Friday, March 11, 2011

The Lipari-Rama panoramic camera - I

I first read about this camera in  Joseph Meehans book on panoramic photography. For long, I searched for this camera in the internet but never found any good closeup picture of the same.

Some time ago, I found quite a few pictures taken by this camera in Flickr. Upon request, the owner of this camera, Mr. Randy,  promptly sent me the pictures of this camera which he owns since 1991.

The Lipari-rama  was handmade by Jim Lipari of Omaha, NE. He was a renowned authority on Cirkut panoramic cameras. Google his name for more information.

This camera is a rotational panoramic camera, build on the body of a Nikon film SLR. Other camera brands too were used so far as I know. Like most other rotational cameras, a small battery operated motor rotates the camera as well as continuously draws the film. The exposure is made through a very narrow slit on the plane of the shutter curtain and with the mirror raised. The exposure is altered through controlling the rotation speed, which is in turn, a function of the applied voltage (see the pictures).

I just came across some more information on Jim Lipari along with a photograph of him with his Lipari-Rama camera ,in an old issue of the Panorama magazine. You can download the pdf from here (Page 3 top left). The camera was mentioned as 'Lipariwide'.

To see some fascinating panoramas taken by this camera visit Randy's Flickr page

I thank Randy for providing me the pictures along with their descriptions. Please note that the copyright for the pictures belong to him and you may not use them without his permission.


Thomas said...

During the '60's and '70's I worked for Calandra Photo in Omaha where Jim Lipari was Vice-President. We got to know him because he would come to watch the film machines run, he also built equipment for the plant. Years later I would see him at camera shows. At one of these shows he was showing a 3-d panorama camera and viewer that he built.Jim Lipari was one of the nicest, friendliest people I have ever had the pleasure to meet.

Somak Ray said...

Thanks Thomas for sharing your memories.

sam wang said...

I met Jim Lipari toward the end of his life. He was an incredibly warm and smart person. I am fortunate to have 2 panoramic cameras built by Jim - one somewhat similar to this and another that used 120 film. He also gave me his handmade tools to reload the plastic Kodak Panoramic disposable cameras that sported beautiful 25mm lenses. His house was full of cameras that he built, including many prototypes that didn't quite work out. It was a real inspiration to visit and see him working in his workshop!

S. Katz said...

I have a camera with a name plate on it - "Hand made by J Lipari…" It is a 4 x 5 Crown Graphic with a large black box on the back where the film backs would mount (Graflok style). The black box has gears on the bottom and an electrical connector on the side. If anyone is familiar with this, please let me know. I would like to know more about it, especially since it will be for sale soon. Thanks.

Kris Lipari said...

I am Jim Lipari's daughter , Kris. I have been going through some of my dad things and have come across 3 of his Liparirama's that am am willing to sell. One is from a Yashika body that he converted and the other 2 or Box camera's that he made. I also have some of his disposable Liparirama's. If any one is interested an any of these please contact me at I also have lots of his Panoramic photos for sale in 35MM format and 10" format

Kris Lipari