View Full Version : ULF 5x10in Size/Weight vs. Small 6x12cm Size Weight of Full System

08-01-2009, 08:35 PM

Has anyone directly compared an "optimized" 6x12cm "full system" (camera/lenses/size/weight) compared to an "optimized" 5x10in (camera/lenses/size/weight) system? It seems to me that a mini 6x12cm system is really no smaller/lighter than a 5x10in system. Has anyone actually measured the "smaller system" to the "larger" one?

What I'm proposing is a 5x10in system taking TWO 5x7in images stiched to complete a 5x10" image (shift/stitch). A 5x10in image stitched is far superior to a 6x12cm image, IMO. If you want to compare a "6x12cm image to a stitched 5x10in image that's okay.

I've been observing the differences and it seems that a 6x12cm system is not that much smaller than a 5x7in system stitched to 5x10in. What are your thoughts??

Yes, I know there is a difference in film/processing costs.

David A. Goldfarb
08-01-2009, 10:33 PM
I think that if you're comparing something like a Linhof 612 or Fotoman or something like that or even a 6x12cm Noblex to a wooden 5x7" camera or custom 5x10" or the more common (as far as esoteric formats go) 5x12", it's the film holders that are going to make the biggest difference in size/weight of the kit. Other advantages of dedicated 6x12cm cameras are that they are handholdable, so you can use them for different kinds of photographs, and 6x12cm negs fit in a 4x5" enlarger. Of course, bigger neg has obvious advantages, depending on the means of enlargement that are available to you.

Another question you might consider is when it might make more sense to shoot 5x7" cropped to panoramic, rather than stitching two 5x7" images made with shift. If you're just stitching two images, it's not so difficult, but if the light is changing rapidly, the subtle difference between two shots you're attempting to stitch can be maddening.

08-01-2009, 11:47 PM
Some thoughts: a 6 x 12cm = 2 1/4 x 5 inch, so to get 5x10 inch you will need at least 5 6x12cm vertical photo's stitched together.

Then consider the weight-diference between a 4x5 and a 5x7 with reduction-back and the extra weight of a 5x7 lens compared to a 4x5 lens.

Electronicly stitching would be relative easy, the analoge way may be a bit more tricky.

On the other hand, why bother to go this way if you have 5x7 and can stitch 2 5x7 horizontaly together to a 5x10 ?????
You will need a lens that covers 5x10 anyway and a camera with enough rear shift.


08-02-2009, 07:49 AM
The mini 6x12cm camera would be a small/lightweight (3-4 pounds) 4x5 capable of accepting a Horseman (or similar) 6x12 roll film back. I'll never shoot FF 4x5 because I like wider formats. Proposed lenses are 38mm SA XL, 58mm SA XL, 90mm Angulon (late model), 135mm f/4.7 Xenar, 200mm Nikkor-M, and 300mm Nikkor-M. I want a full compliment of lenses. I might throw in a couple of the old Polaroid macro (flat field copy) lenses... maybe a 50mm and a 135 with a shared shutter. I don't need much excess coverage because I'll not be using any front movements and only rear swing/tilt. I "might" occasionally use shift to take a second shot to stitch a wider image but this will not be very often. I consider the limitations of some of the selected lenses an acceptible trade-off in order to decrease bulk/weight.

The camera for making stitched 5x12.5in images would be a Canham MQC 57 (5.7 pounds) with a modified rear standard that has greatly increased shift. I've already discussed how this will affect rigidity of the camera and its solution with Keith Canham and I'm okay with what I need to do. My reasoning for using a 5x7 and shooting two images to stitch them is, once again, to save bulk/weight. Proposed lens kit includes 110mm SS XL, 150mm SS XL, 210mm Apo Symmar-L, 300mm Fujinon-C, 450mm Fujinon-C, and a 750-850mm I dunno yet but it must be small, coated and shutter-mounted. That last lens will require a long hat-type extension because the Canham bellows stops just past 600mm. I don't want a tele because they're so heavy. I can store the smaller lenses in wraps within the hat so (in theory) it won't take up much additional space. I might add a 50mm and 135mm macro lens set with shutter (same as in the 6x12 kit) but I would only shoot single sheets for macro work. I know the 210 listed is only spec'ed to cover 312mm but it will definitely cover the 325mm format with no issues. As with the above proposed kit, I won't be using any front movements... just rear shift (to reach the intended 12.5 inch width) and rear swing/tilt for DOF control... so all these lenses will easily cover. Since I'm only shooting landscapes I can live with distortions created with swing/shift DOF control.

As you can see, the 6x12cm kit really won't be that much lighter than the 5x12in kit... maybe 3-4 pounds. I'm just guessing right now but I'll look up actual weights today. There isn't all that much size difference either, IMHO.

I could lighten the 6x12cm kit by replacing the 38mm and 58mm lenses with a single 65mm f/8 SA and by leaving off the 300mm but I could do a similar reduction to the larger system.

Regarding film holders: I would only carry one box of film with four holders and reload in the field. It seems to me that this film/holder package isn't all that much larger/heavier than a Horseman RFH and a half dozen rolls of 120 film.

I guess I'm really asking if anyone has better suggestions regarding each kit. If I opt to build a 6x12cm kit it must be MUCH smaller/lighter or I'll never bother to use it due to reduction in overall quality when compared to the larger kit. I can certainly live with this reduction but not to save only 3-4 pounds of weight.

The changing light and moving objects issue does concern me a bit and I've given this conderable thought. I'll be shooting as quickly as is practicable and overlapping the images enough to (hopefully) work around these for the most part. I do know that wind blowing objects and clouds is often not very cooperative in this regard.

I won't be taking any hand-held photos... it's all landscape work with a tripod. I know I can get by with a smaller tripod for the smaller camera but please remember that we're still just comparing a small/lightweight 4x5 with a small/lightweight 5x7 so there won't be much difference in the tripod either.

Forgot to mention... these will be scanned on a modified Epson v700 (no glass in the optical path) at high resolution and printed commercially on a system that exposes the paper via a digital light bar on wet process (conventional) paper. Print sizes will vary from 10x20 inches up to "rarely" 60x150 with 20x50 being the average.