How to cut film : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread


I'm thinking about shooting some panoramics with my 10x8" camera, and although I could crop after development, I'd like to maximise the use of film by trimming it down to 10x4". Any ideas on how to do this inside a Harrison tent?

I'm thinking about masking the groundglass, and using the centre part of the lens for making the exposure (maximise movements and image quality). Do you know if anyone makes a 10x8" darkslide with 'runners' for 10x4" film in the centre, or will I have to cobble something together?

Hope this makes sense!

David Nash

-- David Nash (, April 06, 2002


David, I would imagine it would be quite difficult to cut film down to size inside a changing tent! I'm pretty sure that Bender offer a panoramic darkslide that will allow 2 10x4 images to be exposed on one sheet of film. Check their web site (try a search under bender cameras as I'm not 100% sure of the address!)

-- paul owen (, April 06, 2002.

In their 'Medium and L F Photography' (p75) Roger Hicks and Frances Schulz describe using a 5x4 darkslide masked into 'top' and 'bottom' using a spare dark slide cut to expose one half of the sheet at a time. This would only use the middle of the lens image if you shifted it quite a bit and I would imagine keeping track of which half you have shot would be tricky too.


-- colin carron (, April 06, 2002.

I've done what's described above with an old dark slide that is cut out for a 4X10 area. However, only with my big old heavy Cambo and a bag bellows that allows centering the image on the selected format. I can't do it with the deardorff. With the Cambo I take the back off after the first shot and turn it 180 degrees and put it back on upside down for the second shot that will already be registered. So you get a single 8X10 sheet with 2 4X10 Panorama's on it. Unfortunately the Cambo 8X10 is just too heavy to get used in the field much at all.

-- Jim Galli (, April 06, 2002.

Note that Lotus makes a 4x10 camera:


-- Christopher Condit (, April 06, 2002.

Have you considered making a type of sliding back, where only a 4x10 slit is allowed to reach the ground glass? Then you can shoot two immages with a regular 8x10 holder/darkslide.

-- Eric Verheul (, April 07, 2002.

You can cut film with a small-size RotoTrim paper cutter, and it might just be possible in a changing tent. It would take some getting used to, a lot of dexterity, and care not to scratch. I do it in a darkroom where I have more room, but I imagine it would be possible once you work out a tent system of operation.

Don't know anything about commercial masks and the like, but you could double-sided sticky tape the 10x4 into a holder, or better yet make cardboard spacers taped in and then tape the film in. A little cumbersome but do-able. Practice in light on some junk film.

-- Rob Tucher (, April 08, 2002.

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