Definition: Design of camera for covering a field of view that is wider than that given by any lens, usually, but not always, in the horizontal direction. * The field of view is continuous and unbroken. It may be achieved in one of two main ways: (a) the lens is rotated about the rear nodal point with the film in a curved film-gate with the shutter which moves at the same rate (or the camera may rotate about its centre). Alternatively, the film may be advanced as the camera or lens rotates. (b) Separate images are made, usually digitally, and then 'sewn' or blended together, usually in specialist software which matches overlaps to make the joins invisible. When letter-box isn't panoramic Some cameras which go parading as panoramic -- in fact most of them -- aren't at all. They are merely wide-angle cameras which lop off lots of the top and bottom of the image, so you think they're panoramas. One way to tell is when the camera points upwards or downwards, this is usually when the horizon doesn't run across the centre of the picture: if it's curved, you've got a real panorama; if not, it's a letter-box. In fact, off-axis horizontal lines are rendered curved. See next entry.
Previous Term: panchromatic Next Term: panoramic distortion