Back in March, right before the Covid-19 lockdown began in Texas, I saw some panoramic photographs on Twitter, probably from an X-Pan, and got the pano bug again. I started for the excellent Sprocket Rocket, but wanted more control, so, after hunting some, I ordered a Zenit Horizon S3 u500 direct from Russia.

It arrived in May, and here are a few shots and thoughts from my first roll.

If you’re unaware of the Zenit Horizon S3 u500, it’s a swing lens panoramic camera, the last model from Zenit before they began branding the camera as the Horizon Perfekt for Lomography. Functionally, it’s identical to the Perfekt, with apertures from f/2.8-16 and shutter speeds of 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/60th, 1/100, 1/250, and 1/500.

It’s no X-Pan, but it’s also no Sprocket Rocket, and it’s fun and funky.

Ok. Thoughts… First off, be sure to keep your fingers out of the frame, and while you’re at it, check the strap too…

Or maybe not. The flare in the lower right here is intriguing and interesting, and I’m not sure what caused it, but I like it. The rather wide lens has some fun quirks that I hope to exploit.

And speaking of fun lens quirks, next thought: Don’t Shoot Into the Sun!

Or maybe do… This strangely variable exposure arose from the lens slowly swinging from left to right, and I guess it’s flare that bounced around the kinda bulbous, deeply recessed lens element.

Good times!

And third: as with most panoramic cameras, the format just begs for the cinematic. Go with it! If this was black & white, it would be Hitchcockian. Alas.

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