Photo Essay

NYC - a panoramic perspective

NYC- Fire Lane

The Horizon 202 is a Russian-manufactured mechanical swing-lens panoramic camera. The Horizon's 28mm lens takes shots over a 120 degree field of view, which is roughly the equivalent of shutting one eye - try it now to replicate the effect (unless of course your original complement of eyes is more or less than two - in which case this will not work).

The Horizon is a true panoramic in the sense that it uses a negative size larger than standard. The negative image size is 58 x 24 mm which, whilst giving great images, makes it incredibly difficult to process. In the strange and confusing world of film-processing and chemicals, this size appears to equate to the physical manifestation of Satan and his hoardes and many times I have been driven out of a town or nearly drowned in holy water for simply asking whether the local photo kiosk could handle panoramic. Now I use mail order - where people are less quick to judge.

The Horizon also comes with a special carrying handle which is mounted below the camera. However, using the handle ruins the magic of having your first 6 films ruined by placing your fat chubby fingers at the extremities of the swinging lens. The other major benefits of the handle are (a) it makes you look like a complete moron; and (b) it makes the camera look like a weapon and using it in a major terrorist scare centre like London or New York makes it even more likely that you will wind up arrested or shot for possessing a black box stamped with Russian lettering that makes a bomb-like whirring noise when activated.

The Horizon can occasionally produce a shot that is stunning, but more often than not it refuses to cooperate, preferring instead to shred film or suffer mechanical failure in a vindictive attempt to break my will to live. For that reason it is currently in pieces on my desk. I'm in two minds as to whether to buy another, or simply to stuff my ears and mouth with £20 notes and then set fire to the whole lot whilst trying to put out the fires by hitting myself with a claw hammer.*

These shots were taken on a mixture of negative and slide film. The slide film was cross-processed which explains the slight colour cast (see Lincoln Center shots).

*I have fixed it. Or rather, more accurately, I have realised that it was not technically broken - let's just call it "operator error", or stupidity, but I prefer operator error.

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5 responses

  • Rachel Chambers

    Rachel Chambers gave props (11 Jan 2009):

    Glad you were able to get a few incredible shots out of it though. It is a camera known for it's tempermant.

  • Spectre Photo

    Spectre Photo gave props (11 Jan 2009):

    I love this series. Excellent sorry about your camera! :(

  • Ian Beer

    Ian Beer said (12 Jan 2009):

    I have had problems with an old 202 and horizon perfekt. Both very frustrating but worth the result I think.
    I got a replacement perfekt through warranty and recently made my jammed 202 swing again.
    I too love them and hate them at the same time.
    I like your article.

  • Kirk Hayes

    Kirk Hayes gave props (14 Jan 2009):

    Very cool set. I love panos!

  • Tremaine

    Tremaine gave props (31 Mar 2010):


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