I’ve recently bought a new / old camera, the Horizont Panoramic camera.
Its an old Russian camera and I think this one was made in 1976.
I love panoramic images! I think the format of panoramic images creates interesting and diverse photos with a range of moments throughout the frame. Its also closer to how we see. I love the work of Jens Olaf Lasthein and also the landscape work of Colin Prior.
I find it frustrating when you get a nice panoramic shot with a digital camera (using the in-camera stitching) and someone or something is cut in half because it moved. These cameras remove that issue! I can shoot panos with many people moving around with less problems (check out some of my digital panoramic work in the site menu).
I like to get photos in-camera so I like thinking in panoramic shots and composing for that type of shot, not just stitching loads of photos in photoshop or cropping off the top and bottom of a wide-angle frame and hoping for the best.
The camera is also great looking piece of kit!
This is quite a fun camera to use. When you are looking for photos, you need to be thinking in the panoramic format and what would work for the type of shots the camera makes. This will take a bit of time to get used to, but could end up with more interesting images. It is quite quirky and unusual and creates a distinctive look as it bends all straight lines in the image. I actually find this quite pleasing and organic.
It is hard to compose the shots with such a wide viewfinder. You kind of need to look around the inside of the finder and check the edges before you take the shot, since you can’t really see the whole image at once. The lens on the camera is 28mm as well, so I will need to learn to get closer to the action.
You attach a handle to the camera (shown on the right in the above image) to the base, for stability and to keep your fingers out of the way of the camera’s wide view. The drum rotates on the front of the camera that houses the lens, when you press the shutter.
This camera has no focus control and focuses to infinity at all times. This is due to the the lens being inside the central drum in the camera. So, to focus, you just need to contol the aperture. At f16 the camera focuses to 1m so I was trying to keep it as close to f16 as possible. The images were not as sharp as I would have liked but that could be down to a number of factors.
I got a lot of puzzled looks as I was out and about with this contraption!
This roll was Kodak Pro Image 100. I think I prefer stronger tones, so will probably try using some Lomography colour negative film the next time or Fujifilm Superia Extra 400.
I checked exposure with an app on my phone and it seemed to get it pretty well bang on in most occasions. I’ll need to learn how to offset the exposure based on what is in front of me, since a few shots could have been underexposed a stop or two.
I lost the first 4 or 5 photos from the roll because the film stuck in the camera as I was rewinding it back into the spool. I’m not sure if this was the fault of the camera or because I loaded it incorrectly, but I rewound the film to a point and the film wouldn’t rewind any more. So, I had to open the back and push the film around until I could keep rewinding it.
I’ve since bought a super cheap roll of film and have tested out rewinding with less problems. Who knows what happened!
The main issue with most of the photos I shot was the light leaking in the outdoor shots. I’m not sure if light leaking is coming in through the lens and the shutter is just not shutting correctly or if it is coming in through the edge of the drum. I’ll have to put it in for a service to see if they can sort it at the shop.
Overall, this camera is a lot of fun to shoot with and if I can get the light leak fixed, hope to keep shooting panos with this machine.
Here are the rest of the photos that made it out of the camera, including the last one, which was partially exposed when I opened the back.