Love at First Lomo: From Vintage Cameras to Sprocket Rocket

How discovering two vintage cameras launched me into an adventure that is Lomography. I've never looked back since!

While my first official Lomography camera is a Sprocket Rocket (which I will get to later) it wouldn’t have been with me if not for my grandfather’s analogue cameras.

I was facing a crossroad in my photographic interest late in 2010. I own a Canon 350D which I trusted faithfully, but it had occurred to me that I’d reached a point where I knew how the photos would turn out. I understand the aspects of photography enough to avoid rookie mistakes and surprises; plus, it seems that editing the pictures in Photoshop seemed like a necessary thing to, not to mention the thousands of shots you can get in one event, and the chimping, and the spaces taken up by hundreds of megabytes of files. Lenses and accessories cost thousands which is not practical for a student or non-professional like me. Photography became an unlikely chore, which is not the way it was supposed to be.

One day, while following my parents back to my hometown, I wandered into my grandfather’s room and curiously opened up one of the desk drawers. Amongst the familiar stench of moth balls and old furniture, I recognized something I encountered before in my childhood. It was a solid metallic object protected in a leather casing with the label “Seagull 203” emblazoned on top. The dials and film winder gave it away that it is a camera, but it doesn’t appear to have a lens in front. As I pressed one of the obscured buttons on top, the thing suddenly came into life — the front cover slowly folded out, followed by a shiny lens with its black leather bellow expanding behind. The whole mechanism is not unlike a sleeping giant who woke up after a long doze and giving itself a satisfying stretch; as I gazed in amazement, it appears to revel in the situation, satisfied to be out after being shelved for so long.

The camera is about 40-50 years old and had been closed for around 10 years. I remember playing with it while I was still a kid, and thankfully I didn’t damage it!

Further down the drawer, I saw another camera — this one appeared much more modern and recognizable — an Olympus Trip 35. It wasn’t in any casings but I tried the shutter and it worked. I brought both cameras to my dad and he agreed to drive us to the local camera shop and ask if they’re still working. The shopkeeper said that the Seagull’s lens was stuck and the film was not available any more, while the Olympus still can be used as it feeds on the common 135 film.

That day, I went back home with two analog cameras, not knowing what to expect. I mentioned them to my grandfather on a family dinner and even he did not recall having the Seagull until I brought it up. He was a reporter for the local town newsletter and had the Seagull first, but it proved to be too heavy which led to him subsequently investing in the compact Olympus. I had both cameras examined by my uncle who is a professional photographer. He checked them and said I could try using the Olympus first as it appeared fine, but took the Seagull to his trusted camera repair shop to fix the lens.

Me and my uncle with both cameras.

I loaded the Trip 35 with a roll of Kodak EBX — officially my first slide film — and the results are out of this world. The lens is clearly moulded but it gives a grainy, frosted layer to each shot. Best results appear under direct sunlight, however many photos still appear underexposed.

Credits: shuttersentinel17

Shooting with a roll of Lomography Color Negative 400 film made the results brighter but still uniquely diffused.

Credits: shuttersentinel17

My uncle returned the Seagull and apparently it only took him RM30 (USD10/GBP6.3) to repair it. He introduced me to 120 films, the Sunny 16 Rule, and the operation of the camera, after which I continued to do my own research on the internet. I brought it to a trip to Singapore and fired away my first 2 rolls of 120 black and white film, just to see if it was still working and if I knew how to control it. When I got back the photos, I was delighted to see the camera still working and the images are sharp!

Credits: shuttersentinel17

Nevertheless, I was determined to test out a colour film. I used Lomography Color Negative 400 120 on a trip to Krabi, and while the results are great, one particular photo just stood out and made me fall in love with the camera. It was this photo that blew me away with its sharpness, saturation and everything — I even managed to fooled my friends who thought that I shot it with my Canon and upped the saturation in Photoshop!

Credits: shuttersentinel17

It was after using those two cameras that my interest in film photography rose, and I discovered the Sprocket Rocket being featured in one of the local photography magazines. I immediately fell in love with the panorama and sprocket holes and the name of course; subsequently I headed to one of the retailers and purchased it, almost exactly one year ago around this time. Hence, it could be considered as my own Valentine’s Day gift!

It took me a while to get used to the Sprocket Rocket and it is the challenge that it unique. It appears that all Lomo cameras have a personality; while you need to get used to it, it also needed to familiarize itself with you. The photos can only get better over time as you kept using it.

Credits: shuttersentinel17

Digital is the equivalent of mass production while film is similar to craftmanship. Using all those cameras only taught me more about photography; even though it cost money, it was well spent and at least still cheaper than investing in an expensive lens. Not only that but now my photo album is in a cheerful stream of unpredictable colours, with more quality than quantity! And that, is the story of how I fell in love with my first analogue cameras.

What was the first Lomo camera you owned and fell in love with? Share your stories and check out our requested posts for this month to earn more Piggies! Meanwhile, you can check out other Love at First Lomo stories from our community members.

written by shuttersentinel17 on 2012-02-22 in #lifestyle #film #love-at-first-lomo #350d #requested #malaysia #35 #seagull #203 #lomography #trip #canon #analogue #analogue-lifestyle #sprocket #olympus #love #rocket

More Interesting Articles

  • Lomography Fisheye No.2: Seven Years of Wonder

    written by adi_totp on 2014-09-15 in #reviews
    Lomography Fisheye No.2: Seven Years of Wonder

    Exactly seven years ago, I bought this camera from Indonesia's local Lomography community. I remember having some savings in my bank account and just spending it all on this camera. At that time, I browsed the microsite for the Lomography Fisheye No.2 and immediately fell in love with it! Coincidentally, my friend who introduced me to Lomography just bought this same camera for his birthday. My life has changed ever since I had the Fisheye, my first lomographic camera.

    3
  • My First Lomo Affair: Smolda and the Diana F+

    written by icequeenubia on 2014-11-27 in #lifestyle
    My First Lomo Affair: Smolda and the Diana F+

    Radka's first photowalk with the Diana F+ went without any fuss. The camera's dainty looks charmed and brought smiles to the people she met that day. Have a look at the dreamy square photographs from Radka's First Lomo Affair!

    5
  • My Lomo’Instant Quick Tips

    written by tomas_bates on 2014-11-12 in #gear #tipster
    My Lomo’Instant Quick Tips

    I backed the Kickstarter project for the Lomo’Instant earlier this year and was thrilled to receive it last week. I love how the camera naturally encourages you to experiment with its different features, whether it’s through flashing your multiple exposures with different colors or trying different creative techniques after your shots has been ejected. Here are a few tips from what I’ve discovered from playing with the camera so far (and a couple of tips I want to try out in future)!

  • Shop News

    Give your space a facelift with your own analogue print

    Give your space a facelift with your own analogue print

    Really want to bring your film photos to life? We’re now offering totally analogue fine art prints in a host of large sizes and formats! Carefully enlarged from your negatives onto premium photographic paper by lab professionals, each picture is a unique piece of craftsmanship.

  • This Is What An LC-A Instant Looks Like

    written by shhquiet on 2015-04-01 in #gear #news
    This Is What An LC-A Instant Looks Like

    Anything can happen in an instant, right? This is also true with instant snapshots taken with the Lomo LC-A+ camera and LC-A Instant Back+ accessory. Here's a quick look at the bizarre, unpredictable world of LC-A+ Instants!

    1
  • Spinner 360: Pull the Cord and Let the Magic Happen!

    written by adi_totp on 2014-09-09 in #reviews
    Spinner 360: Pull the Cord and Let the Magic Happen!

    The story between the Spinner 360 and I goes way back to the year 2010, when Lomography decided to send me a beta model of the Spinner 360 to test. It was a complete surprise! I thought, "What the hell is that?" as I first took this camera out of the package. Then, when my little brother grabbed it from me and pulled the cord, it buzzed and turned 360°! We all had the same expression: "Whoa..."

    4
  • Lomography and Alfa Mito Club to Club Festival 2014 Competition: The Trojan Horse

    written by camilla_illa on 2014-10-27 in #competitions
    Lomography and Alfa Mito Club to Club Festival 2014 Competition: The Trojan Horse

    Lomographers, fans of electronic music and art, this is the competition for you! We are very happy to launch this competition with Alfa MiTo Club To Club, one of the most important festivals of music, art and culture electronics in Europe, which will take place in Turin, Italy, from 5th to 9th November 2014. Find out how to win two tickets, lots of music and Lomography cameras!

    3
  • Shop News

    The Lomography Experimental Lens Kit opens up a new, creative photographic domain!

    The Lomography Experimental Lens Kit opens up a new, creative photographic domain!

    Satisfy your hunger for creative snap-shooting with this lens package made especially for Micro 4/3 digital cameras! Don't miss the 20% discount!

  • James Wright's So It Goes x Sri Lanka Photo Diary (Part I)

    written by Julien Matabuena on 2015-03-31 in #world #locations
    James Wright's So It Goes x Sri Lanka Photo Diary (Part I)

    In December last year James Wright, editor and creative director of So It Goes Magazine, went on a two-week trip to Sri Lanka, "a place so long on our bucket list, but up until then, as yet unvisited," he writes on the first of his three-part photo diary. Herein is the first of his series that chronicles his adventures, highlighted by a selection of breathtaking images of the Sri Lankan countryside and the locals, among many other images, captured with his trusty photographic companions: the Leica MP, Lomo LC-A+, and an assortment of films including the LomoChrome Purple.

    2
  • The New Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Lens at the Lunar New Year Parade

    written by antoniocastello on 2015-06-13 in #gear #lifestyle
    The New Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Lens at the  Lunar New Year Parade

    Since Lomography launched its new Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Art Lens project on Kickstarter, we've been seeing a variety of pictures, from images of snow monkeys in Japan to behind-the-scenes shots of New York Fashion Week. Many of these pictures were shot with digital cameras, but we've yet to see how the Petzval 58 performs on an analog Canon Rebel camera loaded with black and white, and x-pro film. Join us on a trip through the heart of New York's Chinatown during the Lunar New Year Parade.

  • LomoAmigos: The Ting Tings Go Analogue!

    written by hannah_brown on 2014-09-09 in #people #lomoamigos
    LomoAmigos: The Ting Tings Go Analogue!

    The Ting Tings are a musical duo from Manchester who have more pop hits than you can shake a stick at. They are most famous for their 2008 hit "That's Not My Name" which got even the stiffest of people shaking in their seats. The Ting Tings are back with a brand new album called Super Critical. They are big film fanatics (check out their website for proof) so we gave them a Sprocket Rocket Camera and a bunch of film to document their life in sunny IBIZA.

  • Shop News

    Colorsplash your World!

    Colorsplash your World!

    At 30% off you can now color your analog images with 12 different color gels. Experiment with 35mm slide film and play with the built-in color flash for the most intense colors!

  • December 4th Advent Offer: Looking for a terrific camera for the holidays? (Online Code: BRIGHTDELIGHT15)

    written by jacobs on 2014-12-04 in #news
    December 4th Advent Offer: Looking for a terrific camera for the holidays?  (Online Code: BRIGHTDELIGHT15)

    It's that time again — the Lomography Advent deal of the day! If you're in search of a beautiful gift for creative folks or looking to get into the game yourself, we've got your back. Today's super deal is on our Diana F+ and Diana Mini, as well as a continued discount on our plastic bodied cameras.

  • The World According to Herr Willie: Salvation Mountain

    written by wil6ka on 2015-05-16 in #world #locations
    The World According to Herr Willie: Salvation Mountain

    Leonard Knight passed away last year but he left an incredible legacy, an embodiment of love, that is Salvation Mountain. From 1984, he painted and remodeled a little hill in the California desert that's colorful as a cupcake and truly meaningful. And if anything ever would have been meant to be shot with Lomo cameras, it would be this psychedelic, holy hill.

    11
  • Kelly Angood and the Exciting World of Pinhole Photography

    written by jacobs on 2015-04-03 in #people #news #lifestyle
    Kelly Angood and the Exciting World of Pinhole Photography

    The founder of The Pop-Up Pinhole Co., Kelly Angood, has been handcrafting pinhole cameras from scratch since 2010. After developing a huge online following from one of her early pinhole designs, she embarked on a mission to design an affordable, functional pinhole camera that could be constructed all in the comfort of your own home — and it had to look great too! Following an incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign, her mission was realized. Read on to see how it happened and what's next for Kelly and The Pop-Up Pinhole Company!

    2