panorama back : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I want to do panoramas on a 4x5 Speed Graphic. Are there any possbiilities using a long (6x12, 6x17) 120 back? TIA!! ..norm

-- norman milks (, March 11, 2000


You could probably use a 6x12cm insertable back on the SG. Unfortunately, 6x17cm is not an option as the 17cm dimension goes beyond the 5-inch dimension of the film.

-- Todd Caudle (, March 11, 2000.


There is one 6x17 back for 4x5... it is made by Art Pan. The way it covers 4x5 is by recessing and angling the film way back allowing light to spread out to 17cm on the film. Great concept... the problems is the retired owner of Art Pan is the only person who makes these, you have to speak Japanese and twist his arm to make you one for about $2500. They are very hard to find on the used market.

Your next choice is a roll film back... and to my knowledge there is only two made. Horseman makes one that takes 120 roll film, 6 exposures and is a graflock fitting. It retails USA $850. If you want a 220 roll film back for 6x12 the only maker is Sinar with their multiformat zoom II. This is probably one of the neatest little inventions in LF photography... you can select any format from 6x4.5, 6,7, 9, or 12.. thats 5 different formats in one, no wasted film, perfect! The downside is price...a new one sells for $2,900. You can waste a lot of 4x5 film by croping and still be way ahead of the game. If the price of this ever came down to say $1400, it would sell very well in my opinion... I know I would buy one for also takes 120 film, very versatile. I beleive Sinar used to make a 6x12 roll film holder, but its discontinued also. If anyone else comes up with something, I too am very interested...

There has been some companies, like Linhof that once made a 6x12 back but I beleive it is not made new... Bob S will comment shortly on that, don't hold me to it.

-- Bill Glickman (, March 12, 2000.

The originator of the 612 format, Linhof, designed it to be 56 x 120mm on their Technorama 612 cameras. They contiued with this size for their techno Rollex 612 film back for Graflock/International back cameras. It accepts 120 standard and a 220 adapter is available as an accessory.

The other 612 systems on the market use a much smaller film size (56 x 111mm or 56 x 112mm) Up to 9mm shorter negative, probably to aid them in holding the film flat. Linhof's back manages to hold the longer frame perfectly flat so it results in very sharp overall negatives/slides.

-- Bob Salomon (, March 12, 2000.

I confirm, Bob is right on the Sinar 6x12 format being only 56 x 111 mm. Being an insertable back, constraints are probably different than in the more spacey Graflock Linhof back. The 6x12 Techno-Rollex is certainly excellent. However, when you use an insert type of back, you don't want to revert to a Graflock. I had been waiting for Linhof to add a 6x12 Rapid Rollex with a real 56x120 image and in the "6x9 RR" price range. Meanwhile, the Sinar back is a nice option, more versatile and costing "only" SFR. 2,700 ($1,625) here in Switzerland. (I thought this was awfully expensive before I read the US price!) The 6x12 Sinar should be still available at a 30% lower price. Mine is the older Vario, same as Zoom except that format has to be choosen once for the whole film. Very flat and very good. Calumet Cambo made a $700 C 243 56x113 mm insert back. Unfortunately it was not designed for extensive work and mine has been worn out after about a year. Also the film was curved at the ends, making shots from wide-angles go soft towards the sides. Film alignment was no good either.

I had seen this Art Panorama 170 back, Bill is talking about, some years ago and would have been interested except for the price. (At the time it was around $ 1,500 but I had other priorities such as getting a set of lenses!) The maker is Tomiyama and they make also panorama cameras like the Linhof or Fuji. One is a 6x17 and the other is both 6x24 and 6x17! They take Nikkor's SW 90 and 120. I think there is a common resources site on "panorama photography" but don't remember where it is. I have seen recently that Wisner has a cut film holder slide that allows exposing one half of the film at the time. But it looks to me a complex and risky operation not to fog the previous shot and I think it was only for 20x24".

-- Paul Schilliger (, March 12, 2000.

Or, if you're only occasionally doing panoramic work, you could just crop 4x5 sheet film and save yourself a lot of money.

-- Chris Patti (, March 12, 2000.

The Art Pan is the only 6x17 back I know of that is designed for a 4x5. According to the literature, it works with lenses in between 90- 180mm. The film plane is actually something like 24mm behind the 4x5 film plane. It comes w/ a ground glass for focusing. It can shoot both 6x17 and 6x12, 120 film only, and doesn't stop automatically where the next frame starts (so you have to look at the frame number in the window). The only place I know of where one can see one before buying is the International Pro Photo Fair in Tokyo, held around mid- March every year. The manufacturer has no dealers, nor does it have any demos they can show (so they claim) and they won't sell directly to the customer (have to go through a pro shop in Japan). Hard to get, but truely a clever idea, as you can use all your standard LF lenses/lens boards WITH movements.

-- James Chow (, March 12, 2000.

Here's my $.02. Buy yourself a used 5x7 (some old B&J's can be bought for less than $500),cut a 5x7 dark slide in half or buy a 5x7 panoramic board (Toho) from Badger Graphic, then use that cut dark slide to expose half a 5x7 frame at a time. A 5x7 cut in half has almost the identical measurements as a 6x17. You can generally still use your 4x5 lenses. The only problem is that many films are not readily available in the 5x7 format. And who knows....maybe you'll be sold on the entire format size of 5x7 like I have been.

-- John Wiemer (, March 13, 2000.

Re: panoramic photography sites: International Association of Panoramic Photographers

there is camera info at:


Panoramics NorthWest Home Page

-- Tom Bulkeley (, May 30, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ