I’ve been shooting a lot of panoramic images over the last few years. There’s something about the wide 1×3 aspect ratio that really appeals to me.
I have a few different cameras that I use for this, but more often than not I am usually shooting them with my Mamiya RB67 ProSD with 35mm film in a 220 back. Shooting with the RB in this manner creates a double-wide 24mm x72mm image, and allows a great deal of flexibility by allowing to carry one camera with several backs for different film and aspect ratios. I also have a home-made plastic mask that I drop onto the viewfinder to use for composing the images – the mask only shows the area between the sprocket holes, even though the entire portion of the film including the area around the holes is exposed for each image.
On February 29th of this year, before the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders ensued, I had the chance to go to Cincinnati with a few film photographer friends to photograph the last night the Skystar Ferris Wheel was in operation in the Banks district on the Ohio River. After February the temporary Skystar wheel was to be torn down and moved to San Francisco for 2021.
We arrived on the Kentucky side of the river about 1 hour before sunset so we could get set-up to catch the sunset and blue hour. My plan was to include the Skystar in every image if possible and shoot with the wide 37mm lens on Kodak Ektar 100. Ektar is my go-to for color film work due to the fine grain, vibrant colors, and easy-to-predict reciprocity failure for long exposures.
After blue hour ended we moved in closer to the Skystar via the Roebling Bridge walkway and shot the wheel at different angles for several hours. It’s nice going on-location with other photographers instead of dragging my poor spouse along with me -– I never once had to worry that I was taking too much time or dragging things out. As it turns out we all finished up about the same time and were ready to go by a few hours after sunset.
All images were from one roll of Kodak Ektar film. Developed at home with UniColor C-41 chemistry and scanned on Epson V600 scanner.
Thanks for reading,
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awesome images and the color is gorgeous!
great images, Jeremy!
technically perfect and professional processed. Did you correct the distortions of the fisheye and verticals in post?
A few years ago I almost bought a XPan but then compared it with the Haselblad SWC for about the same price and decided to get the SWC with the fantastic 38mm Zeiss Biogon.
For the higher price for the film I have the great option to use the full 6×6 format or crop any format that I want and for panorama crops I even have the effect of a shift lens by cropping a bit up or down.
Thanks Dierk! Yes, I did have to correct for the fisheye in post. You can still see some of the distortion in the image on the bridge (4th image). The 37mm has quite a bit of distortion at the edges, especially when you can’t have it pointed perfectly level.
thanks for the reply, Jeremy.
I assume, that you get a wider image from a 38mm on a 6×7 camera, but you will lose some angle from the corrections in post.
Did you do a comparison between using the 35mm against the 120 film and cropping in post?
I prefer the option of cropping any format from the normal 120 film for some higher cost for the film.
Here you may find cropped image to the size and FOV of the XPan
Hey Dierk! I haven’t compared shooting 120 and 35mm for the same scene and cropping but I would imagine of on the same film stock with the same lens and settings it would be very similar. I also own a GX617 so if I am intending to shoot pano’s with 120 I will generally grab that. IMHO one advantage of shooting 35mm pano’s with the RB67 this way give me more frames and flexibility – from a 35-exposure roll I normally get 16-17 images, versus 10 with the 120 roll if I’m cropping to the same dimensions. Also if I shoot two 35-exposure rolls and develop them in my Paterson tank, that means for one development I end up with 32-34 images versus the 10 I’d get with one development of the 120 roll. Granted, none of those images would be able to be printed as large as a 6×17 negative on the GX617 but its rare that I’m printing that huge – If I am then I would plan on it ahead of time and bring the GX617.
Here’s a GX617 image of the same skyline, shot with the 105mm lens: https://www.flickr.com/photos/124522265@N02/44252922605/in/dateposted-public/
Huge Ektar fan here and of panoramics as well.
Love what you did and was able to capture! Gorgeous blue hour and beyond images!
Jeremy, wonderful use of the format, although viewers can’t experience the full widescreen experience of 3:1 having not been at the scene to fully embrace the views you’ve captured.
In view of the high cost of the proper wide 35mm film back, I had thought along the same lines as you in adapting a now unused 220 back for my Bronica ETRSi to use 35mm film, and I went as far as sourcing a set of 3D printed cassette spacers and a 120 to 35mm take up spool; I’d even considered if it were possible to do cassette to cassette. Unfortunately, I lost interest in trying this and it became a perhaps, some day, project.
Can you elaborate on what you did to accommodate 35mm film in your back, please?
Hi Terry, thanks for the kind words. Here’s an in-depth read on what I did:
Thanks, Jeremy. Your cassette adapters look very much like the ones that I have, along with the modified 120 spool. Can’t remember how the ETRSi 220 back is made light tight. Looks like something that may come to pass rather than being a project on the back burner.
Thanks for your help.