Kalimar LX-9 was love at first sight. The 35mm point-and-shoot toy camera with yellow-and-black plastic body reminded me of Bruce Lee's tracksuit in Game of Death.
The camera is basic, very light but a little bit noisy. It has a focus-free 35mm plastic lens and a single fixed aperture (f8 or maybe f11). It totally lacks multiple exposure capability and the shutter works only with the lens cover opened. Of course the film must be advanced manually. The crappy viewfinder is not quite useless, you can rely on it in sunny weather. If you shoot from the hip (LOMO Rule #4) it should present no significant problems.
It may seem unbelievable but Kalimar LX-9 has a flash hot shoe that works like a charm. In my research I found out that these cameras were sold with their own flash units but I bought mine without one from a second-hand shop. C’est la vie!
My camera delivers wonderful random light leaks when you least expect them (please see my examples below). When I developed the first film I was puzzled: where are those light leaks coming from? At first I thought that the camera is not light proof (because the plastic is not that tight) so I tried to tape the exterior with electrical black tape. On the second film the light leaks reappeared. I suspected that there are reflections from the shiny black plastic interior. I’ve got nothing against light leaks, it’s just that I don’t understand why they appear when I photograph in shady weather and only random in sunny weather. I decided that I don’t care and the I will embrace these (so called) flaws.
When I roam the streets people often ask me if I am a tourist. Because the camera looks so funny nobody takes me seriously and sometimes they ask me to take their picture. Kalimar LX-9 is almost like a invisibility cloak for the street photographer. So, forget those expensive Leicas and use a toy camera. It’s friendly, cheap and the results are unique and personal!
You can find more pictures in my album
written by photochrom on 2011-04-17 in #reviews #kalimar-lx-9-kalimar-lx-9-toy-camera-plastic-35mm-lightleaks #user-review