulsen
20-Jan-2007, 13:21
I would add it's a good idea to untighten things that tighten. I do this on my camera, on the advise of the manufacturer. In this way, the camera won't be strained against itself. The result of straining a camera against itself is that you may not be able to tighten the movements enough to prohibit drift during use.

20-Jan-2007, 14:47
How to pack a Monorail Camera?

First, tether the mule....

... or in my case: fill the gas tank of the car. :)

20-Jan-2007, 20:12
I do not know if this is an option for you. The rail of my Gowland Pocket View 4x5 consisted of two 6" sections. I would loosen the swings on both standards, and then loosen the one allen bolt to seperate the rails (with a standard on each rail). Without having to remove bellows, I would rotate each rail parallel with the standards and the camera would compress into a tight little package.

I put the camera into a block of foam which was cut out to fit the camera -- with the ground glass against the foam. The camera (and GG) survived a couple good crashes on the bicylce and other assorted accidents.


20-Jan-2007, 21:07
PhotoBackbacker has a system built around the Kelty Redwing backpack.


Jim Ewins
20-Jan-2007, 23:30
My 8x10 B&J comes readily off the rail so I compress the bellows between front & back standards, wrap it in a closed cell foam (material wet suits are made of) with velcro closures. It slips down in the backpack. The rail slips in beside. Room on top for 4/5 holders, dark cloth. lenses in side pockets.

21-Jan-2007, 16:40
Here is a shot of my Sinar A1 in a LowePro Trekker

James Olson
25-Jan-2007, 17:20
I have ordered a custom system for packing the Linhof Kardan M from
the photo backpaker website. As soon as it arrives and I have tried it, I will post
a follow up
Jim Olson

Bob Gentile
25-Jan-2007, 18:38
"... My 8x10 B&J comes readily off the rail..."

I wish my 4x5 B&J did. It has stops.

Bob Gentile
25-Jan-2007, 18:41
"... My 8x10 B&J comes readily off the rail..."

I wish my 4x5 B&J did. It has stops at each end.