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Compact Camera Quest (Part 4)

Posted 2011.07.22 19.04 in Hobbies, Photography by Stephanie

Some time after acquiring the Minox, my interest in photography waned for a while. (Actually my interest in everything waned, it’s part of the deal with depression.) Then a couple months ago, it all started back up again.

I looked at my little cameras, but I knew none of them was just right. I did some more research, checked with teh interwebz, to see what else was out there in the same class as the Rolleis and the Minoxes. It was about this time that I realized this was an actual quest-shaped thing.

Anyhow, my searching led me in two different directions. One of them, the one that this entry is about, was the Compact-Automat. Yeah, the Lomo LC-A. (I’ve recently expressed my opinion about that Lomography thing, so I won’t get into that again here.)

Lomo LC-A+ RL

I’d first heard about this camera a couple years ago, but it was overpriced back then. (It’s more overpriced now.) I knew I was getting fleeced but after a recent frustration with another acquisition, I was impatient to get something else to play with, so I figured what the heck.

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Plastic Lenses

Posted 2011.06.25 9.19 in Family/Friends, Photography by Stephanie

I took my plastic Holga camera out on the Summer Solstace last week. We were having a family get-together and it seemed like a good excuse to expose some old B&W film.

The Holga is a cheaply-made plastic camera with a plastic lens, a fixed aperture (roughly f/11) and a fixed exposure (roughly 1/100th). It’s known for light leaks and double exposures. Mine requires a rubber-band to ensure the back doesn’t fall off unexpectedly.

I say cheaply-made as opposed to just cheap, because the Lomographic Society International will happily sell you a Holga for at least 3x what it’s probably worth. I have mixed feelings about the LSI – I do enjoy shooting film (they’re all about analogue photography) and I can & do appreciate the joy of the occasional unexpected serendipidous results… Where I take exception is that they seem to be making a fortune selling junky cameras at insane prices.

Anyways, this wasn’t supposed to turn into a rant against Lomography… just a brief intro or explanation about the culture of embracing crappy pictures as their own artform. Which is what Lomography means, sort of.

Back to the pics – there are two pics from the summer solstace and two pics from the winter. Same Holga, same brand of film (expired Chinese black&white) but different processing results.

About processing – I still develop my own black & white film at home. The roll I did in the winter got contaminated or something. When it came out, it was covered in these little speckles.

I haven’t shot colour in a while because I think it’s too expensive to process at the labs and I haven’t found any reasonable sources of chemistry for processing at home. Yet…

Good, Bad, or Fugly?

Posted 2009.11.01 9.29 in Hobbies, Photography by Stephanie

Have you heard about this Lomography stuff? It’s sort of a ‘movement’ thingy. They use these Lomo LC-A cameras, or Holgas, or Dianas… the point is using a cheap / crummy / mediocre camera, expired film, ‘shooting from the hip’, cross-processing with the wrong chemistry, whatever – so the end result is sort of the opposite of carefully composed properly exposed photography.

Perhaps its a little like throwing cans of paint at a canvas, and calling it fine art?

It also reminds me a bit of the Dada movement from about a hundred years ago, sort of an anti-art movement, where the Dadaists were rebelling a bit about what the modern world was calling art, and they went in some wierd directions to sort of call attention to the pretentious silliness of it all. (Yeah, I actually learned stuff in the Art History classes in highschool.)

Anyhow, so the thing with Lomography is that ‘bad’ is ‘good’, or something along those lines. That you find the beauty in the results you get, and you don’t know what you get till you get the film back. They do caution that you can’t expect every shot to be a masterpiece, you might only get one good shot out of a whole roll…(**)

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Lomo Lubitel

Posted 2009.10.02 20.28 in Hobbies, Photography by Stephanie

The Lomo Lubitel (Olympic Edition) is a Soviet-made Twin Lens Reflex camera that was made by the Leningradskoye Optiko-Mekhanicheskoye Obyedineniye – or Lomo for short.

The first Lubitel was made in the 1950’s but this model is based on their later Lubitel 166. According to the serial number, this particular one was made in 1980 – same year as the Moscow Olympics, and the reason for that red logo next to the viewing lens.

Aside from the comemorative aspect, there’s not too much to brag about. The body is plastic and metal, the taking lens is 75mm f/4.5 and the shutter speeds are 1/15 to 1/250. It’s supposed to have a Bulb setting, but this doesn’t work on mine. And even if it did work, there’s no way to attach a cable release, so bulb wouldn’t be too useful. Wierdly, a cable release was included in the box.

The Lubitel takes 120 rollfilm, and the Olympic version has a counter and automatically cocks the shutter when you advance the film. The film advance is a bit stiff and took 1/3 of a roll for me to figure out how it actually works. There is a X-sync hotshoe on the left side, but the shoe is slightly strangely sized and it’s difficult to get a flash to work right. It does work though, you just have to tinker with it.

Whining aside, here are a few shots I took with it, once I figured out it’s quirks:

I had taken some indoor shots but the flash wouldn’t work so they didn’t come out. The outdoor shots all have a wierd sort of dreamy feel to them. Like there’s something unreal about the light, the sky. There’s also a wierd fog effect that I think might be internal reflections. The 6×6 chamber is not matte, it is black but more of a ‘satin’ or ‘semi-gloss’ so it’s possible for light to reflect around in there.

Now that I know the camera’s quirks I’ll have to try another roll (with some more-interesting subjects) and see how it goes.