Plastic Pano camera .. Junk or Gem? …

I have loads of cameras all of which produce technically excellent images due to the metering/lenses and the ability to choose how you want the image to look as you can determine the aperture to control depth of field or the shutter speed to control the exposure.

I have always liked panoramic images and have in the past shot 35mm in my Fuji Gw690iii to get a sudo pano look and as I am very unlikely to find an Xpan in a charity shop I am going to have to make do shooting multiple frames and sticking them together to get my panos.

The other day I was going through my camera drawers and various camera bags and came across a little plastic camera that I didn’t know I had.

I am sure I never bought it so I must have been given it at some point.

Not knowing anything about it other than it said PN919 on the front I checked out Google to find that it was a rebadged Vivitar by the Readers Digest magazine from years ago.

It gives you the option of shooting straight 35mm or with a flick of a switch it gives a fake pano by just exposing the centre of the frame ( you could just do this in Lightroom on a full frame but where’s the fun in that”.

What I like with this camera which is also the same when I shoot my Holga and Diana cameras is the fact that I can just worry about the content and composition of what I am shooting and let everything else be what it will be.

I loaded it up with a roll of trusty ilford HP5 and went out for a walk to test it out.

When I got home I went to rewind the film and it was very loose and didn’t seem to be rewinding, I thought that the film take up spool had let go of the leader and I had not shot any frames so opened the back in very dim light only to find that it had fully wound on to the take up spool.

I quickly closed the back and attempted to rewind again and eventually it did start to rewind albeit very stiffly.

I developed it in ilford LC29 1+19 dilution and when I opened the tank I was pleased to see that only the last few frames had been affected with the back being opened.

Overall I was pleased with how the images look, they are not all that sharp but the pano effect coupled with the gritty HP5 look made me smile.

Would I recommend this camera if you could find one? .. in a word Yes! as it’s a fun thing to try, I wouldn’t pay a lot for it but if a cheap one came up then give it a go.

Here are all the images along with some images of the camera showing the pano mechanism.

There are also one or two full frames images there just to see the difference

Comments most welcome ….

All images on my blog are available as prints just drop me an email

I have a film only blog over at if you want a peek

I also have some zines over on my Etsy store if anyone wants a look .. or message me to buy direct ..

2 thoughts on “Plastic Pano camera .. Junk or Gem? …”

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