Should you lock or unlock camera controls during transport : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I carry my LF gear in a Lowe pack. That pack will sometimes be on my back, in the car or in a bike trailer. Certainly, in the car and bike it is sometimes subjected to significant bumps. I've always wondered if the camera controls (lock knobs for swing & tilt) should be tightened down or left loose during this type of transport in order to be most gentle on the camera mechanisms. Anyone have thoughts on this?

-- Larry Huppert (, July 28, 2000


Larry, I too carry my LF gear in a back pack and I always secure it by tightening the lock knobs. Any adverse movement of the moving parts could cause misalignment.Regards,

-- Trevor Crone (, July 29, 2000.

I carry my (folding) 4x5 in a pack with the controls locked. This isn't so much to prevent movement within the pack, as it is to prevent movement when I pull the camera out of the pack. I've had it try to swing while pulling it out. My only big concern is protecting the ground glass. I put my Lee bellows/filter pouch over the gg to protect it from impact in the event that I fall on my back while scrambling over rocks. I've never had any problems in over a year now using this arrangement.

-- Ray Dunn (, July 29, 2000.

Larry, I lock the controls, but not too tightly, just enough to prevent any movement. However, IMHO, unless you subject your equipment to some pretty violent shocks, I wouldn't have thought that it would matter whether you lock or not. I may be wrong !! I do wrap the body in a Domke padded wrap before putting it in my Lowepro Trekker and the padding prevents any real movement of equipment. I have started using these wraps for all my gear and they work very well (and are cheap !!), Regards Paul

-- paul owen (, July 29, 2000.

I tighten everything up, just to make sure things that can unscrew don't.

-- Ellis Vener (, July 29, 2000.

Hopefully I'm not breaking any web etiquette by posting a private email sent to me regarding this question. It came from Arca Swiss tech support (which is the camera in question). Hopefully the answer will help others. I have no idea if the same advice holds for other camera models. -------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Mister Hubbert

Transport your LF unlocked !


ARCA-SWISS International Customer Support

-- Larry Huppert (, July 29, 2000.

Prior to my ownership, someone forced the front swing while it was tightened. It is no longer tight like it would have been when new. For this reason, I store my camera in it's own foam rubber enclosure with tilts and swings loose.

-- neil poulsen (, July 30, 2000.

Larry the posting from Arca-Swiss is interesting only I've just read a review re. their 6x9 Metric/Orbix and there are no lock knobs as such but resistance control knobs which are set by the user. Regards,

-- Trevor Crone (, July 30, 2000.

Regarding my post above, the camera to which I was referring is an arca-swiss. Although it's not as tight as when it was new, it holds OK. But, if the front standard get's nudged, then I need to check it to make sure it's still at the correct location.

-- neil poulsen (, July 31, 2000.


There are only lock knobs for the tilt and swing on the A-S Metric. Rise, Shift and Orbix do not have locks. My concern was really regarding tilt and swing more than anything. Given how the camera sits in the pack, and the likely direction of accelerations caused by bumps, it's really those two controls which will be most affected.

-- Larry Huppert (, July 31, 2000.

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