Film: Kodak 400
Aperture (fixed): f/8
Shutter speed (fixed, unless you use Bulb setting): 1/100th of a second
Focal length (approximated): 10mm
1. TAKE THAT VIEWFINDER OFF
The viewfinder is a nice little peephole with absolutely no purpose. At best it's a preview of what a fisheye image might look like, but you have the Internet for that.
Take that viewfinder off the hotshoe. For mine it was very difficult to remove the first time - I used a knife to push it off (you can probably find something safer...).
It just makes the camera larger and more odd-looking (therefore noticeable). It's no more useful for framing the shot than just pointing the lens at the subject, because of the absurdly wide focal length. In the cases where composition does matter - fisheye tends to only work with centred framing, and in such a case your own judgement might be better than trying to adjust for parallax error caused by the viewfinder (i.e. the viewfinder does not look through the lens, so if you look through the viewfinder you are by no means seeing what the camera sees).
2. IT'S ONLY EFFECTIVE IF YOU GET CLOSER
The distortion and exaggerated perspective of fisheye means that if you're a coward and shoot from 3 metres away, the picture will usually be useless - less so with buildings and larger subjects, perhaps, but people become tiny blobs (in the centre) or distorted and compressed into the "peripheral" area.
3. SHOOT FROM THE HIP
It's kind of old-news advice to "shoot from the hip", for street photographers at least. It's also supposedly one of the "rules" of "lomography". But at this focal length it's MUCH easier to "shoot from the hip" and still get a useable shot (insofar as any of these terrible shots are useable) - as long as your subject stays relatively near the centre.
This can give your pictures an interesting angle too, for example if the subject is a child, or is carrying something such as a ladder or briefcase.
4. ON BRIGHT DAYS WATCH YOUR SHADOW
I took these pictures in overly-bright conditions. My shadow appeared in a lot of them.
Other things I like about the camera:
- It's really light without a battery (which you don't really need unless you plan to use flash).
- It's fairly inconspicuous - people don't tend to notice it. I've been asked if it's "a real camera".
- On that note, the shutter is virtually silent, making it perfect for candid shots even at close range (which you need to be).
- It's easy to load up, operate, and rewind.
- You can lock the shutter so it doesn't misfire.
- The viewfinder is pointless but it's easy to anticipate the shot without it.
- The focal length means that pretty much everything is in focus, all the time - including very close subjects. Also, handshake isn't much of a concern.
- Fantastic dynamic range (look at those skies!), although this is probably much more a quality of using film than of the camera.
- It has a crab on its shoulder.
Things I dislike:
- The images aren't sharp at all! At best things are "in focus" - but not sharp.
- The distortion is good fun as a gimmick but won't be taken very seriously in street photography circles (no pun intended).
- With ISO 400 film its performance is terrible in slightly low light - for example indoors, in a back alley, in an underpass, etc.
- It's overpriced and some people see it as a fashion accessory so I feel a bit silly walking around with it.
The next roll is ISO 200, so I'm hoping the shots are exposed enough. I'm only using it in outdoor daylight.
For the full set, please see:
If you like you can compare them with the digital photographs taken using an auxiliary lens: