First off, this piece will be more about the benefits of panoramic cameras—discussing what makes them a better choice if you're planning to go the longer (excuse the pun) panoramic route. Every camera type has its own use and we won't be the first ones to dictate to anyone what they should or should not use. If shooting with it makes you happy, then go on and keep shooting. After all, that's more important than feeling superior over others just because you shoot a certain kind of camera.
Now that we have that out of the way, let's define real and fake panoramas. Real panoramic shots are images that have a wider aspect ratio or an elongated field of view. Cameras that shoot on a real panoramic setup expose a larger portion of the film, creating longer but fewer shots per roll. "Fake" panoramas on the other hand are usually captured with cameras that mask off the top and bottom parts of the film to mimic the panoramic effect. Think of it as cropping the images to a panoramic format, only this time it's done in-camera.
Real and fake panoramas are both welcome in the photographic world. It's such a vast and nuanced environment and there's space for both types. It would be remiss to assume that only one should be accepted in this creative world of ours. However, we can think of a few reasons why real panoramas have the advantage. Here are some of them:
You get to learn about new and fascinating cameras.
There are different kinds of panoramic cameras in the market—cameras with a sweeping lens, cameras that have a wider film gate to expose longer strips of film, and cameras that rotate the whole lens and film gate in an almost 360-degree manner. They sound interesting, right? Because they are and the only way to understand them is to shoot with them. These cameras have different mechanisms that allow them to shoot real panoramas. Some of them are more technical (spec sheet-wise etc.), while others are just made to be a good bit of fun whenever you're on a photo walk. Maybe there are more kinds of panoramic cameras out there and that's fascinating all on its own.
You get to practice a different style of photography.
Are you done with the usual stuff and are looking to find something new to try? Real panoramas can be the answer. Since they expose a larger portion of the film, it's safe to say that they are totally out of range of the stuff you're used to dealing with. Panoramas take in a wider view of the scene. They can create wonderful landscape shots that take in so much detail in just a single shot. This will teach you how to compose your shots with a wider field of view. Think of it as a creative exercise. Heaven knows we need that every once in a while, especially during a time like this.
It will bring a new kind of enjoyment to your work.
One of the things that can hamper progress is routine. You just get used to the same thing, day in and day out, and it starts to feel monotonous. The same can be said about photography. Others would argue that it's the first step to mastery and we can touch on it in a different article. All we're saying is that a break is good every once in a while. Along with that break from the ordinary lies a new source of happiness. We know you know what we're talking about. It's a new camera with a new format and a new shooting style. It's like opening a surprise gift on your birthday—it's exciting and you just can't wait to try it out.
Panoramas can feel like that once you've seen your first roll after shooting regular format for the longest time. And besides, wouldn't it be cool to have a whole album full of just panoramas?
What about you? What do you think about real panoramas? Share with us your thoughts in the comments section below.