Some Old Cameras

I was sorting through one of the big plastic boxes of photography stuff and I came across some old cameras.  There was about three wrecked Canons, I use the EOS1 virtually all the time but I keep a barely functioning EOS5 for when I want to take a camera in the sea or something.  I also have a LC-1 for when I want to get arty but I always end up getting frustrated with it – having said that, when the LC-1 is good, it’s very good.

These three were worth taking a few shots with so here they are:

The Flashmaster, above, and the Comet, at the top are cameras I’ve never actually gotten to work.  I really can’t make my mind up what sort of film they needs and how I would go about processing it so I’ve always put them to the back of the pile.

This is a Lomo and it takes four pictures on to a single frame of 35mm almost but not quite simulatenously.  The outcomes are varibale so I tend to use it once in a while.  The build is very must plastic and I snapped the film wind lever in two without trying very hard.

Lomography in the News

The BBC is extolling the virtues of Lomography here.

It’s nice to see some publicity for the cameras although I have misgivings about the article.  It tells you about the famous friends of Lomography but it doesn’t give you the cons of the system which are the cost of the cameras and the amount of film that you’ll need to go through if you want to get a few good shots.  This isn’t a problem for me because my LC-A is about fifteen years old and bought when they weren’t so extortionately priced and as a serial filmwaster, I’m not put off by34 out of 36 shots being bad.

Examples of my own Lomography can be found here.

 

 

 

 

Phone App Photography

An experiment with a Samsung and a phone app called ‘Lomo Cam’. Not sure it’s really the same as a LC-A but it was more reliable.

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Lomography

These shots were taken with a Lomo LC-A.

The Lomo Kompakt Automat is a fixed lens, 35 mm film, compact camera introduced in 1984. In 2005, production of the original Lomo LC-A was discontinued. Its replacement, the LC-A+, was introduced in 2006 and production moved to China. Some of these Chinese models are passed off as Zeniths.  Mine is a pre 2005 Russian model bought through the Vienna trading company around 1997.

 

When it’s in the right mood, it’s a great little compact.  It can be set on automatic so that it will always keep the shutter open long enough to take a picture with the available light.  This can lead to shaky pictures / artistic effects.  In this case, the light was good and it picked up a lot of detail.  You can see the Lomo’s characteristics in some of these shots.  There’s some vignetting, the exposure balance between light and dark isn’t quite right – it’s artistic.

I think it was designed for the workers to take it out, set exposure very simply and take pictures.  It could also be left on the same settings indefinitely and still produce pictures.  Perhaps since it was designed and made in Russia, it’s no suprise that it takes good pictures of snow.

But there’s also the annoying side of Lomography.  It was a 36 exposure film and I got 15 pictures out of it.  The others just didn’t come out.  I put it down to over exposure and the very cheap winding mechanism – plastic, manual and it doesn’t work very well (very Soviet).  The LC-A currently goes for a capitalist price of £200, although I paid half of that for mine.  Crappy Communist camera rebranded as artistic for the West?  Yes, probably.

But that is the joy of toy cameras.  I’m always about to stop using the Lomo for these reasons but I never quite stop it because it can be such an interesting camera, it just wastes a lot of film though.

St. James’ Park

A groundsman keeps the lawn neat and tidy at St. James’ Park, the home of Newcastle United since 1892 with a current capacity of more than 52 000.  It’s currently called SportsDirect.com @ St. James’ Park Stadium by the ownership but not by anyone who matters.  The stadium has hosted England Internationals and will be one of the venues for the 2012 Olympic Football tournament.

Here’s an exterior shot to show how the stadium dominates its part of town.  Probably one of the few top flight stadia actually in the centre of its town/city.  the council have blocked plans for any more expansion due to some complaints that the stadium is a ‘monstrosity.’  On the other hand, the club has some of the biggest crowds in England and if it started to win trophies, it might just need another 10 000 seats.  At the moment, its the third biggest football club stadium in England, with only Manchester United and Arsenal being larger.

This shot, of the outside of the stadium, was taken using my LC-A.  This is an example of Lomography, more of which at a later date.  Note how the side of the wall has distorted and how the lights are over exposed.  That’s due to cheap optics and the LC-A’s light meter –  once you press the shutter it simply stays open until it has collected enough light for the picture.  I’ve heard reports of people holding the button down for half an hour in the pitch black.

Lomography

Here are ten golden rules of Lomography from  The Lomography site:

  1. Take your camera everywhere you go
  2. Use it any time – day and night
  3. Lomography is not an interference in your life, but part of it
  4. Try the shot from the hip
  5. Approach the objects of your lomographic desire as close as possible
  6. Don’t think
  7. Be fast
  8. You don’t have to know beforehand what you captured on film
  9. Afterwards either
  10. Don’t worry about any rules

Lomography started when some students in Vienna started to import Soviet era cameras and sell them round the world.  Since then a wide range of obscure and plastic cameras have joined the canon.

While there are some gems on sale, it should be noted that:

  1. Some of the cameras are crap
  2. All of the cameras are over priced
  3. The rules of Lomography seem to be designed to encourage you to use as much film as possible (which the website also sells)
  4. The accessories are generally cheap tat (bags, colour filters, lens mounts, etc.) are expensively priced

If you want to be a lomographer, then shop around on the web for the best prices.  Also remember that you’re dealing with cameras that many will consider toys, a world away from high spec 35mm or modern digital SLRs.

Pictures you thought you took will be missing upon development.  Many others will be out of focus, under exposed and unusable, so be prepared to use a lot of film to get the best results.  A lot of film.