The Widelux is a fully mechanical swing-lenspanoramiccamera first developed in Japan in 1948, with both 35mm (the F6, F7 and F8 models) and medium-format (1500) models available. The WIDELUX cameras manage this trick because of a 26mm lens pivoting on an axis. This pivoting lens allows for some special effects not available with traditional cameras. As of 2006, the current model for 35mm is the F8. There are important differences between the F and 1500 series cameras. The 35mm cameras have a set focus (5 ft to infinity), whereas the 1500 Widelux can focus from a bit less than 1m to infinity with 7 markers. The 35mm cameras have three shutter speeds, 1/15, 1/125 and 1/250 of a second, whereas the 1500 Widelux has shutter speeds of 1/8, 1/60 and 1/250 of a second. The F series cover a 140 degree view, whereas the 1500 series covers a slightly wider area (150 degree view-diagonally-140 degr.horizontally). Finally, the 1500 Widelux, like most other medium format cameras, has a shutter that must be cocked before the camera will fire. The Widelux has been used on some NASA missions for its 140° coverage. Be aware when setting focus below 5m on Widelux 1500: Resolution will be reduced due to optical limitations. Test any W1500 before buying. There were a lot of problems for the first models in the 90s, uneven rotation, filmplane. That's why Noblex and then Widepan (sort of copy of W1500) were created.
The Widelux trademark has still a lot of fans and users: one of them is the actor/photographer Jeff Bridges who published a book of his panoramic pictures in 2004.