Lomography Fisheye No 2 £79
30th Sep 2012 | 09:00
Adds bulb mode and allows multiple exposures
Originally introducing a Fisheye camera back in 2005, Lomography's Fisheye No 2 brings with it a number of upgrades, most notably in the form of a bulb mode – which enables you to capture longer exposures – and an 'MX' switch, which enables you to set multiple exposures on the same section of film.
Like its predecessor, the Lomo Fisheye No 2 features an almost 180 degree field of view, and takes 35mm film. This is still relatively easy to come by in many supermarkets, chemists and so on. Lomography also produces its own range of films, which we used during this test. Processing on the high street is also relatively easy to find, but again you can use Lomography's own lab, which we used here.
For those not in the know, Lomography is the company that has brought back many incarnations of analogue photography. It is proving extremely popular with its unique designs in many different styles.
Lomography cameras are well known for their erratic behaviour. This can include light leaks, ghosting, flare and other unusual properties, which most users believe to be part of the charm.
The Lomography Fisheye No 2 camera - priced at around £79 in the UK and $75 in the US - comes with an optical viewfinder that can be attached to the camera's hotshoe, enabling you to more accurately judge composition than you could with its predecessor, which didn't come bundled with the accessory.
A fixed aperture of f/8 is available on the camera, while shutter speeds are limited to 1/100 second in standard, or as long as you need in Bulb mode. The approximate focal length of the lens is 10mm.
Build quality and handling
As with most Lomo cameras, the Fisheye No 2 is not for shy and retiring types.
Best rugged compact camera
Available in a variety of fun designs - including Python, Faded Denim, Vibrant Orange and others - probably the most striking aspect of the camera is the bulbous fisheye lens on the front of it.
Again like many Lomography cameras, the Fisheye No 2 is very light, because it's constructed from plastic. However, it also feels relatively robust and able to be chucked into a bag ready to be taken anywhere.
Controls on the camera are few and far between, leaving you free to concentrate on composition. The only switches you'll find on the Lomography Fisheye No 2 are those to go from the standard shutter speed of 1/100 second to Bulb mode. Handily, there's also a Lock mode, which stops you accidentally switching into Bulb mode.
On the back of the camera there's also the "MX" switch, which stands for multiple exposure. Like many other Lomography cameras, the Fisheye No 2 is capable of creating unlimited multiple exposures on one frame of film, enabling you to use some fun, creative, but unpredictable effects.
The camera comes with a rubber lens cap that can be attached to protect the fisheye optic. However, on our review model at least, this didn't fit very snugly, and fell off at almost every opportunity – especially when the camera was floating around in a handbag.
A circular viewfinder on the top of the camera is designed to give you a rough guide as to how the composition of the image will turn out. Although you have to remember that it won't be exactly as you see through the viewfinder, thanks to parallax error, it's a useful addition to the original Fisheye camera.
A dial at the back of the camera is provided for winding on the film after each frame is taken. Although this can be a little frustrating for those used to automatic (and of course digital) cameras, it does at least help prevent wasted shots, because the next image can't be taken until the film is wound on.
Once the film is used up, you will need to rewind the film using the gear at the top of the camera. The gear can be a little fiddly to use, so you may find this takes longer than anticipated.
Speaking of the film, loading it is pretty easy, especially if you have worked with 35mm film cameras in the past. If not, it's pretty quick to learn, and you can insert a new film in under a minute.
As with all Lomography cameras, it's relatively difficult to give a definitive report of the performance of the camera, because a lot can depend on the film used, and the particular idiosyncrasies of the camera being worked with.
However, we were impressed by the images produced by the Lomography Fisheye No 2.
Although it's fair to say that the camera works best in bright, daylight conditions, there's a lot of fun to be had with the camera, with some subjects working better than others.
Photography's retro revolution explored
The film that we were using produced good colours, which although slightly muted are perhaps a touch more realistic than some of the other films we have used in the past. We used a mixture of 400 speed and 800 speed film.
We'd recommend for best results using 400 speed film in bright conditions, with perhaps a holiday or day trip being a good option for this film. The 800 speed is a good option if you think you will be shooting in darker or shadier conditions for the majority of the time.
As a fisheye lens, the image produced on the film has curved edges, but it doesn't produce a complete circle. Depending on the brightness of the conditions, occasionally the lens barrel itself can be viewed in images, but most of the time a black edge to the frame can be viewed.
The Fisheye No 2 seems to suffer/enjoy (depending on your point of view) fewer random light leaks than other Lomo cameras.
Images taken in good light are generally pretty sharp, while the f/8 aperture means that images generally have a lot of depth of field.
The lens is claimed to have a close minimum focusing distance, but this is something that will take some practice to truly master. Obviously you can't tell whether an image is in focus through the viewfinder, so this will be an exercise in trial and error, and something you'll come to understand more as you use the camera more frequently.
As you'd expect from a Fisheye optic, images have a certain amount of distortion, but this merely adds to the charm, especially when shooting buildings and architecture, which take on an unusual perspective when shot through the Lomo Fisheye No 2.
The Lomography Fisheye No 2 is a fun and light film camera, which is great for chucking in a bag ready for adventures.
Use it alongside your standard digital camera for something a little more unusual to add to your holiday and event snaps, or just take it along with you every day waiting for something worthy of a frame of film to grab your attention.
The fun designs and aesthetics of the Lomography Fisheye No 2 won't be to everybody's tastes, but it certainly draws attention when using the camera in public. Images, when taken in good light, are sharp, well saturated and provide interesting perspectives.
The rubber cap falls off at any opportunity, given little to no protection for the lens. If we have to be picky, the shutter release button feels as it if could be sturdier.
One of the more interesting Lomo cameras to experiment with, the Fisheye No 2 is a good entry into the world of Lomography and, providing you can stomach the film and processing costs, gives a fun glimpse into the world of 35mm film photography.