View Full Version : Horseman SW617: any advance info?

David Carson
10-Nov-2005, 13:56
Any buzz or advance knowledge of the upcoming Horseman SW617 Professional? For reference, here is the Horseman homepage (http://www.horsemanusa.com/) and a link to the 617 pdf (http://horsemanusa.com/SW617e.pdf).

It's a rise/fall 6x17cm camera. It looks like it has a removable back and darkslide, and a Fuji GX-like bright-line illuminated removable finder.

I've been considering a used Fuji GX617, but maybe this is an option too. I really wish the Fotoman 617 would have a bright-line illuminated removable finder, as I love the floating framelines in the Xpan and GX617.

Bob Salomon
10-Nov-2005, 17:55
Since it seems to be the same price as the Linhof the Technorama do have bright-line removeable finders. In the case of the 617 SIII each of the 4 lenses; 72mm, 90mm, 180mm and 250mm have their own finder. There is also a ground glass back that is now available for this model. And it shoots both 120 or 220 rather then 120 only.

11-Nov-2005, 02:27
I think for me the Horseman would have a couple of significant advantages over the Linhof Technorama:
1. The back is removable mid-roll for groundglass viewing.
2. +/- 17 mm shift.

I wonder how important the Technorama's ability to take 220 film is, given that the choice of emulsions in 220 is limited and its inability to accomodate mid-roll gg composition?

Bob Salomon
11-Nov-2005, 04:22
" inability to accomodate mid-roll gg composition?"

This is a no brainer. On 120 film a 617 takes 4 shots per roll. You are not going to do mid roll film changes on 617, especially if you bracket. If you shoot a standard 3 shot bracket 1normal, 1 under and 1 over a 617 gives you 1 1/3rd shots per roll.

Next the 617 S III from Linhof uses the 72mm lens as the widest. There simply is no room to insertr a darkslide in the body, at least one that can be pulled out of the camera. And the 72mm gives very little room for movement on the 617.

David Carson
11-Nov-2005, 07:47

It does say that the Horseman will offer the 72mm Schneider XL for the SW617, although the pdf doesn't say specifically that it'll work with a darkslide.

I've also noticed both the 612 and 617 offerings from Horseman seem physically less wide than the Fuji/Linhof/Fotoman cameras. Does anyone know if this is due to a Hasselblad-like film path? In any case, it does seem to make the camera a little less bulky, but maybe they're harder to load? Anyone?

Oren Grad
11-Nov-2005, 09:18
David - from what I can see in the posted materials, the back on the Horseman appears to be a stretched version of their 6x7, 6x9 and 6x12 backs. This would mean that the spools sit behind the focal plane and the film has to curl around rollers to get in and out of the film gate where the exposure is made.

I have the 6x9 version of the Horseman roll holder. It's not hard to load.

11-Nov-2005, 16:10
This is a no brainer. On 120 film a 617 takes 4 shots per roll. You are not going to do mid roll film changes on 617, especially if you bracket

I'm talking about recomposing mid-roll. I use negative film, so 90% of the time I'll take 1 or 2 exposures on a setup, and then move on to the next shot, and the ability to compose on the gg mid-roll is important to me - this is how I currently work with a Da Yi 6x17 back. It looks like the design of the Horseman back gives it this ability with all focal lengths.

And the 72mm gives very little room for movement on the 617

Bob, this is false. The 226mm image circle will allow about +/-47mm of shift on a 56x186mm negative - way more than the Horseman has.

Bob Salomon
11-Nov-2005, 16:18
"I've also noticed both the 612 and 617 offerings from Horseman seem physically less wide than the Fuji/Linhof/Fotoman cameras"

Of course their 612 is shorter. So is their negative! Linhof has a film size of 56 x 120mm. Fuji, Sinar, Horseman, and others have a film size of 56 x 111mm to 56 x 112mm. That makes for a smaller camera and roll back as well as a negative.

Kerry L. Thalmann
11-Nov-2005, 17:06
Additionally, the darkslide on the Horseman allows changing lenses mid-roll. Something you can't do on a Linhof or Fuji 6x17.

With only four exposures per roll, dedicating each and every roll to a single compostion might work for some people, but others will prefer the ability to re-compose, refocus and change focal lengths mid roll. The removable back on the Horseman also opens up the possibility of shooting multiple emulsions without having to shoot a whole roll of one emulsion and then re-loading. You can have multiple backs, one with color transaprancy film and one with black and white negative film (for example) and swap the backs at will.

The addition of a darkslide makes the system much more flexible.


12-Nov-2005, 11:14
My experiences with Linhof and Horseman is also reliability after 5000+ exposures and the general flatness of film. I dont think a Horseman 6x17/120 RFH will have the required quality...
I had a meeting with the European salesperson responsable forr Fotoman and Shen-Hao. Have anyone tried a Fotoman ??? the mechanics suck....it might be cheap pricewise, but it both looks cheap and feels cheap...

John Brownlow
17-Mar-2006, 23:34
More here:


18-Mar-2006, 11:17
I have been considering the Fotoman, since I could use the LF lenses I already own, and it is also cheaper.

martin, what do you dislike about the Fotoman? It looks simple and straightforward, and reportedly is solidly built. I think the fact that the film can be wound back is considered a feature (keep that film tight), not a bug.

For me, a rollered film path would be a deal-killer, unless one loads just before shooting, and shoots off the whole roll in 10 minutes. Which actually wouldn't be that hard, come to think of it...but for me does not justify the gain in compactness. I know the Linhof and the Fotoman have straight film paths, and my understanding is that the Horseman does not.

Mark Naftel
26-Apr-2006, 10:32
It's been confirmed to me... I'm getting my Horseman 617SW in the next couple of days! Yippee!!