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Thread: Cirkut Camera Questions

  1. #1
    alec4444's Avatar
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    Cool Cirkut Camera Questions

    Hey Guys!

    Spent some of my lunch break at the ICP museum in New York -- rather nice to work so close by. In the museum shop I found a book titled "America by the Yard: Cirkut Camera: Images from the Early Twentieth Century" by Robert B. MacKay. I was intrigued. Came home and ordered the book online.

    Did some research online and pawed through some of the older threads here on the topic. Seems like the last of the film is no longer being produced. Called Photo Warehouse (now named something else) and the guy swore someone still makes the film, though they no longer carry it.

    Anyone still shooting these? If so, where do you get your film? Looks like a fascinating camera to try out...I was particularly impressed with how little distortion the images have. Looks as if the mechanics can sometimes be finicky...but that's gotta be half the fun of these things (taking them apart and cleaning / maintaining all the parts).

    If anyone in the NYC area is still shooting one I'd love to see it in action!

    Cheers!
    --A

  2. #2
    Whatever David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Re: Cirkut Camera Questions

    J&C was selling film in Cirkut rolls, so you can probably get it from fotoimpex.de by special order. I think some Cirkut shooters slit aerial film to Cirkut sizes.

  3. #3
    alec4444's Avatar
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    Re: Cirkut Camera Questions

    Thanks, David! Their site does say they custom cut film, so I guess that's an option.

    Errrr....so nobody (at least on this site) uses these anymore? Astonished at the sound of chirping crickets!

    --A

  4. #4
    Whatever David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Re: Cirkut Camera Questions

    Galli had one, and I know there's at least one other pano shooter around here who uses a Cirkut.

  5. #5

    Re: Cirkut Camera Questions

    Alec - I'm working wheat harvest here in Washington state, so today is the first time I've had energy enough to post some Cirkut thoughts. I have Cirkuts and have used them, but I've never gotten to the point where I really consider myself a Cirkut shooter. Dealing with mechanical issues, darkroom work, and film spooling make Cirkuts quite time and energy consuming.

    I posted some links here: http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-...?msg_id=00LmaT which you may find interesting.

    I don't have an up-to-date answer on what to do about film. Surplus aerial film is probably best to start with, so you can make mistakes with a relatively cheap film. I don't know if aerial film is being replaced by some sort of digital process, but I suspect it will be. If you can find any companies in your area doing aerial photography or mapping, it would be worth asking if they have any pastdated film. At one point not too many years ago, Jamie Young had a source from Canada to get one of the European B&W films in bulk rolls, but I don't know if that is still possible. Several years ago, I saw pictures of a Chinese pan camera that I believe used 10 inch film. I wonder if there is a film being made in China. Cirkut film is such a tiny market, it may never have occured to any importer to check on this. I suspect Jamie Young may be the best person to ask about film availablity. You should be able to find his email address in one of the links I posted.

    If you can come up with a satisfactory answer to the film problem and decide to take the plunge into Cirkuts, let me know, and I may be able to help answer questions.

  6. #6

    Re: Cirkut Camera Questions

    This could possibly be a good resource to look into.
    International Association of Panoramic Photographers
    http://www.panphoto.com/

    I met up with the president a few years ago at a pro photo convention held here in Austin, TX. I was dragged to the convention with a wedding/portrait photographer friend... honestly it was, for me, a completely worthless endeavour, as I didnt need to know and still dont need to know the fasted memory cards, best new CCD info... but nonetheless the IAPP had a small table there and I spent a few minutes talking with them about my 7x17 Folmer & Schwing and the work Id been doing in Texas.

    hopefully the link can be of some help for you as I know many of the members are cirkut shooters.

  7. #7

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    Re: Cirkut Camera Questions

    Don't count me out just yet. I've got a sweet #10 upstairs and though I'll admit I've been pre-occupied with antique portrait / soft focus lenses and cameras I know the Cirkut bug will bite again. My plan is to do some manageable sizes like the elegant 10X28 I look at every time I eat in the dining room at Furnace Creek. The Chinese seem most interested in supplying us with cameras and film just now. I wonder if the folks who are in touch with the ERA sources could find out about long rolls of 10" film. Hugo?? First thing on my list is to quit my real job so I can play with these old cameras 24 - 7 That said, I need to get to bed because 04:30AM comes awful early.
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep..to gain that which he cannot lose. Jim Elliot, 1949

  8. #8

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    Re: Cirkut Camera Questions

    Ditto what Jim said about a day job
    I have a #10 that sat for a coupla years until Jim posted his first shot.
    Then I made a coupla short shots with mine using the film that was in it.
    Ta Daaaahhh it actually worked. So I got a 10'' roll from J&C and built a spooler, bought some special paper from Cartoon Supply [??] in LA for leaders and got my son to fab a coupla spools out of copper waterline and brass sheet. Now the problem is I made the film too long for me to dip, dunk and roll without scratching the poo out of it. My next try is to cut down a reel made to hold 3 1/2'' x 100 ft of film and get the boy/man to fab a new "axle" so i can try loading 20 ft on a 10'' spiral reel and goosh it in the dark in buckets.
    Actuarially, I think I'm about 5 years behind

  9. #9

    Re: Cirkut Camera Questions

    Ed - The development method which has worked pretty well for me is using Rubbermaid plastic washpans for chems. Feed the film into the developer from your dry hand to the other (wet) hand which catches the film in the dev. Let the film roll up on itself as it is immersed. Once it is all wet, just unroll from one hand to the other hand which rolls it up, keeping both hands and the film submerged. Then roll/unroll back and forth for the duration of the development time. You will be touching the back of the film, and should be wearing gloves, so the emulsion is pretty safe.

    I'll write more later. I've got a combine harvester waiting for me today. Wheat harvest is going quite well - good crop, no rain, and few breakdowns.

  10. #10

    Re: Cirkut Camera Questions

    Two drawbacks to the Rubbermaid tub development method - it must be done in the dark, of course, and needs quite a bit of chemistry (I'm remembering a couple of gallons or so). One Cirkut shooter says he has hacked a Paterson plastic reel by extending the center spindle with plastic pipe, and is able to develop his film in Paterson daylight tanks. I tried this myself, but never was able to load film without it kinking badly (this was 8" film). At the time I assumed I didn't get the spacing quite right between the two reel ends, and this may well be the problem. However, I've also read Paterson reels over time may build up chem residue (primarily PhotoFlo) that makes them very difficult to load. I'm sure when I looked for reels to cut up and modify, I used the worst looking ones I had, probably with lots of residue. So modifying Paterson reels may be something to experiment with. If anyone is interested, I can look at what I did and post the info. I don't recall the amount of solution needed in the tall Paterson tanks, but I'm sure it is much less than the wash tubs.

    I use stainless steel reels for 120, and have long wondered if the center spindle of a SS reel could be extended to make an 8" or 10" wide reel. I've thought of trying plastic pipe and epoxy putty to do the extension. If it was then possible to load film onto the thing, it might be worth finding someone with a TIG welder to do a proper extension with a SS spindle. A 220 SS reel may be needed to hold the 5 to 6 feet of a Cirkut film.

    On the subject of length of Cirkut films - the Kodak factory loads were 5 to 6 feet, if I remember right. I spoke with one Cirkut guy who said there is a limit to how long you can go when you spool your own film. Too much film wrapped around the takeup drum starts to change the ratio of the gear train to drum diameter. At least I seem to recall one of the variables in the formula for calculating pinion gear number for a given lens is the diameter of the drum. If this doesn't sound right, someone please correct me, as I'm doing this from memory. If this is important to someone, I'll look at my notes later in the week, and post what I find. Anyway, either 15 feet or 20 feet is what I recall being the most you want to try at a time. I assume this includes the length of the leader aroung the drum.

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