Known for making cheap, plastic, novelty cameras to shoot on film!
Well those things are true, but you gotta give them kudos for going out of their way to create crazy films & cameras to get people interested in film photography. A little like how cigarette manufactures create illustrious packaging to get people hooked when they're young (Except lomography won't kill you, maybe just your wallet).
One of their such novelty cameras is the Sprocket Rocket, which has been on the market for quite a while now.
A wide angled, panoramic camera that takes photos over the top of the sprocket holes on 35mm film!
It's pretty nifty with the features it includes:
• Uses all types of standard 35mm film.
• Super-wide angle lens that captures the whole width of the film, including sprockets!
• Unique dual scrolling knobs make multiple exposures easier than ever!
• B-setting for long exposures.
• Hot-shoe for flash and built-in standard tripod thread
Eager to open the packaging like a kid in a candy shop, I couldn't wait to get the camera out.
One thing lomography are very fantastic about is their packaging and branding. Always colourful, and made in such a way that it practically threatens to burn your house down unless you buy it!
Once opening the plastic shell, I was greeted by the camera itself, a lens cap, a book of cool example photos, the instruction manual (Us guys don't need them!), a little poster booklet with an artist bio and her experience with the camera, a warranty card (Only valid in Japan.....however, I think the friendly AU team would happily help you out if something were to go wrong!) and another little booklet about the history of Lomography the LC-A! A lot of cool stuff, but I just wanna play with the camera already!
It is very plasticy, as is most Lomography products, however it feels like it could handle a few drops and knocks!
So I'll cover each aspect of the outside first off:
Lens: It is a 30mm, plastic, 2 or 3 element (Just going by what I saw), zone focused lens. If you're like me, lazy, the lens is a breeze to use. Twist it one way to focus on subjects between 0.6m - 1m, and the other way for subjects between 1m - ∞. On the top it has the switch to shoot between N mode or B mode (Normal & Bulb). It has a shutter speed of ~1/100th with two relative apertures of ~f/10.8 and ~f/16 (Changing the aperture is done by the lever on the bottom, indicated by the cloudy & sunny symbols!)
Viewfinder: Gives you a rough guide as to what will in your picture. Plastic and hard to make out much through it, but none-the-less handy!
Hot shoe: I placed my flash on it, and works perfectly! (I always suggest a tilt-swivel as it allows the most amount of control with artificial flash light!)
Tripod screw: For some reason, the camera comes with a screw inserted into where the tripod goes. This makes the camera sit unevenly on flat surfaces. I can't see how it serves any purpose whatsoever, so just throw it away!
Winding knobs: This is one of the somewhat innovative features that makes taking mX photos a breeze. You can wind the film whichever way you like (Well.....forwards and backwards....), and take multiple exposures over random frames till your hearts content! If just wanna take normal photos however, while winding the film through, once it is wound completely a little dot will appear in a window on the top of the camera. If you have cataracts though, it's near impossible to see. I guess a little bit of mystery can't hurt though!
Film back: It holds on to the camera with two metal clips either side. If it comes off slightly however, I wouldn't be surprised how light leaky the film may become. Though, I wouldn't half mind that! But just be a bit careful, especially if you tend to throw them around all the time! It also has a little clear window, so you can see what film you are shooting inside! Handy for us forgetful folk!
When I first opened the back I was greeted with a little mask inside. This mask allows you to cut off the sprockets from your images, so you just have a normal panoramic photo. But it, of course, removable!
Inside is also the take up spools (Without which, the camera would be useless), so just load a film like any other camera! Keep winding the right hand knob until the white dot appears in the window!
This brings to probably a few questions you might have.
What are these sprockets you keep banging on about?
You know how your roll of film has those little holes top and bottom? They are known as sprocket holes. Because the emulsion (The layers of light sensitive dyes that make up the film) also covers these holes, it means you can also shoot your images over the top of them! This gives a very different style of image, and really makes the most of the full image! It also puts all the weird symbols on the emulsion and the name of the film over the top of your images, pretty surreal! At least if you print and display them, people won't need to ask what film you shot with!
What is a panoramic photo?
A normal photo is only 1 frame, which gives you one picture. Some cameras, like this one, have a wide enough lens to cover an image consisting of 2 frames worth. So it's very rectangular and crams more of your subject into the image you wanna shoot!
I'm gonna load up this cam with lord knows what! (I have 200 rolls of unexposed film at home, I have TOO much choice!) and write another article about the results! I'm practically quivering with excitement! With the now sunny weather I could probably load in some slide film to cross process!
At the shop we currently have them in Black & White (Anyone from Collingwood?) for $120! Yeah, pricey, but Lomography sets the prices, not us!
I think if you're looking for a way to spice up your images, this is a definite way to go about it! Plus it comes with a heap of cool stuff! (Well I think so, I love reading photography books!)
Keep an eye for part two where I tell you about the shooting process with the film!