Jacob Morel relates his experience photographing with our Fuji 6×17 Panoramic Camera…
MICA Photo is starting on ongoing blog feature where we ask a student who is working with a camera “new to them” what their experience has been. We will periodically feature a student’s reactions to making images with unique cameras, and showing their results. This first post features Jacob Morel (GD major with a Photo Concentration). Enjoy his experience, and come check out this camera from the Photo Crib.
“There are quite a lot of strange and unique cameras out there I’ve had the pleasure to shoot, but one of my new loves is the Fuji G617. First off, allow me to say that this camera is a beast. The G617 is a medium format panoramic camera that records a 6×17 image, you know what that means…only four shots per roll of 120 film. With only four images per roll of 120 film, this hungry camera will really eat through film if you’re not watching it. In addition to 120, you can also select the option to use 220 film if you’re lucky enough to get ahold of some.
The G617 has a fixed 105mm, f/8 scale focus lens with an extremely short focus throw allowing the photographer to focus as close to only three meters away. This camera was designed for wide sweeping shots; usually specific to landscape. The camera is fitted with a sort of roll-cage to prevent damage (to the lens), and to give the photographer a grip to hold it, which in turn, just adds more bulk. Sure, you can use it as a hand held camera, but this thing is like holding a cinderblock. When shooting with the G617, it is extremely easy to un-level the camera; thus tilting your image rendering it very lopsided. To correct this issue, the G617 has a built in level that is visible from the viewfinder, as well as two cold shoes atop the body where you can (and I recommend) install your own bubble level.
The viewfinder on the G617 is unfortunately inaccurate and really functions more as an estimation for composing your image and is in fact much wider than the image the camera actually records. While the viewfinder is very wide, the image itself is slightly wider than advertised; more a 6×18.5 than a 6×17, so it’s good to know there’s a little wiggle room incase you’re unsure of a shot.
As far as loading the camera, it is as simple as any other 120 rangefinder, very basic and not complicated at all. The G617 is a much more inexpensive alternative when compared to most other medium format and smaller format panoramic cameras like the Hasselblad X-Pan or the Linhof 6×17.
This G617 in particular is equipped with a radial neutral density filter of +2 stops so as to compensate from lens vignetting which during the day, certainly comes in hand. An interesting feature about the G617 is that the advancing lever on the camera only advances the film and does not cock the shutter, making this an ideal piece of equipment for double exposures.
If you are planning to shoot landscapes and wanting to get in every little detail in that long sweeping shot, or perhaps you are looking for that ultra-wide cinescope ratio to make your still photography look very cinematic, I recommend this camera to you, dear photographer.”
Here are some images from Jacob’s experience with the Fuji 6×17 camera: