Kodak Panoram #1

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by doug grosjean, Jun 1, 2007.

  1. This past Tuesday, my Kodak Panoram #1 arrived from Ritz Collectible Cameras in Phoenix. I bought it there because: a. They had one. b. The salesman, Ed, agreed to run a couple rolls of film through it for me (I included money for postage and his time), and then return the undeveloped film to me. I agreed that if I didn't buy it, I'd email them copies of the scans to make a sale with somebody else. So I basically got to see exactly how it worked before purchasing, at a distance. Cool..! There's not much to one of these cameras. Primitive and simple. Simple is good. I got to looking at the mechanism that swings the lens, cleaned some old grease out of it with lighter fluid and Q-tips, then added a tiny bit of graphite to some more lighter fluid to try to get it into the rotating mechanisms. Just a tiny, tiny bit. And then the lens began to sometimes make it all the way across on the low-speed left-right transit, and the high-speed transit sounded quite a bit faster. But there was a bias, as if the left-right transits were slower than the right-left transits. So I looked closer... At first it seemed that the camera might have been slightly mis-assembled, ie, there was a lever in the mechanism that gave the spring more pre-load / more force in the right-left transits, and a lever that seemed to bias that spring force to be greater in one direction than the other. Yet the levers and such were keyed and slotted in such a way that it wasn't possible for somebody to get it wrong. Looked closer, and there was an adjustment to dial that bias out of the system. Played with that adjustment, and the left-right transits became more reliable and faster, and the right-left transits slowed down a little bit, till *all* transits worked. What's more, the transits sounded the same whether going left-right or right-left. Then disassembled the viewfinder and cleaned the mirror and lens. Mirror was missing a lot of silver (I guess 100 years takes its toll), but the results were still a big improvement. I *may* spend a couple bucks and replace the mirror, but I'm leery - it's held in by two small nails, and I'm not thrilled with pulling them out or replacing them after getting a mirror. And it's reasonably usable now, and pretty bright. Doesn't need to be much better. After all that, I carefully cleaned the swinging lens with Q-tips and lens cleaner. And I made a rubber plug / aperture that will fit into the end of the lens, 4.5 diameter hole, so about 1 stop faster than the original built-in aperture. Found that idea on the Net, of course. Then I ran a roll of 100 T-Max through it. Exposure seemed right, but I hadn't figured out the spacing quite right so every photo had overlap with the one next to it. Figured *that* out (solution: shoot on #2, #6, #10, and #14) and popped in another roll on an overcast day. Perfect. All 4 shots came out, some were on high shutter and some on low. Attached is a small samples from a bicycle ride with co-workers. Works great, once you realize you only need to see the center of the shot in that puny little 45-degree viewfinder window. Camera has a small light leak at the bottom. I'll put some electric tape over it first, to try to find the source, and then maybe add some foam to the tongue of the box to cure it. Not camera related, but my 12 y/o son and I are spending 3 weeks driving a ragtop Jeep down Rt. 66 this July, and veering off 66 now and then for good stuff (like Phx, and the Grand Canyon, maybe go tubing down the Salt). Lotsa photo opps along the way; I expect the Panoram to be put to good use.
    LMar and NHSN like this.
  2. very interesting .
    very nice,sharp photo.
  3. Thanks, Mike. Glad you liked; thanks for the kind word.

    The negatives are huge - 2.25" x 7". So they're really easy to view, produce huge scans, and you get 4 shots to a roll of 120 film.

    If you look carefully at the negs, the lens is sharpest in the middle, and gets soft at top and bottom. It's just a one-element, fixed-focus lens, but the big negs make up for a lot.
  4. Very cool. I'm jealous.
  5. If you like, l found this ...
    although you probably
    have already seen it.....

  6. Gene: You, jealous? I'm flattered..! I read your posts all the time, and really enjoy them. Few have illustrated the phrase "It's the photographer, not the camera" better than you.

    Been awhile since I've read that page, so I re-read it. Thanks! The text is right - the shutter sound is unique. Really not a shutter sound at all - the lens simply swings from one protected pocket in the camera to another. Once in that pocket (that position parallel to the front of the camera's face), the back end of the lens isn't near the film anymore. So the lens is just a tube with a piece of glass in it. What you hear is the latch being let up at the start, a swoosh as it rotates, and then a light thunk as it hits its home 180 degrees away.

    The focus is fixed, so the ideal people pic would have the people a little futher away, and in an art with the camera at the center. But my co-workers are only entertained for just *so long* by my fooling with an old camera on a bike ride - though the next day or so when they see the pics they're a bit more excited.
  7. The picture looks really clear without distortion like other swing pano camera. It's interesting for landscaping, good luck and have a good trip. Minh
  8. Nice write up, and nice results.

    It might be interesting to shoot some objects (bikes) moving with and against the swing of the lens. See what sorts of distortions you get.
  9. Hi,

    Minh: I also shoot with a Widelux 35mm, and that has much more exagerated "swing lens" personality in the photos than the Panoram does. I'm guessing it's due to the Panoram having a much larger radius to the arc of the film plane than the Widelux. The tighter the arc, the more exageration... the bigger the arc, the more like a flat film plane. The pic I posted was cropped, but even the full neg didn't show nearly as much bowing of horizontal off-center lines as my Widelux. I suspect on a landscape shot, you'd barely notice the Panoram was a swing-lens camera.

    PC: Thanks! I've seen some of the distortions of swing-lens cameras shooting motion in a book titled "America by the Yard," which is a (an amazing) book just of Cirkut camera photography. One pic in that book shows cars on an expressway coming and going toward the camera, and instead of square / rectangle shapes, they're diamond shaped, or more like a squashed rectangle. Those cars going with the lens' rotation get long, those going against it are shortened. But only somebody really paying attention would notice, it's not very extreme. Once you point it out to them, everybody just says "Oh, wow! *That's* weird..."
  10. What a fine thing that this interesting camera has fallen into the hands of someone able to appreciate it. Seems like a great way to refresh one's vision.<br>
    &nbsp; &nbsp; Josef Sudek did some great work with one of those a long time ago, using it both horizontally and vertically.
  11. "Then disassembled the viewfinder and cleaned the mirror and lens. Mirror was missing a lot of silver (I guess 100 years takes its toll), but the results were still a big improvement."<P>Mine didn't have a viewfinder, just lines pressed into the leather on the top indicating the edges of the view. Had to guess at the vertical coverage! It's really a terrific camera.
  12. Theres two reasons the Widelux has more severe distortion. It has a wider feild of view and a wider angle lens. This N0.1 version of the Panoram covered a view of 112 degrees on the film. The lens moves through 180 degrees, but loses 34 degrees on each side for the cubby- hole it sits in. And the lens is 90mm. The Widelux cameras carry a 26mm lens that swings in a 140 degree arc with a shutter, so the full motion of the arc is captured on film.

    I'll do some conversions so we wont be comparing apples and oranges:
    Vertical view angle for the Widelux would be 50 degrees and Vertical view angle for the Panoram would be 35 degrees. We know that 26mm would be what is considered a Wide-Angle lens for 24x36mm. The equivalent lens for the Panoram for 24x36mm camera would be about 38mm. This is actually just on the wide-side of "normal" (43mm). A "normal" lens for 6x9 is 100mm. The eqivalent of the Widelux lens for 6x9 would be 60mm. (A "normal" lens is defined as either a lens having the same focal length as the diagonal of the film plane, or giving a diagonal angle of view of 53 degrees) Basically the Widelux has a 30% wider lens and a 20% wider arc!

    So the Panoram was actually designed to give a fairly "normal" perspective where as the Widelux was designed to give the widest possible results bordering on fish-eye perspectives. The curved film-plane of each helps reduce horizontal perspective issues as well as focus issues. BTW, what a reallly COOL old camera! The lack of a shutter really makes it something interesting!
  13. I have had my Panoram-Kodak for over thirty years. I have used it, but rarely. There were then dire warnings about "breaking the neck" (the swivel point, I suspose),if one was not most careful when cocking the mechanism. My example is a Model D, Serial No. 18823, and it has both the view finder (very little discoloration) and the incised "V" lines; there are little nails at each end of the lines and at the center point. My notes confirm the exposure sequence as 2,6,10,&14. I see mine has a full roll of film loaded! So I'd better get out and make some pictures again. I do put black tape over the red window. If you want to see distortion (barrell, I think it is), try it on on a long, wide building. Verticals are also fun for tall buildings, churches, etc. I once found a genuine "vintage" contact print from one of these; a seascape, toned sepia, in a wide wooden frame; all well and beautifully done. Good luck with your western tour pictures. Try some color? Nate in NC.
  14. Did Kodak made these with better lenses too? At least an achromat. Or do something like this exist from other manufacturers? By "something like this" I mean with low distorsion. I have the Horizont and would like it better without the barrel distorsion. (Ofcourse 120 film over 35 mm is also welcome.)
  15. The Kodak No.1 Panoram cameras preduced in 1900 and 1901 apparently had a Rapid Rectilinear before they switched to Meniscus.

    No.1s built in the UK had some alternative lenses as well over the years;
    Goerz Anastigmat and Dagor, Cooke Series II, Beck Series II, Zeiss Tessar and Ross Homocentric Series IV
  16. Much has changed since the original post in 2007.

    However, it's quite remarkable, and I've wanted a decent panorama camera for a long time.

    Alas, I've already got too much "stuff" so will stick with photo-merging....
  17. Well as much as things change... I'm glad Doug is back posting. I have always, like others been fascinated by extreme wide angle pictures. Nice flashback to the days when GeneM and Minh were posting. Very impressed with your lens knowledge RickvN.
  18. I got a 3A Panoram with a non-lens, and may adapt a good front-element focusing 130mm lens from a Kodak 1A camera to it. (I have plenty of usable Verichrome Pan 122.)
  19. Only because I had Coe's book within arm's reach :p
  20. Dustin McAmera

    Dustin McAmera Yorkshire, mostly on film.

    There's a copy of the Panoram cameras made in Tianjin, China in about 1970. I wrote up what little I could find out about it for Camera-wiki, when one was sold at Westlicht. I could only find one other example mentioned on the net, so we have no pictures except the ones in the auction lsting, which we linked to. There's no detail about the lens except its length.

    Lanjian Saomiao She Ying Yi 950 SM - Camera-wiki.org - The free camera encyclopedia

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