How to Shoot 35mm Panoramic Images with the Pentax 67 by David Rose

35mm panoramic film image with sprockets of a road in the desert - 35mm Panoramic in a Medium Format Camera by David Rose on Shoot It With Film
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Written by David Rose

Have you ever seen panoramic 35mm photographs exposed edge-to-edge, including the sprocket holes, and wondered how you might be able to reproduce that effect?

Well, wonder no more!

In this guide, I am going to walk you through the start to finish on how to create these types of images using a medium format Pentax 67 camera, everything from film prep to lab scans.

Although this guide is specific to the Pentax 67 system, many of the concepts here are universal and should work for other medium format cameras with some slight adapting.

How to Shoot 35mm Panoramic Images in the Pentax 67
How to Shoot 35mm Panoramic Images in the Pentax 67
How to Shoot 35mm Panoramic Images in the Pentax 67
35mm panoramic film image with sprockets of a plant - 35mm Panoramic in a Medium Format Camera by David Rose on Shoot It With Film
“Back in my day we used the whole roll of film, edges and all!”
Pentax 67 with Kodak Portra 400

Supplies

First things first, you’ll need to pick up the necessary equipment if you don’t already have it, such as a panoramic conversion kit and a film changing bag.

The below list contains everything you should need to start shooting 35mm panoramic images in your Pentax 67 or other type of medium format film camera:

  1. Pentax 67 Panoramic Conversion Kit – the kit will include…
    1. 35mm spacers to properly hold the 35mm canister in place inside the camera (since it has a smaller profile than a 120 roll of film)
    2. Finder mask to take the guesswork out of composing. This is inserted under the prism viewfinder on the 67.
    3. Film mask (optional) if you’d rather take the sprocket holes out of the equation and only expose the middle section of the film. This is inserted into the film gate when you open the back of the camera, but I typically prefer to shoot without it and crop the images in post if so desired.
  2. Film changing bag – VERY important since this is the only way you’ll be able to remove the film from the camera when you are done shooting
  3. 35mm film roll – 36 exposures is ideal to get the most bang for your buck.
  4. Roll of 120 film – any type since you’ll just be using it for the backing paper and take-up reel
35mm panoramic film image with sprockets of a pier - 35mm Panoramic in a Medium Format Camera by David Rose on Shoot It With Film
Pentax 67 with Kodak Portra 800
35mm panoramic film image with sprockets of a beach - 35mm Panoramic in a Medium Format Camera by David Rose on Shoot It With Film
Pentax 67 with Fuji Sensia 100
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Prepping the Camera

If you are shooting with a Pentax 67, you’ll need to set the camera up as if you are shooting 220 film – i.e. moving the film pressure plate to the 220 position, and changing the knob on the left side of the camera to 220 mode.

This will let you continue shooting past “10” exposures.

35mm panoramic film image with sprockets of the coast - 35mm Panoramic in a Medium Format Camera by David Rose on Shoot It With Film
Pentax 67 with Kodak Portra 800

Loading the Film

To load the film into the camera, start by attaching the 35mm cassette adapters from your panoramic conversion kit to your roll of 35mm film (they look like little knobs, and the bigger one goes on top).

This makes it possible for the 35mm film canister to fit into the camera where the 120 film usually goes.

If you just feed the 35mm film into a 120 take-up spool and then proceed to close the back of the camera and advance the Pentax until the frame counter reads 1, you end up wasting a lot of film as it will burn through quite a bit of the roll before the images start getting exposed.

However, with a little preparation, you can maximize the amount of shots you squeeze out of each roll.

All it takes is cutting a 7 and 6/8 inch strip out of the middle of the backing paper of a roll of 120 film, measuring from where the arrow is that normally indicates that your film is sufficiently advanced, and then taping the leader of the 35mm film to this so that you can pull it back into the container.

Attaching a 35mm roll of film to a 120 take-up spool - 35mm Panoramic in a Medium Format Camera by David Rose on Shoot It With Film
How your roll should look before feeding the backing paper back into the 35mm canister

This allows the backing paper to advance across as the camera counts up to the first frame of film, and avoids wasting 35mm emulsion in the process.

Here is how the final product should look:

Attaching a 35mm roll of film to a 120 take-up spool - 35mm Panoramic in a Medium Format Camera by David Rose on Shoot It With Film

Done right, you should be able to get 19-20 shots per roll instead of around 12, and as long as the backing paper doesn’t tear, you can reuse it to shoot more rolls using the same process.

If you need help loading your film with the panoramic conversion kit and attaching it to a roll of 120, this article has a detailed outline of the process.

35mm panoramic film image with sprockets of a bridge - 35mm Panoramic in a Medium Format Camera by David Rose on Shoot It With Film
Pentax 67 with Fuji Sensia 100

Shooting Panoramic Images

Since we’re already decreasing the size of the film plane, I normally choose to shoot with my widest lens (55mm) to capture panoramas of big landscapes or scenes:

35mm panoramic film image with sprockets of desert rock formations - 35mm Panoramic in a Medium Format Camera by David Rose on Shoot It With Film
Shot on the Pentax 67 with the 55mm Pentax 67 F4 lens and CineStill BwXX film

However, in certain instances, it can also be fun to use a more compressed lens for a tighter result. These are with the 105mm lens:

35mm panoramic film image with sprockets of desert rock formations - 35mm Panoramic in a Medium Format Camera by David Rose on Shoot It With Film
Shot on the Pentax 67 with the 105mm Pentax 67 F2.4 lens and CineStill BwXX film
35mm panoramic film image with sprockets of a portrait of a woman - 35mm Panoramic in a Medium Format Camera by David Rose on Shoot It With Film
Shot on the Pentax 67 with the 105mm Pentax 67 F2.4 lens and CineStill BwXX film

For distant subjects, you may even be able to get away with using a telephoto lens to achieve a unique perspective:

35mm panoramic film image with sprockets of a desert rock formation - 35mm Panoramic in a Medium Format Camera by David Rose on Shoot It With Film
Shot on the Pentax 67 with the 200mm Pentax 67 F4 lens and CineStill BwXX film

Another thing to be mindful of when shooting panoramas with sprocket holes is the lack of ability to crop the image in post processing.

Since the sprocket holes are arranged in a straight line across the film, even the smallest amount of rotation will be immediately detectable by the viewer, so care needs to be taken to get the horizon straight in camera.

Before activating the shutter, I’ll often pull my head back and align the top edge of the camera with the horizon to ensure the final image will be level.

35mm panoramic film image with sprockets of the coast - 35mm Panoramic in a Medium Format Camera by David Rose on Shoot It With Film
Pentax 67 with Fuji Sensia 100
35mm panoramic film image with sprockets of a woman standing in a road - 35mm Panoramic in a Medium Format Camera by David Rose on Shoot It With Film
Pentax 67 with Kodak Portra 400

Unloading Your Film from the Camera

When you are done shooting, you’ll need to pop your camera into the film changing bag in order to extract the film and rewind it back into the 35mm container.

This will take a few minutes, and you won’t be able to see what you are doing, but it’s fairly straightforward and tactile to feel it out with your fingers.

I usually insert the larger of the 35mm spacers into the bottom of the 35mm canister to more easily wind the film back in. Once you can feel that it’s securely back in the canister, you’re good to open the film changing bag and remove the camera/film.

35mm panoramic film image with sprockets of a road in the desert - 35mm Panoramic in a Medium Format Camera by David Rose on Shoot It With Film
Pentax 67 with CineStill BwXX
35mm panoramic film image with sprockets of the coast - 35mm Panoramic in a Medium Format Camera by David Rose on Shoot It With Film
Pentax 67 with Kodak Portra 800

Scanning Sprocket Holes

Many home scanning solutions, whether you use a flatbed scanner or DSLR setup, are already conducive to being able to capture the whole edge-to-edge panorama, so you shouldn’t have to alter your workflow too much.

However, if you are using digital software to automatically convert your photos (i.e. Silverfast), the presence of the sprocket holes can confuse the software and lead to washed out images, so it’s best to apply any automatic adjustments using only the middle of the frame as a reference before expanding the crop to include the sprocket holes.

If you send your film off to a lab you’ll want to make sure they are capable of handling edge-to-edge 35mm scans first since not all scanning processes are conducive to this

I primarily use theFINDlab for my processing and scanning, and they are able to do this as a matter of routine upon request. I just make sure to note which rolls were shot as panoramas, and if I’d like them to include the sprocket holes in the final scans (I believe their Frontier scanner is the go-to for this type of work).

And voila – that’s it!

As always, I hope you found this guide helpful, and I’m happy to answer questions if you reach out to me via DM on Instagram!

35mm panoramic film image with sprockets of a portrait of a woman - 35mm Panoramic in a Medium Format Camera by David Rose on Shoot It With Film
Pentax 67 with Kodak Portra 800
35mm panoramic film image with sprockets of a woman standing near mountains - 35mm Panoramic in a Medium Format Camera by David Rose on Shoot It With Film
Pentax 67 with Kodak Portra 400

Thank you so much, David! David is a regular contributor here at Shoot It With Film, and you can check out his other articles here, such as his Guide to Choosing a Color Film and Ilford Black and White Film Guide.

You can also find more of David’s work on Instagram!

Leave your questions about shooting 35mm panoramic images in the Pentax 67 below in the comments!

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David Rose

David Rose is a regular contributor for Shoot It With Film. Find his other articles here, such as Guide to Choosing a Color Film and 35mm vs 120: Choosing a Film Format.

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