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Thread: 4x5 without a backpack for the beginner, non-trekker, etc.

  1. #1

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    4x5 without a backpack for the beginner, non-trekker, etc.

    For those who trek a good deal, a good backpack is probably essential, not just the obvious choice. For beginners without, or anyone who can't find one at a yard sale or thrift store (or the online equivalents) and doesnít have the money to invest in a new one, I offer the following option. Granted, it's not for everyone; my equipment for the occasional walkabout outing is spare. It canít do, or carry, everything a pack can. But perhaps the example will be useful to some. (With apologies for the lame camera photos):

    I was fortunate to be given this bag by a neighbor, but something of this size may be found frequently at low cost. As spare on storage as it is, it does the trick. Because my camera is light, it's not bad to carry (especially in comparison with my MF bag with four lenses, which felt lighter fifteen years ago).

    As shown, my field camera sits cradled in a the XL black T-shirt that serves as my dark cloth, ground glass to the back, with the spot meter alongside. Lifting the meter reveals my two lenses, one with a lens shade, in a sturdy cardboard divided box I made for them. The forward compartment is further padded with my large microfiber cleaning cloth. Underneath the dark cloth is a zip-lock bag holding a rubber jar-top remover for stubborn filters and a rarely-used QuickDisc (http://www.salzgeber.at/disc/).

    And what about film holders? I have sometimes worn a compact "carpenter's apron" belt that will hold up to six, and sometimes put them in the bag after mounting the camera on the tripod and carrying it mounted. Two of my tripod legs' top sections have gray foam pipe insulation wrapped around them to pad the against my shoulder.

    The front pocket holds, as shown: loupe, quarter-as-screwdriver for tripod mounting plate; a variety of quick-reference guides I made for myself (listed below); viewing card in two sizes; clip-on magnifiers; cable release; pens; belt clip for my meter; step-up rings for both lenses to my 58mm filters; and an ExpoDisc for pre-exposure. Two small, mesh end-pockets on the bag hold an extra (18") cable release, a few PEC Pads in a baggie, a round bubble level, a plastic 35mm can with a bit of gaffer tape wrapped around it, and a 3-foot tape measure for close-ups bellows extension. (I forgot my stack of several filters, which is my MF bag.)

    The guides (partly redundant of other measures I have implemented since making these) are:

    A rounded-value "D" chart for determining f/-stop (see Table of optimal f/ stops (2) on our homepage, https://www.largeformatphotography.info/fstop.html)

    A guide for each lens showing hyperfocal distances for its apertures; exposure increase for relatively close subject distances; and a DOF chart for selected distances at each aperture.

    An exposure-compensation time for reciprocity departure for several films, from 4 to 60 seconds' measured exposure.

    A chart showing generic head-&-shoulders and upper-body framing for each of my lenses in 35, 645 and 4x5, and any which require exposure compensation.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Philip Ulanowsky

    Sine scientia ars nihil est. (Without science/knowledge, art is nothing.)
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/156933346@N07/

  2. #2

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    Re: 4x5 without a backpack for the beginner, non-trekker, etc.

    This is a good carry kit. I used to use an old camcorder bag I found as a thrift store as a large camera carrying bag. It really worked well since camcorders of old were quite large and also the VHS cassettes were basically the size of 4x5 holders.

  3. #3
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: 4x5 without a backpack for the beginner, non-trekker, etc.

    Nice set-up!

    Another way is to keep the camera on the tripod and over one's shoulder, and operate out of a shoulder bag big enough for holders, meter and needed stuff. I do it for 4x5 and 5x7. My 8x10 is too big for that.

    No charts...just using B&W and can fly by the pants for that.

    When in danger, when in doubt,
    Increase one's exposure by about a stop.

    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  4. #4

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    Re: 4x5 without a backpack for the beginner, non-trekker, etc.

    I think the one chart I would keep as essential is the little D-value chart. Yes, I should memorize it, and will when I begin shooting more regularly again. For most lens-extension values, I have guides glued on the camera bed, and for greater extension I know the formula (though I'm slow to calculate and usually wrong...) and could rely on my tape measure. But they're laminated and take up almost no space.
    Philip Ulanowsky

    Sine scientia ars nihil est. (Without science/knowledge, art is nothing.)
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/156933346@N07/

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