Wednesday, March 11, 2015

8x20, almost

Last year I bought an interesting camera, a custom job that was assembled with various parts from a few different cameras but was fairly well put together - an 8x20 banquet camera.

If you've ever seen a really old wedding photo in an antique shop of the whole wedding party and family stretched out into a panorama, it was likely a 7x17, 8x20, or 12x20 image, often made directly with a huge camera. The camera I bought is built off of an old Korona with various parts mixed in.

The camera was not without faults. I found light-leaks and had major problems with the film holder. Right now the holder and back is out getting modified to work together properly.

I did test the camera a few times before and for the most part was completely dissatisfied with the results - but this was due to the film holder issue, not the format.

Anyway, I took one image last month to test the film holder out, and it was a complete disaster - there was a huge light-leak around the front standard. I taped up the edges though with Gorilla tape and now it's good to go. This was the terrible result, wasting a precious sheet of Efke PL 100:

Not to be dissuaded, I really wanted to shoot this image properly before this flooded area dried up. So I returned the next day with my 8x10 camera. I put the same lens on, composed the shot, and took two images back-to-back with some 8x10 x-ray film, with the lens first shifted all the way to the left and then all the way to the right. I also panned the camera right for the second shot to get a bit more coverage.

I then processed, bleached, and scanned the negatives, then finally stitched them together in Microsoft's Image Composite Editor. This gave me a "virtual" 8x20 shot (well technically it was closer to 7x17).

Here is the result:

The lens I used was a 305mm f/9 G-Claron - an older version known to be a copy of the "Dagor" design. This design throws a huge image circle at small stops and covers 8x20 with ease. It's quite a fantastic lens and I got it at a bargain price.

For fun, here's a tiny 100% crop of the dark dirt and roots sticking out of the water on the left:

Pretty good for less than $1 cost of film and a $150 lens that has some haze on the rear element!

I am looking forward to shooting real 8x20 sheets soon once I get my film holder back though!

I also took a few images while setting up the 8x20 camera with my F5, and Meagan shot some of me too:

Finally here is one more of me with the camera that Meagan took with her phone:

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