When I used to take photographs with my Pentax SF7 I always fancied using a fisheye lens. I think at the time the good ones used to cost upwards of £300. But they had such a huge range that you had to be careful not to get your fringe (not that I had one) or your feet in the shot. Lenses with more than 180° were not uncommon. I could have bought a fisheye adapter but the pictures just didn’t look the same.
A few weeks ago I found the Lomographic web-site. I’m sure that I had seen it before. I can’t quite recall what train of thought, if any, led me to it. Possibly because they sell cheaper versions of the Widelux camera that Jeff Bridges uses.
Anyway, they sell two kinds of camera that take fisheye photos. Of course, being the decisive person that I am, I kept looking at them on the site, at the photos, at the spec and the price etc etc. This went on for a couple of weeks. Did I really want to go back to film, having to get it developed and printed?
They come in two versions, the Fisheye Camera being £27, the Fisheye Camera 2 being £47. I found a brand new Fisheye Camera, unopened, on eBay and won it for £20.50 including postage. So I was quite pleased.
The camera is above and beyond basic by all other standards. You have to manually wind on and rewind the film. Rewinding is more fun as you have to use the little pop-up handle. The flash will switch on but doesn’t seem to switch off. The only way around this is to flip the battery cover before the flash starts charging again. Even the web-site admits that the viewfinder is next to useless. To me this is something of a culture shock because I miss using the viewfinder on my digital camera.
Using it is fun, I have to admit. You don’t have to focus or worry about getting everything in the frame. Anything that is more than four inches in front of the lens will be in focus and captured on film. The spec says the lens has a 170° view. I don’t know if it’s that much but it is pretty damn close.
The only downside is going back to film after getting used to the immediacy of digital photography. It’s always going to be exciting to look at the photos for the first time when they come back from the developers. But then you really have to scan them in if you want to share, or store them, electronically. And that’s a pain. Even my Canon scanner, that will scan 12 negatives really easily, seems to have a mind of it’s own. Photos that I’ve had put on a CD by the developers in the past look as if they’ve been scanned in from the photos and not the negatives.
Maybe I’ll try to develop the film myself. I’m sure I’ve seen developing tanks that don’t require a darkroom.
Of the 24 photos that I took I think that most of them turned out quite well. Time to try another roll of 24 before the novelty wears off.