"Unique and precious pieces of movie art." That's what Lomography is promising to deliver with the LomoKino Super 35 Movie Maker -- the company's very first movie camera. Announced earlier this month, the LomoKino is hardly a technological game changer. In fact, it's anything but. Much like every other camera to come off of Lomography's assembly line, the Movie Maker is entirely analog. Users must spool their own 35mm film and manually operate the device's crank to capture images at a frame rate of three to five frames per second, with a shutter speed of 1/100 second. From there, you can either send the film off to get developed and digitally formatted, or cut it yourself and scan it into your movie editing software of choice.
You won't find any sound, many frills, or, for that matter, a ton of convenience, but that's also the idea -- to return filmmakers to the roots of early silent cinema, with a pared down device that reignites some of the photographic mystery lost with the dawn of the digital age. For those too young to remember the analog era, just think of it as a physical manifestation of Instagram, minus the "insta" part. And the results can be pretty stunning, as many in the Lomography community have already demonstrated with collections of hauntingly silent, washed out shorts. With our curiosity piqued, we decided to stop by Lomography's boutique in Paris to learn more about the LomoKino. Check out our hands-on gallery below, and click past the break for our initial impressions.
The LomoKino's design, as you may expect, is rather spartan, yet deceptively lightweight and easy to cradle in the palm of your hand. There's a film crank on the right side of the camera, a nestled rewind crank on the left, and a really small viewfinder that pops up at the top. Sitting front and center is a 25mm lens with a closeup button perched on its left. Below that is an aperture dial that allows users to freely glide from f/5.6 to f/11. There's also a flash hotshoe adapter and a tripod mount, though neither accessory is offered in a bundle package. What you could opt for, however, is the accompanying LomoKinoScope -- a smaller viewer into which you can spool imaged film for pre-development preview. Said film, of course, would be 35mm, of any variety. To load it into the camera, you'll have to pull apart the back of the LomoKino and carefully spool and hook the film across two scrolls. We tried it ourselves, and it definitely requires some delicacy.
Once you've got your 36 exposures locked in, you're ready to start shooting. To capture a single image, just roll the crank forward until you hear a click. The faster you turn it, of course, the more fluid your film. It's an entirely free focus device, but if you're shooting an object that's less than a meter in front of you, you'll want to hold down the closeup button as you film. All told, you should be able to squeeze about 40 to 50 seconds worth of footage from every roll, using the metric on the left side of the box to gauge your progress. Aside from that, the only thing you'll need is a dash of inspiration, and a lazy weekend. Lomography's LomoKino Movie Maker is now available for $80 as a stand alone purchase, or for $100, if bundled with the LomoKinoScope.