View Full Version : Silly "Should I also take the 4x5" Question: Avoid if not in the mood!

G Benaim
2-May-2007, 10:45
I know, you've read this kind of question a million times in different forums, and there's never any right answer. Nevertheless, having myself read and laughed at these kinds of questions, here goes:

I'm going to be travelling for nearly a month in the Greek islands and Tuscany!! It's primarily a family trip, and it's the first time we're travelling w our 1.5 yr old son. So I thought of just taking the Hasselblad kit and the Bessa for people pics. BUT, (big but), I have several hundred sheets of quality 4x5 film in my fridge, a very light Gowland 4x5 kit, and a reasonably flexible, patient, and reasonable wife. My parents are joining us for the first half of the trip, so there'll be someone else to watch our son. What would you do? (that's the kicker).


Amund BLix Aaeng
2-May-2007, 11:08
Of course take the 4x5! If not you`ll regret in when you`re in Tuscany...

G Benaim
2-May-2007, 11:14
But will I have the time for it?? (high drama)

2-May-2007, 11:21
I've been to Europe 3 times, my 4th trip is coming up in 2 weeks. I'd only bring my LF kit if my stated purpose was to photograph in Europe. Travel light; bring only the Bessa. My Blad kit wasn't much lighter than my LF kit, and not that much more rapid in use... at least the way I used it (much the same as LF anyways!). You will be overwhelmed with wonderful sensory input, and you'll be able to photograph more in less time with the range-finder. Maybe bring a small tripod. My theory is that you want to be able to react to what you see and feel in an efficient manner, and you will be seeing and feeling a lot... especially if this is your first time there. :) If you find some extremely compelling subject(s), write a travel grant when you get home and go back with the LF gear (and all that free money)!

Have fun!

justin mueller
2-May-2007, 12:03
its very simple :
if you want to take l/f pictures take only one camera (the 4x5)
if you also want to shoot m/f or 35mm don't take the 4x5
if you want to shoot digi leave all else at home

Kirk Gittings
2-May-2007, 12:18
and a reasonably flexible, patient, and reasonable wife.

I've got one of those pieces of equipment too. Best investment I ever made.

Walter Calahan
2-May-2007, 13:01
Go ahead and schelp several hundred sheets of 4x5 film.

Me, I take only one of the three systems. My brain gets confused easily. HA!

evan clarke
2-May-2007, 13:02
Just imagine the photograph of a lifetime and it's only 6x6..8))..EC

C. D. Keth
2-May-2007, 13:04
Take it but only take so much film so you're not tempted to spend the whole trip shooting. You ahve to live life a little, too.

joe a kras
2-May-2007, 13:58
Take all and see if you can borrow and 8X10 while you are at it. It is much better to have taken the items and not used them than to have to not taken the items and wanted them. Regrets can haunt you for some time. I have traveled extensively with all that gear and more, all I can say is it is worth the effort.

Ed Richards
2-May-2007, 15:19
Should there be a parallel thread on the relationship between LF on family trips and divorce?

Patrik Roseen
2-May-2007, 15:37
I recently spent one week vacation with my girlfriend on the island of Tenerife. I too spent a lot of time thinking about bringing the 4x5 Technika and or my Mamiya 6x6 and/or my 35mm camera system.

I finally decided to only bring the 4x5" with all the gear, and put in my handluggage and ofcourse also the one tripod that weighed the least and would fit in my suitcase.
My handluggage ended up at 7 kilos which was 2 kilos above the limit but it got through the airline check-in. I can not see how I would have managed to bring any other gear considering the total weight.

Once in Tenerife I decided to not carry my Technika with me all the time, but instead relax and enjoy any nice sceneries and if I saw something interesting, return later to take a photograph. I did get some nice photographs this way and it was easy on my girlfriend since I could plan my photosessions quite well, knowing where to go, how far it would be, how long I would stay away, what to shoot etc.

The one thing I did not bring would prove fatal, my Technika Universal Finder for handheld shooting...How could I be so stupid to leave that at home just to save a few hundred grams.
Anyone tried going on a charter bus tourist trip with an LF camera??
We would only leave the bus for five minutes and then head off again! And while out walking, the group would disappear before I even managed to do read the lightmeter.

My girldfriend was happily shooting digital and came home with some very nice photographs of Tenerife plants, lizards, restaurants, buildings etc.

During this week I managed to expose 8 chromes and 24 B&W of which 6 where handheld without the universal finder. But I treasure these photos alot.

So my recommendation would be. Bring the 4x5" and plan for handheld if you have the gear for it. And also bring a good digital or 35mm format for recording the trip with your family.

As a sidenote: As I was leaving Tenerife and had my Technika 'x-rayed' before the flight the personel did not understand what they were looking at on the screen. I stepped forward and got a glimps of the screen and could see why they suddenly started to call for supervisors etc. The Technika with a Symmar lens/ Compur shutter inside was quite terrifying as they could see right into it. I told them it was a camera and wanted to take it out and open it so they could see for themselves, but they would not allow me to touch it - they seemed convinced it was a bomb or something. They zoomed in and out and did not really know what to do, they were just standing there. So I decided to go for it, grab it and open it as fast as I have never done before, pull out the bellows..." see it is just a camera".
The supervisor looked at it and then at me...and at the others..Oh, it is a camera...oh a very special camera..Very SPECIAL is it not? I smiled and replied: Yes it is a very special camera!

Have a nice trip!

Chris Strobel
2-May-2007, 16:14
A full month, I say take it all.Surely in that amount of time you outta be able to balance family, site seeing, and LF photography.I've got 4 days coming up in Yosemite but am taking no gear.Not even a dslr.Between the wife and friends, who have no photographing interest, who want to hike, fish, swim, bike, etc. I just said forget the gear.If I had a month though, or even two weeks that would be a different story.

2-May-2007, 16:28
Good question. Being a recent father myself, I can somewhat relate.

One approach is to defer the decision on what piece(s) of equipment to use until you actually reach your location. Take as much as you can, but not necessarily with a view to using it all or carrying it all with you everyday. Once you get there, depending on opportunities and available time, you can make your choice whether to use digital, MF, LF etc.

Of course, this assumes that you're staying in places where you feel comfortable leaving unused equipment in your hotel room, and that you have all your equipment insured.


Struan Gray
2-May-2007, 23:25
I used to do a lot of LF photography when my kids were having their midday nap - sometimes while pushing their pram through the countryside - and again in the evening once they had gone to sleep. When they were awake I stuck - and stick - to 6x6 or smaller.

On a trip like this the biggest factor would be logistics. If you are not going to be able to help look after your son because you need to hang onto your bag full of 4x5 gear it is not going to be much of a holiday for your wife. On the other hand, if you are always travelling by car and are willing to ship the gear in hold baggage there is no real reason not to take all three systems: I do when we make our annual pilgrimage to Scotland.

There is always room for a simple 35 mm camera somewhere in a family party, so for me the deciding question is whether having the possibility to take tripod-less 6x6 for shots at moments when I would never have the 4x5 with me is more important than having that 4x5 quality for the times I can free up for dedicated photography.

Duane Polcou
3-May-2007, 01:02
Date models. They get mad if you DON'T bring cameras.

G Benaim
3-May-2007, 01:36
Funny you should mention the 8x10, Joe, as I've been jonesing to try one and may have an opportunity in Italy. I must say I'm overwhelmed by the response, having read so many similar threads in the past. I just threw it out on a whim, because it's getting down to crunch time, but it must have hit a nerve in the LF community.
I have done my best work w the Hassy, but then again the 4x5 is a recent thing (1 year) and takes some getting used to. I do enjoy the process more on the 4x5, especially the composition and then DBI in the darkroom. The results so far, however, in aesthetic terms still fall far short of the Hassy work.
Predicting what our days will look like is very difficult, partly because there will be very different conditions at different stages of the trip, and partly because it's our first overseas trip w our son. I'm leaning towards not taking the 4x5, but it's probably gonna be down to the wire w this one. Thanks all for your contributions, it's great to hear us all going through similar thought processes.

14-May-2007, 06:55
The best solution to this Problem Is as follow's { leave everybody at home and take yourself and equipment and have a blast of course when you get back ,you may find the door locks changed: Hey its worth a shot::: what ever you enjoy yourself to your best and everyone else::

David A. Goldfarb
14-May-2007, 08:30
The 4x5" Gowland is perfect as a second camera with some other camera that can be handheld. I'd probably bring the Hassy and the Gowland or the Bessa and the Gowland, but not all three, if I were in your situation.

Lately when I travel, I bring the 4x5" Tech V and use it both handheld and on a tripod. Now that we have a child (5-1/2 months) and more stuff to carry on trips, I may scale back to the 2x3" Tech V when I'm not going mainly for photography. It's currently at Marflex for some routine maintenance and to have three lenses cammed. We just went up to Montreal for a few days, where I had a conference, and I brought the Bronica S2a and 4 lenses and ended up not having much time to shoot and used only a 50mm lens the whole trip.

Jack Flesher
14-May-2007, 08:50
Murphy says:

If you take the 4x5 and film you will not see any images to make with it or have zero opportunity to use it if you do see something. Corollary to that is, if you don't take the 4x5 you will both see and have multiple opportunities to have used it.

This dilemma totally sucks I know, but that is Murphy at work.


14-May-2007, 12:03
Make the wife bring the 4x5.

Alan Davenport
14-May-2007, 13:35
Wrong question. The correct question is, "Should I also take the wee dinky miniature wannabe camera?"

14-May-2007, 13:47
Bring your 4X5, and a small digital camera for your family and grab shots. Always!

Eric Rose
14-May-2007, 13:57
When I travel I take my 4x5 and my Bessa. But then again I don't have an ankle biter whining because I'm taking to long. Image quality wise your not going to loose all that much by using the Blad. But if you think you are going to need movements then LF is the only choice.

If it were me given your constraints (wife, kid, parents) I would take the Blad and the Bessa.

Ron Marshall
14-May-2007, 14:03
I have a Mamiya 7 with an 80mm lens. That is my travel light set-up. If I am willing to take more weight and will have the time I always bring my Toho and at least a 110 and 150mm.

In your case, if you can stand the extra weight and bulk bring it; worst case scenario you take no photos and get some extra exercise carting the extra weight. I took mine on a recent trip that I knew beforehand would be too busy to allow much shooting; but out of four sheets that I took I am very happy with two. So for me it was very worthwhile.

Tony Karnezis
14-May-2007, 14:31
Hi GB. Take the 4x5. I traveled through Greece with a friend with an 8x10, 645, Bessa, and a DSLR. I agree with Struan Gray (post 15)--it's about logistics. Take as much gear as you can manage & figure out what's most practical to use when you get there. Like Struan said, it's better to get a shot with the Hassy than to miss it with 4x5. My experience was that I shot far less 8x10 than I thought I would.

If you take the 4x5, please read the threads on Greece and Traveling with LF Overseas:

In particular, note my comments on clearing customs with all the equipiment you're bringing and the requirement for a tripod permit at historical/archaeological sites.

Regardless of the gear you bring, have a wonderful time.

Amund BLix Aaeng
14-May-2007, 15:54
Show your wife this thread, and then let her decide :)

Wayne Crider
14-May-2007, 20:06
In the course of a month you should be able to find time to shoot a 4x5. If it was a shorter trip, say 2 weeks or less and you did alot of hopping around, I don't think it would be prudent. Probably a 35mm with some Kodachrome would be nice.

A bunch of 4x5 contacts in a album doesn't make it, and if your only going to enlarge to 8x10, hell take the Hassy. If you need family pic's take the RF.

Doug Dolde
14-May-2007, 20:10
I'd never travel with a 4x5 except in my Jeep.

Eric James
14-May-2007, 20:44
... and a reasonably flexible, patient, and reasonable wife. My parents are joining us for the first half of the trip, so there'll be someone else to watch our son. What would you do? (that's the kicker).


'nough said! You order an 8X10 kit, then ask her which "we" should bring with - the 4X5 or the 8X10?

Seriously, if she's okay with the 4X5, and you want to bring it along (you want to bring it along), then bring it along. Just bring some film that works well with skin tones, frame the grandparents and their pride and joy in ~10% of your captures and everyone is happy:)

9-Jun-2007, 15:53
when i went to poland i only took my twin lens and a small 35mm rangefidner which i kept in my pocket, its best if your not going with an overall plan