There are already other reviews of the Halina Panorama (also goes by the names of Ansco Pix Panorama, Revue Panorama, Hanimex Panorama, Arico Panorama CL-168 and Suntone MM350) online. Essentially, it is a focus-free, 35mm point and shoot camera with a fixed mask that makes “panoramic” images that are 13x36mm, rather than the conventional 24x36mm. The advantage of this is that unlike actual panoramic cameras, such as the Hasselblad XPan, this one allows you to get more images to a roll, whilst still obtaining the cinematic look that can be had with the aspect ratio.
Not much information about the camera exists online, and without any settings listed in the documentation, I can only guess that the aperture is somewhere around f/11, and that the shutter speed is around 1/100. There were times when motion blur is possible in photos, but not whilst taking casual snaps. The plastic lens is somewhere around 28mm, which is my go-to focal length when shooting. The masked viewfinder takes some getting used to when framing shots, as it is slightly off from the final image the camera produces; however, after a couple of rolls through the camera, you soon learn to adjust. Other than that, this is as basic as it gets, which is something I really enjoy about the camera – all you have to worry about is the composition of your shots.
I must admit that when I first bought the camera I expected very little. The camera was sold in Poundland in the UK, and there is nothing about the build quality of the camera that screams “quality item”. That being said, the thumb rest on the back of the camera is ridiculously comfortable considering there is a lack of a grip at the front of the camera. I didn’t once feel the need to use the supplied wrist strap when holding the camera.
For these 5 Frames, I decided to go with some expired Truprint 200 film (allegedly a rebranded Ferrania film from back in the day). For those not in the know, Truprint was a UK based postal film developing company who were quite popular in the 1980s and 90s. I have fond childhood memories of getting photos back from Truprint and vividly remember family members using their film in their various cameras over the years. Having picked up a few rolls on eBay I thought I would give it a go in the Halina. I love the aesthetic of expired film. Whilst not as unpredictable and vivid as cross-processing film, I love the unexpected nature of it, not knowing how the images are going to look.
Given that the Halina Panorama has no ability to determine the ISO of the film, I shoved the roll in and went for a walk around my town. There was little need to think about anything other than the composition of my images, which felt somewhat liberating, knowing that it was the only concern I needed to have. The film was lab processed and scanned, with it being developed at box speed (despite being 25 years out of date).
I really love the tones that the film has produced. The rendition of colour was just as I remembered it on the day, albeit slightly nostalgic in its appearance. Being a big fan of cinematography (and teaching film studies) I enjoyed shooting the “panoramic” format, and really like the results that this camera has produced. Whilst I know that panoramic masks are controversial to some, I actually enjoyed the process of taking these photos. The simplicity of the camera, combined with my extremely low expectations of the results it could produce have ended up giving me far more “keepers” from the roll than I had expected. If anything, I could say that the camera over-delivered and then some.
There were a few shots on the roll that didn’t turn out as planned (either the viewfinder forced me to mis-frame the image, or I wasn’t far enough away from my subject for the minimum focusing distance of the camera – about 2 metres is needed, not the 1.5m the camera documentation claims) however, I think with practise I could eliminate these from future rolls. That being said I’d definitely recommend picking up a Halina Panorama (or one of the other variants) if you find one online.
For the £7 (including postage) I paid for a “brand new” model, I’ve got a camera that is now a permanent fixture in my camera bag. As for the Truprint film, I’m a big fan of the results it produced. Whilst not often seen online, it’s also well worth picking up a roll if you manage to find any.
Want to submit your own 5 Frames...?
Go right ahead, submissions are open! Get your 5 frames featured on by submitting your 350+ word article by either using this Google form or by sending an email via the contact link at the top of the page.
This series is produced in conjunction with Hamish Gill's excellent 35mmc.com. Head on over to read the other half of these stories there.
Share your knowledge, story or project
At the heart of EMULSIVE is the concept of helping promote the transfer of knowledge across the film photography community. You can support this goal by contributing your thoughts, work, experiences and ideas to inspire the hundreds of thousands of people who read these pages each month. Check out the submission guide here.
If you like what you're reading you can also help this personal passion project by heading on over to the EMULSIVE Patreon page and giving as little as a dollar a month. There's also print and apparel over at Society 6, currently showcasing over two dozen t-shirt designs and over a dozen unique photographs available for purchase.