View Full Version : half Frame Dark Slide or 6x12 Rollfilm back

Jim Peterson
7-Sep-2012, 18:37
I have a chamonix 045n2 and am really interested in the 6x12 format. Just wondering what folks think about these two options. The Chamonix half frame dark slide isn't too expensive (about $50) and seems like it would be functional. Anyone used this before and how would it compare to say a Horseman 6x12 rollfilm back. Advantages/Disadvantages to either? Thanks. Jim

7-Sep-2012, 19:01
I have/had a half dark frame, from a member here for $10.

I have a 6x17 DaYi back, which I'm selling.

I just got a Horseman 6x12 back.

The half-frame thing was annoying, and I screwed it up many times. It was also on 4x5 film, rather than 120, which is both a pro and con - you don't have to shoot a whole roll of 120, but it does have to be handled in individual sheets and take up film holders. Personally I prefer shooting 120.

The 6x17 DaYi back was great, but since it's an extension back it was a pain and I couldn't use lenses shorter than 90mm (you might be able to use a 72/75 but I don't own one so I don't know). I know you didn't ask about that one but just pointing that out, but it is definitely a cool back for full 6x17 negatives. I'm selling mine but if I was only shooting a 90mm and 6x17 I'd keep it.

The 6x12 Horseman is awesome, well built (definitely nicer than the DaYi), and I like the lever film advance (when I remember to use it!). The images aren't really super panoramic, like 6x17, but it's enough. Besides which, I can mentally crop some compositions to a 4.5x12 and be reasonably happy.

My vote is for the 6x12...

C. D. Keth
7-Sep-2012, 21:52
The only concern I can think of is weight. Another darkslide is light. A rollfilm back is heavy, or at least relatively heavy. I've only used the one rollfilm back that I own so perhaps this doesn't really apply because my back is really heavy.

8-Sep-2012, 10:19
I use a DIY modified darkslide for 4x10 images (two images per 8x10 sheet of film). Works great. One has to work out a system to keep track of things (which half of the film is exposed, etc). One has to think...a tough thing for some people. Many times I just take a second image of the same scene...perhaps at a different exposure.

Roll film vs sheet film. Both have pluses and minuses. I work with both, but mostly larger sheet film sizes.

The weight (and space) of the modified darkslide is not even noticable if you are taking sheet film holders anyway.

8-Sep-2012, 13:12
Using a 6x12 back is definitely easier in the field, and although heavier than a spare darkslide its certainly easier to carry a 6x12 back plus ten rolls of 120 than it is to carry a spare darkslide and 15 film holders, both options would give you 60 pano images.

Basically if you're intending doing a lot of panos then go for a proper back, but for occaisional use the split darkslide is a great tool. I used to carry a chinagraph pencil to mark the film holders to keep track of which half had been exposed etc. I never double exposed a frame!

8-Sep-2012, 16:35
I use roll film backs but I have been seriously considering an 8x10 with a cut darkslide... The cut darkslide is great if you dont see yourself doing many panos the cut darkslide is a great idea. If you want to shoot lots of them, roll backs is the go.. I almost exclusively shoot panoramics, so I use roll film backs.. I get six 6x12's on a $5 roll of 120 vs two 4.5x12's on a sheet of 4x5. 120's easier to load, cheaper to shoot, easier and cheaper to develop (12 shots in 240ml of chems vs 12 shots in 480ml on 4x5).. I love shooting 120 but there sure are times where only a 4x5 sheet will do... But for panoramics, shoot rolls..

Neal Chaves
9-Sep-2012, 08:02
I just expose full frame 4X5 or 8X10 and crop later. As I have two wide lenses that I frequently use for panoramic views which do not permit any shift (a 65mm on 4X5 and a 120mm on 8X10) I can level the camera for correct perspective and then take my crop from above or below the center line.

9-Sep-2012, 08:43
Rise/fall (shift for verticals) is nice when using a modified darkslide -- to center the lens on the image area. But as Neal mentioned, it can be tough with wide lenses -- not too bad with 210mm on my Zone VI 8x10, but much more difficult with the 159mm.

10-Sep-2012, 21:59
I just expose full frame 4X5 or 8X10 and crop later.

Hmmm...every time I think how neat it would be to have a 6x17 back, I consider how much they sell for and then mentally divide that by the price of a sheet of film. Then, when I factor in how many sheets I use per year, it becomes fairly obvious that I would probably never actually save any money by using roll film. (For a prolific photographer or anyone using color film, the answer would probably be different.)

Tony Lakin
11-Sep-2012, 00:04
My 4x10 adaptation to a 10x8 DDS and a 10x8 film hanger, cost very little, works well, cutting the film in half is not as troublesome as you might expect, I use a cheap rotary trimmer dedicated to the purpose.


Frank Petronio
11-Sep-2012, 05:18
120 film is cleaner in the field, so a 6x12 back is nice in that regard.

11-Sep-2012, 06:05
612 backs can be quite inexpensive and effective. The DaYi/Shen-Hao is completely serviceable for 120 film (it uses a red window for gauging film advance, so no 220 in case you have that in your freezer), and it is also relatively light and compact. It holds the film flat--I've tested mine with a 47mm lens, which is, of course, very demanding in terms of depth of focus.

A split dark-slide in a standard holder requires one to adjust rise and fall to center the image for every shot. Rear rise and fall would be easiest for that, it seems to me, and some cameras are limited in that regard. I've sure want a camera with a back that could be rotate for vertical without having to turn the camera on its side. My best 6x12 image so far is a vertical, and I find myself wanting to do verticals as often as horizontals. The split slide just exceeds my hassle factor in comparison to a rollfilm holder.

If I had a local lab left that could do rollfilm competently, that would play more strongly in rollfilm's favor. But now I have no labs left that are locally convenient, so I'm sending color rollfilm and sheet film out by mail to a distant lab. That has led me to do more sheet film, simply because the convenience advantage for rollfilm has been reduced somewhat.

Rick "who has both the Sinar Vario and the Shen-Hao 612 holders, preferring the former for flexibility and the latter for simplicity, lighter weight, and size" Denney

18-Sep-2012, 11:48
I have ran three rolls of IR through my DaYi this week and love it, simple and versatile, the format is perfect....I might even like it better than my XPan...