Thursday, February 7, 2013

Low Tech Wonders - A New Series on DMC-365 - The Lomography Sprocket Rocket

Optically Flawed, Visually Interesting, by Reed A. George
Lomography Sprocket Rocket Camera, iso400 Film
I've been enjoying a few plastic "toy" cameras recently. This post will be the first of a series on the results. If you're not familiar, just do a google search for the word "Holga." There's an entire counter-culture of photographers using these things. They take all of the technical work out of photography, allowing you to focus on composition. The lenses are typically low quality, sometimes even plastic. There are light leaks. These are not high end or expensive cameras.
My parents sent me a new toy for Christmas - the Lomography Sprocket Rocket. Here's what it looks like (buy yours at my link to Amazon at the bottom of this post):
Lomography Sprocket Rocket Superpop! Blue Camera
Image Source:
Mine is black.
What's cool about this camera? Well, first off, the sprockets. It's designed to expose all the way to the edges of the 35mm film, including the sprockets. It also shoots in a wide panorama format, as you can see above.
Keep in mind that this is a toy camera from the same folks that sell Holgas. It has a fixed focus wide angle lens (actually, it also has a "macro" setting for subjects less than 1 meter away), and the depth of field is so large, focus is not really an issue. There is one shutter speed (~1/100 of a second). There are two aperture sizes: if you set the camera for daylight exposure, it's about f16, for cloudy, it's about f10.8. Film advance is manual, and you have to look down into a squinty little window to see when to stop turning the film crank. It does have a working hotshoe for flash (more on that in a future post).
In order to scan the film, I use another Lomography product, called the Digitaliza, on my Epson scanner. The Digitaliza holds the film by the very edges, exposing the sprocket holes to be scanned.
I think this thing is very cool. It really does bring down all pretense of photography being serious business, and lets you play. I recently carried mine, along with a little Nikon flash, to an indoor event. I had a blast with it. I'll be posting pictures from that soon.
By the way, there are cheaper plastic cameras to play with that accomplish many of the same things. I'll be posting about at least one of those in the near future as well.
In the meantime, if you want to have some fun, pick up a Sprocket Rocket from the link below.