Camera History

A Camera is a device that is used to capture images in the form of still photographs or as sequences of moving images (movies or videos). The term originates from the camera obscura, meaning Latin for "dark chamber". This was an early mechanism for projecting images, in which an entire room functioned as a real-time imaging system. Cameras may work with the light of the visible spectrum or with other portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. A camera consists of some kind of enclosed hollow, with an opening or aperture at one end for light to enter, and a recording or viewing surface for capturing the light at the other end. Most cameras have a lens positioned in front of the camera's opening to gather the incoming light and to focus the image, or part of the image, on the recording surface. The diameter of the aperture is often controlled by a diaphragm mechanism, but some cameras have a fixed-size aperture.

Camera History can be traced as far back to a device dating back at least to the 11th century which uses a pinhole or lens to project an image of the scene outside onto a viewing surface. Before the invention of photographic processes, there was no way to preserve the images produced by these cameras apart from manually tracing them. The earliest cameras were room-sized, with space for one or more people inside; these gradually evolved into more and more compact models such that by Niépce's time portable handheld cameras suitable for photography were readily available. In fact, the first camera obscura that was compact enough to be practical for photography was built by Johann Zahn in 1685, almost 150 years before photographic technology caught up to the point where such an application was possible.

The first practical photographic method was introduced by Louis Daguerre in 1835. He named it the daguerreotype. William Fox Talbot perfected a different process, the calotype, in 1840. Both used cameras that were little different from Zahn's model, with a sensitized plate or sheet of paper placed in front of the viewing screen to record the image. Focusing was generally via sliding boxes.

The development of the collodion wet plate process by Frederick Scott Archer in 1850 cut exposure times dramatically, but required photographers to prepare and develop their glass plates on the spot, usually in a mobile darkroom. Despite their complexity, the wet-plate ambrotype and tintype processes were in widespread use in the latter half of the 19th century. Wet plate cameras were little different from previous designs, though there were some models (such as the sophisticated Dubroni of 1864) where the sensitizing and developing of the plates could be carried out inside the camera itself rather than in a separate darkroom. Other cameras were fitted with multiple lenses for making cartes de visite. It was during the wet plate era that the use of bellows for focusing became widespread.

Collodion dry plates had been available since 1855, thanks to the work of Désiré van Monckhoven, but it was not until the invention of the gelatine dry plate in 1871 by Richard Leach Maddox that they rivaled wet plates in speed and quality. The advantages of the dry plate were obvious: photographers could use commercial dry plates off the shelf instead of having to prepare their own emulsions in a mobile darkroom. Also, for the first time, cameras could be made small enough to be hand-held, or even concealed. There was a proliferation of various designs, from single- and twin-lens reflexes to large and bulky field cameras, handheld cameras, and even cameras disguised as pocket watches, hats, or other objects. The shortened exposure times that made candid photography possible also necessitated another innovation, the mechanical shutter. The very first shutters were separate accessories, though built-in shutters were common by the turn of the century.

The use of photographic film was pioneered by George Eastman, who started manufacturing paper film in 1885 before switching to celluloid in 1889. His first camera, which he called the "Kodak," was first offered for sale in 1888. It was a very simple box camera with a fixed-focus lens and single shutter speed, which along with its relatively low price appealed to the average consumer. The Kodak came pre-loaded with enough film for 100 exposures and needed to be sent back to the factory for processing and reloading when the roll was finished. By the end of the 19th century Eastman had expanded his lineup to several models including both box and folding cameras. In 1900, Eastman took mass-market photography one step further with the Brownie, a simple and very inexpensive box camera that introduced the concept of the snapshot. The Brownie was extremely popular and various models remained on sale until the 1960s. Despite the advances in low-cost photography made possible by Eastman, plate cameras still offered higher-quality prints and remained popular well into the 20th century. To compete with rollfilm cameras, which offered a larger number of exposures per loading, many inexpensive plate cameras from this era were equipped with magazines to hold several plates at once. Special backs for plate cameras allowing them to use film packs or rollfilm were also available, as were backs that enabled rollfilm cameras to use plates.

Oskar Barnack, who was in charge of research and development at Leitz, decided to investigate using 35mm cine film for still cameras while attempting to build a compact camera capable of making high-quality enlargements. He built his first 35mm camera in 1914, though further development was delayed for several years by World War I. Leitz test-marketed the design between 1923 and 1924, receiving enough positive feedback that the camera was put into production as the Leica I (for Leitz camera) in 1925. The Leica's immediate popularity spawned a number of competitors, most notably the Contax (introduced in 1932) and cemented the position of 35mm as the format of choice for high-end compact cameras. Kodak got into the market with the Retina I in 1934, which introduced the 135 cartridge used in all modern 35mm cameras. Although the Retina was comparatively inexpensive, 35mm cameras were still out of reach for most people and rollfilm remained the format of choice for mass-market cameras. This changed in 1936 with the introduction of the inexpensive Argus A and to an even greater extent in 1939 with the arrival of the immensely popular Argus C3. Although the cheapest cameras still used rollfilm, 35mm film had come to dominate the market by the time the C3 was discontinued in 1966. The fledgling Japanese camera industry began to take off in 1936 with the Canon 35mm rangefinder, an improved version of the 1933 Kwanon prototype. Japanese cameras would begin to become popular in the West after Korean War veterans and soldiers stationed in Japan brought them back to the United States and elsewhere.

The first practical reflex camera was the Franke & Heidecke Rolleiflex medium format TLR of 1928. Though both single- and twin-lens reflex cameras had been available for decades, they were too bulky to achieve much popularity. The Rolleiflex, however, was sufficiently compact to achieve widespread popularity and the medium-format TLR design became popular for both high- and low-end cameras. A similar revolution in SLR design began in 1933 with the introduction of the Ihagee Exakta, a compact SLR which used 127 rollfilm. This was followed three years later by the first SLR to use 35mm film, the Kine Exakta. The 35mm SLR design gained immediate popularity and there was an explosion of new models and innovative features after World War II. There were also a few 35mm TLRs, the best-known of which was the Contaflex of 1935, but for the most part these met with little success. The first major post-war SLR innovation was the eye-level viewfinder, which first appeared on the Hungarian Duflex in 1947 and was refined in 1948 with the Contax S, the first camera to use a pentaprism. Prior to this, all SLRs were equipped with waist-level focusing screens. The Duflex was also the first SLR with an instant-return mirror, which prevented the viewfinder from being blacked out after each exposure. This same time period also saw the introduction of the Hasselblad 1600F, which set the standard for medium format SLRs for decades. In 1952 the Asahi Optical Company (which later became well-known for its Pentax cameras) introduced the first Japanese SLR using 35mm film, the Asahiflex. Several other Japanese camera makers also entered the SLR market in the 1950s, including Canon, Yashica, and Nikon. Nikon's entry, the Nikon F, had a full line of interchangeable components and accessories and is generally regarded as the first system camera. It was the F, along with the earlier S series of rangefinder cameras, that helped establish Nikon's reputation as a maker of professional-quality equipment.

While conventional cameras were becoming more refined and sophisticated, an entirely new type of camera appeared on the market in 1948. This was the Polaroid Model 95, the world's first viable instant-picture camera. Known as a Land Camera after its inventor, Edwin Land, the Model 95 used a patented chemical process to produce finished positive prints from the exposed negatives in under a minute. The Land Camera caught on despite its relatively high price and the Polaroid lineup had expanded to dozens of models by the 1960s. The first Polaroid camera aimed at the popular market, the Model 20 Swinger of 1965, was a huge success and remains one of the top-selling cameras of all time.

The first camera to feature automatic exposure was the selenium light meter-equipped, fully-automatic Super Kodak Six-20 of 1938, but its extremely high price (for the time) of $225 USD kept it from achieving any degree of success. By the 1960s, however, low-cost electronic components were commonplace and cameras equipped with light meters and automatic exposure systems became increasingly widespread. The next technological advance came in 1960, when the German Mec 16 SB subminiature became the first camera to place the light meter behind the lens for more accurate metering. However, through-the-lens metering ultimately became a feature more commonly found on SLRs than other types of camera; the first SLR equipped with a TTL system was the Topcon RE Super of 1962.

Agfa Camera History
Agfa-Gevaert N.V. (Agfa):
The Agfa Camera History can be traced all the way back to 1867 when the company Aktiengesellschaft für Anilinfabrikation was founded in Rummelsburg. In those days it manufactured dyes. In 1873, it became a public limited company. The Agfa trade mark appeared in 1897. In 1925, Agfa took control of the Rietzschel camera works in Munich from Bayer. In 1926 it introduced the "Standard", the first real Agfa canera. In 1940, Agfacolor negative-positive color material is used for the first time for a feature film. During the Second World War Agfa became part of IG Farben. But after the war, Agfa again became an individual business. In 1952 Agfa AG became a wholly owned subsidiary of Bayer in Leverkusen. In 1964, Agfa AG and Gevaert Photo-Producten N.V. merged. By 1981 Bayer buys out Gevaert to take full control. Agfa produced its last cameras during the early 1980`s. Later Agfa cameras were OEM products. During the 1990`s and early 2000`s Agfa embarked on a series of Acquisitions. However, in 2006 Agfa announced a worldwide restructuring. In 2007, Agfa-Gevaert announced its intention to split into three independent publicly-traded companies.

Alpa Camera History
The Alpa Camera History can be traced back to the Bolca Reflex made by Ukranian Engineer Jacques Bogopolsky. The rights to the design were bought by Pigeons S.A. in 1939 and renamed the Alpa. Each Alpa camera was hand crafted and as such were highly expensive. During the companies history it is estimated around 40,000 Alpa Cameras were produced. Alpa did not actually make their own lenses but sourced them through other high quality companies. In 1990, the company ceased Alpa camera production and in 1996, the Alpa trademark was purchased by Capaul & Weber.

Argus Camera History
The Argus Camera can trace its roots to when the company was first founded in 1936 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The company was founded by Charles Verschoor. It was originally called International Research Corporation, but in 1939 became Argus Inc. The company originally manufactured radios before it produced its first camera, the Argus A 35mm. In 1959, the company was taken over by Sylvania, who later sold it in 1969. Rebadged cameras were sold during the 1970`s after the company had earlier ceased production itself. These days the Argus brand has again been reestablished and is selling high quality cameras. The highly popular C3 rangefinder camera, had a historic 27-year production run. There is an Argus Museum at the old Argus Factory in Ann Arbor.

Asahiflex Camera History
In 1952, the Asahiflex 35mm camera was released by Asahi Optical. Asahi Optical Corporation went on later to become Pentax. The Asahiflex 35mm single-lens reflex camera was the first SLR camera constructed in Japan. Asahi Optical Co. Ltd was originally called, Asahi Kogaku Goshi Kaisha and was founded in 1919. Research into the camera started in 1951 with the prototype ready in 1952. By 1966, over one million Asahiflex camera had been produced.

Bolex Camera History
The Bolex Camera History starts with engineer Jacques Bogopolsky. In 1924, he patented a design called the BOL-Cinegraphe, which was a 35mm cine camera. He then developed a 16mm camera, the Auto Cine, which was sold under the Bolex name. Paillard, of Switzerland took ownership of the business in 1930. In 1970, the company was sold to Eumig of Vienna. After Eumig folded under financial problems, the managing director of Bolex International bought the 16mm business and founded Bolex International S.A.

Bronica Camera History
The Bronica Camera History started when it made its first appeared at the Philadelphia Camera Show in 1958. The Bronica Camera was developed by its founder, Zenzaburo Yoshino. Zenzaburo was a camera enthusiast and spent over eight years developing the first Bronica. The first camera was called the Bronica Z rollfilm camera. Although they initially used Nikon Kogaku Kikai (Nikkor) lenses, Bronica later manufactured their own lenses. Tamron eventually took control of Zenza Bronica Ltd. Zenzaburo Yoshino died in 1988. In 2005, production of the Bronica Camera ceased.

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Canon Camera History
The Canon Camera History started back in 1933, when Goro Yoshida and his brother-in-law Saburo Uchida founded, Precision Optical Instruments. By 1934, they had released their first camera, the Kwanon, but only ten were produced. The Kwanon appeared in the June, 1934 issue of Asahi Camera. In 1936, they release the, Hansa Canon Camera. In 1937, the company name was changed to Canon. In 1947, the Japanese Government designates Canon cameras a priority export. In 1949, Canon shares are first listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. In 1955, Canon open a branch in New York. In 1966, Canon U.S.A., Inc., is established.

Contax Camera History
The Contax Camera History can be traced to its founder, Carl Zeiss who was born in 1816 in Germany. In 1846, Zeiss opened a business producing microscopes and magnifying glasses. When Carl Zeiss his son Rodderick inherited the business interests. The son sold his interests to business partner Ernst Abbe who in 1889 founded the Carl Zeiss Foundation. By 1890, production of camera lenses had started. In 1926, the Foundation took owenership of four camera facturies. In 1932, the Foundation produced the Contax Camera. The Contax name was chosen after a poll among its employees.

Ebony Camera History
Ebony Camera was founded in 1981 by photographer Hiromi Sakanashi. Sakanashi himself is a graduate of Tokyo Photographic University. His family have a long history in the photography business. Sakanashi made a protype camera from ebony wood and stainless steel. This prototype eventually lead to the SV45-series cameras. Sakanashi then developed the WIDE45 wooden field camera. In the early days of Ebony most cameras were actually custom-built to customers specifications.

Graflex Camera History
The first Graflex Camera> was built by William F. Folmer in 1898. In fact, the company originally manufactured bicycles, but later branched into Cameras. George Eastman took ownership of the company in 1905. In 1945, it became, "Graflex, Inc." In 1973, it became a division of the Singer Corporation and then dissolved. In 1973, the Tooling was bought by Toyo Co.

Hasselblad Camera History
Hasselblad was founded in 1841 in Gothenburg, Sweden. By the 1890s, Hasselblad had started to distribute photographic products. During World War Two, Hasselblad developed an aerial camera for the Royal Swedish Air Force. After the war, Hasselblad started producing civilian cameras. By 1948, the Hasselblad 1600F was introduced into the market. Modified Hasselblad Cameras were used during the Apollo Program missions on the Moon. Hong Kong company Shriro aquired Hasselblad in 2003. In 2004, Hasselblad merged with the Danish company Imacon A/S.

Ilford Camera History
Ilford Camera was founded in 1879 by Alfred Hugh Harman. It was originally known as Britannia Works. It took its name from the city where it was founded, Ilford, in 1902, to become Ilford Limited. At the time, this caused some controversy as the local council opposed this. Ilford produced its first camera in 1902. Camera production reached its peak during the 1940s and 50s. In 1989, Ilford was acquired by International Paper company, with both merging in 1990 to become Ilford Anitec. In 2004, the company went into receivership with the UK section taken over by a management buyout.

Kodak Camera History
Kodak Camera History can be traced back to 1881 when George Eastman and businessman Henry Strong founded Eastman Dry Plate Company in New York. Eastman Dry Plate Company were the first to produce cameras that were suitable for nonexpert use. By 1883 the company had developed the first film in rolls. In 1988, they released the first KODAK camera that was pre-loaded with enough film for 100 exposures. The trademark, Kodak, was registered on September 4, 1888. The Eastman Kodak Company was founded in 1892 and the company moved to New Jersey. The advertising slogan, "You press the button, we do the rest" was coined by George Eastman. In 1900, the BROWNIE Cameras were introduced and sold for only $1. During World War One, Kodak developed aerial cameras and trained aerial photographers for the U.S. Signal Corps.

Leica Camera History
The Leica Camera History goes back to 1913 when the first prototypes were built by Oskar Barnack at E. Leitz Optische Werke, Wetzlar. The resulting Camera was named the Leica I, and first introduced at the 1925 Leipzig, Germany Spring Fair. By 1932, the Leica II Camera with a built in rangefinder was released. In 1954, Leitz showed off its advanced Leica M3 model with a bayonet lens. In 1964, Leica introduces the Leicaflex, its first Single Lens Reflex camera. In 2006, Leica released the M8 Camera.

Minolta Camera History
The Minolta Camera History goes back to 1928 when Kazuo Tashima founded the company that produced the cameras. The Minolta name comes from "Machinery Instruments and Optical Lens Tashima". By 1929 the company had produced its first camera, The Nifcalette. By 1959 the company had also expanded into copier manufacturing and the following year released its first copier, the Copymaster. In 1962, the company adopts the name, Minolta Camera Co., Ltd. In 1981, Minolta X-700 single lens reflex camera becomes the first winner of the "European Camera of the Year".

Minox Camera History
The Minox Camera History started in 1936 in Estonia when engineer Walter Zapp invented the sub-miniature camera. Production of the minox camera was in Riga, Latvia from 1937 to 1943. During World War Two the camera was often used for surveillance or document copying. After the War, production of the camera moved to Germany. Intelligence agencies continued to use the Minox camera fter the war and it became a favorite during the cold war. In 1948, Minox opened a factory in Heuchelheim, Gemany which went on to employ more then 1,000 people.

Nikon Camera History
In 1917, Nikon Corporation was founded with the merger of three leading optical manufacturers. In 1932, the name Nikkor is adopted for the camera lenses. In 1948, the first camera with the Nikon brand was released, the Nikon I. Development had started three years earlier in 1945. In 1952, the Nikkor Club was founded. In 1959, the Nikon F SLR 35mm Camera was introduced. In 1970, the Photo gallery Nikon House in New York was opened. The Nikon F2 was released in 1971. Nikon F3 in 1980. Nikon F4 in 1988. Nikon F5 in 1996. In 2002, Nikon Imaging (China) Co., Ltd. was founded as the new digital camera production and in 2003 the new Brand Symbol for Nikon Group was introduced.

Olympus Camera History
The Olympus Camera History started back in 1919 when the company was founder under the name Takachiho Seisakusho. Initially they specialized in optical products and microscopes. In 1921, "Olympus" was registered as a trademark. In 1936, the very first Olympus camera was introduced, the Semi-Olympus I. In 1948, the Olympus 35 I was introduced, it was Japan's first 35 mm camera with a lens shutter system. In 1979, the Olympus XA was released and was the worlds first camera with a sliding lens barrier. In 1986, Olympus released the world's first compact weatherproof camera. In 1991, the Ultracompact Olympus camera was introduced. It was the worlds lightest fully automatic camera.

Petri Camera History
The Petri Camera History started way back in 1907 when the camera manufacturing company was founded and known then as Kuribayashi Camera Industry, inc. Japan. It originally started as a producer of tripods and dark boxes. In 1919, they released their first camera, the Speed Reflex. In 1962, the campany changed its name to Petri Camera Ltd. In 1977, Kuribayashi was forced to file for bankruptcy. The business however continued under a labor union employee capital takeover. However, they eventually stoppee manufacturing cameras with the last model being the MF10. These days the company makes telescopes.

Polaroid Camera History
Polaroid Camera History starts back in 1937 when Edwin H. Land founded the Polaroid Corporation. On April 21, 1948, the 1st Polaroid camera was sold in the US. By 1956, Polaroid had produced one million cameras. In 1976, Polaroid sues Kodak for copyright infringment over their instant cameras and goes on to eventually win the case. In 1993, 95 Captiva Cameras are introduced by Polaroid. I-Zone cameras are introduced in 1999. Polaroid Corporation filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on October 11, 2001. A subsidiary of Bank One buys most of the assets. A new company was formed under the same name, "Polaroid Corporation".

Praktica Camera History
The first Praktica Camera was built in 1949 in the old East Germany. The Camera was manufactured in the Pentacon factory in Dresden. With German reunification, the company collapsed, but was eventually saved in a new partnership with Schneider. In 1956, the PRAKTICA FX2 35mm single-lens reflex camera with diaphragm stop-down actuation mechanism built inside the lens mount was introduced. In 1965, the PRAKTICA mat by VEB Pentacon Dresden is the first 35mm single-lens reflex camera with TTL exposure measurement in Europe. In 1969, the PRAKTICA LLC is the first 35mm single-lens reflex camera with electrical diaphragm simulation between interchangeable lenses and camera body by the VEB Pentacon (Dresden).

Ricoh Camera History
The Ricoh Camera History started in 1927, when the company Rikagaku Kogyou Kabushigaisha was founded. In 1936, it became Riken Kankoshi Co., Ltd. The company was founded by Kiyoshi Ichimura who came from a poor farming family. The company initially started out as a maker of sensitized photopapers before moving into cameras. In 1934 they produced a plastic camera, the Olympic. In 1938, they released the Riken Adler camera series. In 1950, the RicohFlex III was introduced and became the worlds first mass-produced twin-lens reflex camera.

Rollei Camera History
Rollei Camera History dates back to 1920 when the business was founded by Paul Franke and Reinhold Heidecke in Germany. In 1928, Heidecke developed a twin-lens camera that revolutionized cameras. In 1930 they opening a new factory in Brunswick. In 1937 at the World Exhibition, the twin-lens Rolleiflex was awarded the Grand Prix. During World War Two the factory was used for the armaments industry. Most of the factory was destroyed during the war, but soon rebilt after. In 1963 the Rollei 16 was introduced.

Sinar Camera History
The Sinar camera was invented in 1947 by Swiss photographer Carl Hans Kochin. His Father had owned a photography studio business where also he catered to the amateur photographers, by selling film and equipment. In 1970, the new Sinar p, replaced the old model Sinar camera. In 1998, Sinar AG celebrated its 50th anniversary. Sinar cameras are made in Feuerthalen, Switzerland. Sinar took over the distribution of Rollei in 2006.

Tessina Camera History
The Tessina Camera was patented by German chemical engineer Dr. Rudolph Steineck. Production of the Tessina Camera was by Siegrist in Grenchen, Switzerland. Distribution of the Tessina Camera was by Steineck's company, Concava S.A. The Tessina was first introduced to the public in 1957. The Tessina is a high-quality 35 mm subminiature camera. It`s design is similar to that of an espionage camera. Production of the Tessina ceased in 1996. Three models of the Tessina were produced: the Tessina Automatic 35mm, Tessina 35 and the Tessina L. They were available in three colors: Brush aluminium, black or gold.

Topcon Camera History
The company that produced Topcon Cameras was founded in i932 as Tokyo Kogaku Kikai Kabushiki-gaisha. They were located in the Ginza area, Japan. In 1937, they released their first camera. In May 1949 they were listed its stock on Tokyo and Osaka Stock Exchanges. In 1951, they introduced the Primoflex I twin-lens reflex camera. In 1960 they produced a 6x9 press camera for the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department. The Topcon Super D was used by the United States Navy after being chose from several other competitors.

Voigtlander Camera History
Voigtlander Camera History goes back to 1759 when Johann Christoph Voigtländer founded the company in Vienna. It is in fact the oldest camera name in history. In 1841, Voigtlander pruduced the worlds first all-metal daguerrotype camera (Ganzmetallkamera). Voigtlander became the first to introduce the zoom lens in 1960. In 1965, they were the first to introduce a 35mm compact camera with built-in electronic flash (Vitrona). In 1965, Zeiss and Voigtländer integrated. However, they stopped producing cameras in 1972. In 1973, Zeiss then sold Voigtländer to Rollei. In 1982, Plusfoto took control of the name. In 1997, they sold it to Ringfoto.

Yashica Camera History
The Yashica Camera History starts back in 1949 when the Yashima Seiki Company was founded in Nagano, Japan. The intial capitol was $566 and they started with eight employees. The company originally produced electric clocks parts. In 1953, they introduced their first camera, the Yashimaflex twin-lens reflex (TLR). In 1953, the company adopted the new name, Yashima Optical Industry Company, Ltd. In 1957, Yashima founded Yashica, Inc., in the United States. In 1958, Yashima adopted the new name, Yashica Company, Ltd. The company took control of Nicca Camera Company, Ltd. In 1959, the Yashica Pentamatic, an advanced, modern 35mm Single Lens Reflex (SLR) camera was introduced. In 1965, Yashica released the worlds first electronically controlled 35mm camera, the Electro 35. In 1983, Yashica Company Ltd, was acquired by ceramics giant Kyocera. In 2005, Kyocera halted production on Yashica cameras.

Zenit Camera History
The Zenit Camera History started back in 1942 in Krasnogorsk, Russia when the Krasnogorsky Zavod plant was founded. Zenit was a manufacturer of optical equipment and cameras for both the Russian military and civilian population. In 1948 the "Zenit" trademark was created. In 1949, the first Zenit camera was introduced, based on the Zorki rangefinder. In 1952, the Zenit single-lens-reflex camera is introduced. The first pictures of Earths surface are taken from space with a Zenit AFA-39 aerial camera in 1957. The Krasnogorsky Zavod plant incorporated an automatic die-cast moulding line allowing mass camera production in the late 60`s. In 1989 the Horizon 202 panoramic camera is introduced.

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