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Low cost 6x12 or 6x17 camera?

John Gleeson , May 24, 2011; 08:50 p.m.

I am new to medium format, very into my pano landscape shots but find my SLR does a relatively poor job of creating these (even when stitched) compared to the results I've seen from medium formats.
Is there such a thing as a "low cost" 6x12 or 6x17 MF camera?


Jim Momary , May 24, 2011; 09:06 p.m.

6x17 and 6x12 on ebay, one option for both formats ... Gaoersi 617 SHIFT 6X17 Large Format CAMERA (6x12) ... "New" ... $888 buy it now. New 6x12 about the same price on ebay. Oh, lens NOT included.
Rich for my blood, but may be construed to be affordable by some.

David Bebbington , May 24, 2011; 11:35 p.m.

Yes! Any 4x5" camera with a Graflok back (ground glass holder is completely removable, rollfilm holder attaches by two sliding bars) can accept a 6x12 rollfilm holder and take pictures just as good as a dedicated 6x12 camera. Even cheaper is to shoot on 4x5 sheet film and crop. I believe there is a Chinese-made "step-up" attachment for a 4x5 camera which allows 6x17 cm pictures on a special rollfilm back, but I have no experience of this. Among 6x12 backs, Horseman is well regarded. You can of course crop a 6x12 at top and bottom and make a 4.25 x 12 cm picture which is the same proportions as 6x17 and is still quite large (almost the same area as 6x9 cm, 51 versus 54 square cm).

Mark Ritz , May 25, 2011; 01:56 p.m.

And to run some numbers:
a Calumet or Toyo View runs less than $100 most days
A 130-150 lens run less than $100 if you are patient enough
a 6x12 chinese back run $225 (new Horseman/Linhof are $1100, but you might be able to find a deal)
$450 + a tripod and you've got a good, cheap system. Change out that unweildy monorail for a field camera will be costly, but mostly worth it. I can fit my toyo view in a small backpack, but it's still a lot to worry about in the field, and it's heavy.
And you can shoot 4x5 too.
Or you can take the same thing, without the 6x12 back, and cut a dark slide in half and have a pair of 2"x5" shots on the 4x5 negative.

Gabor Szabo , May 25, 2011; 08:34 p.m.

A very affordable and easy project is converting an old 616 or 116 Kodak folder to accept 120 rolls and create 6x12 negs . A downloadable pdf file is available here :

Rick Behl , May 30, 2011; 01:22 a.m.

If you just want to experiment with the format first you could try the Holga 120WPC. Shoots 6x9 and 6x12. At $48 for the camera it's cheap enough to play around with: (link) pinhole-camera R

Steve Smith , May 30, 2011; 05:35 a.m.

Low cost for me meant making my own: http://stevesmithphoto.webs.com/pano612.html
Results here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/steve-smith/sets/72157626839286266/

A cheap method of doing this would be to get one of the Holga 6x12 pinhole cameras to use as a film back and add a lens to it.

If I were to make mine again I don't think I would bother with the focusing mount as a 65mm lens fixed at hyperfocal distance would have been fine.

A modification to use 120 in a Kodak Senior Six-16 folding camera is my next project.

Rob Piontek , May 31, 2011; 01:39 p.m.

A reasonable option is to stitch 6x6 or 6x7 frames. If things are far enough away you don't need a tripod or a pan head. I stitched a 3 frame 6x6 landscape earlier this year, as my fixed lens camera wasn't wide enough, and it turned out super nice.

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