For a long time I’ve been searching for a fish-eye lens for my camera. I rarely see them used for anything serious but they are amazingly fun :)
Initially I imagined getting a new lens for my old Nikon camera but I haven’t been able to find one at a good value, especially when it’s just for shits and giggles. Today however, I came across what I suspect could be a near-perfect solution: a Lomo Fisheye 2. I’ve rejected the Lomo cameras before because I can’t really identify with the whole Lomo movement, but for a fish-eye it makes perfect sense. The lens is silly, the camera is silly, the photos are silly. And version 2 of this camera has some added features which I hope will make it a bit more than just a toy.
This means the first analogue camera for me, and I’m actually a bit excited about the prospects of being forced to work closer to the physics of photography than what has been the case so far on the Nikon D60.
It’s a very simple camera: one exposure setting with an aperture of f/8 and shutter speed of 1/100. Combined with it being a fish-eye lens with fixed focal length this gives some interesting aspects. After having played with it for a day two things come off as the most challenging compared to shooting on my digital camera: how to compose and how to ensure enough light. And in trying to answer either one of them I again and again look for the missing playback button.
The challenge of composition arises from the fixed focal length meaning that you physically have to move back and forth to fit objects in the frame. This becomes more challenging since it’s amazingly tricky with the fish-eye to see how some scene is going to look; you basically find yourself holding the viewfinder to your eye all the time :). The challenge of ensuring enough light comes from the lack of a light meter. I suspect it’s just a matter of experience and have dedicated the first few rolls to research.
There’s a few minor habits as well, like remembering to scroll before the next photo and taking the cap off before shooting (the viewfinder is separate from the lens so it’s easy to waste photos in this way). You also have to keep in mind that there’s only 36 shots on a roll, each of which comes with a price tag. Luckily, the Fisheye 2 uses standard 35mm film, but still.
I bought the camera in the Lomography store close to my studio on Rue La Fayette. They have one of the better selections of this stuff that I’ve seen in Paris.
More to come.