© 1999, Monte Zucker, All Rights Reserved
Have you ever wished for
better vision? That is, not just to see more clearly, but at the same
time to see things that you've missed seeing--or remembering--because
there was just too much to take in at one time.
That was me, too, until I
came upon this incredible camera, the Noblex panoramic. It sees and
remembers it all. And better than I could do it, myself. Boy, if there
were anything that I'd suggest you putting on the top of your
holiday shopping list (along with health, wealth, and time to enjoy
them both) it would be this camera.
This is one of those absolutely incredible things that I've always
had in the back of my mind--ever since my high school panoramic graduation
picture. You may be too young to remember those days, but we all stood
before one of those rotating cameras and then some joker would run from
one end of the group to the other, getting in the picture twice.
It was funny then, but it was
also intriguing. All of these thoughts came back to me recently when Shutterbug
Editor Bob Shell asked me if I'd like to do a report on the Noblex
panoramic camera. Do I have to tell you that I jumped at the chance? With
all the traveling I do, I thought it would be a fun new adventure for
me. What I didn't realize was that it would change the way I looked
at the world--forever.
Here's the scoop about the Noblex camera that I tested. It actually
has a rotating lens. Just imagine...a picture that shows what you
might see if you held your head in one position and let your eyes go from
as far as you can see on your left to as far as you can see to your right.
Well, it even goes farther than that.
In some of my first pictures
I saw some kind of blur on both sides of my pictures. A closer look showed
me that the blurs were my fingers. I wasn't holding the camera the
way the instructions tell you to do, so my hands were in both sides of
the images. Come on, now, give me a break. The angle of view is that much?
And the quality is great, too. So sharp, it's unbelievable. All
in a handheld 35mm camera that almost fits in your pocket. There is a
medium format that they make, too, but I opted for the smaller, handier
version. Now that I'm so excited about creating panoramic images
(and spending so much time doing it) I'm almost wishing that I had
the larger, "more serious" version of the camera. I'm
thinking of all the sales potential in creating panoramic photographs.
Of course, I actually started using the camera at home. Pictures of the
front of my house and all of my neighbors' houses were a must. Talk
about excitement. These will be my holiday gifts to all the people around
me. Just check out the picture of my pool, shot through the curved living
room window. Yes, that's not a distorted image. This camera is almost
distortion-free. I couldn't believe it.
And look at all that detail--all the way from the deep shadowed area to
the very bright areas in direct sunshine. On top of that, the picture
was made through a darkly tinted window. Can you believe the quality of
Then, there are all these pictures
made on-board Carnival's Destiny. Check out the wedding ceremony.
It was taking place in the ship's library. The people on the left
side of the picture were actually way to my left, as I was there holding
the camera. The bride and groom were all the way to my right. You've
just got to look through this viewfinder to know what I was experiencing.
You can be pointing the camera at people and they don't even know
it, because they're so far off to the side. Talk about fun and excitement.
The photographs made on the deck were all made in a matter of minutes.
The hardest part of working with a camera that has such a wide sweep is
to keep the horizon line level. Even with the built-in spirit level it
was pretty difficult. I now know that you really need a tripod to keep
the horizon straight. You're better off taking a picture like I
did of the souvenir carts on Key West. You don't even see a horizon
I also learned that when you had foreground interest in the photograph,
it was more exciting. You can also do verticals, I realized.
To say that I enjoyed the camera
tremendously is the understatement of the millennium. Coming into San
Juan, I shot a series of pictures, each one more fun than the previous.
I finally ended up liking the picture I took with all the people on the
ship's rail looking at the island. What a difference between what
those people saw and got in their snapshots and what I caught with my
I even got up onto the ship's bridge and photographed the captain
at the helm. Hey, no round steering wheel anymore. All computers. Oh well,
I won't worry about who's steering the ship when I see the
captain at dinner next time.
Okay, let's get down to business now. Here's what I learned
about the Noblex camera, itself. The camera uses the principle of the
lens rotating 360° for each exposure. The film rests on a curved film
plane, and it's exposed through a constantly moving shutter slit.
During the first half of the rotation the lens drum is accelerated to
a constant speed. This ensures absolutely even exposure of the film during
the second half of the rotation.
The results are a distortion-free
photograph with an angle of view of 136°. The instruction book (which
I wish I could find right now) says that the lens corresponds to the natural
space perception of the human eye. I really think that it's better.
Anyhow, let me fill you in on some more details about this panoramic adventure
that I've launched for myself. Okay, I've got some great negatives,
I thought to myself. But how am I going to get good prints from them?
No problem at all. I located a fantastic lab that specializes in panoramic
Custom Photo Images has the most comprehensive facilities practically
anywhere in the world to produce panoramic prints from their own negatives
and/or yours. What a find. It's run by Addie and Peter Lorber. You
haven't lived until you've met Peter. They're in Boca
Raton, Florida and can be reached at (561) 361-0031. E-mail them at: email@example.com.
Peter will hang from a balloon basket, airplane, skyscraper, or whatever
it takes to get a panoramic shot. He'll shoot up to 60 rolls of
film to be assured of a great picture. He's in demand throughout
the world as one of the experts in panoramic photography.
I caught him just before he was taking off to fly to Canada for a spectacular
sporting event. His panoramic services are in demand internationally.
He represents and uses the Swiss made Round Shot Camera system with negatives
up to 7" tall. Length of the negative? Beyond what you and I could
ever imagine. He's had to figure out unique ways to just store his
file of negatives. I'm simply amazed and dumbstruck at what Peter
has in his Boca Raton lab. You can't believe the enlargers and other
Certainly, if history isn't being made by panoramic cameras, it
will be remembered through their imaging. I, personally, have been bitten
so strongly by this whole concept, I'll never be the same. You can
be certain that there will be more and more Noblex shots in my catalog
of favorite pictures that I've created in my lifetime career.
I am ready to take on the excitement and thrill of seeing panoramic photography
in my future.
Maybe, after the holidays you might feel the same way. At any rate, you
can find out more about the Noblex cameras by calling R.T.S. Inc. at (516)
242-6801 and telling them that you heard about their cameras here in Shutterbug.
Who knows? Maybe, you might end up seeing the world with a broader perspective.
Just a little more advice: keep your fingers out of your pictures, and
keep your feet on firm ground.