Protecting Wooden Fields in the Pack : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I am getting ready to take my new wooden field out on a day trip in my pack. I am taking camera purchases in baby steps and have yet to purchase a nice padded pack dedicated to camera use. I believe Terry Thurmann has mentioned just wrapping a wooden field in a focusing cloth (I use a shirt). This seems to me to leave the camera fairly vulnerable. Am wondering if others have found a good option for this? Thanks. Roger

-- Roger Rouch (, February 25, 2000


I bought a canvas rucksack made in the P.R.C. for $25.00 and padded the bottom with mattress style foam rubber. Then I wrapped my Wisner 5 X 7 Tech in my home made focusing cloth, a piece of cotton, probably 7' X 4' folded double. It was a tight fit, but it worked and except for gripping about how hard it was to lift out and put back in, it worked fine. Narry a bruise or broken ground glass. I carried this rig in MD, PA, NJ, Tunisia, Italy and France.

I now carry my Kodak 8 X 10 wrapped in a Calumet focus cloth - the largest they sell, I forget the catalog #, and put that in it's original plastic felt-lined case. So far, so good. Again, it's a tight fit.

-- Sean yates (, February 26, 2000.

Another thing to look at is a ground glass protector. Calumet sells a pretty good one for 4x5 for about $15. It just slides into the back and protects both sides.

For day trips, I use a largish nylon pack. I pack my lenses in foam lined Tupperware type containers and my film holders wrapped in a plastic bag and inside a cardboard box that just nicely holds about 10 holders. Then I put my Wisner Traditional on top with the GG protector in place and hope for the best. I should really look at other padding around it.

The trade off is between prtecting your equipment on the one hand and the bulk and weight of the protection on the other.

-- Bruce Pollock (, February 26, 2000.

Well here goes another opinion! F.64 make a very affordable high quality backpack called the BPR that holds a 4X5 field camera, 4 lens, dark cloth and 6-8 holders for around $90. I use it to carry my Linhof Technika on 3-5 mile hikes and it works great. While not as nice a backpack as some of the $200 models, it works well for my needs. The more expensive models carry more equpment (means more weight) and are set-up to be more comfortable with the extra weight and on longer hikes.

-- Ron Lawrence (, February 26, 2000.

Thanks for the good ideas. I did locate the GG protector at Calumet and it does seem like a good idea. Ron, I have a great Gregory pack that I'm hoping to use. On days when the tylenol flows good, I might go 10 miles and a good support system is very helpful. I have a roll of ensolite and strips of velcro ready to cut up for camera/lens protection, but just haven't devised a good plan yet. I have used the Rubbermaid containers for lenses and they do work well. Be nice if I could find one about the size of the camera. I'll keep working on it. Thanks!

-- Roger (, February 26, 2000.

Roger, I have found in a DIY store a light rubber foam coated antislippery net made to secure the bottom of the boot. Cut into pieces it makes an excellent and cheap wrapping material and does not produce any dust as some cloth would.

-- Paul Schilliger (, February 27, 2000.


Go to your local "________-Mart" and check out the line of insulated lunch totes from Artic Zone. I found a padded nylon, box-style lunch tote that fits my Wista 45SP perfectly -- all for around $12. They also make a "sack-style" tote that holds several 4x5 film holders quite nicely. If I want an extra amount of padding, I put my camera in a large Op-Tech wrap prior to placing it in the padded tote. All of these cases then go into my Osprey pack and I'm ready to go!

Outdoor Research makes similar backpacking items called padded cells to protect delicate items when placed in a typical climbing pack. However, they are much more expensive and their dimensions are not sized quite as well for the needs of the 4x5 photographer as the Artic Zone products. Give it a try -- you can't go wrong for the price. Good luck.

-- Matt Long (, February 28, 2000.

I use a large lens wrap, 20"x20" I think, for my Wista wood field made by MC Photo. This is one of the thicker ones, Domke wraps are a bit on the thin side. I doubt if this size wrap would be appropriate for the large wood field cameras however. I also put a 3" thick chunk of foam in the bottom of a large day pack on top of which go all the rest, camera, lenses film boxes etc... Everything is quite well protected this way.

-- Richard Ross (, February 28, 2000.

Here's my two cents worth: When I'm hiking with my wooden field, I carry it, four lenses and filters in a large fanny pack. Film holders, meter and accessories fit in a short fishermans vest. The lenses fit into homemade corrugated cardboard boxes made from double thickness cardboard and tape. The camera (Wista Field) goes in naked except for the aforementioned Calumet ground glass protector. The pack itself is thick ballstic nylon, but with no padding. I've been carrying it this way for years, and in and out of some pretty tough places where it sometimes gets banged around a bit, and have had no problems. Of course, I'm really careful about footing so that I don't fall backwards and crush everything. The camera has a few "scars" and scratches, but you'd be surprised how much punishment a wooden field camera can take and still be perfectly functional. It depends if you want to keep your camera pristine, or, like me, need a rugged tool and are not too particular about the cosmetic appearance. For me, less bulk and the minimum necessary equipment keep the weight down and make my photo hikes a lot more enjoyable and allow me to take the camera places where I otherwise would not. Regards, ;^D)

-- Doremus Scudder (, March 01, 2000.

the calumet groundglass protector is an absolute necessity. padded backpacks are like those heavily padded Tamrac cases. Notworth the effort to carry them. The Canham DLC comes with its own case made by Tenba so it rides in there, i protect my lenses in lenses bags from Domke Outrider (the big wide lenses) and the rest go into ZING neoprene bags (my lenses are mounted on Linhot Technika boards and the camera is permanently fitted with the Technika to Canham adapter. My Polaroid 545i and Fuji Quickload holder go into bags from GARAGEAR which are designed to hold the Polaroid holder. same for the Horse 6x9 cm roll film backs. The Minolta Spot F meter goes into a cellphone bag, also from ZING. All of this plus film (roll, 4x5 Quickload, and Polaroid) and the darkcloth, extra cable releases, carpenters level, batteries for the meter, filters and adapter rings plus more all fit quite easily into a Eagle River small backpack. sometimes I'll throw a sweater in as well as some hi-energy bars.

-- Ellis Vener (, March 02, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ