View Full Version : Hunting for a #10 Cirkut Camera

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04-01-2008, 04:46 PM
Hi all,

Hunting for a #10 Cirkut camera.

Anybody know of a working example somewhere that could be purchased?

I've had some successes locally shooting (and selling) panos, and would use it to shoot vintage car and vintage motorcycle groups, as well as some landscapes.

So, any leads? Any suggestions?

And yes, I realize that a hi-res digital camera, a pano head, and a stitching program would in many ways equal the Cirkut. But I like the idea of a Cirkut, and I think that for the audience I'm shooting for (vintage car and bike enthusiasts), the Cirkut would be a draw and a help, and possibly a trip down memory lane.

I'm fairly confident (though I could be wrong) that I have the mechanical ability to run one, and to process the negs and the prints. I already process 4x5 stuff, and contact-print it. And my day job is mechanical design, with a lot of hands-on experience; plus some time spent as a portrait photog.

Thanks in advance, for any leads..!

Doug Grosjean, NW Ohio

04-01-2008, 05:12 PM
You might try contacting Kenneth Snelson (http://www.kennethsnelson.net/icons/pan.htm). He might be able to give you ideas if nothing else. (Like where you're going to get film for such a beast.)

04-01-2008, 05:28 PM
Thanks, email sent to Kenneth. Will see what happens.

I watch for them on the auction site, and they come up once in a great while, but I wouldn't mind if I could buy one in a few weeks instead of in a few months.

04-01-2008, 09:51 PM
Jamie Young may be able to help as well.


jamie young
04-02-2008, 08:00 AM
I don't know of anyone selling right now, but guess that Ron Klein might know or even have some for sale. He's a great person, very helpful, and definitely one of the best cirkut photographers around. He checks this forum on occasion, and is known as "panoramic" on apug.
I'm also happy to share any info I have. Phone and email on my web sight. If you find an open source for film or are planning on special ordering let us all know.

jamie young
04-02-2008, 08:13 AM
It should be mentioned that a 10" by 96" negative on thin 120 roll film base is 960 sq inches, compared to 20 sq inches for a 4x5 negative. Everything about it is on a very different scale. I started with a #8 camera doing 8" by 7 foot negs, and it took a while to get the hang of things, but got lots of help from experienced people. I moved up in size to a #10 and then a # 16 camera, which made the 8" negs seem small. It's all very doable, and I and others would be happy to help, but figure on getting enough extra film for the learning curve you will have learning to operate the camera. It really is a very different scale than 4x5 though.

04-02-2008, 08:31 AM
you might also contact jim gali.
a while back he had one for sale here, ( i think ? )
and if it didn't sell he might still be selling it ...

what a great idea + subject matter for a cirkut camera.

good luck!

04-02-2008, 10:33 AM
Hi all,

And yes, I realize that a hi-res digital camera, a pano head, and a stitching program would in many ways equal the Cirkut.

Uh, no. Not even remotely the same thing.

Anyway, I'd second getting a hold of Galli. He's a magnet for these things.

04-02-2008, 11:56 AM
Thanks for all the replies and kind words.

I've got some other feelers out now, including to Ron Klein, Kenneth Snelson, and a couple others, so will see what happens.

The old car / old bike idea is a bit of serendipity. Photos I've taken that people have raved about (and bought) have usually been those subjects.

Plus, my father is into old cars, ie, Model T Fords, repairs them for a living, is active in local clubs. 70 miles to the north of me is Greenfield Village, and its car and bike shows during the summer. The 100th anniversary of the Model T Ford is this summer, and a large event is planned about 120 miles southwest of here. Then 100 miles southeast is Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and motorcycle Vintage Days. Other friends of mine are active in old bikes. So I have a network of contacts already in place, accidentally, and if I do good work I believe I can make the sale, and everybody will be happy.

And if I fail? Well, I've been considering a Cirkut for a long time (couple years) anyway.

Jamie Young - thanks for the offer of tips. A naive question, but wouldn't a 9:1 (96" x 10") negative apply only to a full 360d pano? Guessing at that because my stitched 35mm Widelux 360s are about a 9:1 aspect ratio. I'm betting I'd rarely go beyond 180d, and that would mean 48" negs. Pondering it all in my head, I'm thinking that big round black plastic trash cans in the bathtub could be used as developing tanks, and I could cobble up a big reel somehow, 10" tall. The reel would need a big handle, so it could be lifted out and /or turned for agitation. Inversions would be out... I don't know if tray development is practical, but I have my doubts, given the negative / print length. Esp. if negs or contact prints are longer than my bathtub.

Jason: my poor choice of words saying that a hi-res digi would be similar to a Cirkut. My thought was that to some customers, modern cam + stitching might be the same. But am hoping that among vintage car and vintage bike guys, the Cirkut would be part of the draw, and they'd prefer that their antiques be photographed by an antique.

Ideally, and this might be naive too, I'd like to be able to produce consistent results in 6-12 months. One incentve for that timeframe is there's a local bar & grill that burned down on Christmas Eve 2007, that I'd shot with the Widelux on one of their Bike Nights. Here's that pic, several copies have been sold, and a couple donated to a benefit for the bar owner where they brought a very good price.... Katie's Kitchen is now the final building standing on that block, the rest is just a dirt field.


They're going to rebuild on the same lot, if possible, and when I suggested to the owner a pano of his employees outside the new building, and what a cool shot that would be 10-20 years down the road, he agreed and suggested customers and employees. I could shoot it with my Widelux 35mm or my Kodak Panoram, but I think I could shoot it much better with a Cirkut.

I have ideas for other uses for the Cirkut as well. Re-photographing some small towns that were shot 100 years ago on Cirkuts, small-town gatherings, a full 360d of Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course during Vintage Bike Days... stuff like that. Demand already exists for my smaller pano work, and I think I could translate that into demand into Cirkut work. Crossing my fingers, anyway.

jamie young
04-02-2008, 01:54 PM
Hi Doug
The #10 camera usually came with a 10-18-24 triple convertible lense
The length of the 360 image will be 2πr or 2π focal length, so
6.28 x 10 = 62.8” (kind of like a widelux focal length)
6.28 x 18 = 113.04”
6.28 x 24 = 150”

I have a 24” apo artar on my #10 and routinely shoot 8 foot negs

I was also thinking of film rolls Kodak sold, labeled at 6 feet, but often 7-8 feet long.
No reason you couldn’t shoot shorter ones, but you might find that using a longer lense like the 18" group will work well for some of the shots you’re thinking of doing.

I’m tray processing all my cirkut work, and it works for me.
What are you going to do for film? Have you looked into this at all? It’s a bit of a problem now and worth looking into before you get a camera. If you find a source let me know.
Also I’m planning on going to Bill Schwab’s Photostock 2008 3rd Annual Northern Michigan Photographer's Gathering (about 90% sure) and would be happy to go out with you and show you stuff with a cirkut. Or if you are ever in Madison, WI

04-02-2008, 03:26 PM
I try to keep my cirkut #10 images around 54 inches long or less. Even thought factory spooled film is slightly longer, the main reason is the ease at which a picture framer can mount and frame the photos. Matting material comes in a standard oversize of 40" by 60". We cut the board into roughly thirds (13 and 1/4 by 60). This works out to about a two inch mat around the image or a little bigger if cropping the top or bottom is needed. For sure it is possible to make longer photos (the #16 gets really long), but if you are trying to make affordable art that sells easily keep the mat board in mind or it gets expensive to frame.

For group photos, a 16" lens seems about right for a mob of 800 people or less. If you want closer views of individuals you need to use a longer lens and cover less degrees in the pan or move in closer and use a wider lens. Since every photo is different, you just need to know how many degrees per inch each lens will use. A good rule of thumb that Dick Fowler in Florida came up with was to take the number of teeth in the pinion gear and subtract 1, that gives the degrees per foot of film used. I haven't trusted that formula, and it could be plus 1 instead of subtracting. It should be easy to measure and calculate I just haven't spent the time.

Most group work looks better if it is not a 360 degree image but something like 180 or less to 240 degrees. If I want to make a 360 image, I use one of two lenses, a 6.5" wide angle dagor, or a 210 symar. The 6.5" dagor must be mounted backwards inside the camera with a special lensboard and the bed of the camera has to be lowered. As well the camera has to be raised on the turntable and an extension shaft added to the pinion gear. The 210mm lens doesn't need that, but some you will lose a little of the lower part of the picture because the bed gets in the way.

Of course everyone has their own way of creating imagery, this is just how I do it.

BTW the pinion gear for the 6.5" Dagor has 107 teeth. That is getting about to the limit of room for the ring gear to mesh without the whole camera falling over from being out of balance.

Ron in Alaska

Phillip P. Dimor
04-02-2008, 03:37 PM
There is nothing like a good Cirkut negative contact printed. I've a few old prints and they are outstanding. Good luck finding one, I understand there is a guy out there cutting gears for these..

04-02-2008, 04:36 PM
Hello All,

Sorry to interject.

I have a #6 Cirkut that needs a set of gears (and a little other work). As luck would have it I just moved it to the back shed on Sunday, so I don't recall what lens it has. I have a number of lenses that would work, but I need some info picture/measurements to make a set of gears. (I have a lathe and mill). Does anyone have some info/links? Thank you in advance.


jamie young
04-02-2008, 05:10 PM
Is it a #6 cirkut or #6 cirkut outfit?
The #6 cirkut took different gears from the outfit, and the fan outfits were also different than the governor models.
Ron (two posts up) cut gears for any camera, and can help with it.

04-02-2008, 05:17 PM
Hello Jamie,

Thank you for the reply. I will have to look at it. I bought it from Jim Galli in September, 2007. I will contact Ron when I know what I have at hand.


04-02-2008, 08:47 PM
I think there was a Chicago outfit that used Circuts and sold restored cameras. At any rate,'Godspeed'! I love Circut photographs.

04-03-2008, 09:43 PM
I took a step closer today, ordering a reprint of a user's manual for a #10 Cirkut from Craig Camera on the big auction site. Will be good to have some familiarity with the unit, whenever I buy one, before it arrives.

Jamie, I may take you up on your offer of Madison. My g/f and I are going to a BMW motorcycle rally in Duluth MN in August, as a vendor because I wrote a book on motorcycling with my (very young at the time) son. Madison is sort of on the way, or not far out of the way, and I have friends there that would enjoy a visit as well.

Will stay in touch, unless the Cirkut bug dies, or is killed off by a complete lack of film. But been pondering it for a while, so....

jamie young
04-03-2008, 10:47 PM
Happy to help if our schedules overlap. Also, an interesting event is happening on labor day weekend, and I'll be the main photographer for it. over 20 threshing machines working and being driven by an equal number of steam tractors.
Very dusty, but lots of fun. At the rock river thresheree in Edgerton WI. I'll have a exhibition of a lot of my cirkut and roundshot pan work done at the show over the years that weekend as well.
I REALLY would figure out the film question first, as getting a camera without easy film procurement would be a drag. Beyond that I would encourage you to try. It's a blast to do.

Len Robertson
04-04-2008, 08:37 PM
Jamie - I recall a few years ago, you had a source of long rolls of B&W film from a European maker, through a dealer in Canada. Has that source dried up now?
I see B&H show Kodak aerial film, both color and B&W:
The Plus-X Aerographic at $939 for 250 feet looks like the best bet for B&W. Has anyone used this film? There were always rumors regarding the older B&W aerial films that they weren't really suitable for general photography, but I don't know if that was accurate. Maybe the newer Plus-X is better. Any of the old aerial stuff I ever used was so foggy, it was hard to tell.

For anyone with Cirkut fever, here is the archives for the old Panoramic mailing list:
I don't recall how many pages are in that archive, but it seems there may be a couple of years worth. Quite a bit of Cirkut lore scattered in there. Of course most of the film source information is no longer accurate.

jamie young
04-05-2008, 08:41 AM
I got some 16" forte 400 for my big cirkut at a very reasonable price but forte is gone. I have enough for now, as well as a lot of kodak 8" verichrome pan cirkut from when they announced discontinuing the product (no interest in selling any in case anyone wonders) I also have a lot of 5" and some 9.5" aerial film. I plan on cutting some of the 9" film down to 7" for some al vista swing lense cameras I have. I'm set for film myself at the moment. the problem with some of the aerial films is that they don't all have antihalation coating and can flare easily, and light can wander at the edges easily requiring a great deal of extra care when spooling and daylight loading, and the cirkuts that still have the purple velvet on the pressure plates flare more as well. Aerial film is usually on a very thin base, which is good. The right thickness film is the same approx thickness as 120 film. You can go a little thicker but sheet bases are too thick.
It would be great to find a company that would cut film rolls from 120 base materials to sell for spooling. I asked Simon at Ilford and was told they didn't want to consider it for packaging reasons and quality control because of the packaging (correct me if I have this wrong Simon). I didn't pursue it beyond one pm or email . I think of all the odd shape film cameras and wonder if someone could get a film tech on the cutting machine once a year, define a square foot minimum order based on something like a 100 linear feet off the master roll, maybe adding a small fee per cut to pay for time required if the order has a lot of cuts to make.
Wrap the film in black foil in whatever packaging is easy, and make it clear that this is non standard packaging and should be handled with care. Objectively I can see that there's a practical line for profitability, but could a special order process be set up
that could make this easier and viable. I think that if a manufacturer did this, clearly defined the minimum orders, maybe on a web page, and set up a process, they would get enough takers. Since there is presently no easy way to go about special orders, people don't try.If customers had a place to figure out how to go about the process ,they might pursue it more. example- minimum order is 100 linear feet of 54" roll @ $x.xx per square foot, plus $y.yy per cut. Add $z.zz for packaging. Set a cutting date once or if volume allows, twice a year.
As I don't know how the cutting machines work, I'm probably missing something, but it seems like here should be a way to make it worthwhile for BOTH parties, but not so expensive that the special orders go beyond a reasonable amount.
If anyone does hear of a film manufacturer who can do smaller runs let the list know.