BIGGER is BETTER!
This is the Causeway to the Litchfield Inn in Pawleys Island.
100TMX processed in Xtol 1:1. Yellow filter, f/22 at 1 second metered on the white roof on the distant boat house where the water seems to end an placing that in zone 7 to 4 seconds then to 6 seconds for reciprocity..
Well… Yes, I have a NEW medium format camera system! Not new used, but NEW NEW!
It is the Dayi 6×12 and is custom made in China for each order. It is very affordable, the camera, lens cone (adjusted for you lens ahead of time) film back, focus screen and shade, viewfinder and a Arco swiss mounting foot! All in all this ran me around $1000 and took 2 months from payment to delivery. There are several companies selling them but I chose ecbuyonline2008 on Ebay, contacted them and then dealt directly with them for a nice discount. They provided a direct email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dayi 6×12 showing the ground glass and shade and my custom dark cloth attatched.
Ok, the camera itself is very well balanced and easy to use. As with most types of cameras of this design it uses a lens cone cut specifically for the focal length of the lens used. If you use a different length lens as a 2nd then you will need another cone designed for it as well.
Dayi 6×12 showing the film back and ground glass
The focus is controlled by a CALIBRATED helical mount that gives very fine control of the focus. Because it is calibrated, you can just dial in the distance and forget the ground glass. Me? Not so much. My eyes are not calibrated very good. Now, a cheap laser rangefinder would be just the thing. Fire it, dial in the distance and shoot! I use the ground glass as my focus operation. I have a custom made dark cloth that fits the glass frame and works very well. I have a nice 8x loupe that I use to make up for my old eyes!
There are calibration screws around the outside edge of the lens cone and you can see the small hole for one at the end of the video above. These allow you to set the infinity point and place the lens in the correct position. You can find a tutorial HERE for this process.
Lenses that will work on this camera can be found HERE.
The camera is a bit heavy and not suited to handheld work, but it can be done. It is a VERY well designed and built camera system and has ZERO light leaks.
When the camera first arrived, the film holder was scratching the surface of the film emulsion.
Here is the issue, a spring next to a roller that is too high in the film plane with rough edges! It is the bright silver line under the roller. See how it is bent up in the center? It actually touched the film.
The complete assembly
I took it apart and realized that a spring was adjusted too high on the film holder back and touching the film. It was a simple adjustment to fix this but I still sent an email about it and a few days later this video arrived showing how they said to fix the issue which is exactly what I had found!
This goes to prove that they are responsive to customer complaints, problems or suggestions! That is a big plus in my book!
The system is simply a joy to use. It is bright in the corners (of course that is lens dependent) and the focus is spot on! I have put about 10 rolls of film thru it so far including some Ektar 100 (which I have not processed yet but have the chemistry). Now that the scratching issue is fixed I see a great future for the camera in my kit.
The folks at the company in Hong Kong are easy to work with and very responsive over email. I highly recommend them. They have MANY other cameras for sale also including a larger 6×17 version of this one.
Stormy Seas, Dayi 6×12, not the best composition but a good example of the quality from the camera!
I hope you enjoyed this short post on the new pano camera system. There will be more following!