Kodak Panoram #1 - Arrived and Used!
This past Tuesday, my Kodak Panoram #1 arrived from Ritz Collectible Cameras in Phoenix.
I bought it there because:
a. They had one.
b. The salesman, Ed, agreed to run a couple rolls of film through it for me (I included money for postage and his time), and then return the undeveloped film to me. I agreed that if I didn't buy it, I'd email them copies of the scans to make a sale with somebody else. So I basically got to see exactly how it worked before purchasing, at a distance. Cool..!
There's not much to one of these cameras. Primitive and simple.
Simple is good. I got to looking at the mechanism that swings the lens, cleaned some old grease out of it with lighter fluid and Q-tips, then added a tiny bit of graphite to some more lighter fluid to try to get it into the rotating mechanisms. Just a tiny, tiny bit. And then the lens began to sometimes make it all the way across on the low-speed left-right transit, and the high-speed transit sounded quite a bit faster. But there was a bias, as if the left-right transits were slower than the right-left transits. So I looked closer...
At first it seemed that the camera might have been slightly mis-assembled, ie, there was a lever in the mechanism that gave the spring more pre-load / more force in the right-left transits, and a lever that seemed to bias that spring force to be greater in one direction than the other.
Yet the levers and such were keyed and slotted in such a way that it wasn't possible for somebody to get it wrong. Looked closer, and there was an adjustment to dial that bias out of the system. Played with that adjustment, and the left-right transits became more reliable and faster, and the right-left transits slowed down a little bit, till *all* transits worked. What's more, the transits sounded the same whether going left-right or right-left.
Then disassembled the viewfinder and cleaned the mirror and lens. Mirror was missing a lot of silver (I guess 100 years takes its toll), but the results were still a big improvement. I *may* spend a couple bucks and replace the mirror, but I'm leery - it's held in by two small nails, and I'm not thrilled with pulling them out or replacing them after getting a mirror. And it's reasonably usable now, and pretty bright. Doesn't need to be much better.
After all that, I carefully cleaned the swinging lens with Q-tips and lens cleaner.
And I made a rubber plug / aperture that will fit into the end of the lens, 4.5 diameter hole, so about 1 stop faster than the original built-in aperture. Found that idea on the Net, of course.
Then I ran a roll of 100 T-Max through it. Exposure seemed right, but I hadn't figured out the spacing quite right so every photo had overlap with the one next to it. Figured *that* out (solution: shoot on #2, #6, #10, and #14) and popped in another roll on an overcast day.
Perfect. All 4 shots came out, some were on high shutter and some on low. Everything works great, once you realize you only need to see the center of the shot in that puny little 45-degree viewfinder window.
Camera has a small light leak at the bottom. I'll put some electric tape over it first, to try to find the source, and then maybe add some foam to the tongue of the box to cure it.
I also found that it seems to work best to have the film feed from a 620 spool, and onto a 120 spool. Odd arrangement of camera internals / pins that the spools sit on.
Not camera related, but my 12 y/o son and I are spending 3 weeks driving a ragtop Jeep down Rt. 66 this July, and veering off 66 now and then for good stuff (like Phx, and the Grand Canyon, maybe go tubing down the Salt). Lotsa photo opps along the way; I expect the Panoram to be put to good use.