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
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..
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.
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.
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.
I think there was a Chicago outfit that used Circuts and sold restored cameras. At any rate,'Godspeed'! I love Circut photographs.
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....
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.
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.
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.