In Need of a Travel (backpack) Camera

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by jamesgignac, Apr 28, 2010.

  1. jamesgignac

    jamesgignac Member

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    So I'm heading to Beijing for the oportunity to do some documentary photo work down there. I've sold off quite a bit of my chunkier MF equipment recently (including a Bronica ETRSi kit and a Hasselblad 503cx system) and am looking to replace it with a lighter, more manageable (lens size, etc.) system that I can pack for my travels. I may end up waiting until I arrive to purchase something (flying out June 7th), but would love to hear some experiences backpacking with MF gear. I'd probably be most interested in a rangefinder but will certainly consider other recommendations provided the kit would be smaller than a Hass V with a pair of lenses and backs.

    Thanks in advance!

    Oh, and any backpack recommendations would be great too! I'd love a compartmented camera section...with space or a pocket for a smallish laptop.

    Thanks all! (p.s. - I am not bringing a tripod but will set myself up with one when I get there and prefer shooting non-rangefinder mf this way.)
     
  2. funkpilz

    funkpilz Member

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    I'm just gonna go ahead and suggest a Mamiya 7 or Bessa 667, but the former might be a little too big for your tastes. And the 667 is fixed lens.
    If weight were your only concern, I would certainly suggest the Bronica GS-1, which I find to be very managable for a 6x7 system SLR.
    Seriously though, I'm not sure wether it is actually possible to find a medium format camera small and light enough for you… unless you would accept folders.
     
  3. funkpilz

    funkpilz Member

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    I'm just gonna go ahead and suggest a Mamiya 7 or Bessa 667, but the former might be a little too big for your tastes. And the 667 is fixed lens.
    If weight were your only concern, I would certainly suggest the Bronica GS-1, which I find to be very managable for a 6x7 system SLR.
    Seriously though, I'm not sure wether it is actually possible to find a medium format camera small and light enough for you… unless you would accept folders.
     
  4. coigach

    coigach Subscriber

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    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 28, 2010
  5. Trask

    Trask Subscriber

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    They're expensive, but I really like my Plaubel 67 Wide -- it collapses so is very thin to carry, excellent lens, built in light meter, very well built. If I had to take only one camera when I'm traveling, I'd be hard pressed to choose between my Plaubel or a Minolta CLE 21/40/90 kit.
     
  6. Ralph Javins

    Ralph Javins Member

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    Good morning;

    Others have covered the cameras; I will address a backpack for cameras.

    You spoke of compartmentalization and the need for carrying a laptop computer. For that combination, I use a Lowe-Pro Compu Treker Plus AW. Yes, it is large, but that comes along with the space for the computer. That extra space can also be used for clothing and other things. As a pack, it also fits and functions fairly well for me, but the Lowe-Pro people have been making backpacks for years, so that is not really a surprise. The waistbelt is not quite the equal of my Gregory Denali-Pro, but it certainly does put the weight where it should be for me. Dan McHale may be one of the few people who could improve on Wayne Gregory's design and fit, but then, Dan does only custom made and fitted packs.

    LowePro does have an office in Markham, Ontario (905-944-9400), and many photo shops carry their products.

    When you return, please share with us the story and photographs of your trip to China.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 28, 2010
  7. jamesgignac

    jamesgignac Member

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    Ralph, thanks for the info on that one - I checked it out and I suppose I have to clarify: I'm scaling it down to one backpack for clothes, photo gear, and everything else I'll have (including a laptop) while I tour around and that one will probably not fit everything. I considered separate bags but I am not going to have a vehicle or storage space for much of my travels. It is a nice looking bag though, maybe something between that and the Denali Pro would work (that GDP is a very nice looking pack as well).

    Trask, I looked into a Plaubel but that would certainly dip deep into my overall budget...though I admit I am tempted. A Minolta CLE would be very smart as I'm bringing another camera with which I'm using M mount lenses for general image gathering (no names, but it's digi.)

    funkpilz, I'd love the Voigtlander but that's falling under the same category as Plaubel at this point - do-able but cutting away at my trip budget. I've considered a Mamiya 7 though and may end up picking one up...either that or a 6 as I'm kind of a fan of squares.

    coigach, the GA645's do look very nice - I may end up going for this one unless something else comes my way. It seems I sold of my more 'precision' gear and am leaning toward picking up stuff to shoot more quickly and easily (and hand-held.)

    Thanks for all of the suggestions and keep them coming if you can think of any more!
     
  8. wblynch

    wblynch Member

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  9. Matus Kalisky

    Matus Kalisky Subscriber

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    If MF SLR is too large than you should have a look at Mamiy 6 & 7 and the Bronica RF645 is you want to have the options to change lenses. Bronica is cheaper than Mamiya 7 and also a bit smaller. Only the long lenses (100 and 135) are hard to find.

    If you can work with fixed lens camera have a look at the Fuji GA645 or GA645w.

    Which focal lengths do you use most?

    Backpack with a dedicated camera-dividers will be bulky and will not accept too much other equipment (cloth, etc). Have a look at:

    Photobackpaker:
    http://photobackpacker.com/home.asp
    - some interesting backpack and lot of very light camera cases and cases with dividers. Mostly directed at LF photographers, but once you choose your setup you may find something there for you. I have from them one backpack and several lens and camera cases. Bruce (the owner) is very kind and helpful. I often carry my Rolleiflex in the double lens case (fits perfectly).

    kinesis
    http://www.kgear.com/store/
    - they have an interesting and light backpack. You can buy separate small padded camera inserts. They offer a lot of accessories too.

    ThinkTank offers also several interesting backpack.

    Have a nice trip.

    P.S. take one small back up 35mm P&S camera should your main one fail.
     
  10. jamesgignac

    jamesgignac Member

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    Heh, yes, I do have a Holga - but I 'mod-ed' it back in highschool and now it's a little embarassing to carry around :smile:

    slnce-z-gsi, thanks for the great recommendations - particularly on the backpack, both of those sites look EXTREMELY promising and I'm liking the prices too!!

    Anyhow I've decided to head back to my 'homeland' and pick up a 35mm rangefinder and at this point I'm thoroughly considering the Minolta CLE that was suggested earlier - I have a decent line-up of very fast m-mounts so it only makes sense to work that angle. Should I settle for a bit while over there I'm sure I'll get into MF or possibly LF (for the first time)...no predictions at this point.

    Thanks for the well-wishes, I'll be posting photos here as I go along. Thanks to all - I think my needs for now are more than satiated!
     
  11. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    You may want to think about detachable accessory bags that attach to a backpack. Check out REI for pack gear, keep your camera gear in seperate detachables in the front (or other handy place)and an extra belt to clip the bags on for short excursions. I just ordered a couple of bags from Cabela's. One is a carry-on bag, 450ci w/ one main bag and 4 outer zippered compartments, on sale for $9.99. The other one is their Cabela's Delux bag, 950ci of stowage and well padded for $24.95. Both were listed in the "bargain cave" with shipping and tax, together less than $50 total. I'll post pix of them when they show up.
    Hope you enjoy the excursion, makes me wish I were going on one.
     
  12. 36cm2

    36cm2 Member

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    Posted wirelessly..

    Small, light, with slight preference for 6x6 and rangefinders = Mamiya 6, Rolleiflex, Perkeo in that order by lens sharpness for me. Photobackpacker makes goooooood stuff. Enjoy your voyage. Sounds like a wonderful life opportunity.