So this camera came into my collection about 4 years ago. And during that time, it had mostly been sat on a shelf as something interesting to look at due to it being one of the brightest cameras that I own!
This camera was given away as part of a magazine called Hairdressers Journal at some point during the late 1990s or early 2000s. Its fairly typical for free magazine cameras of the time.
Even though the camera is labeled at “panoramic” it in fact is a standard lens and camera body which has a cropped viewfinder and masked off exposure ares within the camera. The lens also has a fixed focus and small aperture (either F.8 or f.16) which means the camera works best on bright summer days.
I finally got chance to finish off a roll of film over the summer, mostly by taking it nearly everywhere with me until it couldn’t shoot anymore. the camera is so simple that much like the Ilford XP-2 Disposable camera you have to make sure you’re shooting in the correct lighting condition for the ISO of your film.
Although the camera does make some interesting images, It’s nothing you can’t do by cropping your photos after the fact. The design, though simple doesn’t really give a photographer anything tangible to work with and the results can be unpredictable due to having no control over the cameras settings.
I’d say it was a good camera to take on a summer holiday or maybe as a cheap backpacking camera if you know you’re going to scenic and well lit places. that being said, I would choose to travel with cameras such as my Olympus XA, XA2 or Pen FT as I know I can rely on any of them to get me the perfect shot every time. But those cameras do cost significantly more, are far better engineered and I also already own them.
Even with everything I’ve mentioned about this cameras limitations and issues, it is still an interesting piece in my collection. It speaks of the mass production of novelty cameras for third party companies. This camera from Hairdressers Journal is certainly not unique and has more than likely been re-labeled by hundreds of other companies and magazines the world over.