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What 4x5 for Beginners ?
Old 03-25-2017   #1
CameraQuest
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What 4x5 for Beginners ?

this is a transplanted thread
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Old 05-23-2017   #2
tunalegs
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Depends on what you want to do with it. If you just want a big negative to work with a Graflex or Busch press camera would be fine.
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Old 05-23-2017   #3
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I've always been very happy with my Crown Graphic. But it's really my only experience with that format.
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Old 05-23-2017   #4
Michiel Fokkema
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I used to have a Graflex super graphic. Nice camera and very cheap.
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Old 05-23-2017   #5
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A lot of people convince themselves that they need a view camera with full movements to justify 4x5, to the point large format is almost synonymous with view cameras. But unless you're shooting architecture or working in a studio it's mostly just pointless complication to deal with.
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Old 05-23-2017   #6
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Streets? As in street photography? Pretty much should be a press or field 4x5. If not "street" then monorail can be used. Or mono can be used in limited fashion I suppose.
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Old 05-23-2017   #7
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Alternately, rather than a field camera, you could try this:
https://wanderlustcameras.com/

Rob
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Old 05-23-2017   #8
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Jusxus, unless I'm confusing you with someone else you seem to be posting a huge number of "should I buy this, should I buy that?" threads.

Like any of us, your photography would indisputably improve if you settled on one camera, and a couple of lenses, for the next few months.

Just about every good camera, and certainly the ones you own already, will take good photos. But that won't happen if you spend all your time jonesing for the next piece of kit.
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Old 05-23-2017   #9
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Justin is young and has a GAS problem. He won't outgrow it.
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Old 05-23-2017   #10
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Yes, he is young. And enthusiastically wants to try, apparently, everything.
More power to him, I say.
And, I honestly can only giggle at any one of us here snarking at any one else's GAS.

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Old 05-23-2017   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rybolt View Post
Justin is young and has a GAS problem. He won't outgrow it.

That's rubbish and not a fair thing to say to anyone in my opinion! Yes he's all over the place but he's not alone ... many have been in his head space and moved on eventually. We all have to grow and often a comment like this can be very disheartening.
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Old 05-23-2017   #12
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I encourage him to use the gear he has, not to put him down - but to enjoy what he has.

GAS isn't inherently bad... but it's a distraction. It's great to be interested in good lenses and cameras - but the key point is surely to actually use the things.

Good luck to you, Justin, it's no crime to buy stuff but it's also important to enjoy what you actually have already. This forum is not always the best place to suggest that photography involves photos as well as cameras.
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Old 05-23-2017   #13
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you better don't delete this thread like to did many time again once it gather all the information, it is a selfish act to keep all the info to yourself by deleting.
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Old 05-23-2017   #14
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Quote:
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you better don't delete this thread like to did many time again once it gather all the information, it is a selfish act to keep all the info to yourself by deleting.
I hope he does. It's the only way for the owner of this forum to realize how bad it is to have that option.

(It has to get much worse before it gets better...)
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Old 05-23-2017   #15
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When getting into large format lots of people talk about movements, but in my experience (20 years in LF), you'll use them sparingly. You'll never bend your camera into a pretzel like a lot of ad photos show.

The speed graphic is not great as far as the movements go. But keep my first paragraph in mind. The one movement it lacks is forward tilt. And for a lot of landscape photography, guess what the most used movement is. Forward tilt. Supposedly you can modify a speed (crown) for this, but I don't know the details. The Super Speed has forward tilt, and a decent (convenient) set of movements.

Now when the OP talks about street, the SG is one of the best choices around. Especially with a working and correctly calibrated (or correct cam for the top RF) rangefinder.

LF photography is not just one category or style, and for that reason there are several styles of camera available. I tend to recommend a monorail for a first LF camera. It's just easier to deal with setup and (yes) movements with a typical monorail vs. a typical folder. I bought my first speed graphic almost 30 years ago, but it was when I got a decent monorail about 20 years ago that I really started shooting a lot of OF.

All that's just me of course! Your mileage *will* vary.
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Old 05-23-2017   #16
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Buy the Chamonix. It's the best 4x5 camera under $4K that you can buy. Everything else is a compromise and you will eventually either buy the chamonix or give up Large format (which would be a pity). I have tried Wista's, ShenHao's, Linhofs, graflexes, Nagaoka's Toyo's and everyone was a compramise compared to the Chamonix.

Stay away from the speed/crown graphics (unless you find a clean one) on eBay. You don't need multiple lenses to start off. A normal Fl for 4x5 is 150mm (a 50mm lens on 35mm film). A moderate wideangle is 90mm. A moderate tele is 210mm. There are thousands of brilliant lenses out there that will wipe the floor off a Leica (for dirt cheap). Any of the Schnider/rodenstock/nikon/fuji lenses are all good.
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Old 05-23-2017   #17
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OP does have some serious GAS that would be much better if redirected to something else like photography itself.
Falling for gear is an "easy" option IMO. Try to maximize your output with the gear your have and once you start to hit limits do get gear.
IMO like myself being a bit too lazy with 6x9 means I may not warm to the pace required by LF.


Is Chamonix the only option? I would look for used gear and maybe other options.

Stompy (or pro-mone), decent LF lenses themselves are surprisingly affordable ain't they?
Maybe try something else, and once things change resell the body (that is what I tell myself and it ain't happening though)

I would look around japanese ebay stores for example.

Please do not delete threads, as it is information lost. Find amazing reading some great info that was posted in forums a decade or two ago and still relevant. Revise your forum etiquette, as I might understand you are used to a more instantaneous medium like chat or social media.


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Old 05-23-2017   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jusxusfanatic View Post
Thanks But I need to save up quite a lot for me to get a charmonix
What's your budget? You need more than the camera and the lens. I sold my Chamonix on Large format forum for around $600
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Old 05-23-2017   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stompyq View Post
What's your budget? You need more than the camera and the lens. I sold my Chamonix on Large format forum for around $600

As he rose the usage in street and so, it limits intentions to a field or press cameras.
I would do the thought excercise IF really it will be used for street.
Do you use the next smaller format in a way you would use LF? Maybe it would draw some more conclusions. Chamonix for street how fitting is it?
Back a few years ago I recall calumet monorails were very cheap. A complete LF kit for $400 was possible.

Mind you that 4x5 does not seem as shooting happy as rollfilm.


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Old 05-23-2017   #20
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Linhof Master Technika with at least 3 cammed lenses so you've got all your bases covered of course is the only thing you should buy.
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Old 05-23-2017   #21
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It doesn't matter for what you are going to use it. The only matter is how you are going to use it.

Press cameras are the only cameras which allows you to take 4x5 image handheld and quick. But it comes with limit. All you will get is 4x5 negative, which you will have hard time to develop and most likely will never able to print for real. Just scans or contact prints.

With frenchie camera you have in mind it is completely different.
You have to set it on the tripod, just like artist setting his blank on the tripod. And getting picture is almost the same in speed as getting it by the brash or pencil. You'll spend enormous time to find place where to place it secure and looking at the spot. Then another load of time to set it up. Then even longer time to focus, shift and compose. And then you will measure the light, but by the time you will get cable release in your hand the light is changed and you might never get same light and shadows placement in the frame again. This is why here is only few good landscape LF photos comparing to Polaroid ones.
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Old 05-23-2017   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jusxusfanatic View Post
Yep, gonna actually use 4x5 sheets this time

My budget is around 600-700 US, preferably with a lens. Wow, i would love to have a chamonix body for 600
Go on LF forum and post a WTB thread. You will surely get some bites
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Old 05-23-2017   #23
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Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
It doesn't matter for what you are going to use it. The only matter is how you are going to use it.

Press cameras are the only cameras which allows you to take 4x5 image handheld and quick. But it comes with limit. All you will get is 4x5 negative, which you will have hard time to develop and most likely will never able to print for real. Just scans or contact prints.

With frenchie camera you have in mind it is completely different.
You have to set it on the tripod, just like artist setting his blank on the tripod. And getting picture is almost the same in speed as getting it by the brash or pencil. You'll spend enormous time to find place where to place it secure and looking at the spot. Then another load of time to set it up. Then even longer time to focus, shift and compose. And then you will measure the light, but by the time you will get cable release in your hand the light is changed and you might never get same light and shadows placement in the frame again. This is why here is only few good landscape LF photos comparing to Polaroid ones.
What?? Clearly, you've never shot largeformat. It took me on average under 5 minutes to setup everything and take the shot (setting up the camera, tripod movements focus exposure etc).
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Old 05-23-2017   #24
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If all you want to do is do handheld 4x5 on the street without a tripod look into the travel wide or a converted polaroid 110B (those would be rangefinder coupled). Those would be within your budget. Anything else and don't bother unless it's a Chamonix. Unless ofc you find an ebony or Phillips for your budget (might be like winning the lottery!)
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Old 05-23-2017   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stompyq View Post
What?? Clearly, you've never shot largeformat. It took me on average under 5 minutes to setup everything and take the shot (setting up the camera, tripod movements focus exposure etc).


I used three press cameras and one view camera for few years. And printed from them all under real 4x5 enlarger.






Have the sense of humor and be the light with you and others, cheers.
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Old 05-23-2017   #26
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Originally Posted by jusxusfanatic View Post
I’m wanting to get into 4x5 lately, and was wondering which body I should get?
Did you decide against the Leica M2?
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Old 05-23-2017   #27
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Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post



I used three press cameras and one view camera for few years. And printed from them all under real 4x5 enlarger.








Have the sense of humor and be the light with you and others, cheers.
My apologies. Now I'm confused as to why you would say it takes so long to take a pic in LF. Nice pics btw
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Old 05-23-2017   #28
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passing GAS is a fun and necessary phase. it gets old eventually.

i'd get a pre-anniversary speed graphic for that all black look. a converted polaroid would be cool, too, but i don't they have front tilt, which you'll probably want for landscapes.
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Old 05-23-2017   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ptpdprinter View Post
Did you decide against the Leica M2?
What do you mean? he bought the M2.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
With frenchie camera you have in mind it is completely different.
You have to set it on the tripod, just like artist setting his blank on the tripod. And getting picture is almost the same in speed as getting it by the brash or pencil. You'll spend enormous time to find place where to place it secure and looking at the spot. Then another load of time to set it up. Then even longer time to focus, shift and compose. And then you will measure the light, but by the time you will get cable release in your hand the light is changed and you might never get same light and shadows placement in the frame again.
You've just described my fortune, every darn time when i got the things all setup and dial in nice and tight the light is gone....
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Old 05-23-2017   #30
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What do you mean? he bought the M2
Last post I saw he was still taking advice on whether the asking price was fair. Did he finally pull the trigger?
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Old 05-23-2017   #31
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Like you, I suffered from photo GAS for quite a while but I was in the US Navy and had a good paycheck as well as a locker of gear I could play with since I was a photographer.

If you are even thinking of doing street photography, get a Speed Graphic, Crown Graphic, Super Graphic, Busch Pressman D or Wista RF. Out of those the Graphics are the most common with the Crown being the most desirable for weight concerns. If you ever would want to use a barrel lens though, you are limited to the Speed Graphic.

Don't think about a Chamonix because it has a ton of movements and is new and shiny and all. The Chamonix is a true view camera and you have to focus with the ground glass. This is not something that is possible for a beginner to do handheld.

I've been using 4x5 on and off since 2000, having started with a Crown Graphic with a known good rangefinder and a good lens. These days for 4x5 I shoot a Nagaoka which is a super-light field camera with full movements. I purchased the 4x5 specifically for its weight but at a cost of slightly shorter bellows so I can't use lenses over 300mm.

All these choices have their individual advantages and disadvantages.

The Crown and Speed Graphics have a reputation for durability and easy repair. I shot my university senior thesis book with a Speed Graphic that I was given then I fully restored. Watch out with the Speed Graphic because the focal plane shutter can be disintegrating. The rubber coating on the silk can be flaking off after these last 50 or more years. The metered gaps in the cloth can also be off and not parallel which would lead to uneven exposure on the frame. Sometimes the whole shutter blind needs to be recemented to the drum. All sorts of things can go wrong with these cameras although they usually are fine, even after decades of use.

The Crown is slightly lighter and shallower as it doesn't have a focal plane shutter. As such, it can take wider lenses than the Speed.

After I returned from Iraq in 2005, I was given a Crown Graphic shell without a lensboard or support. It sat around for a few years then I sawed it in half to shorten the lens registration and I made this camera:

It was a "point-and-shoot" 4x5 with a 65mm Super Angulon stuck onto the focusing helical of a broken Nikon 50mm f/1.4 lens.

Get a Graphic with a Graflock back, not a standard spring back. These will allow use of a whole range of film accessories. The spring back can only take standard 4x5 film holders.

The Busch Pressman D has a rotating back which allows you to shoot horizontal or verticals without turning the camera, This can be beneficial for a few reasons. The Busch also has a little bit more movement than the Graphics. The back of the Busch is not a Graflock back either, so take that into consideration. The Pressman cameras are excellent in spite of this small limitation.

The "ultimate" field camera with a rangefinder would be a Wista RF but they are well above that price range of yours.

I'd say like other members that you should concentrate on the gear you have but you're going to scratch that itch regardless of what any of us say. So, get the best condition Graphic or Busch Pressman model D (not the C) you can find, with a very good condition lens in a well maintained shutter. The basic 135mm Raptar by Wollensak will shoot circles around all but the very best Leica as long as the glass is in good condition and the shutter is working well. Also look for a 127mm Ektar in shutter.

You have to budget in film holders, a developing tank, a large changing bag, and of course, film. 4x5 is not cheap. You'll go through $50USD in film in under 50 exposures. So, that is why most large format shooters are a bit more contemplative and stuck to a tripod, waiting for the good light.

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Old 05-23-2017   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ptpdprinter View Post
Last post I saw he was still taking advice on whether the asking price was fair. Did he finally pull the trigger?
Yes, I guess you missed the result of the purchase in one of the thread that he deleted, I was reading through the collectives then poof it was gone.

Quote:
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It was a "point-and-shoot" 4x5 with a 65mm Super Angulon stuck onto the focusing helical of a broken Nikon 50mm f/1.4 lens.
Phil that was marvellous! the wanderlust travelwide certainly reminisce to this
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Old 05-23-2017   #33
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Phil that was marvellous! the wanderlust travelwide certainly reminisce to this
Thanks! I used it for almost a year then a friend who had been lusting over it for that whole time offered me a fair amount to buy it so I sold the beast.

I wanted to add to this thread that 4x5 is easy to fool with in this way, ie: the homemade route.
I have a 4x5 pinhole camera I made out of a cigar box and it gives fantastic images as long as I compose nicely. My next project will be a cigar box 4x5 that has a wideangle lens. the travelwide is a nice idea but I'd rather take a few cheap parts and make myself a camera that does the same thing.

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Old 05-23-2017   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jusxusfanatic View Post
Yep, gonna actually use 4x5 sheets this time

My budget is around 600-700 US, preferably with a lens. Wow, i would love to have a chamonix body for 600
Consider the new Intrepid 4x5 camera from the UK. I bought one when they were a Kickstarter project. Nice camera for the price. Good place to start.
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Old 05-23-2017   #35
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Here's the link for the Intrepid 4x5 camera:
https://intrepidcamera.co.uk/products/intrepid-camera
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Old 05-23-2017   #36
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I've used a war-time Anny Speed Graphic for a couple of years now. Ektar 127 for rangefinder "fast" shooting and a 210/4.5 ancient barrel B&L 5x7 Series 1c lens for everything else I can, as I prefer that focal length.

It's not for everyone, I'm not sure it's for me, but it's fun to play around with. Keeping with a cheap press camera/simple setup makes it easier to justify having it around if you don't use it all that often.

Sheet film takes a lot more infrastructure than either 135 or 120.
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Old 05-23-2017   #37
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I've literally just started working with 4x5 and am borrowing the college's 4x5 which they're pretty happy someone is using finally. It's a MPP micro technical which is a British made technical camera, It folds up into a small box and has ground glass viewing as well as rise and shift on the front. It also has back adjustments to a limited degree. Its built like a tank and has provisions for a RF link as well.

Also the lens is a Schnieder Symmar 135mm 5.6 which has the interesting function of being turned into around a 260mm lens by removing the front assembly in front of the shutter.

When I looked on eBay at the price of one of these it can be had for around 500.

Not really any comparisons just my experience with this camera which has been serving me well the last month or so. Have to return it on Friday
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Old 05-23-2017   #38
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I still have my old Cambo that was ten years old 20 years ago when I bought it.
Last year I saw the very same one in super condition with a 150mm lens and a box of 2 sided holders for $150.
I joked with the guy that he would probably be sitting on it for a while.

Justin, If you're serious about getting into LF, buy a Monorail of some sort.
You can double your budget, and bet the whole thing that, if you buy a crown you will want to try movements while the first sheets are still drying.
If you're not serious... get whatever you think is coolest and push a few boxes through until you get bored.
Don't spend a fortune on anything. The experience of that large negative is going to blow your mind and supplant gas.
No reason to have fancy rigs or fast lenses.
Be thrifty until you're completely in love with the process.

Good luck!
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Old 05-23-2017   #39
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Unless you are shooting "landscapes" from road pull-offs, monorails aren't practical. At least in my experience where I regularly hike 5, 10, or 15 miles in an afternoon with a full 4x5 or 8x10 pack. Weight is a huge concern.
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Old 05-23-2017   #40
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It isn't just camera, at least for monorails it is also the tripod. I used regular tripod for all metal monorail to get to my spots and it was no fun in the strong winds...
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