I would like to start by thanking Lomography Philippines for lending me the LomoApparatus after some dramatic requests. I don’t know about you, but it’s always exciting when Lomography announces a new product. Even with avid, longtime film photographers like us exposed to a variety of tools – dirt cheap to expensive – I think Lomography has become a barometer that gives us a glimpse of what many younger film photographers would like to capture. and a different perspective of landscape film photography faces today.
I’ll share my experience with the LomoApparatus in the context of how it’s likely to be used in the hands of an everyday shooter. I’m not a tech savvy person and my view is not to be too picky about the deeper technical aspects. I photographed the LomoApparatus with no pretense or expectation, I also had a great time at a Halloween party and had a drink. The stress test this camera has endured includes aggressive film advance, snapping and unclicking of the lens adapters, and a few minor dents.
Here’s what I cover:
functions and structure
Some quick specs:
Lomography LomoApparatus 35mm
- wide-angle lens (21mm, plastic, coated)
- Fixed shutter speed: 1/100
- Fixed aperture: F10
- Built-in Flash; Bulb mode
- Accessories: lens cover, close-up lens attachment, kaleidoscope lens attachment, splitzer lens attachment, metal bracelet and gel filter.
When it was handed to me, the words came out, “Oh, that’s adorable!” I was really surprised at how compact and sturdy it was. It doesn’t scream plastic and doesn’t look fragile either. For something palm-sized, it offers multiple exposure capability, bulb mode, interchangeable lens adapters (kaleidoscope and close-up), the splicing accessory, and the option for the signature colored gel filters. All the basic key features are there that already allow a user (of any photographic experience) to shoot comfortably with plenty of room for creativity.
One downside for me was the Bulb mode. It was a bit moot (that can only be me) because the camera doesn’t have a facility for using a shutter release cable. So you either have the steadiest hands in the world or use the flash at the end of the exposure for some artistic effect (I’m sure someone will find a creative way to use this). I also hope Lomo puts effort into improving the film advance wheel, it was a bit of a hassle but nothing that detracted from my shooting experience.
My results: Come on, I think they turned out great!!
This is a FUN AND POWERFUL BASIC CAMERA that is better built and has more flexible creative functionality than its contemporaries. I really think Lomography put a lot of thought into the design of the LomoApparatus and its ease of use. Since Lomo is a “fun brand”, you always get the feeling that sometimes they try to do too much. However, I think they’ve hit the right notes this time around – balancing features that avid film shooters would appreciate (even if it’s considered lo-fi) with classic Lomo features that newcomers would find exciting. So we offer a camera that you and I would love to carry around with us every day.
At 21mm, its closest cousins are the Lomo La Sardina and Reto Ultra Wide & Slim at 22mm (am I missing anyone?) – neither of which compare to the build or bells and whistles the LomoApparat offers.
I think people will be really surprised that the distortion isn’t intrusive or uncomfortable as originally suggested. In fact, that was the last thing I focused on when looking at my photos, simply because it didn’t stand out. This left me with a strong impression that the Lomography R&D team went the extra mile to produce an amazing plastic coated lens.
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Ok, there are obviously limitations, such as: B. a minimum/maximum distance to hit the “sweet spot of focus and exposure”. I think the closest I got to a subject was a foot/30cm (specs dictate you can get as close as 20cm).
While the features of the camera are fixed, the contraption is special as the close-up adapter allows you to be a bit more intimate. You can cook a little more with the kaleidoscope. You’re bound to be more funky with the filters. Multiple exposure gives you easy access to unique compositions. There is something for everybody.
Any vignetting was not a problem for me. It’s classic and inherent in Lomography, that’s their signature. However, I couldn’t shoot the camera in sunny weather because the current weather didn’t give me the opportunity to do so.
What surprised me was that they described the contraption as ‘totally experimental’…I kind of disagree given the results, which I liked…this is a new camera and with that, Lomography should exude a new sense of confidence. With the onslaught of new “reusable”/disposable fixed focus P&S cameras hitting the market these days, the LomoApparat needs to be clear where it sits in the cotillion.
I’ve heard a lot, “What does ‘reusable’ even mean?!” … First, as someone who’s a salesperson in the industry, we meet a lot of first-time film photographers who may or may not have the budget for long term schedules or the right access to one traditional entry-level (vintage) camera. Lomography cameras like the Lomo LCA and now the LomoApparat are fantastic starters (which aren’t disposable) to dip their toes into. Brands have found that the market has shifted and the competition is leaning into that spectrum. The question now is: “What would make people want to make films?”.
Nowadays we are well aware of movie cost, instant reward and so on. Therefore, any tool that would stimulate interest in film photography IS ALWAYS welcome.
And for the more experienced film shooters, it’s a cool little compact to casually have a fun day with. It’s been a tough few months for me, socially and with film photography. The opportunity to shoot with the LomoApparat was just what I needed to encourage me to connect with people without fear…. and reminded me that the medium is as exciting as the tools you use to accompany it.
PS: Many thanks to Sunny16Lab Philippines for the development and the scan
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