The Panorascope is a panoramic stereo camera for 16 mm cine film, made by the Parisian company Simda from about 1955. It can use film with either one or both edges perforated; with double-perforated film, the image is 10x20 mm, and with single-perforated, 11x20 mm. A standard spool of film allows 120 stereo pairs, or 240 normal (mono) pictures.
The camera body rather resembles an amateur cine camera, but is held flat for use. Sylvain Halgand's Collection d'Appareils describes two models of it. The first has a pair of fixed-focus 25 mm f/3.5 Roussel Microcolor lenses, and a shutter with speeds 1 - 1/250 second, plus 'B'; this is synchronised according to McKeown, (and the PC socket is visible in the second-type Panorascope at Welt der Stereoskopie). It has a reflex viewfinder (a large brilliant finder), using a viewing lens mounted between the taking lenses, and a folding frame finder which erects over the reflex one, on top of the camera. Also on the top is a large advance knob, a frame finder and an accessory shoe. The camera can be set to take single (mono) or stereo pictures.
The second model of the Panorascope is broadly similar. It also has fixed-focus 25 mm f/3.5 lenses, which are now by Angenieux, and the same shutter. Instead of the frame finder it has a folding reverse-Galilean finder, with the eyepiece at the back of the camera (probably considerably more convenient to use than the original frame finder). Whereas the first model is finished in black leather, the second has two-tone grey covering.
McKeown states that less than 2500 examples of the camera were made.
- This number of frames is stated in an advertisement for the Panorascope, 1956 at Sylvain Halgand's Collection d'Appareils, though the auction listings at Westlicht (cited below) say the camera takes 300 pictures per spool of film. Perhaps the frame counter counts to 300.
- Panorascope (extensive notes, with pictures of the first model (an unusual example without any engraving on the lenses), at Collection d'Appareils.
- Panorascope (first model), shown with a Simda stereo viewer and a mounting card for four stereo pairs, sold at the sixteenth Westlicht Photographica Auction, on 5 December 2009.
- Panorascope (first model), showing the removable film chamber cover and film spool; sold at the 23rd Westlicht auction, on 25 May 2013.
- McKeown, James M. and Joan C. McKeown's Price Guide to Antique and Classic Cameras, 12th Edition, 2005-2006. USA, Centennial Photo Service, 2004. ISBN 0-931838-40-1 (hardcover). ISBN 0-931838-41-X (softcover). p894.
- Panorascope (second model) at Welt der Stereoskopie; several pictures of the camera, including the film chamber, a page from the user's manual, and the viewer with some mounted stereo pairs.
- Panorascope (second model)with a case, sold at the eleventh Westlicht auction, on 26 May 2007.
- Patents held by the Guébins, at Espacenet, the patent search facility of the European Patent Office:
- French Patent 1126986 in the name of Daniel Guébin, Perfectionnement aux appareils photographiques (stéréoscopie) (Improvements to cameras (stereoscopy)), filed 1955 and granted 1956. The patent describes the Panorascope, and specifically (i) its ability to switch readily from mono to stereo photography, (ii) the mechanism by which advancement of the film, arming of the shutter and advancement of the frame counter are linked, and (iii) the use of any type of 16 mm film.
- French Patent 1147784 in the name of Simone Guébin (née Lory), Perfectionnement aux caches ou cadres de montage pour couples stéréoscopiques (Improvements in covers or mounting frames for stereoscopic pairs), filed 1956 and granted 1957. The patent describes the mount shown with some of the cited cameras, with four pairs mounted together. The mount allows the film holder to be slid sideways, to vary the point at infinity (or simply to align the two views with the lenses of non-adjustable viewers).