Sunday, December 13, 2009

A 4x10 panoramic camera!!!!!

Panoramic cameras come in all varieties so far film size is concerned, from subminiature to ultra large formats. Though smaller format cameras are easy to handle, photographers who need quality negatives hardly ever compromise with large format.

I recently came across a grand 4x10 camera handmade by Mr. Matt Sampson. This camera also finds mention in Lee Frost's book  'Panoramic Photography'.

This camera is mostly made of wood and uses Schneider 121/8 Super Angulon lens in a Schneider helical mount on an Ebony top hat panel. According to Matt, he originally designed the camera around a Schneider 90XL lens with the 121mm as a second option,  however  the 90mm was too wide for most cases and so the 121 is used now.

The focussing ground glass was made by Satin Snow of US. Matt suggested that a magnifying plastic fresnel, commonly available from bookstores or overhead projector fresnel might be a low cost alternative for composition, though it may be too coarse for focussing.

To keep the system handmade as much as possible, the darkslides too were made by Matt himself by joining two conventional 5x4 slides together end to end and reinforcing with metal angle. The sheaths are a sandwich of thin ply and tinfoil. Making the slides light tight was a difficult job but was successful eventually(Click the picture at right)

Visit Matt's website to view the galleries and many examples of panoramic shots taken by different handmade panoramic cameras. An example picture of the Bat's Head taken by this camera is provided below.

I thank Matt very much for his generousity in  providing the pictures, the details of the camera and for his encouraging words. I'll write about his other handmade camera in my next post. Thanks to Olaf Matthes for pointing me  to this source of information.

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