After I shot a few rolls of film, I can say this much: the Konstruktor and I still have to get a little more used to each other. We'll get there, eventually, but it isn't always so easy to get nice pictures. However, when a picture does work out, the results are very nice.
When you finally get your Konstruktor, you are first going to have to assemble the camera before you can start shooting. Luckily the assembly is so much fun to do. If you ever did one of those plastic model planes, you’re surely going to love this. The manual, however, is very brief, but as long as you pay close attention to what you’re doing, it’s going to be a piece of cake. The only trouble I had was with the film advance wheel: the counter is a little loose, so there’s a bit of speculating as to how many frames I have left. But no major disaster there. Worse is that the film advance wheel gets stuck now and then, through which the film sometimes gets a tear at the sprockets. I guess I’m just going to have to disassemble, fix it and assemble it again, because after all: you assembled it yourself.
And then it’s time to start. The viewfinder on top takes a little time getting used to. With a straightforward picture, it works just fine, but if you want to use a slightly different angle, it can be a little tricky. Vertical pictures can also be challenging, because then you will see the image upside-down in the viewfinder. Really confusing, and for me a guarantee for a skewed picture.
I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but with every Lomographic camera I buy, I have to try really heard to get a sharp result. I think I’m just so used to cameras with big, glass lenses and fast shutter speeds, that I always underestimate the relatively slow shutter speed and cheap Lomo-plastic. But luckily I get used to that within a couple of rolls…
So, as long as you’re not in a wobbling canoe or in bright sunlight (so you can’t see the viewfinder) and you don’t want to take pictures from strange angles, you’ll get used to the viewfinder pretty easily. It’s a nice hybrid between a real SLR and a simple compact camera. There are not a lot of settings – it has a fixed aperture of f/10, and you can only choose between two shutter speeds: 1/80sec and B- but the fact that you can see if your picture is in focus or not, is a really nice feature. I immediately wanted to take a lot of close-ups, because with a regular compact camera it’s guesswork. And much to my surprise, this meager plastic magnifier-like thingy actually does the trick!
Even though the lens doesn’t have a thread for filters, the camera is light enough so you can just hold a filter up to the lens with the same hand with which you hold your camera. That’s excellent news, because the Konstruktor works really great with my close-up filter. No flower or bee is safe from me!
For lighter filters, such as home-made color filters or Cokin-filters, it is very easy to make a filter holder, like this:
As with most other Lomographic cameras it’s very easy to make doubles. This is not entirely my thing (they never turn out as good as I had imagined them), but it’s a great feature nonetheless.
All in all, the Konstruktor is a nice addition to my collection of cameras.