Halina Panorama Review : No Frills Plastic-O-Rama

Plastic Trash cam or sheer Genius ?
Both are descriptions I’ve heard about the Halina Panorama  also better known in the US as the Ansco Pix Panorama . But where does the truth lie with this no frills Shooter.

Halina Panorama
Halina Panorama a fixed focus 35mm simple camera

When I say no Frills I really mean it.  The body looks like a disposable camera and feature-wise this camera makes a Kodak Brownie look feature laden. There is a Lens cover, strap and …erm that’s it. There is no flash mount nor even a tripod mount. The plastic lens, aperture and shutter speed are all fixed. If you wanna big out I understand there is a version with a flash (panorama F)  if that sort of thing bothers you. Both versions share the same plastic lens and the lens cover locks the shutter as well in both. It was also sold by Foto-Quelle as the Revue Panorama in Europe.

Snow on Whitesands
Dumfries Feb 2015. Halina Panorama with Expired Kodak BW400CN

The camera shoots at an altered frame of 13×36 mm (most cameras it’s 24x36mm) producing a bigger than widescreen aspect ratio of 1:2.7. This was a format that Kodak introduced but luckily  I’ve not had any problems getting the film scanned at ASDA although as the scan is ta the same DPI grainess appears to increases.

Halina Panorama  Specs

  • Lens:  Plastic 28mm
  • Focus: Fixed
  • Metering: None
  • Aperture: f/11 fixed
  • Shutter: 1/125sec fixed
  • EV 100asa: 14
  • Filter-Thread: None

Halina recommend you use 400asa for most conditions although you can use 100 or 200asa in bright conditions. This is a camera made at the end of zenith of film photography so Haking are able to rely on the fact most colour negative film will have a wide latency allowing the camera to shoot 400asa in most conditions and with a small aperture to improve focus. I wouldn’t waste slide film in it as it has narrower tolerance.

An edition of the 1991 Popular photographer magazine describes the Ansco Pix Panorama specs  as 28mm focal length with a 1/125 shutter and f/11. The camera’s film plane is curved to improve sharpness with such a simple lens. Those specs actually make sense for a simple camera. A current Fuji disposable with 800asa film has 1/140 and f/10 set up

wide screen sundown
Dumfries 2014. Halina Panoramic with Kodak Max 400 (expired 2006)

So how does it shoot ?

Well to be fair it is not exactly the greatest shooter I’ve ever held with a fixed focus plastic lens and the narrow frame size is a waste IMHO. Some branded disposable camera like a Kodak Fun Saver or a Ilford disposable do better. But then the Halina is easily reloadable and  is certainly better than  cheap disposables. The shots usually have a degree of grainess to them (film is probably being pushed over or under a bit, the plastic lens and the smaller format) but it does work in reasonable conditions. Images are  soft and blurring on edges but not that bad. Haking give a 1m to infinity range but I ‘d suggest nearer 3 meters for the sweet spot.

Devorgilla Bridge in Snow I
Dumfries Feb 2015. Halina Panorama with Expired (2014) Kodak BW400CN

Not much to go wrong here either. You can mod the camera by snapping out the mask so it shoots full frame. This is back to basics shooting that you would have got with those early Box cameras.

St Michael's Bridge
Dumfries 2014. Halina Panoramic with Kodak Max 400 (expired 2006)

The main issue for it is the sweeter more compact  Vivitar ultra wide and slim (VUWS) which can still be found and lives on in rebranded production as the Superheadz slim and wide & other marques. Really it’s a much better camera and has become known as the poor man’s LC-A. That saidthe VUWS does have a cache and  that bumps up price or  you can buy a new one for about £15-20.  The Halina can be found often for a quid

Alternatives

  • Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slime & Clones – The poor man’s LC-A
  • Halina 1000 – 70’s fixed focus fun from Haking
  • Lomography Fisheye one – massive 170º plastic number from LSI

Helpful links

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