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6x17 or 4x10 for panos?

Rob Oresteen , Jun 15, 2011; 01:41 p.m.

Hi all - for a future purpose, I am assembling my pro/con list to either investing in a Shen Hao 4x10 or a Fuji 6x17 / Linhoff 6x17 system.

I get the difference between sheet fed and roll film, 120 clearly being more convienent, however my question lies with the versatility of movements of a view camera vs. more convience of 120 roll media.

Do any of you shoot with 4x10 on a regular basis and if so, do you find the need for movements? Peter Lik shoots with a Linhoff I believe and he apparently does well selling his enlargements.

One reason I ask is that a system from Linhoff or Fuji with a 105mm lens would run around $3,000 to $3,500 where the new Shen Hao 4x10 is half of that at around $1,600. I have a nice Fujinon 210mm 5.6 lens already, so film holders would be the other part of the equation.

I plan some day to make 20-40" prints via a pro lab and or via a Platinim-Palladium method generating digital negs from a printer.

Thanks in advance for your ideas.


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Marc Batters , Jun 15, 2011; 02:27 p.m.

Rob, Another factor driving your decision is lenses. For 6X17cm, you only need lenses that cover 5X7." You will need lenses that cover 8X10" for the 4X10." Cost wise, either choice is sort of a wash, as the 4X10" may cost less upfront, the film holders are not cheap and lenses can cost a bit more for 8X10" coverage.

If you want a faster handling camera, then you basically will have a camera with little or no movements. If you don't require a fast handling camera, cost wise, I would go with any conventional bellows camera of your choice, with movements, and get a reducing back for panoramas, sheet or roll film.

I basically am doing the latter, but on a smaller scale. I have a Cambo 4X5" and a 6X9cm roll film back. For 6X12cm, I actually cut 4X5" negatives down to 2 1/4" to fit my film scanner. This set-up allows me the versatility to shoot full size 4X5" film when I want, but also allows for composing and shooting panoramas when I want, and I have movements galore to shoot narrow verticals, (think Space Needle or Eiffel Tower).

Ultimately, you are the only one that can decide which path will work best for you. I don't require handling speed, so my approach with the Cambo is working well for me. I don't know if I helped you any, but those are some of my experiences on the subject.

Ellis Vener , Jun 15, 2011; 02:51 p.m.

however my question lies with the versatility of movements of a view camera vs. more convience of 120 roll media.

Problem (re)solved: http://www.canhamcameras.com/Roll%20film%20back.html + a 5x7 camera. I like the Canham MQC: http://www.canhamcameras.com/5x7.htm but if you have another brand of 5x7 camera that already has a Graflok mechanism (Some Linhof 5x7 Technikas do) or your camera can be modified for a 5x7 graflock it will work very well. I also used the V-Pan 617 Mark III camera extensively as well.
There are other (and cheaper) 6x17cm roll film backs out there but the problem with them is that they place the film at the back of their cassette which limits lens selection and movements. The Canham back does not have these problems.

jens g.r. benthien , Jun 15, 2011; 04:30 p.m.

You can use any 4x5 field camera and mount a Da Yi or Gaoersi 6x17 back to it ( (link) ). The advantage is a relatively affordable camera with all necessary movement plus the convenience of roll film. The backs don't cost an arm and leg either and come with an extender and focussing screen.

Maybe not as fast as a Horseman, Fotoman, Linhof, Gaoersi dedicated 6x17, but cheaper and much more versatile.

jens g.r. benthien , Jun 15, 2011; 05:05 p.m.

Bill Proud , Jun 15, 2011; 05:24 p.m.

I needed to take an image for a client as a panorama and came up with another alternative.

I already had a 4x5 Cambo. I set up the camera leveling the tripod and then the ball head.
I mounted the camera near the nodal point but not quite since I used a 120mm lens and needed some bellows for focus. I took two images with some overlap on each end of the exposures.
I marked the ground glass for the center three inches to get my approximate image height for the 1:3 ratio.
Sent the film to Photocraft in Boulder where they processed and merged the two in photoshop to give me a 1:3 aspect ratio. They had no problems with the match
I saved $3000.00 on a 6x17 camera.

Rob Oresteen , Jun 15, 2011; 06:14 p.m.

Thank you guys for the quick responses. I forgot to menion that Shen Hao makes a 6x17 120 back for it as noted at Big Camera WorkShop.

I can always shoot 5x7 and just use the middle crop of the imgage as well, given there is such a huge amount of data in a 5x7 neg.

W T , Jun 15, 2011; 07:05 p.m.

and you can slice a 5x7 darkslide in half+ for a 'shooting only' darkslide, and get two images on one sheet of 5x7

Ellis Vener , Jun 15, 2011; 09:11 p.m.

The Shen Hao, Da Yi, Gaorski, et. all backs all suffer fro mthe same problem: the film plane is at the rear of the cassette. Because of the depth of the cassette commonly used movements like rise and fall, tilts, and lateral shift are limited by the opening at the front of the back. With rise for example once you raise the lens (or lower the back) to the pot where the axis of the lens is above the top edge of the front opening you startto vignette. Believe me, I tried.

Ilkka , Jun 16, 2011; 02:21 a.m.

I have a 6x17 back for 4x5. Ellis is right on vignetting, one needs to be careful with movements. It also vignettes with long lenses, light does not bend around the corner if it comes too straight from the lens. But it is a cheap and relatively convenient way for occasional panoramas.
5x7 lens is plenty for 6x17. But one does not need an 8x10 lens for 4x10. A bit more coverage than 5x7 is enough. Some movements of course need more than that.

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