Which 4x5 Camera for Dusty/Sandy Place

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by jeroldharter, Dec 18, 2008.

  1. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    I have an upcoming trip scheduled for Death Valley in February and plan to visit the usual sights including sand dunes.

    I have a brand new Arca Swiss F-Line Metric at my disposal or a Canham DLC.

    I want to take the Arca and get a lot more experience with it. but I have read some posts (can't remember details) of people implying that it might be more affected by sand or dust because of its mechanics, lubricants, etc. It is possible I was thinking of an Arca ball head (which I also plan to use). Might the Canham be more at home in Death Valley?

    Any opinions/advice?
     
  2. kirkfry

    kirkfry Member

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    Buy a CC401 Calumet for $100 and don't worry about it. k
     
  3. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Either one will be fine.
     
  4. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    Use the Carbon Infinity. :D
     
  5. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    Just clean it well when you get home! Cameras get dirty :smile:
     
  6. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    They both look dainty. Get a hairy chested, give it hell all you want wooden field camera for gnarly conditions. My almost 30 year old Wista looks like a battered veteran and won't win any beauty contests, but it follows me wherever I take it.

    Murray
     
  7. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Best option is something that has as few geared movements as possible (ie- NOT the Arca). The Canham will be better, but get some cheap woody field camera that will take the Wista/Linhof boards. A Shen Hao is a great option - I took mine hiking in the high desert in the California Sierra, in conditions that ranged from freezing to 80 F in the course of a day, and just had to wipe it down. Another plus is the bag bellows for it is cheap ($100).
     
  8. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    Sounds like I am fussing to much. I will probably piddle around with the Arca over Christmas break and then take the Canham.
     
  9. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    Ditto. It isn't the _camera_ that forms the image, especially true with view cameras, you can mount the lens on a cardboard box and come away with the same picture.

    Use a camera that runs 'dry' - no grease in the gears, better yet, no gears. If the sand gets grease on it it is impossible to blow away with compressed air. The sand you have to watch out for is more like dust than sand - nano-sand, as it were.

    Wood is a better choice in DV because it has a low heat capacity. Black finished metal can get murderously hot in the sun. Take a white-on-the-outside darkcloth. I am probably over-reacting - in the dead of winter the sun won't be so bad - I've always managed to end up in DV around June 22 and my memories are of being in a solar furnace...
     
  10. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    Death Valley in the winter is a very pleasant place to be

    The max daytime temp is only low 80s

    The sun is not that strong at that time of year but the advice about a reflective shell on the outside of the dark cloth is good advice in almost any weather.

    I found the best light in DV to be very first thing in the morning either just before or just after sun rise.

    Within an hour of the sun coming up an aerial haze begins to form and you’re done until sunset.

    It can be surprisingly cool in DV fist thing in the morning – for Death Valley at least – at or just below freezing point.

    What camera to take – which ever one you can carry most easily and are prepared to drop – the best locations area further than you think from the car parks plus the sand/gravel/rock surfaces surprisingly difficult under foot.

    Have a great time

    Martin

    ps - Don’t forget the desert survival stuff – even in Feb its still a hostile place to be stuck.
     
  11. Palantiri7

    Palantiri7 Member

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    I use a metric Arca in blowing, sandy conditions all the time. I wouldn't hesitate to use it.
     
  12. waterlily

    waterlily Member

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    At the end of the day, take the back off of the camera, extend the bellows to almost maximum and place on a white surface back side down and run your fingers up and down the bellows. You would be surprised how much dust and fine debris may come out. Also, load your clean film holders in zip lock bags. Carry a brush to clean lenses, film holders, etc. Be sure to dust off the back of lenses and lens boards before mounting. It helps some to tap film holders against your hand to help knock off any dust from the surface before inserting into the camera. Quick Loads are nice and avoid many dust problems. Death Valley is a wonderful place to photograph. Good luck.
     
  13. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    All cameras get dirty. You have to clean all of them at some time. You should always use the best of what you have to get the best photos you are capable of. Just clean your equipment regularly...more so if used in dusty conditions. I use a metal field camera for my rural dusty road location work. It has some geared movements and some friction movements. I have never had a problem, although the exterior of the camera gets quite dusty after a whole day on back dirt roads. I keep my film holders in a lidded case until I am ready to use them. I generally take out about 100 5x7 holders, packed in 2 wood boxes with latchable lids.