Monday, April 9, 2012

Analogue Wonder: Lomo Cameras

By Rafidah Sapa’at, Year 2, Diploma in Dental Hygiene & Therapy

Photo Credit: Broken Haiku
Ever wondered where the ‘lomo effect’ found on popular iPhone photography apps such as Instagram and Hipstamatic came from? Well wonder no more, for the picture editing effects are inspired by actual photos taken from analogue toy cameras produced and churned out by the Lomographic Society. 
What is Lomography?
It started in the early 1990s when 2 students in Vienna, Austria found an old Russian camera called the Lomo Kompakt Automat. They tried out the camera and found the results of their images produced a lot of vibrant and saturated images – something they had never seen before. When they returned home, their friends were impressed with the pictures and wanted their own lomo camera as well. This started a new style of photography that we now know as Lomography!
Before the widespread use and popularity of digital cameras, photographs were taken using analogue cameras (remember those days?) loaded with a roll of film that were then taken to the photo labs to be developed. This traditional method of taking photographs is used on the lomo toy cameras as well, producing vintage, lo-fi and dreamy pictures with a touch of light-leaks here and there.
But unlike digital cameras, you won’t be able to preview photos you’ve taken with the toy camera as it is not built with an LCD viewfinder at the back. Instead, the only time you get to see the photos is right after you have sent it to be developed.
This unpredictable aspect of photo taking is what I find to be the most charming and quirky thing about the lomo toy camera. Each time I send the films to be developed, I am always brimming with anticipation over how the photos will turn out and the surprise and amazement I feel when I finally set my eyes upon the final images. Yeap, the toy camera definitely brings you back to basics!
And like all brands of digital and DSLRS camera available everywhere this days, toy cameras comes in various shapes and sizes too, each producing their own unique dreamy and surreal pictures. Lomography toy cameras are actually remakes of popular cult cameras back in the day. So here are some awesome lomo toy cameras for you to choose from!

Diana F+

Diana F+ Sahara.

Looking very much like the cameras used by Hollywood paparazzi of the 50s and 60s, the Diana F+ is one fine exquisite toy camera and is also the toy camera of choice for this writer here. What’s great about the Diana F+ is it comes in a variety of arty designs and colours to suit one for every personality. Mine is the CMYK edition, with its brightly hued colours of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black.

The Diana F+ produces lots of dreamy soft-focused and vignetted pictures that will put a smile to your face. The lens are detachable as well which means you can change it up and add variety to your photos with the Fish-eye lens (lets you have a 180 degree field of view with circular image), the Superwide lens (perfect for detailed city view shots!) or even the telephoto lens (great if you want to take objects from afar!). To make this toy camera even sweeter, the Diana F+ can be made into an instant camera simply by attaching the instant back adaptor on its body!  
Here are some pictures I shot with the Diana F+ on a trip to Universal Studios!

Fisheye Camera

Fisheye No 2 Rip Curl Special Edition.
The Fisheye Camera lets you take fun and stunning circular images. Packed with a 170 degree field of view, which means you can fit half of your surroundings into the photo. Come a little closer to the lens, and see your eyes and nose get packed into the centre while your ears and forehead bend backwards! This Fisheye camera also has a huge depth of field, which means your image will be focused and crispy clear. I find the Fisheye Camera to be most fun when taking photos of your pets!

Multi-lenses Camera

Multilens cameras Oktomat and Pop9.
This toy camera may be tiny, but it does pack a whole lotta punch. As the name suggest, the multi-lens camera have more than 1 lens built into its body. Some examples of the multi-lenses camera includes the Actionsampler and Supersampler with 4 lenses built into them, the Oktomat, which is packed with 8 lenses and the Pop 9, with, you guessed it, 9 lenses in it! One click of these bad boys and you’ll get not just the traditional 1, but a series of sequential images in one photograph. Your pictures will definitely speak a thousand words!

Of course, this little introduction is only the tip of the iceberg. There are many more toy and analogue cameras available out there, whether vintage and tucked away in an old karang guni man’s storage room or remakes and reproduced by the Lomography Society. Drop by to find out more.

And one last tip, once you have gotten your hands on the lomo toy camera of your choice, let loose, have fun and enjoy! Sure, the very first time you will find yourself stumbling with the film or feeling a tad ridiculous whipping out a toy-like camera. Don’t worry! Keep shooting and you’ll soon be a natural at it! Toy cameras such as those mentioned above are such head-turners, so bask in their attention and don’t be embarrassed or shy to take that prized shot with your toy camera!
The products recommended here are from the writer herself, and they do not represent the views and opinions of NYP.

Rafidah is a Year 2 Dental Hygiene & Therapy student who enjoys reading, art and craft, and especially sewing. Since she was much younger, she has sewed clothes, pouches, felt animals, and tote bags for her friends and herself. Nothing gives her more satisfaction than making something from scratch. She also loves movies and the unpredictability of LOMO photography. She loves taking dreamy, vintage photos with her Diana F+ camera. During her free time, Rafidah likes discovering new places (especially ice cream joints) to eat, and try out new different new things like yoga and kick boxing.

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