Below left: Inside the camera, showing the curved film plane.

Below right: View from the top, showing the shutter speed control levers.

The unusual FT-2 swing-lens camera

1958: The FT-2

The FT-2 was made by the Russian Krasnogorsk company. It is shaped like a small black brick, with a curved film path and produces 12 images on a 36-exposure roll of 35mm, each one the size of three 35mm frames side by side.

 

The focus is fixed, as is the aperture at around f/5. Exposure is controlled by shutter speeds alone, using two levers. When both point down, the shutter speed is 1/400 second; left lever pointed down and right lever pointed right gives 1/200 second; left lever pointed left and right lever pointed down gives 1/100 second. A lever at the front of the body tensions the shutter, then a small button to the side releases it. The faster the shutter speed, the faster lens swings. A circular spirit level is built in to ensure you hold the camera level.

 

A dial on top of the camera, numbered one to 12, counts the frames. As the film is wound, a pointer on the dial must rotate three times before stopping it at the next number.

 

The camera winds film from one non-standard cassette to another, so a darkroom or changing bag is needed to load film from a normal cassette into an FT-2 one. When buying, make sure the camera comes with both cassettes.

Panoramic pictures taken with the FT-2

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