Panoramic Cameras

I offer commissioned builds of custom 35mm panoramic cameras. Please contact me on instagram @watchmemake for more information. Current lead time is 4-5 weeks depending on lens choice. They are usually based on a Nikon FE body with a large format or medium format lens to achieve a negative size of around 68mm x 24mm. The client supplies the body, lens, and viewfinder and I provide the machining, design and printing of parts, helicoids, and etc. The commission starts at $300USD and goes up depending on complexity and additional requests like grips.

There are a few wide angle lens options that works:

  • Mamiya 50mm f/6.3 (from their Press series) – Aperture, focus, and shutter all in one, but very large and heavy. Cost = ~$300USD. This is a good quality lens and there is no modification on the lens so you are able to remove it if you choose to use it for other bodies. Very cool looking setup and you can find custom builds using the Nikon F called the “Pannaroma” online.
  • Schneider Super Angulon 47mm f/8 or f/5.6 (the F8 can be found in the Brooks Veriwide) – Helicoid required but extremely compact. There are four Schneider 47mm Super Angulons to my knowledge. The f/8, the early non-XL f/5.6, the later non-XL f/5.6, and finally the XL f/5.6. The XL is a modern lens and very expensive so it’s not recommended. My preference is for the f/8 or one of the non-XL f/5.6s. They are fairly compact and can be found for $250-350 USD. 
  • Bronica 40mm f/4 (from their 645 ETR series) – The built-in Seiko electronics shutter is usually bypassed and the lens elements mounted to a Copal No.0 shutter. This of course would add to the cost of the build (lens alone is ~200USD). I have yet to work with this lens but supposedly it can be converted without modifications and therefore could allow the lens to be restored to its original condition. The large flange distance of the lens (to clear the SLR mirror) makes the lens setup very bulky.
  • Mamiya 55mm f/4.5 (a TLR lens for the C220 and C330) – Helicoid required and not as wide as the other options. This is a sleeper lens in my opinion as it is possible to get a copy for cheap if the viewing lens is damaged. Even in great shape, it’s only ~$150USD.
  • There are also 65mm options that are way cheaper like the Mamiya Press 65mm and the 65mm Super Anuglon (F8 or F5.6). You will have a harder time zone focusing with the shallower depth of field but if you are shooting mostly far objects (landscapes), it will work fine.
I recommend using the Nikon FE bodies because they are cheap (especially ones with failed lightmeters) and have a good sized film pressure plate. Other bodies may work but if more modifications are required to achieve film flatness, that will increase the cost of the build. I have built super panoramic cameras with multiple bodies (Nikkormats) combined together, but those are very complicated conversions and the commission starts at $600USD.