Many years ago, when digital cameras didn't yet exist, I had a pocket film camera with a panoramic mode. I really liked that feature. Even though the camera didn't have a great lens and I wasn't that good a photographer, I liked the photos it produced. I enjoy the immersive "panavision" experience when looking at these panoramic photographs. Almost like being there again.
Here under a couple of the photographs I shot many years ago with that film camera while on vacation in Zeeland, a province in the south of The Netherlands.
As I was going to Turkey on a short vacation (see my previous blog post), I wanted to relive that panoramic experience again. I searched the inter webs for the available camera options. The Hasselblad Xpan (amazing camera, but far too expensive), the Horizon Kompakt (looked pretty good, but still way over my budget) and finally I came across the Sprocket Rocket. Named so, because it can expose an entire film, including the area (edges) around the sprocket holes. The Sprocket Rocket isn't what you call a cheap camera, but it's still pretty affordable. The next choice that had to be made was which version to buy. There was the classic black version and the Sprocket Rocket POP versions (which have bright colors). That was an easy choice, as I love classically styled cameras. It was delivered a couple of days later in beautiful packaging, and included were a bracket for in the camera (that will cover the sprockets of the film and so you can shoot "normal" panos), a booklet with nice photos shot with a Sprocket Rocket and a manual.
The next decision I had to make was which film to use. I knew I wanted color, but what ISO? The manual said it was made for 400 ISO. But it also said, "if results are to dark, why not try ISO 800". Well that wasn't helpful. Some users recommend using ISO 800 for everyday use, but I also read that ISO 800 gets easily damaged by X-ray scans (which are used in airports to scan luggage). As I wanted to take only one roll with me and wanted to play it reasonably safe, I chose Fuji Superia X-TRA 400.
One of the first photos you see is me and my wife enjoying the sun, at our hotel. As you can see the photo is reasonably sharp in the middle, but has heavy vignetting and blur at the far left and right side of the photo. I didn't add that post proces. That's (love it or hate it) a feature of the camera.
After that I also shot one from within the swimming pool. I was looking right into the sun, therefore the squinty eyes :) As you may have noticed each photo consists of two frames. So a roll of 24, would give 12 pano pictures.
A couple of days after we arrived in Turkey, we went to the Manavgat bazaar (a market). This is one of the streets leading to the bazaar.
This one taken at the bazaar gives a nice overview of goods being sold. Mostly clothing as you can see.
This a picture of a fish farm taken after we left the market and went to see the "famous" Manavgat waterfalls. Which we never saw, because of construction work.
Just before we returned to our hotel, we walked through the bazaar one more time, to go to our pick up point. Photos shot with this camera turn out best when there is a lot of light. Maybe good to know. I shot this market stand three times. The photo you see and an accidental double exposure. That's the one negative point about this camera. With a normal camera you use the film advance lever to go to the next picture. You can always check if you forgot to do this by checking the film advance lever. If you can't move it, it is save to take the next picture. The Sprocket Rocket has no lever but a knob. To go to the next empty space on your film roll, you turn the knob until you see a dot appear in a window on top of the camera. But that doesn't tell you if you have done this already (you can turn the knob until you go through the entire film roll). In the hectic environment of the bazaar I forgot if I turned the knob or not, and therefore the double exposure.
Wen shooting panoramas it's important to have lots of things happening in the picture (like the stand earlier) or have a prominent foreground element. In the photo above I should have been closer to the boat, to make a better picture.
The last photo on the roll I saved for a group shot, for when we returned home and were reunited with our dog (Nikki) again. I was worried about camera shake, because I took the photo one handed. As the camera is not easy to hold steady, because you have to pull the lever next to the lens to take a picture while holding it with the same hand. As it turned out, the problem was not camera shake but it was a lack of light. Even though we were next to a window, and I set the camera to cloudy, it wasn't enough to properly expose the film.
I like the Sprocket Rocket very much. I like how the camera looks, I like the panoramic photos the Sprocket Rocket produces (including the visible sprockets) and the fun I have making pictures with this camera. Although next time I'll probably use ISO 800 film.
When you want to find out more about this camera, I can recommend looking up: