Luminous Landscape Forum

Equipment & Techniques => Cameras, Lenses and Shooting gear => Topic started by: lowep on October 05, 2012, 08:28:55 am

Title: Zörk
Post by: lowep on October 05, 2012, 08:28:55 am
Zörk appears to have some marvelous accessories not only for startling the neighbors but also for making unusual images. But when I typed "Zoerk Photos" into google just now and got about 4,770 photos almost all of them were gear photos of adapters on various cameras rather than photos that show what they can do! However there is a decent selection of sample images here ( in the website's on-line gallery and more here ( made by the 'Bitter Girls' with an enlarger lens on a Canon 5D in Japan. Expert reviews are also scarce as hen's teeth apart from this ( LULA one and this ( ephotozine review by David Clapp. Since proof of the pudding is in the eating would like to ask who else has used the Zörk pro shift adapter and/or multi focus system on a MF or DSLR to make photos and/or has some sample images or views about the pros and cons?

Title: Re: Zörk
Post by: Stefan.Steib on October 05, 2012, 08:55:51 am
I have used a complete (probably one of the first built) Zörk Pro Shift Adapters for my Pentax 67 lenses on my M645 Super.
Quality was OK, but this was back on Film a long time ago.
There was no alternative back then, so I did not discuss this, neither did my customers.
I also had  a 100 Apo and a 135mm Sironar N with Zörks helicoid and the tilting ball to use on it. This was my setup to use with the 35mm film cassette
and with this kind of shift and tilt I was able to make Packshots with 3 side view and full movements like on a Viewcamera.
The M645 Super body did not vigentte on the 35mm back so this was really a nearly perfect solution (I used Velvia 50- that was SHARP!)

Title: Re: Zörk
Post by: Paul2660 on October 05, 2012, 10:33:42 am
From 2003 until around mid 2007 I used various zork shift adapters with various Canon bodies, 1ds MKI, MKII, MKIII, 5D nd 5D MKIII.  I used the adapters for Pentax 67 glass, Pentax 645 glass and Mamiya 645 glass.  I found for my landscape work, that the shift adapter for the Pentax 645 worked the best.  I used the Pentax 35mm FA F3.5, 45mm, and older MF 150mm.  By far the best lens was the Pentax 645 35mm FA.  The Pentax 67 glass to me was much heavier, and just didn't hold up in the corners on shifts.  The Mamiya 35mm glass was more abundant and cheaper but again seemed to fall off in the corners. I used the older Mamiya 35mm, and 55mm.

Also Canon has released much better wide angle TS-E lenses.  When I was using the Zork, the Canon 24mm TS-E was not a very good lens on shifts.  The newer version, excellent even all the way to 12mm (on a 5d MKII).  Plus you can get tilt and shift in the same plane.

You can shift up to 18mm left and right.  With the camera in portrait orientation you can get a 3:2 landscape image with 3 stitches.
Easy to rotate around the lens
Quick release allowed for very quick shifting
Well made, good mounting both to Pentax and Canon, I never had any problems with my adapters and they were used hard.
No parallax issues since with the tripod mount on the adapter you could setup the rig to shift the camera not the lens. Images lined up perfectly
Not much light fall off since you were working with the larger image circles of the Medium format glass on a 35mm lens.

Not easy to adapt to a Landscape orientation to allow shifting (I did it with modified L bracket) The newer models may have this issue fixed. I had
    several conversations with the U.S. rep about this.
Hard black vignetting at edge of shifts, i.e. on a full left shift of 18mm, you would get a hard black edge on the image about 1" wide from hitting the edge
    of the cameras image box.  This was a straight line not just the corners as normal vignetting.  The only problem with this was that when you
    attempted to stitch, many software solutions at the time would try and blend in the black which ruined the image.  If you cropped it out, the software
    would not work since the images all did not have the same size.  This also may be fixed in newer solutions.  I tended to just load all three images
    into photoshop and manually blend them. 

Overall I used the Zork shift adapter to create a larger resolution file not panos.  It gave me around a 27mp image with my 1ds MKI and then later on a
about a 40 to 42mp image from the ads MKIII.  I briefly used the setup with a 5d MKII but found the resolution of the 5D MKII just a bit more taxing on the shifts.  For some reason I also found the manual focusing harder with the 5D MKII viewfinder.  Note, I did not use live view and should have as it would have made the entire process much easier.  I was a slow convert to live view. 

It's a great tool, but as DSLRs pick up more and more resolution the needs to shift for size have dropped.  Also the max shift of 18mm really won't give you a "true" pano so for pano's I went back to nodal point and pano head. 

As far as images, I agree there are many out there, however depending on usage, it would be hard to tell much i.e. most of my images aren't panos but instead normal 3:2 ratio images, just much higher resolution.   

For me the ability to shift with the camera off level was a very big advantage.  I took thousands of images with the zork/canon combination in both portrait mode and landscape mode (3) shift each and the results were always excellent.

Title: Re: Zörk
Post by: lowep on October 05, 2012, 02:55:14 pm
great stuff: easily the most informative account of what can be done with these adapters that I have come across, so thanks Paul & Stefan for this encouragement.

Paul you mention:"No parallax issues since with the tripod mount on the adapter you could setup the rig to shift the camera not the lens"

Some versions of the Zoerk pro shift adapter eg the ProSA/P67 (with Pentax 67 lens mount) adapter for MF bodies that I am looking at does not have the tripod mount on the adapter that rules out camera shift, right. So lens shift is the only option for panoramas. Any parallax issues?
Title: Re: Zörk
Post by: Paul2660 on October 05, 2012, 04:39:36 pm
You can get around the possible parallax issues by using a ballhead/camera mount like the one from Really Right Stuff that has a scale at the bottom.  When you shift the lens R, you move the camera body L the same amount. 
Their setup makes this very easy. 

Here is a link to an example: (

Note the scale on one side. 

My bigger concern is the use of the Pentac 67 glass.  Especially if you are going to use a Medium Format digital back.  I just don't think that they will hold up with any type of shift.  I tried several on my Canon 1ds MKII and they were fine on center but when shifted past 5mm , terribly soft
I have never tried them with film. 
Title: Re: Zörk
Post by: lowep on October 06, 2012, 03:38:48 am
I am also concerned about legacy lens performance being the weak link in the system. As far as I can see there are many options:

1) try Pentax 67 lenses to figure out which if any of them are up to the job? Zoerk recommends the f=3.5/55mm. What I am not sure about here is what happens to the equivalent focal length of a lens designed for 67 camera when it is mounted on a 645 camera? 

2) try to find out what other 67 lenses can be mounted on the Pro-SA-P67 pro shift adapter via a Hassy/Mamiya/???-to-Pentax 67 adapter. Most of the adapters I have found so far are for mounting legacy Pentax 67 lenses on other cameras.

3) add a Zoerk Multi Focus System with a M39 adapter that would enable use of any lens with a M39 mount, or purchase from Zoerk a custom made adapter ring for mounting a LF lens.

4) ? ? ?

Option (3) is the most intriguing as adding the MSF would open up many options including use of enlarger lenses. Not being a mathematician I have trouble understanding how a lens designed for an enlarger can be used as a camera lens. Maybe life was simpler in the days when the first lenses with M39 mounts were made?

What I like about the Zoerk system is it opens up so many possibilities that it is a great opportunity to experiment -- maybe even learn something  :o

Title: Re: Zörk
Post by: Rob C on October 06, 2012, 04:41:33 am
"1) try Pentax 67 lenses to figure out which if any of them are up to the job? Zoerk recommends the f=3.5/55mm. What I am not sure about here is what happens to the equivalent focal length of a lens designed for 67 camera when it is mounted on a 645 camera? Is a 55mm lens on 67 camera still a 55mm lens on a 645 camera?"

Of course it is; the lens never changes. All that changes with these tricks is that you end up using a smaller section of the image circle, from which you then attempt to make a larger blow-up than would have been expected from the normal usage of such a lens. It has often been expected that moving up from a 135mm format to a 6x7 one will be the equivalent of doubling up the linear magnification quality of a photograph of the same scene; it doesn't quite work like that because all lenses that I know about (so far) are designed to cover their natural film format expectations. So, if you make a sixteen-inch-wide print from a 6x7 original, then it will look better (handled as competently) than the same view shot on 135 format. But, if you then go away and reframe the 6x7 so that the original scene is now covered by a 24mmx36mm area of that 6x7 film, the resulting shot of that original scene area will not print as well as the original frame on 135 format. Yes, there's an argument to support that the corners/edges may all appear more evenly matched to the central area, but overall that quality will be lower than from the 135 format. I am asuming the use of top lenses for both formats.

This is an argument that goes on and on, but that's life.

Rob C

Title: Re: Zörk
Post by: lowep on October 06, 2012, 03:14:05 pm
As Chris Wilson's image of Cape Zanpa shows here ( (if you don't mind scrolling down) at least one photographer seems to be getting decent images from a Pentax 67 lens mounted via Zork adapter on a MFDB
Title: Re: Zörk
Post by: sanzari on October 14, 2012, 12:35:04 pm
Zork Adaptor used for all my fine art using 45mm and 100mm lenses on Nikon cameras.

It's tough, you loose images and you have to be dedicated and focused on one thing. That said when right the results are amazing with 1 and 2 metre prints.

It takes a lot of getting used to and a lot of practice. The unit is over engineered and tough. I think there are other ways of doing things but its back to basics that give the best results
Title: Re: Zörk
Post by: lowep on October 15, 2012, 07:48:57 am
It is quite amazing to imagine you bowed over your camera absorbed by your task as a grumpy bull elephant heads towards you.Unless you use a robot? Do you use lens shift or camera shift to get your panoramas? I also wonder how you manage to get such splendid images with the elephant right in the middle of the panorama. Do you do this by turning the camera body sideways and stitching three vertical images together starting with the one in the middle, or....?

You mention you use an 80mm and 100mm lens on your Nikon. Are these 645 format or some other format lenses?

Is the need for practice you mention due to the difficulty of shifting the lens to the right position without knocking it out of alignment or... more to do with how to avoid being trampled?

Too many questions; too few elephants left. Great to see photography tools being put to such good use.
Title: Re: Zörk
Post by: lowep on October 31, 2012, 07:19:10 am
I also had  a 100 Apo and a 135mm Sironar N with Zörks helicoid and the tilting ball to use on it.

Hi Stefan, how good is your memory? I also have a 135mm Sironar N that I am thinking of using with Zoerk multi focus system (MFS) as you did years ago. I know there are many other lenses better suited for this kind of digital work but it is what I have in hand to start with. Do you remember how you mounted the Sironar N 135mm on the Zork?

I have an m39 adapter for the MFS and am trying to find out if any off-the-shelf adapter ring solution is available for mounting the Sironar N on the m39 adapter or do I have to get a custom made adapter ring. 
Title: Re: Zörk
Post by: kaelaria on October 31, 2012, 11:03:24 am
"You are standing in an open field west of a white house..."
Title: Re: Zörk
Post by: lowep on October 31, 2012, 11:34:30 am
"This space intentionally left blank."
Title: Re: Zörk
Post by: projectsbin on November 03, 2012, 05:11:53 am
I use Zörk MFA with 150mm Nikon enlarger lens / 35mm camera. It is great! Seems flimsy at times but works just fine. I'm very satisfied with this setup. Below is a 1:1 crop from C52.
Title: Re: Zörk
Post by: lowep on November 03, 2012, 01:14:22 pm
Thanks, this shows what an enlarging lens can do that seems more dependent on the quality of the glass rather than any technical attribute related to the design of enlarger lenses