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  1. #1

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    Traveling and photography - 4x5 or 6x6?

    Hi all,

    I am taking a lengthy trip this December/January, leaving the confines of New York for a few weeks in Sweden, Spain and France. While I'll be quite busy with other projects, I am also planning to take a large quantity of photographs during this trip. I'm a bit torn between two camera options, and wanted to get opinions from the masses...

    Option A:
    Busch Pressman Model 'D'
    Wollensak-Raptar 135mm f4.7
    6-8 film holders
    6x7 back
    75 sheets of B&W 4x5 sheet film
    10 or so rolls of color 120

    Option B:
    Hasselblad 500c
    60mm CB / 120 S-Planar / 250 CT*
    waist level finder, maybe a chimney finder
    80-100 rolls of 120, mixture of B&W and color (probably 70% B&W)

    Weight/space wise, Option A will be considerably less. I would be likely to bring the same tripod/head with either set. Shooting all 120 will result in a lot more images, as well as the ability to do more handheld shots, but it will also end up exhausting a lot more of my film budget. While color large format work is just out of my budget right now, the 6x7 back opens up the option if necessary. I, sadly, am not able to optically enlarge in my current living situation, so MF is all scanned and archived for future printing. I contact print my 4x5 work.

    Maybe I tipped my preference by posting this in the LF forum rather than the MF, but I oscillate back and forth. I do find the idea of documenting Sweden with a Hasselblad novel (I got to shoot Berlin with a Rolleiflex last year and greatly enjoyed it...) but certainly not essential. I could bring the Rolleiflex instead, obviously cutting my weight back a lot, but it is also much more limited and I think I will be doing a lot of landscapes and architecture. The limitation of a single lens bothers me less with 4x5 (and I suppose I could set my mind to getting a telephoto lens to bring as well, but I don't currently own one).

    Thanks for any advice and opinions in advance!

  2. #2

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    I think convenience trumps most other concerns in travel photography. Take the system that feels more automatic in your hands, say I.

    -NT
    Nathan Tenny
    San Diego, CA, USA

    The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
    -The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_

  3. #3

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    In June of this year my wife and I went and visited relatives in Japan, first time for me but my wife was born there. I had the choice of three camera's, 4x5 with film holders, lens and a sturdy tripod, or the Hasselblad with 3 lens and 2 backs and a tripod, and the last option was the Rolliecord that had just been CLA'd. My wife made up the traveling plans and schedule and after lookin the schedule over I figured there would not be a whole lot of time to be fooling around with the 4x5 or Hasselblad as well as dragging our luggage around and visiting relatives. So toke the Rollie and was glad I did, no lens to worry about just a light meter and small tripod and 20 rolls of film. Your situation could be different from mine but this worked out pretty good for me, and as far as missing photo op's for lack of a different size lens there were all ways ample others opportunities that worked out well with just the one normal lens.

    If in the future we go back there again, then I might take the larger camera's and len's and get the phot's I passed up the first time.Good luck to ya, no matter what you take it will work out fine I'm sure.

    Mike

  4. #4
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    Option C:

    Busch Pressman Model 'D'
    Wollensak-Raptar 135mm f4.7
    6-8 film holders
    75 sheets of B&W 4x5 sheet film

    20 or so rolls of color 120
    Rolleiflex
    Mark Barendt, Beaverton, OR

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Ana´s Nin

  5. #5
    jp498's Avatar
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    Rolleiflex gets my vote. I've traveled with one before and it's easy and produces quality film photos. 80-100 rolls seems like a lot (not to carry, but to process/scan afterwards), but might as well go prepared.

  6. #6
    jnanian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markbarendt View Post
    Option C:

    Busch Pressman Model 'D'
    Wollensak-Raptar 135mm f4.7
    6-8 film holders
    75 sheets of B&W 4x5 sheet film

    20 or so rolls of color 120
    Rolleiflex


    +2

  7. #7
    Pioneer's Avatar
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    Of the options you have given the only one that appeals to me is the Rolleiflex. Obviously the others will do the job as well but they will be far bulkier.

    Since I have begun using quality folding cameras I carry them in preference to all others while traveling. They are ridiculously easy to pack and a dream to carry. My favorite at this time is the Fuji GF670, but I have also successfully used an Agfa Super Isolette and Voigtlander Bessa.

  8. #8
    paul_c5x4's Avatar
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    Northern Europe is going to be bitterly cold at that time of year. You will not be wanting to stand around in the icy cold winds setting up a 5x4, so I'd go with the Hasselblad. You'll also find it a lot more discrete out on the streets - Important if you're planning on doing any candid shots.

  9. #9
    Bruce Osgood's Avatar
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    This is a great question and I'm also pondering the solutions.

    I think the question only revolves around convenience. This seems to be the heart of the matter. When you're out and about by yourself and there is no schedule to meet there is nothing more convenient than a large format camera and all the trimmings. When you're doing snap-shots there is nothing like a quick and dirty digital. But when really need a film fix and you're expected somewhere in a couple of hours or your wife/family/weather say's you better get going, then I'm thinking Fuji GW690W II.

    It'll give you a negative that you can hold onto. Only one lens needed. Can be carried on the shoulder and doesn't take 36 exposures before changing film.

    I haven't done anything about it but just thinking.
    Bruce Osgood
    Chinese proverb
    "Print with #3.5 and burn with #1.5." B.J. Confucius
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/camclicker/

  10. #10
    polyglot's Avatar
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    For big trips, I would only take medium format. I can't carry enough film holders for a day of good shooting, nor do I want to spend the time every evening loading and unloading holders. On my previous overseas trips, I found myself shooting about 30-50 frames/day (3-5 rolls of 6x7) which is just not feasible for me in LF but is trivial for medium format.

    Can you get a 70mm back for the 'blad? That stuff is compact: you get about 70 frames of 6x6 (without reloading!) in a little metal can about 3x the volume of a 120 roll. Developing can be a chore though.

    For shorter trips and especially where you don't expect to get many shots per day, sure, take the 4x5. I'm going to Perth for a week tomorrow, and I will be taking my Toyo 45A, 12 holders, 3 lenses and a couple boxes of TMY2 all in a little backpack.

    Edit: while I like markbarendt's Option C, transport might be an issue. Your film and cameras should only be in the carry-on luggage when flying and I certainly can't fit both my LF and MF systems into one bag. They're each a whole bagful including film.

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