Film cameras are officially in style again. Although there are plenty of point-and-shoots to be found on the second-hand market, depending on the model they can be quite pricey and there’s no telling how many rolls of film you’ll be able to run through them before they malfunction. Thankfully with the resurgence of film there are a number of low-cost plastic point and shoots that you can pick up without breaking the bank. The wide-angle LomoApparat 35mm camera fits neatly into that category, and is an easy-to-use snapshot camera that can produce images with decent clarity and charming aberrations.
- 35mm film format camera
- 21mm fixed focal length lens
- Fixed F10 aperture
- Shutter speeds of 1/100 (N) or Bulb (B)
- Built-in flash
- Colored gel filter slider
- Compatible with Splitzer and Kaleidoscope lens attachments
- Multiple exposure capabilities
- Tripod mount
- Available in Basic Black or Newbau Italian Leather
- Runs on 1 AA battery
- Weighs 164.43g (5.8 oz)
The LomoApparat runs on a single AA battery which loads into the bottom of the camera to provide power to the built-in flash. A roll of 35mm film can be loaded into the back of the camera, where you will also find the optical viewfinder, the film advance lever and a switch for multiple exposure mode. The top of the camera body hosts the shutter button, a film counter and the film rewind knob.
The front of the camera is where you activate the flash, and on the side you will find the handy colored gel filter slider. The compact unit has a boxy construction and comes with a metal wrist strap. Although it does have a tripod mount on the bottom, unless you are making long exposures it’s more fun to shoot hand-held.
Shooting with the LomoApparat is extremely straightforward. Load up your film, switch the camera on, if you intend to shoot with flash wait for the light on the left of the lens to turn green and you are ready to start shooting.
Although the camera is completely made of plastic, the basic black version has a pebble-textured finish that gives it a substantial feel. The included metal wrist strap adds to the comfort when shooting hand-held. The optical viewfinder isn’t particularly large or bright, as expected given the reasonable price point, but it gives you a decent idea of what your frame will look like.
The wide 21mm frame gives you a much larger field of view than most compact cameras, and accessories like the Spltizer and Kaleidoscope lens attachments offer interesting lo-fi creative effects. During our time with the LomoApparat we were particularly fond of the Kaleidoscope attachment, which splits the frame into a variety of angled fragments.
You can shoot the LomoApparat in two shutter-speed modes, marked on the power switch. In N mode the Apparat will use a 1/100 sec shutter – when paired with the built-in flash it’s quite good at freezing motion even in dark environments or with fast-moving subjects. B mode is for capturing longer exposures. In this mode the shutter will stay open for as long as you keep your finger on the shutter button. Although either mode can be used without the flash, we definitely gravitated towards shooting with it rather than without.
|The built-in gel holder lets you tint the color of the flash, and experiment.|
Speaking of the flash, we loved the clever built-in gel holder on the LomoApparat to color its light. It can hold up to three gels at a time. The retail version includes cyan, green, magenta, neutral gray, red and yellow. Sadly our review sample didn’t come with the full set of gels, but we enjoyed shooting with the ones that we did get. The red gels offered the most dramatic look, but it was also a joy to experiment with the different colors and multiple exposure mode.
When you aren’t shooting with the camera, be mindful and switch that operating switch to the Off position. We found that it was pretty easy to accidentally fire off a frame if you have the LomoApparat wrapped around your wrist between shots.
Although the LomoApparat’s lens is plastic (so it won’t ever take perfectly sharp photos) it offers more image clarity than one gets from a toy camera like a Holga or a Diana. However, if that’s the type of aesthetic you’re looking for, the included accessories and colored gels offer enough creative experimentation options to create some charming lo-fi imagery.
We were pleasantly surprised by how well the camera performed.
Considering the ultra-wide angle lens, we weren’t at all surprised that images shot with the LomoApparat tended to be sharpest toward the middle of the frame, with interesting elements of blur and vignette popping up around the edges.
Obviously this isn’t going to be a camera for the perfectionist, but we were pleasantly surprised by how well the camera performed and by the images it produced during our time with it.
The LomoApparat is an excellent low-cost choice for film shooters who are looking for something small and easy to use. Its ultra-wide lens makes it unique in the current landscape of fixed-lens film compacts, as does its built-in gels and creative attachment filters. As mentioned previously, the plastic lens means the photos will never be tack sharp, but we think this affordable, pocket-sized film camera certainly ticks a lot of boxes for a variety of film photographers.
What we like
- Wide 21mm lens
- Built-in filters and creative lens attachments
- Compact size
- Affordable price point
What we don’t like
- Easy to fire off accidental frames
- Viewfinder could be brighter and/or larger