View Full Version : Compact Outfits, Opinions

19-Apr-2007, 16:57
I know in the age of compacts and technological minimization LF seems large. I am wondering just how small people's kit is to go out.

Recently I dug my 135mm xenar out calculated the F stops and placed it back on my MPP. Therefore a camera that folds down entirely into a Lowepro digital slingshot bag, with 2 DDS, Lunasix Pro and 180mm Symmar on board in a lens wrap. Oh and a Contax T2 for snap happy fun as I wonder round looking for a definitive shot.

Add a Libec Video Tripod (rotating back on the MPP) which weighs nothing. I have a very small and grabable kit.

I was wondering if I was the only one in this case that had made LF as small as a DSL with tripod?

I will be adding a grafmatic at somepoint to make a bit smaller again.


19-Apr-2007, 17:21
Super Graphic w 135 Xenotar or Planar, a small monopod or tripod and 4-5 grafmatics fits into a medium courier bag with space to spare for a small 35mm camera.

Ole Tjugen
19-Apr-2007, 17:34
Speed Graphic, universal lens mount with 80mm superwide on the lensboard, a casket set in one pocket and 120, 150 and 180mm barrel lenses in another pocket, and three holders in the inside jacket pockets.

No bag, no tripod, a Leningrad lightmeter around my neck. I had more focal lengths than film sheets...

19-Apr-2007, 17:55
Well, a folded 4x5 compact Arca, 1 lens (attached), and ReadyLoad holder takes up less space than my previous Rollei 6008i and 2 lenses, plus it's lighter.

Michael Graves
19-Apr-2007, 17:59
Crown Graphic, 120mm Angulon, 135mm Optar and 203mm Ektar. 8 film holders and a meter. Fits into a day pack and weighs about ten pounds....total. A small bogen tripod adds six pounds and I make my wife carry the lunch.

19-Apr-2007, 18:53
My lightweight rig is as follows:

Toyo 45CF Camera 1549gr
Box of Velvia Quickloads (20) 569
Pentax Spot Meter 296
Fuji Film Holder 337
Camera Case 262
Box with Lenses (Nikkor 90, 135, 200, 300) 1493
Tripod-Gitzo CF 981
Darkcloth 118
Loupe 75
Shutter Release 42
Pen 10
Total: 5732gr 12lb 10oz


Kelty Pack w/ board 85 oz

This gets me on the trail for an ounce under 18lbs. Add some water, a rain coat, lunch, and I'm in the low twenties for the day. If I'm camping, I can be out for a few days pretty close to thirty pounds, all in. My tent weighs about a pound and a half, my sleeping bag two pounds, my half length sleeping pad about a pound and food is about a pound per day. 30 pounds is pretty much where the misery line is for me these days. Less than that, I can walk a long way and take some pictures along the way. Much more, I spend more time resting than taking pictures. However, YMMV.
Dave B.

19-Apr-2007, 19:49
Two soft sided "six pack" coolers. A Crown Graphic with 135mm Xenar attached in one cooler and six to ten film holders in the other. Light weight tripod in hand. Options include a light meter in the outer pocket of the film bag and a 90mm Angulon or 210 Geronar in the pocket of the camera bag.

Sheldon N
19-Apr-2007, 20:54
Wista DX
120 Schneider, 150 Rodenstock, 240 Fuji , 300 Nikkor in Gnass 3 lens Case
Sekonic L558
Fuji Quickload Holder, 12 Color quickloads, two convetional B&W films holders in Gnass Rapid File 3 Pouch holder
Loupe, BTZS Hood
Gitzo 1325 & Markins M20 Tripod/head

Packed in an Opsrey Atmos 35 backpack.

Total weight 22.5lbs for everything, relatively compact, very portable.

Brian Ellis
19-Apr-2007, 22:12
I carried a Tachihara, 2 lenses, a couple film holders, and a loupe in a 35mm shoulder bag for a while. Probably weighed about 6 pounds. I wore the light meter on my belt and carried the tripod over my shoulder using the BTZS hood as padding. Very nice for short hikes or walking around town.

Ted Harris
20-Apr-2007, 04:49
Like Brian, I carried a Horseman FA, two lenses, Polaroid or Quickload holder, BTZS cloth, loupe, Pentax Digital Spot Meter and some 20 sheets of film in a waterproof cotton haversack/shoulder bag. Tripod over the shoulder. See the bags here: http://www.leathercrafts.com/system/index.html for the kind that I used.

David A. Goldfarb
20-Apr-2007, 06:20
My compact outfit for a number of years was a Gowland 4x5" front-moves PocketView, 90mm Angulon, 135mm Caltar II-N, Linhof 42mm drop-in filter and shade kit, Digisix meter, and a couple of Grafmatics or Kinematics. I could carry this in its own case and use a tiny Linhof Report tripod or carry it along with another camera, often in two side pockets on my ScopePak with my 35mm birding setup.

I've sold the Gowland 4x5", so now I'll probably use my Linhof Tech V 23b for compact use when medium format is sufficient, or the Linhof Tech V 4x5" on a strap over my shoulder with a small bag for the above lenses, filters, etc.

20-Apr-2007, 07:58
It ain't the size, but the weight that matters.
Busch Pressman D (5#), 5 focal lengths Staeble casket set w/3 filters (1#), Three Grafmatics (3#), Weston or Pentax meter (0.4#), BTZS focusing bag (0.6#), and Domke F-2 bag with misc stuff (3#). Total = 13#. Not bad, eh?
Add 6# Tiltall tripod, (nearly half of everything else put together).
That's 19# Total.
Save 1.5# by spending $600 for a carbon-fiber pod and mag head, but otherwise I don't see how it could be lowered significantly below this outfit for a whole day's shoot.

Mike Reyburn
20-Apr-2007, 10:17
My "Grab and Go" kit is a 4X5 Crown Graphic with a 135mm Nikkor-W, Hama Rubber Lens Hood, Weston V Meter, 5-52mm B&W filters, 3.6X Toyo Loupe, Pocket Level, 2-Graphmatic holders, Pocket notebook & pen, Card with film reciprocity factors & optimum aperture table (Hansma), carried in a Domke Camera Satchel along with a Tiltall Tripod with quick release plate. I guess the total weight is about 15#. I replaced the focusing scale on the Graphic with a mm scale to measure focus spread. Thus, I can use the RF to focus on near and far and set the optimum f-stop as per the Hasma Chart.

20-Apr-2007, 10:42

I must admit the gowland view interested me since I first saw it in a random web search. How good are they?


David A. Goldfarb
20-Apr-2007, 10:50
Well, it depends on what your needs are. The Gowland is lightweight, stable, and adjustable, if you are willing to sacrifice features like geared movements, levels, scales and separate controls for having a 4x5" camera that weighs less than 3 lbs. A smaller camera also means a smaller tripod. There are various versions of the Gowland, that let you choose what you want to give up for light weight. For instance you can have a reversible back, rear movements, Graflok slides, separate rise and tilt controls, etc., each adding a few more ounces to the weight of the camera.

I sold the 4x5" (I decided I didn't need three 4x5" cameras), but I'm still using my 8x10" Gowland.

Frank R
20-Apr-2007, 12:41
David, do you remember what you sold your 4x5 Gowland for? I have one and I am thinking about selling it.

Eric Woodbury
20-Apr-2007, 13:42
I have a theory that it takes one pound of equipment per square inch of film format. That is 20# for 4x5 and 35# for 5x7 and 80# for 8x10.

Eric James
20-Apr-2007, 13:58
I have a theory that it takes one pound of equipment per square inch of film format. That is 20# for 4x5 and 35# for 5x7 and 80# for 8x10.

This falls all apart with 35mm:)

David Karp
20-Apr-2007, 15:40
I carry a Crown Graphic, 210mm Caltar II-E, 135mm Optar, dark cloth, a Pentax Spotmeter V, cable release, lens brush, some filters, and 8 or so film holders in a soft-sided can cooler. This setup comes with me in the car, and is always ready if I find something that has to be photographed.

Someday I will pick up a 90mm Optar, 100mm WF Ektar, or even a 105mm Fujinon W to round out the lightweight car kit.

20-Apr-2007, 15:44
My compact outfit is a Zeiss Nettar 515 :D

6x4.5 medium format is fine to carry around everywhere ;)

As soon as the Korona arrives and I can rebuild it, maybe that will be my compact 4x5, we'll see!

20-Apr-2007, 17:38
I think going down the way a hasselblad and an 80mm is hard to beat. With the wide strap on it it feels like a small digital video camera over the shoulder.

Randy H
20-Apr-2007, 18:12
My "small" carry-about is a "BRAND" 4X5 view with a goerz dagor 7 inch lens (or 10"/15" without front/rear element). Throw it in the front floorboard of the station wagon, (stays there) and away I go. Two film holders (about all you gonna take on the way to work and home) ready to shoot. And for the "VALUE" of it, if someone gives you a hard time, whop em up side the head with it. Ain't gonna hurt the camera none. (pics here http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=23935

And here:

andy bessette
20-Apr-2007, 20:02
I have a theory that it takes one pound of equipment per square inch of film format. That is 20# for 4x5 and 35# for 5x7 and 80# for 8x10.

Yo Eric,

I like your large format rule of thumb!

My light outfit is a Tachihara 4X5, 135/5.6 and 210/5.6 Nikkor-W lenses, Gitzo CF tripod, magicball head without the handle.

best, andy


Eric James
20-Apr-2007, 20:36
In the grand scheme of things (muscle aches, vertebral misalignment, bad jojo) what's an extra ten pounds.

An extra ten pounds for me is: four more lenses; twenty more Quickloads, and a liter of water.

If I'm feeling lazy I'll grab my Contax T3 and a roll of Astia.

Eric Woodbury
20-Apr-2007, 20:45
This falls all apart with 35mm:)

The standard deviation is higher, but maybe not the average. I have a couple of nice 35mm outfits that are about right. I have some others that are over and under. It's just a theory.

Eric James
20-Apr-2007, 20:58
Oh, don't get me wrong! I'm all for a theory that suggest that my 500mm f4 weighs less than a pound. I just feel sorry for those 20 by 24 inch folks.