In the course of the last several months, I have purchased three different cameras from the Lomography store or online shop: a La Sardina, a Fisheye 2, and a Sprocket Rocket. While none of them has outraged me, they each produce their own special user handling issues. So I wrote this article so that would-be purchasers know what to expect.
First, the La Sardina, my favorite of the lot. This is an ideal urban photography camera for fixed lens enthusiasts. Despite the garish colors, it does little to attract notice to itself. The shutter is quiet and deliberate. It enabled me to take shots such as this one without disturbing the subject in the least, something impossible with my auto-focus joys such as my Nikon SLRs:
If you’ve been spoiled by SLRs as I have, you have to be sure that the lens cap is off with all three of these cameras. But the La Sardina has an extra condition for realizing your photographic dream. When you buy it, the lens is locked into place and, by consequence, closed. You have to twist it first to the right, pull it out, and then turn it to the left until it clicks. Otherwise you will end up with a blank frame. Now if you catch yourself doing this, you can recover a little by taking a second picture, but the results can be washed out as they are here:
Keeping this in mind whenever you use it, however, will save you grief. And the results can be beautiful:
It works nicely with a wide range 200 film.
The second camera I acquired was a Lomography Fisheye 2. My warning for this is that the lens is an extreme wide angle. Look at this picture of a two and a half inch across flower taken from three inches away:
I had hoped to fill the frame!
In addition to the usual lens cap issue, you have to keep an eye on the camera strap that comes with it, especially when you are pointing down into the subject. It may seem to be hanging harmlessly to the side, but remember this is a WIDE angle lens:
The built-in flash offers its own problem. When you use it, there is a tendency for the camera to capture the shadow on the lens off to the right:
I haven’t tested it, but perhaps either a Flitz Blitzer attached on the left or a flash on top will fix the problem. With the latter, bounce it off the ceiling (if there is one.)
Again, once you have realized these “special features”, you can produce good photos:
The Sprocket Rocket has proved the most problematic for me. I got the lens cap issue handled from the start. There are several switches governing range, brightness, and whether you are using the bulb. No problem here. But what got me was the fact that you have to use a very high speed film (800 ASA) to realize decent photos. These were taken with Portra 400:
I will have to try the film with an 800 and let you know if the sharpness issues — caused by underexposure — have been resolved. But to have this level of soft focus in a wide angle is bothersome to me.
What have been your experiences?
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written by emperornorton on 2011-12-09