FT-2 Panoramic Camera (1960) Do you remember those panoramic cameras, which could photograph an entire school in one image? The one on the left (probably not the one used to take the panorama on this page) cost 29 in 1963 - an excellent investment for a jobbing professional photographer, provided he had access to suitable printing facilities. By contrast, a mid-price 35mm. single-lens reflex at the time would have cost about 70, and a simple snapshot camera about 15.

The only way to photograph a large number of people in a line with a conventional camera was - and is - to use a wide-angled lens, which distorts the perspective unflatteringly (particularly for those at each end of the line). But panoramic cameras like this one, mounted on a tripod, had a lens on an internal tube which could rotate from left to right, while a slit at the other end of the tube traversed a roll of film - which moved in the opposite direction and had to be stretched over a cylinder to maintain the focus. In this way a normal focal length lens could be used to give a natural perspective,  on a very long negative.  In the photograph the back of the camera, minus the film holder, is facing you and you can see the cylindrical film track. 

  With some versions, including the one used for our 1954 School Photograph, the whole camera, rather than just the lens, could pan slowly around, driven by a clockwork motor. Thus any smart-alec on the left could whizz round the back of the group after being photographed and pose himself at the other end of the line, thus appearing twice in the picture.

Carlton le Willows Grammar recorded the pupils and staff for panoramic posterity on at least three occasions:  the first was in 1954,  the year the School opened in its own building.  This picture is available here for you to either view now, or to download to your hard disc for off-line viewing.  We have two more such panoramas from later years,  and we'll be posting them on the site in due course.  If you've attended our reunions,  you may already have seen the original prints,  and many of you have helped us identify the people in the pictures.  One of them (from 1960) was reproduced in 'Salix' with a key to the names,  but the quality of reproduction was necessarily limited.  You should get a better result from the Web. 

Panorama Chicks 

Link to Carlton le Willows 1954 Panorama

Carlton Le Willows 1954 Panorama (303 Kb)

To view the panorama in your browser, click the link. The files are larger than usual and will take longer to load - perhaps several minutes if you have a slow connection. The panorama will open in a new window.  Use the scroll bars to pan around it.  and close it when you're done.

To save it to your hard disc for personal use only,  right-click (MAC users press and hold the left button) the link,  then select 'save target as ...'  from the short menu that appears.  You can revisit the panorama offline by double-clicking the file you'be saved.   We're happy for you to save a copy like this for personal use,  but don't email, sell, distribute or publish the image,  electronically or otherwise