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View camera for backpacking?

 
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woodplane



Joined: 20 Sep 2005
Posts: 33
Location: Chicago

PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 2:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am considering a Crown View for backpacking trips. How does it compare to other view cameras for weight and movements? I've read that 12-degree tilt is not much, but how much do I need to get that flowers-in-forground-mountains-in-the-distance photograph? How much tilt does a Korona give? There are a lot of knobs and such sticking out, so I would probably need to make a wooden box to store it in while packing. What sort of wood were the Crown Views made from?

I would think 4 film holders would give me plenty of photo ops, especially since I can reload every night.
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Les



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 2682
Location: Detroit, MI

PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 3:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A Crown View will be hard to find, expensive and I don't think it will have enough tilt, but it will have front shift.

I'm not sure about the Korona. Both Korona and Kodak made No. 1 cameras as well as No.2s. The No.2s were heavier and have what i call a balancing board that sits under the camera and allows you to balance the camera's weight over the tripod great for long lenses but everything was beefier and there's this extra piece of wood and brass. No. 1s cameras have only to places to attach the camera, right under the bed and in the middle of the rails.

The Agfa has a decent amount of tilt but it's a heavy camera because it carries the extra rails in the camera.

Most of the wood view cameras from the 20s-40s were either mahogany or cherry when varnished and maple when painted grey.

Have you tried the Speed Graphic with the bed dropped and leaving the standard tilted down? That would be the lightest of the bunch.

If I really had to have a view camera on a backpacking trip, I'd look to Gowland or Calumet's Cub Cadet. If you've got the money a Technikardan can't be beat for compactness and versatility, but it's not as light as the Gowland or Cadet.

As for a case, I'd look at the LowePro trekker? I know one of the soft case companies makes a line of backpacks for cameras. I think the Lowe Pro makes two backpacks that can handle a view camera and half a dozen holders.

If I'm going on a photo vacation, I take at least 10 holders, a Harrison changing tent and more film than you think you'll need. I give every shot at least two exposures. You'll never be back there and there is always the chance of an accident in the darkroom. There were days when I didn't shoot more than two holders, and there were days were I had to pop the changing tent up at lunch time to reload. I've found the middle size Harrison tent will stretch from the dash to the "shoulders" of the passenger seat back of most compact rental cars when the seat is properly adjusted. It sags a bit with 5 holders but I've changed a lot of film this way next the road under a shady tree.
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woodplane



Joined: 20 Sep 2005
Posts: 33
Location: Chicago

PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 5:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Crown View is usually cheaper than any of the others you mention. One thing I like about the wooden views is they fold up neat. The Cadet, like most rail cameras, is a jumble of loose parts and a wild accordion when disassembled. Is there a site that compares view cameras, current and otherwise?

I have a Speed, but there is no tilt of the film plane, just the lens board. Tilting the bed down moves the optical axis up to near the top of the frame. Then I would be using the least sharp part of the image circle for most of the frame. That is why I bought a Graphic View, but I'm sure not going to carry that beast on my back. My Speed is about 6.5 lbs, and it gains over 2 lbs because I would then want to bring my 15" Tele-Optar, which I would leave behind if I bought a camera w/o a focal plane shutter. That's 8.5 lbs. + my tripod's 4 lbs, 4 holders adds 1.5 lbs...I'm up around 14 lbs. Looks like I need a couple of friends to share the load.

I have a Lowe Mini-Trekker day pack. 10 holders and a changing tent is getting pretty heavy. I've also got a tent, sleeping bag, food, stove, etc. Usually my pack is about 45 lbs with 35mm gear. My Lowe Frame Pack DLX will expand to hold the whole rental car, but I can't carry it and even pretend to still have a good time. I figure 8 shots a day, 4 color, 4 B&W, should be enough. OK, may 5 holders.

Scott
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Rangemaster



Joined: 06 Jul 2001
Posts: 412
Location: Montana, Glacier National Park

PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 7:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I were to buy a camera right now, for the description of what your wanting to do, I would head out and purchase a new Shen Hao, great backpacking camera, light, with just about any movement you could want..

Dave

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disemjg



Joined: 10 Jan 2002
Posts: 469
Location: Washington, DC

PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 1:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have both a Crown View and a Korona; neither has front tilt. The back tilt on both cameras seems to provide the same amount of movement.

While they make fine field cameras, neither will be easy to find, and they command good money. Their age means that you have to check them out carefully, and bellows problems are common. I had to replace the bellows on my Korona.

As Dave suggests, your best bet would be to check out the newer wooden field cameras that are available. They will have much more in the way of movements and will fold just as compactly as the old cameras. The better ones will even have interchangeable bellows so you can use a bag with extreme wide angles.
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Les



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 2682
Location: Detroit, MI

PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 2:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

On 2005-10-12 22:17, woodplane wrote:

I have a Speed, but there is no tilt of the film plane, just the lens board. Tilting the bed down moves the optical axis up to near the top of the frame. Then I would be using the least sharp part of the image circle for most of the frame.
Scott


You you stated you wanted to do the " flowers in the forground mountains in the background, all sharp photo." There are two ways: 1. set up on a sunny day stop down to f64 and hope the diffraction doesn't eat most of the sharpness. 2. The Scheimpflug rule which states that when the plane of the lens , the plane of the film and the plane of the subject all intersect , the subject will be in focus. This means an extreme amount of tilt for most lenses and the optical axis ends up aimed way above the film.
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paxety



Joined: 10 Sep 2003
Posts: 69
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2005 2:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What kind of backpacking are you doing, and over what terrain? I've hiked 6-8 miles a day with my Graphic View camera on a lightweight tripod slung over my shoulder. It's not as light as a wooden camera, but it's not heavy to me for that distance in the flat terrain I hike through. The Graphic View gives full movements and, with the right lens, should give you the flowers/mountains shot you want.
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djon



Joined: 05 Nov 2004
Posts: 174
Location: New Mexico

PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2006 6:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know from hard experience that a large changing bag actually does allow one to reload 4X5 and even 8X10 film holders, assuming you're as nuts as I was back when I did it.

I'd strongly advise more than 4 holders...you don't want to shoot only one piece of film when you've gone to all that effort to get to the wonderful setup..you want to shoot two sheets at each exposure, which might mean four or six sheets total, per image, if you're shooting chromes.
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troublemaker



Joined: 24 Nov 2003
Posts: 715
Location: So Cal

PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 2:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have you looked into Quick Loads? I used them on a winter trip to the Sierra a couple seasons ago with a new model 545i ploaroid back that is lighter becasue of the platic and it worked out very nicely, and no changing bag or dust worries so long as the holder stays clean, which I always keep my holders in ziplocks, and then in black stuff sacks, and so far so good. I never put it to the scael, but I didn't want the space taken up by six holders.
When I go to all the ttrouble, I tend to shoot 4 to 6 exposures as the light does some crazy things in my home away from home. Last year I made one important rule for myself that you may use if you like. If shooting at sunset,always make sure to have one last exposure ready to go for that last pop. Not just an extra roll or sheet put away somewhere, I mean ready to go for when you think the light has done everything you think it will do. I rarely break down my set up until I am absolutely sure the best light has passed, which often means getting rather dark, and also means getting back to wherever I need to go with a big smile and a flashlight handy. Mini lights are also good for setting up before sunrise and after sunset for settings as well as focussing etc... As a rule, when heading into the backcountry I carry twice as much film as I think I will use for 120, only about 1-1/2 for 4x5. and the nice thing about Quick Loads (except for the price) as mentioned above, they are always ready to go. You are not gonna be there with a changing bag trying to load two more sheets as the light peaks and fades or whatever requires speed. IF taking the bag, make sure dust free, fold carefully pushing out all the air, and place in a ziplock also. If ever I carry a 4x5 again into the mountains or canyons I am going to pay the extra dollars for the quick loads again, but sticking to my 2x3 camera kit for now becauseI can set up on a very light Velbon and use a modern bulb release which helps make that feasible, cable turned out to be too shakey, even for using my Crown on a nice wood Berlebach in the Bristlecones last summer. The bulb made things nice and worry free for the long stopped down exposures I normally make at 4-15 seconds.
IF anyone has a 545i and a scale I would be curious what one weighs (the one I used was borrowed), compared to three double sided Riteway plastic holders. I am guesing about the same, but saves space in the pack and adds a worthy amount of convenience and so on.
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djon



Joined: 05 Nov 2004
Posts: 174
Location: New Mexico

PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2006 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fwiw the lightest view camera I've ever used was a baby Arca...bellows clipped out, it folded ultra flat, no space at all in the pack.

6X9 sheets make more sense now than they did back then because of Photoshop's clone tools Vs dust spotting prints. And of course, you've got a Graflok back for roll holders.

Little Arcas got VERY cheap a few years ago due to the dust issue with 6X9 Vs 4X5 and the fact that their lensboard setup was inclined to light leaks...easily fixed IMO.

A Century's even lighter and cheaper, of course.


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ASpeedGraphic



Joined: 10 May 2006
Posts: 24
Location: Los Angeles, CA

PostPosted: Mon May 22, 2006 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello,

The Crown or Speed Graphic has enough tilt for a "Mount Williamson-esque" shot like that. The Crown is a bit smaller and lighter than the Speed because it doesn't have a focal plane shutter. One of these might be a great option for what you're talking about. They are soo cheap for what they are.

Hands down I would recommend the Linfof Technika above anything else for backpacking. It is light, compact, beautifully made, and has all movements. But a Crown Graphic is about 10% of the cost of the Linhof. All movements are on front. You have shift and rise and fall. You also have a rearward tilt, or forward tilt if you drop the bed and square up the front. You can put it on its side to make this a swing. The movements should really be good enough for most situations out in the wilderness, and the money you save over the Linhof will be well worth it. You can use the savings to get a carbon fiber tripod and several lenses. You don't need to have rear movements out in nature, unless you are trying to deliberately distort shapes. You definitely want something that can tilt, though. You don't even need rises and shifts, but tilts are a must in my opinion.


Keith



Quote:

On 2005-10-12 19:19, woodplane wrote:
I am considering a Crown View for backpacking trips. How does it compare to other view cameras for weight and movements? I've read that 12-degree tilt is not much, but how much do I need to get that flowers-in-forground-mountains-in-the-distance photograph? How much tilt does a Korona give? There are a lot of knobs and such sticking out, so I would probably need to make a wooden box to store it in while packing. What sort of wood were the Crown Views made from?

I would think 4 film holders would give me plenty of photo ops, especially since I can reload every night.


[ This Message was edited by: ASpeedGraphic on 2006-05-23 03:23 ]
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sauerwald



Joined: 11 Apr 2006
Posts: 18
Location: Maine, USA

PostPosted: Thu May 25, 2006 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have two field cameras - a crown view and a Walker Titan. The crown view is probably a bit lighter, the Walker definitely has a lot more movements - but I tend not to use much movement when doing landscape. Either camera, along with required stuff fits nicely in a Lowe Phototrekker AW and I have brought them on day long hikes.
I second what a previous poster had to say about quickloads - allows you to carry more film, and less weight, but they are not cheap. I personally like the Fuji Acros in 4x5 quickload - that along with the quickload holder is the lightest way to go. Also, it is very difficult to avoid getting dust when you are loading in the field - the quickloads take care of that.

For outdoor use, I really like the walker - it is constructed of ABS and stainless, so it is not sensitive to moisture, salt spray, temperature extreems etc - I worry about wood under those conditions. The Walker cost me significantly more than the Crown View cost, but I also got a hell of a deal on the Crown View

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