Getting to Know the Horizon Perfekt


I wouldn't say this is my first time shooting a film panoramic camera. Like most Lomographers I work with multiple panoramic options, but I never had the chance to shoot the Lomography Horizon Perfekt in a city like Paris, where you can access to horizontal views so easily.

My first experience with a panoramic camera was 5 or 6 years ago with the Lomography Spinner 360º, followed by the Lomography Sprocket Rocket and the LC-A+ Wide Angle Lens. I had worked with them many times before and I love them, but last February, as a new trip to Paris was approaching I decided to try something else. So apart from my Sony and my LC-A I decided to bring along the Horizon Perfekt, which I ended up shooting mostly in rooftops and bridges (there are a lot of these in Paris!).

The Story

The 35mm Horizon panorama camera was designed more than 50 years ago in Kranogorsky (Russia) by Zenit, and introduced for the first time in 1967.Its enigmatic lens that pans from left to right all by itself made it special and different from other panoramic cameras out there. Although this camera was invented and designed by Zenit, in the last year it was built only for Lomography. Nowadays you can find the newest Lomography model (the one I have) or vintage models.

The camera differs from other analogue panoramic cameras. Usually, they have a built-in wide angle lens, and/or a long back that allows you to capture longer portions of the film (same with digital cameras, they only differ in format). With the Lomography Horizon Perfekt camera and its rotating lens, you have a better result, as the movement of the glass lens produces a deeper, more exact, and more sweeping image in a mere fraction of a second -- so that the moment, the narrative, acquires more layers.

How it works

First, here is how you load the camera with film.

The back of the Horizon is pretty unique, although it opens by pulling up the left winder notch. Inside there are two winding mechanisms and two small bars close to the lens. First thing that you need to know is that the film must be loaded under this bars so the film covers completely the lens curvature. Once the film covers the lens you should introduce the film under the first silver wind mechanism and under the second plastic one; then you can advance the film and introduce the tip into the second plastic winder. Just to be clear: make sure that the film is behind all the bars and mechanism, and the sprockets catch with the advancer teeth. If you made a mistake loading the camera, press the film release button under the camera.

The Lomography Horizon Perfekt is a very intuitive camera, it basically works following a color pattern. You have two options to shoot: fast or slow apertures, and two colors: white and yellow. Next to the winding system, you can choose the color according to the speed: white for daytime photos or yellow for longer exposures.

After setting the speed color you will find a set of numbers on top of the lens, this too comes in two colors. The outer numbers are the speed of the lens rotation (yellow for 2 to 8 seconds, white for 60 to 500 of a second) and the inner white numbers set the aperture size 2,8/16. Once you have winded and set your speed and aperture you just shoot, and the lens will in a few seconds pan from left to right in a 120º shot. It's actually very funny to see the lens moving out of its chamber' to get inside on the other side of the camera.


Now that you already understand the Lomography Horizon Perfekt camera settings (as I said they are very intuitive and easy) it's good to know some tips before shooting.

  1. Hold the camera from the back top and bottom. When shooting try to keep your fingers out of the frame, as the camera lens pans from left to right on a 120º angle, it's really easy to have your fingers in the photos if you don't hold the camera correctly.
  2. Always set the settings after winding. As many older Zenit cameras, the camera film must be winded before setting the speed and aperture.
  3. Always hold it steady. As the sunlight goes down you better keep your camera steady for those long exposures. The Lomography Horizon Perfekt has a tripod screw built in, which make those long exposures easier. I always carry with me a JOBY GorillaPod which are easy to use and they fit in every bag pocket.
  4. The camera uses 35mm film and you have around 17 - 20 photos on a 36 frames film. I shot it using a Black and White Expired Orwo 400 film, which made the colors a little too gray for my taste, but at the same time, it gave me a richness of grain and texture. I recommend to try it with an Ilford HP5 Plus, Black and White Film, 35 mm, ISO 400, as the Zenit lens are usually built to give you a strong contrast and saturation and this film is made for that.
  5. Bend the world! By holding the camera really low or moving it while you shoot, you will be able to create new perspectives and looks!
  6. If you are in Paris or you plan to visit soon check my blog post about my favorite spots to shoot in the city.

If you liked this article or you'd like to know more about my photography send me an e-mail -, and don't forget to share it with your friends!

© All Rights Reserved Antonio Castello.

written by antoniocastello on 2017-06-13


  1. holgardo
    holgardo ·

    I love panoramic cameras. And the Horizon family is the best, I mean I do dream about owning a X-Pan but an Horizon beats it any day.
    I keep crying because of the Horizon Kompakt I had to sell last year.
    I'm hoping to buy a new one next December.

  2. vicuna
    vicuna ·

    My love for panoramic photography started with the Horizon Kompakt, 10 years ago... after that I upgraded and collected some more panoramic cameras like the Perfekt (but never liked it as much as my Kompakt... and film sometimes got broke inside, the advance lever is quiet hard on my camera...), the Widelux F6B (most beautiful pano cam ever!!), the Noblex 135 (what a fantastic beast) and the amazing Hasselblad XPan which is, for now, my absolute favorite cam...

  3. zorki
    zorki ·

    I started with a Horizon 202 and I still love it!

  4. antoniocastello
    antoniocastello ·

    @holgardo Try the Sprocket Rocket, is not that wide but I still think is a cheap ption for a good panorama camera!

  5. antoniocastello
    antoniocastello ·

    @zorki Do you have pics?

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