Sometimes, when browsing through all the Lomohomes, I see some Newbies who don't have any pictures uploaded yet. They complain that they do not have enough experience or money to choose a Lomo cam, sometimes even upload digital pictures. But it could be that easy to start immediately! Here's a quick guide for new people for the first steps into the world of anaolgue photography.
Choosing a camera
Most of the users here will have already many, many cams in every part of their room! But I remember how fixed I was when I started: I absolutly wanted to have a Diana.
I could not believe that also other cameras could do such great Lomo-style pictures. But even if sooner or later everybody will fall for the Diana F+ or LC-A+ , at the beginning you can also use very cheap cams. The “magic” is mostly in the film! So go to the next 2nd hand store or the next flea market, you will get really cheap stuff there. When you invest up to five or ten dollars, you already have the choice!
Before you buy the camera, take it, open the back, hold it against the sky or a light, and press the sgutter (sometimes you have to wind before). When you see the shutter opening for a mili second, the camera is still working. Some cameras need batteries, but in most cases, they’re only for the flash. You can also use “single use cams”, often they are also reuseable. And you even find underwater single use cams for a really cheap price!
Here’s a little checklist that can help you to decide for the right camera:
- Which film do I want to use? The easiest thing is to use 35 mm Film, but you also can still get (for example) 120 films, APS and some polaroids
- Do I need double exposures? Some cameras have a MX button, others can be used at every film position
- Do I want an integrated flash or at least a hotshoe? (if you buy a camera with flash at the flea market please check if the batterie didn’t leak inside the camera!)
- Do you like an integrated lightmeter? (like in the LC-A or most SLRs) Then you do not have to think about the right exposure
- Do you want any other “special effect” like fisheye, multilenses, sprockets, …
- What about a bulb setting? (long exposures during the night)
- Should it be possible to focus with the camera?
For summer time, simple cameras are already great, which only have a shutter button. When taking pictures indoors, at night or bad weather conditions, a flash is necessary or at least the possibility to choose different apertures and exposure times.
What are all these numbers and settings on my camera about?
When you got a new camera, you can often get a detailed information here. And if not, that’s also good, then you can write the review and get some piggies!
From an easy single use cam to a sophisticated SLR there is a different number of settings on a camera. Mostly you find: aperture, exposure time, distance to the object (focus), picture counter. When the camera has a lightemert, you can also often set the iso. If not, a 200 iso film will be ok.
There is also the shutter button, sometimes a hotshoe, automatic release… inspect your camera (without film), try to google, try it with film… you will love it! And mostly there is also the manual somewhere in the internet.
And if it should absolutely be a Lomography camera?
Pros and cons for a selection of Lomography cameras…
At the beginning I thought from the pictures in the internet “wow, that’s really an ugly camera”. But luckily I got one on the photokina, and I was really enthusiastic! The camera is lightweight and easy and makes great colorful pictures. Long exposure and many different flash color (three inside, but you can change them) – you don’t need more to go out in the evening and capture fun night shoots!
- Diana Mini
A princess with her own charm. People who just bought it often complain that they have problems with the film transport, but after some trying you know how to take her. She’s doing great square or half pictures. Diana Mini can shoot the film at every position, so it is possible to do great endless panoramas! Here is a great review from mephisto19
- Action Sampler (with or without Flash)
A simple camera which is taking four pictures on one. Although the name contains “action”, the images are easy blurred when you move too fast. The normal ActionSampler is a sunshine cam. With the Action Sampler Flash you get great portraits (that do not blur because of the flash), but you must account that everybody will be half-blinded after you flash them four times! Anyway, a great cam. The effect gets a bit boring over time, so you should not always use the cam. Leave it somewhere, forget it for some weeks, and after, find and love it again!
- Fisheye 1
The Fisheye 1 is doing simple Fisheye shoots and is also a sunshine cam. This effect can get boring too after some time, so don’t use it too often and always try to discover it new!
- Fisheye 2
Like Fisheye 1, but with integrated flash and the possibility of doing double exposures (MX).
Four stripes, a great effect! Also a sunshine cam.
Like the Action Sampler (without flash), but the double of pictures!
With flash, 9 times the same motive. Can be a bit boring, but you have a lot of possibilities to experiment with double exposures and masking some of the lenses.
- And a lot more!
Just browse through the online shop and have a look at all the sample pictures.
The cheapest camera
…is still a self-made pinhole! No matter if carton, can, or whatever — you will find a lot of DIY tutorial on the internet!
- Expired Films
The cheapest way to get films is to ask all your friends and friends of friends. Or directly search on flea markets. Although a film which expired 32 years ago can still be great!
Everybody who never tried cross processing will ask himself how all the other lomographers get these great colors and why they absolutly do not get them! The films will get great and different styles! There are two main procedures of developping, one is C41 for the standard negativ film, the other one is E6 for positives (slides).
E6 → C41
Develop a slide film, which is normally developped in E6, in C41, result: negatives. You will LOVE the colorful results! No matter if provia-green or velvia-pink – you have to try it!
C41 → E6
A “normal” negative film, which is made for C41, in E6, result: slides. The colors get blunt and pale, but sometimes you want even this effect! But consider: you should overexpose at least one step (better two) or push the film, if not, it’s getting too dark. And slide films are not as forgivable as negative films for the exposure!
You can buy them directly, but you also should try it at least once yourself!It is really easy, and when you are too lazy to do it again, you still can buy the Lomography or Rollei Redscale. For redscaling 35mm film, several tipster exist, for example this one, 120er is not that easy to redscale. You should try 220 film, it’s easy, just put it in the camera with the other side. But you must close the little window at the back really, really good!
Did you exposure your film one or two steps too much/less? With a sunshine cam on a cloudy day, or the wrong ISO setting of the LC-A? With “push”, you can increase the ISO the double (for example use an ISO 100 film as an ISO 400). “Push+2” would increase the ISO two times (for example: ISO 100 —> ISO 400). The other direction is “pull”.
Films are more or less good for being pushed, just try it!
- Color gels
You can have a lot of fun with color gels! Just hold them in front of your flash like in this tipster. You can do masks for the Diana (or every other cam) like here.
- Doing immediate double exposures
Some cameras (like LC-A+ or Fisheye 2) have the MX button. Others can always and at every position expose the film (Diana F+ and Mini, Holgas). SLRs like the Canon EOS have a setting for double exposures. With a splitzer, you can also combinate different parts. A nice DIY splitzer tutorial.
If your camera does not allow double exposure, try this
- Doubles with you/myself
Expose a film, rewind it, but not completly, and use it again. There are no borders! Use it in different cameras, redscale it for one exposure, exchange with other lomographers…