View Full Version : Panorama insert for film holders

31-Mar-2017, 04:47
I been wanting to shoot panoramas for a while now but it isn't cheapest thing to get in to so I decided to go for a diy solution.
I thought about making custom film holder but landed on tying to make som inserts for a regular film holder instead.
purchased some 13x18 holders to get 6x18 negatives but it turned out the holder where, at least i think for half-plate film so it will give 6x15,5.
Will try with 5x7 and 13x18 when I get some

The inserts are printed with a 3d printer
It is printed in two halves and glued together, the part that slides in to the holders "film groove" is glued on




Some paper for testing


It might not work all that great with roll film, I plan on using cut down X-ray film.

31-Mar-2017, 05:19
What kind of large format camera do you use? You can buy splitters for most wooden view cameras and insert them inside camera back to shoot 2 panaromic photos.


Drew Bedo
31-Mar-2017, 12:33
I have never done this but . . . .

It came to me that one could cut a dark slide so that it had a window in panoraqmic format in one half of the slide (the long way right?). So, compose a view in the top half or the GG maybe ise front rise/fall to get it the way you want. Now insert a rtegular film holder and pull the slide. Insert the cut slide with the window open to the artea of the GG with the composition you want. ?Take that picture and re-insert the normal, full dark slide.

Repete this with another view, but compose on the other half of the GG and reverse the orientation of the panoramic window.

The result should be two panoramic images on one sheet of film.

Anybod ever do this? Does it work?


Kirk Gittings
31-Mar-2017, 12:43
I have done this. The problems I encountered that led me to give up on the idea were 1) being a dumb shit and getting confused about which side I had exposed and 2) the exposures of bright areas bleeding over into the other half exposure.

Kirk Gittings
31-Mar-2017, 12:53
I have done this. The problems I encountered that led me to give up on the idea were 1) being a dumb shit and getting confused about which side I had exposed and 2) the exposures of bright areas bleeding over into the other half exposure.

Eric Biggerstaff
31-Mar-2017, 13:01
A friend of mine made a dark slide splitter once for 4X5 but I must confess I never used it. For me it is far easier to simply crop the image on easel when printing the image (or in Photoshop if I scan and print digital). That way I can choose what the best composition is and change as needed.

Graham Patterson
31-Mar-2017, 13:17
I'm not sure it has a lot of benefit over cropping or half dark slides for 5x4 film to get panoramics. But it seems like a decent idea for a) using film only available in 120 in place of a 6x12 roll film back, or b) as an alternative to a reducing back for 5x7 and 8x10 - though I would have to be sure that the inserts would stay put in an 8x10 holder - and 3D printing a 10" strip in one pass will take a large device. I would assume reducing 5x7 to 4x5, or 8x10 to 5x7.

A niche idea, but workable. At least until you forget that you have a reduced field holder and compose full format!

31-Mar-2017, 13:33
Very neat.

I hope it works well.

as some mentioned the panorama darkslides are a decent option too. I sold one a while ago:
I still use a 4x5 one sometimes, the highlight flare issue can be a problem.

31-Mar-2017, 13:50
Deardorff V8 with a 4x10 Splitter

Tachihara View Field 4x5 with a cut panoramic dark slide

31-Mar-2017, 14:12
Thanks for all the input I will try this out and see how it works, just waiting for some black plastic to arrive so I can reprint them black.
I bought four of these half-plate holder very cheap and might just didicate them for panorama shoots and buy some 5x7 or 13x18 holders for regular shooting.

I use a Rittreck View 5x7 by the way

Graham Patterson
31-Mar-2017, 18:06
Since it is a reversible mod. you lose nothing by trying.

Drew Bedo
31-Mar-2017, 19:20
'Nother quick thought: Tape down a piece of 220 film with masking tape and expose in a standard film holder. Make up some kind of jig to ensure that the film is placed the saqme way each time.

If done on an 8x10 film holder, they will all think you used an expensive WA camera and expensive WA lens.

I mean, at 6cm x 25cm, (2 1/4x10 inches) its a wide enough negative to still be "Large Format" right?

18-Apr-2017, 08:43
A first test
Maybe not the best picture


An old castle ruin taken with a Rittreck View loaded with Kodak Plus X 125 and shot wiht a polaroid MP-4 lens

Dan Fromm
18-Apr-2017, 08:52
Um, as 135/4.5 tessar types go the MP-4 Tominon is pretty poor both closeup and at distance. Save your small monetary units and buy a better lens when you've accumulated enough.

18-Apr-2017, 08:53
Looks like it worked fine. I have used the cut 8X10 dark slide only once - like Kirk said - can be confusing because you have to flip the camera back over so you can insert from the other side. What I finally decided was - since the only 8X10 film I can afford to shoot is X-ray film, at about $.40 a sheet, I just expose the whole sheet and crop as 3X10, 4X10, 5X10, what ever I like.

Tim Meisburger
18-Apr-2017, 14:00
I have used a cut darkslide, but there is a much easier way that works with most cameras. Take the back off your camera, like you are changing orientation, and look at the inside frame of the back. Then cut a piece of black paper covered foam board one half the size of the opening, and jamb it in there. Should stay by friction. Then reattach the back and compose as normal. You will only be able to see an image on the area that is not covered, and that is the part of the film that will be exposed.

After the shot, open the back and shift the foam core to the other side, and you are ready for another shot (just remember you have to compose again). You can cut two pieces, one that yields two panoramic (2x5), and one that yields two portrait size (2.5x4) Make them a little more than half so you have separation in the middle of the sheet. These work perfectly and weigh nothing, so I always have a couple in the camera bag. The only time I have used them a lot was when I was on a trip and running out of film.

You can also cut a piece that covers three-quarters, and by flipping and turning you can get four 2x2.5 images from one sheet, although I have only ever used this technique for film testing.

Keith Pitman
18-Apr-2017, 17:27
Chamonix sells ready made panorama darkslides:


18-Apr-2017, 19:31
I use a modified darkslide. Like anything, use it enough and it becomes automatic.

I have one for 8x10, need to make one for 11x14, but may skip the 5x7. I would like to make one for 8x8, also!

19-Apr-2017, 12:03
It strikes me, looking at all these top half/bottom half panorama darkslides, that by default you're using the sharpest bit of the lens on one edge.

Is it normal practice to shift the lens by an inch in the appropriate direction before starting to make an image?


19-Apr-2017, 14:52
When I set up the camera, I center the lens on the film half that is to be exposed. One is actually using more (by percentage, I suppose) of the lens' sweet spot than one does full-frame. My Zone VI has a nice amount of front rise (and plenty of front shift for vertical 4x10s).

For horizontal 4x10s this is easy. After the first exposure, one removes the modified slide, puts in the full darkslide and flips the camera back 180 degrees; it is all set-up for the next image. After shifting the lens and composing the first vertical 4x10, one needs to re-compose for the other half, including front shift to get the lens centered.

Unless I am in a serious film-saving mode, I usually put two of the same 4x10 image on each sheet of film. Maybe with slight changes (in exposure, but perhaps composition), and it is nice to get two good copies of the same image -- especially using the negs in alt processes where I might damage one. It also helps me to keep the confusion down on what half has been exposed!

21-Apr-2017, 23:26
Few years ago I did kind of the same panoramic inserts for 5x7 film holder. I used 8x10 sheets cut in 3 panoramic sheets (I was getting approx 3.3x7" each).
It worked good for me.




20-May-2017, 07:16
Got some inspiration from some of you guys and made a 4x10 darkslide for a 8x10 holder.

Made a 3d model to start of with.

And the result