American photographer John Shephard, who now lives and works in New South Wales, Australia, has added his comments on the Noblex 135U as well as a small portfolio of powerful images created with this camera. These can be found below.
Too Little, Too Soon
This camera was my first swing-lens panoramic and I used it for a couple of years in the mid-90's. At the time my interest in true panoramic photography was limited and though I derived pleasure from its use I didn't always get the type of images that satisfied me. After a while I realized that what I wanted was wide-format, not necessarily ultra wide angle images.
One day in 1998 while unloading equipment from the trunk of my car the Noblex slipped from my hands and fell onto the road. It broke and I never bothered to try and repair it. Shortly afterward I bought a used Fuji 617 and then a couple of years later when the Hasselblad XPan came to market I made it my main panoramic camera system.
In the Fall of 2000, due to my growing interest in true panoramic photography, I bought the Noblex 150UX, a 120 format 6X12cm camera. It is much more ruggedly built than the 135u and produces transparencies of stunning quality. But, truth be told, I've never become comfortable with either the format or the camera.
Nevertheless, over the few years that I owned the Noblex 135u I produced a number of photographs that I'm quite happy with.
There are some grand landscapes in Joshua Tree National Park and the Noblex was used to explore it on more than one occasion.
Death Valley offers some spectacular vistas. This one, taken at sunrise, was from Zabriskie Point.
John Shephard is an American photographer now living in Australia. The following report on the Noblex 135u and accompanying portfolio were contributed in August, 2001.
Not many people are familiar with true panoramic cameras. The Noblex 135-U is a great choice, since it is quite versatile and affordable. As with any camera system, there are advantages and disadvantages, but I¹ve found the 135-U to be an indispensable asset for landscape photography.
The quality of the Noblar Tessar-type lens is superb. I have used Hasselblad¹s XPAN in tests against the Noblex 135-U and in my opinion, the Noblar lens wins hands down. The biggest advantage, in my opinion, that the Noblex has on the XPAN is angle of view. The Noblex boast 136-degrees while the XPAN with the 45mm lens is a meager 76 degrees.
Reflected Dawn, New South Wales, Australia. f/5.6 @ 1/4
One thing I love about the Noblex is the ability to get great depth of field while shooting wide open. Your aperture settings range from f/4.5 ¯ f/16. I have never needed to go beyond f/11. Typically, I¹ll shoot at f/5.6, unless there is an object that is in the foreground. This camera is perfect for shooting from a helicopter even with 50 or 100 speed film.
By tilting the camera add distortion to your images, which just adds an interesting twist and common subject matter.
Sydney Skyline, New South Wales, Australia. f/5.6 @ 7 seconds
The 136-degree angle of view is the same view as our eyesight. Our eyes are positioned panoramically and looking at the images this camera produces is very pleasing. The viewfinder is very accurate only taking a bit off of the bottom edge of the frame. It is something that is easy to get used to.
Shooting vertically is a challenge, especially with a tripod. It is difficult to get beyond the legs of the tripod in a shot, because of the angle of view this camera has. You can get very interesting perspectives that can bring the foreground into a scene, that allows you to ³step into² it.
New South Wales, Australia, f/8 @ 1/60
I feel that this is a great camera and that the purchase price is money well spent. Feel free to contact me via e-mail if you there are further questions and visit my website to see more photographs crated using this camera.
Quick Technical Overview
TYPE: 35mm Panoramic Camera picture size 24x66mm
FILM ADVANCE: Film winding knob 360-degree winding disc
VIEWFINDER: Built-in rangefinder
LENS: 29mm 3G, 4E Noblar permanently mounted Tessar Type lens in an electric driven circuit board controlled activating a high precision drum containing the lens with variable rotation speeds
MULTIPLE EXPOSURES: Possible
APERTURE RANGE: f/4.5 - f/16
ANGLE OF VIEW: 136 degrees
LENS ACCESSORY SIZE: Accepts special magnetic filters
SHUTTER: Rotating Gap, Motor Driven Speeds: 1/500, 1/250, 1/125, 1/250, 1/60, 1/30 Sec Mod 135S 1/500, 1/250, 1/125, 1/250, 1/60, 1/30, 1/15, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 1 Sec Mod 135U
AUTO SHUTTER: With optional exposure model
FILM: 35mm (36 Exp=19 Frames, 24 Exp=12 Frames)
BATTERY: 4 AAA to power motor shutter and digital frame counter
BATTERY CHECK: Built-in LED power indicator
OTHER: Spirit level built onto accessory shoe (visible in viewfinder) Accessory Shoe with electrical contacts for exp automation
DIMENSIONS: 6.5 x 2.6 x 5.1" (165 x 65 x 130mm) LWH
WEIGHT: 27.9 oz. (790g)