Superwide and Panoramic Photography

For decades, this venerable Brooks VeriWide 100 was my primary working camera. Built in the 1950s, it has a Schneider f-8.0 47mm SuperAngulon over a 6x10cm format, giving seven shots on a roll of 120 film. Today, functionally identical cameras are available from Horseman, Linhof, Alpa and others in a variety of formats from 6x7 to 6x24. They are all very simple and very expensive. The lens is capable of producing extreme quality and being completely free of barrel distortion. These cameras are ideal for epic landscape, architectural interiors and environmental portraits. This camera is the equivalent width of an 18mm lens on a 35mm camera.

Field of Canola Water Glen, Alberta
Bow Valley with Mt. Rundle, Banff National Park in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
In the digital age, the Nikon Coolpix 8400 came optimized for wide-angle work. It had the equivalent of a 24mm to 85mm zoom using ED glass elements, and a .75x component was available to covert this to the equivalent of an 18mm to 64mm zoom. While there was more barrel distortion than with the SuperAngulon, it was easily corrected in processing. Unfortunately it has been discontinued.

A magnificent camera for doing architectural interiors, with its five-stop auto-bracket, doing HDR (high dynamic range) photography was convenient. This is the interior of a fully restored 19th century house at the Heritage Park, Calgary Alberta.

A superwide lens can get a whole rainbow in one shot - as well as the suburban foreground. Rainbows are where you find them.

A single exposure of eight seconds in the middle of a magnificent storm. With the great width of the 18mm equivalent lens, much of the sky is covered.

More lightning photography.

The WideLuxe is a true panoramic camera and this one is widely traveled. The film is curved around the barrel film plane, and the lens turns about its focal point. The shutter is the slit seen on the back of the barrel. The first rotating lens panoramic camera was patented in 1861. It covers about a 140° angle with each shot.
The Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco California shot with the above camera.
Launch control room for the Apollo Moon Missions at the Cape Kennedy Space Port.
Dining room in Vizcaya, the Deering Mansion in Miami, Florida.
Two WideLuxe exposures joined together for an approximate 270° panorama. Since the images are already in panoramic format, no stitching software is needed, simple layering works fine.
Panorama done with stitching software from a series of seven overlapping exposures using the Nikon Coolpix 8400. Downtown Edmonton Alberta.
Nikon Coolpix 8400 with fisheye component mounted.

Shooting vertically, the fisheye produces a circular image, as you see on the left. Using the Polar Coordinates filter in an image processing program, it can be "unwrapped into a panorama, but truncated horizontally. By scaling the image 314% horizontally, proportions are restored. The whole ceiling is included in the image.

More fisheye panoramas.

©2006 Larry N.Bolch