Photo packs have come a long way in the past decade, especially those that are targeted toward outdoor and adventure photographers. Alaska-based adventure photographer Dan Bailey takes a closer look...
I just returned my Zone VI 4x5 field camera and I thought I'd let you know
The camera looks beautiful, with its polished mahogany standards and
gold-plated fixtures; people always stop to ask you if it is an antique (with a
Sinar, they just stop to ask if you are sane).
the camera is heavy and bulky, almost as bad as a Sinar F2 and not nearly as
small as a Horseman FA
the lensboards are big losers. First of all, they have to be almost forced
into the camera since the clips don't retract far enough. Secondly, after
laboriously removing a lens, one must then push the clips back to fold the camera
(a Horseman would let you leave a small lens mounted so I hear). Finally, the
dish around the rear element isn't large enough for either of the two spanner
wrenches I tried to work, i.e. you have to spend $150 for a special wrench or you
can't share lenses with another camera.
the camera would be way better if it had a collapsible focussing hood so that
the ground glass was protected in transport and also so that one didn't have to
carry a bulky focussing cloth
folding up the camera is a tedious nightmare of unscrewing what seems like
dozens of crudely knurled knobs -- not much fun on a freezing day.
focussing involves manipulating knobs on both sides of the camera
even with all knobs tightened, the standards seem to move without my wanting
Using one of these for just a day will remind you of why they invented