Basics Applied: La Sardina


La Sardina is one of my favorite Lomography Cameras. This maybe because it was my first (along with Diana), or possibly because it is one of the most forgiving and flexible. Get the best from this excellent camera with some back to basics knowledge!

Credits: adam_g2000

La Sardina has a remarkable wide angle lens on it. It’s plastic, so you get the delicious Lomographic effects we all know and love and it has a wonderful lens flare, like no other camera. When you get this great flare it is a treat. Point it at the sun.

That glorious La Sardina rainbow lens flare!

There are no controls on La Sardina at all. You can switch focus from distant to very close, but you have no control over ISO, Aperture or shutter speed.

Super, super-wide Sardina. These shot on an pretty overcast day with ISO 200 film.

This is extremely liberating, but to really use it to its full effect, you need to understand a few basics.

The relationship between film speed (ISO), aperture and shutter speed is very important. The aperture is fixed at f8. The shutter speed is set at 1/100 of a second.

Using Fritz The Blitz? Choose an ISO based on the distance the subject will be and make sure you flip the switch on the flash for the distance. This 200 film was just about right, a 100 might have been better.

Last year I wrote an article called Back to Basics: Stop It Up, Stop It Down) you should give it a read. It talks about the relationship between film speed, aperture and shutter speed.

Also a knowledge of sunny 16 would help here, so when you are done, give this a read The Sunny 16 Rule.

Finally, grab yourself some good film speed knowledge here: Back To Basics: Film Speed.

Things should be getting clear now. If you cannot change your aperture or shutter speed, to get a perfect (or close to) shot you have to make sure you choose the right film for the situation.

These are pretty much perfect exposures. Looks like ISO 200 is a good day to day speed for this camera.

According to Sunny 16, if you have loaded an ISO 100 film, you should be good to go for overcast, slight overcast also should be fine, but very sunny or snow/sand you may even need a 50 ISO film. Modern Colour Negative film can handle a stop or so over and under exposure, so really you should be fine, you can practice Sunny 16 very easily with this camera, because of the basic 1/100 shutter setting.

Moving indoors presents its own problems, this glass house let in enough light for me to consider it heavy overcast, though perhaps a 400 speed film would have been a better bet. This was 200 speed.

Here is my adjusted Sunny 16 based solely on La Sardina:

  • ISO 50 = Snow/Sand
  • ISO 50/100 = Sunny
  • ISO 100 = Slight Overcast
  • ISO 100/200 = Overcast
  • ISO 200/400 = Heavy Overcast
  • ISO 400/800 = Open Shade/Sunset

I’ve put in more than one ISO to account for the latitude of Colour Negative and Black and White film, and from personal experience of La Sardina. Practice makes perfect, and use your judgement.

Cross processed ISO 100 film on sand, plenty of loss of detail in the highlights, the film too fast. Needed Velvia 50!

If you want to shoot slides, I’d worry, slide film when processed in E6 needs more accuracy than this camera can really provide you with, but cross processing would be wonderful as many Lomographers have demonstrated throughout this site.

written by adam_g2000 on 2013-03-01 #gear #tutorials #wide-angle #camera #aperture #film-speed #tipster #iso #shutter-speed #la-sardina #sunny-16


  1. neanderthalis
    neanderthalis ·

    This is a nice concept for an article and I hope there are more practical application pieces planned.

  2. bsdunek
    bsdunek ·

    There's still a place in this world for a "box camera" type camera. These are great, and you don't have to know much technical information.

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