Format/Frame: 58 x 24 mm
Push the shutter release button and something unusual happens. No click, just a brief mechanical whir as the narrow slit in a silver drum rotates counterclockwise across the front of the camera. This is the Horizont, a Russian-built swing lens panoramic camera, the first of several devices I would own and use to take long sweeping views of my world..—David Firman (WalkClickMake / Camera Tales)
Here’s a good review on the Horizon T: Soviet and Russian Cameras on the HorizonT
My Insights on the KMZ HorizonT panoramic camera
There’s a photographer out there (Vladyslav Krasnoshchok) who is doing some incredible work with the Krasnogorsky Mechanicheskiy Zavod (KMZ) HorizonT—he’s documenting the war in Ukraine and many of his images were created using this camera. It has been a true inspiration for me and as a result, I have a new roll of film in it waiting for my next photo outing. If you haven’t seen his work yet, check out his feed on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/vladyslav_krasnoshchok
The HorizonT has gone through many evolutionary changes over the years, and this particular model of mine was likely manufactured in the mid-1970s as it has an inscription on the bottom plate that reads: “To the winner of competition of turners ‘Agriculturist’ city Astrakhan, February 1975.” I’m unsure of what that really means, but I am sure of my Russian-speaking translator from Turkmenistan (Thanks, Galina!).
The images from the HorizonT are pretty unique in their format. Although it shoots with standard 35mm film, the image generated by the camera is 24x58mm—a rather odd, but distinct format that can easily be spotted (as in the case of Krasnoshchok mentioned above).
Speaking of 35mm film, loading the film in the HorizonT isn’t a walk in the park and if you’re in a hurry to get a roll loaded, you better have had plenty of practice in doing so or else it likely won’t go well.
Several years ago, I learned of a HorizonT repairman somewhere in British Columbia, so I took the opportunity to send mine his way for a thorough CLA as well as replacing the seals on the film back door. As a result, the camera is in tip-top shape today. I’m sure his contact information is somewhere in an email exchange I had with him way back, so when I locate it, I’ll post it here.
If you’re considering this camera for your collection, you can plan on spending anywhere from $200–$500 based on my latest eBay search (October 2022).