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Thread: 617 vs 4x10'' format

  1. #1

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    617 vs 4x10'' format

    I am (still) buying a panoramic camera, mainly shoot landscapes. My style is 'setup and wait for the light', not 'point and shoot'. I like the idea of GG for precise composing and ability to tilt for getting more DOF.

    So I intended to buy 617 view camera (Ebony / Shen Hao 617 type), not the rangefinder type (Linhof, Fotoman, ...). But - if I am buying a panoramic view camera, why not 4x10'' format?

    1. What's the difference between 6x17 cm an 4x10 inch on big prints (40'' = 1m wide and bigger)?

    2. Large format lenses have best sharpness at f16-f22. That's where 617 format works OK. But for 4x10, apertures of f32 - f90 must be used, that's where diffraction occurs, I believe. Isn't better then to use sharp 617 transparencies than 4x10?

    3. Is groundglass on 617 camera big enough to see, if both foreground and background are sharp?

    Ambroz

  2. #2
    Whatever David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Re: 617 vs 4x10'' format

    If the lenses cover 4x10", I don't see why you think you need f:32 and smaller for the larger format. I use my 8x10" lenses for 4x10", and I often shoot around f:22 for landscapes. I suppose you might want smaller apertures if you are using the camera for interiors or tabletop work, but since you say you are shooting landscapes, I don't think that would be necessary.

    I've done 6x17cm with a DaYi 6x17 back and 4x10" with a half-darkslide mask on an 8x10" camera, and I'd say my 4x10" results have been better than 6x17cm, even though I used more modern lenses with the 6x17cm back. I don't make huge prints in general, but a larger original will almost always give you a better result, all things being roughly equal (and even somewhat unequal), and presuming the inconvenience of the larger camera doesn't stand in the way of getting the shot in the first place.

    I didn't have any difficulty using the 6x17 groundglass.

    The main attractions of the 6x17 back to me were convenience, because it fit on a smaller 4x5" camera, and I could use it handheld with rangefinder focus on my Linhof Technika. On the other hand, if I'm shooting 8x10", I always have the 4x10" mask in the bag, since it doesn't weigh much or take up too much space.

  3. #3
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    Re: 617 vs 4x10'' format

    Quote Originally Posted by ambroz View Post
    1. What's the difference between 6x17 cm an 4x10 inch on big prints (40'' = 1m wide and bigger)?
    More film area means less enlargement for the same print size. This in turn means less perceived graininess and more perceived sharpness. You can't beat more square inches.

    Quote Originally Posted by ambroz View Post
    2. Large format lenses have best sharpness at f16-f22. That's where 617 format works OK. But for 4x10, apertures of f32 - f90 must be used, that's where diffraction occurs, I believe. Isn't better then to use sharp 617 transparencies than 4x10?
    First, your supposition is problematic. There's nothing about 4x10 format that says you have to use apertures below f/32. Aperture choice is still the photographers to make.

    And again, for the same size print, you have less enlargement of the 4x10 film over the 6x17 film. Apparent sharpness may actually be better for the 4x10 film simply because of the lower enlargement ratio.

    Quote Originally Posted by ambroz View Post
    3. Is groundglass on 617 camera big enough to see, if both foreground and background are sharp?
    No idea. Never seen one.

    Bruce Watson

  4. #4

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    Re: 617 vs 4x10'' format

    3. Is groundglass on 617 camera big enough to see, if both foreground and background are sharp?
    Yes, with the aid of a magnifier. But with short lenses, the corners are really dim.
    And one of the most attractive feature of the Linhof/Fuji/Fotoman/Gaoersi style 617 cameras is the ability to use them without a groundglass.

  5. #5

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    Re: 617 vs 4x10'' format

    How are you going to create you final images. Scanning or traditional enlarger? 6x17 can be done on a 5x7 enlarger. 4x10 will obviously need an 8x10 enlarger. Also it might be easier to scan a 6x17 neg than a 4x10?

  6. #6

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    Re: 617 vs 4x10'' format

    The obvious 6x17 is almost 3:1. 4x10 is 2.5x1.

    My 8x10 is my 4x10 is my 6x17. I'd rather have one bigger camera with multiple backs then three cameras. Admittly my Shen FCL-810 isn't that heavy in 8x10 terms. so it's not a big hardship

  7. #7
    Whatever David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Re: 617 vs 4x10'' format

    Quote Originally Posted by Dominique Cesari View Post
    And one of the most attractive feature of the Linhof/Fuji/Fotoman/Gaoersi style 617 cameras is the ability to use them without a groundglass.
    But, if your camera has an accessory shoe, like my Technika, or if it is possible to install one, you can add a 6x17 viewfinder.

  8. #8
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    Re: 617 vs 4x10'' format

    If you shoot roll film in black and white, it is hard to control the development of an individual shot. With sheet film, you can.

    With roll film, you have to develop the entire roll, whether you have exposed it all, or not. With sheet film, you only have to develop the exposed sheets.

    On the other hand, roll film generally lets you shoot several shots in succession, more quickly, and you only need to carry one holder.

  9. #9

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    Re: 617 vs 4x10'' format

    True but it's only 4 shots on a 6x17 roll.

  10. #10
    David Vickery
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    Re: 617 vs 4x10'' format

    As far as the ground glass goes, if you are using a loop that has to touch the ground glass for you to see a sharp image then you will not be able to see the top and bottom of the g.glass very well-if at all near the edges. The larger size of the 4x10 ground glass will be much easier to compose and focus on.

    The diffraction limitation of lenses is not a relevant issue/concern for these formats, in my opinion. It is certainly not anywhere near reason enough to not use the larger format.

    I believe that the 4x10 would be easier to use in every regard, including processing, composing, scanning, etc., except possibly for film loading--that will take a little more time and be less convenient than roll film.
    Sudek ambled across my mind one day and took his picture. Only he knows where it is.
    David Vickery

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