Lomography Spinner 360°

Well, just as this camera sat on my desk and I was avoiding writing a new blog post for want of staying in bed…this post popped up on my feed from 35MMC. It is a fantastic article and basically says everything I had in my notebook. So if you have read that first or have now after seeing the link, then reading this will be like deja vu, so skip to the sample photos. If you haven’t read it then oooh read on and presque vu or other fancy words of some sort.

I got my example of this camera from eBay, untested for £25. That is a bit of a bargain compared to the new prices. I figured it was a Lomography camera operated by a rubberband, what could possibly go wrong with it. I was right, it worked perfectly.

It is a quirky thing, as most Lomography cameras are. It is supposed to take a 360-degree panoramic photo, but it all depends on how much cord you pull. If you pull it all the way out, it spins much more than 360. If you pull the cord a little, it spins a lot less. It spins from left to right if you point it away from you. I took some time before loading it to try and gauge how much cord to pull to get a 180 shot. For me and my tiny fingers, I could measure using my index finger knuckles. One knuckle length was 90-degrees and 2 knuckle lengths would be 180-degrees.

Blooming hard to get a photo of that, the blur is the cord.

I wanted to get that sorted in my mind, so then I could avoid being in the shot and to avoid wasting film.

So pulling the cord activates the “spin” but what about the shutter? Well, there isn’t really one. You select either the f16 sun or f8 cloud symbols. This opens the aperture blades and light starts shining onto the film, this is important to remember. Putting the slider on R, closes the aperture blades and allows you to rewind the film without fogging the whole lot. I tried to get into the habit of putting it on R after every shot, then selecting the weather symbol before taking the shot. Releasing the cord after pulling it advances the film and takes the shot, the speed being around 1/125th or quicker.

I thought pulling the cord and releasing it was tricky in terms of keeping the whole thing parallel, but it moved so quickly that it wasn’t too much of an issue. Resting the handle on a stable piece of street furniture or a table made it much easier though. There is a cute bubble spirit level which is perfect for stabilized shots, but useless if you are hand-holding. On the bottom of the handle is a tripod mount with the words, “spinner dolphin 360” referring to the spirit level symbol. Though this name isn’t referred to anywhere on the Lomography website. There is also a cold shoe, which is also pretty useless. It doesn’t activate a flash, but I guess if you attach an independent strobe of some sort, that might be interesting.

I loaded my spinner with a roll of Kentmere 400 which is one of the cheapest films there is, but also a great one. Then I took it down to the local canal area. As I had learned to sort of control the spin, I got more photos from the roll than the 5-8 that are usual. But to be honest, what is the point of using it if you are not going to let it spin the whole way. Also, if you capture yourself without stabilizing the camera, you get cracking double-chin shots.

The camera has no counter so you just keep using it until it stops spinning. Then PUT THE SELECTOR ON R before rewinding it.

If you send the film off to be developed, the scanning might be an issue. It was the reason I chose to use a black and white film first to check the function. The Spinner creates very long negatives and exposes the sprockets, not all labs will be able to do it. Something like a pixl-latr would be perfect, luckily I have a CanoScan so decided to forgo the sprockets for the test roll. If I use it again I will whip out my pixl-latr to capture those too.

Here are my results.

I really like the verticle shot of the stairs. I might take the camera into a city at some point to capture tall buildings. Unfortunately, the UK is not Hong Kong or Tokyo in that respect. So maybe on my next trip to London. As you can see with the penultimate shot, there is no point in doing anything less than 180-degrees. It is not what the camera is made for.

Well that was fun and now it will go into storage for a while 🙂


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