Rotational cameras

Discussion in 'Panoramic Cameras and Accessories' started by DrPablo, Jun 25, 2007.

  1. DrPablo

    DrPablo Member

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  2. DBP

    DBP Member

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    The Noblex, Horizont/Horizon, and Widelux (I have the latter two) are swing lens cameras in which the film remains stationary on a curved plane, while the lens rotates across a limited field (usually 120-145 degrees, depending on the model. The Horseley appears to move both film and lens to allow a 360 field, like the Roundshot and the old Cirkut cameras.
     
  3. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I use the Noblex for 50% of the work I do, an amazing camera.
    I have problems with low light and long exposures with this camera due to the length of time the rotation takes to do a long exposure but otherwise I love it.
    would be interested to see how this thread goes.
     
  4. DrPablo

    DrPablo Member

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    The Noblex looks truly amazing. I wish I could find one inexpensively.

    I think it's unique cameras like this that (in part) keep film alive. There's just no digital answer for a swing lens camera -- it's not that it can't be made, it's just that no one will ever make it.
     
  5. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I use the Noblex for 50% of the work I do, an amazing camera.
    I have problems with low light and long exposures with this camera due to the length of time the rotation takes to do a long exposure but otherwise I love it.
    would be interested to see how this thread goes.
     
  6. DBP

    DBP Member

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    The Horizon 202 is still relatively cheap, and can give good results.
     
  7. DrPablo

    DrPablo Member

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    I'd much prefer one that takes 120 film.

    It's no rush for me -- I can save my pennies for a while.

    That rotational camera I've linked is actually considerably less expensive than a Noblex, but I think it has a fixed 1/60 shutter speed.
     
  8. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    There is a 120 version of the Horizon, the 205PC. I don't know if it's still in production or if that outfit is selling old stock. It's also wicked expensive, at least by my standards -- I'd love to be able to pay $2190 for such a camera, but even a $200-$500 35mm Horizon is at the edge of what I can justify....
     
  9. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I use this camera primaraly 1/200 f16 , it is wickedly sharp on tripod and quite sharp hand held. By keeping the camera level you can get edge to edge straight horizon which is a beautiful thing.
    I am considering another one so that when shooting one is being loaded while the other is being used. You can burn through a lot of film this way.
    Fixed shutter would be problamatic I would think for any camera specifically hand held.
    save the pennies for the Noblex , I am sure you will be happy
     
  10. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Well, there are handling differences, but the optical outcome of the swing lens and full rotational camera are the same. As full rotational digital cameras are on the market your argument seems week to me. I assume the reason for swing lens cameras to be on the market is first their lower price and second the chance to handle the film in common enlargers compared to full rotational film cameras.
     
  11. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    Paul, I have shot with my Horizon 202 alongside a friend in Germany with a 35mm 360 degree camera (roundshot?) which was able to do unbelievable pictures. That was the good news.

    With my Horizon, I have made plenty of pictures, but the success rate is provisional on not only the subject, but to a greater degree than normal, the quality of the light!

    With the 360 degree or more camera, the quality of light or probably more correctly, the intensity of light one has to contend with in the arc that your exposure is obtained in, can greatly affect the printing difficulty/ease in a darkroom.

    I often have to contend with a 5 stop range with my Horizon negatives, not a real problem, but a bit fiddly in the darkroom.

    When I saw the negatives that my friend had with the 360 degree pictures it really opened my eyes to the possibilities but also to the obstacles needing to be addressed with this kind of picture.

    The situation we took pictures in was ideal for his camera, good for mine as well. We were in Stuttgart near the Hauptbanhoff or main railway station, there is a square surrounded by buildings, not high rise. Standing in the centre of this square and waiting for the sun to go behind a cloud to expose for near perfect even light conditions.

    We did this for I think three exposures, maybe four. On one of the exposures the sun started to come out of the cloud cover and the resultant neg density change made for interesting darkroom work, to say the least.

    I printed them using a 4x5 enlarger and the quality of the enlargements, rather interestingly, were almost identical to the Horizon prints when the prints were placed side by side.

    We used 12x16" paper and enlarged the film so that we had 200mm (8") on the vertical side of the picture. This meant that the Horizon pictures could be done in one piece on a sheet of 16" wide paper and the 360 pictures were done in segments.

    I use a Schneider Componon S 105 for the Horizon negs in a special home made carrier and did the longer negs section by section in the same carrier.

    Laid out on the dining room table or the floor with correct alignment, they look stunning.

    The major difference between the two cameras is that with the Horizon I can make (with great care) continuous or 360 degree pictures as an end product, but with a camera that is capable of longer film sweeps which are adjustable to the required degree of sweep, that would be the bees knees!

    Mick.
     
  12. DrPablo

    DrPablo Member

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    There are swing lens digital cameras? That's what I meant.

    The full rotational ones don't have nearly the flexibility and features of the SLRs. More effort has been put into tripod heads and stitching programs than actual cameras.
     
  13. jamie young

    jamie young Member

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    Right now the digital rotating cameras are either expensive or extremely expensive. I drool over the new roundshot digital, but am quite happy to shoot with my cirkuts for b&W and roundshots for color. I only wonder how long 70mm color film will be around. On rotating cameras, keep an eye out for ebay deals. They come up often enough. Rotating camera photography is lot's of fun. I've been addicted for years now. I wouldn't be surprised if someone came out with a digi swing lense at some point.
    Jamie
     
  14. ben-s

    ben-s Member

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    I built a basic rotating panoramic camera from an olympus compact.
    I gutted it, keeping the only the shutter and film advance, and then brought wires for these things out of the bottom.
    There is a small control unit with a microcontroller in it.
    The camera itself is mounted on a stepper motor, and swings round, while the film is advanced past a slit.
    It needs more work, and a reduction gearbox for the rotation axis, but it does work after a fashion.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    (apologies for the width of this image, but it's... well, panoramic :wink:
     
  15. ben-s

    ben-s Member

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    BTW, that's me, just right of centre
    The computer screen to the right of me is displaying some of the program for the camera.

    Just to make it clear, this camera does shoot film, the only digital bit is the drive electronics (much like all recent Canon and Nikon SLRs)
     
  16. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    Ben, very nice, obviously some more work needed, but a bit of fiddling never went astray.

    I run stepper motors on my LASER and they have the ability to step in 1/1200" increments. This means that the beam is moved around in a stepless or seamless fashion, so to speak.

    Going on my experience with a friend and the aforementioned rotating camera, try a faster rotation and a bigger slit opening for less banding. If you can of course!

    Mick.
     
  17. ben-s

    ben-s Member

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    As the slit is card and gaffer tape, and the stepper is software controlled, it's fairly easy to modify various parameters of the system:smile:
     
  18. DougGrosjean

    DougGrosjean Member

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    Some people, myself included, go for older swing-lens cameras that use 120 film, to supplement their 35mm swing-lens cameras.

    For my own 120 film swing-lens, I bought an old Kodak Panoram. Works out pretty well, the 2" x 7" negative makes up for almost any lack of sharpness the lens has, and produces good results.

    Mine was just under $400 at Ritz Collectible Cameras in Phoenix AZ. They pop up on Ebay and other auctions - you just have to watch for them.
     
  19. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    I'm not entirely sure that rotational cameras are less flexible or have fewer features, and I'm sure Seitz (who make the Roundshot) would disagree with you. They're harder to hand-hold, it's true, but what other features are you looking for?

    Also, given that Seitz has made a 6x17 scanning back camera (at about 28,000 euros) as well as digital rotation cameras, I rather suspect that they could make a swing-lens if they wanted. I don't know of any digital swing-lens cameras, though. Perhaps AgX can enlighten us further?

    The only swing-lens I've ever used was a Horizont belonging to the Supreme Soviet (which show how long ago it was). It was awful. But even if it had worked, I don't think I'd have wanted one. They're very much love-it-or-hate-it.

    Cheers,

    Roger
     
  20. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Roger,

    There was a misunderstanding; I meant digital rotational cameras.

    Concerning the flexibility: I once thought of buying a Roundshot Super 35. This is not the ideal camera for handheld use. But a photographer using a Roundshot 28 already, would rather fix a static viewing aid to the grip before obtaining a swing lens camera, just for hendheld, limited angle use. Most probably he would do so with the Super 35 too...
     
  21. AgX

    AgX Member

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    A digital swing lens camera would need a bend sensor chip.
    I doubt if ever someone begins with that. (Let`s say, before flexible sensors arrive...)

    Ooooh, I just realized I posted absolute nonsense...
    Of course one could do it via a line scanning device as in those rotational cameras. Then we would have the same discussion as with those film-based camera types.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 26, 2007
  22. AgX

    AgX Member

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    ben-s,

    How do you steer the rewind or wind motor. Are they originally stepper motors too, or is a potentiometer sufficient?
     
  23. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    That's what I thought, but I wasn't sure.

    Cheers,

    Roger
     
  24. ben-s

    ben-s Member

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    The motor in the film advance is a small DC motor.
    I drive it with PWM (Pulse width modulation - skip the next bit if you know what this is)
    ----lecture mode on----------
    PWM is a method used to drive analog devices such as motors or lamps at a variable power from a digital source.
    A digital signal is either on or off, so anything connected to a digital signal source will be either fully on or fully off.
    This isn't very useful for many applications, as we often require variable power.
    This is accomplished by flicking the digital signal on and off very rapidly, so that the attached device is only powered for part of the time.
    By varying the ratio of on time to off time, the power (eg speed or brightness) may be varied.
    ----lecture mode off-----------

    In the program, I can vary the PWM rate (and thus the speed) of the advance motor, and I can also vary the step rate of the rotation motor.

    When I reach the end of the film, I reverse the polarity to the film advance, and apply full power. This automatically flips a gear into place inside the camera to rewind the film. (The wind/rewind changeover part was originally in the camera, so I just left it there and made use of it)