View Full Version : UWF: Is a 6x30 or 6x36 format a reasonable concept

Paul Droluk
13-Apr-2005, 09:55
Hi all... having recently introduced our Fotoman 624 camera, (58x 224 mm image) it is becoming somewhat apparent that we may not understand how wide a format is realisitic when using roll-film. To aid us in future product development and to help us from going off on a tangent, we pose the following question... Is 6x30 or 6x36 a realistic roll-film format? Actual image sizes would be 58 x 290 mm OR 58 x 348 mm, creating a lens coverage requirement of 297.5 & 387 mm respectively. This limits the list of usable lenses (currently manufactured) severely, as we are limited to a maximum focal length of 210 mm on the long end. This also would place either camera in the Ultra-Wide catagory regardless of lens. Your thoughts and comment will be greatly appreciated...

Edward (Halifax,NS)
13-Apr-2005, 10:07
I think that this is an awful idea (Well, you asked). There are so few subjects that would look good in this aspect ratio that a person would be better off shooting with an 8X10 or 4X10 and cropping. That way you would also be able to use a wide range of lenses. I personally prefer a long lens for panorama, especially city skylines.

Eric Woodbury
13-Apr-2005, 10:32
I just bought an XPAN and this is a fairly extreme aspect ratio. I like it. I could have cropped my 6x7, but the XPAN is more convenient than that. I only use the 45mm. The 30mm is too expensive and the 90mm, who cares. I occasionally crop a 5x7 inch neg into an extreme panorama, but only rarely. Printing these formats quickly becomes awkward. Maybe digital printing would be easier, I don't know, but on what would I print 290 or 350mm negative? The 290 I could do in my 8x10 enlarger, but the 350 would be a problem except contact printing. And what paper would I print a 60x300 neg on? I'd either have to buy rolls or have some giant sheets. It all sounds very unlikely.

Mark Sampson
13-Apr-2005, 10:35
Historically, those aspect ratios are only used by rotating panoramic cameras. Those of course have issues with image curvature. Your idea is pretty extreme- but someone might like what it does. You'd want to look at how the 360-pan guys print their negatives, too.

george jiri loun
13-Apr-2005, 11:52
This kind of format length would make good sense mostly with longer focal lengths - from 450 mm up. With 210 mm focal length you are indeed limited to very few subjects only.

13-Apr-2005, 12:36
Paul, I think 6x24 is plenty wide already, and already a super-small market. I bet your time and efforts would be better spent in further developing the cameras you already have. Maybe a cheapo model with a built-in cone in the most popular size?

Personally I would love to have your 6x12, which I could make good use of. Maybe on a few rare occations I could utilize a 6x17. Anything narrower is a highly specialized tool that I wouldn't even know how to use.

Thanks for asking.

Sam Crater
13-Apr-2005, 13:05
I would vote for this for your next product: an inexpensive body to go with a Horseman 6x9 RFH. Or even possibly a Horseman 6x12 RFH. Many of us already have the RFH so we don't want it built into the camera. This product of course has been done by others, but not at a very attractive price it seems to me.

Clayton Tume
13-Apr-2005, 14:30

you are getting negative comment because none of the guys here are using those formats, they're comfortable with what they know.

I shoot those formats 2 ways, one with rotating cameras which gives a 6x30 to 6x40 format. The second way is with a 5x12 inch view camera then crop the neg in half. I've found the cropped neg so successful I getting a custom roll film back made for it using 70mm film. Also getting a 6x30 camera built using 70mm film and 240 lens.

The major design short comings with your proposal is using roll film as the leader isn't long enough to stretch that far and the use of such a short lens. I use a 300mm lens most of the time and tend towards longer not shorter lenses.

I built an enlarger for these formats but these days scanners can do the job no problem.



george jiri loun
13-Apr-2005, 15:42
The problem with a film leader not long enough is not difficult to overcome. I make my own leader from brown paper that I glue to the original film leader. No problem in the lab as for them is important the end film leader, not the start.

Marco Annaratone
13-Apr-2005, 17:35
I have a Horseman Sw612 and I have used the Linhof Technorama a lot (through rentals). Eventually I bought a 6x12 because the aspect ratio was more usable and I could always crop to 4x12 for a 1:3 ratio without a major loss in quality. I consider the 6x24 intriguing but extreme. Going beyond 6x24 is something I fail to appreciate: this is just personal shooting style of course, no criticism of any kind implied. There may also be practical considerations (e.g., scanning the film) that would make a say 6x36 too difficult of a creature to deal with.

An interesting new product would be a 6x12 Fotoman with changeable backs. I like to go around and shoot B&W and IR at the same time and I love my SW612, among other things, because it allows me to easily switch from one film to the other. I also heard people claiming about 1:2.5 being the "perfect" aspect ratio. That would mean a 56mmx 140mm (~6x14), right?

Paul Ewins
13-Apr-2005, 19:11
I have built a 6x14 out of an old Kodak 3A horizontal folding box camera. I like the aspect ratio a lot and the image circle required is small enough that I can happily use a 90 Angulon (not SA).

The biggest issue is that there are no frame numbers for 6x7 on the backing paper, so I need to use a modified version of the 645 sequence; 3, 6+o, 9+oo, 12+ooo, 16. This really only works well with Fuji film which has circles of increasing size between frame numbers.

To get around this (and a few other issues relating to using a 90+ year old camera) I am in the process of building a new camera from scratch, using the winding mechanism from an RB67 back. The frame counting on this works by friction and there is no mechanical connection to the winding mechanism so you can basically just cut the back in half and splice an extra 70mm into the centre. This eliminates the need for a ruby window and associated light leak issues. I'm using a frame size of 56x140mm and there is a reasonable space between frames.

The graflex units are pretty much the same as the RB67 so I would expect them to be usable too. It should also be possible to build a unit using the 220 mechanism that was avilable in the later XL units.

Jerry Fusselman
13-Apr-2005, 20:07
I think 6x36 is a terrific idea, and I am surprised by most of these answers. 6:1 not useful? I feel certain that there are many cases in real life when people's eye movements, if tracked, would pretty well cover and stay inside a wide-angle 6:1 frame.

I will list some: The Chicago skyline from Adler Planetarium; a nighttime cityscape where the foreground is weak; a riverfront; a single tree trunk; a long waterfall; everyone in a swimming pool; a mountain range; a long horizon with interesting detail; a traditional 3:1 panorama subject composed with a "foreground" on the side instead of an inferior foreground below.

The human eye is interested in edges and long lines, so I think 6:1 is a natural and appealing aspect ratio; we are used to seeing 6:1 but not used to composing 6:1. A well-composed 6:1 print can be thrilling.

Clayton Tume
13-Apr-2005, 21:33
Yeah Jerry......you got it!

My standard print is 6.25:1 ratio and I don't usually go below 5:1.

I discovered what you gave examples for a long time ago. I think people get naturally tied to available formats and paper sizes and have trouble thinking outside that. And as you state we're not used to composing 6:1 even though we see it.

None of this is new either, panoramic photographers have been doing it for well over 100 years.


Edward (Halifax,NS)
14-Apr-2005, 05:51
Hi Clayton, you are right in that I don't shoot panorama formats myself but I have seen books/exhibits from 617 cameras and find them to be wonderful. Once the aspect ratio goes beyond 4:1 I find the images a chore to view. It is kind of like a tennis match for me. I am sure you are not the only person who likes shooting this wide or viewing/purchasing the results but I think the market would be too small to warrant designing/building a camera.

BTW, I am in the middle of building a camera for myself (4X5) and if it goes well I am considering a 4X10 for my next project.

14-Apr-2005, 09:18
Clayton and others,

It would be great to see some of your mega-pans; anything online? I'm perfectly willing to be convinced that 1:6 can be a good thing. I'm just having a hard time imagining it.

I think the closest thing to the 6x14 ratio might be my Widelux, 2.4x5.9. Though the look is different and coverage is greater, due to the lens rotation. I find it so hard to compose with and so limiting that it has put me off pans. The Fotoman 6x12 seems like a much more usable tool for me, when I am ready to get back into them.

Paul, were these the sort of responses you expected? ;-)

Clayton Tume
14-Apr-2005, 18:42

I agree the market for high aspect ratio panoramic equipment is small, very small. Viewing them is an issue as well and they generally don't work well in publications. Where they do work well is on walls when the prints are a reasonable size.

At 1 metre in length my prints are only 3 1/2 times enlargement and you can put your nose on them and see incredible sharp detail. Believe me people do view them like that! They get drawn in from a distance and the closer they get the more they see.

CXC and others, you can see some samples on my website www.bigshotz.co.nz


Will Strain
16-Apr-2005, 11:26
www.rogue-designer.com/LA/palm_pano_web_lg.jpg (http://www.rogue-designer.com/LA/palm_pano_web_lg.jpg)

Roughly a 1x10 ratio - this is from stitched images (10 images) - but the effect in print is stunning. This is from a digital, but I have done the same with 6x7 and 4x5's in the past... average print size is 7"x70" Printed digitally on a roll - then mounted on foamcore.