3D-Printed 6×17 Camera Combines Analog Charm and Modern Tech

David Imel of MKBHD has taken a close look at the design and functionality of an exciting 3D-printed medium-format film camera on MKBHD’s spinoff channel, The Studio.

PetaPixel has reported on many 3D-printed cameras, including a 35mm cinema camera, a 12-megapixel digital camera with remote operation capabilities, and even a 120-film camera. The lattermost 3D-printed camera even includes a 3D-printed shutter, which is incredible.

PetaPixel has also written about panoramic cameras, like the Widelux panoramic camera made famous by actor Jeff Bridges and a century-old 360-degree film camera that is a fantastic work of art in and of itself.

However, rarely does 3D printing overlap with panoramic film cameras. The subject of Imel’s new video is the ND 6×17 camera created by Angus and Ronan Noble of Noble Design. The ND 6×17 is a medium format panoramic film camera that combines a lightweight 3D-printed body, helical focusing lens mount, and an adjustable phone grip that lets the photographer use an iPhone as the camera’s viewfinder.

ND 6x17 panoramic film camera

The 6×17 format is quite fascinating. While some consider the format to be large format, others think it is the largest typical medium format film size. In either case, it is part of the 120 film family and is 56 millimeters tall and 168 mm long, producing a 3:1 aspect ratio. The “6×17” name refers to the format’s nominal size in centimeters.

The Noble Design 6×17 camera aims to make the 6×17 format more accessible and easier to shoot. The camera ditches a ground glass viewfinder in favor of using an iPhone with a dedicated app. The camera does ship with a focusing screen, but it is only usable for the first frame, as the light traveling through the screen will affect the remaining three images.

Within the app, the user selects the film format they are using — the ND 6×17 is also compatible with a 6×12 film holder — and the focal length of the lens. The app also has a light meter function built in.

“Angus really thought about everything because this phone mount magnetically attaches to the top of the 6×17 camera. It’s really awesome,” Imel says.

While Imel had some issues with light leaks with the original camera he received, a replacement from Noble Design was perfect. 3D printing and small-batch production can be challenging. When working as expected, the ND 6×17 delivers excellent results.

The 6×17 format remains in use today, although it is somewhat niche. Photographers interested in learning more about the 6×17 film format should check out photographer Nick Carver’s four-part series on 6×17 photography. The first video in the series is featured above.

The ND 6×17 camera is available now from Noble Design for £875.00, or about $1,120. The camera ships with a focusing mount, phone clip, magnetic cable release mount, and focusing screen.

A lens is not supplied. The ND 6×12 and 6×17 cameras are designed to accept the Schneider Super-Angulon 90mm f/8 and Nikon Nikkor SW 90mm f/8 lenses. The ND 6×12 also works with the Fujinon CM or W 105mm f/5.6 lenses. Noble Design sells excellent-condition used lenses, but many are available on eBay.

Image credits: Noble Design