The Horizon Perfekt camera had always been on my wish list. It was the first Lomography camera I ever discovered, whilst browsing through images on the Internet. A swing lens camera wasn’t something I had heard of before so to see examples of the photos this camera produced re-opened my eyes to the world of film photography.
The Horizon Perfeckt stayed on my wish list for years. Whilst my camera collection grew and grew, I was still no closer to buying the Perfekt. I buy most of my cameras second hand, and the Perfekt isn’t a camera that many people would want to sell on.
Then one day my luck came in. I had finally found a Horizon Perfekt for sale and at a price I couldn’t resist. £25! The only catch was that it was in pieces. Completely dismantled into parts and sold with the assurance that all the pieces were there.
Not one for missing a bargain, I bought the Perfekt and my story began.
When the camera arrived I was like a child at Christmas. To my surprise the camera had been packaged in it’s original box, which made the experience even better. Inside the box, the camera had been placed neatly together, simulating a fully built version. The front and back cover were pieced together and the main bulk of the insides were rested within the case. That was the last time I saw the camera looking like a camera.
The Horizon Perfekt is a mechanical, non electrical camera, this means there were lots of springs and cogs to piece together. My only guidance was an article I found on the Internet about the Horizont and how to repair it. The Horizont is very similar in design and how it works, so I was able to use the photos on the article to guide me, however it did not strip the camera back to individual parts as my Horizon was . I had to work using logic alone, and if I am honest I quickly thought I had bitten off more than I could chew.
One month of working on this camera after work each night was the most dedication I had shown anything. I’m not a finisher, and there were plenty of times I could have thrown in the towel. The only thing that kept me going was that I really wanted a Horizon!
Then finally one day I had most of the pieces connected up. For a camera without its casings on it looked pretty convincing, however it just wasn’t working. I could cock the shutter (by rotating the camera barrel) but it wouldn’t stay cocked. It was the last stage of the build and I just couldn’t crack it. I genuinely though despite getting to this point it just wasn’t meant to be.
I took a break from rebuilding the camera and left it for a week. Spending a month on it had taken its toll and I just needed to take a step back. Sure enough, as soon as you come back to something with a fresh pair of eyes, the stars align and somehow you can see things you don’t before. Because the issue was on the top of the camera, all of my focus had been there, however the issue was on the bottom of the camera. As soon as I had realised that, I’d got a fully functioning Horizon Perfekt in my hand! I had won!
I documented everything I did in a tipster so it could help someone else in future.
My self built Horizon Perfekt didn’t disappoint, and I have had many amazing photos produced from it. I have taken it to the countryside, to the seaside and even to gigs!
The one that means the most to me is this photo:
It just reminds me how proud of myself I am, and what an awesome camera I have got!
written by hazy_baby on 2013-08-26