Bessa III and monopod for backpacking?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by lmonsanto, Sep 9, 2010.

  1. lmonsanto

    lmonsanto Member

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    Hi all,

    I do a lot of hiking and backpacking and am looking for a compact, light-weight medium format kit to take with me. I’d like something light enough that I can use with a monopod and that packs down small enough to fit in a day pack.

    So, it seems like the Bessa III / Fuji 670 would be just about perfect. Has anyone tried this setup? Also, how difficult is it to rotate a polarizing filter with the lens hood on?

    I’m heading over to the east side of the Sierra Nevada in a few weeks and would like to get something I can use then.

    Thanks in advance!
    Lynn
     
  2. Paul Goutiere

    Paul Goutiere Subscriber

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    This camera is likely the cat's meow for backpacking. The monopod is a good idea too.

    Not sure about the polarizing filter though, it may be a little difficult to judge the degree of polarization. Not impossible I suspect but certainly difficult.

    For polarizing filter I'd prefer a SLR like a Hasselblad 500cm or such like.
     
  3. rjbuzzclick

    rjbuzzclick Member

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    Anytime I use a polarizing filter with a rangefinder or scale focus camera, I just hold the filter in my hand and turn it while looking through it. Once I find the right position, I notate it using the writing on the side of the filter, then put it on the camera (if press on) or just hold it in front of the lens in the same position. It works fine.
     
  4. Robert Budding

    Robert Budding Member

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    I carry a Mamiya 7II when I want light and portable.
     
  5. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Monopods were originally used for home movie cameras and are almost usless for still photography. JHMO. I would bring a small light weight tripod with could be used like the monopod or used like a tripod. YMMV
     
  6. jpberger

    jpberger Member

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    I don't know about the rotation issue for that cam, but generally speaking the polarizer on a rangefinder thing is not a big deal-- if you are outdoors, in a pinch the max polarization angle is when you point the indicator mark towards the sun, and if that's not good enough I carry another one that's for a different filter size in my shirt pocket and just use that as a preview without having to mount and unmounted the filter from the camera.

    As far as the monopod goes, check out one of the trecking poles that has a tripod thread on it and then it will do double duty as a waking stick. I'm a big fan of using a piece of shockcord with a 1/4 eye bolt on one end as a camera support-- You just step on the free end and pull it taught and camera shake goes way down.

    Also, there is a new gorilla pod with solid aluminum joints that looks much more solid than the previous iterations, which might be a good camera support for hiking and travel situations
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 9, 2010
  7. MarkG

    MarkG Member

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    Hi Lynn, I recently purchased the Fuji GF670 and have been carrying it around with me on several shoots. I've shot mainly B&W though I have three rolls of color being developed. I haven't used a polarizing filter but did use an orange filter with some of my B&W work. I haven't needed to use either a monopod or tripod . . . I found the camera to be light, easy to hold, and I've gotten away with some images handheld at 1/30 of a second. I've written about my experiences with the GF670 here: http://wp.me/ph0f6-1K You might find it helpful . . .
     
  8. photobum

    photobum Member

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    I think it's a fine plan for several reasons. My travel camera is a Plaubel Makita 67, it weighs about 20% more than a Fuji/Bessa III. I would really like a Fuji myself.

    Anyway, last winter I was in Mexico photographing Myan ruins where no tripods were allowed. Monopod or hiking sticks are allowed. I had a Gitzo carbon mono with me and shot everything I wanted. I used a Leitz tripod head on it to shoot verticals and it worked fine. I also had the leitz folding tripod base to shoot from a wall or brace against a tree if needed.

    Before I had the Gitzo mono I had a hiking stick that came to about chin level that I drilled, then epoxy in a 1/4 X 20 hanging bolt with a fender washer on top of it. Had that for around twenty years.
     
  9. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    A monopod with either:
    a) a square format camera; or
    b) a rotating back camera,

    work well, especially with a WLF.
     
  10. lmonsanto

    lmonsanto Member

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    Thanks for relating your experience in Mexico. There are a lot of situations traveling where a tripod is either not permitted or is not practical. I have a similar set up: a Manfrotto carbon monopod with a ReallyRightStuff monopod head. What film were you using? I was thinking of trying Fuji Neopan 400.

    Which ruins did you visit? I've only been as far south as Oaxaca.

    Lynn
     
  11. lmonsanto

    lmonsanto Member

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    Very nice article. Thanks!
     
  12. MarkG

    MarkG Member

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    You're welcome . . . Mark
     
  13. noumin

    noumin Guest

    My travel gear for many years was a Mamyia 6 with all three lenses plus a monopod with a small ballhead. I enjoyed it a lot, it was probably my one outfit that came very close to being perfect. With a firm stand and the monopod I was able to shoot down to 1/4sec and the pictures turned out sharp (no mirror slap). I imagine the Bessa and the monopod is a great combo, you should do fine.
     
  14. fdisilvestro

    fdisilvestro Member

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    There is a polarizer filter kit made by Kenko for rangefinders. You can see it here
     
  15. photobum

    photobum Member

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    Lynn, I was shooting in Tulum and Chichen Itza. Tri-X and like MarkG I used a orange filter. It really made the clouds pop. Most of the time I shoot large format and yes a tripod. Sometimes the mono is just perfect and that was one of them.

    I like 6x7 because it can give close to 4x5 quality in an easy to carry package. I've been using the Plaubel 67 for many years as my travel camera. Even when driving with L/F gear the 6x7 is always there ready in three seconds. My guess is the Plaubel would be faster to get ready than the Fuji/Bessa. I just push a button and the lens slides out set at infinity. But the lighter weight with a dependable meter is calling me. I don't use f2.8 enough to matter.

    Good luck with your camera, those Fuji lenses are topnotch.
     
  16. craigclu

    craigclu Subscriber

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    I had the old Fuji 645 folder that folded up into a jacket pocket and carried a monopod on many treks for years. It would balance nicely when folded and ride on my shoulder when left attached to the pod, too. I think you'd like the Bessa in this mode. I always seemed to be able to find a triangulation point with my leg or elbow and some object when I needed to extend shutter speeds. The low vibes from that design of camera doesn't require overly massive pod support to be effective, in my experience.