Lomography has just launched holiday-inspired versions of its popular La
Sardina and Diana F+ film cameras. Dressed up in Scandinavian-style
patterns, and named after popular winter destinations, the La Sardina St. Moritz and Diana F+ Chamonix cameras will allow you to capture some great analog holiday
shots. Grab one of these funky-looking plastic cameras, a few rolls of film, and start shooting. Matching scandinavian sweaters are optional.
This 35mm film camera, which looks like a can of sardines, comes with Lomography's most powerful flash: Fritz the Blitz. This flash unit has three distance settings and comes with different color filters, so you can capture some really psychedelic pictures during Christmas eve.
Lomography doesn't specify the lens' focal length, only that it's a wide-angle with an 89 degree view, so around 22 mm would be about right. This makes it a nice lens for taking group shots, or for street photography. Then again, street photography is all about taking pictures of people without them noticing, whenever possible. With its funky-colored pattern this camera is sure to turn heads as soon as you raise it to eye level.
The La Sardina St. Moritz makes it easy to play around with multiple exposures in-camera by using the MX (multiple exposure) setting. In MX mode the rewind knob cocks the shutter but doesn't advance the film, so you can overlap as many images as you want.
Focusing is a very simple process, since the camera only has two distance settings. Located on the lens ring you can switch between 0.6-1 meter, for close subjects, and 1 meter-Infinity for anything farther away. You'll never get tack-sharp images with this kind of focusing setup, but it's something you expect from this type of camera. If you're looking for razor-sharp focusing, look somewhere else. The La Sardina St. Mortiz is all about Lo-Fi photographic pleasure.
Exposure is also pretty rudimentary. There's a switch in front of the viewer, marked B/N/MX. We've already covered the MX setting, for multiple exposures. The N is for Normal, which translates to 1/100 second, which you can use to take pictures outside on a sunny day. In low-light situations you'll need to use longer exposure times, so in comes the B (Bulb)setting, which allows the camera's shutter to remain open for as long as you press the shutter button. Get yourself a tripod though, if you'll be using the B setting. While you're at it, purchase a cable release, so you minimize camera movement during long exposures. The camera comes with a tripod socket, by the way.
Don't worry about adjusting aperture settings; the camera has a fixed aperture. Normally, this type of camera comes with a mid-range aperture setting, say around f/8, so that it gives you an adequate depth of field.
The camera has a film cartridge window, found on the back door, which allows you to see what film you're shooting. A nice feature to have, especially if you shoot different kinds of film and you're more of a short-term memory type of person.
The built-in reverse Galilean viewfinder gives you a pretty good idea of what the camera will be capturing on film. With this type of camera, and especially in street photography situations, you can forego the viewfinder and shoot by the seat of your pants. Surreptitiously point the lens towards your subject and shoot. The zone focusing system, coupled with the wide angle lens and more than adequate depth of field, increases your odds of getting a nicely framed and reasonably focused image.
If you've ever thought about moving up to medium format film cameras, the Diana F+ is the way to go. This plastic medium format camera has garnered a strong cult following ever since it hit the market back in the 60s. The soft-focus images it produces, with beautiful vignetting on the edges, has made it a favorite among photo artists. Even on a Lo-Fi camera, such as the Diana F+, the images captured on 120 film look impressive, compared to 35mm or even digital for that matter. It just has a look you can't find on any other camera format.
The Diana F+ Chamonix camera has two exposure settings, N and B. Like on the La Sardina St. Moritz camera, you would use the N setting to shoot normal exposures in well-lit places or with flash, and B for long exposures. Use the included tripod thread to mount the camera on a tripod and use the shutter lock for those long exposures.
This camera lets you switch between two image sizes, which determines the amount of images you get out of a 120 roll: 12 full-frame shots (5.2 cms x 5.2 cms) or 16 smaller shots (4.2 cms x 4.2 cms).With its uncoupled advance and shutter the Diana F+ allows you to shoot multiple exposures on a single frame.
the lens allows you to use the camera's pinhole function, for those
who've always wanted to experiment with this technique. Just like the La Sardina St. Moritz, this camera has a fixed aperture and zone focusing.
Diana+ kit comes with the Diana+ flash, a retro-looking unit that will
let you light up your shots during your New Year's eve party. Filters are included to play around with
So what's all the fuzz about Lo-Fi cameras, like the La Sardina St. Moritz and the Diana F+ Chamonix, in this age of digital everything? Well, for one thing, the inherent imperfections typical of these cameras is what makes them so unique, and able to produce images so interesting and different compared to the pristine images we get out of a digital camera. The look of film, coupled with the quirky nuances that these plastic cameras throw in, produce images that are trully in a category of their own. And in an age of instant gratification, shooting with these film cameras allows you to work at a slower pace and enjoy the whole photographic process a lot more.
Happy shooting with the La Sardina St. Moritz and Diana F+ Chamonix over the holidays.