Tom Wood And Noblex

Discussion in 'General' started by Rob MacKillop, Feb 25, 2014.

  1. Rob MacKillop

    Rob MacKillop Edinburgh Correspondent

    Just seen a really good 30-minute program on BBC4 about the photographer, Tom Wood. It is part of a series called, "What Do Artists Do All Day" - which is a good question! Anyway, Tom was born in Ireland, but his family moved to England when he was three. He became a fairly famous photographer of people in Liverpool and elsewhere. But this program featured him returning to Ireland. Half the film had him wandering around cattle shows, and old shops, with what looked like a Fuji X100, but I might be wrong as he didn't keep it still for more than a second. I had to laugh at him taking shots out of buses, something I've been known to do...

    Anyway, at one point he was seen doing some landscape work, with a camera I'd never heard of let alone seen: a Noblex - a big panorama monster.



    There is a BBC feature page (no film) about him HERE.

    The Noblex is a 120mm format camera, with a pin-sharp Tessar lens. Quite expensive in the UK. All the ones on eBay are over a thousand pounds, but the USA ebay has them a lot cheaper. Not that I'm looking to buy at all. Just wondered if someone here has one?
  2. Pete Askew

    Pete Askew Admin

    Interesting Rob, I'll catch in on the iPlayer.

    I think Steve mentioned either this or a similar rotating panoramic camera. I have a friend with one. Handy for those classic school photos too - the ones where, if you are quick, you can be in twice! :)
    Rob MacKillop likes this.
  3. Rob MacKillop

    Rob MacKillop Edinburgh Correspondent

    @Pete Askew - You'll love it when he gets to go upstairs in the old shop....I can imagine you there, Pete.
  4. Chris Dodkin

    Chris Dodkin West Coast Correspondent

    I hear this was a great program?

    I looked up Tom's books - man they're expensive!

    That's the same camera as Steve mentioned I think - at leas the 120 version - the other might had been 135?
  5. Rob MacKillop

    Rob MacKillop Edinburgh Correspondent

    Definitely worth catching if you can. Seemed a nice quiet guy, with a talent for blending in, eventually not being noticed. He would often steal shots by holding the camera chest high, and looking in a different direction. I've done that a few times!
  6. Nick Lukey

    Nick Lukey Active Member

    Brilliant programme, very engaging was the photi man.
    I like photographers that can capture images which can stand alone without narrative.
    Would love being let loose in that clothes shop, man what a place.
  7. Rob MacKillop

    Rob MacKillop Edinburgh Correspondent

    A photographer's paradise, that shop!
  8. Nick Lukey

    Nick Lukey Active Member

    The possibilities are endless.
  9. Pete Askew

    Pete Askew Admin

    Thanks Rob, I enjoyed that. Certainly looks like a X100 but withe the WA adapter on.
  10. Rob MacKillop

    Rob MacKillop Edinburgh Correspondent

    Yes, I thought so, and I thought you'd enjoy it.
  11. Tom Dunne

    Tom Dunne Well-Known Member

    Rob I was lucky to catch this lovely program too. I worked for one year in the little town of Crossmolina in Mayo where that wonderful shop is and where Tom is originally from. I thought it was very moving seeing the shop and especially the room upstairs. Tom Wood conveyed a lovely empathy for the place. I was too trying to see what his little camera was as it looked a bit like my own new Fuji (I just wanted to feel good that he had a camera like mine:)).
    When I first saw the Noblex I thought it was a theodolite or some surveyors instrument; enough to terrify any subject off.
    Rob MacKillop likes this.
  12. Rob MacKillop

    Rob MacKillop Edinburgh Correspondent

    "Lovely empathy" - great phrase, and it sums up the man perfectly.

    Yes, the Noblex is a scary thing!
  13. Andy Boardman

    Andy Boardman Trade Member: Bob Rigby Photographic

    That takes me back the Noblex, when I was with Pelling & Cross, ( now Calumet) we where the UK importers it was a very popular camera.
    Rob MacKillop likes this.
  14. Larry Bolch

    Larry Bolch Member

    Many years back, I took the plunge and bought a WideLuxe 140. Same idea as the Noblex, but 35mm. The film plane is curved and the lens rotates through a 140° angle. The shutter is a vertical slot directly behind the lens. Shutter speed limited to 1/15th, 1/125th and 1/250th. It was a real workhorse and many pictures were published, quickly paying off the investment. With the coming of digital, I really wanted a camera with the same capability. Eventually, the Panoscan and RoundShot cameras showed up, but with nosebleed inducing sticker-shock.

    Back then, software for stitching was actively user-hostile, and just about any posted image involving stitching got praised no matter how boring it was. Just the fact that it existed was sufficient. Happily all this has changed. Photoshop and a number of other programs have made stitching all but automatic. Even nicer, both of my Fuji cameras have in-camera stitching. With a bit of patience this can provide excellent results. For landscapes, I find that a monopod works very well, keeping the camera steady, while allowing rotation. Patience is needed, because rotation needs to be smooth and at the correct tempo. Of course, one can check results immediately, and reshoot. With interchangeable lenses, the X-Pro1 gives great control of perspective. This is a 180° shot with the X100, stitched in camera.
  15. Rob MacKillop

    Rob MacKillop Edinburgh Correspondent

    Great pano, Larry!

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