Most young people are so used to digital cameras that they would hardly know how to use a film camera. What is this strange material? How does it get uploaded online?
Well, there’s a popular movement online called lomography, or “lomo” for short, which is all about using cute stylized film cameras for taking dreamy artsy photographs. I found out about these cameras online and became smitten with the Mobius style La Sardina camera, shown on the right.
So the next time I got paid, I splurged and ordered my own La Sardina film camera through Amazon, where the price was slightly lower than other sites, at about $60 and $10 for four rolls of 35 mm film. You can buy film in a store that develops pictures, so you don’t need to always spend money on the shipping.
When it came in the mail, I really liked the feel of the camera, and the quality was very nice.
I had to read the instructions to understand which settings did what, but once you get it, it’s really easy to understand. There are two focus settings, close and far away, as well as two light settings, for dark and bright situations. The brighter light setting gives you clearer pictures and the darker setting gives you more of a dreamy, blurry look.
You can also do double exposure, so you have two images layered over each other, and extended exposure so you can play with movement and light. There are lots of fun ways to experiment with this camera.
The La Sardina doesn’t have a screen and the viewfinder is a bit skewed, however, so you can’t really plan what your pictures will end up looking like. So when you experiment, by the time you get the film back, you might forget how you even got your picture to look that way. But that’s part of the fun of these cameras. You just have to point, shoot, and hope for the best.
Of course, I was very anxious to get my first set of pictures back, and while I loved the look of my images, getting them developed is one of the biggest drawbacks of having these types of cameras.
Most places where you get digital prints developed for cheap don’t do pictures from film anymore, so you have to do a little research and find a specific location that does. Some places will send your film out, but it can take up to 5 weeks to get them back.
Luckily, I found a CVS near me that developed my film right in the store, but even still, it was a bit expensive. I got two rolls developed in an hour, with prints and the picture files on a CD for $30. It’s not terrible, but that will add up quickly if you take a lot of pictures.
Overall, I’ve really loved having this camera as a fun way to experiment with photography with a relatively cheap initial cost, since you can end up spending hundreds of dollars on digital cameras. The unexpected results are really fun and they come out really cool.
You do have to keep in mind that each roll of film cost more to develop than you might expect, and you should not trust this camera to capture nice pictures of important events, because you may not get the picture you’re hoping for. But if you like to experiment with photography for fun, this might be the perfect investment for you.
Do you have or are you thinking of getting a La Sardina?
If so, leave a comment below about your experiences or questions – and be sure to Like, Tweet, Pin and G+ this page to pass this info along to your friends and followers!