View Full Version : 8 x 15 panoramic

craig lewin
3-Jul-2005, 17:16
I hope you will forgive a novice but I have a few basic questionsas I very much want to start doing some large format work and know very little of this area.
First I am trying to buy an antique 8 x 15 inch panoramic camera. It will need Lens and shutter or lens with shutter.
Can you advise the type of lenses and shutters that would probably work.
Can you advise if its possible to get the film stock for it.
Aside from the above, like some of your group I am very interested in doing huge format. I have seen some 20 x 24 cameras but they seem only for graphic reproduction. Can these be adapted for normal photography? or would I have to either make my own or get it made.
I saw some issues re: film flatness and film stock are these going to be major problems?
I hope I havent asked too much and someone can answer for me. I have done some 5 x4 work but really want to go into much bigger.
Thank You and I look forward to hearing from you soon

James Bleifus
3-Jul-2005, 18:54
Craig, you can get film cut to that size by John at J and C photo (www.jandcphoto.com). It's a special order and I'm unsure of how long it will take to ship. Holders may also be a challenge since that isn't a common size. Are you looking at the 8X15 camera on ebay? If so than please be sure to notice that it doesn't accept a traditional tripod mount but, instead, the turntable mount.

I considered buying an 8X15 but decided the inconvenience (as well as expense of having custom holders made) wasn't worth it. OTOH, you will probably be the only one on your block to have that size!

Cheers, James

Ernest Purdum
3-Jul-2005, 20:57
Regarding the graphic reproduction cameras, they are bulky in the extreme and would be very difficult to use in a portable fashion.

On lenses, rather few would cover much larger than the 8" X 15" size.and they are in high demand, There are some lenses that would cover but are so big and heavy that few cameras will accommodate them. Shutters can be even a greater problem.

Craig Wactor
3-Jul-2005, 21:25
look for old barrel lenses and process lenses. You will have to use the lenscap for a shutter. I would think in the range of 750mm would be what you are looking for. Modern lenses should cover at a shorter length, but are outlandishly expensive. Of course you could use a shorter lens and let the vignetting be a part of the aesthetic...

Jo Irps
4-Jul-2005, 04:49
Craig, you will be interested to read this under his Camera section:


John Kasaian
4-Jul-2005, 08:30

I think any lens that will cover 11x14 would be a good bet to cover 8x15. Bellows extension might be an issue---some old timers don't have all that much (hardy-har-har!)---but some do! I have a 19" Artar barrel I'll let go cheap if you're interested. The 14" Commmercial Ektar and 10" WF Ektar would probably cover, but I doubt if they'd allow much in the way of movements

For a newer lens in a shutter a 355 (maybe even the 305) G-Claron or 450 Nikkor M would be the cat's meow.

Another option for film is MR PHOTO who was a eBay store selling aerial roll film 9-1/2" widex x 100' or so long as well as Photo Warehouse, that custom cuts FP-4 (I don't know if they still do that, or what emlsion they're cutting these days though)

Good luck!

Mark Sawyer
4-Jul-2005, 17:10
Craig- Guessing that the camera you're interested in is the one from India on Ebay, be aware that these pop up there regularly, and are not a very user-friendly camera. I've seen one in person and have a 5x7 version I stuck in a drawer and forgot about. The overall finish and function quality is fairly low. The filmholders (on both cameras) are especially primative, probably unuseable, (wood shavings fell out every time we opened and closed the darkslide!). Film will be hard to come by, filmholders all but impossible to find, and yes, you'll need to find some way to adapt a tripod. The low prices they usually fetch is indicative of what they are.

I do admit I've put sub-$100 bids on the 8x15, hoping to get one for the bellows and perhaps hardware parts for building another camera. If you're good at building/rebuilding, the camera might be a bargain and just what you're looking for. But be aware; it's not a Deardorff or even a Kodak 2D, and not something you can make good use of out-of-the-box.

(Anyone else own or seen one of these and have a higher opinion of it? I must say I sound a bit harsh, but I think it's accurate...)

Kerry L. Thalmann
4-Jul-2005, 17:55
I have to admit that I have also been intrigued by these unusual camera's from India selling on eBay. I've watched a number of them sell in all sorts of formats. The same seller has sold a number of 10x12 and 6x15 samples. I find the 8x15 size especially interesting (I'm a sucker for non-standard fomats). The similar aspect ratio makes it sort of "12x20 light". Unlike the 20" wide formats, lenses to cover should be fairly easy to find and reasonably priced. In fact, I already have four lenses ranging from 240mm - 600mm that will cover the format (which is one reason I find this format interesting). As John mentioned, anything that covers 11x14 will work. Allowing for typical film holder margins, an image circle of about 420mm will hit the corners of 8x15 with no movements (compared to about 440mm for 11x14 and about 455mm for 7x17).

I haven't seen one of these cameras in person, but from the photos the design looks similar to some of the really old Japanese field cameras. They use the older bookform style glass plate holders. These holders can be used with film (with a glass or plexiglass backing). However, they aren't standardized and the seller only includes one holder with each camera. Good luck finding additional holders. Then there is the issue of the tripod mount. That too can be worked around. On the plus side, the cameras appear to be lightweight and compact and the selling prices are very reasonable. However, by the time you work out all the issues with the camera and holders, it may not be such a bargain.

Finally, there is the issue of film. In the past Photo Warehouse would cut their OEM version of FP4 to any size you wanted - at a very reasonable price in reasonable quantities. Now that Ilford will no longer supply them with master rolls of FP4, I'm not sure what the pricing and availability will be for film in these "odd ball" formats.

I'm currently shooting 4x10 with a camera I cobbled together from an ARCA-SWISS monorail and a back and bellows from a Lotus. The beauty of the modular ARCA-SWISS system is that it makes a wonderful platform for such experimentation. If I knew I could get film, I'd be real tempted to assemble a similar conversion kit in something like 8x15 and order some custom holders from S&S. 4x10 film is easy - just slice 8x10 in half lengthwise. And I've also been real tempted to make a 5x8 format kit for the ARCA to use 8x10 film sliced in half crosswise. Since S&S will make holders in any format you desire, the gating item is the continued availability of film in custom sizes at affordable prices and reasonable minimum quantities. At least with 4x10 and 5x8, film won't be an issue until they stop making it in 8x10. And then we're all SOL.