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Glossary Terms

Panorama Cameras (or Panoramic Cameras) are cameras designed to take photos with a very wide horizontal angle, but normal vertical angle - resulting in normal height, but very wide photos. Typically these are of landscapes or large group of people arranged in a long row - such as the "classic" whole school or whole team photo (or, of course, very tall narrow photos of, say, tall buildings, if you turn the camera sideways).

There are several ways to design a panoramic camera to operate:

  • Keep the camera still, but swing a normal lens across the scene - perhaps using a slit-shaped shutter. This is how, for example, the Horizont and Al Vista are built.
  • Move the whole camera - manually, or with some motorised mechanism, keeping the film still by winding it in synchronisation with the rotation.
  • Use a normal lens, or a conventional wide angle lens with a normal film frame, but add a (perhaps switchable) mask to crop the picture vertically; this is how the APS panoramic format and the panorama setting on 35mm cameras such as the Olympus mju ZOOM 70 panorama are implemented.
  • Use a normal lens in a normal camera, but add a panoramic setting which rearranges the frame to spread across a number of normal-sized frames; some recent 35mm cameras have this feature. Some disposable cameras are fixed in this format, such as the Fuji QuickSnap Panorama 35mm and the Kodak Panoramic 35 disposables.
  • Move the camera, taking a number of separate, normal-sized pictures, and assemble the frames into a single picture later. This is a technique which can be used on a number of digital cameras - usually requiring the user to move the camera and operate the shutter-release, with software providing a guide to lining up the shots.
  • Rotate the camera, making a video recording. Use software to convert the video into a still image.

See Category: Panorama for some panoramic cameras (including 35mm and 120 models).