5 Wide Frames… With a CAMERADACTYL Brancopan and Fomapan 400 Action (35mm Format / EI 1600) – by Virgil Roger

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Well, here it is. My second 3D printed camera in all its glorious plastic glory, with a Mamiya universal press lens again. Actually, the same lens as the one on my Goodman One, the 65mm f/6.3. This time I’m using 35mm film, not 120…and a 2.5:1 aspect ratio because why not? That’s 24x60mm negs for those in the back that aren’t paying attention. So, wide. Very wide. Almost Hasselblad XPan wide.

Fun stuff!

My CAMERADACTYL Brancopan loaded with Fomapan 400 Action, Virgil Roger
My CAMERADACTYL Brancopan loaded with Fomapan 400 Action, Virgil Roger

The camera model is from the good folks over at Cameradactyl, aka Ethan Moses. And he did a wonderful conception and modelling job. Every last part but the lens is 3D printed. That means frame counter, advance lever and gears, rewind mechanism, everything. Sure, that means a long printing and assembly job, but heck it’s cheaper than Lego. And quite a fun process too.

It’s rather easy to use though, once it’s all built up. You have a frame advance lever, all the picture-taking controls on the lens, and a frame counting mechanism to keep everything on track. Pop in a soft release cable through the grip, a 3D printed viewfinder fitting your focal length and here we go.

I did a few test rolls to get the focus just right (as the lens mount is meant to be adjusted to fit your particular lens), but other than that it went rather smoothly (except the part where I broke off a piece, and redesigned it from scratch to my needs).

This is a story of discovery, I’ve always immensely enjoyed panoramic shots, but never got around to actually taking any. The price-tag of a XPan or Horizon sure did not help either.

So when Cameradactyl offered the files on kickstarter, it was a no-brainer and I backed instantly. Fast-forward a few months and here I am trying out this weird wiiiiiide framing, and having a blast at it.

As I usually take photos on my daily errands, I took the Brancopan out for some street photography, and it was difficultly fun to shoot! It does take some time to operate, but the handling is nice enough that I got most of my shots done.

Of course, the thing is HUGE so getting by unnoticed isn’t the easiest thing (read: you will get some amused and/or inquisitive looks at the chunk of plastic hanging around your neck).

I have lots planned for this “little” camera, so stay tuned for a longer review as I get better acquainted with it 🙂

~ Virgil

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This series is produced in conjunction with Hamish Gill's excellent 35mmc.com. Head on over to read the other half of these stories there.

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4 thoughts on “5 Wide Frames… With a CAMERADACTYL Brancopan and Fomapan 400 Action (35mm Format / EI 1600) – by Virgil Roger”

  1. Haven’t tried the Brancopan (yet), but if you like the format do yourself a favour and try the Horizon. I have a 202 and love it despite having to fix the frame advance a couple of times. Can be had in box “new” for less than £125.


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