View Full Version : A dream comes true for 9.5"x20" camera

24-Aug-2005, 22:36
I started to plan on a 9.5"x20" camera so that I could use aerial film (both colour and B&W). After almost 10 months passed, I finally got it ready to use.

Firstly, I ordered some tailored made S&S film holders (to use 9.5"x20" film) from Mr Emile de Leon last October. After its completion, I send it to Mr Richard Ritter to make a camera back which shall be adopted to my Sinar P system. I got this back few days ago and found it excellent in finishing. Although I had to wait for long time to get it done, I appreciate very much for the help from Richard. When I put lens on the camera, I am amazed by the image projected on the 9.5x20" groundglass.

During the time I wait for holders and camera back, I started collecting lenses to this new format. Now, I have the following lenses:

Schneider Super Angulon 210mm

Schneider G-Claron 355mm

Nikko M 450mm

Rodenstock Apo Ronnar CL 600mm

Nikkon Apo Nikkor 760mm

I am not sure if SA 210mm could cover this format or not. I shall try all the above lenese by this weekend.

Brian Vuillemenot
24-Aug-2005, 22:58
I'm excited to hear about your experiences shooting with this camera and the results that come from it. How hard is it to get aerial film, and does it come in a transparency emulsion? Do you have some kind of vacuum device in the back of the camera to insure film flatness? If you get any satisfactory images, how about posting them here and/or writing an article for the main page (lfphoto.info)? Good luck with your new toy! :)

Mark Sawyer
24-Aug-2005, 23:44
For those interested in aerial/aerographic films, I suggest the following link:


Congratulations on the camera, Freddy! I've thought of a 9.5" panoramic camera for that film too; it seems a natural for those rolls of film. I hope you post about your experiences with it. (I'm curious whether you have any trouble handling or developing film with the thinner base.)

tor kviljo
25-Aug-2005, 01:11
Interesting! I have got short-ends 9 1/2" film from a friend in a aerophoto-company a few times, but I have cut it to 8 x 9 1/2" and 4"x5" sizes, never dared to use it full size.... However, too bad You didn't make a roll-film type back (too heavy I guess?) in that format - then You could have used the Gordon - Morse or Zeiss electrical revind film dev. machines to take care of developement. Most/all kodak films have directions in data sheet also for this rather primitive development procedure.. I have used the agfa avipan 200 and agfa avichrome 200 reversal cut from 9 1/2" - both very good if You only deal with the thin/flimsy film-base somehow. I have used pieces of 3M post-it notes taped with glued side out in center of film holder to keep film in place & flat

Good luck anyway!

Kerry L. Thalmann
25-Aug-2005, 01:45

Congrats on the completion of your camera. We are very fortunate to have people like Richard Ritter and Sandy King and Sam Wang at S&S to help our large format dream projects become reality. When you get a chance, please post some pictutes of your new 9.5x20 camera. It sounds fantastic. I'd like to see how it turned out. And, of course, when you've made some images with it, please share those as well.

I recently finished Part 1 of an article on the 4x10 format for View Camera magazine. The first part of the article covers 4x10 cameras and film holders and will run in the upcoming Sep/Oct 2005 issue. Like you, I assembled a "project" camera (http://www.thalmann.com/Ebay/4X10_Lotus_Swiss.JPG) based on a monorail design (an ARCA-SWISS F-Line in my case). I've been using the camera for several months, and I must say, it works wonderfully (I just wish I had more time to get out and shoot with it).

Let us know if the 210mm Super Angulon covers. According to the specs, the image circle is "only" 500mm - a bit shy of what you need to cover 9.5"x20". But, Schneider has been known to occasionally be rather conservative with their specs. 210mm will be seriously wide on 9.5'x20". If it doesn't cover, you might look for something in the 270mm to 305mm range. These would still be very wide on 9.5"x20". I'm finding I really like the 150mm focal length as my standard wide angle on 4x10. I must admit that I've become a bit infatuated with these panoramic sheet film formats lately and find myself dreaming of something larger than 4x10. That is until I start thinking about hauling it around on my back in the mountains - and how much the film holders and lenses would cost to complete the outfit. Still, I'm intrigued by the possibilites of the 7x17, 8x20 and now the 9.5x20 formats.


25-Aug-2005, 03:04
How about a motorized rollfilm back??

25-Aug-2005, 05:25
In fact, I had thought about a rollfilm back. First, it may be very heavy. And most of all, I could not find a good engineer to build it to me. I remeber a man called Clifford Ross(?) had built a similar system but with a vacuum rollfilm back. The other guy use a rollfilm back of an aerial camera to attach to his camera which he called gigapixel project. All in all, I got hints from them that using colour aerial film would not be a wrong choice. My colour film is Agfa avichrome 200 reversal film.

Just want to say it is very difficult to get Kodak aerial film. Some of the aerial films posted in Kodak homepage are discontinued. You may have to talk directly to Kodak sales staff. B&H always replied the film which I wanted was not available even I got the catalog number. There may be minimum quantity.

I got a very good service from Agfa, both sales and technical support. I paid around $1,400 for a 9.5"x250' avichrome 200. Whenever I got technical queries, a man from Germany shall provide opoinions and advice to me. I think I shall keep on using Agfa aerial film.

Robert McClure
25-Aug-2005, 14:22

If you or others would indulge me, please. What about the thickness if the aerial roll film? Thick as cut sheet? Does it work acceptably well after being cut for holders? What's the significance of 9.5 inches? Is that some sort of aerial camera standard width? Is that a Cirkut width?

Also, is aerial mapping photography, etc. common enough that roll film for it is commonly available. Other than some (earth-bound) still photographers and map-makers, who else uses the stuff?

Congrats on the camera project. Pretty cool!


25-Aug-2005, 19:11
Hi Robert,

The total thickness of Agfa aerial film is 0.126mm. More info could be found at http://aerial.agfa.com

I think before digital technology becomes good enough to replace aerial film camera, a lot of industries may need aerial films. It seems to me that mapping company needs very high resolution image to produce a good map, digital camera may not able to achieve this target or it would be very expensive to produce this digital camera. All I need is 15 years before I become so old that I could not carry this heavy system to outdoor, I am still optimistic to have the film supply. Then I shall go back to 4x5 and 8x10 systems if I could get films.


Clayton Tume
25-Aug-2005, 19:15

good stuff, sounds like it's worked out well for you!

I'm doing something similar with a Sinar P, at the moment I'm trying to get a range of lenses before I build the back as I'm going for a 30" wide format with 10" roll film. The film is readily available in both B&W and colour, anyone that shoots Cirkut cameras knows this.

I'm going for roll film because it's much easier to carry around than large film holders and it's easy to stretch it across the back and pull it tight. The film back doesn't need to be elaborate, you only have to look inside a 617 camera for the basic layout.

I'll post some pics when I've got it together and working.


25-Aug-2005, 19:40
Dear Clayton,

Would you please let me know where I could get colour Cirkut film? I have been looking for it for a long time.


10-Sep-2005, 11:26
Film for cirkut cameras: