[Review] Lomography Simple Use Film Camera Black & White

The Lomography Simple Use Film Camera is a fun and compact disposable camera perfect for those new to film photography. As its name suggests, it is far easier to use than a full manual analog camera, requiring only that you wind the film before taking the next photo.

With only 36 exposures, it is not for the trigger-happy. The upside is that you’ll start to be a lot more deliberate with each photo you take, considering the lighting, framing and composition of the image before committing it to film. Taking photos with a film camera is almost an exercise in mindfulness.

I brought my camera out with me over a period of a week, to see how well it fared in terms of street photography and nature photography. My camera came pre-loaded with black-and-white 35mm film, and once I developed it, each photo was a surprise to me.

What stood out immediately was how well the camera performed in outdoor settings with bright sunlight. Photos shot in the Singapore Botanic Gardens and in my neighbourhood park turned out exceptionally well. The rich colour contrasts, soft focus and grainy textures will produce quirky results that will delight any hipster.

However, the camera disappoints a little in low-light conditions. I tried taking a few photos after nightfall and consistently obtained only a monochromatic blur with barely discernible buildings in the background. Even in shaded or cloudy places, the camera may not be able to capture images with equal sharpness. Here is where the flash might come in handy – I did not make much use of it but in retrospect, it might have made all the difference between a clear, crisp image and the black mass that I got.

With an ISO 400, I had expected the camera to be more sensitive to light and perform better without abundant bright light. For those less familiar with the technical aspects of photography, ISO basically refers to the sensitivity of the sensor to light and its ability to capture an image without losing resolution. At 400, you might expect the camera to sacrifice quality and add noise to images, but compensate by not requiring a flash in most situations. Many photographers shy away from using flash because of the unnatural glare that it creates. Nonetheless, after receiving my photos, I would recommend that users not hesitate to use a flash whenever some illumination can add definition to the image.

The Lomography Simple Use Film Camera remains an accessible and user-friendly tool for amateur photographers, or those interested to try out film photography. Once you’ve run out of film, you’ll be tempted to run out and get yourself a more complex analog camera good for more than one use.

by Tracey Toh

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