The Sprocket Rocket camera, designed by LSI with nostalgia and functionality in mind. It’s one of the cameras that I feel exemplifies the lomo cuture well all hold dear.
For the rest of this review I will be referring to the Sprocket Rocket as the SR for the ease of writing and reading this review. So let’s get into it then! I’ve loved the SR since before I was able to get one, which was this past February, when it was announced I had just begun my voyage into lomography using a Holga 135. I had never seen anything like this before and favored the idea of taking lomographs in panorama. Whats panorama you ask? Well for the sake of this article and being thorough, Panorama is a super wide photo that provides a large field of view. To achieve this the camera sports a 30mm super wide angle lens. Another little secret of the SR is that it takes photos on the entire width of a 35mm film strip including the sprocket holes, hence the name Sprocket Rocket. However you’ve got even more control over how your photos are shot, maybe you want to have a clean panoramic image sans the sprocket holes. No problem LSI is kind enough to include a frame mask that omits the sprocket holes from the image on the negative.
Let’s talk more about the lens shall we. It is a zone focus camera with 2 settings, an Infinite setting for group or landscape shots, and with a twist of the lens you have a close up setting for getting in your subjects face, so to speak. The user can also switch between normal shutter mode and bulb mode, bulb mode leaves the shutter open for as long as the shutter release is engaged. Speaking of the shutter release, it is on the lens assembly as well, providing for a relatively compact design and simple mechanics. Sometimes less is more!
As for the camera body, it holds some important features in it’s own wide panoramic glory. On top of the camera, above the viewfinder itself lies an accessory hot shoe for use of a flash for those low light situation. Moving back down to the viewfinder, it enables the user to view their scene in proper wide representation. A small tip about the viewfinder, it’s more or less gauged for shooting photos full frame including the sprocket holes. If you are using the included frame mask, you’ll need to adjust what your framing in the viewfinder so as not to cut off the subject or scene you’re photographing. The SR uses a unique way of advancing the film, there are two knobs, one on each end of the camera. Wind and rewind knobs, that control the advancing and rewinding of the film. They act independently of each other and the shutter release. Since these two knobs are uninhibited by each other, it gives the user total creative power over their photos by being able to rewind to any part of the film roll they choose to create awesome multiple exposures or MX shots.
Now since this camera offers great flexibility, in addition to a frame counter window there is a frame reference window that notifies the user when to stop advancing the film. This window is very simple, it contains a dot. And thats it. As you advance or rewind the film, the frame reference window spins with the frame counter, but give a more accurate placement of the frame. Since there is no restriction when advancing the film there’s no automatic film stop, so the frame reference window give us this information more accurately than the frame counter could. Genius! And last but not least for this feature packed marvel is the tripod mount, yep theres a tripod mount too. It resides on the bottom of the camera and is occupied by a threaded lanyard loop, which is there for those times when not in use.
In closing I’d like to say that LSI did a pretty darn good job with development of this unique panoramic camera. Now some people, myself included, have spoken up about possible improvements, and it’s a not a bad thing when approached and represented properly. Which I think the community has done, and I think LSI is receptive too. With this being said, I simply adore the Sprocket Rocket in it’s current form and recommend everyone to try it and experience it’s versatility and joy.