Lomo Fisheye Camera

Since I’ve been playing ‘with the big boys’ with my DSLR for a few months now, I’ve gotten more comfortable with using a digital camera with a lot more features than the average point and shoot. Getting more comfortable means starting to be more creative which is one of the reasons I got back into photography in the first place.

After reading Duane’s post about shooting film, I remembered my days in the darkroom in high school where I first fell in love with photography. Without sounding like an old man, things were definitely different in those days. Because you had to spend a fair amount of time (and money) to shoot and develop film, you tended to be more thoughtful of what you used that precious film stock on.

One thing that I always liked back in my film days was fisheye lenses. I always thought it gave a very interesting perspective on the world and was ‘just different’ from everything else.

So what does this have to do with Duane talking about shooting film?

Lomo Fisheye Camera Well, I recently came across a Fisheye Camera from Lomography and decided it was too tempting (and cheap) to pass up. A fisheye lens for my DSLR would cost more than I paid for it so that’s out of the question (for now at least). This seemed like an inexpensive way to play with a fisheye and dabble in film again.

I think like most people that get a new camera, the first thing you do once you open up the camera, is shoot everything that is boring in your house before you venture to outdoors with your new toy. I picked up a three pack of some cheap film (Fuji 200 ASA) that I’d use to test out the camera. The fisheye’s lens has a 170 degree view so you’re not quite sure what it will pick up until you do a few test shots…which you have to have processed and I chose to scan the prints myself:

Apu Rockin Otto

Unfortunately, out of the 21 shots I took on the first roll, only a few turned out…I should have read the instructions (who does that?) that came with the camera which suggested you buy 400 ASA film….what can I say, it’s been awhile since I’ve bought film. The 200 ASA film was better suited for outdoors or with the flash.

So my second roll turned out much better…here’s a couple of examples:

The Beach Vineyard
Missy Garden
Driving Garden

One nice thing is that the fisheye camera fits nicely in my D40’s camera bag so I’ll always have both with me and can experiment more with it. My only complaint about the camera is that while the lens is great (especially considering it’s plastic), the actual camera itself feels really cheap and is marginally better than any disposable camera as far as build quality. I feel like I might break it just rewinding the film back inside the canister at the end of a roll.

So far I’ve been pretty happy with the results and it will only get better as I play with it more. Still not used to having to pay to get prints processed again…but you forget about that once you open that envelope and see how things turned out.

More of my fisheye photos can be found here.

37 Comments

  1. Duane Storey says:

    Where did you buy it? I want one!

  2. John says:

    I got mine at Urban Outfitters in Sunnyvale…although there appears to be a bunch of places in Vancouver that sell Lomo cameras (so not necessarily the Fisheye) including Beau Photo, Moule and even the Vancouver Art Gallery.

    Check out the store locator.

  3. Wicked stuff, man, but I just want a SLR to play with! :p

  4. not too experienced says:

    I have this enormously stupid question… I just bought my first analogue camera ever, so please forgive me…it’s a lomo fisheye (2), but I just don’t know how to put the film in it…the film starts with a small piece that, do you put it up? i mean, do you curl the film onto the roll? I guess so?cause if you do, u put the small part of the film at the downside of the camera, yes? My god…this sounds so stupid, but i just can’t find a instruction for people like me on the internet…

  5. John says:

    You need to place the new film roll into the left side of the camera with the roll unfurling to the right. Pull out enough to get it across to the other side and tuck it into the spindle on the other side. Close the back and then advance the film using the thumbwheel and it should grab the film and you’ll notice some resistance. You may have to click the shutter to get it to advance a little more so just leave the lens cap on so you don’t take a picture of anything that you’ll end up paying for later.

    Hopefully that explains it….let me know if not and maybe I’ll make a quick video of it once I get the camera back from a friend that I lent it to ;)

  6. not too experienced says:

    ok,thanx for ur answer! got that from the instruction as well, but my question might even be more stupid…a film roll has this little thing on it, (damn, not native english, trying my best here;)euh, the ‘top’ (like a battery side: ) do you put the film roll in with this top pointing up(side of the viewer) or down?
    (I prefer asking before wasting a film)

  7. John says:

    Yes, the top little bit on the film cannister should be on top when inserting into the Lomo.

    The film cannister will only fit in one way….if you force it, you’ll most likely break the camera since it will be in upside down.

  8. not too experienced says:

    OK, ready to try it! THANX alot ;-)

    I feel like a complete idiot, but well…

  9. wanting says:

    hey, sorry irrelevant question about fisheye2, i just bought mine, theres some question i have but i cant the answer on the web, would be glad if you can help, thanks :]

    1) which is the hotshoe flash and which is the viewfinder ? are they the same? the circle thingy on the top??
    2) can i just use internal flash (the larger lens one) alone? means i Must remove the top ‘lens or whatever’ ? if lidat how i see the picture im taking? or means i just can’t ??
    3) if i use the internal flash only, which button do i switch to? L, N, or B? cos N and B has the hotshoe flash thingy right?

    thanks !!

  10. John says:

    I just have the Fisheye(1) not the 2….but it looks like the difference is tha the 2 comes with a fisheye viewfinder that does indeed attach via the hotshoe on the top. This means you can either have another (not included) flash mounted in the hotshoe or the wide angle viewfinder but not both.

    It would seem like if you take off the viewfinder to use a different flash, you don’t have any other means of lining up your shot. I’m not sure how good the viewfinder is anyways due to the extreme nature of the fisheye lens and the spatial difference between it and the actual camera lens….which I think is the reason I opted for the Fisheye 1.0 instead…plus it was cheaper.

    Can’t help you on the buttons since I don’t have one and haven’t seen the manual which probably answers it.

  11. questionsss says:

    i have a question. im thinking about getting one of these cause their just so affordable. but since the camera runs on film, how do you get the pictures onto the computer?

  12. John says:

    I use either a flatbed scanner or if it’s an option when it’s being developed, get the negatives scanned onto cd as jpegs. The drugstore across the street from my office develops, prints and scans a roll of 35mm film for under $7 including a photo album and cd so it’s pretty cheap.

  13. valerie says:

    hey i have a question too, i recently got a fisheye 1 and i have no idea where the battery for the flash goes, also i didnt get the mnual with the fisheye a little help? thankyou so much.

  14. John says:

    The battery door is on the bottom of the camera. It takes one AA battery.

  15. Glen says:

    Just a note that the internal mechanism on the Lomo fisheye isn’t any better than those $1 cameras you used to get along with a Time subscription, the thumbwheel advance is xtra crude, and the film rewind spindle doesn’t have any slot in it, making retention of the film while winding an iffy thing at best.

    If you can’t get the film to stay wound on the opposite spool, use a tiny bit of cellophane tape, just barely enough to stick the protruding tab of film onto the spindle, then close the door and wind on normally. When the roll is finished, wind back the film and the taped end should pull off the spindle, if not, just open the door and manually wind on the last inch or two – don’t worry as there are no exposed frames that close to the end.

  16. yan says:

    hi?
    can u tell me where can i buy a lomo fish camera in vanvouver?

  17. John says:

    Yan: See comment #2….lots of places in Vancouver sell them including the local Urban Outfitters.

  18. yan says:

    oh the urban outfitters?
    isn’t it for clothes?
    they sell lomo camera as well?

  19. courtney says:

    yes,urban outfitters sells lomo fisheye cameras as well as the film that goes with it!

  20. yan says:

    how much about it be around?
    i hope it’s not over 100~~~~··
    god? im so poor~
    but thx anyway by telling me this information~

  21. yan says:

    a i searched it online~
    it’s cheap~
    but i wondering why they have so many types?
    what’s the differences between them?
    it‘s the first time i want to buy a lomo~
    i want to search more information about it~

  22. Jess says:

    Hi, Im not sure if this is where i should be sending this to but i dont know who else to ask! I have recently purchased a Fisheye 2 and have developed my first role of film and have finished a second just now. Im loving the camera but i find that once i have used all the shots on the camera winding back the film is really resistant to the point where when i let go of the winder it spins back in the other direction. Im just confused because i cant wind the film anymore with the small manual winder and the counter says that it is at 24 so ive used all the exposures. From my first role of film only 16 of the shots were developable do to overexposure which is just me learning to use the camera however some werent centre as if theyd been taken in the middle of two frames.
    The film im using is just your general agpha 400/24 exposure. Im new to this. Is there a problem with my camera? I dont want to continue using it if thats the case because the resistance when i wind the film back makes me feel as if im going to break it in half..i dont want to do that, i love it!
    Any ideas would be helpful, im on holidays at the moment and have taken the camera away with me to take lots of photos.
    Thankyou
    Jessie

  23. John says:

    Jess: the fisheye 1 that I have is really cheap and it too does feel like it’s going to break when winding back the film….I guess that’s what happens when you make a camera out of plastic. Mine still hasn’t broken so just be careful and you should be fine.

  24. michelle says:

    i’m a total NOOB with the fisheye 2, especially having to trace back to the times of using film, and i have absolutely no idea whether i’m taking pictures or not, since there’s no indication of whether i HAVE or not.
    AND i agree it feels a little too plastic and cheap.
    but the pictures look far from cheap!

    anyway.
    HELP.

  25. Olivia says:

    Please help!
    I’ve loaded my film into my fisheye, but I’m not sure why when i click the shutter button, there is no ‘click’ sound, nor the exposure counter moving to ‘1’. Instead, ‘S’ is displayed on it. In short, i am unable to capture pictures with it. This camera is 3rd hand, so I’m not sure if it’s broken or anything. What are the clues if it is spoilt? I’ve finished a roll previously and this is my second.

    Thanks very much for your help!

  26. John says:

    Olivia: Your best bet would be to take the camera to a photolab and get them to help you…they can even put the camera in a dark bag and rewind it safely.

  27. Virginia says:

    Hey. i just got the fisheye 2 from urban outfitters, and it seemed to be working great! well the problem is that i THOUGHT i put the film in right.. but apparently not because when i went to develope my pictures, they said my film was blank :/

    but when i was using the camera, it was winding and working fine. so im kind of wondering why my pictures didnt show up..
    did i make a mistake when putting in my film?
    help me out please!

  28. John says:

    Virginia: Sounds like you loaded it incorrectly. I have the fisheye 1 and always find it tricky to load the film since the sprockets are so short, they always seem to ‘skip’ on the film. When you’re loading it, you should be able feel the film when winding it if it loaded correctly. Just take extra care when loading it and don’t be afraid to open it up if it doesn’t feel right.

  29. mikee says:

    I just bought a lomo fisheye 2, however after taking the photos im having trouble rewinding the film. On other film cameras I have had there is usually a little release switch to release the film from the spool and then it cna be wound back. Just turning the handle on top doesnt work. anyone know how to do this?
    thanks

  30. feri says:

    hello john. i have few questions to ask and i just bought a lomo fisheye, and i find many difficulties. is it okay if i open the rear door, the one which cover the film when the film is properly loaded? one of my friends told me that if i open the rear door when the film is still working then it will be a waste because the film will be washed out because of the strong light. and i am sure that i had opened it couple of times when i was going to shoot, just to make sure if the film is loaded.

    • John says:

      You should never open the back while film is loaded as it will expose the film…to prevent this, put a sticker or some other reminder on the camera so you don’t have to check.

  31. sabrina says:

    hai. questions;

    1)if i’m indoor,and it’s bright,should i use the flash?
    2)if i’m outside and it’s bright,should i use the flash?
    3)any wicked tips for a good photo of fisheye?

    thanks! :)

    • John says:

      It really depends on which film you’re using as to whether you should use the flash indoors…outdoors, it works as a nice fill flash. Get in as close as possible and don’t be afraid to tilt the camera down & forward a little to exaggerate the perspective.

  32. kit says:

    i have the same problem as virginia, ive tried three seperate rolls of film, all of which im positive had been loaded correctly, and each came out blank and unexposed. i also rule out lighting issues, since one of the test rolls was nothing but pictures of the sun. i hear the film moving when i wind it, i can feel it in the camera moving across the sprockets, and i dont think its a shutter issue, either.

    have you got an answer? :(

    • John says:

      It’s either a loading issue or a broken camera…these Lomo’s aren’t exactly precision made cameras…sorry, I don’t have an answer…I’d take it up with Lomography or the place of purchase.

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