Really minimal items . . . stick with one lens of 110mm to 135mm. Then for a tighter view use a roll film back, like a 6x7 Horseman, or similar. That effectively replaces having a longer lens. If you really want a wider lens, then add one 72mm to 80mm to your kit.
Change your film holder system to Kodak Readyload or Fuji Quickload, and try sticking with one film type. The Polaroid 545 is an option, but lacks a pressure plate. Also, it is slightly bulkier to pack than either the Fuji or Kodak holders. You can take the package out of the film box to save a small amount of room, though in reality the boxes are good protection for the film packets.
I am still working on a compact or small tripod solution. One item I am considering is the Berlebach table top tripod. Another possibility is one of those large bean bag pods, maybe from a gun supply place, though it seems I don't save weight with that, only bulk.
I am using a LowePro CompuTrekker AW as my simple carrying backpack. The computer slot fits film boxes of Readyloads or Quickloads nicely. The internal dividing system could be arranged better, though my field camera fits easily. I reverse the lens on the front standard, then the lens folds up into the camera. The rest of the holders, Toyo loupe, and lightmeter easily pack into the bag, still leaving space for me to add two more lenses, or even a small 35mm with a couple lenses.
I would think your current camera should be fine for weight and bulk. Unless you can switch to a Carbon Infinity, I don't think you could cut large amounts of weight. Just resist the temptation to take lots of lenses and your life can be easier with a 4x5 (and lighter).
My choices would be:
Ikeda Anba camera -- tiny and weighs about 3.5 pounds, uses Tech boards. Higher quality choice would be an Ebony 45Te, but it weighs about 6 pounds and is not as compact.
You said three lenses, so here goes, in order of preference:
1) Normal: Schneider 120 APO L (small), Scneider or Rodenstock 135 APO (L&S versions) or possibly a 150 GD Dagor (smallest) -- All are compact, lightweight and sharp.
2) Short: I would take my Schneider 65 Super Angulon MC -- not really compact, but very sharp, allows good movement and gets by without the center filter. (Sharp enough to crop slightly for slightly longer view.)
3) Long: Nikkor 300M or Fuji 300C or 8-1/4" (210) GD Dagor or Schneider 240 G-Claron or Fuji 240A, depending on location. All are sharp, in #1 shutters and quite compact.
Meter: Pentax Digital
Film: Quickloads of choice and Kodak holder.
Bag: ALL of that will easily fit in a Domke J2 shoulder bag.
Tripod: Gitzo 1228 w/Kirk or RRS small head
I estimate the entire outfit will weigh in at under 15 pounds.
For 4x5 Try the following
1) Ebony 45S
2) Schneider 80mm Super Symmar XL
3) Rodenstock 150 Sironar N or S
4) Nikon 300mm m/9 lens
5) Fuji Across Quickload Holder
6) Sheets of Fuji Neopan Across Film
I am able to fit the whole kit in a lowepro mini treker
The Carbon Infinity is not a lightweight camera, although it's lighter than some. It weighs about 3.5kg, and another kilo for the bag (it's difficult to leave that bag behind!).
Originally Posted by HerrBremerhaven
It also has the secondary effect of tempting you into bringing an extra long lens, and an extra short one... Mine has 65, 90, 121, 150, 180, 210, 240 and 355mm lenses on lens boards. To keep it light I would probably bring the 90 - but the Angulon, not the Super Angulon - the 150 (Germinar-W instead of Apo-Lanthar, and the 210 Xenar (f/6.1, not the f/4.5).
Or maybe the 180 Symmar instead of both the 150 and the 210, since it's really not bad at all when converted; so I get a "weightless long lens".
-- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
Tachihara 4x5 with 90/6.8 Caltar, 135/5.6 Sironar-S, 240/9 Germinar, Polaroid holder for Provia Quickloads and Pola 55, 2 holders for IR, filters (#16, IR, CP), meter, Palm pilot for calculations in the field, Gitzo CF with Arca B1.
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I'm generally interested in saving weight more than saving size, but the two go somewhat hand-in-hand. Here's some items to consider:
Originally Posted by darinwc
Camera: Anba-Ikeda/Nagaoka or original Gowland Pocket View. The original Gowland Pocket View (not the current model), at under 2 lbs. is the lightest commercially available 4x5 camera ever made. It's also one of the most compact. However, it requires assembly/disassembly to achive this compact status. It is also slow to change from vertical to horizontal, lacks zero detends on the movements and shares knobs for multiple functions (the knobs of the sides of the front standards control both front rise/fall and axis tilt AND also hold teh lensboards in place). If is was me, I'd prefer and Anba-Ikeda or Nagaoka. It's faster to set-up and easier to use than the Gowland and very nearly as compact when folded. Depening on which exact model you get, the weight will be between 2.5 and 2.75 lbs. These cameras fold up incedibly small - much smaller than other lightweight wooden field cameras.
3 Lenses: In a three lens set, I like to carry 90mm, 150mm and 240mm focal lengths. The absolutely most compact set would be:
90mm f6.3 WA Congo
150mm f6.3 Fujinon W
9½" Red Dot Artar
The Congo is available new and recent samples are multicoated. In the 150mm, there are other choices such as the 150mm f9 G Claron and my personal favorite, the 150mm f9 Germinar-W. Of the three, the Germinar-W is the only one that is multicoated and has the most coverage, but the Fuji and G Claron are ever-so-slightly more compact. If you can find a late model 9½" Red Dot Artar in a Compur shutter, it is a very compact lens, much smaller than the 240mm Fujinon A I usually recommend in this focal length.
Film Holders: For the most compact solution, I'd recommend a couple Grafmatics and a 50 sheet box of film. I usuaully carry a Quick/Readyload holders and packet films for weight savings and convenience, but a couple Grafmatics and a box, or two, of film will be much more compact than a equivalent number of Quick/Readyload packets. If you're staying in a hotel you can reload the Grafmatics at night in the bathroom and not even need to bring a changing tent.
Lightmeter: Gossen DigiSix - very tiny and lightweight. Does both direct and incident readings, also has built-in alarm clock, thermometer and timer functions.
Tripod: I prefer the three-sections Gitzo carbon fiber models for the best combination of lightweight and rigidity. However, they aren't the most compact. You may want to look at one of the four-section Gitzo carbon fiber models are the Linhof model Ted Harris recommends. Gitzo also has some SIX section carbon fiber models out now that are incredibly compact, both with all those locking collars to loosen/tighten and the spindly little bottom leg section they take forever to set-up/tear-down and aren't nearly as rigid as the three and four section models.