6x12 Format

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Is the 6x12 format as unpopular as the following survey suggests? Please see http://photo.net/poll/poll-results.tcl?poll_id=261 What subject matter is best-suited to the 6x12 format? It obviously is not as panoramic as 6x17 but a 6x12 roll film back does fit on a 4x5 camera.

-- Charles Mangano (cmangano@heart.umaryland.edu), July 06, 2000


Art Pan in Japan makes a 6x17 back for 4x5 cameras (also can shoot 6x12 via a selector switch, but not on the same roll). The trick is that the film plane for the back is further back than the 4x5 film plane. Lenses are limited in the range 90-180mm, but you can at least use your normal LF lenses in the same boards and use tilts. To my knowledge, the back is only sold in Japan, and really can only be viewed at the International Pro Photo Fair (every March in Tokyo). Price is around $2200 or so with ground glass. Still, it's cheaper than a dedicated 6x17 pan camera. :-)

-- James Chow (drjchow@earthlink.com), July 06, 2000.

I really like my 6x12 Horseman back. It allows full use of a 65mm lens and make me feel more comfortable with bracketing than using sheet film and croping it. By the way, if you really want a 1/3 ratio picture you can crop your 6x12 peace of roll film and still get sharp prints. If you already carry a 4x5 field camera you'd better add a 6x12 back than a 6x17 camera with lens!

-- Jean-Marie Solichon (jardin-exotique@monte-carlo.mc), July 07, 2000.

If you have a 6x17, sure it is nice but to print the thing you need an 8x10 enlarger. I find 6x12 quite sufficient. Cheers, Scott

-- Scott Walton (scotlynn@shore.net), July 07, 2000.

Charles, If you enjoy wide vistas then the 6x12 back combined with Schneider's 47XL delivers exciting results. Plus you get 6 on a roll. All the best, Trevor.

-- Trevor Crone (trevor.crone@uk.dreamcast.com), July 07, 2000.

Just to add to what James had mentioned: the Art Pan 6x17 back is also available in HK - I saw one for myself last year.

FWIW, I was quoted the same price for the back as their 6x17 camera.

-- K H Tan (kahheng@pacific.net.sg), July 09, 2000.

I use a 6X12 back routinely. I find the 1:2 aspect ratio to be printable and viewable-- The prints are managable in size when framed but still give a "panoramic" look. I've never been tempted by 617 or 624 because I don't think I can sell the prints easily... to get enough height to look good, they become extremely wide, which limits their appeal. On the other hand, 612 (and the wide frames from my Xpan) frame up nicely and still get good height and viewability when printed to manageable widths.

-- Randy Shafer (heavysteam@aol.com), July 10, 2000.

What subject matter provides the most aesthetically pleasing compositions for the 6x12 format not just in its inital impact, but being able to stand the test of time?

-- Charles Mangano (cmangano@heart.umaryland.edu), July 24, 2000.

Charles, I know this thread is old but I gotta respond to that last question -- why would you choose a format first and then try to find subject matter that will work with it? This seems completely assbackwards, if I am permitted to use that word on this forum. First determine what and how you want to photograph. Then get the equipment that will help you do that. I photograph buildings, and when I decided to do longer streetscapes, I moved to a wider format. The choice of format was made for me by my aesthetic needs. If you are feeling that 4x5 is not wide enough for your photography, then you must have already encountered some situations that demand the wider format, and you already have your answer.

-- Sandy Sorlien (sand44@mindspring.com), April 15, 2001.

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