Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Some handmade panoramic cameras from portugal

After a long hiatus I become active again. Nevertheless, during this time of inactivity I  managed to get information on at least a dozen of handmade panoramic cameras, which I'll sequentially keep on publishing here.

Today I wish to present three cameras fabricated by Chave Treze from Portugal. He has several handmade cameras to his credit and I'll present three of his cameras which are of panoramic format. You can visit his webpage at

The first one is a converted Nikon F3 panoramic , with a Holga Lens that yields 24 x72 mm exposures. The details can be found here.

The second one one being a 35mm  slit-scan design

The third one too is a slit-scan but medium format. Read about the camera  here. 

There is a nice video on the last camera in action:

I thank Mr. Chave Treze for allowing me to use these pictures.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

More handmade panoramic cameras by Kevin Strandberg

Sometime ago I made a post on the Palm Press 6x9 camera , where I mentioned about Professor Kevin Strandberg and  his handmade cameras. I recently received some more photos and details of   those handmade cameras from  Kevin which I would like to share with the readers.

Kevin Strandberg is  Professor and School of Art Director at Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington. Besides, he  is an expert in  camera making,  an activity he's indulging in since his teens. For a good read on that, have a look at this Washington Times article.  His website can be found here.

The two cameras in the forefront are two 6x12 cameras in vertical and horizontal format respectively. They were constructed using modified Cambo passport cameras and backs have much similarity to that of a Cambo Wide. One of the cameras is attached with a 65 Rodenstock Grandagon MC lens mounted on a matched focusing helicoid. The finder being salvaged from a broken Widepan camera. 

The second camera has a 75 mm Mamiya Polaroid 600 SE lens with a Cambo Wide finder. The film backs are Horseman 4x5 to 120 types and the lens protection bumpers were sourced from Horseman SW lenses.

The other cameras in the background are 6x9 wide angles made of Graflex XL bodies attached to Mamiya and Schneider lenses. The farthest one in the picture is still under construction and based on a Polaroid MP3 copy camera. like one of the 6x12s, it too has a vertical format with a Mamiya Press 75 mm on it.

I thank Professor Kevin Strandberg a lot for providing the pics and details for these cameras. You can learn more about his cameras , the artworks they produced and a book authored by Kevin  on these cameras from my earlier post.

You can read a short description on Kevin's "Franken Camera Project" from this Illinois Wesleyan University Magazine article.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Swing lens panoramic cameras by Renzo Guerin

Swing lens panoramic cameras are  harder to fabricate compared to their flatback equivalents. Apart from the mechanical intricacies involved, seldom one can used salvaged parts from other cameras like the body or film back /path. For these reasons examples of hand made swing lens panoramic cameras and related information are scanty compared to other type of panoramic cameras.

Over the years I was able to gather information on 3-4 swing lens cameras only for my blog  and that's why  I felt very happy  today when I stumbled upon not just one but two handmade swing lens panoramic cameras.

I found them mentioned in the blog of Guilherme Maranhao. It appears that these two cameras, one a 35mm panoramic and other one being medium format were handmade by Renzo Guerin from Brazil. Mr. Renzo Guerin worked as an engineer and is from Sao Paulo , Brazil. Since his teens, he was into making cameras.

The Medium format camera is made of  a 75 mm lens and the other one has a 35 mm.

The following video link shows clearly the swing movement of the 135 format camera which produces  long 24x70mm exposures, longer than the traditional Horizon, Widelux etc. cameras.

I thank Guilherme Maranhao for allowing me to use this pictures. More details and other pictures of these two cameras can be found in his blog post.

Note that Guilherme Maranhao is an award wining great photographer and  camera  tinkerer too. You can find  many posts on  DIY photographic techniques, Camera building and modification in his blog.

For more information on his artwork, exhibitions, awards etc. visit this page.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The 6X14 panoramic camera by Sven Keller

In one of previous posts I've posted about the 135 mm panoramic camera made by Sven Keller from Germany.  In this post, let me present another of his great creation , a medium format 6x14 panoramic camera.

The film back for this camera was made two fused Graflex 6x9 backs. For the details of constructing the back follow  this link.

The lens is a Schneider Super Angulon which was mounted on a Konica helicoid. More details can be found here .

I thank Mr. Sven Keller for allowing me to use these pics. Do visit his website (in German) for many other interesting DIY camera modifications  and other related stuff. The English version of his website can be accessed here.

The Mercury Universal Camera project

This Mercury Universal Camera project looks very interesting and promising, Initiated by Zach Horton and others, this would be a real multiformat systems/modular camera able to be configured with a variety of film formats and cognate lenses.  Wish they include a 35mm panoramic back.

The details of the camera can be found here
A long discussion on it can be found at this APUG Thread

The Palm Press 6X9 Camera

Though 6x9 is not a panoramic format, nevertheless this 6x9  finds special mention as its seldom seenhas a very wide angle of view  and the same principle is used in making many panoramic cameras.

The camera was made by Palm Press, a Boston based company. The company still exists, however they don't make this camera anymore. This particular unit is fitted with a 35mm apo Grandagon.

I thank Mr. Kevin Strandberg for using these pictures. Visit his website for more information on him. Some more information on his handmade camera projects can be found here and here . Yo can have a look at his book for more details of these "Franken cameras".

In the  following video  Kevin  describes many of his handmade cameras and the artworks they produced.


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Japanese Handmade Camera Club : The league of extraordinary ladies and gentlemen

 I first heard about the Japanese Handmade Camera Club from a newsletter of Photographic History Society of Canada (PHSC).

This club is based at Tokyo and the members are accomplished camera makers who have fabricated extremely unusual and  novel cameras. In one of my earlier posts I've mentioned cameras made by Kensuke Hijikata of "Kentax" fame. Mr. Kensuke is one notable members of this club.

Mr. Sam Isamu Mabuchi of Japan Handmade Camera Club  compiled data on 53 cameras which were part of the exhibit at Tokyo and made it available as a slide show at   PHSC's website. There  were  so many handmade  panoramics, large formats, 6x9s and other novel cameras. I strongly recommend that you have a look at them. 

You can access the slide show  of these 53 cameras HERE

Later on, I found a video of the same camera club where members displaying and discussing their cameras. Note the panoramics specially. 

For the camera at 2:04 in the video, that tall, white, lighthouse shaped camera is a rotational panoramic made from a Pentax Auto 110  by Hijikata Kensuke. A report on that camera was published in Popular Photography many years ago. I wish to write about it and some other Japanese handmade cameras once I'm through with the copyrights.