Horizon Kompakt: Simply Great Panoramas!


Each modern image editing program can merge photos to a panorama picture. Many mobile phones and digital cameras can do this even without using external software. So why should we struggle with a huge monster like a Horizon? Let’s find it out!

At first we look at how common panoramas are generated. You ideally just grab a tripod, mount the camera of your choice on it and take several pictures one after another, turning the camera after every shot (analog) or just take a pictures (digital) and merge them together afterwards until you completely formed the desired field of view.

There can (but must not) be two problems: First, there can be a problem, if the tripod socket isn’t 100% exactly at the place where the light gathers (that will hardly fit exactly at any camera). Turning the camera between the photos, the next picture will not be taken from the same place but only in an different angle and it will look kinda displaced. If you’re shooting landscape photography, this won’t cause any trouble but if there are closer objects, there may be distortions. Special panorama tripods have settings for that.

The other other problem is much more annoying: you take the pictures consecutively. And even when you shoot skillfully and quickly, there will still be time passing by in between the photos. Even in such a short period of time anything can happen. Perhaps the sun comes out or someone is going through your shot and is transformed to something funny by your editing software; or you just moved and made the camera shake a little bit!

Sure, the classic panoramic photography will probably be held quite stationary. But because we Lomographers like to disregard or at least challenge the rules: who said not to make panorama photography from a moving car or train for example? Or that you can only take panorama pictures of buildings but not of cars drifting across a race track? Well, in exactly these cases our analog cameras have a lead that digital technology probably won’t overtake for some time.

Credits: marcel2cv

Ok, it shall be an analogue Panorama Camera. But which one? The Sprocket Rocket is significantly cheaper than a Horizon camera. Well, that’s right. And the pictured angle is at least very alike. The Sprocket Rocket has a 30mm lens. As far as anything goes, that’s not unusual but the place where the film is exposed is almost twice as wide as a normal 35mm camera. And so the pictures become wider. A disadvantage: it is rather blurred and sometimes skewed to the edge.

With that said, the Horizon Kompakt definitely does better. Its 28mm glass lens has a constructive feature: it moves In a pan from left to right! And so you can get an effect with it – the film runs in a corresponding curve inside the camera. At first it looks fairly complex so it’s not a shame to watch a tutorial before loading your first film.

It is very helpful if you bend the film to you at the first 2 cm when it is placed in the camera.

The easier it will be with your second roll, through which the film have to be treaded. After another film or two, you probably have the hang of it and will enjoy your future rolls.

But you shouldn’t be too confident so as not to encounter problems when loading the film. Incorrect loading will result to something like this:

By the way, this is a good example for a panorama, it is almost impossible to do this using different images.

At the choice of the film you must make compromises. The pictures are definitely better if you put a film with low ISO but the camera is somewhat hungry for light. Under a cloudy sky, I’m normally using ISO 400.

Once the film is inserted, let’s go! But a wait moment, maybe we should look up how to use the camera. When we look on the camera from the top, we see the knobs for the film transport – at the left one there is also a lever with two positions (to switch between day & night shots). Beside the right one is the trigger. Savvy! In the front is a tension lever for the swing mechanism because it works without batteries.

Let’s look through the viewfinder. Wow! That’s a wide angle view! And that’s how it will look on the negative. The viewfinder is a big help when composing your pictures. The only thing to worry about, are your fingers that won’t appear on your viewfinder. So pay attention!

Next, we have a look at our surroundings. Is it more night or day? At day time we switch the small lever to the left to the white dot, at night time turn the lever to the yellow dot. It’s that easy.

Expressed in numbers:
For day time, every part of the film is exposed at 1/60 of a second while choosing night time it is 1/2. For any of you who wants to know: the fixed aperture is f/8. The possible combinations of aperture and shutter speed are of course, quite a few to match every light condition. But thanks to range of color negative film, you don’t have to worry too much about that. You have to think much more about it using slide film. When choosing a subject, you should consider that the picture won’t get real sharp in a distance less than 2m.

To summarize it all: Clamp the mechanism, sights on subject, use the trigger, wind the film forward. And because the camera makes it so easy, you can concentrate fully on the search for subjects!

Day time:

Credits: marcel2cv

At night:

Credits: marcel2cv

And if you like it completely crazy, just let devildi expose a film with a Fisheye and put it in your Horizon Kompakt afterwards:

Credits: marcel2cv

So all in all a perfect camera? Well, almost. Because there is the Horizon Perfekt, and its simpler sister the “Kompakt“:http://shop.lomography.com/cameras/panoramic-cameras/horizon-kompakt. It has a fully adjustable aperture and shutter speed which can be very useful from time to time. It also has a quick-release lever, a water-lever (leaning panoramas look goofy, except they are really sharp) and a tripod socket. Unfortunately, the Kompakt is missing that.

But as you can see in the night shots, there are also ways and means. Because of the difference in price is €100, you can consider if the additional features are worth it. I like mine compact and although it isn’t really a camera to be carried with me all the time because of it’s size.

The dimensions lead me to a final warning: you can say what you want about it, but it isn’t a discreet camera. Should someone actually overlook it, he becomes aware with the “Wssssssssst” of the swing mechanism. And then you have to explain what a strange camera you’re dragging around with you! But after reading this article you can surely do it. Have a look at the Horizon Kompakt make use of its swinging lens!

bg. The Horizon Kompakt is a wunder in 35mm format. It has a coated 28mm swinging lens, that swivels toff he hole frame of 120°. Like this it makes 58mm long negatives – nearly twice as wide as the normal 35mm format. Thanks to it’s fixed aperture (f/8) and focus you can completely concentrate on your motif. Because of it’s two swinging speeds, for day and night, you can have fun around the clock. And because trigger and film transport are not linked up, multi exposures are no problem at all. Get it now, in our “online shop“:http://shop.lomography.com.

written by marcel2cv on 2014-02-06 in #reviews

One Comment

  1. lokified
    lokified ·

    Excellent assessment!

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