View Full Version : Thomas Yanul swing lens cameras

13-Aug-2020, 08:04
Does anyone out there know what spring timing mechanism Mr Yanul used in his cameras...and is there something similar available today?

13-Aug-2020, 10:06
I might be able to help you. I knew Tom Yanul quite well although I never saw his swing lens cameras other than what he presented at the IAPP (International Assoc. of Panoramic Photographers) meetings. Moving the lens is actually quite simple. Moving it so it doesn't cause banding from irregular speed is not so easy.

If you are making a new camera, the big factors that come into play will be the slit width and "shutter speed" needed. Early swing lens cameras simply used a hand crank to move the lens assembly. George Lawrence used clockwork mechanisms. For the San Francisco repeat panorama of Lawrence's aerial view taken in 1906, I used and electric motor instead of the clock type of escapement.

If you can share more info as to the size of camera you are making, it would help.

Here is a photo of the camera I made for the San Francisco repeat photo. It is a reasonable replica of the Lawrence camera and uses film 24 inches high by 52 inches long.


13-Aug-2020, 12:04
Thank you for the response. That is one beautiful camera! What I have in mind is much smaller. I have a long roll of 5 inch aerial film that has tested well developed in pyro. I have tried in vain to figure out the working of my Kodak Panoram 1…I don’t want to take it apart. I have watched the online video of Mr Yanul using his cameras. The box and lens pivot seems straightforward. I want to keep the timing mechanism as simple as possible so I can carry the camera some distance. I recently made a diptych camera around two 5x7 holders and that format seems to work for me…a 5x14 or 5x16 camera. This image is from a paper negative.