It’s the stretch Hummer of medium format cameras, with a little bit of Rolls Royce thrown in. It’s the Linhof Technorama 617, shooting a panoramic image onto film with a neg dimension of 6cm x 17cm. Holy mother of film processing tanks, Batman! That’s three times as wide as it is high and not a photo-stitching application in sight!
You’d be pretty lucky to find one of these babies on the secondhand market. Like a Rolls Royce Silver Shadow, they appear only fleetingly for sale, and are usually snapped up by collectors in an instant, often because the dealer is on a promise to keep one aside for their best customer(s).
How much? Well, if you need to ask, you probably can’t afford it. Which is another way of saying I don’t know. I can’t afford one, either.
Here’s a camera design that has endured to make it into the digital age. Munich-based maker Linhof, founded in 1884, is still producing them and photographers are still shooting with them. Why, you ask, when even the cheapest photo software packages come with a multi-image stitching solution?
Because this is real photography, that’s why. And if you aren’t man or woman enough to step up to the plate to handle a Linhof, then best you go away and play with your toy camera.
No, seriously, it takes some real skill to shoot with this camera. You have to be very confident with photography concepts, such as exposure latitude and dynamic range, and have a very strong eye for composition. Not to mention coming to grips with how it operates. This is no point-and-shoot, you know.
Does anyone know of an Australian outlet that hires a Linhof? If so, leave your mark and a link in the comments, or tip your editor.