View Full Version : Easy Panorama or Split Portrait with foam core

Tim Meisburger
2-Feb-2013, 03:19
I wrote the following for someone in the For Sale section who is looking for a half darkslide for panorama, and then thought I would post it here as well. After I wrote this I quickly made a set for my new Tachihara (20 minutes), and took a picture to illustrate.

I used to use a split darkslide for panoramas, but you can do the same thing (and other things) with a piece of black foam core. For panoramas, take the back off your camera and cut the foam core to fit tight across the back, and one half the height of the back plus one/sixteenth of an inch. Press fit the foam core into the back flush with the edge next to the ground glass. Now you can compose normally on the ground glass (which is easier and less confusing than using a half darkslide because you can only see what will be exposed) and shoot normally. Keep track of the side of the holder you used. Open the back pop out the foam and re-insert on the other side of the opening and you are ready for the second shot. It works fine.

You can also cut a piece of foam to divide the back vertically, and I have one where I cut a full piece, then cut out a quarter so I can rotate the foam around the back and get four shots on one sheet (I normally just use that for testing).

I did this for 4x5, but you can do it for any format. With the set in the picture I can have 2-2x5 panoramas, or 2-2.5x4 portraits, or 4-2x2.5 standard format. Because they weigh nothing I usually carry the first and second in my camera bag for the occasional panorama or in case I am running out of film but not subjects (as happened once in Indonesia) or if I am at a family or business function and people want portraits from the old camera and I don't want to waste too much film...


Hope this is useful.

Cheers, Tim

2-Feb-2013, 03:25
I use the same system, instead of cutting the darkslide.
What I do different is expose all holders and turn darkslides from white to black.
When I'm out of holders I change the foamcore from one side to the other and expose all holders from back to white.
With a rotating back is easy to keep the frame on the upper side and that helps with the movements.

2-Feb-2013, 15:22
Great idea!