As I have gotten older, I'm finding more and more that I use my Medium format camera instead of my 4x5 or 8x10. I find the need for something lighter and quicker to set up and take down. I'm even play with the idea of getting a 645 medium format. A "Glorified 35" is what I use to call the format in my lab days.
In reading the Brett Weston biography I see that Brett and I have something in common. He went from 11x14 down to a 6x6 Rollie. Of course, he also lost arm strength from a spider bite. But it was said in the book Brett liked the versatility of the smaller formats.
How many of you are swinging down to smaller format cameras and what is too small for you?
If it comes down to printing on an enlarger I find that the image quality of my Rolleiflex or even my Pentax 67 is hard to beat even by 4x5. For working in landscape I have switched to the smaller cameras but actually I find myself now more into working with the 8x10 camera and making contact prints.
Never used large format. Grew up with 35mm. Just got an MF 6x7 camera a year or so ago (Bronica GS-1). I have a love-hate relationship with it. Having always used a camera with an integrated meter (first, my dad's FE2, and my various EOS cameras), and AF since I was 20, I feel so clumsy operating the GS-1. The WLF is impossible for vertical compositions, and it's heavy to lift up to your face with the prism on.
But when I get an image right, it's fantastic. And the larger film area scans great, especially with films like Ektar and the new Portra. Haven't made darkroom prints in a loooong time, but I've got a bunch of B&W that I need to process, and I'm going to at least try to print some of it traditionally.
Being mainly a 35mm shooter I can't say I've gone down in format size; that'd mean either half-frame, 4/3, or DX. I have, however, reduced the weight I carry in the bag, ultimately getting smaller bags. Nowadays I seem only to carry a pair of 35mm bodies with either a) B&W and color loaded or 2) both B&W but one WA lens mounted and the other a tele macro. I no longer carry half a dozen lenses. I no longer carry flashes in the off-chance of maybe needing them. I've got to the point that if it won't fit in the Domke F-3X Super Compact then I don't need it.
I don't carry my EOS gear around much anymore, because of the size and weight. I tend to prefer smaller bodies/lenses, such as the Minolta XD-11, Contax RX, and Canon T90. (Huh? T90 ain't small... Well, no... but the lenses are a good bit smaller and lighter than their EOS counterparts, and its weight is 85% of the 1V w/o power booster.)
A few years ago, my wife Samantha and I went on an over night backpacking trip up Eagle Creek, Oregon. At the time I was carrying my Wisner 4x5 with a contingent of lenses, actually quite a bit of premium glass. My pack was so heavy that I thought that I was carrying lead weights or rocks. From then on I decided to cut down the weight in my pack. To that end I invested in the Toyo 45CF which, at a little over three pounds, was less than half the weight of my Wisner. After consulting Kerry Thalman's web site, I found out that there is a plethora of light weight lenses that are more than adequate for covering the 4x5 format in the field. I switched the 90mm Super Angulon for the 105mm Fujinon-W (I always felt that the 90mm was too wide for my purposes, and the extra F-stop in the Fuji lens is very useful for focussing), the 120mm Nikkor SW (a mammoth but beautiful lens) for the 125mmFujinon-W, I kept the 150mm Nikkor-W as it is small and very lightweight, The 210mm Caltar was replaced with the 200mm Nikkor M (hard to find but worth it), and I retained the 300mm Nikkor M. I also replaced my cotton focussing cloth with the Harrison dark cloth, saving more weight, and either replaced or eliminated anything that I could to pare more weight. Because I crafted a rear element filter adapter for my 105mm Fujinon lens, I can use 52mm filters for all of my lenses, which weigh much less than the 67mm filters I was carrying before. As it stands, my pack now weighs less than twenty pounds, not including the tripod. I still, however, carry film holders instead of readyloads, just fewer of them.
Thanks for sharing Michael! That weight still would break my back, I fear. :-)
I also follow Ansel's lead and have a pack mule (or son) carry my bags. I also believed AA did a lot of parking lot photography. Meaning he didn't travel too far from where his car was parked. I have a photo friend who has her gear in a rolling back pack. I would think that cool but for the vibration her cameras are getting.
I just saw someone selling a Bronica 6x6 camera for $250 with lens. How much heavier is that camera to an RB67?
I'm still lugging around my 8x10, but I'm finding it harder to lug it up steep trails. When I found out that many of Ansel Adams' iconic prints were taken next to the road, I stopped feeling that I was lazy for staying near my car.
I really didn't want to point this out, but have any of you seen a photograph of Ansel Adams in his later years? He wasn't exactly svelt and nothing like the skinny mountain goat of his early years. If you want to carry less weight, work on the backpacker as well as the backpack.
Yes Michael, Ansel got a little thick in the middle as many of us have with age. I admit I am at lease. :-> . But, Ansel had two or more assistants carrying his gear for him and before that he had a mule lugging his stuff. I would agree that carrying a 40 to 70 pound backpack would be a great way for weight loss but I would also be bedridden and on pain relief if I did so.
Who said anything about a forty to seventy pound backpack? I just got through with describing a way to pare backpack weight to less than twenty pounds. If that is too heavy for you, I suggest that you invest in some Leica equipment.
Leica.... If I win the lottery. You, my friend are so lucky to have yours. But, RB67 is probably as small I wish to go. Though, I've seen a 645 for $200 and I may get a baby Graflex with a 6x9 roll back.
Leica prices have gone up quite a bit since I was in the market. However, I don't think you will be much happier with a Mamiya in terms of weight. Most MF systems seem to be much heaview than a comparable 4x5 system. Bear in mind that my kit contains six lenses. I don't think you can do twenty pounds with the Mamiya and six lenses.
I wish I could afford 6 lens for my RB. I'm happy with my two. Those and the body probably weights in around 10+ pounds. But, I use a Riesling tripod that probably weights twitch as much. I use it for my RB up to my 4x5 Wizner.
I'm not clear on which lenses you are using for the RB, but I can tell you that my Toyo and two of my favorite lenses would weigh in at a little less than five pounds. The camera itself is only a little over three pounds. What I'm trying to tell you is that some of the lightweight 4x5 cameras and the compact lenses available for them are the way to go for backpacking. Again I refer you to Kerry Thalmann's web site for much more information.
A 90 and a 180mm. There is a dude selling a 360mm lens. Now, that would be fun to add to my bag!
Anyways, I'm not a backpacker. I prefer to working close to home and from my car. My idea of roughing it is sleeping in a hotel room when traveling. I gave up backpacking after my days in the scouts.
Well you did ask the question, besides I felt that this information might be of some use to other NW photographers who are reading this forum. It is unfortunate that you feel that your hiking and backpacking days are behind you now, really there are vastly fewer photographic opportunities which can be explored from the car. One word of advice, don't trip over other photographers' tripod holes.
Well, I also follow Ruth Berhard who said that you can find subjects to photograph close to home. Just today while walking a saw all sorts if interesting images. But, today I am Painter Robert. I'm painting doors, edges and bathrooms. I hope tomorrow to be Photographer Robert and get back to those same images before they blow away.
thanks for sharing!