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 use salvaged parts from other cameras like the body or film back /path. For these reasons, examples of handmade swing-lens panoramic cameras and related information are scanty compared to other types 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 a 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.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

A handmade 6X12 using Mamiya lens

Found in Ebay and brought to my attention by Olaf Matthes. A 6x12 medium format panoramic with Mamiya lens. Any information on this camera is welcome.

Great handmade 24x105 panoramic camera by Sven Keller

I first noticed Sven Keller's site couple of years ago when Olaf Matthes pointed it out to me. Mr. Sven Keller is from Germany and he had self fabricated quite a few cameras.

One of the interesting designs include a fused body 35mm panoramic camera. He joined three bodies of Dacora Super Dignette cameras to form an extended film path that can yield a 24x105 mm exposure. The lens cone was salvaged from a Mamiya Press 6X9 camera. Different Mamiya lenses were used for the camera.

Further details of the camera can be found from this webpage.

I extend my sincere thanks to Sven for allowing me to use the pics of his camera from his website. 

Do visit his gallery to know about many more handmade and modified cameras.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

The Wideboy Panoramic Camera-II

 Many years ago I wrote about the Wideboy Panoramic camera in my blog. Wideboy and other panoramic cameras were made by Horsley Cameras of UK. My old blog post can be found here.  Many of the links in that old post went defunct over the years however certain information can still be retrieved from the archived websites. I've made an earlier post on how to fetch archived data from dead websites.

A couple of weeks ago I found an Wideboy Mark III being sold on Ebay, which rekindled my interest in that camera.

Wideboy is a swing lens medium format panoramic camera. A simple gadget  that has to be hand cranked to take the picture. Being a simple design it would very easy for the initiated to study the general principles of rotational panoramic cameras and improve it if necessary.

I'm not sure what kind of lens this particular version used. One of the models used an enlarger lens

I thank  a lot the Ebay seller "Green Mountain Camera" who sold this particular item and allowed me to use these pictures. The weblink to this Ebay seller is

Check my old post on Wideboy/Horsley Cameras for some more information particularly on Mike Rignall who designed these cameras. Some extra information can still be found  from

You can learn more on the construction details of Wideboy from this article which got published in the November issue of Amataeur Photography magazine in 2014

An operating manual for the Wideboy Camera( and other Horsley/Mike Rignall made cameras ) can be downladed from here.

A note on broken website links in my blog posts

My blog is more than eight years old now and many of the URLs I've provided went defunct over the years.

It is unfortunate to say the least that so many informative sites can no longer exist. However, for some of them the information can be recovered at least partially if the site has been archived.

For those who don't know how to check if a site is archived, please go to the"Wayback Machine" at 

Paste the link in the Wayback Machine text box and check if the site is archieved or not. In some cases you would see multiple snapshots of the page taken at different times. Check for a date/year closest to date of publication of that particular blog post where I mention about the web site. If your lucky you might be able to retrieve  some information at least. 

Secondly, if you come across any site you think worth archiving, you can submit that web link to the "Save Now" feature of Wayback's archiving tool

For a detailed method of archiving, please read this information:

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Scovill Panoramic Camera

During a  recent visit to PHSNE Photographica show I picked up a  few old issues of "The Photographist" magazine. This was the journal of the western phototographic collectors association and each issue is a gold mine of information on camera and accessories of the yesteryear.

 One of the magazines which I picked up had a very detailed account on the Scovill Panoramic Camera written by Mike Kessler.

The Scovill pano camera was made in USA by the Scovill and Adams Co. in New York. The patent for the camera was granted to Mr. Mathias Flammang, an employee at Scovill.

I hope you'll enjoy reading about this camera and please provide me information if any  you seem relevant to this or other related  cameras.  

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Wide-tac panormaic camera : A handmade 6X17

Found recently another handmade 6X17 in Ebay. Appears that the film holder was made from two fused 6X9 film holders. The seller was generous enough to allow me to use the pics which is much appreciated.

The name of the camera is "Wide-tac". So far I didn't come across any source of information on this camera. Let me know if you know anything about this camera. Either directly email me the info, or use the comments section under the post.