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Wednesday, 02 August 2017


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I imagine most of the half frame 35mm cameras were vertical? I have a small Olympus I quite enjoy, possibly because of the vertical format.
Olympus Pen S 30mm f2.8

I always liked portrait format too, something I put down to getting the secondary release button for my T90 all those years ago. There are some nice half-frame 35mm cameras out there which work vertically too.

It's a funny thing how the hardware can influence the aesthetic. I see so many vertical videos these days, shot on smartphones. That's the natural way to hold a smartphone, yet virtually every display monitor out there is horizontal. Watching such a mismatch makes for a dissonant experience, for me.

On the flip side, I shot exclusively square format for a couple years with a Bronica SQ-A. To this day, I find myself occasionally using the square for my final presentation out of my rectangular format cameras.

Another vertical format film camera is the Fujifilm GA645i. I got one recently, and am very happy with the lens, and the autofocus.

I remember using the Linhof on a light airplane
learning the hard way never to use s rubber lens hood shooting onto the slipstream.

I am not certain if you are speaking only of LF and MF cameras, but, in 35mm the Olympus Pen F/FT come to mind.

You aren't alone in your appreciation for the vertical format. If I'm not mistaken most of those popular small plate bellows cameras in the 6x9 format (Bergheil, Avus, Vag, Welta etc.) were predominantly vertical orientation. Then there was the Olympus Pen half-frame (72 frames per roll!). And doesn't Fuji have a vertical Instax camera?
It's funny though. I "see" and shoot almost exclusively horizontally and, if I do crop, square is the most I can do. I guess that's why I'm partial to the Pentax 67, which I use with the waist-level finder. That finder is great for horizontal, but try to use it in vertical mode without using expletives. You'd hate it, Mike.

And lets not forget that beauty of a handled 'camera' featured in the movie 2001 where the photographer was taking shots at the meeting in the space station. Couldn't see it close up, but it looked a beauty from a distance! But then, the future, I mean the past, always looks better...

Most half-frame cameras, such as Olympus Pen F, were vertical format.

Every digital SLR I own (currently 6...I think...) has a battery grip/vertical shutter release welded to it, along with an 'L-bracket' quick release plate to facilitate tripod use. I find 'naked' SLR bodies without a battery grip much more difficult to use, partly because my hands are large, but mostly because taking a vertical/portrait format photo is so clumsy without one, particularly in low light. Even using a tripod, I probably mount the camera vertically more often than the usual landscape format, because it maximizes data capture for stitched pano's. And I just prefer the portrait format for a lot of subjects.
So if Canon ever perversely decided to produce a D-SLR with the sensor oriented vertically, I'd be first in line.

There were also all those 35mm half frame cameras like the Olympus Pen series ;-)

I saw a guy shoot a wedding with one of these!

Olympus Pen film cameras. Half frame, vertical format.

Can I put a mention in for the Olympus Pen F half frames?

Before getting the GX8, my only quibble I had with it was the fact that the screen was fully articulating instead of tilting (like on the GX7). When I got it, I discovered to my delight that the screen tilts in vertical mode. So no quibbles at all. (As it turns out, I rarely use the back screen at all, so the ability to turn it inwards is a big plus too.)

Love the Linhof, these were fairly common in commercial studios in the 70's, and for a "one trick pony" of a camera, they were perfect. I print some negs taken with these back in the day, and they were quite nice!

If you are strongly left-eyed (which I am) then almost all hand-held cameras are natively-vertical, as that's how you need to hold them if you don't want the winding-lever stuck into your right eye. Or, in the case of Leica-layout cameras (viewfinder on the far left), if you want to use them at all.

Oh those Linhof 220s have been on my camera bucket list forever. A childhood friend's family owned the small town three day a week newspaper, and they had a couple of those. I seem to remember something about having to drill out 120 film spools to fit in the 220 only camera. It was the perfect headshot with fill flash camera. You knew someone was deemed important when they showed up with that camera because that was the camera they used when they wanted to do a file photo. They called it the "Obituary Camera"

I have been doing a lot of vertical large prints recently I discovered that most people who don't build their house around their art collection can hang a 24x72 print that is vertical but have a harder time finding space for a six foot wide horizontal, much less a 30 foot wide print.

Brian Eno did a series of videos of weather in Scotland in the 80s that were vertical, and there were some video portraits in the 80's that were vertical but I can't remember who did them.

Cracking lens of the Linhof 220. However, I found it awkward to use and the rangefinder wasn't the best.

Just a ping from the digital age on "verticals." ;)

I often use my digital cameras in their panoramic stitching mode held vertically. While the camera stitches shots as you pan into a single panoramic view, holding the camera vertically (and arranging for the camera to understand that you are "sweeping" in that direction), which gives you an aspect ratio more like MF film. Using a Fuji XPro-1, for example, the "bottom" of the APS-C chip becomes your left edge as you pan from left to right, holding the camera vertically. Nice files result, and don't hold you to the APS-C aspect ratio. Works too with Olympus's Pen line of cameras (although with a smaller "left edge" if that makes any sense). Here's an example from the right side of Lake Champlain (almost Mike's neighborhood).


The most famous vertically-oriented camera has to be the Linhof Technika 70. Made from 1962 to 1979 it was advertised to be a universal camera that could do it all. Heavy, exquisitely engineered and crafted, and without any automatic anything, it was a combination press and technical camera that had the reputation that if Leica made a medium format camera it would be the Linhof Technika 70. Big bright rangefinder/viewfinder whose focus could be coupled to three different lenses - WA, normal & tele. Used mine for many years for everything from wedding groups to portraits to landscape & travel shots. Eminently usable today with the digital back adapter! (and, of course, film).

I reckon about 70% of all my shot are vertical. Only landscapes really lend themselves to horizontal views IMO. Portraits and streets have far stronger vertical elements than horizontal.

I used an Oly Pen FT as a backup when I was in Vietnam. Could only use it for personal photos since the Marines had a really hard time accepting 35mm film cameras. They still in 68/69 wanted us photographers to use 4x5 cameras. I actually told one officer that I would drop it out of a copter if ordered to use it. He dropped (pun intended) the idea when the rest of the photographers in the lab agreed. Go figure.

My first SLR, the Miranda Sensorex, was not natively vertical, but the front-mounted shutter release meant you could hold it vertically a lot more stably than you could the others with the top shutter release. You had to remember the bottom-weighted metering system when shooting vertically!

I did have a Fuji GS645 for a while, so I had that experience with native vertical.

Like Tim above, I'm strongly left-eyed, but I didn't have trouble using my M3 horizontally. I did get the power winder with my Nikon FM so that I didn't have to have the wind lever sticking out into my right eye all the time, though.

Then there was the first Konica Autoreflex, an interchangeable lens camera that shot both vertically and horizontally natively, without rotation. Some medium format cameras, like the Mamiya RB67 could do that, as well as many sheet film cameras, but I don't know of any other 35's.

It was of course due to it's ability to shoot both full frame and half frame, on the same roll or alternating or whatever. A slide film processor's nightmare.

Canon Dial!


When I put a nikkor 105 mm f2.5 on my FM it went vertical immediately.

Do what you like, but please hold your smartphone horizontal when shooting a tsunamis, murders, spectacular car crashes or anything else that could later be used for TV-shows.

And Hasselblad with a A24 back ...

My Fuji GS 645 handled so naturally, and captured images so beautifully! You just held it up to your eye, and what you saw was a magazine page. It gave me a love of the vertical format that's endured, but also a lasting frustration. I want verticals in a 3:4 format, not the usual 2:3, which I find too tall for any subject.

I shoot a lot of vertical, especially with my view cameras. Most of the time my cameras are stored with the back in the position last used for a photo and most of the time the back is in the vertical position.

One nice feature of Lightroom is you can filter by orientation. It turns out that 59% of the images in my catalogue are portrait orientation (and none of those are portraits of people!)

Every telephoto lens that has a rotating tripod mount instantly transforms whatever oblong-format body attached to it into a vertical body, on demand. Pro camera systems cater to the need for vertical compositions in ad copy, and, back in the day, magazine covers. Accessory/ battery grips for DSLR's today are mostly in tune with this, nearly all having vertical releases, AF joystick wheels and function buttons, but it wasn't that long ago that they mostly didn't get this right. Cameras with waist level finders and 45° prism options don't work well or at all in this configuration.

Canon's 1D bodies (I've owned a few ...) are intrinsically set up for vertical shooting, which matches what I need for shooting Australian Rules football. The vertical grip and all the necessary controls (and no others) fall within easy reach when using these bodies vertically. No wonder why there's so many white lenses on the sidelines of serious sports ...

See some examples of Aussie rules footy here: http://ryepixels.com/rye-football/

Don't forget all the Fuji Instax mini cameras shoot vertically.

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