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  1. #1
    holmburgers's Avatar
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    Panoramic Slit-Scan Camera Idea

    Hey everyone,

    So I've had this idea tumbling around in my noggin for some time now, but I'd like to actually see it in action some day. I could certainly use your ideas and input for the ideation stage.

    In a nutshell, imagine a long, narrow box that would hold an entire roll of film (let's assume 35mm for now). The roll would be laid out flat in this dark box. The lens would then be in a track that runs along the length of the box, with a slit aperture between it and the film... much like a Widelux, or similar designs. The picture would be exposed by uncapping the lens and sliding the lens across the length of the film; the slit allowing a thin sliver of light to scan the film. Shutter speed could be altered by different sized slits or by the speed of the lens transport.

    Your resulting image would be a continuous image the length of your film.. the ultimate panoramic!

    This is the basic idea, and the only conditions that a prototype would need to meet.

    The uses of a camera like this are yet to be determined. But in a horizontal position, set your 3 best buds on a love seat and scan away; you've now got a group shot that extends the length of a roll of film, each person captured head on. In a vertical position, take your favorite child (or least favorite, depending on their enjoyment of having dad or mom take their picture) and scan from head to toe, assuming you have a short kid...

    It's really hard for me to imagine what the resulting pictures would look like, and that's a huge part of the impetus!

    As for making this... I've got some ideas, but nothing concrete; just a starting place. First, you'd need a lens mount which could be taken from a junk camera or an extension tube or even a rear cap. The focal flange distance would of course have to be determined and your box & track based off of that. The hardest part in my mind would be an accordion, curtain or venetian-blind like material that would allow the lens to move from end to end and keep the light out.

    Down the road, one could of course get quite fancy with motorized transport and the like... curvable boxes, and so forth.

    What about a prototype box? Wood, mat-board, some found object?

  2. #2

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    You would need a fast moving motor to do this with modern films. Ever seen how fast a Speed Graphic focal plane shutter goes at 1/125 for instace? Now imagine your lens assembly moving on a rail that fast. That's going to require a serious electric motor that can accerlerate quickly and keep up the speed evenly through the entire track. A stepper motor could do this but it would need to be a big one.

    As far as the venetian blind- why not just use a lens with a built-in shutter? So basically you mount the shuttered lens on a rail that runs over the length of the box. When the exposure starts the shutter goes on "B", there is a permanent slit in the back of the lens assembly that keeps the coverage of the lens confined to a narrow slit- just like a focal plane shutter does. The lens runs over the entire length of the film at an even speed and wa-la panoramic photo.

  3. #3
    holmburgers's Avatar
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    As for the speed of the lens, I don't think this should be a problem. I can always use ND, a smaller slit or even utilize the aperture of the lens. Or Velvia 50.

    The built in shutter wouldn't change the fact that this track needs to be sealed on either side of the lens as it moves across the camera.

  4. #4
    MattKing's Avatar
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    holmburgers:

    It is a really interesting idea, but I don't think it will work.

    I think that unless you had something like a step motor synched to a shutter from a movie camera you would just end up with a long blur.

    Unless you have an infinitely narrow image at the film plane, each image would tend to overlay the previous - essentially a continuous multiple exposure.

    To do this you would need some mechanism that stops the lens mount, opens a shutter, exposes a defined slit on the film, closes a shutter, and then advances the entire mechanism a sufficient distance to ensure that when the cycle repeats an entirely new section of film is exposed.

    Sort of like a movie camera where the film stays stationary and the lens and shutter move.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  5. #5
    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    This is almost (but not quite) the way photo finish cameras work for horse and car racing. The film passes the lens (with a narrow slit) at the same speed as the horses or cars. The background is the same narrow view along the whole length of the film with normal images of the competitors.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photo_finish


    Steve.

  6. #6
    holmburgers's Avatar
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    Thanks Matt,

    I'm pretty sure that it will work as this is the same principle that the Widelux, the Cirkut and all other slit-scan cameras utilize.

    The slit should be thin, but not infinitely narrow as you say.

    Imagine an vase of flowers, for instance. A lens directly in front of it will obviously project an image onto the film plane, directly behind it... now move the lens to the side one inch and that vase will still be in the same place on the film plane. It's just like utilizing shift on a view camera, the side of the lens is now imaging the vase as opposed to the center. But the image of the vase has not moved on the film plane, it's just that it has changed in relation to the lens. The slit should take advantage of the sharpest part of the lens, but a slit isn't essentially necessary.

    I'm not saying I couldn't be wrong, but unless you have a good idea of how slit-scan works, I'm fairly confident that my principle is sound. The movie camera analogy is different in that the film is moving and yet the image remains the same, thus nothing but blur.

    Steve; thanks for that note!

    edit: I should add that the moving film will result in blur except if a subject moves in sync with the moving film (like the race-track photo-finish cameras.... http://people.rit.edu/andpph/text-photofinish-race.html)
    Last edited by holmburgers; 10-22-2010 at 01:08 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  7. #7

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    Its wonderful that you're imaginative. Its not so wonderful that you haven't met current art.

    See http://www.surplusshed.com/pages/item/i1433.html and http://www.surplusshed.com/pages/item/i1475.html . Per the USAF data sheets I have lying around, the Zeiss lens is a Planar and the Fairchild isn't. So much for Roger's puffery. Either version of the K-18 will do what you want and there are kits or instructions for converting K-18s into panoramic cameras for terrestrial use. If it matters to you, the Fairchild lens is probably better than the Zeiss.

    I know, I know, buying one will deprive you of the joy of making your own. Would you rather tinker or take pictures?

    I didn't look to see whether Roger is still selling the lenses without cameras. If he is, don't yield to the temptation. One of my neighbors, now, alas, dead, had a drawer of the lenses. Putting them in proper shutters and adapting to a more normal camera isn't easy, costs much more than just getting the right lens for the camera.

  8. #8
    holmburgers's Avatar
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    Dan, alas, that design is quite different than what I have in mind.

    To achieve what I described in the first post, those cameras would have to move in relation to the film trasnport, along their own track; not the lens. But thanks for sharing the links because certainly it's in the ballpark, but fundamentally different.

    Building a film transport would be much more difficult for me than a sliding lens on a track.

    The idea is to have a long bar with film in it and a lens that tracks along this. The film will remain stationary, the lens will move.

  9. #9
    MattKing's Avatar
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    My head hurts .

    Steve:

    For those photo-finish cameras, isn't it critical that the speed of the film be close to the speed of the horses? And isn't it the case that stationary objects are rendered as blurs?

    holmburgers:

    Doesn't "shift" move the image on the film plane? Wouldn't your example vase move, unless you used swings instead?

    I always thought that the Circut and other rotating cameras worked because of the curved film and/or rotating (rather than sliding) lens.

    I don't know for sure - so I ask!
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  10. #10
    Mainecoonmaniac's Avatar
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    Here's one from the Lomo folks for $100.
    http://microsites.lomography.com/spinner-360/about

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