Yes, it is finally Summertime! I have always been super keen about the first day of Summer, since it is (most of the time) also my birthday, on June 21st. This year, we, in Moncton NB, Canada, were treated to a beautiful day… with huge downpours, gray skies, and heavy winds. Yeah, it wasn’t that great. But, hey, at least it wasn’t snow!
Anyway, today I wanted to show you guys my new favourite Summer camera! I have had this camera for about 8 months now, so this will be the first Summer I get to bring it with me on adventures, and I cannot wait to take amazing pictures with it! I think it will be especially great to capture swampy magic at Sappyfest. If you haven’t guessed from the title, I am talking about the Lomo’Instant camera.
The Lomo’Instant camera (made by Lomography) started a little over a year ago as a Kickstarter project which was amazingly fully funded in less than 24hours! I was lucky enough to be able to grab one of the Kickstarter edition cameras, which were only available while the campaign was open (it is the orange & mint coloured one pictures above). I also bought it as a bundle, with three extra lenses: portrait lens, fisheye, and close-up.
The camera itself has a fixed 27mm equivalent wide angle lens, built-in flash, normal mode (1/125s), and “B” bulb mode shooting, and with a range of f/8 to f/32. Oh, and it works with the Fuji Instax Mini films! There are a lot of other features I will not get into in this post, but you can check out this page here for more technical information on the camera.
I almost forgot to mention my favourite feature about this camera; multiple exposures! According to Lomography, you should be able go up to seven exposures on a single pictures. If you have perfect lighting exposures, or you’re just very lucky, you might be able to go up to six or seven, but I tend to stick to two to three images per pictures, as overexposing and ruining your picture is very easy if you’re not careful! To help this, there is a “creative” mode on the camera which lets you set the aperture with a + or – system. Trial and error is in order here when you start off with this camera!
Alright, that was a long introduction! Let’s get to it; the images. As I mentioned earlier, I have had this camera for about 8 months now, but I am still always learning how to shoot with it. There are a lot of option, and different combinations to be made, and a bit of a learning curve for each different lens. To be completely honest, I mostly shoot with the built-in wide angle lens, which I find produces the best images for everyday. For this blog post, I will show you some images with all of the lenses, including a couple of tips for each. Oh, and there is also a “deck of cards” that is included with each camera that has tips & tricks on them. This is a great tool to carry around with you as you are learning about how to use the camera (says one of my friends – I on the other and am more of a go & shoot, learn about it later type of person).
A very important note about this camera to start with is that it is very important to always use a flash indoors (unless you are doing some multiple exposure magic). One of the huge downsides of this is that you really do not want to use a flash on anything you would be shooting very close to, so this makes it very hard to take images with the close up and the fisheye lens indoors.
Ok, here are some of my favourite shots taken with the fixed lens on the camera. Notes under the picture will specify how the pictures were taken.
One tip that I could give you for taking up close portraits with the flash on would be to put a colour filter in your flash so that you do not white-out your subject. The camera bundle comes with a couple of different colours – i find the orange-yellow toned one to be perfect with portraits.
Some double-exposures, also taken with the regular fixed lens. A great tip for doing double exposures is setting your camera on creative “c” mode (which is the mode you have to be on to change exposure settings) and turning it down to -1 for both images. This helps most of the time, with flash or without. If it’s really sunny, go for -2. Ideally you want to underexpose at least your first image so that you do not have too much white on the film.
The fixed, slightly wide angled, lens is by far my favourite to shoot with. If you are thinking of taking mostly pictures of everyday events, vacations, and the occasional “artsy” type picture, I am confident you would be very happy with the camera on it’s own without the extra lenses. But if you want to go out there and take some more eccentric images, you’ll have a lot of fun with the extra lenses.
Here are some shots taken with the close-up lens. As mentioned up top, one thing that is disappointing with this lens combined with the camera is that your smallest aperture (f/8) is still too small to take great close up images indoors. However, if you have an alternative light source, you could easily fix this problem with a couple of lighting tests. It’s also a great lens to bring on outdoor adventures. Taking images of plants & bugs with this lens looks really great – but can be hard to focus on your subject at times, since your viewfinder becomes useless as soon as you change the lens on the camera.
I haven’t had the chance to try out the portrait lens as mush as I should have, in fact I only have one shot taken with it:
I will definitely try to use this one a little more this Summer. Watch out people!
Finally, the lens I was most excited about, the fisheye lens! Unfortunately it is also the feature/accessory I have been most disappointed about. Fisheye pictures are awesome, but they take round images, and the rest of the shot becomes just a black area around the picture. As you can imagine, on a fuji instax mini film that is already about 3x4inches, fisheye images are very small… So I haven’t really found the real use for this lens yet. Maybe the next time I have it out I will try doing a double exposure with one image being a fisheye and a second image on top with a different lens – that could be very interesting. But for now, here are some fisheye shots that have kind of worked.
*Just noticed while uploading my images that they are almost all of my dog, Ollie. This could be why they are not turning out so great… taking a picture of a very white dog with a flash isn’t always the best lighting situation.
And there you have it, folks! A compilation of my thoughts, and trials of every lens. It is clear that I have to try out the other lenses a lot more this Summer, so I might come back to this subject eventually. Even thought it took a bit of trial and a bunch of not-so-great pictures to get to where I am pretty comfortable shooting with the camera now, I am super pleased with this camera & would recommend it to anyone looking for a new photography toy!
As an added bonus, Lomography just came out with a new edition of the camera last Thursday, and it is beautiful!
PS. I’ve started the hashtag #summerofinstant on instagram if any of you want to join in and show us your awesome instant images! Need not be exclusively lomo’instant shots. You can check us out at @artshackart.