Fotoman 612 revisited

It’s been almost a whole year since I used the Fotoman 612 panoramic camera. The 6×9 Fuji GSW690iii and the 6×17 Gaoersi cameras have been my primary choices over the 6×12 format. The 90mm Nikkor f8 on the Fotoman is a truly spectacular lens with unlarallel sharpness and image quality, but it’s 30mm equivalent focal length most of the times was not wide enough for my subjects.

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(Fotoman 612, Nikkor 90mm SW f8, Ilford Pan F Plus, red filter, f/22, s1/4)

The 612 really seems tiny compared to the huge Gaoersi 617, and I was really surprised of its size and weight (I had almost forgotten how it looked and felt). It sure is more easy to carry and shoot, almost like the Fuji GSW690.

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(Fotoman 612, Nikkor 90mm SW f8, Ilford Pan F Plus, f/22, Exposure: 1 second)

One thing that always troubled me with the 6×12 format, is that it’s a pain to scan on the Coolscan 9000 scanner. It will only do a 6×9 single scan, so I have to scan twice and stitch later. That kind of trouble seems logical for a 6×17 frame, but for a 6×12 sometimes it’s a burden. I can scan a 6×9 negative at once and then with a small crop make it 4.5×9 which has the same look as the 6×12. But of course you get fewer megapixels and also, the way the Nikkor 90mm renders an image is unique (being a large format lens). Also the ability to shoot a 6×12 frame at once is always better when trying to find a good composition.

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(Fotoman 612, Nikkor 90mm SW f8, Ilford Pan F Plus, f/22, Exposure: 1/60)

I scanned this film on my Epson V500 flatbed scanner since it can do a 6×12 scan at once. It sure is not on par with the Coolscan, but for black and white it works fine.

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(Fotoman 612, Nikkor 90mm SW f8, Ilford Pan F Plus)

I will may try to shoot some more films with the Fotoman 612 at the future, but most likely my main camera for panoramic images will remain the Gaoersi 617.

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(c)2012 Konstantinos Besios. All Rights Reserved.

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