The premise was simple – send the same camera to 3 different shooters. Not being quite able to afford 3 Leica III, 3 bargain bucket cameras headed off. My Halina Panorama challenge got off to an interesting start for our first of 3 shooters Hamish Gill, a mix of the good but mainly the bad. I wasn’t too surprised he didn’t end up being a fan. But how would the Pano fare in the hands of someone more use to the light plastastic?
Lucy Wainwright is new to this site but has carved out quite an online presence. She’s one of the founding members of She Shoots Film, moderates a Facebook group and is a member of the Film Shooters Collective. Her own work can be seen on both Flickr and instagram (@thelucywainwright) although by her own description you’ll probably find her lying over there on the ground trying to take a close up of something strongly backlit with dew on it. Like many of us she took up photography and it took her over. Somehow she still manages to squeeze in looking after her excellent kids and studying for her MA in Art Psychotherapy, and she also volunteers in the art groups at a local hospice for people with cancer diagnoses and other serious conditions. Lucy is at home with a diverse range of formats, media and cameras from modern plastic toy classics to a semi-pro Nikon. Here’s how she got on with the Pano (aka Ansco Pix Panorama)
I’m accustomed to using very simple p&s cameras like Actionsamplers and the Superheadz UWS, and this camera is very similar to those in its lens and shutter specs, but it’s definitely a bit bigger and more robust. It’s an easy to load, easy to shoot camera with really positive, active shutter button and solid wind on.
The camera feels quite sturdy and is light but not too light. It has a sliding lens cover to protect the lens and absolutely no special features whatsoever. Fine by me.
The Halina Panorama is a false pano camera with a little insert that goes inside the camera and literally wastes half your film for you by covering up strips of the top and bottom of it. I opted to leave it in and embrace the challenge, looking for compositions with strong geometry and features that would really use the width of the frame and the width of the lens. I started with a roll of Superia 400 and investigated places close to home, and on my regular drive across the peaks, all of which are familiar and beautiful.
I took a few coming back past Mam Tor at sunset, to test the lens’s abilities with flare. I like flare. I like huge big flare. If a camera doesn’t handle flare properly that’s a deal breaker. I also took a couple of pictures in a vertical orientation, to think about how that felt, and decided it was probably an odd thing to do with this camera, but in fact I quite liked the results. I’m lucky to live in a little town near lots of good countryside. I took this camera to the woods and the reservoir walks and investigated lots of beautiful trees and shadows.
I used the colour up on a special trip to Manchester and then changed it out for a 24 frame roll of Kodak BW400CN, which I’ve never shot before. I really appreciated the fact that trying to get the darn thing open after you’ve rewound your roll doesn’t take whole minutes of your life. I’m looking at you Superheadz.
It was a lovely sunny day in the city and I was hunting for dramatic lines and strong contrast, from the Northern Quarter to Picadilly to Deansgate and the river. I don’t shoot much b&w, but I do shoot Ilford XP2 (my C41 is all handled by my excellent lab, Photoghost, in Aberdeen) and was hoping for the same contrasty deep blacks and bright whites from the Kodak. I did lean on the contrast a bit in post, but I might have done that anyway, and I was happy with how it came out. I was happy with how everything came out to be honest, because absolute sharpness doesn’t move me anything like the way lens flare in a Crappy camera does. If you like absolute sharpness then toy cameras and point and shoots aren’t your thing, and this isn’t for you, but I made some pictures that were really satisfactory.
The camera is going to go all over the UK and continental Europe now as part of a Travelling Camera project for the facebook group I mod: Colour Film Photography Group. I think I’ll take the pano element out though.
So things went better here and nice to see the Pano is off for a wee tour. The shots were pretty stunning although in fairness to Hamish this is much more home to Lucy. Also a different view regards the pano mask. But how will Dan fare with our final take on the Halina Panorama ?