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ambroz
4-Nov-2008, 14:02
I am buying a 617 camera, but can not decide between
Fotoman / www.fotomancamera.com / and
Panoraflex / www.panoraflex.de /(rebadged Da Yi / Gaoersi).

Fotoman: I like wide variety of lenses;
Panoraflex: I like the idea of removable back. Panoraflex is cheaper too.

I lean towards Panoraflex, but I am worried about film flatness.
Any experience with any system?

Thank you.

Ambroz

George Kara
4-Nov-2008, 14:59
I have a fotoman 612 and it is one fantastic kit built like a sherman tank. You could not go wrong with a 617 fotoman.

Jim Bradley
4-Nov-2008, 15:05
I have a Fotoman I bought used with a 180mm from a member. IMHO I got a deal. I've sinced added a cone and viewfinder mask for a 75mm SA I already had. Dealing with Fotoman was no problem. Film flatness is addressed by the there being a knob on each film spool allowing you to tension the film by counter winding. You can get a ground glass accessory which allows for pre-focusing before installing film. Otherwise it's by zone focusing or using a rangefinder of some sort
Looking at the Panoraflex I do like the removable back option. This would allow for ground glass focusing/composing per shot and makes the use of shift more practical.
There are no prices listed on the Panoraflex site and I bought my Fotoman used so I have no way to comment of pricing.

JGB

jesskramer
4-Nov-2008, 17:23
I have owned a Fuji GX617 with three lenses... I am getting a Shen Hao 617... for $1500 it is clone of the Ebony $7200 617 and will take all my large format lenses

Jesse

ambroz
4-Nov-2008, 19:25
Yes, but requires more time to focus and it's bulkier. Wind can cause vibrations.

Lachlan 717
4-Nov-2008, 21:52
Yes, but requires more time to focus and it's bulkier. Wind can cause vibrations.

Ambroz,

I had Shen Hao design and manufacture the first of these 617 view cameras.

Fundamentally, this was due to my distain for the cone system found on the Gaersori/DaYi/Fotoman et al.

I can assure you that this camera is significantly less bulky than my old DaYi Shift II with a 90mm SA. In addition, I know have a 110mm SSXL, a 150mm Fujinon and a 240mm Fujinon in the same case that used to hold the DaYi.

In addition, I cannot stress how useful full movements are; don't be fooled by mere shift on the cone bodies. Swing and tilt are used so much more (especially if you go for lenses with minimal image circles and you shoot landscapes). The Shen Hao has rear tilt, somewhat mitigating the need to shift.

Also consider close focus abilities of a bellows system. Makes for interesting panos! I also have marked infinity and hyperfocal distances (at f16) on the flatbed rails for all of my lenses, so focusing is not a time-consuming exercise. It is also not more time consuming than using my DaYi with focus screen.

(If you want a point and shoot pano camera, I would suggest getting a 12-14meg DSLR and cropping).

I have had no real issue with wind, especially as I hang my bag from my tripod hook. Don't assume that a hard nose cone (say, for a 210mm) will not be affected by wind - it, too, will be...

Save your money and your bag space. Get all of the additional features with the Shen Hao and a bag full of lenses for the same price as the Fotoman!

Please feel free to PM me if you have any questions. Jess has in the past and I hope that I answered all questions raised.

Lachlan.

Steve Wadlington
4-Nov-2008, 23:34
I have the Gaoersi G612 and the G617. They are fine cameras and hold the film flat. The viewfinders aren't great and I will probably get a Fotoman finder later, it would be helpful to have a bubble level in the finder for a handheld shot. I agree with Lachlan that a viewcamera based one would be more versatile allowing tilt, the cones are expensive and bulky. I use a pano back on 4x5 also and find tilt great. The reason I bought the Gaoersi, when on vacation, the wife and son hate it when I pull out the viewcamera. Attache file shot with Gaoersi G612.

ambroz
5-Nov-2008, 01:51
Thank you all for your posts. Lachlan, you made me thinking...

Yes, tilt would be useful. If Fotoman is really heavier than Shen Hao 617, I have only two more concerns: wind and film flatness with Shen Hao.

I have bad experience with wind hooked into Sinar f2 bellows. (But Sinar bellows is really huge).

About film flatness - in Questions/Answers section on FotomanCamera homepage, there's a man, really frustrated about bad film flatness with his Gaoersi cameras. Fotoman cameras claim to have best film flatness in 617 range. It's because of two tightening screws, so you can tighten the film just before the exposure really good. How is it solved on Shen Hao 617 back?

About DSLR and cropping: I have 12 MP Eos 5D and made large print comparisons between 5D and 4x5'' transparency drum scanned. The print was 1m (40 inch) wide and 5D came surprisingly really close, but it's not the same. Velvia has better colors for my taste, the brilliance is different. With 617 I expect even better results.

Ambroz

Lachlan 717
5-Nov-2008, 03:02
About film flatness - in Questions/Answers section on FotomanCamera homepage, there's a man, really frustrated about bad film flatness with his Gaoersi cameras. Fotoman cameras claim to have best film flatness in 617 range. It's because of two tightening screws, so you can tighten the film just before the exposure really good. How is it solved on Shen Hao 617 back?



Ambroz,

With any due respect to the Fotoman site, have you ever seen a manufacturer come out and say that, "yes, our product is not very good"?

Having 2 tensioners is a fine idea. However, most film backs simply have passive tension on the film spool. I'm not sure how many Newton metres/ foot pounds of torque are required to make the film flat...

That being said, I have never used a Fotoman. However, I have used both Fujis (G and GX 617), Linhof, Gaesori/DaYi and now Shen Hao and have had no issue with any of their film flatness. Setting up the shot using focusing screens is my preferred method (rather than point and shoot using the "view" finder), gives a much better idea of accurate focus.

One area that I have found affects image quality is in the glass that you use. Again, I must emphasise that you can get a set of high quality lenses for the Shen Hao for the same price as a Fotoman with 1 lens (AND fit it into your one camera bag!!)

Perhaps get the person at Fotoman to put up some justification for his/her claim of best in breed film flatness, rathe than accepting the blanket statement?

Lachlan.

ambroz
5-Nov-2008, 03:29
Lachlan, sounds like you are very pleased with Shen Hao 617 Bellows camera.

What's the difference between TFC 617-A and -B version? Only bellows extension?
Does exist (and fit) any viewing bellow on the back side or do you use dark cloth for GG viewing?
Do you know maybe, does Horseman 617 Roll Film Holder fits, as Shen Hao 617 is a Ebony copy.

Aender Brepsom
5-Nov-2008, 03:31
I have owned a Fuji GX617 with three lenses... I am getting a Shen Hao 617... for $1500 it is clone of the Ebony $7200 617 and will take all my large format lenses

Jesse

I have seen the 6x17 Shen Hao at the Photokina show in September. A really nice and very versatile camera. Although I was very satisfied with the Gaoersi 617 I used to own, it lacked the ability of using tilt and a variety of LF lenses. So, if I were in the market for a 6x17 camera, I sure would pick the Shen Hao.

evan clarke
5-Nov-2008, 04:54
I use a Shen Hao 617 back on an Ebony 45S which allows me to shoot in panoramic aspect or portrait, it's a great setup. I also have a Fotoman 612 and it is extremely well made...Evan Clarke

ambroz
7-Nov-2008, 19:37
I also have marked infinity and hyperfocal distances (at f16) on the flatbed rails for all of my lenses, so focusing is not a time-consuming exercise. It is also not more time consuming than using my DaYi with focus screen.

Lachlan.

I still think Panoraflex would be faster to operate. Check the composition on the groundglass, put already loaded film back on, check the focus / f -stop scale on the focusing hood, expose.

I can understand, you marked infinity, but how do you get hyperfocal distances? How does it lok like? And why at f16? Why not set the aperture to f22, f32? Are the lenses diffraction limited?

Sorry for many questions, but I'm new in large format.

Bjorn Dunscombe
8-Nov-2008, 00:25
Van Camper,

You do make some valid points. I wouldn't use the Shen Hao from a plane. You could wear Fotoman/Gaesori/DaYi/Linhof around your neck.

However, having used both cameras, several 6x12 cameras and medium formats such as Fuji 6x9, Pentax 67 and Mamiya 6 and 7s, I have to strenuously disagree on several points you contest.

First, none of these camera (sans, at a stretch, a 6x12) handle like a medium format. They are simply too big. Also, the panoramic nature of these magnifies out of vertical/horizontal errors significantly more than the 6x9 ratio that you likened the format to.

Second, a 90mm lens is a very, very wide lens at 6x17 format. It is far from being a "standard" focal length (assuming 50-55mm in 135 format). It is actually around 22mm in 135 format equivalent. A "Standard" focal length would be somewhere over 150mm. There is a good explanation of this made by Paul Droluk and Michael Briggs at photo.net under the topic of "Advice on lens selection for 617 Panoramic camera". 22mm is a very wide angled lens on 135 format.

Third, I agree that this is "...not the same as cropping a piece of 4x5 film to get the same ratio". But it is NOTHING like a 6x9cm perspective. In fact, it is more like cropping a piece of 5x7 film to get the same ratio. You are capturing the same 6x17cm "block" of the image circle that you would with the centre of the 5x7 sheet of film. The perspective of this crop is simply no different, which makes me wonder what you meant when you say that "This is true panoramic"...

Forth, I am also not sure why a range finder is better for closer work. As you will be aware, the closer the focal point, the shallower the DOF. Thus, if correct focus is critical, wouldn't a ground glass be a safer bet? And I would be preying to a higher power that the parallax error of the 'finder is not too great.

Fifth, a GG with a Fresnel, in my experience, is as useful as a range finder in low light.

Sixth, the Shen Hao can take any lens, up to a 350mm (with Top Hat lens board), from any brand (as long as it covers approx 5x7 format; the same caveat as for ALL 6x17 cameras). Forget your 3 brands to choose from. Got a board mounted 1904 Bausch and Lomb lens? Chuck it on!! A Thornton Pickard? Get out the black hat and expose away. Your grandfather's Ilex-Calumet Caltal in an Acme #4 shutter? Just say cheese.

Seventh, I think that your comment "...but then again many people buy several of these bodies for the convenience of not needing to switch lenses" is somewhat oxymoronic. I don't think that carrying several 4 pound cameras (EXCLUDING lens weight) is very convenient!! I especially don't think that it is any quicker/more convenient than using a dark cloth or focusing every shot on the ground glass on a single camera body in a mid sized backpack with 5 lenses.

Finally, whilst not a disagreement, I must add to your comment about the Shen Hao offering Tilts. It also offers front and rear swings and 2-way front shifts. But I guess if you're using a 6x17 camera as a point and shoot, these will not really be of much interest.

Bjorn

IanG
8-Nov-2008, 10:11
After using a Gaoersi 6x17 for over 18 months in three continents all I can say is the build quality is excellent, support for spare parts is fast. The foot of my Viewfinder was accidently broken, and the spare part arrived in 5 days from China.

Film flatness is fine, and I've not felt a need for any movements, so far. Lenses are interchangeable and I have two focus cones for 75mm & 90mm lenses, but in practice I found I only ever use the 75mm.

Mainly I use the 6x17 hand-held often in locations where using a tripod is not permitted, or needs a special permit etc, and the Gaoersi is ideal. Having seen various Fotoman cameras I really can't see a difference in build quality between the two.

Ian

Dominique Cesari
8-Nov-2008, 13:28
I second Van Camper. A 6x17 back on a field camera is a completely different think. I use field cameras enough to be aware of their constraints : tripod, time to be operated, wind, ...A Fotoman/Gaoersi/Linhof 6x17 camera can be used on a monopod up to 120 mm, with non objectionable results. A shifted ptotograph may be taken in 3 or 4 minutes, more depending on the convenience of the backpacking method. How much time to operate a field camera ? How much shots lost because you can't unfold your equipment ?
I own a Fotoman 6x17 for some years, and for 6 months the shifting plate, that I stongly recommend. Panoramic is first to view wide; until I have had shifting capability, my basic lens was a 72 XL. Now I prefer to narrow to 90 mm, as the vertical range is enough when the lens is shifted. Not to say that longer lenses are not usefull, they are, but for a minor part of the work.
I can't comment on Gaoersi, Fotoman are rugged, support is friendly and effective. The ability to change the lens during a roll would be the only improvement that I could wish, but the design doesn't allow it. Obviously, the lens(es) that you dedicate to these cameras are sterilized for simultaneaous use on another large format system, but this is the price to pay for a true on-the-go panoramic camera.

ambroz
8-Nov-2008, 15:18
As much as I see, there are three types of 617 panoramic cameras.
(from a landscape photographer point of view)

1. group: Linhof, Fuji, Fotoman, Gaoersi, ...

Plus:
- fast focusing
- depth of field scale on focusing hood
- more prone to the wind shaking
- lens range 72-400 mm (depending on camera brand)
- some have shift ability

Minus:
- heavy bag, when using more lenses with lens cones
- paralax when using optical viewfinder
- groundglass can not be used mid roll
- lens can not be replaced mid roll
- loading the film after groundglass composing takes time

2. group: Da Yi, Panoraflex, Gaoersi

Here we have interchangeable film back, otherwise similar to 1. group

Plus:
- fast focusing
- depth of field scale on focusing hood
- prone to wind
- shift ability
- GG can be used mid roll
- lens can be replaced mid roll
- film back enables immediate exposure after GG composition

Minus:
- lens range 'only' 75 - 250 mm
- paralax when using optical viewfinder
- heavier because of the film back
- heavy bag, when using more lenses with lens cones

3. group: Ebony 617S, Shen Hao TFC 617

This is a field camera with 617 film back.

Plus:
- light weight, especially when using more lenses (compared to group 1. or 2.)
- lenses can be used on another format camera (6x9 cm, 4x5'', ...)
- allows tilt and shift
- lens range 72 - 305 mm
- GG can be used mid roll
- lens can be replaced mid roll
- film back enables immediate exposure after GG composition

Minus:
- wind can be hooked into the bellows
- slow focusing
- no DOF scale
- no optical viewfinder; forced into GG composing under dark cloth

Each group has it's strenghts and weaknesses.

Shen Hao 617 field camera seems to me to be a good decision.
Allows tilt (OTOH masters of panoramic photography like Ken Duncan or Colin Prior can live without it).
Sometimes there's really no time to set everything. Focusing time could be shortened (like Lachlan suggested) by marking infinity and hyperfocal distances on the flatbed rails for all used lenses. And if I add a Fotoman viewfinder on top of the camera, then this is a camera for fast work too.

Ambroz

Lachlan 717
9-Nov-2008, 00:01
2. group: Da Yi, Panoraflex, Gaoersi

Here we have interchangeable film back, otherwise similar to 1. group



Minus:
- lens range 'only' 75 - 250 mm

Actually, I think that the Gaoersi/DaYi used to take well over 300mm. From memory, you could get a "stacked" focus mount to extend the 300mm cone to about 350mm. Given they don't seem to sell any cones over 210mm now, I guess that there was little demand for these 300mm cones. Maybe there's something in that for all of us?

Also, check that you can use a Copal 3 shutter with these long cones. Many (although not all) 300mm+ lenses come with this shutter.
-

3. group: Ebony 617S, Shen Hao TFC 617

This is a field camera with 617 film back.


Minus:
- no optical viewfinder; forced into GG composing under dark cloth.

You can buy the rangefinders (75-150mm zoom is useful) on eBay. Mark your lenses on this (found via trial and error to get the equiv rather than trusting the markings) and carry it in your pocket. Helps you to "see" the image before setting up the actual shot.


Shen Hao 617 field camera seems to me to be a good decision.
Allows tilt (OTOH masters of panoramic photography like Ken Duncan or Colin Prior can live without it).

Give them time; I think they'll have a good look at the Ebony and/or the Shen Hao!!!

Lachlan.

ambroz
9-Nov-2008, 03:11
Give them time; I think they'll have a good look at the Ebony and/or the Shen Hao!!!
Lachlan.[/COLOR]

Mr. Colin Prior wrote once in his blog, that now he uses Canon DSRL for all of his work, except for panoramic, where he still uses his Fuji 617. He is waiting for digital panoramic camera to unify the workflow.
I also read somewhere, that Mr. Ken Duncan now uses Canon DSRL.
Many other famous panoramic photographers switch to digital (Nick Rains, Peter Lik).

It seems to me, there is not much interest on old fashioned 617 field cameras among them.

Ambroz

Gordon Moat
9-Nov-2008, 11:19
http://www.roundshot.ch/xml_1/internet/de/application/d438/d925/f934.cfm

There you go . . . digital 6x17.

Ciao!

Gordon Moat Photography (http://www.gordonmoat.com)

ambroz
9-Nov-2008, 23:17
I admit, I am not so sure about the information about Ken Duncan's use of Canon for panos (can be '-somebody wrote that somebody said-' kind of info). But I have seen Peter Lik in a video using Hasselblad H3D.

When I say 'old fashioned' it is not meant in a bad meaning of word. But it just takes more time from exposure to print comparing to digital cameras.

Interest for 617 cameras grows, because they are so much cheaper than Linhof years ago. People, who couldn't afford 617 camera years ago, can buy it now. But I am sure, many pros wish to have decent digital panoramic camera. Seitz Camera is a monster (check dimensions!).

ambroz
10-Nov-2008, 00:34
Van Camper,

why not compare Fotoman and Shen Hao? Operation is different, but the end result (6x17 cm transparency) is the same. Anyway, I don't intend to photograph without tripod.

Don't you ever have soft foreground? At what apertures do you photograph?

ambroz
10-Nov-2008, 10:20
Uff, it is going to be hard decision... Fotoman is quicker to setup and easier to operate, Shen Hao is lighter and enables sharp low position photos (with foreground included)...

Folks, you put many good points in here, thank you all. It's a pleasure to chat here with you.

Lachlan 717
10-Nov-2008, 12:56
Four, your belief the groundglass is as good as a viewfinder in low light is not true.



Van Camper, please be careful with how you phrase things here. This person was expressing opinion here; please don't take the moral high ground and call them wrong.


I get the feeling you have handled one, but never used one.

Again, please stick to the facts.


In low light while others are struggling to compose and focus with a shen hao, you’re already shooting. No comparison.

Have you actually compared these in low light? Have you seen people struggling with a Shen Hao whilst you shoot? If not, again please stick to fact or express your thoughts as opinion, not fact.

I, too, have not had any issue with shooting either my Shen Hao or my DaYi in low light.


Panoromic cameras are designed for wide field shots and are best with a 90 and 150/180 lens (cones are short).

Says who? Again, you express your opinion as fact. I use a 240mm and will be getting a 300mm soon. It's your skill, how you see the world, and how you want to show that vision that dictates a camera's use.


If you want to do tele work, use a traditional field camera. That's what makes the pano different, it is a specialty camera, very fast, but it can't do everything. Then again, the Shen Hao can't do what the panoramic cameras can….with regards to speed and convenience. Frankly, comparing a 617 panoramic camera to a traditional view camera with a 617 back is ridiculous.

Okay, now you seem to have lost me. I think that you'll find that any camera that basically takes an image with the width (at least) twice the length of the height is determined to be a "pano". An Xpan is a pano. So, too, are 6x12 cameras. Thus, all of these 6x17 cameras are pano cameras. Can you please explain why you differentiate?

Why do you feel that it is "ridiculous" to compare them, just because one uses a view finder and one does not? I think that you also have a flaw in your definition, given the DaYi that I also have came with both a view finder and a ground glass. Seems that the manufacturers don't differentiate basic designation of these cameras.



Seven, in your following comment "I especially don't think that it is any quicker/more convenient than using a dark cloth or focusing every shot on the ground glass on a single camera body in a mid sized backpack with 5 lenses" . If you want to back pack with 5 lenses then get the Shen hao as I already mentioned (cones get big). Otherwise with a shen hao you must open the shutter, start at neutral, put a lens on, attach dark cloth, get the magnifier from bag, focus on groundglass, tilts, open/closing of shutter, wind blowing darkcloth around, attach cable release, tear things down. With the pano camera, click it unto your tripod, set the focus on helical focus ring (hypefocal set), and shoot! That is a BIG DIFFERENCE!

Come, now, Van Camper... For a start, I have a lens attached (my preferred one, as you do with your nose cone system), so I don't need to put a lens on. I then set said lens to the hyper focal length (marked on my camera, but not on yours, making mine faster to focus). The camera has firm zero detent, which is usually locked into place, so I don't need to "start at neutral".

I'm not sure how you shoot; however, regardless of camera, I attach a cable release. In fact, I have on one for each of my lenses, meaning that they're there when the lens goes on. You don't mention using one.

I also think that you over-simplify your example. Why is your camera not affected by the wind (assuming that, in your example, you were shooting next to the Shen Hao)? Why don't you have to compose (even through the VF)? Do you leave your camera where you last took your shot, or do you, too, have to "tear things down" after you shoot as well?



...or what if you decide you want a different composition (you have to start over...

Umm, no you don't. You just keep looking thought the GG and recompose, just as you would with a VF. You certainly don’t need to start over. Composition comes first, then critical focus, meaning any movements have not yet occurred.


The simple solution is you really need both. Each compliments the other. You eventually want both types.

Finally, something that we both can (somewhat) agree on. But, having both cameras at the moment, I will be selling the cones-system camera soon. I simply have no need for it. I don't (and won't) shoot hand held. (Mind you, I could. The Shen Hao is no bigger than a Speed Graphic, so set on hyper focal, I could easily manage). I don't shoot moving objects (well, nothing that requires me to pan the camera). I do, however, shoot a lot of things that require focal plane adjustments.

And, here is the crux of this matter to my way of thinking. The Shen Hao/Ebony design might be somewhat slower to set up. However, this is marginal. The ability to shoot faster shutter speeds due to focus contral allowing faster apatures (at least) equals this. Not having to shoot at f32, f45 etc to get things in focus means less diffraction (i.e. sharper shots) pushes it ahead. Critical focus (i.e. not the stuff that you can guesstimate on a rudimentary DOF marking that assumes that you have correctly calibrated your lens to the helical mount) is much more accurate through a GG, moving the Shen even further ahead for me. Literally hundreds of lens options is awesome! Just get the lens and a lens board and you're away. No special nose cone orders from the manufacturer, no calibration needed.

And no one here has really mentioned the Shen Hao/Ebony's ability to close (i.e. macro) focus shorter lenses.

Put simply, I have more lens range, more image choices and styles and sharper images using my Shen Hao over my DaYi.

But, this is just my experience and opinion. I think that Ambroz (and anyone else) looking at getting one of these panoramic format cameras will be spoilt for choice!!!

Lachlan.

ambroz
11-Nov-2008, 00:35
Is that true, that it can't be composed through the groundglass at the moonlight?

Maybe I should get Dr. Gilde camera. It allows some tilt. But it's to expensive for me. Can't have it all (tilt & viewfinder).

Ambroz

ambroz
11-Nov-2008, 12:51
As Mr. Hoos from Panoraflex says, they are Da Yi origin, but with some improvements, like stronger springs for filmplate and better final control.

The dilemma is not only Fotoman or Panoraflex, but Shen Hao too. In fact Panoraflex is on the end of a list, because maximum focal lenghth is only 210 mm.

I tried Sinar 4x5 a few times and upside down picture on the GG really was confusing me, but I think, it is only beginners problem. I think you get used to it. Bigger problem for me was, is the picture sharp or not? I had a loupe, but probably the fresnel wasn't really of a good quality.

The funniest thing is, that cameras with dark cloth attract me.

I'll have to think, what my photography style is and what kind of photographs I want to make. Then I'll decide, which camera will serve me better.

Ambroz

Lachlan 717
11-Nov-2008, 18:18
"I use a 240mm and will be getting a 300mm soon. It's your skill, how you see the world, and how you want to show that vision that dictates a camera's use."……………………. I was expressing a view considering the issue brought up about carrying 5 lenses in a case. In this situation shorter cones are better. No one said you can't use a tele (Danny Burke uses a 300). It is your choice. That's why they sell the various focal lengths.

Still not sure why you say that Panoramic cameras are designed for wide angle lenses. Again, can you explain this?


"Why do you feel that it is "ridiculous" to compare them, just because one uses a view finder and one does not? I think that you also have a flaw in your definition, given the DaYi that I also have came with both a view finder and a ground glass. Seems that the manufacturers don't differentiate basic designation of these cameras."…………………. If you do not see a difference between a FIELD camera and a PANO camera, then don't buy either until you understand the differences and pros/cons for each. Doesn't the class designation the mfrs have given these cameras give you any hint of the differences and different purposes intended? Side by side I think it is "fact" they look a lot different and operate differently.

Still not sure why you say that "Pano" cameras are different to field cameras. It is about format, not design. Again, can you explain this? Or are you just assuming a demarcation in an attempt to present Fotoman-style cameras as being the only "true" panoramic cameras?


Yes, pano cameras usually have a lens attached, but field cameras do not have one attached because many models do not close. If yours does close with a lens attached, good for you.

Leaving your contradictory statement aside, good for me as mine does close with a lens on. Perhaps this fact could have been explored before you incorrectly used it?



As for sharper, come on, the same lenses are used on both cameras.

Of course, the same lens can be used on both cameras. But if you don't understand how a camera with full movement can make an image sharper than one that relies on DOF alone, then there really is no point in "discussing" this.



Considering how often landscapes end up cropped to around 612 anyways...,

Why do they need cropping when your Master-of-All view finder is being used? Weren't you able to recompose with so much more ease than a Shen Hao?


...a 612 Fotoman (or 617 gives you a range from 612-617) are ver [sic]convenient.

So, too, does the Shen Hao, as it uses a 6x17 film back with both 6x15 and 6x12 masks. Or, didn't you check this either?

Really, this would have been a much more enjoyable thread if it had been kept fair and open, without omissions of fact that seem to have been presented to sway opinion.

I really don't care what camera the OP gets; I just care that s/he gets fully disclosed information, as well as information that is not opinion expressed as fact (especially when it is erroneous).

Van Camper, more than happy to take this to PM rather than in this format. I doubt Members want to read any more on this from me.

Lachlan.

ambroz
12-Nov-2008, 00:22
Van Camper, more than happy to take this to PM rather than in this format. I doubt Members want to read any more on this from me.

Lachlan.

No problem, your hot debate is educative too.

_

Lachlan 717
12-Nov-2008, 00:37
" Does your field camera have a viewfinder, does it have a helical focusing ring with depth of field scale? Do you know what a helical mount is? Can you handhold your Shen Hao? Do you need a darkcloth? Come on, wake up! Get a picture of each and tape it to the wall until it sinks in rather then asking the same questions over and over. When a person is having brain cramp, it is time to end it. Good day.

Nice that you feel this needs to be a personal thing, rather than actually answering the posed question. But let’s move on from such pettiness.

I will try to make this as simple and unambiguous as possible:

Panoramic (a.k.a. "Pano") is a definition of a format, not a camera. Panoramic camera is a camera that takes an aspect (at least) twice its width as its height. It has nothing to do with a helical mount (or are you saying that Art Panoramas and Ebony 617s (http://www.ebonycamera.com/cam.html) are not Panos? If so, I'll get in touch with Ebony and request them to remove the part about "Panoramic" from their website, and I'll ask the Tomiyama Seisakusho Company to kindly remove the word from their camera's name. Mind you, you will probably take umbrage with them calling their camera "Art" as they’re not made by Fotoman...)

As for the Helical mount, I am aware that it is a system, based on moving a lens via a version of Archimedes' screw. It has the benefit of fine adjustments (though pointless as you don't subscribe to using Ground Glass to actually see what it's doing. Ye of Great Faith sign here) and also the disadvantage of being "geared" so high that it has lens movement limitations in order to facilitate this fine adjustments.

Curiously, the Gaoersi and the DaYi both have both view finder, helical focus, hand grips AND Ground Glass. What does that make them? Hmmm... Why am I singing "He's not such an ugly Duckling"*?

Oh, I almost forgot. I was looking at the Fotoman website and found this. It is a Fotoman camera (http://www.fotomancamera.com/product_list.asp?id=334). Tick that box. It has a helical mount. Tick that box, too. Look on top. It has a view finder!!! And hand holding handles. Wow! We're getting somewhere here. It MUST BE A "PANO"!!!!

Hang on... It says that it's 5x7 format. Surely that's not panoramic?

Okay, that must be a glitch. Here is another Fotoman camera (http://www.fotomancamera.com/product_list.asp?id=332). It, too, has a view finder, it has a helical focusing system And it's... a 8x10?!?!?!? That's not panoramic, either?!?!? What's going on?!?!? AND it's got those handle things that let you take hand held shots. HOW CAN THIS NOT BE A PANO?!?

Last check. I'll try this page (http://www.fotomancamera.com/product_list.asp?id=335). VF, Helical, 4x5... Gosh, that is even closer to being square that the danged 5x7.

Sorry, Van Camper, even your beloved Fotoman sees "Pano" as more than a view finder, a helical lens mount and a couple of handles as being a "Pano" camera. So, yet again, can you please explain why you differentiate?


Lachlan.

PS,

I have both a bellows and helical focusing camera. I am not sure that you do. If you do, then I am happy to concede that you are just as informed as I am on these two systems. Also, happy to post a photo of the 2 side by side as proof.


*Check here if you don't get the reference (http://www.andersen.sdu.dk/vaerk/hersholt/TheUglyDuckling_e.html)

Lachlan 717
12-Nov-2008, 14:12
"Really, this would have been a much more enjoyable thread if it had been kept fair and open, without omissions of fact that seem to have been presented to sway opinion"

Funny, yet your swaying opinions over to a class of field cameras. The title of this thread is "Buying 617 camera, Fotoman or Panoraflex". I mentioned the advantages of the Fotoman (viewfinder, no need for darkcloth, helical focus ring, handhold, etc). I also mentioned if you need to carry 5 lenses including tele lenses that you would be better off with a shen hao due to the long cones taking up space in the camera bag. You're trying to convince us a 617 Shen hao is a true panoramic camera which is not true…….it doesn't look (hint) like a panoramic camera, doesn't handle or operate like a panoramic camera (shen hao requires traditional movements and set up like all field cameras), it requires using a dark cloth every time (hint). Yet the OP wanted a comparison of Fotoman vs PanoRaflex cameras. Why are you then introducing a 617 field camera just because it is the same format as a pano camera (when it doesn't handle or look like one)? If I throw on a 617 back on a Wista or Horseman field camera, you changed the format, but it still IS NOT a panoramic camera….it's still a technical field camera with all the inconveniences. Frankly, based on your argument that a panoramic camera is dependant on the format being 617, why not buy a 617 back for an 8x10 camera (and have 6x9,4x5,617,5x7,5x8, 4x10) since convenience (operation and handling) are irrelavent [sic]. The OP wanted to buy a panoramic camera, yours is not a pano camera (just a field camera modified with a 617 bacK [sic]).

Lets [sic] leave it for the OP to decide. I think there is a big difference in the photos below.
One is a field camera regardless of format size (operation is the same), the other a traditional panoramic camera. You still need to attach a roll film holder to the shen hao, while the Fotoman has it all built in. Don't forget the Fotoman can also be used with a magnetic groundglass that attaches so easily. They look and operate COMPLETELY differently.

Blah, blah... same old retohric. Same avoidance of the question. Same refusal to accept rebuttal. Same misinterpretation (I think that I said that panoramic is based on at least 2:1 aspect ration, not the "format being 617"). Same fogging of the issues (as ONE of mine is a Shen Hao that only takes panoramic formats from 6x12 to 6x17, how is it not a “pano camera”?).

By the way, nice commencement of the use of "traditional". But, yet again you have confused history with your own interpretation. "Traditional" panoramic cameras looked nothing like the Fotoman.

Here are 3 sites showing antique panoramic cameras:

Site One (http://www.ronkleinphotos.com/Lawrence.html)

Site Two (http://www.antiquewoodcameras.com/bells.htm)

Site Three (http://www.precinemahistory.net/1890.htm)

Are you also dismissing "Banquet" Cameras as being panoramic? I'm fairly sure that users of 5x12, 7x17, 8x20 etc might disagree.

But, to be fair, I'll start a new thread asking what makes a Panoramic camera. Let's see what Members think, rather than just you and me. I'm happy to bow to their opinions.

And I am also pretty sure that anyone seeing a photo taken with a Fotoman next to a photo taken with, say, an Ebony 617 will say, “My, my, what nice panos”; they don’t see the camera, just the image ratio of at least 2:1…

Lachlan.

Lachlan 717
12-Nov-2008, 18:50
Wow, aren't we getting desperate to prove that your field camera handles like a panoramic camera.

No, just getting desperate for you to respond to points raised, rather than simply muddying the issue with dribble (for instance, about Geese; you'll possibly know them as "gooses"). Really not sure how Geese came into this; swans I could understand. I'll use simile next time, rather than analogy. Perhaps they will prove to be less obscure (i.e. easier to understand).

Also, I’m not sure why you have asked if WE are getting desperate. If you’re getting desperate to prove my camera is a panoramic camera, feel free (preferably in writing so that we can end this post). Quite happy if you roll over on this one like a downtrodden dog exposing its guts (told you I’d use simile next time).


…so convenient to use, and fast (like a big 35mm rangefinder camera).

Holga is releasing a 612 pin hole "Pano"; maybe that's your perfect camera. You don't even need to tax your brain focusing it. How's that for convenience and ease of use?

Lachlan

By the way, have you cast your vote in the poll, Van Camper?

cjbroadbent
13-Nov-2008, 03:08
I posted this to Barreto's thread on 6x17:
"I did two long jobs with a Seitz Roundshot and chucked it for a Tecnorama 6x17 because 6x17 is the limit for publication. Having used that, I went looking for a Tecnorama 6x12 because even 6x17 is too much. A 6x12 back on an a Cambo got me through a year because at least it shifted. Now now I'm down to (or up to) 5x7 box camera with fixed shift and a 120mm lens. And Happy.
The Linhof Tecnorama was a b**ger to load and wind. Easy to miss the start and screw up a roll. Biggest problem was getting the ND wedge filter in the right position for a given f stop. I ended up always using the same stop. Short lenses are a mistake - there's not much on the film except foreground. YOU DO NEED SHIFT because the camera is level. I was using PCNikkors on the Seitz to get shift. I've even hired a telescopic platform to get off ground level. So think shift before you buy."
If you've got a duck, you don't need a goose.

renes
17-Mar-2010, 03:17
Caltar II-N 90mm 6.8 MC
Fuji Fujinon 90mm SW F8
Rodenstock Grandagon-N 90mm F6.8 MC

Are these 3 lenses much differ from Nikkor SW 90mm F8?
Is it worth to pay more for Nikkor?

Look for one to be used with DaYi 6X17 IIA - as far as they cover 6x17.

Do they all need to be used with center filter?

evan clarke
17-Mar-2010, 04:41
Ambroz,

I had Shen Hao design and manufacture the first of these 617 view cameras.

Fundamentally, this was due to my distain for the cone system found on the Gaersori/DaYi/Fotoman et al.

I can assure you that this camera is significantly less bulky than my old DaYi Shift II with a 90mm SA. In addition, I know have a 110mm SSXL, a 150mm Fujinon and a 240mm Fujinon in the same case that used to hold the DaYi.

In addition, I cannot stress how useful full movements are; don't be fooled by mere shift on the cone bodies. Swing and tilt are used so much more (especially if you go for lenses with minimal image circles and you shoot landscapes). The Shen Hao has rear tilt, somewhat mitigating the need to shift.

Also consider close focus abilities of a bellows system. Makes for interesting panos! I also have marked infinity and hyperfocal distances (at f16) on the flatbed rails for all of my lenses, so focusing is not a time-consuming exercise. It is also not more time consuming than using my DaYi with focus screen.

(If you want a point and shoot pano camera, I would suggest getting a 12-14meg DSLR and cropping).

I have had no real issue with wind, especially as I hang my bag from my tripod hook. Don't assume that a hard nose cone (say, for a 210mm) will not be affected by wind - it, too, will be...

Save your money and your bag space. Get all of the additional features with the Shen Hao and a bag full of lenses for the same price as the Fotoman!

Please feel free to PM me if you have any questions. Jess has in the past and I hope that I answered all questions raised.

Lachlan.

I agree with Lachlan about real movements. I have a 612 Fotoman and it is a really nice camera but unless it is deadly level, all parallel lines will converge. While I do use the Fotoman a fair amount,my favorite setup is an Ebony 45s for which I have 6x12 and 6x17 backs..I can use both backs horizontally and vertically on this camera...Evan Clarke

Lachlan 717
17-Mar-2010, 11:27
I agree with Lachlan about real movements. I have a 612 Fotoman and it is a really nice camera but unless it is deadly level, all parallel lines will converge. While I do use the Fotoman a fair amount,my favorite setup is an Ebony 45s for which I have 6x12 and 6x17 backs..I can use both backs horizontally and vertically on this camera...Evan Clarke

Thanks, Evan.

I do have a confession to make, though.

I'm back using my DaYi. Kinda.

I've been in the UK for a month or so on work. I decided that I'd hit some of the Scottish Highlands whilst I was here. I couldn't fit the Shen in with all of my work gear, so decided to pack the DaYi in check in sans the lens. I then packed the 90mm into my carry-on.

My feelings having shot the DaYi for the first time in 2 years? It felt very, very limited. I missed the shifts, even though the DaYi has a basic up shift. I really missed the swings and tilts.

Most of all, I missed my other lenses, especially the 240mm Fuji.

On the upside, it is quick to set up, especially using hyperfocal (except when f32 means a 30 second exposure in somewhat windy conditions when tilt/swing would have allowed f11 and 4 seconds).

The conclusion? It'll do as a travel camera to somewhere special. However, for "regular" travel locations, I'm more than happy taking the X-Pan.

When I have room, it'll always be the Shen.

shadowleaves
17-Mar-2010, 19:03
Caltar II-N 90mm 6.8 MC
Fuji Fujinon 90mm SW F8
Rodenstock Grandagon-N 90mm F6.8 MC

Are these 3 lenses much differ from Nikkor SW 90mm F8?
Is it worth to pay more for Nikkor?

Look for one to be used with DaYi 6X17 IIA - as far as they cover 6x17.

Do they all need to be used with center filter?

wow that was a really old thread...
I have an old post somewhere in the lense discussion forum about Nikkor 90/8:
[caution: really BIG pics that could freeze up your computer for a while]
http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=56620

Its resolution in the center is nothing special about - all modern 90mm lense are good in the center of their image circles. It is the resolution in the corners that really distinguishes Nikkor 90/8 from most of, if not all other competitors. Nikkor 90/8 has both great resolution straight towards the edge of its 235mm image circle. It also has a very, very flat image field. For a typical 6x17 image focused at infinity, the edge resolution of Nikkor 90/8 will easily put a modern Schneider Super Angulon 90/8 MC to shame.

Lachlan 717
18-Mar-2010, 09:46
Here you go.

You're a class act, Darcy (note the sarcasm).

Did you realise that we're in the 21st century?

Perhaps keep this sort of crap commentary to yourself.

Miguel Curbelo
18-Mar-2010, 14:48
Darcy or whoever, could that be removed please?

Darcy Cote
19-Mar-2010, 15:31
I apologize to those that I offended. I suppose I should be more careful. Sorry

MikeIsaak
22-Aug-2010, 21:52
Good thread. Some VERY informative information in here, glad I stumbled upon it.