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5x4 roll-film?

Alan Gibson , Mar 19, 1999; 09:02 a.m.

I've just bought a new toy: a 5x4 SLR, for those times when a Nikon F just isn't heavy enough. It got me thinking: is 5x4 roll film available? It would be 4 or 5 inches wide, and a ten-exposure length would be shorter than 36 exposures of 35mm. Has anyone made such a film back? Is film readily available in this width? Or, like most of my brilliant ideas, has this been tried before and totally flopped? Keeping the film flat in the gate would be a problem, the curl would be horrible.


Of course, if the idea works, then a motor-drive 5x4 becomes feaasible...


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Brian Jefferis , Mar 19, 1999; 11:59 a.m.

Where did you find a camera like this? I have heard of a 4x5 SLR before but thought it was just a fanciful idea.

Sean Yates , Mar 19, 1999; 12:59 p.m.

I don't know what Alan has, Brian, but the original Graflex, the one Steiglitz, et. al. used, was an SLR with a rear curtain shutter and the aperture in the lens.

triblett Lungre-Thurd , Mar 19, 1999; 01:45 p.m.

I think I saw some 5 inch roll-stock on Ebay some time back, what we need is a little help from some aerial photogs. Alan did you salvage this from a downed spy plane? You need to put a bug in Cabal's ear at nasa. Any forum followers work at Lockheed's skunkworks? You know this could be dangerous Alan.hehehe

Alan Gibson , Mar 19, 1999; 01:59 p.m.

The camera is about 100 years old (I guess) and was built by Marion & Co, London (England). I got it from Christies, a London auction house. It seems to have started life as a whole-plate SLR, and was at some time converted to 5x4. The shutter-release retracts the mirror (very well dampened) and fires the focal-plane shutter, which takes about 1/15s to traverse the plane, and has adjustable slit width with speeds up to 1/800s (it claims). A later modification has provided a flash terminal. 10.5 inch f/4.5 Taylor Taylor & Hobson lens, rack & pinion focusing. Masses of teak and brass. It weighs about 4 kg. With luck, I'll try it out this weekend.


Back to the topic, I'm sure I read somewhere about 5x4 roll film?

Alan Gibson , Mar 19, 1999; 02:03 p.m.

Trib and I crossed posts. Yes, I think you are right, aerial photography probably was where I saw the reference to this film. Thanks.

Tony Brent , Mar 19, 1999; 07:16 p.m.

Once during an obscure web search I came across a listing for someone who is indeed spooling film for such sizes as 616, which was the postcard format, 4 x 6 or thereabouts. Sorry I have lost the reference, but he is out there somewhere. there is indeed aerial film available -- we used to use 7" and 9", but I think there are other widths available too. Not sure what your choice of emulsions will be.

Sean Yates , Mar 19, 1999; 09:26 p.m.

Use you favorite search engine and type in "Film for Classics"

Stuart Goldstein , Mar 19, 1999; 10:25 p.m.

David Lewis , Mar 19, 1999; 11:03 p.m.

5" film (actually 4.96")is available, at least from the yellow box co. Its a standard size for aerial film. Quite a number of fine grain B&W emulsions available, but I don't know about color. Designations will all be, I believe, SO-XYZ (X,Y,Z are digits) The SO stands for special order. However, I expect it may only be available in 100' or 200' rolls. At least it'll keep you going a while! Good luck.

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