Infra-red in 6×12

A few months ago I purchased a 6×12 Horseman film back, for use with my Intrepid 4×5 camera. I already had a Wista 6×7 back and an MPP 6×9 back, but I decided that if I was going to go to the trouble of packing a removable film back with the Intrepid, I wanted the results to be in a format that I couldn’t get by another route. For example, shooting with the 6×7 back gave results not dis-similar to shooting my Mamiya RZ67 camera.

The prices of 6×12 backs are getting more and more ridiculous but I managed to find one at a price slightly less ridiculous than usual. Hence, you really have to like the 6×12 format to justify the cost, since you’d have to shoot an awful lot before you can justify in on the grounds that buying 120 roll film is cheaper than buying 4×5 sheet film.

Baybridge on the Northumberland/Durham border.
90mm lens
Rollei IR400 and Hoya R72 filter; developed in HC110

One of my justifications for buying the back was to use Rollei IR400 film, in a bigger size than I can achieve with my medium format cameras. I have tried in the past to use this film in 4×5 sheets but I gave up after trying to load a few sheets; they are so incredibly thin that its easy to pick up more than one sheet at once and I ended up with a 4×5 film holder loaded with 2 or 3 sheets instead of one.

On the Waskerley Way in the North Pennines
90mm lens
Rollei IR400 and Hoya R72 filter; developed in HC110
On the Waskerley Way in the North Pennines
90mm lens
Rollei IR400 and Hoya R72 filter; developed in HC110
The churchyard at Bothal in Northumberland
90mm lens, 60s @ f32
Rollei IR400 and Kood R72 filter; developed in HC110
The churchyard at Bothal in Northumberland
90mm lens
Rollei IR400 and Kood R72 filter; developed in HC110
The River Wansbeck at Bothal in Northumberland
90mm lens
Rollei IR400 and Kood R72 filter; developed in HC110

Here’s what the holder looks like attached to an Intrepid 4×5 camera:

The image below shows my really amateurish way of masking off the focussing screen with electrical tape to concentrate my view on the area which will be covered by a 6×12 image.

I do have a focussing screen with grid line markings for 6×7, 6×9, and 6×12 – I think this was a replacement for the original Intrepid screen which fell out one day on some rocks and shattered. But it does need some concentration to see the lines and ensure that you’re not composing with an area which won’t be in the image, whereas the tape provides a very obvious barrier. I have also used masking tape, which is semi-transparent – this has the advantage that if you decide to shoot 4×5 in the middle of a session with the 6×12 holder, you can actually see through the tape at a pinch. The red tape needs to be peeled off when it’s not needed for 6×12 duty.

I scan my 6×12 images using the BetterScanning holder, with anti-newton glass, on an Epson v700. You can physically fit two 6×12 images in each channel of the holder, but you won’t be able to see the full image because of the rebates at each end. So practically speaking, I can scan one negative in each of two channels at a time.

I haven’t printed any of these images in the darkroom yet – maybe this winter I will do so. I use a 5×4 negative holder with glass, and moveable masks, which can accommodate any size of negative up to 5×4.

One comment

  1. Fantastic compositions, I can’t imaging them being taken in any other format! I’m unused to seeing the 2:1 format in anything except the movies where they usually don’t know what to do with such a wide frame, kudos. I’ve had similar bad experiences with Rollei RPX400 in 4×5, I don’t think I would buy it again unless they start sticking it on a thicker base.

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