panoramic camera : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Hi. I have been shooting documentary work and portraits and using 4x5 and 5x7 cameras. I am interested in making the step up to a larger format for taking group portraits and shooting larger vistas. I had been thinking of getting a panoramic camera, like a 7x17 ... but not sure where I might learn more about the format and what the differences are between panoramic and banquet cameras. Thanks in advance!

-- john nanian (, February 03, 2001


There is a nice article on these formats by Carl Weese in the current issue of Photo Techniques. Cameras with formats like 7x17, 8x20 and 12x20 are sometimes referred to as "banquet" because their original purpose was to take group photos at banquets and similar events. "Panoramic" is a broader term (including, for example, swing- lens cameras).

-- Chris Patti (, February 03, 2001.

Here are a couple of sites you can look at: and The term banquet camera usually refers to three film sizes - 7X17, 8X20, and 12X20 inches. These are all just big view cameras using sheet film. Kodak Panoram and Al-Vista cameras use roll film on a curved film plane. A clockwork motor swings the lens to project the image onto the film. The camera doesn't move, just the lens. I think you get approx. a 140 degree field of view. Finally, the Cirkut camera uses roll film (8" wide is a common Cirkut size)that is pulled past a narrow slit as the entire camera rotates on top of the tripod. You can shoot as many degree wide angle of view as you like - 360 degrees if you like (although your negative may be 6 feet long). Kodak still sells film for Cirkuts. For the Panorams and Al-Vistas you have to spool your own from aerial film. Contact me if you have any more questions.

-- Leonard Robertson (, February 07, 2001.

You will save yourself a lot of hassles by going straight to the Linhof Technorama 617 SIII. Yes, it's not a view camera, and there are no tilts and shifts, but you can carry an 8 oz viewpiece to frame and quickly determine composition. You can even handhold it. It takes 120/220 film. And it has 3 lenses. The results are outstandingly sharp, even with a 10X loupe, and the convenience of rollfilm is great. It would work great for the purposes you describe.

I adore mine. The body is also built like a tank.

-- Lloyd Chambers (, February 08, 2001.

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