You may have already read, likely already heard, of the LC-Wide. I’m not about to give you a listing of specs or comparisons of the LC-W to other cameras. I’m just gonna share how I, a simple casual photographer, got a feel for the LC-W, and why it became a dependable and desired camera to have along on any shoot for me. It left its mark on me, it did.
Perhaps there is something that you can relate to here, something that might tell you more about the LC-W, about how you might come to know and love it, too. But to do so, I first have to give you some background to my photography….
I shot film on simple SLRs before dSLRs arrival. I traveled. I love street photography. I even found reason to move to dSLRs. I have made a dollar or two selling photos taken with Pentax ME Super, Nikon F4, Canon EOS-1V, Nikon D100, and more. I have invested carefully in the cameras I buy and get my money’s worth. I’ve used and love simple USD10 point-shoot-and-throw cameras to EOS1D and the Leica, and currently enjoy the Pentax K-5 and Panasonic GF-1.
Now to the heart of it: Given my experience, why do I now include the LC-W in my bag of shots?
It wasn’t love-at-first-sight. No. Hell no! Far from it. Not that it is unappealing, but looks don’t weigh one bit against results. But I digress….
- Looked practical. Usage proved it is as it looks. -
I loved the idea of how such a light-weight and compact camera could take in such a wide angle view. I looked at other comparable set-ups. Typically other options would cost or weigh more. Yes, there are solid options out there from digital lomo to wide full-frame film SLR sets. But the simple non-intimidating form of the LC-W fit my needs well: doesn’t make people shy away like a cannon is pointed their way, doesn’t even require two hands to wield, and certainly not gonna drag my chin to the ground if I wear it with a string round my neck.
- Practical beyond its looks: Results -
Some call lomo cameras “toy cameras”. So sure, some would hesitate and doubt if it can be any good. But critics cover all angles: Sell it white and it get easily get’s stained or dirty. Plastics? Not any good. In my hands, yeah, it IS plastic. And yeah, not cheap was what I first thought. I shot a roll and was rewarded many times over for the cost of it. If I were still in the market and doing pro-shooting, I’m sure the photos this camera can capture could sell and easily recover it’s cost. With just a ISO400 roll, I can take indoors and outdoors, and night shots with a steady hand. Image noise? Only if your scanner is a problem. You do recall that you can print from negatives to photo paper right? 4R, 6R, 8R, 10R…. ring a bell? And so what if it’s plastic? It heats up, yes. A stroll outdoors and you can feel it. Shade it a short while and it cools. If I wanted to be creative, I imagine a warmed lens might give me a different light curve through the lens for great contrast and saturation.
- IQ in a class of its own -
Talking about contrast and saturation, LC-W gives it good. The special made lens really delivers a special feel to the images. I have been consistently delighted with the image quality (IQ) I get out of it. I would describe it like so: great balance of sharpness, saturation, vignetting, barrel distortion even…. Yes, I love it all. At the end of the day, I want photos that captured the moment. It doesn’t have to be pixel perfect, pixel sharp like a Leica or Hasselblad. It just has to get the shot each and every time, and give it to me with oomph! This it does. If you were looking for a 100% what you see is what you get, 0 distortion and 100% color accuracy, then okay, LC-W is not for you.
- Who’s the LC-W for? -
Me. Me, me, and me. You? Perhaps. Do you want a camera that takes 17mm full-frame photos? Yeah, there’s no LCD back for instant review, but why would you need that when one flick of finger can focus your subjects and auto-exposure happens on-click? Oh, and do you want a camera that has the option to do multiple exposure in full-frame, square frame and half-frame formats? You don’t want the fuss of worrying if you got the right exposure settings? And yet you want to have the option to control exposures? And yes, it is not an SLR ie. you cannot change lenses. There are still creative ways you can alter the image, but for it’s price, you can even buy the LC-A+… such is the way with lomographers… the cameras would grow on you and eventually, you may find yourself bringing along lomo-cams with just the combination of film and lens types that you need.
- A creative tool -
A camera is just a tool for the photographer to paint with light. I’ve just shot 3 rolls so far with the LC-W. I’m immensely pleased with the results. As a tool in my hands, I feel hardly capable of writing a review of the camera given I’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg of it’s creative side. It boasts a hotshoe (color-splash flash unit available separately) and even has an instant polaroid film back. I know the LC-A had a Krab Underwater housing and can only imagine the LC-W in one eventually. Don’t know about you, but I don’t even need to wait for a battery to charge here. I’ll stop writing here and start planning WHEN to take my next roll with the LC-W. “Where” is not so important as I’m confident it would deliver the goods, wherever.
On FaceBook: Marcus Wong