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Thread: drawn to 6x17 format

  1. #1

    drawn to 6x17 format

    Hi everyone,
    i'm returning to large format after quite a long absence, and i'm particularly drawn to the 6x17 format. I'm just wondering which is the best way to go as far as choosing a camera system for the format. I've thought about using a 6x17 back on a 4x5 camera, but understand there can be problems with certain focal length lenses, however there is the advantage of being able to use the 4x5 camera without the back. I have also looked at the Gaoersi 6x17 cameras, which seem cheaper to buy, but the cones for different focal length lenses seem quite expensive, and lastly there is the Shen Hao ptb 617 which seems to have the advantage of being able to use different lenses without problems or additional cost. I should add I have a number of lenses from when I was last involved in L.F (75mm, 150mm and 210mm) and other bits and pieces. I'm wondering wether any members of the forum use any of the above set ups or can give me their thoughts on what they think might be the best way to go

    many thanks in advance

  2. #2

    Re: drawn to 6x17 format

    I am a big pano fan, since starting using the XPan in 2007. It's still my favorite format.

    I tried a Fotoman 617 MkII for 3 months and now currently own and love the Shenhao PTB617. Look check out the Image Sharing forum under Landscapes, for example.

    I tried the Fotoman precisely because of the slightly lower cost and the convenience factor. However, the lack of an easy to use ground glass option and the lack of rise, plus the large size of the lens cones kill it for me. I just hiked hours in the high desert, going up very steep climb with a pack with the Shenhao and 3 lens weighing about 13 lbs with no issue. You can't put more than one extra lens cone, if that, in any reasonable size pack with the Fotoman (or Goersi etc.)

    Plus the rise is huge. You need it, and want it. I have not seriously used the other movement yet, but I suspect the tilt will come in handy.

    Plus the ground glass. It's silly to shoot without seeing exactly what you are shooting.

    The negatives - 1) you have to use a tripod, but you really should anyway. 2) it takes me about 3-5 minutes to set up. This is no different from using any other view camera though. I actually keep the camera un-folded in my bag to save time.

    As for 4x5 and a 617 back vs. dedicated 617 camera. Personally, I only would want to shoot pano with the view camera (I suppose I can use rise and stitch two frames together vertically and get 10x17 or thereabout). Also 4x5 with back does not allow you to use lens longer than something like 210 or 240mm? With the Shenhao, I can go up to 300~310mm.

    As for 5x7, it's a much bigger beast than the Shenhao so no contest there in that area.

    Best of luck.

  3. #3

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    Re: drawn to 6x17 format

    I've got a 6x17 back for 4x5 which I use from time to time.

    In terms of focal lengths at the long end its probably anything over 180mm that will cause problems, in that with say a 210mm lens you won't get the full width of 6x17 illuminated, more like about 6x14. Still this is a perfectly nice format! I have shot mine with a Fuji 300mmT with a flange distance of 189mm and you still get a nice shot out of it, even if its not the full 6x17.

    At the short end you're limited by the minimum bellows length of the camera. Because the 6x17 has the film plane set back from the normal 4x5 position by about 45mm you actually need to be able to rack your camera down to about 50mm to be able to use a 90mm lens on a flat board. Very few cameras will let you use your 75mm lens on a 6x17 back unless you go down the route of recessed boards, assuming the lens covers 6x17.

    With all this in mind the ideal cameras for these 6x17 backs are things like the Ebony RSW45, SW45 (and the shenhao copy) or a walker XL. With my 6x17 back on a RSW45 you can use any modern 90mm lens on a flat board without a problem.

    The downside to this approach is the need to switch between the 6x17 viewing back and the film back, the fact the stock ground glass is invariably crap (budget for replacing it) and the fact that for wide lenses you'll need to improvise some kind of fresnel. Carrying the two parts of the 6x17 also adds significant bulk to your bag.

    On the plus side, you can also shoot 4x5s with the same camera and lenses, and for minimal outlay if you already have a suitable 4x5 kit.

    Another option to consider is a 5x7 (maybe a horiz-only chamonix, or walker 5x7 xl) with a canham or chinese 6x17 back.

  4. #4

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    Re: drawn to 6x17 format

    If you think you will get in full swing panoramic 6x17 mode then definitely go straight to the dedicated 6x17 view camera for many obvious lenses. If you think you will only shoot panoramics here and there then the other options will be just fine.

  5. #5

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    Re: drawn to 6x17 format

    Short of a dedicated 617 camera, or a dedicated 617 bellows camera, My panorama solution is a Fujica G690bl... no wide lenses--just the normal 100, shoot two or three frames, scan to digitize and stitch end to end. Any format 6X possible.... 6X9, 6X12, 6X17, 6X24.

    Of course this is based on the acceptance of digitizing at some point in the process. You can shoot horizontally or vertically and stitch accordingly for chosen aspect ratio.

    No interest in shooting anything over 6X12 pano back on a 4X5 camera. The 617 pano backs have to be moved back from the original GG position to get the full 17cm dimension (you knew that), which just makes the camera more unwieldy and larger. Not for me. I would choose dedicated, or do the 6X9 multiple captures, scan and stitch. With the state of stitching software, and proper use of a tripod and exposure setting, I would challenge anyone to show me where the frames change. I go for at least a 20% overlap and never use other than normal focal length lenses for the 6X9 format... that being 90-100MM.

    And then comes the price consideration. $2000 to $4000 for a dedicated solution including camera and a lens and not much more equipment.
    The 6X9 Solution:
    A nice condition G690, G690bl, or last model interchangeable GL690, and a clean, well functioning 100mm lens... $450 to $700. Near mint... $1000.
    A later GW690III with the fixed 90mm lens.... $700 to $900... near mint... $1000.

  6. #6
    Luc Benac lbenac's Avatar
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    Re: drawn to 6x17 format

    Quote Originally Posted by Kuzano View Post
    Short of a dedicated 617 camera, or a dedicated 617 bellows camera, My panorama solution is a Fujica G690bl... no wide lenses--just the normal 100, shoot two or three frames, scan to digitize and stitch end to end. Any format 6X possible.... 6X9, 6X12, 6X17, 6X24.
    That is a very good and light option.I have been thetering on the bring of a 6x17 camera but hate the price, having "one more camera" in the stable and carrying the weight. i.e. i would have to go out specifically to shoot the format. I am now using a 6x9 Kodak Medalist or a 6x7 Mamiya 7 and stich. I also sometime use a 6x6 Minolta Autocord with a panorama accessorie made by Minolta. It puts the rotating point where it should be and produce the best pano at the cost of using 6 shots for a long pano.
    Of course I also shot two or three 4x5 and stich. At the end of the day while I would love a dedicated 6x17 to bring some discipline in my panos, I do not want to sacrifice the flexibility and shoot what I have handy and stich. Once you get used to it, you can manage even to shoot handheld.

    Cheers,

    Luc
    Field # ShenHao XPO45 - Monorail # Sinar P, F2
    6x6 # Minolta 1965 Autocord, 6x9 # Kodak 1946 Medalist II



    http://www.lucbenacphoto.com/

  7. #7

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    Re: drawn to 6x17 format

    Try a Noblex rotating lens camera. All a 6x17 does is crop the same wide angle shot one does with a regular large format camera. A swing lens camera actually describes space more effectively, without the kind of distortion you get from having a wide lens. Get the model with rise.

  8. #8
    Luc Benac lbenac's Avatar
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    Re: drawn to 6x17 format

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Petronio View Post
    Try a Noblex rotating lens camera. All a 6x17 does is crop the same wide angle shot one does with a regular large format camera. A swing lens camera actually describes space more effectively, without the kind of distortion you get from having a wide lens. Get the model with rise.
    There is a good article on the Noblex here: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/re...ex_150ux.shtml

    I think that it makes a good summary of the plus and minuses.

    Cheers,

    Luc
    Field # ShenHao XPO45 - Monorail # Sinar P, F2
    6x6 # Minolta 1965 Autocord, 6x9 # Kodak 1946 Medalist II



    http://www.lucbenacphoto.com/

  9. #9
    Whatever David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    I agree with Frank on this one. I had a 6x17 back for a few years and decide there wasn't much advantage to it over a half-frame darkslide mask. A medium format Noblex is really different, and there are many situations in which the swing-lens perspective feels more natural. The negs fit in a 4x5" enlarger, and they are astonishingly sharp, because there is no falloff of resolution in the corners.

  10. #10
    Lachlan 717
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    Re: drawn to 6x17 format

    Quote Originally Posted by Kuzano View Post
    And then comes the price consideration. $2000 to $4000 for a dedicated solution including camera and a lens and not much more equipment.
    $1k for a DaYi 617 and $250 for a 90mm lens is hardly $2000, let alone $4000.


    Quote Originally Posted by Kuzano View Post
    The 6X9 Solution:
    A nice condition G690, G690bl, or last model interchangeable GL690, and a clean, well functioning 100mm lens... $450 to $700. Near mint... $1000.
    A later GW690III with the fixed 90mm lens.... $700 to $900... near mint... $1000.
    What about the added cost of the scanner and the stitching software?

    And, how do you shoot a pano with long exposures? Say, 15 second sunset afterglows? Or subjects with movement (clouds, water etc)?

    There has been an Art Panoramics for under $1000 on Australian eBay lately. Beautiful 90mm lens as well.

    The Shen Hao is the best of the dedicated panoramics I've used. I'm not interested in view finder shooting, so having a backpack with 4 lenses and the GG assembly is easily manageable, even in a carry-on bag. No way that I could do that with the Fuji/DaYi/Fotoman/Gaoersi cone system.

    My light travel camera is the DaYi with my 72mm attached. Camera goes in checked luggage, lens in carry on.
    Lachlan.

    You miss 100% of the shots you never take. -- Wayne Gretzky

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