The Panaflex Camera
The Panaflex camera, introduced by Panavision in 1972, revolutionized motion picture cinematography. Lightweight and compact, it allowed cinematographers greater freedom of movement than was possible with existing studio cameras. It is nearly silent to operate, eliminating the need for a cumbersome “blimp,” which encases a camera to mask its noise. Panavision refined the Panaflex line throughout the 1970s and 1980s, resulting in even more compact cameras with improved optics. Panaflex cameras remained the industry standard for many years.
Unlike most companies, Panavision rented rather than sold their equipment, making it difficult if not impossible for institutions to acquire their cameras. As digital cinematography increasingly replaces the use of film cameras, and demand for Panaflex cameras has declined, Panavision has made their historic cameras available to selected public institutions across the country. This year, Panavision generously donated a Panaflex Gold camera to the collection of Museum of the Moving Image, where it is now on exhibit in the Museum’s lobby.