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Widelux model F7
|Maker||Panon Camera Shoko|
|Type||swing-lens panoramic camera|
|Intro price||about US$750 in 1988|
|Lens||26mm pivoting lens|
|F-numbers||2.8, 4, 5.6, 8 and 11|
|Film size||24mm x 56mm|
|Focus||Set at 5-6 feet|
|Exposure||1/15, 1/125, 1/250|
|Shutter speeds||1/15, 1/125, and 1/250|
The Widelux is a fully mechanical swing-lens panoramic camera first developed in Japan in 1958, by Panon Camera Shoko. There are both 35mm and medium-format models. Instead of a shutter, the camera has a slit that exposes the film as the lens pivots on a horizontal arc. This pivot allows for some distortion effects not available with traditional cameras. The last Widelux model F8 ended production in 2000. 
Widelux F series 35mm
- Widelux FI (1959) with Vistar f/2.8 26mm
- Widelux FV (1959) with Panon f/2.8 26mm
- Widelux FVI (~1964)
- Widelux F6 (~1970)
- Widelux F6B (~1970s)
- Widelux F7 (1979–1988)
- Widelux F8 (1988–2000)
Medium Format model 1500
The medium format Widelux model 1500 make 50x122 mm frames on 120 film, and cover a 150-degree horizontal angle across the long side. It was described as newly introduced in 1988 and cost "about US$4,500" at the time.
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 seven 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 manual film cameras, has a shutter that must be cocked before the camera will fire. When setting focus below 5m on Widelux 1500 the resolution will be reduced due to optical limitations. There were a lot of problems for the first models in the 90s, uneven rotation, filmplane so buyers are encouraged to test beforehand.
Actor/photographer Jeff Bridges started photographing movie sets with the camera in 1984. In 2003, he published a book of his panoramic pictures called simply "Pictures". Bridges was recognized for his Widelux photography by the International Center of Photography's Infinity Award in 2013.
The Widelux has been used on some NASA missions for its 140° coverage.
- Meehan, Joseph (October 1988). "Superwide: A user's guide to the world of super wide-angle lenses and panoramic cameras". Popular Photography. 95 (10): 56–61, 82–83. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
- "Widelux". Camerapedia. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
- Estrin, James (30 April 2013). "Lens Blog: The Dude Abides on the Other Side of the Lens". New York Times. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
- Christiane Kubrick (2002). Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
Stanley took this photograph in the Dorchester Hotel ... in early 1965 ... he shot it with one of his favorite cameras: the 35mm Widelux.
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