Miranda Solo Panorama Doubleplusungood

A fair number of shitty cameras have graced the pages of this blog. They will all be under-performed by today’s example: the Miranda Solo Panorama.

The Miranda Solo Panorama is one of these very basic reusable cameras with all the technological sophistication of a disposable one. It sports a 28mm wide angle lens, fixed focus, a single exposure time (probably 1/60-1/125 or thereabouts) and an aperture like f11 or smaller.

The ‘panorama’ part of the name refers to the narrow aspect ratio, which is achieved by masking off the top and bottom third of the negative and the viewfinder image.

I wondered what advantage this gives over simply cropping a wide-angle image and the answer is: none. The masked off viewfinder is not very accurate and the aspect ratio can be obtained from any printout by anyone skilled enough to operate a pair of scissors or from a scan by anyone able to crop.

With no control over exposure settings, I opted for the most tolerant films I could think of and shot a role of Ilford XP2. The results scanned reasonably well, but were largely unimpressive.

One thing I learned after shooting this first roll, is that the panorama mask simply lifts out of the camera body. This yields a normal point and shoot with a low quality wide angle lens and occasional film advance problems, but at least you can crop the panorama yourself if you want one.

I shot a role of HP5 without the panorama mask, and stand developed this in Rodinal 1+100 for one hour, to maximise exposure tolerance.

Manually cropped panorama. HP5+ with red filter.

The full frames show some strange artefacts on the top of the image -probably a flare or reflection. The rather dull optics can also be helped along a bit by using filters where appropriate. There is no filter threat on the lens, so the filter has to be held in place manually, but it kind of works.

Misplaced red filter, showing the difference it makes …

Film advance is by a simple advance wheel. To rewind, an unlock button has to be pressed at the bottom and the film is would back into the canister with a fold-out plastic crank. The (probably plastic) lens is protected by a sliding screen which also prevents exposure. There is one foam light seal near the door hinge, but the remaining light traps are moulded into the plastic door, so there is limited scope for foam deterioration.

All in all, a usable but low quality camera, even by shitty camera standards. In the UK you can pick these up for <£10 on the auction site and probably less if you find one in a charity shop.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *