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Thread: Pano LF or enlarged crop

  1. #1

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    Pano LF or enlarged crop

    For the past couple of years I have been drawn toward Panoramic images, especially those made on 7x17 cameras.

    The practical and frugal side of me knows I can enlarge a cropped 4x5 to any pano or standard format , which requires some thinking ahead in the field and maybe some crop visualization aids. I tend to shoot wide lenses anyway.

    But the non-practical, GAS prone side desires to get a 7x17 (or more likely a 5x12) dedicated camera and contact print. I suspect that looking at the ground glass in the larger format would reinforce the initial vision, and contact printing has its own attraction.

    In your opinion, Is it worth the extra costs of gear , film, paper, etc. for someone who doesn't sell their work actively and shoots mainly for pleasure? I'm not really interested in MF gear even though there are some nice Pano options there.
    Adventure is worthwhile in itself. ... Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn't be done. -- Amelia Earhart
    http://www.searing.photography

  2. #2

    Re: Pano LF or enlarged crop

    I suspect this is largely a matter of what is actually important to you and your bank account. For examply i would love to have a 7x17 but the camera and related items are steep (I’m pretty much sold on Chamonix). I know I probably won’t be making such a purchase... but who knows.
    --- Steve from Missouri ---

  3. #3

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    Re: Pano LF or enlarged crop

    "I suspect that looking at the ground glass in the larger format would reinforce the initial vision..."

    I strongly agree with this - and would therefore recommend that you at least consider (if not going the LF pano camera/contact print route) creating a removable ground glass mask for your 4x5, plus a dark slide cut out to match this (perhaps you could use this dark slide as a ground glass mask also?), which you could insert just prior to making an exposure.

    But why not just the ground glass mask? Well, because the "initial vision" is also reinforced by carry through to visible results - therefore the film plane mask would be of equal importance.

  4. #4

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    Re: Pano LF or enlarged crop

    I second the recommendation of a cut down dark slide for 4x5. Plus you can shoot two panos on a single sheet of film.
    Never is always wrong; always is never right.

    www.LostManPhoto.com
    www.MarkStahlkePhotography.com

  5. #5

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    Re: Pano LF or enlarged crop

    "In your opinion, Is it worth the extra costs of gear , film, paper, etc. for someone who doesn't sell their work actively and shoots mainly for pleasure? I'm not really interested in MF gear even though there are some nice Pano options there."
    Absolutely! I made enlargements of segments of 5x7 negatives for years. I also cut an 8x10 slide to make 4x10 negatives. This led to my building a 4x10 camera. Still not satisfied I finally acquired a 7x17 camera and holders. What a difference. I was awestruck by the detail, scale and overall beauty of the negatives. Sadly age caused me to have to move to a 5x12 camera. It's nice but the beauty of the 7x17 image is still missing.

  6. #6

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    Re: Pano LF or enlarged crop

    In terms of flexibility its hard to beat 4x5. Tons of film options. Enlargers are common. But its hard to get wall presence from a contact print. I think panoramas in particular accentuate the limitations of smaller formats. When they are of landscapes you often want tons of detail so that you have the 'you are there' impression, or just get lost in the detail. When it's a study, contact prints can be lovely. 7x17" in my opinion is relatively less inconvenient sweet spot. Not as easy as 4x5 but: 1) You can get / use x-ray film. 2) banquet cameras are not all that uncommon 3) Better lens options. A lot of 8x10 lenses work 4) Lighter than 8x20 (with a banquet it's in the same range as an 8x10 camera, though with limited movement and bellows). On the other side everything is heavier, slower, more difficult, and more expensive with ULF. Will your enthusiasm for the format survive the pain of hauling all that gear on your back to get a great shot? Or the disappointment of not being able to get a photo because the wind is blowing, or you don't have enough bellow, or it takes too long to set up the camera, or they don't make a long enough lens for the view you need? It's something of a personal decision.

  7. #7

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    Re: Pano LF or enlarged crop

    P.S. As another option you could get a 14x17" Empire State and crop as well. There are downsides to that too, but your not loosing detail, or the contact print option with 14x17 (the largest film size where you can use x-ray film if you want). You might have to hunt for 3-6m for a good camera at a good price but they are not all that uncommon relatively.

  8. #8

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    Re: Pano LF or enlarged crop

    I loaned a Linhof 617 this week and I love the simplicity and the failproof design. However, I discovered that itís a serious question whether you really want the endproduct: why would you want a LF Pano camera if you do not hang the results on the wall and do you really want Panoís on your wall or do you in the end still prefer 2x3 in whatever size. So cropping an 8x10 capture seems wiser to me because of its multifunctionality

  9. #9

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    Re: Pano LF or enlarged crop

    I know the OP indicated they were not interested in medium format, but just to add, there is a different sweat spot at 6x12cm (56 ◊ 118mm) on medium format cropped down slightly to about 52mm to get that nice 1:2.3 frame ratio. This is still a big negative, but it still fits in a common 4x5 enlarger. And at about 4x enlargement, it's right around the 7x17" size you'd get from the contact print. At that magnification you're still in the sweet spot where your not loosing contrast or detail from a well taken negative too. And you can shoot 6x12 from any number of 4x5 backs (giving you movements), or dedicated cameras (like the ones from Fuji) all of which are much nicer on the back than 7x17. And you get 6 phots per roll, and can swap rolls pretty easily in the field (trying to keep dust out of the film holders even if you did drag a changing tent along is a true pain). So there is a lot going for 6x12cm. On the down side you do loose non-digital neg contact prints. Also the film in a 6x12 is never fully flat.

  10. #10
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Re: Pano LF or enlarged crop

    I shoot 8x10 and have enlarged to 7x17" image size on 16x20 paper. There were at least two 7x17" camera owners in our meeting group and they would give me sneers and dirty looks when I showed those

    Of course, hanging out with 7x17" owners, at one point I was destine to have one myself (but never did get one).

    Personally I prefer an 8x10 negative enlarged to 16x20" rather than a 7x17" image. I'm sure 7" seems big when hauling the camera around and processing & printing the negative, but on the wall, 7" is pretty small in my opinion.

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