travel and 4x5 spoiling 35mm :-)

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by MikeM1977, May 31, 2006.

  1. MikeM1977

    MikeM1977 Member

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    In the past 8 months, I've mostly concentrated all my photography on 4x5. Last weekend I shot a roll of 35mm (Delta 400) and made a couple 8x10 prints last night. I couldn't believe the grain and lack of tonality...at first I thought I botched development, but no, contrast is good and the exposure is right. I used to be quite satisfied with 35mm before entering the world of large-format!!

    The real problem is that I plan on making my first trip to Europe in a few months. I've been advised by many to leave my 4x5 at home as my wife and I plan to hop around quite a bit in 2-3 weeks. It seems I have 3 options: 1) 35mm only (tripod and slow film at least), 2) go with a very minimal 4x5 setup (my camera is a Shen-Hao) and have my wife take digi-crap snapshots, 3) purchase medium-format like a Mamiya 7 and be satisfied with 6x7 negs.

    I'm actually leaning towards (1) or just maybe (3), but I thought I'd post here in case any of you have had a similar dilemna.
     
  2. roteague

    roteague Member

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    I'm not sure what you mean by "hop around". If you are going on a guided tour, stick with 35mm; you won't have time for the 4x5. If you are traveling on your own, take both. I always take a full 4x5 kit, with a minimal 35mm kit (one 35mm body, one 24-120 zoom and one 105 macro).
     
  3. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Go MF.

    Depending little on what sort of LF gear you have, I wouldn't recommend bringing LF on a trip which isn't explicitly a photography trip. In other words: Bring wife or Lf, not both (unless you go on a photography trip and she insists on coming along, in which case the only alternative to taking her along is to leave her.)

    My "travel camera" is a Bronica ETRS. Small enough not to dominate the luggage, big enough to give decent prints, and 15 shots to a roll of film. 6x7 gives you - what? - 10 shots to a roll? Then you'll need at least two more backs (I bring two)! MF can be shot without a tripod, despite statements to the contrary. You just need to focus very carefully, since you'll be shooting wide open to get the shutter time as short as possible.


    Maybe bring along a small lightweight 35mm camera as a P&S - I tend to bring my Bessa-L everywhere. With a 21mm lens I can't miss the subject, can I?
     
  4. bicycletricycle

    bicycletricycle Subscriber

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    I say you go nocternal.

    bring the 4x5 and shoot at night. It wont bother your wife because she will be sleeping and everything is more mysterious at night anyways. Also a rollfilm back for the 4x5 might make it a little less of a handfull. i have one of those da-yi ones that go on ebay for about $250. Its actually pretty nice and if you want you can shoot 6x12.
     
  5. Steve Hamley

    Steve Hamley Member

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    My current travel and snapshot rig is a Mamiya 7II and three lenses. You won't be unhappy with the quality compared to 4x5. I'm thinking about picking up a 65mm lens...

    Steve
     
  6. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    Perhaps shoot slower film and use 35mm in ways that it's difficult to use LF. Use ultrawide lenses or fast primes or handholdable medium telephotos. If you use your gear right, you can get a dozen good pictures in the time it would take you to get one good one with LF.

    Accept that the quality won't be as good. After all, driving a pickup truck isn't as much of a driving experience as driving a convertible, but it's a lot easier to move a dresser in a pickup truck.

    I purposely went light on a recent trip to Montreal. I carried a pair of Nikon manual bodies, a 16 fisheye, a 17-35 zoom, a 50, a 105 and an 80-200. This was all in a small bag that I carried everywhere I went. If I didn't have the gear I needed to take a given photo, I said "oh well!" and simply enjoyed the experience of being there.
     
  7. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    Firstly, Mike compliments are in order for choosing Wisconsin as a place of residence.

    You are going to Europe. Neat. What is the primary purpose in going to Europe? What is it you plan or hope to photograph? Whay kind of time restrictions are likely to be encountered? Is it likely that you will be able to use a tripod? Can you carry with you a full day's supply of film?

    So, now you are able to make your compromise. I hope that you are happy with your choice. If the choice is 35mm and if you are going to employ a film the you are not used working with it, get comfortable with it before taking your trip.

    Just a few thoughts: This trip is likely to be very special to your wife also. Talk to each other. Do not waste any time or emotion on later regretting your choice.
     
  8. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Where in Europe are you going? The French, particularly the Parisians, have become a bit of a pain-in-the-derriere about tripod use apparently. The 4x5 will flag you even more in the eyes of the average french cop as being a "professionel" and they will want to see your permit. That said, the Shen Hao is a GREAT travel camera. I took mine around San Francisco and up into the Sierras and it did equally well in urban and wilderness shooting.

    If you're concerned about being crunched for time, I'd probably second the notion of taking a medium format kit. However, even with the current pricing of MF gear being the bargain basement that it is, you could still easily spend as much on the camera as you do on the rest of the trip.

    I know it sounds somewhat heretical, but try this as the least expensive option - shoot some of the Kodak T-400 CN chromogenic film. Shoot it at 100, and have your lab process it normally. You'll get really dense but very fine, grainless negatives that you can easily enlarge to 12x18 full-frame without quality loss.

    Shoot a roll or two before you go and see if this will provide a viable alternative for you. I shot my entire trip to Cambodia that way, and have been very happy with the results. I've even sold a good number of prints from that series.
     
  9. scott k

    scott k Member

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    Have fun

    Mike,

    I'd go with a medium format kit as well. I don't travel much and gave up my Mamiya C220 since I got a Crown Graphic. For travel I think the Mamiya TLR is a good inexpensive way to give medium format a try. You can pick up a camera with normal lens for less than $200 and a wide angle lens for the same price. It's only 6x6 but much better than 135. I really liked the camera but found I wasn't using it at all after getting the Crown. If you want to shoot large format a Crown or Speed Graphic can work pretty fast and you can sell it when you get back without a lot of loss.

    Scott
     
  10. roteague

    roteague Member

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    And what color film would you recommend?
     
  11. mark

    mark Member

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    Go with the medium format. If for no other reason than this gives you an excuse to buy one. I would love a Mamiya 7II. You will have bigger negsor slides and the prints will not suffer greatly from enlargement. COmpare a 35mm neg to a 6x7 and you will see what I mean. Leave the LF at home. You and your wife will have more fun if you are loaded with camera equipment.

    In our forays to Vancouver I learned quickly that being able to shoot and move on made the wife happier. And my shoulder did not hurt as much. I use a Hartblei Master 88 and I carry two lenses: 45mm and a 120. I carry three film backs. One for BW-Delta 100 and two for color Provia 100F and I keep a very small supply of velvia and 400NC negative film. This and a light tripod is a fine walking setup.

    Have fun on your trip. I am Jealous.
     
  12. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    MF. I wouldn't want to try using a tripod in a city during high tourist season. Monopod maybe -)
     
  13. dphphoto

    dphphoto Member

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    What 35mm camera are you using? Try XP5, rated at 200 or 250, in HC110 dil. E or H. If you don't have one, pick up a Contax G1 or G2, with the 45mm Planar. Then, find a Leitz Valoy enlarger. I got one a couple of years ago off eBay for $50. That's right, $50.!!! You'll get the best 35mm quality you've ever had.
    This comes from an almost pure 4X5 and 8X10 guy. Personally I'd love to shoot in Europe with my Contax. Anyone else a Cartier-Bresson wanna-be? Dean
     
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  15. roteague

    roteague Member

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    And what color film would you recommend?
     
  16. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    Advising people to spend big dollars on additional photo equipment seems to be quite popular on Apug.

    If for reasons of insanity or otherwise you choose to buy a new camera, I strongly urge your getting very familar with it before leaving on the trip.

    One needs to be careful of getting OS..Ole Syndrome...it is virulent and extremely contagious.
     
  17. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi mike

    we travel to eastern france from time to time to visit family.
    whenever we go, i want to bring a lf kit. nothing to elaborate -
    a box or 2 of film, a few holders and either a box camera or a speed
    graphic + 1 lens - a 127 tominon. i go through the motions of packing it, until i realize how big all
    this stuff is ( for main luggage or carry-on ) then i think bout shipping it
    (since we have family to ship to) and shipping back
    to avoid the hassle of bringing it all with me ...
    until i come to an understanding of the cost of shipping.
    then i realize that 35mm really isn't that bad,
    and i bring a pentax
    a few lenses and a bunch of film
    an auto110 ( the camera and all the lenses can fit in my shirt pocket)
    + my better 1/2's point and shoot.
    i don't know if xp2 is still made,
    but you might consider it as well as cn400 ...
    the ilford film is designed with b/w darkroom in mind,
    the kodak version has an orange mask and
    is made with the (color) mini-lab in mind.
    both are smooth films and you can get nice enlargments from them,
    if you don't want to use traditional b/w film.
    color- we usually use fujichrome astia (?) 100 and cheep-o-consumer fuji color fillm.
    we usually get a good price / roll and buy 50 at a time.

    even though we will be visiting family again this winter,
    we we will have a home-base, a car and a few weeks on our plate,
    i will probably bring a 35mm again ( no auto110 )
    and not sweat it
    ( unless i can make a collapsable pinhole camera and bring a box of paper with me.)
    i don't enlarge bigger than 8x10 paper anymore,
    so grain &C isn't much of an issue.
    i'll probably shoot either ilford 400 xxx,+x or tm? and the same color as B4.

    good luck with your decision.

    john
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 31, 2006
  18. dphphoto

    dphphoto Member

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    I meant HP5. Sorry. I haven't shot color film in years. When I did, I used whatever Fuji had out at the time.
     
  19. roteague

    roteague Member

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    The reason I asked you and TheFlyingCamera is because there seems to be a real myoptic view here on APUG that everyone shoots only B&W.
     
  20. dphphoto

    dphphoto Member

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    Good points. But I'd still recommend anyone doing 35mm to get a Leitz enlarger, at whatever price level you can afford. It WILL make a difference. And mine really was $50.
    You're in Milwaukee? I went to Marquette long, long ago. Dean
     
  21. naturephoto1

    naturephoto1 Subscriber

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    I agree with many of the suggestions that a medium format camera would be a good compromise. Specifically, as mentioned, the Mamiya 7/7II would make a good traveling companion.

    Rich
     
  22. dphphoto

    dphphoto Member

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    I've seen some beautiful color work on the galleries here. I shoot b&w because I like it better than color, but that's me. In the old days I worked in pro labs as a custom color printer, then shot in a couple of places as an in-house studio photographer. So I could do color if I wanted to. B&W's more fun. Dean
     
  23. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    It seems you're right, and I'm as guilty of that as anyone.

    I use Kodak Portra 160NC and 160VC, as long as it still exists...
     
  24. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    I wrote a long message about my experience in Europe but the APUG spell checker croaked and lost it.

    I took a 645 and three lenses, tripod, monopod. In Paris a tripod is looked at like a rifle. In churches a camera and flash will get you yelled at. I should have taken my Busch 2x3 and all the accessories, Graflok back with Grafmatics, film holders and roll film holders. That would have given me some perspective control when I could use a tripod and sheet and roll film choices with the ability to change speeds and emulsions. I could shoot BW 6x7 sheet and then 120 color. If I were to take a view camera it would be my 5x7. I figure if I am going to do it might as well go a little larger. A hand held 8x10 would work too.

    Regards,
    Curt
     
  25. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    You can do very fine work with a 35mm, 2 or 3 lens, slow to medium speed film either black and white or color with a monopod. My personal perferance is to shoot Kodak B&W C41 so I can have the negatives processed before I return as well as ASA 100 or 200 color film. I often travel with a small rangfinder and a 6X6 TLR as well, my wife carries the rangfinder in her luggage and I carry the 6X6 in my camera bag with a small light meter. I pay extra to buy film on the road and have it processed as I shoot it in case I really mess up and want to reshoot. When I worked in Italy and Africa I only worked in 35mm but would shoot my personal stuff with 6X6 or even 4X5 with a Crown. Traveling with 4X5 is much more of a challenge, changing film, getting it processed, keeping the air port folks from opening a box of exposed film, and just keeping track of each 4X5 negative takes time and commitment.

    Good luck and have fun.
     
  26. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    Yes DPhphoto we remeber you. Largley recovered are we. The local pholks are working with Homeland Security to be prepared for a similar situation. .