Recently, I’ve decided to do more blog posts on stuff I enjoy and am passionate about. That’s why you’re seeing more on my personal favourite places to visit and things I experiment with and today that’s the Lomography Sprocket Rocket!

Lomography first introduced me to the world of film photography. Back before there was a Lomography Singapore Store, getting to know about the Lomo lifestyle and products was pretty much through word of mouth and online sprees. I was a quick convert. I always loved taking photos and when a good friend sold me his second hand Holga, I was stuck on film photography and the challenging unpredictable nature of using a plastic toy camera to shoot.

“There are no screens!” Initially, I was confused! I had to resist turning to the back of my toy camera, hoping to see a playback of the photo I just took. I learned the hard way that each shot could be shot carefree but there was a chance the film would turn out blank if it was carelessly underexposed or overexposed. Further to that, any photo that was taken without thought could end up being kind of weird and a waste of film. So I trained my eye for framing using film – something that I can carry with me to digital to produce better photos.

I was lucky to meet Meerly, who heads the Lomography Singapore Store, some time back through this blog. Lucky me, because she not only invites me to Lomo events all the time, but she was also kind enough to extend me a “friendship” discount on this adorable hot pink Sprocket Rocket Camera.

So what is so special about this Sprocket Rocket camera as compared to the other toy cameras from Lomography?

1. It takes super-wide angle panoramic shots

2. All photos taken will feature sprocket holes

3. Forward and backward winding to get creative multiple exposures

It’s pretty straightforward to use, but may be a challenging camera for beginners only because of the exposure setting limitations. Anyhow, here’s a quick starter guide on how to load your desired film in the Sprocket Rocket.

Quick Starter Guide to Loading Your Sprocket Rocket

First, remove the back cover of your Sprocket Rocket. There are two clips on either side of the camera. It may be a bit tight at first (it is after all a virgin camera), but don’t be afraid to just push the cover off.

Now take your film (Sprocket Rocket uses 35mm film which is readily available at most photo development stores) and place the canister in the slot like in the photo shown above. You may have to pull up the knob on the left to allow the canister some space to be slot in.

Pull the film across the camera body and slot it in the spool uptake slot. Crank the winding knob on the right to make sure the film is secure (and doesn’t bounce back to the left). Now close the back cover.

Now take note of the white dot in the teeny tiny hole beside the “E” counter shown in the photo above. Use the winding knob on the right of the camera and wind it till the dot disappears and reappears.

Once that happens, take a test shot by holding down the silver metal level near the lens. Then wind it up again. Now you’re ready to take lots of photos! But don’t forget to remove the lens cap before you shoot anything! Make that a habit or all your photos will come out black/blank!

You get 18 exposures using a 35mm film roll. (Usually you get 36.) Once you’re done, send it to a place that does film development. See a list of recommended tried and tested photolabs you can rely on to develop and scan your shots to disc here.

A couple of tips I’ve learnt from my years of playing around with these toy film cameras.

1) The  viewfinder is a “dummy”!

The plastic viewfinder you’re looking through is not the same lens that takes the photos. They are not connected like in a DSLR so even if the focus looks great and the framing is perfect, you got to imagine that it’s still sitting on top of you actual lens so just adjust accordingly!

2) Don’t be afraid to go “B”

“B” stands for bulb mode and it means the shutter is open to let light in and capture that photo. The more light you let in the higher the chance of blur caused by handshakes (even the tiny minor ones). That said, don’t be afraid to try shooting in “B” mode. More often than not, Lomo toy cams have a very tiny aperture, which means very little light gets let in. This means your photos MIGHT possibly turn out underexposed (very dark or black even) if you are not operating under broad daylight. So experiment with “B” mode when you’re indoors or when the sun isn’t searing hot and shining bright!

3) The fun is in the double exposures

If you’re using your Lomo cam to take nice technical shots, I think you’ve got the wrong cam. The beauty of Lomography is in the unexpected and half constructed shots (the other half belongs to chance). If you’re using it too seriously, the shots will always disappoint because there is just so much that you can’t control. Play around with your Sprocket Rocket by making FULL USE of the ability of this cam to create stunning double exposures (two photos exposed onto one frame). The rewind winder goes forward and back, so you can wind it back to the previous frame and take a second shot (or third or forth)!

4) Buy ISO 400 Film (and above)

I mentioned earlier that the aperture of the camera is tiny and lets very little light in. To make sure you get adequate exposure, I suggest buying at least an ISO 400 film. ISO is light sensitivity, so the higher the number, the more sensitive the film is when it comes to capturing light. The higher the number, the grainier. Grainy is the old school version of digital’s pixelated. You get large dots all around your photo easier if the ISO is too high. Some people love grainy, others hate it. 🙂

The awesome thing about using a plastic toy camera, especially one as funky looking and brightly coloured as the Sprocket Rocket, is that its less intimidating to others. People want to be shot by this cute camera because unlike a DSLR it’s easy to feel like yourself when you’re in front of something that isn’t so serious!

The Sprocket Rocket is a great companion and isn’t too expensive. Of course every Lomography enthusiast will one day wish to own a Lomo LCA+ or Horizon Compact but sometimes that can really be a big investment if you’re an absolute Lomo newbie.

I’ll share photos taken with my Sprocket Rocket in my post next week! 🙂

If you still need more information on the Sprocket Rocket, visit the Lomography Microsite here.

If you want to get your own Sprocket Rocket, I have good news for you! Lomography Store Singapore is offering our readers a very exclusive discount!

Promotion for Our Readers!

Get 10% off your purchase at Lomography Store Singapore
when you mention “The Cambelles”.

You can use the discount to get a new Lomo cam, accessories and films! This promotion is valid till 15 September 2013. Not valid with other discounts, offers and promotions. This discount is not valid for services.