Aug 18, 2005 at 8:49 am #1216644
I took this pano last fall in Killarney Provincial Park. It was 7 km into a 100 km loop and we were doing the trail using “traditonal” equipment. I recall that total starting weight of my pack (with 6×17 pano camera, 4 lb carbon tripod, 4 lb geared head, etc) was 86 lbs.
Loved the results but by day 3 we were running out of gas. To paraphrase a famous Jewish saying after WWII.
“Never again”.Aug 18, 2005 at 9:36 am #1340514
Nice shot, Kodak transparency material (personally I use Fuji Velvia and Provia 100), good color but a bit flat (little contrast due to overcast conditions and sky a little bald. Be brutal with yourself for results; I know that those were the existing conditions- but try to avoid shooting under these conditions. Also, consider using a graduated ND filter when there is too much differene in the lighting in the foreground and the background. This will require some testing if you are using the rangefinder rather than the ground glass. Compared to everything else for the time and the trip, film is relatively cheap but,it is not in 6×17, 4″ x 5″ or larger.
But, consider the final results. Your pack weight does seem excessive.
My Gitzo Carbon Fiber 1228 (Non-geared)with Kirk 5″ extension column (55.8 oz) and Linhof Profi II Ball Head with Really Right Stuff Arca Swiss type QR (22.6 oz)is my backpacking Tripod set-up. Generally the Profi II is adequate (don’t usually need the Arca Swiss B1 Ball) and will easily support my Mamiya 7 II with lenses; additionally it will support my 7.5 lb Linhof Technikardan 45S with lenses at least up to 360mm (with a little care)and possibly 500mm (and possibly 720mm?) with great care.
Are you using the Linhof or the Fuji 617 cameras? How many lenses are you carrying?
If you try again, consider the tripod set-up that I have suggested, and if you can changed from the geared to the sliding column if a Gitzo. Also consider limiting the number of lenses to 2 or 3 at most (I might carry 3 or 4 4″ x 5″ lenses, but they should be lighter than yours [your lenses have built in focusing mounts] and don’t forget your spot meter.
For 3 to 5 days, I think that at this time of year with food and water I may be at 41 to 52+? pounds depending on the gear including a 5 lb 8 oz Custom made 5000 cu main compartment Panel loading McHale Pack.Aug 18, 2005 at 9:51 am #1340518
Thanks for sharing your thoughts Richard,
I use a Gitzo Explorer 2228 tripod with the Manfrotto 410 geared head. I find the convertible boom feature on that tripod useful sometimes if I want to compose a vertical pano. As for the camera system, I’m using an older Fuji G617 with the 105/8 lens. I find Fuji RVP my favorite film to shoot with in the fall but Provia is more versatile as a general film.
This was packed into a Lowepro soft case which was then packed into a Granite Gear Cirrus 7000 (with zipper access). I think my base pack weight without camera gear was around 60 lb which leaves 26 lb of camera stuff.
We ended up bringing alot of junk that never got used. GPS, extra GPS batteries, 3 light meters, 2 additional 35 mm cameras… all supported by me and my 6 LB boots!Aug 18, 2005 at 10:27 am #1340520
Check my updated comments on the original posting. I am not trying to be only critical with my comments, but trying to give some suggestions based on my experience and results on film as a professional photographer for over 16 years. I specialize in nature, landscape, and wildlife for stock sales, and particularly in the Fine Art Venue. I work with one of the best known printers in the US who has over 50 years experience. My work is printed digitally on either $80,000 or $250,000 digital machines. I also have been an instructor for photo workshops.
Definitely, though, cut down on the equipment you are carrying. Not only will it not be any fun, but you are putting yourself in a position to really get hurt. If using the 617 camera and the 35mm camera only bring a maximum of 3-4 lenses between the 2 formats. Those 617 cameras are monsters. Personally, I find their short height to length a bit much, I prefer the 6×12 format.
In most instances, I find the spot meter more valuable than an averaging reflected or an incident meter. It will prove most valuable for determining if the film will hold exposure (an exposure trick for using a spot meter [particularly with transparencies] is to first check the brightest and darkest part of the scene. If the scene will hold on transparency film (maximum of 3 1/2 to 4 stops) meter the brightest part of the scene (generally the sky or clouds) use the meter reading of the brightest area and open the lens aperture 1 1/2 stops. This setting will allow some detail in the brightest areas and is the same idea when trying to record detail in snow or on white sand. Generally everything else in the scene will drop in place; then bracket your usual 3 shots. If the film can not record the lighting conditions, consider recomposing or using a graduated ND filter.
If you feel the need you can also bring an incident meter. Only bring one tripod and possibly a table top as well. But for field aplication, consider just using a sliding column (not a geared column) tripod for any hiking (due to weight) and a Ball Head like the Linhof Profi II, or one of the Kaisers, Kirk’s, or Really Right Stuff’s in the same weight range. Use a QR system, like the Arca type which tends to be the professional choice due to speed of loading and unloading equipment and the sureness of the locking system.
I normally try to limit my photo equipment to about 15 to 18 pounds.
If I can be of any other assistance, please let me know.Aug 18, 2005 at 11:20 am #1340524
Thanks for your additional comments Rich.
As for backpacking with a pano camera I’ve decided to keep these “fine art” trips short (like day-hikes or overnighters). The original chrome has alot of dimensionality but some of it seems to be lost on screen. I do use the Lee Filter system and 0.3, 0.6 Hard Grads. Here is another chrome from the same trip (using a 0.6 Hard) that looks great on the light-table but mediocre on screen.
Regards,Aug 18, 2005 at 12:44 pm #1340529
The Lee is a a very good filter system. When using a rangefinder in particular (as your 617 camera [unless viewing on the ground glass before loading film], you will find it easier to use a soft ND grad since you can not see the effect that you would on the ground glass of either an SLR or a View Camera. That is it will be a bit more foregiving and you will not see the line. The hard ND grads are more difficult to use and work best when you you have a hard line as with the intersection of the sky and the water. They usually do not work well when darker areas as an example leading lines from the foreground lead to the intersection of the horizon line and either the water or the sky. Therefore, you and the viewer will be able see that a hard ND grad filter has been used (and a result more objectionable) more easily than with a soft ND grad filter.
RichAug 18, 2005 at 3:14 pm #1340533
I have modified the square filter holder of the Lee system with markings that delineate 1/3 from top, midline, 1/3 from bottom at f16-22. I’ve found that these are really convenient for determining the placement of the grads and get pretty reasonable results. The only problem with this set-up is the “bull bars” on the G617 interfere with the rotation of the filter-holder so you can only rotate about 25 degrees in either direction.Aug 18, 2005 at 3:31 pm #1340534
For most applications that 25 degree of swing should probably be more than adequate.
For my Mamiya 7 II I have a cut off problem viewing through the view finder so I do not use my Lee Filter system with this camera. I opted to get the Hitech Filter holder and soft ND grad filter in the Cokin P (professional) Filter Holder size to lessen the viewfinder cutoff and to allow me to get a better view of the subject matter. I have made graduation marks on the filter holder to allow me to adjust the approximate location of the soft grad marks. But,I still have to run more tests, but the soft grad should have enough leeway to limit error in the rectangular filter placement.
Also, for my polarizing filters, I have had Bob Singh (Singh Ray) make up a warm polarizer (circular) to be used on my 35 mm Leicas and my 4″ x 5″ Linhof (77mm thread size fits most lenses with step up rings). Additionally, I had Bob replace the glass in my Mamiya swing type Polarizing filter with his warm polarizing glass.
I have basically stopped using just plain polarizing filters because though they increase color and lessen the porarized effect, they shift the color toward the cool or blue end of the spectrum. Bob’s warm polarizing filters warm things up a little like about an 80A? filter, returning color closer to what it should be. Also an advantage of Bob’s glass is there is only about 1 1/2 stops of light lost with both filters in the pack, while most polarizing filters loose about 2 1/2 stops of light.
RichAug 18, 2005 at 3:44 pm #1340536
I only have the Lee filters but my understanding is Singh Ray makes some really great filters. If I were looking to project my panos I would probably invest in his intensifier as it appears to have the least “magenta cast” effect of what’s available on the market now. My other frequently used filter is also the trickiest to use; the linear polarizer. My experience has been high noon (most effective), sunrise and sunset (most troublesome). There’s just no getting around uneven polarization with a wide-angle lens unless you shoot at high noon.Aug 18, 2005 at 3:49 pm #1340537
Yes Bob makes up some very fine, but very expensive filters. The Hitech filters also appear to be very neutral as well, but much less expensive. I will probably use Bob for special filters, but otherwise I may use the Hitech which appear to be of very good quality as well.
As far as light fall off with wideangle lenses and variation of the amount of polarization when using polarizers this is true. Much of the variation of the polarization can be corrected in photoshop when it is necessary for printing. My printer (the man) has resolved this issue on several occassions.
As to light fall off itself Fuji makes a Center Graduated filter (for your lens)as do B + W, Rodenstock, and Hoya. These filters can be used to help to limit the inherent light fall off toward the edges of wide angle lens, particularly medium and large format lenses. This is however at the loss of about I believe 1 1/2 or 2 1/2 stops for most of these filters (must stop the lens down). These filters are darker in the center and clear toward the edges.
RichAug 18, 2005 at 8:03 pm #1340541
I also have the center ND filter. I think the filter factor is 1.5x so I usually compensate 1 stop for its use. With the linear polarizer its a loss of 3 stops so movement in the composition is always a challenge. Sometimes its fun to use the camera without the center ND for that vignette center emphasis effect. This is more easily taken advantage of in the square or 3/2 format. Stopping down doesn’t seem to minimize the light falloff so I suspect the issue is natural vignetting of the 5×7 lens (as opposed to optical vignetting).
Maybe more on-topic for this website’s emphasis… but have you taken a look at ebony’s newest offering? I think its called the finesse… basically, its an aluminum lens board with adjustments for shift and rise, and a multiformat back attatchment(6×7, 6×9, 6×12). Looks alot lighter than a dedicated 6×17 camera and probably more versatile in the field as well.Aug 18, 2005 at 8:47 pm #1340543
I think you are correct, and the more I think about it, I don’t use my Center ND filter that much, it does not require stopping down as much as more time for the exposure.
As to the Ebony Camera, haven’t looked at the newest offering but they are beautiful wooden field cameras following to some degree as a wooden version of the older Linhof Technikas- IV, V, and Master which are all metal technical cameras. There are many other wooden and several metal field and, wooden, and some hitech material folding and/or technical cameras out there. Some of these cameras are extrordinarily expensive and have very limited production runs.
Depending upon design, these cameras have a lot of capability and movements; many of these are the same movements as a Studio Rail Camera (my Linhof Technikardan 45S is a melding of the collapsible extending beds of the Technika cameras and the Studio Kardan Cameras). Many of these movements are simplified and more limited for the field cameras. These cameras can have rise and fall, shift, swing, and tilt.
Depending on the camera these movements may be on front/and or back. If absent on the back, some of these movements can be simulated by adjusting the angle of the camera. Also when using the tilt and swing of the rear of the camera you are changing the position of the film plane in relation to the subject. In so doing and you can change the shape of the subject as an example changing a circle into an ellipse.
If the camera takes a Graflock Back, these cameras will shoot in 4″x 5″ sheet film, and will also accept 6 x 6, 6 x 7, 6 x 8 (many of the older RH8 Graflex Backs are closer to 6 x 8 than a true 6 x 9 backs- I have one in beautiful condition with the thumb advance as well as one with the wheel advance), true 6 x 9, and 6 x 12 backs (Horseman makes a true 6 x 12 and Linhof makes a beautiful, but ghastly expensive 6 x 12 back which is really longer than the 12 cm.
RichAug 21, 2005 at 3:08 pm #1340669
I’ve had limited exposure to monorail and field 4x5s Rich. I’m unfortunately spoiled by asymmetric tilts and swings when I toyed around with a friend’s Sinar X. That has to be the easiest large format monorail to use (in terms of the calculator wheels, geared mechanisms) when it comes to applying the Scheimpflug rule for getting foreground and background sharp. My recollection is that for landscapes all you need is tilt.
I feel that for 6×17 photography its the only feature I would like added to the cameras. I certainly wouldn’t want to be hauling an X outside though… does your technika have a tilt calculator?Aug 21, 2005 at 9:09 pm #1340691
No the Technikas (technical folding field camera with collapsable/exendable beds ) do not have any depth of field scales and tilt calculators. Also, no, my Technikardan 45S (collapsable bed/rail design [again in 3 sections], rotates on rail for portage)does not have these as well. A new Technikardan S includes packaged with it some scale information for depth of Field. I have copied, and laminated this information and take it into the field. There are guides/calculators available for tilt calculation.
Part of what makes the Technika cameras so remarkable is the craftmanship, strength, relative light weight (a little over 5 lbs) (and a major competitor to the Speed and Crown Graphic Cameras with much greater movement capability). Additionally, these are some of a small group of 4″ x 5″ cameras that are hand holdable. Additionally, unless removed most of these cameras have rangefinder capabilities that can be cammed (by Linhof) for individual lenses which allow them to not only be handheld, but also for rangefinder focus when used in conjunction with properly postitioned lens stops on the camera bed. If interested, consider the models IV (I owned a modified IV which had been modified by Marflex, the official US Linhof Repair and later stolen), V, Master, or Master 2000 (new, without rangefinder). These cameras all use the same more modern and a relatively standard lens board. The model III uses a much more archaic and more limited capability lens board and camera.
Though front and back tilt may be used most by Landscape photographers for the Scheimpflug rule, the same effect can done for swing (again front and back) to maintain focus along a plane from near to far from the left or right corners or sides of the frame to as far as infinity. Additionally, for the purpose of set-up and the fact that moving the camera only a few inches left, right, up, or down can drastically change the composition, rise, fall, and shift with these large cameras can also be quite useful (you don’t have to physically move the camera). Rise and to a lesser extent fall can also allow the camera lens and/or film plane to be moved to correct for vertical subjects and to keep them on the film if the subject is too tall when directly facing the subject with all camera adjustments set at 0. If too tall this can be accomplished through the usage of front and back tilts used in conjunction with angling the camera up or down at your subject.
Yes the Sinar asymetrical movements are very nice and they had patents on these movements until recently. The Linhof Technikardans and Technikardan S’s were intruduced prior to the patent expiration of the Sinars. Like most large format, Field and Technical cameras they have Center Axis movements. The Technikardans and the Technikardan S’s got around the patents by correcting for their limitations when they were used on their side and the whole camera on the rail was placed at an angle generally with rear of camera high and camera lens down (but could be reversed) and then tilting (what would normally be swing in normal position) the lens and film standards (very ingenious at the time) elliminating the problems of Center Axis movements.
As to your comments about wanting a 617 format, some of the Technikardans (very limited number to be sure) were modified by some inventive people to take a 6 x 24 format (now thats wide). By the way, the 617 camera format is based upon 5″ x 7″ size. This would definitely be possible with this camera size, but the weight would generally be substantially more than 4″ x 5″ (but about 35 sq inches of film versus 20 sq inches).
Since the patents have come off the Sinar cameras 8 or 10 years ago or so, we are now seeing more and more cameras be they studio, technical, or field that have basically the same movement styles like the Sinars. I have not kept on this but, you can check into what camera uses what method. Regardless of the problems with the Center Axis movements, Center Axis movements have some advantages, and the problems that they cause are not in most instances (particularly in the field) that much of an issue. Additionally, most of the time you would not use that many movements at once. And many cameras including the Technikardans have movement capabilities far beyond the lens image circle coverage and projection onto the film plane (image cutoff, meaning no image at the corners- its black for transparencies).
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