Fun with Horizon 202

hor

“Photo-stitching is for pussies, real men use real panoramic camera”

Those were my friend’s words when he saw my software-stitched panoramic photographs. The words kept hanging in my head for many weeks until I decided to get a panoramic camera to prove whether his words were true or completely bullshit.

I took my Horizon while traveling in West Sumatra and Jambi and it never disappointed me for one bit. Occasionally, I took my Horizon on the street but the results aren’t as good as photographing landscape. My friend is right, using a panoramic camera isn’t bullshit. It’s a whole new level, a pure, full-frame 35 mm panoramic experience.

There are 3 basic things to optimize Horizon 202 and to get the best of it:

1. HORIZONTALLY PARALLEL FRAME

The tricky part of photographing with Horizon is to hold the camera 100% parallel to the horizon. If it’s tilted, even it’s slightly tilted, you’d missing large part of the photograph by cropping it later. Fortunately, it has a level ball on top of the viewfinder to help you get the picture in a perfect horizontal frame. Believe me, with a perfect lighting, a perfect position, and a perfect moment, it will produce a magnificent picture.

merge
Cropping is a bitch
100% horizontally aligned, it’s all good.
2. Dramatic Images

To create dramatic images, abandon the “perfect horizontal rule” by photographing in different methods: low angle, high angle, tilted, vertical, etc. To experiment is okay, but do it occasionally. Horizon has an affinity for distorted images. Since I hate distortion, I always choose the angle carefully so it wouldn’t produce cliché distorted photographs like someone who just shoot and not thinking.

3. MASTERING THE DOF

What the fuck is DOF? Well in case you little kids don’t know what the hell that is, I suggest you take a basic photography lesson or ask uncle Google.

To master DOF or depth of field in Horizon 202 is a little bit tricky since it has a fixed-focus lens, thus the DOF is pretty much fixed too, so the depth area depends on the aperture. The higher the f-stop, the wider the DOF. It’s that simple. The formula is:

f2.8: 5.5 m-infinity; f4: 3.9 m–infinity; f5.6: 2.9 m–infinity; f8: 2 m–infinity; f11: 1.5 m–infinity; f16: 1 m–infinity

Print it on a label and stick it on the back of your Horizon, it’d keep you alert and aware of the DOF every time you take pictures.

Failing to acknowledge this formula will simply increase your blurred image statistics, or in other words: useless. And please don’t you dare call the out-of-focus images artsy.

blurred
Good moment + bad decision = blurred image

Horizon 202 is a cheap plastic camera (compared to Widelux and Hasselblad X-Pan) but I assure you the result can be seriously good. I still don’t understand how most of Horizon’s owners don’t realize how powerful the camera is and use it mainly as a happy-go-lucky-experiment tool rather than using the camera like its true destiny: Photographing landscapes.

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