Another attempt at panoramas

A few weeks ago I wrote about converting an old 116 format folding camera to accept 120 film, and using it to take (almost) 6×12 format panoramas. My modification with card strips moved the film plane too far back and caused focus problems. And then the glue came unstuck and the film gate came loose.

Troopers Hill
Troopers Hill

Since then I’ve redesigned the masking to fit inside the film gate, not over it, and the plane of focus is restored to its original position.

View from Trenchard Street
View from Trenchard Street

Or so I thought. These pictures are still very soft and clearly suffering from some misalignment. The view from Trenchard Street was shot at f/16 and should be pretty sharp. The foreground is much sharper than the background, which is consistent with misalignment where the film is too far back or the lens is too far forward. This 100% crop from the background (the white houses just to the left of the cathedral tower) shows just how soft it is. This lens is from 1925 but it should easily resolve the houses quite sharply – especially at f/16.

100% crop
100% crop

My guess is that this camera has been dropped at some point and the front standard is out of alignment. Hopefully it’s something I can fix (with hammer and pliers). I’ll need to use something like tracing paper as a makeshift focus screen across the film gate when doing this – I wrote about a similar technique for calibrating focus in 2010. More on this when I get some time…

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