View Full Version : N America Rail Trip - Just 4x5 or 4x5 and 35mm?

Andre Noble
1-Jul-2007, 20:53
I am taking a trip from Edmonton, East through Canada by VIA rail and down the east coast by Amtrak. Staying mostly in hostels and some B&B's. Interests include: hstoric Architecture/cityscapes, scenics, etc. I like to pack light.

I have three LF lenses: A nice 90 f.5 SW Nikkor, And two razor sharp ones: The 120SW f8 Nikkor and the 150 Apo Sironar-S. Will be using a Toyo 45AII camera and small gitzo CF tripod..

For 35mm I have a 20-35 lens and an 85 1.8 lens.

Should I take just the 120SW and also bring my Nikon 35mm and shoot both 4x5 and 35mm?

Or Should I bring the 90 SW and 150 Apo Sirionar and 'focus' on just 4x5, leaving the 35mm system at home?

Also to any Canadian photographers: I am interested in any 'must see' places. Thanks

Walter Calahan
2-Jul-2007, 05:52
"Interests include: historic Architecture/cityscapes, scenics, etc. I like to pack light."

If this is what you truly enjoy photographing, I'd say skip the 35mm, and pack the other two LF lenses. But it's hard to say when I don't know your work, and how you like to work.

eric black
2-Jul-2007, 06:02
I have found in the past I get better pics if I concentrate on a single system- only 4x5 for me even on my most exotic of journeys.

John Kasaian
2-Jul-2007, 06:50
Wow that sounds like fun! :D

Louie Powell
2-Jul-2007, 06:51
Andre -

In my experience, if I take two systems, I end up using only one. Also, multiple systems suggests additional headaches with security, especially if you are staying in hostels or other places where you are not able to lock up your equipment.

I would take one system.

2-Jul-2007, 06:59
What do you plan on doing with the photographs? This should determine what camera you bring.

Ralph Barker
2-Jul-2007, 07:26
While I'd agree that the final (intended) use of the photographs should be a primary factor, I'd add a couple of things to consider:

1. How often are you likely to make the trip? If it's a once- or twice-in-a-lifetime sort of trip, you may want to do what is required to get the photographs you want.

2. Pay close attention to the description of the trip, and how much time you'll have at stops. Opportunities to use the 4x5 on the train may be limited due to rail vibration, etc., so the 35mm may be more convenient in that respect.

But, if you have trouble quickly switching between systems (I don't), then you may be better off selecting one, recognizing whatever limitations that may impose.

Andre Noble
2-Jul-2007, 08:53
It's an extended tour of 40 days, so average 2 or 3 days per location, by myself. Photographs for personal use. In 4x5, I will be shooting Ilford FP4+, Fuji color negative and Maco IR.

The 35mm is convienent, but I am honestly not impressed about the negative size. In the past, I've used 35mm mostly with my 300 f2.8 sports telephoto for sports and events with outstanding results.

The portraits I want to take of family/friends, I believe I can get on 4x5 with the 150.

So, I think 4x5 only it will be, especially since I will be using 3 different film types.

2-Jul-2007, 21:09
Take the 4 x 5 - that way you won't have any regrets.

Jim Jones
3-Jul-2007, 05:56
I agree that coping with two systems, or worse yet, coping with three much different films, is hectic. However, using LF for family and friend photos can be an imposition on them. Also, 35mm is better when one must shoot on the run. Yesterday I tried photographing Union Pacific's No. 844 steam locomotive with a 4x5 when it came through this area. Even with much planning and preperation, relying on just one shot is too much a gamble for comfort. Having both systems available seems desirable.

Sanjay Sen
3-Jul-2007, 08:42
I would also suggest packing the 35mm along with the 4x5 simply because if you spot a scene that you want to photograph but don't have the time to setup the 4x5, the 35mm will come in handy. If you can live with a few missed opportunities, then I guess packing only the 4x5 system makes more sense as you can then concentrate on one system.

Good luck with your trip!

Best wishes,

Ron Marshall
3-Jul-2007, 09:07
Compromise and take a medium format.

Donald Qualls
3-Jul-2007, 12:10
I would never travel without a small, light "walk around" camera, one I can carry around my neck and use in a train car, point out a bus window, etc. I can carry my Ricoh Singlex II SLR, a single lens, and well over 100 exposures of film, and hardly notice the weight -- and the bag with the other three lenses, flashes, spare batteries, and more film, will easily fit under a seat and only weighs a few pounds; the whole setup weighs about what my Speed Graphic does before I even start adding film holders.

Now, I'd never expect the images from a 35 mm SLR to rival those from a 4x5 -- but an image I was able to record, because I had a camera I could carry around and use hand held, beats a better quality one I didn't get because the 4x5 was packed...

Turner Reich
3-Jul-2007, 16:51
The last time I took the train I found that yes I can take photographs from a moving train and yes the do turn out great. Take the 35mm and take the 4x5 for off the train pictures. Better yet would be to take a medium format and a 4x5.

8-Jul-2007, 08:00
I like to pack light.

funny thing when we talk about 4x5 as they are seldom light::)))

i travel to SE Asia very frequently and spent many months there. i bring 35mm and medium format (this last trip i brought my 4x5 pinhole setup also.) i do not find working with multi formats too difficult.

my suggestion is to take your 4x5 and the 35mm. having a small quick camera is always good. maybe only one lens, but the 85mm are usually pretty small. i have several manual focus lenses i use just because they are so small.