Review: Fisheye Lomography Camera

I recently purchased the Lomography Fisheye Fixed Focus camera after a introduced me to the Lomo group on I was really intrigued by the many different styles of Lomo cameras, but have always been a fan of fisheye photos. When I found out the camera was less than $40, it was a no brainer. I had to have it.

It arrived a few days later and I opened the box like a kid on Christmas. For a unique camera like the Fisheye, it was little surprise that the box it came in was also unique. When you open the square box, the first and only thing you see is your new camera staring up at you like the boy in the plastic bubble through the plastic dome cover. A nice touch, if you ask me.

The fisheye camera is very light. It takes a single AA battery (not included) to charge the flash. The wrist strap and lens cover are both made of rubber and are quite stretchy. There aren't a lot of buttons or gadgets to mess with on the camera, so from the time you get it to the time you are ready to take your first shot is no more than a minute or two. For a guy as impatient as me, perfect!

The camera comes with a full-color booklet of sample photos that is really cool. One of the things that I liked most about the booklet was that they didn't include only “perfect” shots. It really captures the essence of Lomography by being a collection of “from the hip” photos. That's not to say they aren't good, they just don't feel like staged shots. They look like I expect my shots to look after walking around with the camera and taking interesting/silly shots.

With camera in hand I headed out to shoot my first roll of film. I had a goal of taking all the shots on this first roll of film without once looking through the view finder. I'm happy to say that I was able to reach that goal and surpass it. I have yet to look through the view finder, but my wife tells me that if you do, you'll see about 25% of the view finder is taken up by the lens. The view finder does not show you what the shots are going to look like once they have been “fisheyed.” I believe I've read that the fisheye 2 camera has a fisheye view through the viewfinder, but don't quote me on that… I'm not reviewing that camera, yet.

The front of the camera has an on/off switch for the flash. It takes only a few seconds for it to be up to speed and ready to go. This is a film camera, so there's no LCD screen for chimping your shots once you've taken them. Once you hit the shutter button, it's going to be a few days before you see what you've taken. I already told you I'm impatient, so this is a feature that I'm going to have to get used to all over again after having nothing but digital cameras for the past 10 years.

One drawback to the camera is the fact that once you wind the film forward, accidentally pressing the shutter button seems like it would be very easy to do. If you put the camera in a backpack or purse, you are definitely going to have a shot of the lens cover when you go to develop your film. To remedy that situation, get in to the habit of taking the shot and NOT winding the film forward until you are ready to take another shot.

I carried the camera with me for 2 days in order to take the first roll of film. The best thing I can tell you is that I've learned a lot about the camera after just 1 roll of film. For example:

  • Shots with the flash taken up close tend to blow out the subject (see shots 1-3 below)
  • Shots taken inside without the flash tend to turn out really dark (see shots 11-12)
  • Shots taken outside in daylight look great! (see shots 22-27)

To sum it up, the fisheye lens camera has no chance of becoming my everyday camera. But, I can definitely see carrying it along to take some “flavor” shots while out and about. I'm quite pleased with the camera and can't wait to start shooting roll number 2.

As a secondary incentive for purchasing the camera, I'm also entering the $50 Film Camera contest over at Wish me luck!

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  1. Sam Hennessy on September 12, 2008 at 12:08 am

    Some really good pics there. I love "Cooper the scared"

  2. andrew on September 12, 2008 at 5:51 am

    What is this 'film' stuff you speak of?

  3. John on September 12, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    @SamHennessy Thanks! There are a few shots that I really love in this set. And, the ones that I don't normally wouldn't see the light of day, and won't beyond this first posting.

    @andrew Film… well, uh, I think it came out before your time. Ask your dad.

  4. Rockelita on September 22, 2008 at 4:30 am

    Fun camera! Some of the photos really lend themselves well with the fish-eye distortion. I also have the a camera that is "shutter sensitive." I cannot automatically crank up after taking a pic otherwise risk an accidental shutter press. Totally ruins my photo-taking zen, but whatever. Good luck in the $50 Film Project. Film rocks!

  5. John Hawkins on September 22, 2008 at 7:09 am

    @Rockelita – thanks for stopping by! I'm totally loving the camera. I'm just about through with my second roll of film. I'm trying to put in practice what I learned through my first role to see if I can get a higher percentage of decent shots per roll. It's not like digital where I don't care if I take 27 shots to get 1 good one. 🙂

  6. Tina on January 13, 2009 at 12:33 am

    how do i make the flash work? is it automatic? please e-mail me back with a response, it was given to me by someone who didnt want it

  7. John Hawkins on January 13, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    Tina, there is a button on the front you need to slide over to the "on" position. It does require a battery in the compartment on the bottom in order for it to work, though.

  8. Inessa on January 25, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    Do you need to buy special film for it or can I just get some at a drug store?

  9. vegasgeek on January 25, 2009 at 9:37 pm

    Inessa, The fisheye camera takes regular 35 mm film you can buy at any drug store. Very convenient that way!

  10. Nini on March 8, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    i just purchased one!
    I cant wait until it arrives.
    I was wondering..
    where do you purchase film once youve run out? and for how much?
    I'm really new to this whole lomography fisheye camera stuff

  11. Joe on April 6, 2009 at 7:33 am

    Thats an interesting camera and the pics are pretty decent too for a fisheye camera. If you want a fisheye focus that is cool.

  12. joe on April 9, 2009 at 10:39 pm

    This looks like a fun camera, I might check it out. For $50 it is definitely priced to buy.