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Ritz Camera

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Seitz 6x17 Digital
© 2006 KenRockwell.com

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Seitx 6x17 Digital

Seitz 6x17 Scanning Digital Camera

I get my goodies at Ritz, Amazon and Adorama.
It helps me publish this site when you get yours from those links, too.

INTRODUCTION

September, 2006: Amateurs are all excited because they've read somewhere that there is a 160MP digital camera. It's not available until 2007 and costs $40,000 (30,000 Euro).

This is a scanner, not a traditional camera. It doesn't take regular pictures: it has to scan the image very slowly. It can't be hand-held because of the long scan times and you have to haul computer gear and batteries around to make it go.

This is a tool for professionals with assistants. It is not a camera any normal person would want.

It's no big deal. For less than $2,000 you can buy a far more practical camera with the same resolution. See my articles here and here for more practical solutions.

Scan Times

Scan times are long.

You can't hand-hold this camera.

Seitz advertises their high speed - but this only is in comparison to other scanning cameras.

Seitz' 1 second scan time claim is for a 1/20,000 sec. exposure. In daylight at f/11 you'd need about a 1/320 sec. exposure, which would take about a minute to scan. It takes longer as the light gets darker. Easy math: the scan takes 20,000 times longer than your exposure. Need a 1 second exposure? That means a 20,000 second (5 hour) scan. Natural light doesn't hold still that long. You can dial higher ISOs for shorter scans.

Someone please correct me if I've got any of this wrong.

Professional Tool

This is for professionals who shoot panoramas day in and day out and are too busy to scan film or muck with film processing.

It's for professionals with assistants. I wouldn't want to use it alone. It's 18" wide and weighs over six pounds. It only works if you haul a bunch of computer gear and batteries to make it run.

I find carrying a few rolls of film is much easier than hauling computers around in the field.

Scanning 6x17cm film at 3,200 DPI gives the same resolution. The world is full of 6x17 cameras. Personally I have a Horseman 6x12 camera, with shifts.

No Tilt or Shift

Unlike a view camera, I see no ability to tilt the lens for better sharpness, or to shift for perspective correction.

Use a 4x5 or 5x7 camera with a 6x17 back and you can get these movements. My Horseman SW612P film camera gives shifts and fits in my hand.

PERFORMANCE

I'm sure it's insanely good, but only if you can master the logistics of hauling it around and setting it up.

RECOMMENDATIONS

If you need this you know it. If you're an amateur impressed by the 160MB spec, pass it over.

PLUG

If this just saved you $40,000, if you find this as helpful as a book you might have had to buy or a workshop you may have had to take, feel free to help me write more with a donation.

Thanks for reading!

Ken

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