Late last year Hamish gave me one of his old point and shoot cameras for a project I was doing. He even paid the postage for me. He called it Karmera and showed me this article here. I wanted to do the same for someone else but unfortunately my camera collection, other than my prized cameras, are worth very little so the gesture seemed to me, to fall short.
I had two cameras that I had ready to go to new homes and Hamish suggested that I write a little review of each before offering them up. I’m very glad he suggested that as I found out that one of the cameras doesn’t actually work. Oh well, that can go into my “learning how to fix cameras” pile.
Panorama Wide Pic
The other I loaded with film and took out over a couple of days between Christmas and New Year. I was astounded. What an experience.
What I was using was a little Panorama Wide Pic, a plastic fantastic toy camera. I had originally thought that I didn’t like the camera and it sat on my shelf for about 4 years. Now I know though, the issue was not the camera, the issue was that I didn’t have enough photographic knowledge to use it.
Sounds silly when talking about a toy camera right? But it’s true. The first time I used the Panorama Wide Pic, I loaded it with film, shot it at anything and everything and was then disappointed that most of my pictures were over or under exposed.
With experience, I am now much better and more able to judge the scene and determine whether the film stock I’m using is appropriate. I’m not amazing at it, just a little more experienced.
And so it was a liberating experience. I loaded the Panorama Wide Pic with Ilford HP5+ on an overcast but otherwise bright enough winter’s day and I was freed from all thoughts of aperture, shutter speed or exposure compensation. All I had to do was take it out of my pocket, open the lens and compose. It’s not going to be my go to camera but I certainly enjoyed it far more than I had expected.
The Panorama Wide Pic
So what can I say about the camera? The Panorama Wide Pic is a simple, plastic, point & shoot. There is absolutely no control for the photographer except their choice of film ISO and composition of the elements within the frame.
From my research the shutter speed is somewhere between 1/125 and 1/250 of second and the aperture between f/8 and f/16. The focus is not at infinity, suggesting that this may have bizarrely been designed for shooting groups of people rather than landscapes which I find unusual in a faux panorama camera.
A Little Pass-the-Camera Project
And so having shot it, I pondered the subject of giving the the Panorama Wide Pic away, and decided that rather than give the camera away and potentially never hear of it again, that I wanted to organise a pass-the-camera project. The idea being that I would send the camera on to someone to shoot for a couple of weeks and then they’d send it on to the next person. I’ve since been informed of many other projects like this, not least Hamish’s Travelling Yashica project.
The project is being run in the UK only via the UK Film Photography and Darkroom Facebook group. For our initial run we have enough volunteers to take us to the end of the summer, but I am rather hoping that once people see our collective results that we may have more people step forward to take part. If you are interested in joining in (and are in the UK) then you can leave a comment on this article, contact me via my website or DM me on Instagram. I’d love to hear from you!