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Thread: Me, my inexperienced butt, and the backcountry

  1. #11

    Re: Me, my inexperienced butt, and the backcountry

    That sounds like a great adventure, but without knowing your personal/professional investment in the eventual output, I'm not sure you wouldn't be better off pulling off the 4x5 sheet film approach and instead buying a couple of Horseman roll film backs. Not to rehearse the old 120 vs. 4x5 debate, but I think there's a lot to be said for the "avoiding disaster" approach, even it means a marginal compromise in IQ somewhere down the line. Personally--unless you need to use really wide or really long lenses--I'd be looking at a sturdy Horseman "technical" 4x5 like the FA or HD and maybe the equivalent of a "2-series" Gitzo (e.g. Induro, Feisol, etc.). If you're rolling with a typical three lens kit, that probably means an extra 1000-1500 cu in taken up in your pack, and a weight a little shy of 20 pounds.

    At any rate, good luck with whatever choice you make!

  2. #12
    Foamer
    Join Date
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    Re: Me, my inexperienced butt, and the backcountry

    If it were me I'd bring my SP-445 and a small quantity of chemicals. The SP-445 is very small and easy to load. Once loaded you can do it all in daylight. As for using water from a stream, I wouldn't. Will have grit in it and temperature might be too cool to work with developer. Lead bags--TSA will simply turn up x-ray power to see what's in the mysterious bags. I agree about having decent boots (probably water proof,) and always bring a light jacket and rain gear along.

    Kent in SD
    Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris,
    miserere nobis.

  3. #13

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    Re: Me, my inexperienced butt, and the backcountry

    "3 months will risk some latent image loss, correct?" Simply a big NO. More of a chance of your shutter mis-firing and not opening.

    "survey tripods" great but usually quite heavy in the field. "I have a carbon tripod I use with my digital that's light but maybe not sturdy enough" just weight down the center column and should be fine for using with your 4x5.

    "develop by a mountain stream" For a period of time in the past drove around New England in a Rialta RV. Processed many a film in it with the windows blackeded out and washed the sheets of film in a roadside stream. Worked but would never do it again... just too much trouble when compared to bringing the exposed film back home to process in my darkroom.

    "Has anyone developed in trays in a changing bag?" yes when I was a student at RIT and a complete failure.

  4. #14

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    southeast Idaho, Teton Valley
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    Re: Me, my inexperienced butt, and the backcountry

    Sorry, I did not realize you were at the ranch last year. You obviously know all about the weather there.

    I have several empty 4 by 5 boxes; if you need them, let me know.

    Regarding the bellows, it would be worth having some "electric tape in a tube" stuff to repair any holes.

    A used tripod would be a way to go. I think I paid $35 for a wooden one about 20 years ago, and I still use it.

    Why two tripods? Can't you just swap cameras, or make a bracket to hold both of them next to each other?

    As you may know, Wikipedia has a page for the Brand camera company. The model 17 looks heavy, and apparently will not work with lenses shorter than 127 mm. I can now see why you are looking into an Intrepid. Another option is one of the 2 by 3's (baby Crown Graphic, Busch Pressman, Topcon). They are very light, relatively cheap, fold-up, and use 120-format roll film holders. The 2 by 3 format gives plenty of image quality, and is much lighter than any 4 by 5 I can think of that folds up. The folding cameras (4 by 5, 2 by 3) are much easier to backpack with, and put with a case if you want the added protection. I routinely take a 2 by 3 Busch Pressman with me on long day trips, and I hardly know it's in my pack. I definitely know when I have a 4 by 5. I backpack with the 4 by 5 a lot.

    One more thing: I would not worry so much about camera weight, unless it is extreme, like a Linhof. A quart of water makes more difference than the difference in camera weight, and judicious packing and food selection can make for a lighter pack than camera selection alone; you probably already know that, but so many people obsess over camera weight it's worth mentioning.

  5. #15

    Join Date
    Dec 2018
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    330

    Re: Me, my inexperienced butt, and the backcountry

    I had a Brand 17 for a while while in college. "It looked good on paper". It was heavy & cumbersome. I got it to replace my Calumet CC-400 monorail for field use.
    I quickly replaced the Brand 17 with a 4x5 B&J Press Camera. A clamshell design like a Crown Graphic or B&J Press is a huge benefit, especially if you can close the camera with the lens installed. A 127mm should be fine.

  6. #16
    jp's Avatar
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    Re: Me, my inexperienced butt, and the backcountry

    Changing bag is last choice when it comes to dust avoidance. There must be a bathroom or closet somewhere without a window where you can go at night and lay a blanket or jacket at the door bottom and block out all light to have a place for film loading/unloading. If you work quick you could probably use a gas station or restaurant bathroom during a slow time and nobody would notice.

    I use pink plastic antistatic bags (for electronics) to hold film holders when they are not in the camera or being loaded/unloaded.

    Mailing film will be safer than dealing with airport security and xray machines. Xray proof lead bags will just arouse suspicion and inspection/disassembly. If you can develop onsite with a stearman or combiplan tank, you basically need developer and fixer. Stop bath is optional.

    If you choose to use a surveying tripod, it will have a 5/8" thread and you will need some sort of adaptor to attach a camera or tripod head. I've done it.
    Last edited by jp; 3-Mar-2020 at 06:30.

  7. #17

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    Re: Me, my inexperienced butt, and the backcountry

    I was joking about stream development xd that sounds like a nightmare.

    I thought a lot about 2x3 but I use non-N development a lot. Unless I had several backs going at once(N, N+1, N-1, etc) that would cripple my use of specific development. Plus, running 3 backs gains weight fast.
    @mmerig good point about the water etc. Anyway I'm kind of looking for an adventure. Last year I did 3 weeks with between 60 and 70 pounds depending on how much food I was trucking(sometimes up to 7 days at a time), so I think a couple 3-day hikes won't be bad enough that the added weight of a 4x5(especially an Intrepid) would kill me. If after a while I'm ready to lose it and drop weight I'll reconsider.

    At this point I think switching to 2x3 for weight reasons wouldn't actually be cost-effective. The weight loss from a 2x3 I doubt would be offset by the opportunity cost of lighter gear elsewhere in my kit. Rather than going down to 2x3 I could buy a lighter sleeping bag, tent, etc. Then not only would I have the joy and IQ of 4x5 but also my non-camera trips would be considerably lighter.

  8. #18

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    Re: Me, my inexperienced butt, and the backcountry

    Good luck and here's some info:-

    http://camera-wiki.org/wiki/Brand

    Looks like it weighs heavy, more tank like I suspect, surely something lighter makes way more sense.......................

    regards

    Andrew

  9. #19

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    Nov 2019
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    Re: Me, my inexperienced butt, and the backcountry

    It's a real brick. It's 4lb 3oz with GG, the movements are all heavy and rather finicky, the rail extensions don't lock easily, and I wouldn't trust the rear standard anything but locked off. I'm looking into improving the wingnuts on the rear standard so I can use it, but I might not get very far.
    Most anything but this(as long as is has real movements) would be an upgrade.

  10. #20

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    Re: Me, my inexperienced butt, and the backcountry

    Dear OP

    To me it's good manners to thank those on here who have responded to your posts. me included, so far I'm pushed to see that this has been the case.........!!

    Andrew
    Last edited by Andrew Plume; 4-Mar-2020 at 12:06.

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