For the past year or so I have been photographing with a Sinar F2. I love the way the camera handles once it's on the tripod but it's been a real pain to carry more than a short walk from the car. I'm guessing I'm not the first person to have this experience and this forum seems like the perfect place to ask...
Has anyone out there found a convenient way to take their Sinar with them on longer hikes?
Descriptions of your methods, equipment and photos of how you pack these somewhat cumbersome cameras are greatly appreciated!
Good morning, Kevin;
I have not been out too often with them, but I do have an F and an F1. I use a fairly large Gregory pack, because that is one that I have, and the thing does fit me. I take mine off the rail, and I wrap the standards and bellows with a Velcro strap and then a cloth wrap around them. All of the other parts (usually 2 lenses on boards, et cetera) also get wrapped. The film holders in plastic bags are in a bag that holds 8 of them. The drape is used as padding in the pack. The tripod head goes in the pack. The tripod is either strapped onto the pack, or it is carried separately. The rest of my stuff that I might need if I am kept out overnight is also in the pack. Yes, it does weigh something. So far, I have not really needed more than 5 of my film holders.
Enjoy; Ralph, Latte Land, Washington
I also have a 4x5 F2/F1 camera, (but also a P1 camera with 8x10 and 5x7 rear standard combined with a multipurpose front standard), also lenses from 65mm to 760mm with extra rails, bellows and multipurpose standards (just too much!). And thinking almost everyday how to solve "transportation problems". Would like to move beyond close to home and close to my car! Sometimes prefer the P1 equipment since it is very easy to put the rear frame with the back and bellows, and lenses in a rucksack; then the rail with rear frame holder and the front (multipurpose) standard on the tripod and carrying it over my shoulder walking around. Sometimes think I should get rid of my F camera and just get a 4x5" rear frame to the P camera equipment, but not sure it's the optimal solution for the 4x5" option. So back to the "transportation problem" for the 4x5" F camera. I think Ralf is on the right track, putting the standards off the rail and getting the stuff into some kind of good rucksack (not familiar with a Gregory pack) hopefully sold on the market. When I bought my F camera I made a very beautiful (!) box along the Sinars original design, the whole camera hanging up side down. Yes, it's a beautiful box that I'm quite proud of but it's not very smart to carry around for a longer hike (in fact impossible!). Perhaps I should add that I haven't found the rucksack I would like, so I have the same problem as you, Kevin.
Hi Kevin, you can take a look at the picture of my pack on the main page of this group. I use one of the new Kelty P1 packs and a lens case from photobackpacker.com. Bruce (the gentleman who is the founder of the Photobackpacker system), made me a custom enclosure that holds my F1 in the pack.
In the picture I have the camera on a 12" rail but have started to pack it with a 6" rail. I also picked up a low profile tripod/rail clamp. This is the real space saver. It looks similar to the main clamp of P standard. For me it has worked out great. I get 4 lenses, and all kinds of other goodies easily in the pack. It is not that heavy, unless I have gobs of holders. If you have any questions, let me know. I spent a great deal of time and lot's of trial and error with different approaches. I now use it a lot more.
Thanks for the responses!
CGross: I was actually inspired to ask the question after I saw your posting. I bought a Kelty Redwing 3100 a few weeks ago and took it on a test run, hiking in Yosemite last weekend. It was incredibly comfortable and I'm planning on contacting Photobackpacker to have it properly outfitted. Even without the dividers and cases there was a good space for the camera fully assembled, a few lenses and other LF accessories. Even some snacks! Now I just have to figure out how I want to arrange the space.
I'll post some photos of the setup when it's finished.
Kevin, looking forward to seeing your photos of the pack!
I leave the rail (without end caps) and the rail clamp on the tripod, with the head tilted so that the rail is oriented the same way as the tripod legs. I leave the bellows attached to both carrier frames and wrap this in a dark grey hand towel and put the bundle at the top of my backpack. To set up, I place the tripod and level the rail to the ground. Then I put one standard on, move it to the middle, then stretch the bellows to put the other standard on.
I don't carry the end caps with me, but I bring the six inch extension rail (though I rarely use it). I Have a piece of cardboard that I cut to fit as a ground glass protector. My loupe is tied with a shoelace to the rear standard. I use the towel for a dark cloth.
If there are not a lot of overhead obstructions (e.g. trees), I will often just keep the camera on the tripod rather than packing it up after each picture.
It is very doable in the grand scheme of backpacking with monorails, and it is often worth the hassle to have all of that capability out in the middle of nowhere.
Since Quickloads are gone, Grafmatics are probably a good option for packing a good deal of film into a small space.
Not sure whether this thread is alive or not but I'll put in my truppance worth anyway.
Like Kev, I also use the Kelty 3100 and accessories from Photo Backpacker. Bruce now offers a Sinar "cradle" along with his lens cases and backer board. It holds the camera securely, I put mine in the bottom of the bag, and yet is easy to unpack and set up thanks to his full length zipper.
I find the Kelty to be very comfortable for longish day hikes, and far superior to the dedicated camera packs I've used in the past. I recently added Bruce's new Cascade film holder case to the kit and couldn't be happier with the whole concept.
I'm using a smaller Kelty (Redwing 44) for my digital gear and found a Domke back pack insert that fit perfectly. There's even room for a small lap top (Mac Book Pro 13") and the 44 is OK for carry on if you're flying somewhere.