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  1. #1

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    travel and 4x5 spoiling 35mm :-)

    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. #2
    roteague's Avatar
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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).
    Robert M. Teague
    www.visionlandscapes.com
    www.apug.org/forums/portfolios.php?u=2235

    "A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist" -- Louis Nizer

  3. #3
    Ole
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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?
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

  4. #4

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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. #5

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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. #6
    PhotoJim's Avatar
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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. #7

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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.
    Claire (Ms Anne Thrope is in the darkroom)

  8. #8
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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. #9

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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. #10
    roteague's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheFlyingCamera
    I know it sounds somewhat heretical, but try this as the least expensive option - shoot some of the Kodak T-400 CN chromogenic film.
    And what color film would you recommend?
    Robert M. Teague
    www.visionlandscapes.com
    www.apug.org/forums/portfolios.php?u=2235

    "A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist" -- Louis Nizer

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