Gaoersi 617 with new Kodak Portra 160 Professional film

After a long time, a couple of new images with the Gaoersi 617 panoramic camera. During the past few months I have narrowed my choice of cameras to the following setup: the Sony NEX 5N as a walk around camera (pretty capable for almost any kind of shooting), the Leica M8 for infrared and some landscape work, and the Plaubel Makina 67 (as a walk around camera also, but of course I am shooting very selectively with this camera since film costs money !!).

A 6×17 panoramic camera is of course a specialty tool, you can’t just go out and shoot whatever you want. With only four frames per roll you are very careful about your subjects. It costs money and furthermore it requires a substantial amount of time when scanning. My Coolscan 9000 scanner can only “see” up to 6×9 format at one pass, so you have to scan twice the same image and stitch later, a very time consuming job. Also, not all subjects are proper to shoot at 6×17, you must find the right location to create a panoramic photo worth seeing.

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(Gaoersi 617, Nikkor 90mm f4.5 SW, Kodak Portra 160 Professional, LEE 81D filter
Aperture: f22, 2 seconds exposure)

This was the first time I used the new Kodak Portra 160 Professional film. It replaced the 160NC and 160VC series. I am a big fan of 160VC and 400VC films, they have superb color and contrast for landscape work. The new Portra feels more like the NC version with more neutral colors and subtle contrast. Kodak says it has finer grain and scans better than the old versions. From my first shots I see that indeed the grain is fine, but as it also happened with the Kodak Ektar 100, I had a little trouble producing the right colors when scanning. For a strange reason, I will always get it right with the VC versions, so it seems that I’m better dealing with older stuff ! It will sure take a few more rolls to master color with this new version.

One other thing I noticed, is that when framing with the external viewfinder, my frame was more inaccurate than my previous rolls. I hadn’t the time to properly use the ground glass, by next time I will have to stay longer of the field and properly use the ground glass.

Probably I will test the new Portra next time with the Makina 67 or the Fuji GSW690, since it feels like when shooting a panoramic camera, slide film must be loaded (you can’t beat Provia or Velvia, and you don’t have to interpret color with slide film).

The second image was taken at the same spot as the first one, I think the vertical version is much better for the specific scene. Same aperture and speed settings.

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(c)2012 Konstantinos Besios. All Rights Reserved.

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