Photo: ...Descending...
Pinkham & Smith Visual Quality Motion Picture lens-- 75mm f/3, on Nikon D3


Here you will find information on my use of soft-focus and Pictorialist lenses, and my techniques for mounting, using, and processing images from these lenses in this very digital world.

In addition, I will expound from time to time on the subject of "The New Pictorialism", and the development of a reflective style in current circles. Topics from Google Plus posts will find a home here, and perhaps some relative permanence in the ever-renewing world of social networking.

--Bruce Hemingway

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Using large-format soft-focus lenses with the Nikon D3

To use large-format soft-focus lenses with the Nikon D3, I have developed several systems. This one uses an old Linhof III body with a CameraFusion digital sliding back, made by This back allows the digital camera to slide in two dimensions, and obtain images which can be stitched together into a large image, roughly the size of a 4x5 film negative.
Linhof III, 240mm Heliar, CameraFusion sliding back, Nikon D3

240mm Heliar on Linhof III, wonderful portrait lens

CameraFusion horizontal position slider, in centimeters;  0 is center of 4x5 film area

CameraFusion vertical position;  50% is center of 4x5 film area
Rear view of CameraFusion, D3 in upper-right corner position of film area, lower-left position of image
I have used this with many different lenses as shown in other posts. I also use the CameraFusion back with a studio Cambo 4x5 and very large lenses, like the Wollensak Velostigmat  Series II F4.5 12"lens, the Kodak Portrait 305mm lens, and the Voigtlander Portrait Euryscope Series III Nr 5 f 4.5 14" lens.

 Wollensak Velostigmat 12" on Cambo SC with CameraFusion digital back and Nikon D5000. 5 rows, 11 images each row, stitched with Autopano Giga software. Full size 22307 x 7803 pixels, approximately 174 megapixels.

Original in Zoomify here:


  1. Bruce, for some time now I've suffered from photographer's block. I'd largely stopped taking photos and turned to exploring soft, ethereal post-process interpretations. Seeking some inspiration to click a shutter again, I began thinking of dragging out my venerable 4x5 (a Horseman 450 monorail studio beast with a Schneider Symmar-S 5.6/210. I recently asked a colleague about 4x5 digital backs, and following his advice I took a look at Better Light. I decided that was a bit beyond my price range and began a broader search - and stumbled across your site.

    Funny, that. I've wandered aimlessly for near a year and when I go looking I find you, published in the last weeks. Your post on Pictorialism sets my heart and mind racing, and your note of the CameraFusion kit seems just the ticket for something novel to do with my Nikon D-300. Serendipitous, I suppose, though I am mighty tempted to consider(/hope) it fate :) In any case, I thought I'd introduce myself and offer my compliments and thanks for your blog. I'm off to look further at the artists you mentioned. Stunning "Descending", btw.

    I wonder if you might share further findings and opinions in regard to the CameraFusion? I'm struggling to resist buying one immediately :)

    best regards,
    Dave Cheney

  2. Thanks, David. I'm happy that you find the blog useful.

    I hunted long to find the CameraFusion, and I have been happy with it. The only alternatives are 1) sliding backs from eBay that do only horizontal movement and are the lowest cost (and not always available); and 2) the BetterLight, which is wonderful and expensive. Betterlight's software and support appear to be first-rate.

    CameraFusion offers several advantages, besides cost: I can make an exposure more quickly, about 2 minutes, once I'm set up and focused; I am only constrained by my Nikon battery life in the field. The principal disadvantage is that I have the additional post-processing step of stitching in Autopano Giga. CameraFusion + Nikon is lighter and less bulky.

    Hope this helps.

  3. Many thanks for the exciting blog posting! I really enjoyed reading it, you are a brilliant writer. I actually added your blog to my favorites and will look forward for more updates. Great Job, Keep it up.. :)soft toys

  4. Hi, love the site Bruce! I have been searching for the camerafusion device, but the website does not seem to be in operation any longer, and I could find no items for sale. Do you know what happened to them, or is there anything else that would work as an adapter for old lenses? Many thanks!