Serendipity Systems
Big Sur, California

What you don't see on the Internet
Photo gallery
... Today's Big Sur photo
Photographs for sale
Book: How to convert a Mamiya camera to 6X12 format
Book: Build a 6X17 panorama camera for $500
Book: Convert a 120 camera to 35mm film
Art and photo preservation
6X12 CUSTOM CAMERA for sale

Coming soon ...


A Big Sur to Arctic Circle illustrated blog

I can hear you say, "Wait a minute. A Leica S is 37.5 megapixels, a Nikon D800E is 36.3 megapixels, and the $30,000 Hasselblad H5D is 50 megapixels; these are all from well-established, reputable camera manufacturers, and you are saying that some beach bum from Big Sur is doing three hundred megapixel photography?"

First, let me say that I have taken some great pictures with a Nikon, and the family Leica M3 has been in continuous use since the nineteen-fifties. These are, however, old 35mm cameras. For the new age of digital, something more is needed, something spectacular. That something is super-high resolution photography. After all, you no longer have to manipulate large, awkward, sloshing trays of chemicals to get big prints, you just use a large laser or ink jet printer to get huge photos. It's "faster, better, cheaper" (as they say at NASA.)

That brings us to Xtreme Digital Photography. How do we do it? How do we beat Nikon, Leica, and Hasselblad? The secret is in outsourcing.

"Hugh?" you say. No, we don't have the work done in some third world country, but let us go back a step.

How digital photography works
Standard digital cameras use a charge-coupled device (CCD) to convert the light coming through the lens into digital information. The CCD is a grid with each cell representing a pixel. For example, a 100 X 100 grid would give you 10,000 cells or pixels; a 5 megapixel camera (in square format) would have about a 2,200 X 2,200 grid of cells. The more cells, the higher the resolution of your photograph. However, not all cells are created equally. For example, the Nikon SLR uses larger cells that do point-and-shoot cameras with the same "megapixel count." Furthermore, some cameras process the information from those cells faster than others. That's why Nikon cameras cost more than SiPix cameras.

How film works
Black and white film cameras use light-sensitive grains of silver--these are analogus to the grid cells in digital cameras. The larger the grains of silver, the faster the film; the smaller, the slower, however, smaller also means that there are more of them per piece of film, so with film you can actually increase your resolution by using a "slower" film. For more resolution at a given print size, you can increase the size of the film used. An eight-by-ten print made from a 35mm negative will be much lower in resolution than that same size print made from a 4" X 5" negative. That is why photographers like Ansel Adams used those huge cameras. An 8 X 10 view camera can give you about sixty times the resolution of a 35mm camera. Color films are similar, but use dyes instead of silver.

How Xtreme Digital Photography works
We have taken the best of both systems and combined them. We use a large piece of film, and then we "outsource" the function of the charge-coupled device. For seventy-two megapixel photographs we use 120 roll film in 6X9 format. For field work, we have Mamiya press cameras. For studio work, we have a 4X5 view camera which has been modified to take the same film backs as the Mamiyas. For ninty megapixel photographs we have enlarged a Mamiya camera to 6X12 format. It is a panorama camera with a ninety degree angle of view. This camera features a Mamiya Seikosha 65mm lens.

When that is not large enough, we can use the 6X18 format camera. This camera uses a 90mm Schneider-Kreuznach Super Angulon lens.

(This version features an optical viewfinder and a center neutral density filter.)

The "outsourcing" is done by a film scanner. For most digital cameras, the area of the CCD is less than a square inch, sometimes smaller than a quarter of a square inch. Our Epson can scan up to 36 square inches of film at a resolution of 3,200 dpi. This gives Xtreme Digital Photography a theoretical maximum capacity of over 350 megapixels! However, for practical considerations--ease of processing--we will be limiting ourselves to 120 roll film.

Advantage vs. advantage
The primary advantage of the digital camera is the ease with which shots can be taken. Most digital photography seems to be shoot-review-delete-shoot some more. Since bad shots can be deleted and re-shooting done, speed is emphasized.

Xtreme Digital Photography is exactly the opposite. There is no editing on the shoot, so the composition of each photograph has to be carefully planned before the shutter is pressed. Any editing that might be required would have to be done after-the-fact with Photoshop. The advantage here is that you approach things the way an artist approaches a painting and the results are comparable.

See the Salmon Cone photo below as an example from the 144 megapixel camera.


It is difficult to see the quality of art and photographs on the computer screen. (Your computer screen may be 1,000 pixels wide, whereas our prints may be more than ten thousand pixels wide.) It is, of course, much better to see the item itself. You can see and buy our photographs at:
The Lumiere Gallery at Ragged Point, California

Salmon Creek Falls

This is one of my "Hudson River School" landscape photos. It was taken in May of 2006. For this photo I used a Mamiya 50mm lens on the "6X12 format" camera. The angle of view is about 93 degrees.

It is available as a 12" X 18" (image size) print in an 18" X 24" mat.


A larger, limited edition version with a 23.5" X 32.5" image area in a 32" X 40" mat is also be available.

Salmon Cone

Salmon Cone and the Pauling Ranch at Big Sur. This photo was taken on January 28, 2005 with the 6X18 camera set at f32 for 1/15th of a second.

The print has an image size of about 10.5" X 34.5" and is mounted in a 16" X 40" mat.


Leaving Hearst Ranch

Photo taken in 2005 of the "China Gulch" section of Hearst Ranch.

The print has an image size of about 10.5" X 34.5" and is mounted in a 16" X 40" mat.


Another version of this photo is available as a 10.5" X 40" print, mounted, but without a mat. (I don't yet have mats larger than 32" X 40.")


Tour de Sur

Highway One is a great place to ride a bike ... except for the dangers posed by the lumbering motorhomes and the zooming sports cars. However, if you are a giant corporation you can get the Highway Patrol to sweep clean a path for you. Then you can get all your friends together had have a great ride.

This photo was taken on February 23, 2006 near Villa Creek, Big Sur, with a custom 6X12 camera using a 65mm wide-angle lens and Fuji Reala ISO 100 film.

The print has an image size of about 10" X 33" and is mounted in a 15" X 38" mat.


Big Sur Sunset

This photograph was taken while there were wildfires in southern California and the smoke drifted northward and over the ocean. (Sunsets are not normally this red.) Three sequential shots were taken with a 35mm camera. Those prints were scanned into the computer, then "Photoshopped" into a single panorama.

The print has an image size of about 9" X 33" and is mounted in a 16" X 40" mat.

Many more spectacular Big Sur prints will be available soon. Bookmark this page!


All of our camera manuals

Get all of our camera manuals for one low price ... now just $9.95 for the PDF eBook.

If bought individually, you would spend about $60, but now you can get everything we know about building extremely large format panorama cameras cheaply!

Here is what you get:
==>6X36 Ultra Panaroma Camera -- images to 300 megapixels
==>6X18 Panorana camera -- Images to 144 megapixels
==>6X12 Panorama camera -- Images to 90 megapixels (two different camera designs, including the ultra wide one with the 50MM lens.)
==>120 roll to 35mm film conversion to get Hasselblad X-Pan images cheaply.
==>Adapter for View Camera Lenses on Press Cameras -- to get more flexibility.

You can get all of these manuals by sending a PayPal payment of $9.95 to

Now available ... a 315 page paperbook edition to be available from and where you will be able to get both the paperback and the ebook for only $14.95.

NOTE THIS: The above book does not include the new Digital View Camera book.

eBook file locations

NOTE THIS: Ignore the "file not available" error message from Mediafire. Go to the download button (red arrow below.) This will open the save box (green arrow.) Save the file to your hard drive.

NOTE THIS: Ignore the error message from Mediafire. Click on the "arrow/line" symbol at the top right of the screen to download the file.

Read Me file at Mediafire =

A Maine Yankee at Big Sur ="

The Blue-eyed Muse (Book 1) =

The Blue-eyed Muse (Book 2) =

The Blue-eyed Muse (Book 3) =

Panorama Camera Designs =

Trout Summer (Illustrated) =

Trout Summer (Reviewers' edition) =

Digital View Camera =

Digital View Camera - Update #1 =

NOTE: The above two items go together, but you only pay for the manual -- updates are free.

NOTE: the above publications are our older books, and they do not make use of the Retina display. They are not specific to the iPad, so they will run on regular computers, or any device allowing the use of password-protected PDF files.


The free book is designed for the iPad Mini with the Retina display screen. Illustrations are high-resolution, mostly 2000 X 1500 pixels in size.
The password to open the free book is freebook

A Note from Serendipity Systems

All PDF eBook files posted at Mediafire are password protected.

You can find more information on the books by visiting our Internet sites.

For fiction, go to:
www.PHOTOfiction.BIZ (Photofiction novels) (General information on eBooks, etc.) (Books published under the BOOKWARE imprint)

For non-fiction, go to: (Photography-related books and art prints) (Non-fiction BOOKWARE editions)

The Photofiction and XtremeDigitalPhotography books are also available as paperbacks from

There is a bonus ... when you buy the paperback, we give you a FREE copy of the eBook version.

Our eBooks are now available for the iPad!

Go to:



Print from film or scan up 90 megapixels

for high quality digital images

This camera is a custom modified Mamiya Press. The film holder's exposure area was enlarged to a width of 4 3/8." The back of the camera body was also modified, and the two parts were premanently attached together. A spacer was added to the front of the camera body. An adapter was built allowing view camera lenses to be used on Mamiya cameras. A copal shutter and 127mm lens completed the project.


(NOTE: To get 6x12 images, advance the film TWO frames using the 6x6 window -- red arrow above.)





Note that you are NOT limited to the Tominon lens that comes with the camera. You can use other lenses, and you can use this adapter with other Mamiya Press cameras. However, some lenses with large inner elements (90mm Super Angulon, for example) will not fit. Convertable lenses which only use the outer element will be OK, but remember that if you change the focal length, you will also have to modify the spacer to make sure that you get the correct lens-to-film distance. Note that this adapter also functions as the focus adjustment, however, the scale is slightly off for this particular lens--the actual settings are 30' on the scale is infinity; 10' on the scale is 20' lens-to-subject; 5' on scale = 10'; 3.5 on scale = 7'


This shutter has T B 1 to 125 speed settings and f4.5 to f45 aperature settings.


This lens was originally used for scientific/medical copy work, so it is very sharp.


Complete step-by-step photographic instructuctions for building this camera. For more information on this camera manual, go to this location:


Complete step-by-step photographic instructions for building this adapter.


For more information on this manual, go to this location:


BONUS -- If 6X12 isn't big enough for you, we'll show you how to build an even bigger panorama camera!


For more information on this mamual, go to this location:


BONUS -- If 6X18 isn't big enough for you, we'll show you how to build the ultra panorama camera!


That's 300 megapixels !!!

All of these manuals have been compiled into a 300 page paperback book, plus you will also get the eBook version as downloadable PDF files. Illustrations in the paperback are black and white, but they are in color in the eBook.




We encourage you to check out all the 6x12 format cameras offered here at eBay. You will note that many are "body only" -- you have to provide your own lens, whereas this camera is ready to use as soon as you put in a roll of film. (You will, however, need a light meter, and we recommend that you use a tripod and cable release.) We think that this collection of hardware and information is a great bargain for a serious art photographer. A caveat: you should be cautioned that digital Canon SLR users may sneer at you for using an "old and ugly" camera like this, but the proof is what you end up displaying on the wall, and with a sharp lens and up to 90 megapixels of resolving power you will be able to get huge museum-quality photographs. See the "Salmon Falls" sample at:

The negative

Below is a negative from this camera. It is held in a standard 4X5 frame, so you see that is only slightly shorter than a large format negative.

Another BONUS

I'll put a roll of Fuji Reala film in the box so you can take photos as soon as you get the camera! (Note: I have found that this is the best film for digital conversion.)



Shipping notes

The shipping weight for this camera will be about 7 pounds. The camera will be double-boxed to protect it during shipping.

Shipping will be via US Mail. We live in a very rural location, so mail only goes out once a week ... usually on Fridays.

Insurance for the value of your bid will be required to protect you from the irregularities and dangers of shipping. (Depending on the amount of your bid, insurance will be about $10. Parcel post will be between $15 and $25, depending on how far you are from California.)

ONLY shipping to USA addresses is available. DO NOT BID if you do not have a USA shipping address.

A final note: Why am I selling this camera? I built a second 6X12 -- one using a 50mm lens, and I have 6X18 and 6X36 format cameras, plus 4x5s and an 8x10, so I have more than enough cameras to cover whatever I want to shoot. Rather than have this camera just gather dust in my closet, I would like to see that some other photographer put it to good use. If you want to get huge, high-quality prints and want the convenience of using roll film, then this could be the right camera for you.


PRICE: $612.00
Or best offer














BOOKWARE.ORG -- Electronic book information
S-E-R-R-N-D-I-P-I-T-Y.COM -- Fiction eBooks
TheInfiniteBook.COM -- Non-fiction eBooks
newsNH.COM -- New Hampshire Newspaper


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Note that, because of the shift feature of the adapter, this camera will shoot five overlapping images.

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 Revised last: Feb. 18, 2016