I ‘rescued’ this guy from a bargain bin ages ago and he’s been sat on a shelf ever since, waiting for me to get around to trying him out.

The impetus to do so came about when a friend of mine got a Tomiyama 6x17 medium format panorama camera. I was somewhat intrigued by his results, (and more than little jealous of his lovely new camera). Shooting the panoramic compact moved up my list of priorities.

In terms of control there are a finite number of options, essentially you can have the lens cap open, or closed. The aperture is fixed, as is the shutter speed, which means that a forgiving film makes some sense.

I went with Portra, and took it to Cornwall and then to Italy over the summer, composing as best I could through the viewfinder, (not really knowing how true it is to the image captured on the film).

Despite ‘panoramic lens’ claim on the front, the panorama is created by the occlusion of the focal surface at the top and the bottom, which does make for a wide photo, but also wastes nearly two thirds of the film. One could therefore achieve the same results by shooting a normal camera and cropping out a strip at the centre.

The lens is mostly soft, but is very soft on the right-hand side, and the use of a forgiving flim like Portra 400 makes the grain all the more apparent when you crop in so tightly. The pictures have something about them that I like, even for (or perhaps because) of its bargain bin status. Maybe next time I’ll go for some Ektar and make the most of the resolution, or perhaps I’ll find a 6x12 back for the Tachihara in a bargain bin somewhere.

In the meantime it’s back to the shelf for him. Here are some pictures –