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Frequently Asked Questions - Lomography

Lomography can be described as a type of photography based on analogue photography. That's the kind of photography that captures photos on film rolls rather than an LCD screens.

On the one hand, analogue photography is traditional; it's got an amazing history which stretches back a couple of hundred years. But film photography also opens up all kinds of real-time experimental possibilities; you can use techniques such as multiple exposures, sprocket-hole photography and cross processing to get artistic and beautiful effects. You can't see your photos until they've been developed but that's part of the fun; analogue photography encourages you to embrace each moment and get creative!

The whole Lomographic phenomenon started in the streets of St. Petersburg, Russia on 1982. At that time, the USSR Minister of Defense and Industry and his comrade, the Director of the LOMO Russian Arms and Optical Factory, examined a Japanese camera with a sharp glass lens, extremely high light sensitivity and robust casing. Upon realizing the potential of this mini-camera, they gave immediate orders to copy and improve the design with the ultimate goal of producing the largest quantity possible for the pleasure and glory of the Soviet population. It was decided that every respectable Communist should have a LOMO KOMPAKT AUTOMAT. With that, the LOMO LC-A was born!

Almost a decade after and with the LOMO LC-A’s popularity waning, a handful of Austrian students came across this adorable camera in some old-school camera shops, bought a couple for fun, loaded them with film, shot from above and through their legs, shot from the hip, and even sometimes looking through the viewfinder.

After having the film developed at the trusty corner supermarket, they were surprised by the results: Thousands of small, amusing, sad, garish shots of their little tour, wonderful focused and unfocussed images fresh from life in the Czech Republic. The images were amazing, dazzling all those present with a crushing sense of excitement – the likes of which they had never felt before.

What happens next is quickly enough told. After seeing the incredible photographs; friends, relatives, and strangers on the streets all demanded LOMO cameras! The Lomographic Society (Lomographische Gesellschaft) was soon founded in Vienna, with the aim of spreading the message of LOMOGRAPHY throughout the globe.

Buying your first Lomography camera is great fun but it can also be very overwhelming.  When trying to decide which camera to buy you need to consider:

  • Which kind of film do you want to use?

Different Lomography cameras shoot different kinds of films. Some cameras shoot 35mm film; some shoot 110, and some shoot 120 (also called medium format) film. 35mm film comes in canisters and produces rectangular photos; it's the kind of film you can pick up and develop in your local supermarket. You'll also notice that 35mm film has little perforations along the edge that are called sprocket-holes. In contrast, 120 films are larger and generally produce more detailed shots - 120 films don’t have sprocket-holes. 110 films are used with pocket cameras and can also be conveniently processed in most photo labs.

  • What kind of photos do you want to shoot?

You'll notice that each Lomography has something special about it. The Spinner 360° produces 360° panoramic photos. The LC-Wide takes ultra-wide photos and gives you the choice of 3 shooting formats. The Sprocket Rocket exposes the sprocket holes on each photo. The Supersampler shoots 4 snaps on each 35mm print. The Fisheye Baby allows you to capture fun, fisheye photos in a smaller, more portable format. Take a look at each camera's features and pick the effect that fits you! Take a look at some Ideas by Photo to see the kind of shots you can produce with each camera.

There are many Lomography cameras; here is a list of camera types based on format:

  • Medium Format Cameras - Cameras such as the Diana F+ and Lubitel 166+. They use 120 Film and produce super square images when developed.
  • Instant Cameras - Load an Instant Camera with Instant Film and you'll get photos in a matter of seconds. We also have Instant Backs available. Snap the LC-A Instant Back+ or Diana Instant Back+ onto an LC-A+ or Diana F+ camera and you'll turn it into an instant snap shooting sensation.
  • Panoramic Cameras - With a panoramic camera, you'll capture more in every shot and get photos that are longer than usual. The Sprocket Rocket, Spinner 360° & Horizon all produce panoramas.
  • Pinhole Cameras - Cameras with a tiny hole (or 'small aperture' in photographic terms) and no lens - Because of this, pinhole photos often have a dreamy look. If you're interested in trying out pinhole photography, take a look at the Diana Multi Pinhole Operator; it's got 3 holes instead of 1 and allows you to use different colour filters!
  • Fisheye Cameras - These cameras produce unique circular images. They have 170° wide-angle lenses, so you'll capture loads more than the human eye can see; they are also perfect for close-ups!
  • Multilens Cameras - Cameras with more than one lens; when you hit the shoot button, the lenses will fire and your final print will be made up of smaller images. The Actionsampler and Supersampler have 4 lenses so will have prints made up of 4 sequential images. The Oktomat has 8 lenses so has 8 sequential images on each print.

135 or 35mm film is the most common photographic film format. The film is 35mm wide, and each standard image is 24×36mm. Individual rolls of 35mm film are enclosed in single-spooled light-tight metal canisters. This allows cameras to be loaded even in broad daylight. The end of the film is cut on one side to form a leader so that it is easy for the film to be inserted into a corresponding slot in the camera’s take-up spool.

120 or medium format film is so called because it is larger than 35mm or 135 format film, but smaller than 4×5 sheet film, which is called large format. 120 films usually come wrapped around a plastic spool, and give you between 12 to 16 images, depending on which camera and film masks you use. The terms “120 film” and “medium format film” are pretty much interchangeable nowadays, but it is important to know that the film is not 120mm.

A multiple exposure photo is one in which two or more photos are taken on the same frame. A lot of Lomography cameras allow you to take multiple exposures; a few of them are the LC-A+, LC-Wide, La Sardina, Diana F+, Diana Mini and Sprocket Rocket.

135 or 35mm colour negative film can be processed at your specialized photographic labs. Most of these labs have the ability to scan your images to disc and/or make prints.

or medium format film, black and white film, slide film, and any film you want cross-processed will require some professional help. A professional photo lab in your area can process, scan, and print any size images from any of these types of film. For a list of Processing Labs in South Africa go to "Processing Labs".

You are most likely shooting with the “B” (bulb) setting by accident. Be sure to use “N” (normal) for daylight.

Still got a question? Contact us at shopatexposuregallery [dot] co [dot] za