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Noblex PRO 06/150 150u Rotating Panoramic Test Review
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You can get this from Adorama.com; you won't find it many places!

Noblex 150

get it here

Here's how to scan and print these images.


This German made camera is unusual. It's made in Dresden, in what was East Germany.

The results are spectacular. Here's a site with some examples.

It uses the same 120 size film used by Hasselblads and most other medium format professional cameras. The Noblex makes six 50 x 120mm exposures, unlike regular 6x6 format cameras than make twelve 56mm x 56mm exposures. These are a little wider and a little shorter than most 6 x 12 backs, which tend to produce 56mm x 112mm images.

The images can be used in any 4x5" enlarger, although you may have to go to Home Depot and buy a piece of window glass to make a custom glass carrier. Use two pieces of black electrical tape on one of the sheets of glass to make a channel in which the film rides.

The huge images can scan well even on crappy flatbed scanners because they are so large.



The original version I have from about 1994 has a true 50mm f/4.5 Tessar lens; more recent versions only have a Noblar lens. Newer versions also add some negligible shift or focus adjustments and cost about $3,600. They may also add time exposures, however even the most basic models do the same thing through multiple exposures.

It has a five-bladed diaphragm stopping down to f/22.

The camera is fixed focus at 40' (12m). I have a magnetic close-up lens that focuses the camera to 10' for interiors. Different close-up lenses are available to focus at different distances. This is far less of a problem than it seems; the short lens has great depth of field.

It only has shutter speeds of 1/30, 1/60, 1/125 and 1/250. One makes longer exposures by making multiple exposures at 1/30. This is unique among rotating lens cameras; since you can make multiple exposures thanks to the electronic drive. These multiple exposures mean you can make long exposure night photography, unique to this camera. More below.

Image size is 50 x 120 mm. Six exposures on 120 film.

120 film only. 220 film is not supposed to work, although some hackers have fiddled with it enough to get it to go, so poke around on the internet if you really want to try this. I haven't.



Optically the lens and camera are just about perfect. The lens can produce super sharp images even under a 22x loupe at every aperture. There is some light falloff at f/4.5, however on this camera that means only that the top and bottom bands of the image darken, not the sides or corners. Falloff is gone at f/5.6.

Some people worry about banding. I've never seen it. It is not a problem.

It can have quirks with film handling if you're not careful loading it.



Most Epson scanners have native 6x12 or even 6x17 gates.



Use any 4x5" enlarger.

I made a 6x12 gate for mine for about one dollar.

I bought a sheet of 8x10" glass at the hardware store.

I paid them an extra 50 cents to cut it into two 4x10" pieces.

I laid down two strips of black electrical tape to form a channel into which I lay the 612 film.

I drop the second piece of glass over it, and pop it in my enlarger.



Filtration is a pain. One attaches filters magnetically to the lens inside the rotating drum. The original importer offered self-adhesive circular magnets to attach your own gels; I'm unsure if these are still available. I once taped an ND gel inside the top of the drum as an impromptu ND grad.

When shooting with the sun in the image one will get a square of flare about 50mm wide centered around the sun. This is caused by light bouncing off the film and reflecting onto other parts of the film that can "see" the lit part of film. This is due to the film being curved, and the size of the flare area are limited by the back of the drum that restricts the amount of film that sees the rest of the film. OK, I'm not a poet and realize an illustration would make this clear right away.

I made my photo of Chicago with this camera, making continuous multiple exposures for about 8 minutes at f/11 on Fuji 400 negative film. A Widelux cannot do these multiple exposures, and therefore cannot be used at night, much less with the ability to stop down for better depth of field.

In daylight I made these two photos of Santa Barbara here and here.

Cruise around here to see some really cool photos made with the Noblex. This guy knows how to use this camera for much more than the boring cityscapes I do with it.

Here's the company that makes it.

There also is a smaller 35mm version called the 135u and 135s for about $1,600 and $1,400 respectively. I'd skip the smaller format, since ease of use and size are similar and you can get the HUGE 6x12 version here instead of the teeny 24 x 56mm format of the 35mm one. There is also a 6 x 17 version, model 175 UX, for about $5,250. I find 6 x 12 is big enough for anything and the 6x17 version has a smaller vertical angle of view.

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