Thursday, February 24, 2011

Landscaping with the right kit

This week at the Viewfinder Photographic Society meeting the topic was 'Creating a Panoramic Image' - a presentation by Dave Marshall. This is something that David has clearly been putting a lot of effort into and has been perfecting as his mainstream interest in photography.

I thought I knew a bit about the topic. I learnt a whole lot that night. It was mostly a technical discussion rather than an artistic thread. David has a Fuji GX617 panoramic film camera, using 120 roll film. The images on the film this camera creates are huge and there lies the main point that supports the jaw dropping image quality that David can achieve. Once the film is developed by a lab of David's choice he then uses an Epson flatbed scanner to get the images in his computer. Scanning at 300dpi for the final image size is a good way to get the right size image file. Some hours of editing to get rid of fluff and scratches and to set levels and saturation leads to a print on large format paper.

During the presentation David went to the trouble of using his A3+ Epson printer to output a print on large format paper. The results were stunning. The detail and resolution he achieves is just amazing.

Since that evening I have looked for large format panoramic cameras. There are almost none available. Hassleblad X-pan looks interesting, using 35mm film rather than 120 roll film will make that easier to buy and easier to process the film but the resolution will be lower than David demonstrated. The trouble is the Fuji cameras are only available second hand as they have been out of production for years.

I have rediscovered a camera I own and had pretty much forgotten about
- a Linhof 'Technica Classic'. It takes 120 roll film and will give me a large image and excellent resolution, although not panoramic. Maybe I should get the old camera back into action. I will need a light meter though. No gizmo's or light metering gadgetry with a Linhof.