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Thread: Tools or backup camera body while travelling?

  1. #1
    Jeff Bannow's Avatar
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    Tools or backup camera body while travelling?

    I'm already carrying around a small repair kit for minor repairs in the field (mostly Hasselblad repairs so far). As I am shooting more 4x5, I'm wondering if I should be preparing better for future LF problems. I'm trying to keep my kit lightweight since I fly with it a lot, but at the same time I don't want to be stranded without a camera while out of town.

    I also use a rollfilm back on my Chamonix, and as a result have to remove the ground glass back a lot. I know some day I'm going to drop the glass, so that has led me to considering a backup back, or maybe a backup camera entirely. I don't think I would need spare lenses since I have multiple lenses already with me.

    So, what do you all carry for in the field tools? Do any of you travel with a spare camera?

    Also, anyone have a recommendation for a small pair or needlenose pliers? No China junk and needs to be light and small.

  2. #2
    Jeff Bannow's Avatar
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    Re: Tools or backup camera body while travelling?

    I suppose I should mention that the tools and/or body would stay in the trunk for the duration of the trip unless needed.

  3. #3

    Re: Tools or backup camera body while travelling?

    I have a spare ground glass set for my 45N-2 at home. I also use a pair of roll film backs quite often too, just work at a steady pace and you will be fine. I find the crap hits the fan when I speed up too quickly and get out of sync with my normal pace or operation. As far as field tools, I keep one of those screwdriver pens that have caps on both ends, switchable sizes in the same pen in almost every bag. I also have pieces of black gaffers tape on darn near everything, tripod legs, lens shades, etc. I find gaffer's tape is by far the best tool out there in a pinch.

    But a spare 4x5? For me, probably not although I do love the Chamonix enough to get a second one...

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    Re: Tools or backup camera body while travelling?

    I carry a piece of gg sized plexi with magic tape on it as a spare.
    Mini Husky screwdriver set. Super glue. Stovepipe wire. Zip ties. Gaff tape. Gerber multi tool has plenty of shitty tools on it.

  5. #5

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    Re: Tools or backup camera body while travelling?

    Wera makes nice expensive German screwdrivers ;-)

    A Hasselblad is 100x less reliable and repairable than a 4x5 but the back is the weak point - besides the glass, the springs will also fail sometimes (although I don't have a Cham to look at and judge but I've had Linhof arms and springs go bad so anything less could too).

    I use a Sinar and have spares of everything pretty much, at least enough to function. I do keep an entire back assembly in a box in the larger travel case and it is easy to bring along just in case.

    A good strategy for a spare might be something like a Crown Graphic, something that can be cheap and used as a beater, handheld, in the rain, etc.

  6. #6
    Jeff Bannow's Avatar
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    Re: Tools or backup camera body while travelling?

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Petronio View Post
    A good strategy for a spare might be something like a Crown Graphic, something that can be cheap and used as a beater, handheld, in the rain, etc.
    Good idea. I assume I couldn't make a Crown accept Linhof boards, so I would have to remount the lenses though.

  7. #7

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    Re: Tools or backup camera body while travelling?

    Just get one with a cammed 135 Xenar/Optar/Ektar for $10 more than one without, all good lenses and then you can handhold when the tripod breaks!

    I've had pretty good luck lowballing cheap ones over the years although I do not own one currently. I know eBay listers want $600 for them but if you are patient you can do much better. And unless they were stored wet and nasty, the lenses are usually nice.

  8. #8

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    Re: Tools or backup camera body while travelling?

    When I travel with 4x5, I usually bring along a very basic small format kit as backup. It used to be a Spotmatic with one lens or a pair of Nikons with a handful of lenses (depending on how "light" I needed to travel). Lately though, I just throw an old 6x9 folder in the bag and call it good. I guess this is more like disaster insurance.

    The only cameras I've every had break in the field were a pair of Nikons...Last time I was in a small village in Peru at the time...repairs consisted of judicious use of packaging tape and using sunny-16 and the M90 shutter speed setting for the remainder of the trip.

  9. #9
    Jeff Bannow's Avatar
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    Re: Tools or backup camera body while travelling?

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Petronio View Post
    Just get one with a cammed 135 Xenar/Optar/Ektar for $10 more than one without, all good lenses and then you can handhold when the tripod breaks!

    I've had pretty good luck lowballing cheap ones over the years although I do not own one currently. I know eBay listers want $600 for them but if you are patient you can do much better. And unless they were stored wet and nasty, the lenses are usually nice.
    For under $200, this would seem like a good way to go. I could probably even store my tools inside the shell of the camera, making it a compact little emergency kit.

  10. #10
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    Re: Tools or backup camera body while travelling?

    A 4" Vice-Grip is handy; it's not the perfect tool for anything in the world, but the best imperfect tool for thousands of emergencies.

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