Overhauling Kodak Panoram
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?
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.
"There are two ways to avoid most trouble in life: live below your means... and within your seams."
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! : )
That would be nice.
Originally Posted by B&Jdude
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.
"There are two ways to avoid most trouble in life: live below your means... and within your seams."
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.
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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.
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 (email@example.com) 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.
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.
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.
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?
Last edited by B&Jdude; 09-08-2008 at 10:00 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: left out some words in sentences