Tag Archives: lomography

Lomography Konstructor Update

Only yesterday I posted about the camera I built and how the shutter didn’t work. Well, as usual, I couldn’t let it alone and today I took it apart and had a look at the shutter mechanism. I looked at my example and compared it to the instruction book. Even though the mirror and shutter come ready built, the instructions and build diagram are included. This is probably just in case you want to take it apart…or in my case check it when it doesn’t work.

And this is what I found.

See that wire…it is in the wrong position.
It should look like this.

And voila! It started working as it should. So I reassembled the other parts and tried again. The mirror seemed slow and worked much better when the camera pointed to the ground, I still wasn’t sure it would work.

I put in the remainder of the film from yesterday and tried a few shots around my garden. Then I processed the film and there were the negatives in their beautiful black and white. Now to scan.

BUT, my friggin second scanner would not turn on. WHAT IS IT WITH SCANNERS AND THIS ROOM???!!!

My first choice scanner is somewhere in the postal system on its way to a Canon service center. The second one is not worth fixing and is now waiting to be retested and then thrown away. So I resorted to my third choice. Using an iPad and a phone.

Well, you can see the images and they are not too bad considering I thought the camera didn’t work. You can also see the LED display points of the iPad so not a perfect replacement. I think I will be using colour film until my first choice scanner returns or I can afford a replacement.

As for the camera, I now would recommend it if you can find a cheap one. It was fun building it and it actually doesn’t work so badly. It is on par with other toy cameras. You can do multiple exposures and have some fun. Use 400asa film for the best results.

UPDATE: I got my scanner back 🙂 It is a canoscan 9000F Mark II. I rescanned the photos so you can see the difference. The ipad and phone work better in terms of sharpness, but the canoscan is better in terms of ease of use and density. If it wasn’t for the LED thing showing through I would stick with the iPad and phone setup.

Lomography Simple Use

This is one of two crossover cameras from Japan that I have yet to post about. As in, they had film in them when I came back so had photos from both continents. This one is also a kind of crossover camera. It is almost a throwaway camera and also not as you will see.

The design looks like a classic throwaway camera, but once you finish the film that comes preloaded you can reload it with another. Therefore they are essentially not disposable and are a cut above them. This is what was in the box.

You can find more technical details on the Lomography website.

I kept mine in my bag and just used it randomly throughout the last week I was there. The film counter counts back and throughout the film is returned to the cartridge. This means you can just open it up and take it out when you have finished without rewinding. It also means all your shots are protected if you open it early.

Here are the black and whites I got from the preloaded film.

As you can see the flash is quite powerful for the camera size. The battery is also preloaded when you buy the camera. The minimum distance is 1 meter and over that the f9 lens is sharp enough in the centre and tapers off to the corners. Given the loaded film is a 400asa, some of the outside shots are a little underexposed in the shade. The camera is not made for different situations. You need bright light or flash. However, I like the results when those conditions are met. The very last shot of the roll feels a bit loose and I wasn’t really sure I had finished the roll.

Then comes the interesting part, taking out the roll and inserting a new one.

Starts easy…

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Then you put in the film and make sure the top is flush with the camera body.

The take-up column has no slot or slit, just one little nobble. Can you see it? It is very small.

You have to put a sprocket over this nobble, then keep your thumb on it to apply pressure. Then wind on some film until it goes around the column. It will not catch fully or be tight if you let go.

Wind on until you can see it go around the column and under the film again.

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Now is the tricky part. You have to close it quickly so it doesn’t unwind too much…it will unwind a bit. Once the door is closed you have to wind the rest of the film onto the column. Remember, it counts down so you have to “preload” the camera again.

There is a switch next to the wind on wheel. Use your nail and push that to the left. Then you can wind on the film until the end.

It might get stiff, release the button wind on and try again. On the Lomography website they say…

  • Reload if You Dare: if you’re feeling like an analogue superstar, you can try reloading your camera once you’ve finished the preloaded film. Be careful though, loading film can be tricky and it is not covered by any warranty!

OK, now it is reloaded with another roll of 400asa film to match the camera, off I go and take more photos.

I have a feeling the film might have been expired, it does look that way. I got it out of a gatcha machine so there was no box. Either way, the same issues arose. If the day is not sunny the camera just couldn’t cope.

For a day when you want a camera, you don’t have one and don’t want to buy a digital, this camera is great…as long as it is a sunny day or you are using the flash. There are a variety of films preloaded and you end up with a cheap camera. Much better than a regular disposable camera in terms of the environment.

Keep or sell – seems like a moot question, buy your own.

Lomography Pop 9

Ok, I was sold on the gold. I saw the shiny rectangle in the junk cabinet and thought, “I’ll have that!”

I had no idea what it was or how weird it was, it was just shiny and I wanted it.

 

The shiny surface did make it difficult to take photos of the camera, I kept seeing my own reflection. Researching the camera was even more tricky. There really isn’t anything on the net apart from a few people selling it. I did find a site dedicated the camera, you can read all about it here and maybe order one for yourself. Looking at that site you can see this camera has nine lenses with a set f11 aperture. The focal length of each is 24mm and they fire at the same time with a shutter speed of 1/100th. On this example, the flash powered up, the light came on but it never fired. I am sure there is just a short in the circuit somewhere, but I don’t feel like taking the camera apart to find out.

So what is special about this camera? It takes 9 photos at once, simple as. I had a look online and the best photos seem to be ones with bold colours. It just so happened that Tokyo Pride was happening when I found this camera. There were bound to be some bold colours at an event like that. I loaded some Fuji 100asa and set off. These are the photos I got.

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The index print looked perfect, but I wasn’t sure the shop could scan the negatives or if the camera worked so I didn’t pay for the cd. Scanning the negatives at home was tricky and all the photos were blue and pale.

As with all the Lomography or toy cameras I have tried, the winding mechanism was really weak and stiff. In fact, the whole camera felt like it would break at any moment. But it didn’t, toy cameras are sometimes sturdier than they seem.

I was surprised by the results and I kind of liked the photos, but will I used it again? Maybe not. As for Tokyo Pride, well that was interesting. If we ever meet I have an interesting story to tell about that.

Keep or Sell: Given to a friend due to my imminent move.

 

 

 

Lomography Diana F+

This camera was in a shop in a ziplock bag with an extra lens. As I had recently tried another Lomography camera and liked it, I decided to give this one a go.

You can also get another lens, a fisheye, that was not in the bag. Neither was a mask which lets you take 6×4.5 photos. So I was stuck with the 6×6 on 120mm film. I was fine with that. There are quite a few reviews of this camera online already including this one with lots of technical data and this one with details of the Instax back. I also didn’t get the flash, but I really do not mind about that as I will probably only use it outside.

The settings are found on the barrel of the lens, before the part that the lens parts attach to. There are a few settings for lighting conditions, plus a P for pinhole. The actual lens has the distance selector which is incredibly hard to see. It is a tiny little arrow which can only be seen if you catch a reflection at the right angle.

Once I had figure out how the camera worked and found a spare spool, I loaded some Shanghai GP3. Unfortunately, this film has a black paper backing and it was almost impossible to see the numbers through the window. Unless I was in really bright light, I had to guess how much to advance by the number of rotations. If I use this camera again I will use a film with white backing paper.

I took the camera to a street corner in Akihabara and tried out the various settings. Of course, I could try multi-exposure pinhole, super-wide 38mm (how is that superwide?), and 75mm. I tried them all 🙂

Here is my test roll.

Low and behold, for a toy camera these aren’t bad at all. I really like using it. I am not so keen on the pinhole ones of the crossing, but I love the multi-exposure and the blurred edges of the super-wide lens. I am really tempted to get the Instax back for this setup and try to find the 6×4.5 mask.

Even though I like this camera and the functions, I am absolutely sure I would not pay the full price for another if it broke. And it is plastic, it is all plastic. One drop on hard ground and it is done for.

Keep or sell: I don’t have another pinhole camera and it is very light, so I am going to keep it.

Lomography MEG x Fisheye

Another toy camera. Sometimes they are super easy to find and usually, they are in pretty good condition. Maybe they are unwanted presents. This one just had some stickiness from the price sticker on the back, easy to remove when I have the chance. I am always surprised by the toy cameras I try, surprised by how well they work considering the cheap production and plastic lenses. They look and feel cheap, I would never buy a brand new one.

Much like the camera I already linked to, this one is also associated with a Japanese artist. Here is a link to the Japanese page, let google translate it for you. There are various versions of this camera and they are still available to buy new on Amazon and other places. The Lomography shop gives you more technical details. Using the camera was pretty easy, you can get close to the subject and take advantage of the 170-degree wide angle lens (10mm). Even close up your photos show a distance from the subject. On some of my shots, I was touching or practically touching the subject.

Before using this one I did look at some example photos on Instagram for a feel of what other people have done. There was no concept that drew my eye, so I just plonked in a 12 exposure, out of date 400asa film and got to shooting. I did find it tricky to open the camera, the release was a bit stiff. The film winder was also stiff, but that is common with toy cameras.

Aaaaagh light leaks. As with this reviewer, I found the shutter release was not stiff and if left cocked it would easily take a shot in my bag. I remembered not to wind the film until I wanted a shot. I also tried not looking through the viewfinder…most of it is taken up by the barrel of the lens anyway and it does not give a true representation of your finished photo. The flash also fires if it is charged, even if you turn the button to off after charging. But gosh it is a fun little thing. I am tempted to keep it as I have nothing like it in my arsenal.

I think I will play with it until someone buys it…..and sold.

 

Found Film and Lomochrome Purple

This is a different kind of post, a film post as opposed to a camera post. I got two films back today and both have a tale to tell, so tell it I will.

Firstly, I bought a junk APS camera for $1, which I haven’t written about yet, and I could not get the film door open. I tried yanking it, sweet-talking it, but nope. Then I put a battery in it and low, there was a film inside. So, the camera did a very good job of protecting it. BUT, did the camera work? I hadn’t tested it yet. Was the film ok? maybe not as I tried to yank open the door. In the end, there were too many unknowns so I pressed the rewind button and put in another film. The film I retrieved was a Fuji Nexia 800, quite rare these days with the ever dwindling supply of APS.

I decided to use the found film in a known camera. Now, here lies the problem…all APS film is unknown so to speak, as it is all expired. So, why not use this film in the unknown camera. Because I would not know it if was the camera or the film. Minolta Vectis to the rescue. I knew this camera worked very well and it accepted film that had been rewound midroll. When I put the film in though, it did not accept it. The junk camera I found the film in had set the code on the film to 3, ready to process. Here are the cassette codes.

  1. Full circle: Unexposed
  2. Half circle: Partly exposed
  3. Cross sign: Fully exposed but not processed
  4. Rectangle: Processed

Then I remembered the old, use a pencil in a tape cassette to rewind it, trick. Maybe not a pencil, but a screwdriver?? I rewound the cassette so the code showed a 2, and put it back in the Minolta. Goodness me, if it didn’t go and load 🙂 I never thought that would work.

So off I go on a walk around a river in Tokyo. And finally, I got a cd back with viable images. The film was great, perfect even…an absolute steal for $1.

 

The second film I got back was a Lomochrome Purple. The last time I used a lomochrome film, I forgot to ask for a cd and my scanner could not handle it at all. I was very disappointed with the results. This time I put the purple in the Olympus Mju I had just tried and remembered the CD. Holy crap, there was a huge difference in quality. I have changed my mind about the film and I am so in love with the camera. This week I had the pleasure to try a very expensive camera and I was impressed. This Olympus was $3 in a junk bin, and I think it is better. Sure it doesn’t have some of the fancy settings, but wowee, it is sharp. Here is the test roll I took around Akihabara.

The result from the Olympus makes me think that I will probably sell all the other point and shoots I have…apart from the one other Olympus Mju I have.

Konica Big Mini Nou 135

After looking for film cameras to test or buy a few names pop up over and over again. One of them being “big mini” from Konica. I think they are usually ridiculously expensive for a point and shoot. Therefore I had no intention of ever buying one. I doubted I would ever see one in a junk big…hello Big Mini Nou.

This version is from 1995 and seems quite rare. There is little about it on the net, especially in English. Once I popped a battery in I found the flash on this one did not work, which was a shame. But would it work outside? I decided to use some Lomography cyan film. After using this film for the first time. I have to say I hate it and don’t see the point. Plus a regular scanner cannot handle it at all. So if you do use it then get a cd made at the time of processing. That being said here are my scans.

As I said, I hate the film and feel like throwing away the other Lomography film I have…but won’t. It is hard to say whether the results are due to the processing, the scans or the camera. I think the camera is the last in the line of suspects.

So let me try and talk about the camera. It was fun to use and it seemed to handle all the conditions very well, a few of the shots were in dark areas. They all seem sharp and well exposed.

Due to the flash issue, I am not willing to keep this or sell it. There are so many other cameras out there with a working flash. So this one will go in the bin. If I see a working big mini for a reasonable price I would recommend buying it..but I would not recommend the film

 

 

Lomo Kompakt Automat LC-A

I guess if I am writing a film camera blog then this camera has to come up at some point. There are many sites dedicated to this camera and the whole industry it started. Such as this one. I also really like this site as he had some of the same issues as I did.

I did not find this camera in a junk bin. I went looking for it on eBay and finally found one for a fairly reasonable price. It arrived…and didn’t work. It has two red lights in the view finder and neither lit up at any point. I got in touch with the seller and he shipped me another, no questions asked. The first one had the logo written in Russian, the replacement has it in English. The red lights worked on the replacement. Incidentally, the seller said keep the first one, so I have shipped it off to be fixed. If it comes back working I will probably keep the one with the Russian writing and sell or give away the replacement.

As discussed in the second link, I also had a few issues with the replacement camera. I would forget to set the distance or my hands were not steady. I tried the “lomo” approach of shooting from the hip and it worked ok for streetish type stuff..but you really need to judge the distance well. Trying to capture a moving, excited dog was very tricky if not impossible with the slow shutter speed due to the a 100ASA film inside. The LC-A does have speeds up to 1/500th a s fast film should make things easier. That will be the next roll choice.

The replacement also had a wind-on issue and would skip a few sprockets. Again, I am hoping the one I sent for fixing will come back without this issue. I was pleased to see there were no light leaks on the replacement. As much as this camera is famous for them, I simply don’t like them. The are not cool, they are a sign of a broken camera.

So what did my first roll look like?

Of course I covered the faces of some students. They were interested in the camera, but very confused by the fact they could not see the photo straight away. They also assumed I could take lots of photos. When I got the distance correct the quality seemed to be better than the toy Holga I tried earlier. I also love the vignetting and the odd focusing. It is almost like the center is focused, but then it dissipates towards the sides.

I will try it again with a faster film and take more care with the zoning. I know that isn’t the lomo way, but it is what I like.

Sell or keep is not a question for this camera. I will decide which to keep if the original one is returned. Then I will keep the better working one, hopefully the one with the Russian writing. If it is not repairable I will keep this one, but I am unsure whether it will be a camera I keep loaded as I do prefer the olympus trip. I can hear the lomographers screaming noooo in the background.