Pankopta

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The Pankopta is a panoramic camera made by Meopta in about 1962.[1] It takes 55x235 mm exposures on 120 film, with a 135° angle of view. It has a swivelling Belar 105 mm f/4.5 lens, and shutter speeds 1/8-1/125 second.[2] The exposure time is determined by regulating the speed of rotation of the lens housing.[3] The housing is reset manually using the knob on the top (around the aperture control). The lens does not focus; the aperture control is marked with depth-of-field ranges. The camera has a folding frame finder and two spirit levels (for front-rear and left-right adjustment)[4] on the top, and folding handles on each side.

The film is advanced by a simple winding knob. The patent states, however, that this is geared to the right grip handle, so that the film can be advanced by a single to-and-fro movement of the handle. This suggests that the camera has automatic frame spacing, though this is not explicitly stated; there is a red window in the back, but this might be used only to set the start of each roll of film. The example at Westlicht appears also to have a connection in the base for an external power winder,[1] (which must surely rely on automatic spacing). There is a frame counter on top of the camera (this counts from 0-9, so is presumably intended to count more than the three exposures on a 120 film); there is a knurled thumb-wheel to adjust the counter.

Two examples of the camera have been seen at Westlicht auctions.[5]


Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 Pankopta sold at the fifteenth Westlicht Photographica Auction, on 23 May 2009; several excellent pictures of the camera; there were previously more pictures showing, among other things, what appeared to be a connection for an external film-winder.
  2. The listing notes at Westlicht give shutter speeds 1/5-1/100 second, but the speed selector on the front of the camera is clearly marked 8 - 125.
  3. French Patent 1240129 of 1960, Appareil de photographie panoramique at Espacenet, the patent search facility of the European Patent Office.
  4. The drawings in the patent (cited above) seem to show a single level, with two scales, but the actual camera at Westlicht has two levels. Moreover, the patent states that there is a small mirror mounted on the front, curved part of the frame finder, to allow the spirit level to be checked with the camera at eye level, but the mirror cannot be seen on the actual camera.
  5. Pankopta sold at the first Westlicht auction, on 15 November 2002; just one photograph.
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