Polls closed, votes have been counted.
Unexpectedly after I launched the Poll, I had the opportunity to road test the mysterious camera for a week before I purchased it.
As much as I was curious to see what people thoughts were, having the opportunity to actually put a roll through it made my mind up.
So what was the camera?
Zenit – Horizon 202. 35mm swing-lens panoramic.
After a week in my freezing little hands, the Pro’s and Con’s of the Horizon as a good traveler became more clear.
With a 120 degree field of view, (in the same vein as a fish-eye, minus as much distortion) its GREAT for capturing the whole scene.
But it has one of the most complicated film loading systems I have ever seen, and each new roll was at least 5 mins. Most of that time the back open and exposed to the elements.
I had previously read that due to the complicated film advancing mechanism, and the internal guts of the camera in general, there is so much tension on the film, that breakage is quite common.
And oh how true that was, first roll I put through got completely munched, and ended up with me in the bathroom, lights out, trying to rescue it, and re-wind the mess back into the canister.
Once you have it loaded though, its awesome fun to use.
The grrrr as the swing-lens rotates, the mono-pod style handle, the quirkyness of the ABS body, the novelty of such a wide angle view.
With only seeing the results from one roll, I’ve been initially surprised in which shots I thought would come out better than others though.
Strong blue skys with sun-flare have came out ‘banded’, while lower light indoor shots have remained constant.
The banding is particularly frustrating aspect for a travel cam, when alot of your shots are going to be scenery-ish, and there’s no precise way to know how somethings going to turn out.
With a fixed focus, candid close-up people stuff all come out a little blurred, though the f2.8 lens keeps the speed up.
Decision: So after weighing up all the new pro’s and con’s, I’m deciding against the Horizon for now.
If I was at home, and didn’t have to put it through hell, and roll change in sand storms, for sure.
But being on the road, I just feel it wont survive. There’s too many exposed areas into the internals of the camera, and the thought of snapping more film doesn’t excite me when I’m shooting things I can’t easily re-do.
So to all those who voted NO, you win, for now.
Another 2 weeks it is.
Tropical islands, diving to the depths of the ocean by day, drowning in Mojitos by night.
All sounds fine with me.
Camera: Zenit – Horizon 202
Film: Agfa Vista 400 (Expired 2006)
Location: Moscow, Russia.
More sample shots next time..