The LOmokino and what I found to be true

I bought a Lomokino kit recently. I plan on using the Lomokino images to add to, and supplement a music video I will shoot in November.
So I test shot six rolls of 35MM film. Using outdated 35MM Fuji film, and some Kodak BW film.
Here are the results of my tests.

1. Its almost impossible to shoot anything with the camera unless you put it on a tripod. The handcrank winder is located on the right side of the camera and the viewfinder is positioned on the top of the camera on the right side. Cranking the winder and attempting to look through the viewfinder at the same time is difficult because the camera will naturally move from side to side as you crank it. Placing the camera on a tripod will alleviate this natural movement one makes while cranking and the image will look more stable.

2. Loading the camera properly is quite difficult. After the 35MM roll is positioned inside the camera and strung up through the holder on the feed side, you must pull it across the film plane and attempt to connect it to the take up reel. The take up reel does NOT have a slot that goes all the way through it, its merely an indentation. In other words, you cannot string the leading end of the film through the take up reel to assure that it will stay held and in place. Directions on loading state to put a slight 2MM fold in the film and connect it to the take up reel.
This doesn’t work properly. As a result of the film NOT being held tightly in the take up reel, the perforations on either side of the film begin to tear as the camera is cranked from frame to frame. You are forced to open the camera, exposing a portion of film to manually advance the film past the broken perforations so that you can continue to crank the film forward.
The perfs tear because the film is not strung tightly across the film plane. This allows the film to loosen just enough across the film plane so the sprocket gears that pull the film by the perforations begin to slightly miss the perforation holes tearing them and opening them wider. Once the perforation holes are widened, the sprocket gears stop pulling/moving the film forward due to the sprocket gears having nothing to hold to pull the film forward with.

3. I carry an analog light meter so that I can figure out the exact exposure according to ISO and shutter speed. Its probably not necessary, since the website gives you a rule of thumb on exposure settings based on film sensitivity and lighting conditions.
The focus button seems to work well, and the images look interesting. Holding the button in when your subject is between 0.6 and 1 meter for focus.
I should mention here that unless you use slide-film the images will be in a negative format. You will have to make a copy of the film using the Lomokino viewer and record the images with a cell phone placed inside the Lomokino Phone Holder.

4. Its virtually impossible to get a good image using either. You will have to load your processed negative into a plastic film spool that comes with the viewer. Pulling the film tightly to load it into the small film cassette scratches the film. I imagine that the idea is to allow scratches and damage to show up in the final product to give it that “cool hipster analog look”. I prefer to do all that in post.
The phone holder is useless. It does record the image using a cell phone, but its not worth the time or the money to even attempt it. You must load the film in the cassette, spool it into the viewer and after placing the viewer into the phone holder, you crank the viewer while the phone is recording the image through the viewer. Sounds simple right? If you look at all the cute pretty well exposed vids on the site, you get the impression that’s how its done. I am willing to bet that those images on the site ARE NOT recorded in this manner.
Try it, the image is bouncy and difficult to record, the phone slips and moves in the holder, and because you crank the film through the viewer the final image recorded is janky and jumpy.
I would use the scanning method, by scanning the negs, importing them into Final Cut, Avid, or Premier and then making a mov. file from that. The degree of difficulty is pretty high, but the images will look cool and can be intercut with many other mediums and formats.

written by film8kr on 2012-09-08