When they call this image fusion, they aren’t joking! The first thing I noticed upon developing a roll of film through the Split-Cam was that some of the “tricks” or images we were trying to create didn’t quite line up how we thought they would. The second thing I noticed was that it didn’t seem to matter; this camera is capable of funny, unique, and sometimes intense photo combinations even if things don’t come out quite like you thought they would (don’t forget about the 8th and 9th rules of Lomography!)
My first bit of advice is that you need to be gentle with this camera. It’s easy to get so caught up in the Lomoment that you forget you may be dealing with a cheap plastic camera. My Split-Cam is still in fine working condition, but I can see how it would be very easy to break something on it if you fumbled too harshly. The button doesn’t always want to easily push down, it kinda needs to be wiggled. Also, the button that slides over to allow multiple exposures doesn’t slide as easily as it could. Also, when advancing the film, you really have to find a balance between forcing it over while still being delicate (I ended up with a slight blister on my thumb after my first experience). Trust that if you are gentle and patient, all things will work!
If you are trying to take shots that are very straight forward and with intention (like one person’s head on another’s body) make sure you take note of where each person is standing so that you can line things up correctly. Then again, not having things perfectly lined up and balanced makes for interesting photos, too.
There’s no flash on this camera. It really needs bright outdoor light to work best.
The coolest aspect of this camera is that besides doing the typical layer upon layer of multiple exposures, you can also do only two different photos blended in the center without either one of them having to fight with another layer on top of it for the spotlight. The precise and aesthetic blend in the middle really makes it easy to forget you are using such an inexpensive camera.
When you load the film (and this really goes for any camera) make sure that as you advance each shot, the rewind crank is spinning. Otherwise, the film is not loaded correctly. I accidentally wasted my first roll due to not taking note of this, and then rewinding too quickly.
If you can get past the quirks (and possible blisters!) and be patient when loading the film, this camera can really come through for you! No matter how many nice and expensive Lomo cameras one can add to their collection, there is none capable of creating photos quite like the Split-Cam.
Check out the Split-Cam microsite here