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Thread: 617 Panoramic camera concept. Gethering opinions.

  1. #1
    SuperK's Avatar
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    617 Panoramic camera concept. Gethering opinions.

    Hello, comrades!
    Panoramic photography is my hobby, I use 6x17sm Chinese noname (Gaoersi/DaYi mix) film camera with 90mm Fuji lens.

    I not satisfied with the design of existing panoramic cameras.

    Scale-focusing cameras (Fuji GX617, Linhof Technorama, Horseman 617...) has huge, expensive lens cones, and they are restricted by focal length.
    Focal length restriction is the main problem for me. Nobody makes cones for lens shorter then 72mm, but I need 65,58 or even 47mm.
    Cones become too big from 150mm focal lenght. here is Fotoman 617 with 400mm lens

    http://mainlinephoto.wordpress.com/2...irst-whoo-hoo/

    Changing cones on most of this systems is rather slow - there are four screws on each lens cone. Fuji GX seems easier to change the lens (two screws), but impossible to do this mid roll. Linhof has two screws also, but look at the price! Still, 72mm is the shortest.


    Using view cameras like Ebony 617 or Shen Hao PTB 617 or Shen Hao TFC617 (http://www.shen-hao.com/PRODUCTS.aspx?i=199&id=n3 )is not for me! While changing lenses is faster and there seems to be no restrictions of using wide-angle lenses, still this cameras are too slow to shoot.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grdhe_Hs7hc
    I don't like to use ground glass for each shot. So many joints and movements which I never need - make those cameras too complex and slow for me. I need fast and easy shooting.. I also affraid these wood cameras are not so precise as simple metall camera can be.

    So.

    I made a concept of my own. I want to hear your opinions.

    I tried to make the camera very simple and fast to use, as common scale-focusing system, with enough general rigidity and precision. The main idea was to get rid of lens cones and to be free in lens selection. All-metall rail camera with belows. Please note, there are two variants of the camera - without removable film back, and with it.



    _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    General look
    Here is the scheme with some main parts:


    It is a very simple all-metall rail camera.
    It consist of ArcaSwiss-standart Rail and Front and Back Standarts shifting along the Rail on Carriages. Carriages are modified Arca Swiss clamps with strong screw and cheeks.
    Front and Back Standarts must have rigid profiles, does not have any movements (I mean the movements of Large Format: Swing, Rise, Fall, Tilt) and are tightly attached to the Carriages. Maybe it's possible to create the Standarts with the Carriges as one part.
    The Front Standart accept the Lens Boards with the lens and Focusing Helicoid. The Lens Board can be of one of most common type (Linhof, Sinar...) - about 100x100mm.
    The Back Standart can be two variants: it can be film holder itself (var.1), or can accept the removable film holder (var.2). Multiformat possibility (6x12, 6x14, 6x17) would be nice, that's easy to provide.
    There is Bellows between Front and Back Standarts.

    Preparations
    Now let's assume that user has three lenses: 65mm, 90mm, 150mm (for example), mounted on Lens Boards with Focusing Helicoids.
    At first user has to do some preparations.
    User now has to set four Stoppers (detends) on the Rail, which corresponds all three lenses at infinity focus. Four Stoppers create two ranges for moving Front and Back Standarts, providing three fixed positions of the Standarts.
    The setup of the Stoppers undergoes with ground glass for checking focus (Focusing Helicoid must be set at infinity). That's all. Easy!

    Shooting
    After setting the Stoppers, user can focus for closer distances by scale on Helicoids, when needed.
    To change the lens user has to move the Standarts to the corresponding Stoppers, and replace the Lens Board with Helicoid and the lens. You can see three positions of Standarts (65, 90, 150mm) moving between Stoppers, and focusing - on this video (changing lenses is not shown):

    If Back Standart is var.2 (film holder is removable) then user also can check focus on ground glass each time he needs.


    Framing
    I suggest to use collapsable sports frame viewfinder in cold shoe, similar to Graflex Sports Finder, with plexiglass attached to the metalic frame.
    http://youtu.be/O2mlieFPWJY
    The marks, corresponding the field of view can be put by user to plexiglass - on transparent adhesive film. For three lenses - three adhesives with frame marks must be glued - one upon other. For best visibility, frame marks can be different colors.
    This kind of viewfinder is rather convinient and precise, and can help to keep the price of the system low. For example Horseman optical viewfinder costs more the 600$ for each lens and Linhof Technorama viewfinders - 1165$!
    ( http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...or_Linhof.html )
    If the long rail would bother when framing with wide-angle lenses, then viewfinder must be possible to be placed on the right/left side of the camera (in cold shoe)

    I don't insist on frame Sports Viewfinder. If it possible to make affordable optical viewfinder, or the accesory wideangle lens for smartfones + software providing frames - that's would be great! There is such software for iphone, combined with 0.5x wide-angle lens - Mark II Artist's Viewfinder. Another alternative is the mix of optical+frame finder with mask. Dr.Gilde has created this kind of viewfinder for GG-17 camera.


    Lenses
    I believe the simplicity of the camera can help to create affordable, versatile, user friendly and user adjustable camera. It should easy provide the usage of 58mm wide angle lens. I think that 47mm is possible too, at least on recessed lens board and without focusing helicoid - thus restricted to infinity or hyperfocal setup. Schneider-Kreuznach Super-Angulon 47/5.6 XL lens covers 16.6sm on f/22, so shooting this wide-angle will lead to some crop from 6x17, or shooting 6x14 or 6x12 is an alternative. The wide-angle lenses compability is easier to provide with Back Standart var.1
    Arca-Swiss Rails can have different length to satisfy any user. More then three lenses can be used on the rail, but for this user would have to move the Back Standart (by unsrewing the carriage clamps) to another range between stoppers fifth and sixth.


    Other schemes of placing Stoppers on the Rail are possible, any focal lenght range is provided.
    Besides, user even can use additional Rail if one is not enough. I can't imagine this situation.
    As I told this camera can be in two variants of it Back Standart. In my practice I reraly need the ground glass to select the composition and to focus, so I would prefer the first variant as it is simpler, but someone would prefer the second.

    Rigidity
    The simplicity must provide enough rigidity also, so there would be no need in hard case for this camera. A common camera bag will be sufficient. For safe transportation the bag with the camera in backpack, the Front Standart has adjustable metalic Protective Frame to protect the lens. In the short focal lenght setup, this frame is attached to Back Standart by screws. The frame can be removed, also. I think that this Frame can be used for Lens Hood attaching (such as this http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/MTYwMFgxNT...SiyA4/$_12.JPG ), but I didn't think about it.
    For hard transportation conditions one can disassamble the camera easily: take of the Bellows, and both Front and Back Standarts from the Rail.

    Now I need your answer whether you like this concept and what do you think about it: will it "work", could this type of camera be interesting for some photographers, or nobody (except me) would ever want it?

  2. #2

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    Re: 617 Panoramic camera concept. Gethering opinions.

    Well, its what you want. I'm not ready to try 6x17, 6x12's my limit. I use a view camera, focus on the ground glass.

    I understand why you want what's basically a point-and-shoot, but since I shoot from tripod y'r idea's point-and-shootiness would do me no good at all. One advantage of my approach is that I can use a wide range of focal lengths. Your design is, from my perspective, limiting.

    Perhaps others will find it more appealing than I do.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Dan

  3. #3
    SuperK's Avatar
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    Re: 617 Panoramic camera concept. Gethering opinions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Fromm View Post
    I understand why you want what's basically a point-and-shoot, but since I shoot from tripod y'r idea's point-and-shootiness would do me no good at all. One advantage of my approach is that I can use a wide range of focal lengths. Your design is, from my perspective, limiting.
    Hi, Dan. Thanks for your reply. But why did you call it limiting here? 47-300mm perhaps are easily possible, I'm sure. It would depend on belows. View cameras also has some limits of below extend. I don't see any limits here.
    You did understood the basic idea - right. It is Point-and-shoot camera. Though I shoot from tripod (except very rare situation, when tripod is not allowed) with my Chinese 617 camera, still consider the speed to be very important. I often find myself in the situations when its depends on the speed - whether I do the shot, or miss it. Especially in the city.
    Would the Variant.2 with removable film back satisfy you?

  4. #4
    Lachlan 717
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    Re: 617 Panoramic camera concept. Gethering opinions.

    Why not just put some masking tape and some hyperfocal markings on a Shen 617's rails and get a $150 zooming Chinese finder? Done. Rapid shooting P&S.

    Also, I'm pretty sure that there's no point setting this up for a 47mm lens. It won't illuminate, let alone produce usable images on, 6x17.
    Lachlan.

    You miss 100% of the shots you never take. -- Wayne Gretzky

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    Re: 617 Panoramic camera concept. Gethering opinions.

    Not to derail your thread but I have several surplus US Navy Panoramic 6x18cm 120 roll film backs I can sell. These are known to keep the film very flat.

  6. #6
    SuperK's Avatar
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    Re: 617 Panoramic camera concept. Gethering opinions.

    I thought about this method possibly with Shen Hao TFC617. I asked about this kind of usage of view camera one rather famous Russian photographer on forum, but he told me to forget about this, I don't know why.
    Did you or someone else tried this? Does this method with wooden camera gives 100% precision and repeatability? I never tried wood view camera, I don't trust them, I afraid they are wobbly.
    If the markings works fine, this could be a good solution. Thank you, Lachlan!

  7. #7
    Lachlan 717
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    Re: 617 Panoramic camera concept. Gethering opinions.

    I do use this on all my cameras (Shen 6x17 and 4x5 XPO, as well as my 7x17). Makes for quick set up. I don't use it for point/n/shoot, though, just to get the body to the approximate extension prior to critically focusing it.

    I'm building a new 7x17 camera, and I'm thinking of making a cam system for it. Hard to explain how, but it involves a small swing arm that will fit into a groove to lock the extension in place. It will be small enough not to get in the way when not in use and hardly visible. You could easily do this for critical and quick extension with this retro fitted to a Shen.

    I think that you need to get over your mistrust of wooden cameras. After all, many of the great LF images were shot with them!!
    Lachlan.

    You miss 100% of the shots you never take. -- Wayne Gretzky

  8. #8

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    Re: 617 Panoramic camera concept. Gethering opinions.

    Super K - are your still living in the past? USSR does not exist anymore - the guy named Gorbachev took it to the cleaners in 1991. Your country is now known as Russia, as it used to be before Bolsheviks took it to their hands.

    When it comes to the concept of your camera - try to make a frame viewfinder for 6x17 cm film format and 47 mm lens (heck even 65mm would suffer from the same problem) and you will see that your eye has not the capacity of seeing a scene so large without moving your head to the left or right - but then you are out of luck as the frame indication moves too.

    While the concept has its merits it would need to be refined to make it an usable camera. The last advice - a public is a bad inventor.

  9. #9
    SuperK's Avatar
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    Re: 617 Panoramic camera concept. Gethering opinions.

    Thank you, Lachlan! Your post is very useful for me! Looks like I can be happy with Shen Hao TFC617.

  10. #10
    SuperK's Avatar
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    Re: 617 Panoramic camera concept. Gethering opinions.

    No, hoffner, I live in the Future!
    Concerning viewfinder, you are right - I do have Graflex Sport finder, I do know that to observe the frame, I need to turn my eye left and right. That's sufficient to general framing only.
    But some goes further - they attach peephole before the frames, so they can observe the whole frame at once and this kind of viewfinder is more precise maybe, though with heavy distortion.
    Thank you for your comment. Perhaps "Mark II Artist's Viewfinder" software + iPhone is the best solution. The specs says that with 0.5x lens it covers up to 17mm in 135-frame equivalent. There is Technorama 612 pc II simulation in their specs, so I guess 47 for 617 is there.

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