A new camera arrived. Yay. I like new cameras arriving in the mail, especially when I’ve been waiting for it for two years.
The Travelwide is lightweight 4×5 camera, designed to use a 90mm Schneider Angulon f/6.8. A lightweight lens to go with the overall design of the camera. The camera body is ABS, and it accepts standard 4×5 film holders, including the old Polaroid 545. The Polaroid 405 back fits as well, using the slightly smaller Fuji instant film. If, like me, your 405 back has the plate for inserting into a graflok back, you’ll need to remove that to fit into the Travelwide.
Using the camera is pretty simple. First, you need to calibrate the infinity focus to your lens. The translucent plastic back cover that comes with the camera is used as a sort of ground glass to check focus when the lens is open in preview mode. Once you set that, adust the rubber grip around the focus helicoid so that the focus indicator is set to infinity. You’re done and ready to shoot. Don’t forget the distance scale is in meters!
The only thing I would add to the camera is a handle. It’s possible to shoot with it with one, but I can tell you it’s a bit unwieldy.
So far, this camera has totally met my expectations. My copy of the Schneider Angulon 6.8/90mm is a little soft in spots around the edges, but sharp in the middle. I don’t love the focal length for general work, but for zone focusing, which is how you use the Travelwide, it’s probably the best solution. Shooting at f/11 and 250 with 4×5 Portra 400 and pretty much everything is in focus. Not bad for a point and shoot 4×5 film camera!