After viewing the panoramic images from the Holga WPC 120 pinhole camera it’s really a huge leap ahead looking at the 6×17 negatives of the Gaoersi 617 panoramic camera. On my last photo trip I used it with Kodak Ektar 100 film.
The whole process of shooting a 6×17 camera is approaching the way someone shoots a large format camera. There are certain procedures that must be done thoroughly before you take the image. Most important ones to remember to remove the dark slide and don’t leave the aperture open when you are using the ground glass for composition and focusing, or you will end up with a burned negative (since you only get four images per roll, that’s not an option !!!)
For one more time, I found Ektar 100 to be a very tricky film to use. It has a limited dynamic for a color negative, it doesn’t work well in shadows and I still don’t get the color I want from the scanned photo. It scans really well but after quite a few rolls that didn’t produce the results I expected, I will probably use the new Portra 160 and 400 as my main color negative films.
Trying to find proper subjects for a 6×17 frame is really not an easy task. It demands moving from place to place until you find something some worthwhile setting up the camera and take a photo. So, its a camera that just rests in my trunk waiting for the right conditions to be employed.
One problem I still have with the 6×17 format is scanning it with the Coolscan 9000 scanner. Since you have to scan the photo as two different 6×9 frames and stitch later I have to deal with two images that have different exposure and color. Exposure is quite to easy to fix, but matching color is a very tricky. With Vuescan I get better results (exposure and color) but I have ended up with two frames that cannot be perfectly stitched (they are not the same size vertically). On the other hand with Nikon Scan the two frames stitch perfectly but exposure and color are even more difficult to match. So many times I will scan with the Epson V700 which can scan a 6×17 frame at once but with inferior quality (especially with slide film). So I am thinking of juts scanning with the Epson for posting at the web, and if an images comes along which I consider it great and worthwhile printing at 72×24 inches then I will probably send it to a lab for a drum scan.
I expect to use my 6×17 camera even less at the future now that I have moved to large format. The 4×5 format is much easier for composition and I will hold the 617 for situations where a panoramic photo will be absolutely worthwhile shooting.
(c)2012 Konstantinos Besios. All Rights Reserved.