This time, he tested his skills at camera modification with the Lomo'Instant Wide. Here, he reflects about his newest creation, which he dubs as "Lomography Magic", and what makes it the "magic wand" for photographers.
According to my research, no one has ever modified a Lomo'Instant Wide to this level. It elevates the camera to a whole new dimension that made it comparable to some legendary cameras in the past.
This Lomo'Instant Wide uses a vintage Ross Ensign F3.5 105mm lens extracted from the Ensign Selfix 8-20 made in 1952.
It has a much wider aperture of F3.5, compared to the F8 in the original Lomo'Instant Wide camera. It means that it can shoot good pictures in low light environment much easier with a lot more bokeh.
First impression of the camera
The unconventional look of this camera never fails to attract onlookers. People always wonder why it looks so different from other digital cameras yet it has a professional appearance. Those who saw the instant picture from the camera were all impressed, in particular, of the rich, vivid color coupled with a soft background, which almost looks like an oil painting. This is due to the sophisticated design of the vintage glass lens which represented the best craftsmanship in their era and the good quality of the Instax wide film.
The modified Lomo'Instant Wide is like a magic wand for photographers
The modified Lomo'Instant Wide has freed the camera from the modern prison of automatic shooting mode. This is a magic wand that opens the door to all the magical possibilities, ranging from shooting light trails on highway at night to framing elegant ladies in a dimly lighted restaurant. It never needs the on-camera flash to assist the exposures. It also brings back the art of portrait photography (with bokeh/soft background) to the modern day instant camera. I truly feel this camera is connected to this beautiful era of the film cameras.
Forget about automatic mode, shooting by your mind
It is a manual camera that uses the photographer's mind eye to find the right exposure settings. Of course, if the photographer is not so well-versed with manual shooting he/she can always use a smartphone metering app to find the correct exposures. After shooting with the modified Lomo camera for some time I feel that I have developed some intuition for lighting and distances. It is like the intuition that an experienced magician has: They can almost sense the identity of spectator's card, merely by observation and cold reading. The optical focus is estimated to be the distance of the subject relative to the camera and I can adjust the focus ring accordingly. The most frequent shooting distance is 1 to 1.5m, which the photographer can easily estimate in high accuracy after shooting for some time. Having said that, the photographer can also use an electronic meter to measure the accurate distance, which could be useful in shooting with wide open aperture.
The usage of the camera
After focusing based on the above procedure, the photographer can then cord and release the shutter on the lens. The picture can be ejected by the native ejection button on the camera body. So you will notice that the shooting and film ejection is separated in this modified Lomo'Instant Wide. It is the beauty of it. You can do unlimited multiple exposures, unlimited B shutter shooting and also delay the ejection of film by unlimited time.