Whenever I leave my house I am very likely to take my camera bag with me. Inside you'll usually find two medium format camera's and at least one 35mm camera: either the LC-A+ or the LC-Wide. Lately, the LC-W has had the upper hand. Why? Because hidden underneath the disguise of being a small and simple P&S camera, I found an extremely versatile millipede!
A couple of months ago, I was facing a tough decision: I would buy another camera, which is always exciting, but I would have to choose between the LC-A+ and the LC-Wide. After going back and forth for a long time I finally settled on the LC-A+. I was happy as a child when it got here and I took it everywhere with me. But the thought of owning and using the LC-Wide never really left my head. So after a few weeks had passed and I had saved up some more piggy points, I started thinking again about getting the LC-A+ a playmate. Having seen so many incredible LC-Wide shots from other Lomographers, and having had such a great experience with the LC-A+, this time it was a very easy decision: that wide-angle beauty would be mine… And I haven’t regretted it for a second!
The LC-Wide has a very deceiving look: it looks like a very simple point and shoot camera with a single lever in the front to change the focal distance, and a small wheel to set the ISO. That’s it, or so it looks at first sight. While this simplicity is one of its greatest attributes, making it a foolproof camera in anybody’s hands, there is so much more this awesome snapper.
First off, the LC-Wide comes with an incredible lens! Not only because of its wideness but also its sharpness. The only thing you have to do is flick the focus lever up when your subject is closer than 1 meter and flick it down when your subject is further away. Do that right and you’ll get very nice and sharp photos.
Besides the shutter and the focus lever, there aren’t any more levers or buttons on the front or the top of the camera. But if you look at the bottom you will discover two switches. The first is the well known MX switch that can be found on most Lomography cameras and allows you to make multiple exposures. The other is a tiny switch labeled FF/S – HF. And this little switch has made all the difference for me! Using the correct combination of this switch, the plastic masks that came with camera and the metal doors that protect your lens when not in use, gives you plenty of format options besides the standard 35mm format.
Using the FF/S setting on both the switch and the lens doors will give you full frame 35mm pictures.
With exactly the same FF/S setting but by simple inserting the SQUARE mask in the back of your camera you’ll end up with beautiful square format images. Personally I adore a square format for photos, which probably explains my love for medium format 6×6 cameras ;-). Keep in mind that inserting the mask has to be done before loading the film and the mask will stay in place for the entire roll.
The second setting of the tiny switch and the lens doors is the HF or half frame setting. Inserting the HALF FRAME mask in the back and having switch and lens doors on HF will allow you to take images half the normal size, hence allowing you to get 72 exposures on a 36 exp roll.
These are the 3 official formats of the LC-Wide: full frame, half frame and square. But since this is Lomography there are plenty of ways to disobey and make up your own rules! I don’t remember where I first read about it, but my personal favorite is the endless-overlapping-single-shot-on-a-roll! You get this sweet effect by setting the bottom switch to HF, opening the lens doors completely (so have them on FF) and not insert any masks. Because the lens is fully open and there is no mask in the back, you’ll expose a full frame each time you press the shutter. But because the bottom switch is on HF it will only advance the film half a frame each time you cock the shutter. If you find there is to much overlap this way, try the following: bottom switch at HF, no mask, lens doors on HF. This way you’ll get half frame pictures with the tiniest bit of overlap between them.
But the fun doesn’t end here. If none of the formats above appeal to you, or if you’re in for a change, then get yourself the instant back and some instax film et voila, you hold a whole new camera in your hands!
Like I said before, one of the greatest attributes of the LC-Wide is its simplicity. Literally anybody can just grab it and make good shots with it. No manual needed :-) I you don’t believe me, look at the series below. This was shot by my 8 year old nephew the very first time he held an analogue camera!