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Thread: Help me choose a camera to hike 2000+ miles

  1. #51
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Help me choose a camera to hike 2000+ miles

    Don't know why they do not have an accessory to turn the silver side into a solar oven!
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  2. #52

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    Re: Help me choose a camera to hike 2000+ miles

    Would it be possible for you to do a "dry run" of perhaps a few days to vet out possible logistical hassles with LF gear? Just saying...that multiple days out on the trail with LF gear in variable weather conditions...rain, wind, moisture issues, etc. - plus time conflicts of needing to get to a certain place by dark vs. spending possibly significant amounts of time which LF demands, etc. Keeping film and film holders clean, dry, and relatively dust-free over multiple days can also be a problem. Needing to stay on the move, but open to sudden points of inspiration...needing to respond as fully as possible to quickly changing light conditions while shouldering a backpack, possibly in addition to awkward footing at an otherwise ideal location, etc. etc. Lighting conditions which are so marginal that they would make adequate shutter speeds and/or depth of focus impossible with LF (assuming hand held), problems exacerbated by exhaustion induced shakiness. Situations such as these can add up to compositional/technical compromises which can result in less than satisfying results (while shouldering needless extra weight) when compared to, say a medium format rangefinder camera (such as a Fuji/Voigtlander GF or Mamiya 7) which can always be at the ready to shoot handheld, and give stellar results in otherwise marginal conditions.

    Tough decisions to be made for sure, and no matter what you end up with there will be compromises. Good luck!

  3. #53
    cjbecker's Avatar
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    Re: Help me choose a camera to hike 2000+ miles

    It has not been brought up yet, but have a look at the busch pressman D, its bulletproof, will fold up with the lens attached. Which I think is a big deal for hiking with a 4x5. I would go down the road of press style camera either way. Even if it does not a rangefinder, its pretty easy to focus using the gg and then slide a holder in and compose with the wire finder.

  4. #54

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    Re: Help me choose a camera to hike 2000+ miles

    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn View Post
    Don't know why they do not have an accessory to turn the silver side into a solar oven!
    They donít. Look for Novoflex Patron to see what it is.

  5. #55

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    Re: Help me choose a camera to hike 2000+ miles

    Quote Originally Posted by abruzzi View Post
    ... the biggest issue with LF over 2000 miles, is film holders. They take quite a lot of space, and I donít think Iíd want to take more than 6-8 holders (even 8 seems like it would take up too much space.) so that 16 shots at best, so youíll need a changing bag, and a storage plan for the film youíve shot. To me, on a long backpacking trip, thatís too much to go wrong. A bunch rolls of 120 seems like it would be much more manageable.
    Without getting into recommendations for specific cameras, I second the above concerns. While I love 4x5 for a variety of reasons, for long hikes the logistics become problematic. Aside from the bulk and weight of the holders, loading and unloading film becomes an issue, as does carrying boxes of 4x5 film. (You will also have to decide on a "management technique" for exposed negatives. You can simply keep them in the same boxes as unexposed negatives in their own plastic sleeve, but you run the risk of mixing things up, as well as having no way to segregate negatives either in terms of Normal processing versus + our - variations or even keeping multiple exposures separate if you take the same image twice and want to have a spare negative if there are problems processing the first one. Otherwise you are carrying extra empty poxes to fill up as you go). Roll film will be much more practical.

  6. #56

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    Re: Help me choose a camera to hike 2000+ miles

    Quote Originally Posted by John Layton View Post
    Would it be possible for you to do a "dry run" of perhaps a few days to vet out possible logistical hassles with LF gear? Just saying...that multiple days out on the trail with LF gear in variable weather conditions...rain, wind, moisture issues, etc. - plus time conflicts of needing to get to a certain place by dark vs. spending possibly significant amounts of time which LF demands, etc. Keeping film and film holders clean, dry, and relatively dust-free over multiple days can also be a problem. Needing to stay on the move, but open to sudden points of inspiration...needing to respond as fully as possible to quickly changing light conditions while shouldering a backpack, possibly in addition to awkward footing at an otherwise ideal location, etc. etc. Lighting conditions which are so marginal that they would make adequate shutter speeds and/or depth of focus impossible with LF (assuming hand held), problems exacerbated by exhaustion induced shakiness
    Thanks for the well wishes! You raise a lot of good issues and these are all things I’m still trying to weigh. I’ve mentioned before this isn’t my first hike of this kind so I do have somewhat of an idea how hard things can be especially the pressure to stay moving which you note. With all my gear I’ll test it out before I trust it to stay with me for months on end. I’m still in the exploratory phase of this and have not committed to this yet but I really want to give this due consideration—if I were to bring a LF kit what would be the best way? Your answer really does help succinctly put together the issues I’ll need to consider.

  7. #57

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    Re: Help me choose a camera to hike 2000+ miles

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Lewin View Post
    Without getting into recommendations for specific cameras, I second the above concerns. While I love 4x5 for a variety of reasons, for long hikes the logistics become problematic. Aside from the bulk and weight of the holders, loading and unloading film becomes an issue, as does carrying boxes of 4x5 film. (You will also have to decide on a "management technique" for exposed negatives. You can simply keep them in the same boxes as unexposed negatives in their own plastic sleeve, but you run the risk of mixing things up, as well as having no way to segregate negatives either in terms of Normal processing versus + our - variations or even keeping multiple exposures separate if you take the same image twice and want to have a spare negative if there are problems processing the first one. Otherwise you are carrying extra empty poxes to fill up as you go). Roll film will be much more practical.
    Any specific medium format recommendations that are pretty bulletproof and could stand up to some serious conditions?

  8. #58

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    Re: Help me choose a camera to hike 2000+ miles

    I would suggest as many others have, that 4x5 is not the format that makes the most sense for an extended hike. If you were going away for a weekend or even a week, I could see it being an option, but for 2000 miles it doesn't really fit with what you want to do. Beyond the fiddlyness and having to set up and break down the camera for each shot (the Graphic's probably being among the easier to deploy), you want to document life on the trail, which says spontaneity and being prepared for taking a shot as it happens. As soon as you break out the camera and start setting it up (or unfolding it), you change the dynamic between you and your subject. It would be a nightmare carrying/changing/storing film and holders, also already pointed out.

    As has already been stated, a lightweight roll film camera would be the perfect companion and tool for this kind of project. Either an RF, something like the Fuji's (G/GA/GS/GX/GW/GF,etc) or my own favorite for lightweight photography when trekking or traveling, a Rollei TLR. The former will give you a slightly larger negative (and possibly interchangeable lenses), the latter portability, rugged reliability in a compact and light package. Filters (for close ups, B&W photography) are tiny and readily available, image quality is great, even compared to modern lenses.

    I also use a Rollei 6008, something I would not recommend to go backpacking with (or the SL66 which weighs a ton, or the Hassy with multiple lenses, the Pentax 67 is a beast, etc).

    For what you describe, I would suggest cutting down and limiting yourself to keep things simple, that will allow you to explore and get creative within the constraints of your chosen kit and really capture the moments by actually being in them, rather than focused on the gear, loading film, setting up the camera, and so on.

    My 2 cents.

  9. #59
    (Shrek)
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    Re: Help me choose a camera to hike 2000+ miles

    to try and capture the human experience of the trail. Lot's of portraits, environmental and otherwise.
    If all you were looking for were convenience, you could just use your phone. If you're looking for portability and excellent image quality, use a mirrorless Sony or whatever. If you want to put on a performance and start conversations with people, then absolutely go the 4x5 route. There's nothing like seeing a wooden camera on a tripod to get people to stop for a chat. If you must shoot handheld on occasion, then the Crown Graphic is made for you. Folds up into a convenient and very durable aluminum box with the lens inside. If you want to put on more of a show, then go the wooden folder route and find a decent brass lens in shutter, but there's a much greater chance of that setup needing repairs along the way. You can fold up the Graphic and it won't be damaged by normal drops, dust or rain, but you might want to keep some ziplocks on hand to protect the shutter/lens and your film holders. I've never used a Grafmatic but they seem ideal, however I don't imagine they tolerate water, sand and dirt very well.

    If you do decide to go with medium format, I second the Rolleicord, or the 1930s-type folding camera (without a rangefinder, you don't really need it and it adds a lot of weight and expense). It's a lot easier to manage a couple bricks of 120 film than to deal with film holders and boxes of 4x5. But personally I would go the 4x5 route, for the human element. I would find a 1920s-30s folding wooden camera of the Japanese style, and make a foam compartment in my backpack for it. And bring some gaffer's tape and wood glue in case something breaks. I might even go the vintage wooden tripod route if I had one that fit the camera, they're a lot cheaper than a carbon fiber thingy of similar weight and they add a lot of style to the setup.

  10. #60
    Gary Beasley's Avatar
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    Re: Help me choose a camera to hike 2000+ miles

    I would think along the lines of this if it were fully mechanical and find a Weston or similar selenium cell meter so the need for batteries is nonexistent. The 645 format gives you 15 shots on a roll, optimizing film use but still big enough for really good quality.
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/283887644775

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