Wanderlust’s Kickstarter-funded large-format film camera to go on sale this summer for $149
posted Tuesday, April 22, 2014 at 12:22 PM EST
Medium-format digital cameras are newly “affordable” thanks to the upcoming Pentax 645Z, which will sell for a smooth $8,500 (body-only, of course). But if you’ve ever been tempted by the bounties beyond 35mm and can’t quite afford to spend your house’s down payment, your most affordable option might be the $149 Wanderlust Travelwide.
The Travelwide, first funded as a Kickstarter project and set to be released this summer, uses 4 x 5 large-format film—about 13 times the size of a 35mm sensor (or piece of film, of course). The chief advantage to such large film, of course, is an exceptionally wide tonal range and incredible detail. And it's a lot cheaper to make large format film than a large format sensor.
That $149 price tag, of course, does not include a proper lens. It does ship with a pinhole to get you started, but you’ll need to shop around for the right glass. Wanderlust says that it can accommodate most 90mm lenses, so keep your eyes peeled for deals on good used glass (usually in the range of a couple hundred bucks). You'll also need a film holder, which is apparently a thing that is required for cameras like these. See? Adopting large format could be a fun, horizon-broadening project. There's a whole new vocabulary, procedure, and technique. It's like learning saxophone to get better at the guitar—a new perspective on a familiar endeavor.
The Travelwide had been previewed over a year ago, and there’s a pretty good hands-on report at FStop Lounge for a prototype version. Check out Wanderlust’s website for more info and pre-orders, and see more sample shots at their Flickr page—higher res shots are coming soon.