Oct. 9, Lo-Fi Panoramas: My First Experiments with the Pan-Holga 360

The Pan-Holga was created by the inventor Richard McCaleb around 2003, at least that’s when he sent it to Cory Armantrout who I just bought it from. I was compulsively perusing various kinds of cameras on E-bay when I stumbled upon the Pan-Holga, when I expressed an interest in it, Cory offered to sell it to me for half the listed price, needless to say I couldn’t resist!

The Pan-Holga 360

The Pan-Holga, which I’ve re-named the Pan-Holga 360 to differentiate it from the current crop of 6×12 Holgas, is a 6×27 full 360° rotating 120 format Holga. The negatives are 11 inches long!

Unlike some panoramic cameras which swing the lens across the film plane, this camera essentially rotates the film and aperture around a pivot point. The camera is indeed quite lo-fi as there is a lot of banding induced by the somewhat jerky motion of the gears driven by the battery powered motor.

The Holga-Pan 360 in operation

The exposure of the Holga-Pan 360 is fixed by the aperture, which is adjustable by changing the width of the aperture slit. It’s currently set to accommodate ISO 100 film. One would double the width of the slot for ISO 50 film, etc.

The aperture assembly, you can also see in this photo how the gears of the motor drive the winding mechanism of the film.

As soon as you flick the switch the Holga begins rotating and exposing film. To avoid making a panoramic selfie I had to follow the rotating camera around so as to stay out of the view of the lens.

The shots below are pretty boring subject matter wise, my front garden, my house and my neighbors house, but at least they give you an idea of what photos from the Holga-Pan look like. I’m including detail crops from each shot because at least on my little lap top screen a panorama of the native aspect ratio generated by the Holga-Pan 360 doesn’t display all that well.

Actually, I think that in the future I won’t normally use this camera to take the 360° panoramas it’s capable of, I’ll probably just do 180°s or 120°s so I don’t have to chop them up. I’m even entertaining thoughts of getting an archival printer that will accept rolls of paper. I’m thinking that I should be able to get decent size prints from the gigantic negatives this camera generates. Plus, I’m sure I’d sell a million prints at least, no?

The shots below were taken on Fuji Acros II 100 and developed in Cinestill Df96 monobath. They were inverted in Lightroom, but other than that and some cropping, were untreated. I realize that I’d get even more of the panoramic effect if I cropped the images tighter vertically, but I wanted to show what the photos straight out of the camera look like.

The view from our front garden
And the left half of the shot above
The right half
The left half
And the right half
From Shaun’s Driveway
The left side detail
The right side detail

As always thanks for reading!

6 responses to “Oct. 9, Lo-Fi Panoramas: My First Experiments with the Pan-Holga 360”

  1. Wow, that is just amazing, thank you for sharing. There’s none of that distortion you get with digital panoramas, I like it. Are you going to submit anything to Holga Week on Twitter? It’s a surefire winner.


    1. Thanks Keith! I really got lucky with this one. I’m not really on Twitter, but I wonder if I should create an account?
      Do you know when the deadline is?




  2. That is cool!


  3. I love it!!! I am a fan of panoramas, I do have the Holga 120 Pan and of course the Lomography Sprocket Rocket!!! I would enjoy using that too!!!


    1. Cool! It’s a crazy thing for sure. I’ve been interested in both the 120 Pan and the Sprocket Rocket but I’ve managed to resist buying a panoramic until now.


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