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Shooting Landscapes with the Horizon 202 Panoramic Film Camera

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The Horizon 202 is an analog panoramic camera from a company out of Russia, and for those who couldn’t afford a Hasselblad XPan or Fujifilm GX617, it was the next best thing. Photographer Jay P. Morgan decided to take the camera out to enjoy it today, nearly 50 years after it originally debuted.

In this short 5.5-minute video, Morgan shows how the Horizon is designed differently than something like the Hasselblad XPan. While the Hasselblad has a lens that is designed to expose the whole panoramic frame at once, the Horizon 2020 uses a 28mm f/2.8 lens that rotates from side to side to expose just over two frames of 35mm film in one image.

The time it takes to make that rotation isn’t necessarily fast. In the video above, Morgan shows how long the process can take to make an image, and you can count the seconds between when it starts and when it completes. The benefit of this, however, is that you are always using the sharpest part of the lens for the entire exposure of the image: the center. That means that even though it’s a slower, less expensive method it is capable of making relatively sharp images.

“It should be sharper, cleaner, and not have the edge problems you get with a flat plane panoramic camera where optics start to fall apart a little bit on the edges,” Morgan says.

However, the lens has another downside: its focus is always set to infinity.

“If you get something really close to you, and you’re shooting at f/2.8, there’s no way it’s going to be in focus,” he says. “You cannot focus this camera. You just have to live with the focus that it gives you.”

Still, the images it makes can be pretty great and have a beautiful nostalgia to them.

I really enjoy shooting with this camera. It is an easy camera to use, except for loading the film which may be a little bit difficult,” Morgan says. “But if you want to camera that gives you a different perspective, it’s just fun to use. I mean for the compromises you have to make to use this camera is well worth it.”

For more from Jay P. Morgan, make sure you subscribe to his YouTube Channel.


Image credits: Photos by Jay P. Morgan and used with permission.

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