Roger W. Hicks

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Roger W. Hicks Posted: Jan 01, 2006 2 comments

In accordance with my predictions that medium format will move increasingly toward the specialist or niche market, there are no fewer than eight new panoramic rollfilm cameras since last year: one of the most active sectors in traditional silver-halide photography. In reverse alphabetical order, they are Walker/Canham, Shenhao (two models), Noblex, Gilde, and Fotoman (three...

Roger W. Hicks Posted: Jan 01, 2006 2 comments

Do you love black and white photography? If so, does this sound like a dream camera to you: inexpensive, easy to use, forgiving, and capable of the finest results in the world? I thought it might. Welcome to the world of 5x7".

Inexpensive? Yes. The last 5x7 I considered, but didn't buy, was a twin-lens (!) on its own studio stand. It...

Roger W. Hicks Posted: Nov 01, 2005 0 comments

There's an old saying: If something appears to be too good to be true, it probably is. But sometimes you get lucky.

I couldn't resist the Pentacon sixTL that I saw in FotoSkoda in Prague. I won't say that FotoSkoda is the best camera store in the world, because there are too many other contenders, including many Shutterbug advertisers. It is...

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Roger W. Hicks Posted: Oct 01, 2005 0 comments

What do you want from a 75mm f/2 lens? Whatever it is, the new APO-Summicron-M Aspheric almost certainly delivers it--except, it must be said, low cost. Perfection, or as close as modern lens design can come to it, doesn't come cheap.

For reportage, it is superb: fast, compact, and convenient. Of course, you don't normally need or expect ultimate...

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Roger W. Hicks Posted: Sep 01, 2005 0 comments

Canon's 50mm f/1.2 in Leica screwmount (39mm x 26 tpi) is something of a legend. Introduced in 1957/58, it is very fast and today it is relatively affordable. The main alternatives, after all, are either Leica Noctiluxes (the 50mm f/1.2, 1966, discontinued, or the 50mm f/1, 1967, still current) or two vanishingly rare lenses introduced in 1955, the 50mm f/1.1 Nikkor and...

Roger W. Hicks Posted: Sep 01, 2005 0 comments

The Chinese-built, American-designed Fotoman 617 justifies itself as soon as you see the first transparencies on the light table. The huge format is a knockout. It's gorgeous. That vast slab of film is 21/4x62/3". That's 56x168mm, or over 11 times the area of 35mm.

It's ideal for scanning, too. Even a very modest flat-bed film scanner giving...

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Roger W. Hicks Posted: Aug 01, 2005 0 comments

Until you understand the reference, "spectacle" lenses for M-series Leicas are a rich source of confusion. Are they for spectacle wearers? And why (when you see a picture) do the lenses themselves appear to be wearing spectacles?

To make life still more interesting, there are two separate reasons why some Leica lenses have "spectacles," and...

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Roger W. Hicks Posted: Jun 01, 2005 0 comments

The important thing to remember about the PMA Show is that it is the annual convention of the Photo Marketing Association. This organization exists to help sell product, whether the product in question is cameras, lenses, scanners, studio backdrops, or indeed photographs.

Pretty much by definition, this means going for the markets that are biggest or most...

Roger W. Hicks Posted: Jun 01, 2005 0 comments

Here's an accessory from the 1930s which is probably easier to use today, in the digital era, than when it was new. It's quite simply a click-stopped panoramic head (Panoramkopf), Leitz telegraphic code name FARUX, with--this is the good bit--interchangeable rings for different focal lengths. FARUX came with a 5cm ring but you could also buy the accessory...

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Roger W. Hicks Posted: May 01, 2005 Published: Jun 01, 2005 0 comments

Weird stuff is my favorite category at any show: the things that don't fit into sensible categories, but are useful, or unusual, or yes, just plain weird. Some manufacturers of weird stuff rejoice in being called weird (they are often the most fun of all) but others sometimes flinch and say things like, "Um, we'd prefer to be called, er, unique." At a...

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