Camera Review & Shooting Tips on it's 50TH Anniversary

The Horizon Panorama Camera by Zenit for Lomography, is a 120º full frame adventure created 50 years ago.
Join me on a journey trough the rooftops and bridges of Paris, and learn some tips about it!

In this new article I invite you to learn with me more about the Lomography Horizon Perfekta classic camera with a unique twist, a really analogue professional tool for those in need of panoramic photos.


I wouldn't say this is my first time shooting a film panoramic camera, as most lomographers I work with multiple panoramic options, but I had never the chance to shoot the Lomography Horizon Perfekt in a city like Paris where you can access to horizontal views so easily.

My first experience with a panoramic camera was 5 or 6 years ago with the Lomography Spinner 360º, followed by the Lomography Sprocket Rocketand the LC-A+ Wide Angle Lens. I had worked with them many times before and I love them, but last Februaryas a new trip to Paris was aproaching I decided to try somethign else, so apart from my Sony and my LC-A I decided to bring along the Horizon Perfect which I end up shooting mostly in rooftops and bridges (which there are a lot in Paris!).

The Story

The 35mm Horizon panorama camera designed more than 50 years ago in Kranogorsky (Russia) by Zenit and introduced for the first time in 1967 it's in many ways different from any; it's enigmatic lens that pans from left to right all by itself make it special and different from other panoramic cameras out there. Although this camera was invented and designed by Zenit, in the last year was built only for Lomography, the Austrian Analogue Camera Company, and nowadays you can find the newest Lomography model (the one I have) or vintage models.

The camera differs from other analogue panoramic cameras, usually they have a wide angle lens built in, and/or a long back that allowes you to capture longer portions of the film ( same for digital cameras, they are just photos on a different format). With the Lomography Horizon Perfekt camera and it's rotating lens you have a better result, as the movement of the glass lens produces a deeper, more exact, and more sweeping image in a mere fraction of a second, so that the moment, the narrative, acquires more layers.

But How does the Horizon Perfekt Works?


Before start let's see how to load the camera.

The backs of the Horizon is pretty unique, although it opens by pulling up the left winder notch, you will find inside two winding mechanism and two small bars close to the lens. First you need to know is that the film must be loaded under this bars so the film cover completely the lens curvature, once the film covers the lens you should introduce the film under the first silver wind mechanism and under the second plastic one, you can then advance the film and introduce the tip into the second plastic winder. Jut to be clear: make sure that the film is behind all the bars and mechanism, and the sprockets catch with the advancer teeth.

If you made a mistake laoding the camera, press the film release button under the camera.

The Lomography Horizon Perfekt is a very intuitive camera, it basically works following a color pattern. You have two options to shoot: fast or slow apertures, and two colors: white and yellow. Next to the winding system you can choose the color according to the speed: white for day time fast photos or yellow for longer exposures.

After setting the speed color you will find a set of numbers on top of the lens, this too come in two colors. The outer numbers are the speed of the lens rotation (yellow for 2 to 8 seconds, white for 60 to 500 of a second) and the inner white numbers set the aperture size 2,8/16.

Once you have winded and set your speed and aperture you just shoot!!, and the lens will in a few seconds pan from left to right in a 120º shot. It's actually very funny to see the lens moving out of it's chamber' to get inside on the other side of the camera.


By now you already understand the Lomography Horizon Perfekt camera settings, as I said they are very intuitive and easy. However is good to know some tips before shooting.

1- Hold the camera from the back top and bottom. When shooting try to keep your fingers out of the frame, as the camera lens pans from left to right on a 120º angle, it's really easy to have your fingers in the photos if you don't hold the camera correctly.

2- Always set the settings after widing. As many older Zenit cameras the camera film must be winded before setting the speed and aperture.

3- Always hold it steady. As the sun light goes down you better keep your camera steady for those long exposures. The Lomography Horizon Perfekt has a tripod screw built in, which make those long exposures easier. I always carry with me a JOBY GorillaPod which are easy to use and they fit in every bag pocket.

4- The camera uses 35mm film and you have around 17 - 20 photos on a 36 frames film. I shot it using a Black and White Expired Orwo 400 film, which made the colors a little to gray for my taste, but at the same time it gave me a richness of grain and texture. I recommend to try it with a Ilford HP5 Plus, Black and White Film, 35 mm, ISO 400,as the Zenit lens are usually built to give you a strong contrast and saturation and this film is made for that.

5- f you are in Paris or you plan to visit soon check my last post about my favorite spots to shoot in the city.

6- Bend the world! By holding the camera really low or moving it while you shoot, you will be able to create new perspectives and looks!

If you liked this article or you like to know more about my photography send me an e-mail! info@antoniocastello.us, and don't forget to share it with your friends!

© All Rights Reserved.
Camera photos thanks to: Lomography Corp.

Tags: Antonio Castello, Lifestyle Photography, art, event, paris, France, where to go, what to do, best photo spots, horizon, perfeckt, how to load the horizon perfeckt, tutorial.

Special tahnks to Lomography Paris and to Juliana Devis my personal Paris guide.

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