View Full Version : How many formats?

shadow images
30-Sep-2009, 08:06
Have an upcoming trip to Yosemite area and can't decide on which formats to take. That said how many formats do you travel with? Assume your not flying.

Gem Singer
30-Sep-2009, 08:37
On a recent trip from Dallas to Santa Fe by car, I took both a 5X7 outfit and a 645 outfit.

i found that when photographing in an area that is crowded with people it is not practical to use a large format camera on a tripod.

Used the 645 hand held most of the time.

If you plan on hiking into the Yosemite wilderness, by all means take a light weight 4X5 or 5X7 outfit.

In either case, strap a digicam around your neck and enjoy the scenery.

30-Sep-2009, 08:49
last time i traveled to thailand for a 4 month walk about i took my 35mm, rb67, and 4x5 pinhole camera.

last time i traveled to utah i took my 8x10 and 4x5 chamonix, rb 67 and 35mm camera.

i flew to both locations. in utah i rented a car. in Thailand i traveled by bus and motor bike. (obviously the motor bike was from a "home base"

Bruce Watson
30-Sep-2009, 09:23
Have an upcoming trip to Yosemite area and can't decide on which formats to take. That said how many formats do you travel with? Assume your not flying.

Flying, not flying. Exactly one. My only format is 5x4.

30-Sep-2009, 09:28
On my last trip to Yosemite, by car, I just took the 4x5, and was mostly happy. There are some hikes that I would not have wanted to do with the full 4x5 backpack, so I skipped them. The next time I go, I will probably also take the Fuji GA645zi, as that camera gives me the most film area for the least weight. A lighter 2 camera setup is the Fuji and Leica rangefinder + 5 lenses in a Domke F6 bag, but that's more of a flying setup than driving. My recent trip to Italy was with the GA645zi and a cheap little digital P&S and that was a great combo too.

I'd recommend something that you don't mind lugging about and/or using close to the car, plus something much lighter.

Ron Marshall
30-Sep-2009, 09:35
When I travel, if I'm going to be shooting landscape I take only the Toho 4x5. If I will be mostly in cities and not doing much landscape then I take only the Mamiya 7.

I like to travel as light as possible.

Ron Bose
30-Sep-2009, 09:37
Mamiya 7ii and a pair of Leica M6's and crap loads of film :-)

Then I'd return with the 8x10 with the 8x10 back and a 5x7 reducing back ...

Ken Lee
30-Sep-2009, 09:40
It depends on your traveling companions, their expectations, plus where you are staying, what kind of transportation you will have, etc. And your physical condition.

shadow images
30-Sep-2009, 10:20
Its just me and my wife. She's used to the routine ,so no worries there. We are staying most of the time at the tenya lodge in fish camp. I am thinking 8x10 for those close opportunities, 4x5 for light packing, and the D2x setup for longer hikes and animal sightings. Leaving behind the 645 setup. We travel on long expeditions in our Scion XB, you'd be surprised by where I will take one.

30-Sep-2009, 10:23
By car my wife and I travel with two 4x5s a Mamiya 330, (I have only one lens for it at this time), and somtimes a Galvin 6x9 view camera.

30-Sep-2009, 10:31
On bicycle tours (some lasting 30 days and covering several thousand miles) I carry a 35mm and a few lens in the handle bar bag. It's my opinion that there is too much vibration on bicycle to subject an expensive camera to.

I did a (foot) tour of Chile and a week backpacking trip in Torre De Pines National park carrying a 35mm and 6x7 Pentax. I carried the cameras, lens, and film onboard the aircraft and demanded visual inspection of the film which meant off with the shoes, etc.

For regular backpacking trips I'll go wth one format: For a long time that was 35mm until I "moved up" to medium format and then it was strictly medium format - 6x7. Recently, for the past few years, I've been backpacking and hiking with a 4x5. For day hikes I prefer the 4x5 as you can preload holders with B&W, Color Slide and Color Negative film and choose the capture medium on location. For overnight and multi-day backpacking trips, it's either the 6x7 or a lightweight 4x5 with 6 holders, a box of B&W and Color, and a change tent.

If I was rich enough, I'd hire mules to carry my gear in while I hiked out with a water bottle and (maybe) a 35mm. Dat's the way to go!

30-Sep-2009, 12:17
When traveling , I almost always limit myself to only one format - either 4x5 or 35mm. On rare occasions I have taken both (but always ended up only using one!). I usually further limit the burden to only one camera and quite often, only one lens.

I figure, one can either live the moment or capture the moment. When traveling, I prefer to live.

30-Sep-2009, 12:26
Usually two...8x10 and my Rolleiflex. I do have the option of making two 4x10 images on an 8x10 sheet of film (the added weight for this is about 3 ounces -- the weight of a half of a darkslide).


Kirk Fry
30-Sep-2009, 21:57
Too much stuff leads to confusion. I'm down to a Crown, a 135mm lens, no light meter and a prefocused setting on the bed. And sometimes a light weight slik tripod most of you would call junk. (next step up is a 240mm G-claron and a 90 mm Angulon, dark cloth, loupe, and 1 degree light meter but now things are starting to get confusing.)

I have tried multiple formats at the same time. Does not work for me.

Eric Woodbury
30-Sep-2009, 22:07
Even when I drive I consider where I'm going, for how long, with whom, and what I expect to do. If it is a photo trip, then one LF (45 or 57), a medium (Mamiya 7), and sometimes a Hexar autofocus for quiet snaps in dim light. If I anticipate some macro work, I might take the Pentax 67 with a macro. If the trip is a quickie, then I take only the Mamiya 7 and the Hexar. This covers most things. As much as I like LF, I don't haul for a quick snap or if it's raining too much or it's 110F in the shade and there isn't any, while the MF can do a very good job in a hurry. Different cameras make different pictures. Have fun.

Jim Fitzgerald
1-Oct-2009, 06:14
Heading for the Eastern Sierra on Friday afternoon. I'm taking the small cameras. 8x10,11x14 and 8x20. I love the choices I have and the workout will be something.


john biskupski
5-Oct-2009, 14:46
If we're talking about just LF formats, I bring a 4x5 reducing back with my 5x7 for the added convenience of Fuji instant and quickloads.

In terms of different format systems, I suspect that like many I have too many choices in my cupboard. The result of turning to a new format and failing to sell the old, more than once. I've made mistakes by taking several formats systems on trips, or maybe I should say incompatible formats, such as 4x5 and a P67. They were incompatible for me because the formats were so different in terms of viewing and composition techniques, one on screen, the other ttl, handling. A Hasselbald with the 4x5 is less confusing because you also compose on screen - but then you have the issue of how differently you visualise a scene in 6x6 compared to LF.

I concluded that less is more, and now try to bring one prime format only. However, I always take the digicam or dslr for those situations where circumstances require - speed, low light, candids, etc (where a Leica M would also be a good choice).

Drew Wiley
5-Oct-2009, 14:58
If it were me, I'd take either the 8X10 or the 4x5, but not both. Too many cameras
are just a distraction and theft opportunity.

5-Oct-2009, 16:22
Heading for the Eastern Sierra on Friday afternoon. I'm taking the small cameras. 8x10,11x14 and 8x20. I love the choices I have and the workout will be something.


Jim - You are a true LF man. I can only hope that when I am your age that I have the same determination and attitude that you do. Bravo

I must ask though - Do you first scout out your shots when hiking and then come back to them or do you walk/hike with the camera? I have always thought that it made the most sense to scout the shot and come back with the big camera; but have realized that sometimes it's just about being in the right place at the right time.

I agree with everyone else about limiting what you bring. It is easy to get bogged down by choices. I have been taking a Hasselblad with 80mm lens around and love the simplicity of it. I usually bring a medium format camera along on my trips - I like how you can have a film back for B&W and another for color or infrared, etc. For photo trips I will usually bring along the 4x5. If my 8x10 weren't a hulking monorail I would probably bring that more often.

I think part of the fun is picking a format for the trip/vision/needs. I have taken a little "Primo Jr" 127 TLR camera on caving trip high up on the plateau in NW Colorado on a whim, and it was absolutely perfect - smaller than a 35mm SLR, decently close focus, and negative bigger than a 35mm frame. I ended up with some really great photos from that trip. Sometimes it's just about using what gets you excited or motivated to take photos, no matter how ridiculous, unfitting, or heavy that camera may be.

Unfortunately my brother (who often helps me carry things on photo trips) still struggles with this concept...


Brian Sims
5-Oct-2009, 19:47
On "certain" trips I only bring my grandfather's pocket watch camera that uses 8mm film. If I explained what "certain" meant, I would have to have this web site "self destruct."

All other trips are split in two: If I'm alone I shoot only 4x5. With other people I shoot DSLR.

6-Oct-2009, 00:35
Heading for the Eastern Sierra on Friday afternoon. I'm taking the small cameras. 8x10,11x14 and 8x20. I love the choices I have and the workout will be something.



11-Oct-2009, 18:47
Even flying, I still take many formats.. Depends on my mood when I get there. Last time (About a year ago) I went to Yosemite I was staying with my parents in Monterey. I brought my D200, 4x5 and 6x17. I brought and used all of them to Yosemite. My wife does say I overpack a bit though.. :D


11-Oct-2009, 21:14
If travel means airports and passports and all that, the Rolleiflex is the only camera I need.