First of all – they made me do it!
After reading recent Rob Jamieson and Hamish Gill posts about panoramic function of Pentax MZ series bodies, I remembered what I have to hand and was triggered to shoot a roll of film in panorama mode. Panorama format is wider, so I decided to max out wide look, mounting my Voigtlander Color-Skopar 20mm f/3.5 SL Aspherical lens on Pentax MZ-3 body.
The film used was my usual favorite: Kodak Portra 400.
A short reminder about panoramic function on Pentax MZ bodies. There is a switch that pulls up curtains that cover up and down part of film frame and viewfinder. Essentially, it’s a crop, that cuts approximately half of 35mm frame and lets you compose in panoramic format.
I’ll be honest, and remind myself that I looked at this function as a useless gimmick of the past, but… things change. I have started to use more formats since those days, such as square for medium format. I have also started to pay attention to Hasselblad X-Pan / Fuji TX shots. This way is a very very expensive one, I can’t justify costs of these cameras for myself. In this case Pentax MZ is a cheap compromise that lets me scratch this wide-look-itch.
I got about ten keepers from this roll, even though most of the shots were made in less than perfect harsh midday sun. Composing the wide field of view panoramic picture was a bit of challenge for me, but somehow, I managed it.
Some notes from shooting panoramic: Image quality suffers noticeably, after all it’s a crop of an already post stamp sized frame, that gets enlarged in further scanning process. It looks to me like that it’s on the limit of possibilities of 35mm film – crop it further and I think it starts to lose aesthetics and IQ starts to fall apart. But still, its usable and fun experiment.
I think that this mode should look better with black and white film, where grain can be more noticeable and forgiving and it shouldn’t ruin the look of the frame. Instead, the shots should be envisioned in a bit “grunge style”. I will get into such experiments, for sure.
Thanks for reading!