Is there a 4x5 I could pack while Mt. biking?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Jedidiah Smith, Apr 4, 2009.

  1. Jedidiah Smith

    Jedidiah Smith Member

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    Every time I return to this subject in my mind (rather often), I realize I just need a bigger format for what I like to shoot (landscape/nature). I've tried 3 medium format cameras and wasn't really that sold on any of them...for the hassle over 35mm shooting, I may as well shoot something big (or so I always think when schlepping a 6x7 MF or something around). :D

    So...is there a place I can look to start getting some knowledge of portable LF systems, and how big one would really be? Ideally I'd like to be able to put something in a back pack small enough to Mt. bike with. If I can't do that, I may as well stick to my 35mm stuff, or perhaps find that perfect MF camera out there somewhere...
    Thanks for discussion,
    Jed
     
  2. Paul Goutiere

    Paul Goutiere Subscriber

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    Find a nice Crown Graphic with a good lens, shutter and bellows. Not too expensive, can fit newer lenses etc., repairable, rangefinder or ground glass, surprisingly rugged, best of all; folds up small and is light weight.
     
  3. Peter Black

    Peter Black Subscriber

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  4. David William White

    David William White Member

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    I've got a Toyo 45CF (carbon fiber) which is light and folds up nicely with a 135 or 150 lens in place. Also, probably the cheapest 4x5 on the market today. I can hike and carry it in a shoulder bag.

    I think if you were really clever, you could turn your bike upside down and use it as a tripod, with 1/4" bolt welded to the bottom.
     
  5. SMBooth

    SMBooth Member

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  6. Fotoguy20d

    Fotoguy20d Subscriber

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    I'll second Paul. They're rugged and best of all not very expensive. Add in a Grafmatic or two instead of double sided film holders to save a bit on size and weight. Of course, my opinion might be a bit biased since I happen to have 3 Crown Graphics and a couple of Grafmatics I'm looking to sell.

    Dan
     
  7. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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  8. Bill Harrison

    Bill Harrison Subscriber

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    I'll third Paul, and second Fotoguy who has what you need available.... Best, Bill
     
  9. Anthony Lewis

    Anthony Lewis Member

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    The Toho 45FC. Very small, light weight, with plenty of movements, and bellows extension. Mine is perfect for backpacking. Refer to Kerry Thallmans website.
     
  10. phaedrus

    phaedrus Member

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    The tripod's the trouble, so to speak. So if you don't want to handhold with something like a Razzle like SMBooth suggests, you're in for another compromise. Stability versus weight/size, but you know that from the bike. Where to put the tripod? Certainly not sticking up from a backpack, I shudder to imagine the possible hangups. Bungie-corded to the top tube, perhaps.
     
  11. Jedidiah Smith

    Jedidiah Smith Member

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    Thanks for all the responses - lot to think about here. I will take a look at each camera mentioned.
    To be honest, I wasn't thinking about the tripod. Hmmm...suppose it will take a bigger one than I use with 35mm shots - that may be problematic on the bike. Well, I could still scout out stuff when Mt. biking, and then return on foot (ugh...I love wheels) to capture scenes if I had to.

    EDIT: Hahaha...I had to laugh at the suggestion of turning my bike over and using for a tripod - and then I got to thinking...there's a good idea in there somewhere! :smile:

    Appreciate all the info, I will do some looking at all this. Never had a 4x5...must be sweet looking at the slide / negs.
    Jed
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 4, 2009
  12. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    I have carried a 4x5 on a mountain bike for a few thousand miles, so it is possible. But most of that was on roads (paved and unpaved) and just a little single track. My purpose on the bike was to photograph, so I was willing to compromise speed and agility of the bike to accomindate photography.

    First off, I dislike greatly having anything on my back...don't like the higher center of gravity, the sweating wet back, the chance of falling and landing on my gear, nor the extra weight pushing my butt down on the seat. But my mtn bike had no suspension and rear suspension does make a rack and panniers difficult if not impossible.

    I had two rear panniers for the gear and lunch, and the tripod fit nicely strapped on top of the rear rack with a couple bungee cords. With this set-up, just about any field 4x5 will do...just pad it well within the panniers.

    If your bike has full suspension and can not take a rear rack/panniers, then think about picking up a used clunker hard-tailed mtn bike to return to places you see on your rides on the better bike.

    I see a clash of objectives -- a desire for speed and a desire to get out there, fighting the slow-down type of photography that usually (but not always) seems to go along with view camera use. As long as photography is not the main reason you are out there on your bike, you might want to consider keeping with medium format. My first, biased, choice is a TLR -- especially a Rollei, then after that a folder. Light simple cameras with no extra lenses to haul around.
    Vaughn
     
  13. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    B&J press camera. Closed looks like a small kids lunch box. Metal body. Very cheap. Good front movements. Downside no rear movements. Won't take real long lenses. Call it limited to about 240mm? Will go fairly wide. No graflex back so only standard film holders or slip in rollfilm backs.
     
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  15. Muihlinn

    Muihlinn Member

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    gowland pocket view
     
  16. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Like others I've travelled a few thousand miles with a bike & a 5x4, I always carried my Wista, wrapped well in a pannier, with a bracket to hold the tripod. Although I only use racing bikes I was often off road on rough tracks/terrain. In hindsight a Graphic would be better if you you can cope with the very limited movements.

    I'll be biking with a 5x4 again in a few days (when I'm in the UK) and will have to use a Speed Graphic (no shutter) so will see how practical it is.

    Ian
     
  17. Doremus Scudder

    Doremus Scudder Member

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    FWIW, my Wista DX folds up with a lens on it and weighs just over 3 pounds. It folds closed with small lenses from 100mm to 240mm (Kodak Wide-Field Ektar 100mm, Nikkor-W 135mm and 150mm, Kodak Ektar f7.7 203mm, Fujinon A, 240mm).

    I carry the camera and 4 lenses in a fanny pack. Of course, you will need a tripod, but a small carbon fiber job and a ball head could by strapped on the bike somewhere. You'll have to figure out where the filmholders, meter, filters, etc. go... I do bike with my kit a bit, and sometimes for long day trips, but not in real rugged country.

    Best and good luck,

    Doremus Scudder
    www.DoremusScudder.com
     
  18. Bruce Watson

    Bruce Watson Member

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    Yup. My Toho is the only camera I own. Extremely light weight. Full movements on both ends. Very rigid and sturdy when locked down.

    I've been using mine for six+ years; over a thousand sheets of film by now. I've backpacked it all over, up and down the mountains, desert, coast, rain forest, you name it. It's so good that I've not given other cameras a second thought.
     
  19. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I'll second that suggestion. Depending on what version you get it's about 2.5-3 lbs, and a couple of compact lenses and small filters don't add much weight, and you can use a fairly lightweight tripod. Add a couple of Grafmatics, and you can easily keep the whole kit under 8 lbs.

    If you want the quicker setup of a folding camera, Ikeda Anba is a very light wooden camera, and if you want more functionality with out much more weight in a folding camera, then the Chamonix would be a good choice.
     
  20. lonepeak

    lonepeak Member

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    Here's my two cents...I routinely MB with a Wista DXIII. I carry the camera, a couple of lenses and other essentials in a Lowepro backpack without issues. The tripod and film on my seat post mounted rack (full suspension bike). It would be nice to have some panniers to keep a lower center of gravity but it doesn't hamper me since I'm used to it. Be prepared for a much slower go than you would without the extra weight!
     
  21. coriana6jp

    coriana6jp Member

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    Horseman Woodman 4x5 is about as lite as they come. Weighs in at about 2 pounds and folds up very smell & has more movements than a press camera. Good for biking/hiking but I would not want one as my main camera.

    Gary
     
  22. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    The only thing you need to watch with wooden cameras is that the screws tend to come loose with the constant vibration, it's not a major problem but is something you need to look out for. It happens with my Wista.

    Ian
     
  23. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    I'd not go for anything with bellows and ground glass for mtn. biking. (Then again, maybe it depends what you mean by mountain biking....)

    I'd suggest the fotoman, or if you have lots of money to blow, maybe the alpa. (Isn't that alpa site amusing?! Wish I were actually shopping when I visit it)

    Better yet... as few moving parts as possible... a 4x5 pinhole camera! You need a long break from the athletic activity anyway :wink:

    Tripod is no prob, the bike can be a tripod. Put a stand on the bike, put a tube inside the stem to the seat, pop off the seat, voila.
     
  24. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    The Wista's don't have glass screens :D

    Ian
     
  25. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Re: glass screens, Diwan Bhathal taught me that a homemade plexiglas screen works almost as well. It's not so bright, sure, but it truly cannot be broken. I did my 5x7 Yosemite trip with one that we scratched up with pipe compound at Diwan's place.

    Still, I think you'd be better off scale focusing. If you get as hot and sweaty as I do when biking then you'll not want to duck under a dark cloth and screw around with ground glass. The crown gives you many focusing options, perhaps that is best. It is also inexpensive. But it is heavy.

    But a pinhole.... nothing to break, nothing to focus!! Hard to beat! Put some fuji fp3000b45 in there and off you go!
     
  26. WarEaglemtn

    WarEaglemtn Member

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    Yes, there are a number of them on the market both new and used. Add in Mido film holders and you can keep the weight down.

    You ought to decide though if you are riding to ride or going out to photograph and gear up accordingly.