Overhauling Kodak Panoram

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by B&Jdude, Aug 27, 2008.

  1. B&Jdude

    B&Jdude Member

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    I want to overhaul the sluggish swiveling lens mechanism on my Kodak Panoram from the early 1900's. I have tried searchin here and on the web for some information on how to remove the mechanism to work on it. I don't want to start taking the wrong screws out (or remove things in the wrong sequence) and have parts suddenly fly about the room.

    Does anyone on this forum have any experience working on these Panorams. I would certainly love to have some repair info, maybe photocopies of repair articles from National Camera, Camera Technician, Kodak Tecnical Bulletins, or other vintage publications . . . or whatever? Any links to downloadable stuff somewhere online? Stuuf that I can purchase? Etc? :confused:
     
  2. Frank R

    Frank R Subscriber

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    Which model do you have? I have a No.1 with a broken swing mechanism. I tried disassembling the camera only to find the metal parts were not removeable after the wood parts were glued together.
     
  3. B&Jdude

    B&Jdude Member

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    Oh, dear, Frank! That isn't what I would hope to hear. My Panoram is a No. 1 also. And as I indicated, the mechanism (i.e., the metal parts) isn't working properly . . . it either doesn't move at all, or it creeps a very short way into its swing (approx. 10-15 degr. of its 112 degree arc) then stops.

    There must be some way to work on those things, and maybe one has to "unglue" the top or front panel to get to the mechanism. Back in the early 1990's Ed Romney completely overhauled one, and I tried to buy it but couldn't come up with the money and someone else bought it. I started looking for rebuilders at camera shows (in the DC area) and Ed sent me an 8 to 10 page essay (with lots of sketches) he had written up on how to check out one when buying and how to refurbish one.

    Anyhoo, I bought a Panoram that worked great so I never had to work on it. Later I got into a money bind and sold the camera to Jessie Newberry, a camera repairman & collector there in Arlington, VA. I guess I gave him the repair instructions along with the camera as I don't seem to have them any more. Ed is deceased, but his wife still sells his camera repair books, & it appears that he never published those repair instructions.

    So Here I am (and you, too) puzzled about how to work on these things. Sigh! For both of our sakes, I hope some Panoram repair expert stumbles across this thread and tells us the secrets of working on Panorams! : )
     
  4. Frank R

    Frank R Subscriber

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    That would be nice.

    Mine is really a basket case. The leather is all coming off, the mechanism is broke, and the bellows are torn. I have removed some of the leather covering (well, a lot of it just fell off). It has a nice cherry body underneath. I may just strip the rest, wax the cherry wood and make it a shelf queen.
     
  5. B&Jdude

    B&Jdude Member

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    Golly, Frank, I would hate to think of a Panoram sitting on a shelf - they are made to take pictures and do a fine job of it, especially the early (no letter) model 1 with its RR lens. The later models 1 B, C, & D generally have a meniscus lens, but still do remarkably well.

    I googled Kodak Panoram, hoping to find out more info about the camera, maybe articles on repairing them and/or a collector/user group but found very little that was helpful. So, at this point I just hope someone reads this thread who knows a lot about Panorams and repairing them - or who can steer us to a collectors organization or an individual who can mentor us.

    I have one of those yellow Kodak envelopes that contains an 11 x 13 1/2 "photo chamois" (#KP 24040-1)which is wonderfully soft and pliable, about like silk. It is real chamois leather, not that fabric or felt-like stuff that some call chamois, and it would make a great replacement bag bellows for your camera. I don't remember where I got this chamois, but I guess one might find it in a shop that carries photo processing supplies (or on Flea Bay).

    In the "meanwhile, back at the ranch" time, your refinishing and polishing the cherry wood sounds like it will result in one beautiful camera. I might do that to mine as well, as the leather on it is missing in places and in bad shape everywhere else.

    EuGene
     
  6. NOLARon

    NOLARon Member

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    My Panoram

    Hi. Great to find others having the same struggle as me. I am currently overhauling a Panoram 4-D. It was in really rough shape when I got it, but the price was right and I've always wanted a Panoram. I spent weeks of my spare time trying do my homework and prevent harming the camera in my efforts to revive it. There just doesn't seem to be any info out there on repairing these. Finally, I couldn't wait any longer and I just jumped in with both feet.

    I am not sure if the mechanism that swings the lens on your camera is the same as the one on mine. This 4-D has all of the important parts (springs, swingarms, etc.) above the lens, with only the rod that the lens pivots on extending down to the bottom. Seems like I've seen some photos of a Panoram with gears on the bottom - mine has none. If this is the case with yours then this might not work for you.

    To remove the central rod that the lens pivots on- loosen the screw at its base from under the camera. This screw is small and the access hole is too, so it might be hidden by gunk that has built up in it. This hole is directly under where the bottom of the rod meets the camera body.
    Also there is a small square nut located on this screw on the interior. This is held secure by a small nail that is easily pulled with needle nose pliers. You may need to also loosen this nut before turning the screw, but I am not completely sure of this yet.
    After this screw is loosened, the rod should slip out. You will have to remove the knurled ring on the lens that secures the bellows if you want to remove it completely.

    Hope this gets you moving forward. I've been playing with the spring drive and have some thoughts on it too. As for the leather- I have been searching for a source and have found the Levant Grain from www.ganebrothers.com to be the closest so far. But I'm still looking. I like the chamois idea - my bellows has BIG holes in it.
    I'll post some photos as soon as I can - preparing for possible hurricane and school has me wrapped up at the moment.
     
  7. B&Jdude

    B&Jdude Member

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    NOLARon:

    Dang, I must have timed out just as I sent my earlier reply, as I had to leave for a spell, and when I returned to the computer, there was no reply showing.

    There are some Panorams that have various gears and other parts on the bottom of the swing lens shaft. The additional mechanism was added to allow one to slow the swinging lens down when needed such as on cloudy or overcast days or when using slow speed film. There were also some special Panoram models with other custom features, including a small number built with Goerz Dagor lenses (rather than the RR's of the first models and meniscus lenses of later ones).

    Anyhoo, I got hold of Ken Ruth at Bald Mountain Camera Repair (baldmtn@pacbell.net) and he is e-mailing me some info on his Panoram service charges. So, if I can afford it, I think I will send me camera out to him rather than go to work on it with my vice grips and ball peen hammer.

    I hope you come through the hurricane ok.

    EuGene
     
  8. B&Jdude

    B&Jdude Member

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    Well, phooey! I couldn't wait for Ken Ruth of Photography on Bald Mountain (surprised his name isn't Mussorgsky - maybe he's too Modest for that) to send me his price info, so I boxed the Panoram up today and shipped it to him out in California.

    So, hang tight guys, as I am the guinea pig here. We'll see how well Ken does, how much it costs, and how long it takes him to fix it. Of course, for me the big risk is the cost, as I am just a flunky with the county solid waste (read: garbage and recycling) department, so my shekels are few in number and hard earned! As folks in the hills say, I bought a pig in a poke . . . I've committed myself to pay for repairs with no clue as to what that cost will be . . . and this for a Panoram that is pretty ragged looking and probably not worth over $150 - $200 in perfect operating condition!

    Oh, well, no common sense here. Maybe that's why I am a flunky! Largo al Factotum.

    Smiff
     
  9. B&Jdude

    B&Jdude Member

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    Well, guys, we haven't had any luck finding a technician to jump in here to instruct us on how to repair/overhaul our Panorams, so I put a want-ad in the classifieds in hopes of buying a couple of junkers/parts cameras that I can practice on. Also, I asked for anything I can buy in the form of written repair instructions. I don't know if it will bring in any results, but I don't know what else to do, so I had to at least try.

    EuGene
     
  10. B&Jdude

    B&Jdude Member

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    I'm beginning to worry that my Panoram might not be such a good investment as a user camera. Instead, it might be one of those sit-on-a-shelf collectables where its functionality might not be important. I say this because after posting questions here, the Panoramic Forum (above this one), and on APUG classifieds seeking info on repairing the Panoram mechanism, I have not gotten any replies on how to repair them or references to materials on such repairs. I have corresponded here and elsewhere with several Panoram owners and none knows of any source for such information.

    There seems to be a lot of Panorams extant . . . there is almost always at least one on FleaBay, and a few days ago there were 4 listed at once (I bought one of them on Saturday), so I would have thought that there would be some nice repair booklets or articles in collector publications if the cameras were commonly used and therefore in need of maintenance.

    Ron and Frank, looks like we are asea without a sail or rudder, so we might need to come up with what we can on our own. In my case, since I just picked up a fairly nice Panoram this weekend, I might take that real ragged other one that I have and disassemble the thing without worrying about damaging it. I will be the camera doctor-in-training and it can be my cadaver. I don't know of any other solution to the problem.

    Any ideas, fellas?

    EuGene
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 8, 2008
  11. karl

    karl Member

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    I had Ken repair my No.1 Panoram Kodak and I couldn't be happier with the results. He did great work. Replaced the bellows, got the swing mechanism to work reliably, cleaned the lens and shimmed the film plane so that the lens was actually focusing where it was supposed to. It wasn't exactly a cheap repair bill, but then again how many people out there are repairing 100 year swinging lens panoramic cameras. I have one of the 'specials' with the Goerz lenses. Got it for a song on Ebay, then sunk about $300 into getting it fixed. I figure a total investment of less than $500 for a 6x17cm camera that you can used hand held is a great deal.

    Here are some of my Panoram shots. The negatives are actually sharper than these scans but I haven't worked out the best film holder for my scanner that will fit the long strips of film.

    www.flickr.com/photos/summicron2020/sets/72157604099255323/

    Karl
     
  12. B&Jdude

    B&Jdude Member

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    Karl:

    Actually, Ken has my older No. 1 Panoram at this time, but I normally can't afford to have others work on my cameras except on rare occasions . . . I'm just a guy working for the county doing admin & paperwork for the recycling center which isn't a high paying job. That's why I feel the need to learn how to maintain my Panorams. As it is, I haven't a clue what type of money I have committed myself to pay, but $300 scares the Hell out of me!

    Dang it, I really need to learn how to get the mechanism out of these Panorams to work on them myself. Certainly they can't be any more difficult to rebuild than LF shutters, like Compurs, Copals, etc., and I maintain all my LF gear myself. Just looking at the patent drawings, the Panoram mechanism appears very simple, but those drawings don't show how to get it out of the camera without disassembling the wooden body.

    EuGene
     
  13. B&Jdude

    B&Jdude Member

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    Karl:

    By the way, nice prints there! My old Panoram (that I had to sell in 1995 to pay a divorce lawyer) also took nice shots . . . my favorite was the Vietnam Veterans' Wall in DC. I got a couple of great shots of it before the Park Rangers ran me off of the grass out in front of the Wall.

    EuGene
     
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  15. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    wow karl

    those are some nice pictures!
    i have always liked panorams,
    but was always shy on buying one ...

    it looks like ken's repairs were well worth it!

    john
     
  16. B&Jdude

    B&Jdude Member

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    John:

    If you can scarf up the shekels, by all means buy a Panoram! Like Karl said, they are a great deal for a 6x17 camera. Even with the meniscus lens, they take real nice pictures. The early models (no letter designation, but prior to #1-B model) came stock with a RR lens that was even better. Of course, the cat's meow is the special order ones like Karl's with the Goerz glass.

    EuGene
     
  17. karl

    karl Member

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    Thanks. It's a fun camera. You do tend to go through film in a hurry with only 4 shots per roll. I picked up a 50 roll box of expired Ilford PanF to get to know the camera.
     
  18. B&Jdude

    B&Jdude Member

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    Well, hopefully the learning curve is not a long drawn-out affair. Maybe you can meter various light conditions and test both speed settings, then on down the line you just meter a scene and know which setting is best for it. Of course, a calibrated eyeball might be just as good as any ole fancy meter.
     
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  19. karl

    karl Member

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    Well, since you only have a choice of 1/50th or 1/100 of a second and shooting a full aperture (6.8 in my case), slow film is the way to go.
     
  20. B&Jdude

    B&Jdude Member

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    Yeah, with the Panoram that I had back in the 1990's, I used ASA 50 on bright days and 100 or 200 on overcast days. I just had to reckon it out for myself as to which film to use on "in-between" days. But, at least I had 2 speeds so I could bracket a little bit.

    Now that I am back in the Panoram saddle again, I will have to relearn some of the techniques which I used as well as the characteristics of the specific camera(s) that I will be using. I think the slow speed B&W has pretty broad exposure range and is most forgiving of cameras with crude speed control. Actually I had good luck with color film too, except that it seemed that the slowest that I had was 200 speed, so I only used it on not so bright days. I suppose I could have made a small slip-on ND filter that I could put on the lens when it was too bright, but I never tried that.
     
  21. karl

    karl Member

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    I've thought about a sort of pinhole slip on lens cap in order to get some more depth of field. It would be nice to have something that works as an smaller aperture.
     
  22. B&Jdude

    B&Jdude Member

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    Karl:

    Well, I talked to Ken this afternoon and it looks like my laundry list of needed repairs will add up to a lot of shekels, a little over $300 like yours. I suppose I can't complain, as I paid only $93 for the little beast as a fixer-upper, and will end up with an ugly $400 Panoram . . . that's not a bad price for a camera which is functionally same as new. If they work the same, then pretty and ugly will take the same pictures, and that's all that matters to me.

    Of course, I gotta start robbing liquor stores to come up with the $$ to pay for the repairs!!
     
  23. B&Jdude

    B&Jdude Member

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    By the way folks, if you want to see (and print out) the patent for the Panoram mechanism which has some real nice drawings of all the parts, just go to http://patft.uspto.gov On the left side of the opening page there is a link that says "View Patent Full-Page Images" -- click on it and it will take you another page that has a box filled with 8 zeros at upper left and a button labeled "View Patent".

    Position your cursor at the right side of the box and Backspace to remove 6 of the zeros, then type in the patent number, 693583. There should be 2 zeros to the left of the number just typed (else it will not find the patent) . . . if the patent number is correct & with the two leading zeros, then click the VIEW PATENT button and it will come up. Then you can print out the patent (6 pages) if you wish.

    EuGene
     
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  24. freygr

    freygr Member

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    Luckily the glue they used is hide glue and is water soluble.
     
  25. B&Jdude

    B&Jdude Member

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    freygr:

    You wouldn't happen to have any experience disassembling a Panoram. would you? (I hope...I hope...I hope)

    EuGene
     
  26. JackGreen

    JackGreen Subscriber

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    Panoram depth of field

    There was a posting on one of the panoramic photography sites a couple years ago that showed a very nice shot of the San Francisco Bay bridge in focus from near to far taken with a no 1 Panoram. The photographer made up some aperture reducing inserts to insert into the front of the lens "shade" out of snug fitting rubber faucet washers that had various sized pieces of thin aluminum glued on with holes made with common drill bits. I've tried this. Removing the faucet washers is a challenge. I can't say much for my results because I think my lens may be out of register with the film plane from when the "bellows" material was changed. Checking focus is not easy on one of these. It sits on the shelf waiting for motivation or a trip to Ken Ruth
    Jack