The ND 6×17 ultra-panoramic 3D printed camera uses your phone as a viewfinder

Aug 7, 2023

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

The ND 6×17 ultra-panoramic 3D printed camera uses your phone as a viewfinder

Aug 7, 2023

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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There are a lot of 3D-printed film camera designs out there now. We’ve featured quite a lot of them here on DIYP. This one, though, is a little bit special. It shoots massive, ultrawide panoramic 17:6 aspect ratio on 120 format film.

It’s called the ND 6×17 (buy here), and the folks at Marques Brownlee’s The Studio managed to get their hands on one to put it through its paces. It’s certainly an interesting camera, and it’s definitely not like the 3D prints you make at home.

YouTube video

Oh, baby, baby, it’s a wide world

The camera design itself is fairly simplistic, with none of the bells and whistles you need when you have a smartphone with you. Instead of a viewfinder, there’s a mount for your smartphone. There’s an app available for your smartphone to show you the approximate field of view your lens sees, allowing you to better compose your shots.

And that field of view is extremely wide. Of course, it does depend on the lens you choose to mount, but compared to the height, the field of view horizontally is very wide. 17:6 aspect ratio is almost 3:1, much wider than 2.35:1 ultra-wide movies.

The app will also suggest meter settings for your aperture and shutter speed. Of course, you have to actually change those settings yourself. Out of a 120 roll of film, you get only three photos. Of course, When each shot is about as wide as four 645 shots, you can see why there are so few.

3D-printed, but not how you think!

3D printers are pretty common these days. Almost all of us either have one, or we know somebody who does. Some of us have an unhealthy obsession and own more than half a dozen of them – no judgement. But most home 3D printers work in one of two ways. They either melt and extrude plastic from a reel or they cure liquid resin by selectively exposing it to UV light.

The ND 6×17 is made using Hewlett Packard’s Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) technology printers. These are powder-based 3D printers, which build in extremely thin layers. It doesn’t quite offer the resolution of resin, but you get much smoother, finer, more finished parts straight out of the machine than you do with your typical desktop FDM printer.

YouTube video

So, no, these aren’t just STL files you can download and print yourself. This is a complete camera that just happens to be manufactured using 3D printing technology. And from the looks of the video up top, it seems that it’s working for the ND 6×17.

You will, of course, need large format lenses in order to be able to cover this sort of length. 17cm is a little under 7 inches. So, you’ll want to be looking at lenses designed for 8×10 or larger.

It’s a fascinating camera. This might be one I’ll have to hope Santa delivers one day.

Price and Availability

The ND 6×17 is available to buy now from the Noble Designs website for £875+VAT (~$1,118.30). For folks in the UK, that means £1,050 total.

Yup, it’s not inexpensive. That’s why I’m relying on Santa!

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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