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“It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.” – Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)

Fresh Reads from the Science 'o sphere!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Photo Gallery Thirteen

In a previous post, I briefly talked about how brand marketing has contributed towards the rising phenomena of tool worship and diminishing respect for professional training.

For this week's photo gallery I won't just talk the talk - I'll walk the walk!

Let me show you what a "toy camera" can do in competent hands.

Enter our unfortunate victim - the Lomo Fisheye 2.

Popular among fashionistas a couple of years back, it used to retail in arty bookstores for about a hundred bucks each. One look and you can tell that it's the sort of camera for the supercool to pose with and get totally bored with by the end of the week.

This example here is well kept, but has fallen onto hard times. I bought it used for $30 - "faulty" with an ailing internal flash (but I won't be needing it, as you shall soon see).

Incidentally, all the non-Nikon, non-Canon cameras in the above photo are second-hand. Poverty has its special way of compelling one to train hard - if you're rich then you can pay someone to do all the thinking and working for you!

That's not necessarily a bad thing, but I digress.

Time for a checklist!

The Fisheye 2 has:

1. No Megapixels (uses 35mm film).

2. No Autofocus (fixed from 30cm on to eternity).

3. No Variable Aperture (fixed f/8 plastic hole).

4. No Metering.

5. No Automatic Shutter Speed (fixed 1/100 sec and a bulb mode).

6. No Multicoated Lens (10mm fisheye lens which looks cheap and plasticky).

7. No LCD display (with no pixels by no pixels resolution).

8. Has Optical Viewfinder (Hah, bet your digicam doesn't have one of these!).

9. No Spare Batteries (you don't even need any if you don't use flash).

10. No Free Cleaning Kit (OK, now I'm getting carried away...).

Hmm... looks sufficiently devoid of modern camera features.


In fact, somebody once said that:

"If you cut the bottom off a beer bottle and hold it in front of your standard lens you will take better pictures than the Lomo."

Ho ho ho... is that RRRRRRight?

Well, the Fisheye 2 was intended to be a chic fisheye camera for "Lomographers" to take wacky portraits with multicoloured flash and streaks of light everywhere.

But that's not what I had in mind for this little fellow.

Here's one of my pictures, straight out of the camera (or film processing shop actually):


But I prefer my scenery shots to be rectilinear rather than have fisheye distortion.

To do that, you don't even need to buy Photoshop. Just head over to TawbaWare and use their PTAssembler shareware to "de-fish" the distortion in a few quick steps.

And now for the finished product (cropped and exposure-corrected):

(2009) Lomo Fisheye 2

Not quite the bottom of a beer bottle huh?

Come to think of it, I could possibly make that work too...

Enjoy the rest of the photos!

Ceiling vanes
(2009) Lomo Fisheye 2

Financial focus
(2009) Lomo Fisheye 2

Old market vibe
(2009) Lomo Fisheye 2

Passing through
(2009) Lomo Fisheye 2

Stone life
(2009) Lomo Fisheye 2

Underpass curves
(2009) Lomo Fisheye 2

Welcoming palms
(2009) Lomo Fisheye 2

Wide and bright
(2009) Lomo Fisheye 2

You are thinking: "Hey, it's not the fact that the Lomo cost $30 that allows it to take nice scenery shots. It's the fact that it has a 10mm lens! The equipment DOES matter!"

Ha ha... you're right that every photographic tool has its strengths and weaknesses.

You generally can't use the Fisheye 2 for macro or sports photography.

But then again, if you know what you need for those applications, you wouldn't use the Lomo!

I think you understand what I'm saying now.

Would you like to know more?
Photo Gallery Twelve
- Your Camera Doesn't Matter (by Ken Rockwell)


angry doc said...

You and I should go on a photo-walk someday. :)

Teck said...


Lim Leng Hiong said...

Sounds like a plan, Angry Doc.

But for now I have to hack away at my thesis. With my teeth...

Lim Leng Hiong said...

Thanks Teck! Wish I could be in a place where the scenery is already nice, like you.

Or at least in a place where there are fewer construction cranes.

angry doc said...

I don't think it's entirely true that the gear doesn't matter though - I certainly am hitting the limits of what my workhorse lens can do...

Teck said...

Hi LH, it's summer now, and there are lots of cranes here.. Cos it's the only season they can do any construction.. that's why people refer to the other 4 seasons as almost winter, winter, still winter and construction. Madison is a small city and it's a much smaller place than Singapore so yeah, it's less built up and greener.. tho' SG is a lot more convenient -- i miss those kopitiam and mamak stalls just downstairs from my HDB flat.. :)

S.A. said...

Showing off your camera skills, aye?

nooj said...

Great work, LH!!!!!!!!!!!