Hi I'm contemplating a panoramic camera which is dual format, made by this Chinese company. I have a couple of questions which perhaps members will answer. Do Gaoersi have strap lugs on the cameras? Is 120 film loading quick in the field? Is the speed of operation about the Same as a fuji g617? What is the durability of the film mask, inside the chamber? Is the helical focusing easy? Can they be handheld?
How do these compare to fotoman or art panorama?
I bought one of the dual format 6x17's recently it one of the earlier versions and haven't looked back the poor rb67 is redundant (atm)
Mine has strap lugs but i would not like to carry it around my neck ala 35mm its quite heavy and if it bounced up and the corner hit you in the chest it would leave a bruise.
its not the most ergonomic camera but very simple ive got the knack of loading film and can reload quickly (but its a bit fiddly you need to line the slot in the spool with the tounge of the winder - press down and tilt the spool into the camera) the receiving end is simply a spigot on a spring push the spool down on the bottom spigot and tilt in - thread the film onto the spool wind on until No 2 is in the window frame nos are 2 5 8 & 11 for 6x17
The film mask is in effect a pair of baffles which change angle when the smaller sizes are selected there is a slight light bleed past the baffles nothing to worry me. I an not sure if the newer models are the same.
Speed of operation would be comparable to a fuji617 as the lenses are basically the same - ie most lf lens can be made to fit with suitable cones i have a 90mm 5.6 SA on mine. Mine has a dark slide the fujis dont (so im told) so you can change lenses mid roll if you want to.
Helical focus ? yes mine has it i dont use it i prefer hyperfocal focus but that said my camera has a removable focus screen which you can check your focus and composition if you wish - calibration for infinity is important to set focal distances on focus ring i spent about an hour setting mine correctly and verified with a tape measure indicated distances were accurate - using focus screen for each and every shot is not possible you would need to be good at estimating distances and focus and set f stop accordingly
Hand Held??? yes but ..... its heavy its much easier to set up on a tripod so that you keep the image square and level (ie horizon parallel to top of frame)
The only problem ive had so far is light getting in through the dark slide slot but i had the end of the camera pointing straight at the sun when i pulled the D/S out i lost 2 frames. It only did it once and the camera goes every were i go i now leave the D/S out (i dont change lens so not necessary) and no more problems.
Compare to fotoman or art panorama - as i understand it fotoman are no more but stock is still out there - ive looked at one fotoman close up they are very similar in construction and cost (gaoersi a bit cheaper) as for art panorama never handled one and the real ones ive seen sell on ebuy have been much much more $$ than either Gaoersi or fotoman
i like mine it does what i want it to do
I've had my Gaoersi 6x17 for about 3 or 4 years now, much of the time I have to use it hand-held so shoot 400 ISO film. Delta 400 means I can shoot at around 1/125th f16 or f22 much of the time.
Like David I find the helical focussing is fine, with a 90mm lens or wider then using the Hyper-focal distance works well, particularly when you can stop down reasonably, I'm actually using a 75mm Super Angulon on mine which gives a touch netter DOF/
thankyou ian, david. i went for a used fuji g617 with not many exposures. i like the idea of being able to use 220 film, and also tripping the shutter from the lens, or the camera.
Fotoman Camera run by Paul Droluk is out of business (mentioned at their website, but it is confusing everyone), but the Original founder and designer (Charlie) is doing business as usual in the Chinese market under the name "Fotoman Camera China".
Originally Posted by david_mizen
I just received an email from them a few days ago, where they provided the latest contact information.
Add:F17, F518 Idea Land, Baoyuan road Baoan district, Shenzhen , China Zip code:518102
You will have no problem with English. Average time for product shipement is 10-11 days to US or Europe. The products are identical (all products available), but different suppliers. The finish is slightly different, but very nice. I have 2 Fotoman 617 MarkIIL cameras, they are built like a tank, very precise, no film flatness issues, and very smooth helical focus ring with depth field and hyperfocal scale (which Goaersi lacks). My friend has ordered quite a few items from China, and had no problems. All cones, other accessories, and film cutter for 8x10 to 4x10 are available. I wish someone would tell them to fix there website so I don't have to keep repeating this message. I wrote them, they told me it is hard to fix the confusion(??)....I say erase the old news completely which is reporting Pauls business which has been closed for over 1.5 years (or at least I wish they would mention at the bottom where they say "Fotoman Ceased Production" that althought Fotoman Camera is out of business, Fotoman Camera China is in busines as usual). Never saw a company before that is advertising themselves as out of business (while still in business).
So the website listed in the post above is for the new company - Fotoman Camera China?
Originally Posted by Sanjay Sen
Can't compare to the other brands you mention, but I've got a Fotoman 617 II and am very happy with it - great quality, well finished.
One point few think about with panormaic cameras. Most are limited to about 9 ft for near focus (iin my case 150mm Rodenstock Sironar S lens). With Fotoman I bought a spare 10mm spacer (between cone and body) for $25 that cut my focus distance in half with any lens. This is confirmed by Paul Droluk also. I can also stack two of these 10mm spacers, or buy a 25mm or larger spacer for some extremely close work. No other panoramic camera has this capability.
Originally Posted by coigach
be careful quoting the manufactures their only interested in selling their product in particular i note all the rubbish on the fotoman web site re film flatness - any of the removable cone type cameras are able to have a spacer inserted between the body and the cone all you need is good quality fibre board a fret saw and some creativity
or a friendly machine shop to machine up an insert. Perhaps pauls afraid of the shen hao 6x17 which being a bellows camera will focus as close as you like and will also give substantial tilt and shift (fotoman can do this ?) and will take any kind of lens without having to change focus cones all the time