Backpack for 8x10 : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I'm interested in upgrading my the backpack I use for my 8x10 Deardorff and thinking of getting the F 64 8x10 version. I'd like to hear from anyone who uses this backpack or recommendations for another brand. I'm familiar with the idea of buying a non-dedicated camping backpack but I'm put off by what I perceive as the problem of constructing and installing compartments for the camera, lenses, etc. so I'm leaning towards a dedicated photography backpack.

-- Brian Ellis (, November 14, 2001


I probably should have added a few more details to my above question. The camera is an 8x10 Deardorff. I don't hike overnight so I don't need to carry anything except camera gear. I presently have an external frame back pack and don't care for the external frame. It seems to get in the way a lot. I carry three lenses, two of them are large, and usually carry three or four film holders plus the usual accessories. Thanks for any suggestions, especially from anyone using the F 64 8x10 pack.

-- Brian Ellis (, November 14, 2001.

Brian, I did a lot of research on photo dedicated backpacks as well as others to carry my 8x10 Deardorff with lenses, etc. There are some good articles on carrying equipment in the main page as well as the Q&A forum. The f64 and the Tenba PBK-H were the most appropriate I believe for 8x10 equipment. I was however discouraged by how much these packs cost, and decided to seek alternatives before I finally found an f64 one at a bargain. To make a long story short, I'm very happy with the f64, and I feel confident it will do its job well. The padding is great, I don't think it will get out of shape over time and the upper compartment can hold three lenses securely. The dividers, with which they supply plentily, are really what distinguish the dedicated packs from the others, I think. It can carry 2-3 film holders in the front pocket with the other misc. little things. It rests nicely over the shoulders and distributes the load quite evenly. I would recommend it. Hope this helps. All best, Henry

-- Henry Suryo (, November 14, 2001.


I hvae been using the f54 BPX for neraly two years and am very satisfied withit. As you may hve seen in a previous post I woudl be happier with a better designed harness but that is only noticable when hikeing for long distances/several days.

When I hve the pack configued for 8x10 it easilyholds my Phillips 8x10 Compact II; 240 Symmar S MC, 360 Apo Germinar and 480 Apo Artar ... all in shutters and mounted on Sinar boards; darkcloth; spotmeter; loupes, etc. Two film holders in the film holder compoartment on the back and anotehr one or two inside IF I am using the BTZS focusing tube instead of a regular focusing cloth. Also room for otehr misc, stuff .....


-- Ted Harris (, November 14, 2001.

The Lightware BP1420 is ideal for your needs: it is sturdy enough to also double as a shipping case

-- Ellis Vener Photography (, November 14, 2001.

I will reserve my judgement on so called "photography" back packs and instead offer some advice on what to look for, regardless of the intended design, that will make your packing more comfortable.Key

Features to look for in a quality pack:

1) Available in several sizes to fit different torso lengths

2) Ridged internal frame, usually a high impact plastic, which also helps with weight transfer and stops things in your pack from jabbing you in the back!

3) A Lumbar support and a well-padded firm hip belt, it should NOT be a strap of nylon or overly padded as well.

4) The shoulder straps should be like the hip belt, firm and not overly padded, and curved and smooth to fit your shoulders.

5) The pack, and its weight, should rest on your hips and feel like you are wearing a piece of clothing, COMFORT IS KEY.

Good Luck, JC

-- James Christian (, November 14, 2001.

You might want to look over my article on the Tamrac X-pack. It holds my Deardorff 8x10 and, though there isn't a lot of extra room for accessories, it is very small, light, and comfortable to wear. With the addition of a butt-pack for accessories, it might be just what you are looking for.

-- Ed Buffaloe (, November 15, 2001.


I use a Deardorff 8x10 and have packed mine in an f/64 since 1996 when I purchased the camera. I've been very happy with mine.

When mine was made, the material was heavy cordura-type nylon. Since then a friend purchased one a couple of years ago and it was a thinner type nylon. He's not had any problems that I know of, but then again he doesn't abuse his like I do mine.

The only problem I've had with mine was my fault. I tried to put four film holders in the outer pocket across the back and the edge of one of the holders wore thru the nylon at one point (since repaired with a "forests forever" patch someone gave me).

I've really never used the side pockets and have found that the center part of the pack is plenty for my kit.

In case you're interested, here's my packing plan: •Main compartment–First, folded darkcloth; then camera on top, ground glass up •Zippered pocket above main compartment–Three film holders and jeweler's-type flip-up magnifying glasses (what I use for loupe) •Top zippered compartment–3 lenses (10-in WF Ektar, 19-in Artar and either 14-in Artar or 12-in Ektar); filters, cable release, small hip pouch with digital spot meter; torpedo level.

If I had a need to carry additional lenses or water, I'd use the side pockets, which would each hold a 1 liter bottle of water or about 3 mounted lenses.

I used this set-up extensively last year to do a 52-photo portfolio (one shot each week in Alabama during the millennium year) and can attest to the portability and ease of operation of the pack.

Hope this helps...

-- David Haynes (`), November 15, 2001.

The Tenba PBH is well designed for a 8x10. The upper part takes an insert zipped bag containing and protecting the camera (folding) and some cassettes and a few accessories or clothes. The lower part takes the lenses and accessories, and a large exterior pocket can hold some cassettes. It is less expensive and lighter than the Tenba PBK (Kelty frame) mentioned above and plenty for short hikes.

-- Paul Schilliger (, November 15, 2001.

The best backpak I found is a llama which can carry up to 100 lbs.

-- Stephen Willard (, November 15, 2001.

I use a Eureka backpack to carry my 8x10, and though the gear is much heavier then my former 4x5 kit, the pack is a much better pack then my former Lowepro pack, which sat on my lower back, as opposed to my hips. I have walked for several hours with my filly loaded pack (which weighs in at 40lbs or more) with no back complaints, which could never be said for my 4x5 kit.

The backpack is an internal frame, and holds my Toyo 8x10 G which measures 17"x19"x7" and weighs 20 lbs in a large top compartment, and the lenses in a lower compartment, which is accessable thruogh a lower fornt zippered flap. I carry the camera, a bag bellows, and three lenses (150mm Nikkor SW, 240 mm Symar, and 375mm Optar) in the back, and then seven film holders in a secondary daypack with is on the front of the pack - it unzips for removal, so that once the camera is out of the pack and set up on the tripod, you can take the whole bag of film holders with you, without moving the whole backpack.

I don't have any photos of the pack online yet, which is frustrating, as I can't turn up the pack on any of my web searches.

-- Eric Boutilier-Brown (, November 16, 2001.

I think llamas can carry more than 100lbs. Pack mules work well too.

-- Chad Jarvis (, November 16, 2001.

Like this one? "The Photographers Assistant" !

tim a

-- Tim Atherton (, November 16, 2001.

Another vote for The Lightware BP1420. But it is 2" too wide and 4" too long for airline carry-on. It's great for travel with a car or llamas. You will need to buy the case, a shell and dividers. Expensive, but worth every peny. Take a look at The Lightware website. Regards, -- Geoffrey

-- Geoffrey Chen (DB45TEK@AOL.COM), November 16, 2001.

Oops, it's penny.

-- Geoffrey Chen (DB45TEK@AOL.COM), November 16, 2001.

the serious decision in backpacking an 8x10 , after you get past WHY??????? is to decised on the steriod and exercise regieme. Thst is far more important than the fabric pack into you will commit your finacial future. Deciding what back pack is appropriate is akin to asking for advice from your stock broker as to waht suit you should wear when deciding waht stock to spend your next 10,000 dolloars on, THe answer is frankly irrelevant. The pack is only an infentisimal part of the equation. My own answer is to place the 8x10 into a Haliburton case and then to strap that sucker to a PACK FRAME, you see up here inthe FAR north we can still get pack frames< in hunting season I use that pack frame for packing out quarters of moose,Yes that is true,I don't always BS. So the rigidity of the case and light weight and the rigidity odf the frame does actiually make the load lighter to carry, the waist belt is very important to the ability to carry the load. I would not trust that much inveatment to any soft casePERIOD!!!. the smarter move is of course to invest in an off road A T V to carry you and the camera and accessories to the place that will yeild the most beautiful photographs, If that is not feasile then don't forget that you can rent an helicopter to take you to summit and other places quickly. I have done this on occassion and find that the film shot still exceesd the cost of the flight. Mules and lama are a serouiss consideration, I tried this on children but they were just too weak and whiney after the first 1000 meteres of ascent. Going back to the fabric cases, forget them if you really value your equipment you will not bother , if you have a full metal cased field camera like the technicardan or a kaodak MAster view in 8x10 then their cases will protect the camera, but your wood field camera will be just so many toothpicks after you have your first head over tea kettle tumble. Well it is you money..


-- ED (, November 17, 2001.

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