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lomokino reviewEven in the futuristic society we live in, it seems as though tech enthusiasts thrive on viewing the world through the eyes of the past. Take Instagram What Are The Best Alternatives To Instagram? [We Ask You] What Are The Best Alternatives To Instagram? [We Ask You] Facebook recently acquired Instagram for a cool $1 billion, turning all of the employees into instant millionaires, and turning Instagram into just another facet of Facebook's growing presence on the Web. While Facebook CEO Mark... Read More for instance – it simulates many older cameras right on your smartphone, right? However, consider the possibility of being able to do that for real, and instead of using a still camera, doing it with an old-fashioned movie camera.

Fortunately, with the LomoKino from Lomography, you can! MakeUseOf was recently able to wrangle in this old-timey movie camera for a review. Below you’ll find all the details on how the LomoKino works, so take a look. By the way, we’re giving 5 Lomokinos away — you might want to stick around for this.

What is a Lomokino?

The LomoKino is a 35mm analog movie camera that screams vintage. It’s as if it came directly from the set of an old-fashioned Buster Keaton movie! The camera utilizes any 35mm film that you may have laying around, and seeing that it is completely analog – not digital in anyway – you’re looking at something that is not commonly used these days. Basically, your smartphone can’t compete with the LomoKino.

lomokino review

The product is manufactured and distributed through the Lomography Online Shop, a company that was started in 1991 after two Vienna students stumbled upon the Russian Lomo LC-A+, a purely analog camera that offers the vignetting and light leaks modern digitals don’t today. After falling in love with the joy of analog, the shop was opened, offering all sorts of classic-style, analog cameras that show beauty through their flaws. Along with this came the $79 movie-making LomoKino, a toy camera that pays respect to the past.

Initial Impressions

We’re reviewing the Lomokino and LomoKinoscope package, but we’re only giving away 5 LomoKinos (so that there’s no confusion later on). When received, the product box contained a fair amount foam and plastic, a suitable protection solution considering the nature of the product. Granted, opening the box itself was a little bit of a task. Strangely enough, the bottom of the box seems more like the lid, so make sure you don’t open it upside-down (like I did). Just be careful – you don’t want to ruin your LomoKino on the first day, right?

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lomokino review

In the box, you’ll get your LomoKino, instruction manuals (one of which is a LomoKino-created flip-book!), and an interesting book entitled Inventing the LomoKino. Realistically, all of these were packaged very nicely together, but due to to the nature of the packaging (small bits of cardboard and plastic), it would be hard to repackage it all if ever needed.

Overall, the packaging did a good job of keeping the LomoKino safe. The company didn’t try to swoon me with any flashy containers or gimmicks, so it worked out.

Design

The camera is very cheaply made, and that goes for the LomoKinoscope, too. But seeing that it’s a plastic toy camera (like the Holga Holga and SuperHeadz Wide & Slim Photo Camera Giveaway Holga and SuperHeadz Wide & Slim Photo Camera Giveaway Read More ), this is totally expected. You just likely aren’t going to go out and shoot the next Transformers using the LomoKino. Or maybe you are. You may just be that much of a genius.

lomokino review

Both products included are also very lightweight, and the cranking mechanism on each made me occasionally cringe. At times, I was afraid that it was going to break off. However, the pay-off is worth being careful, and seeing that I can’t find anything else really like the LomoKino, there’s nothing really to compare it to.

The LomoKino utilizes a loading-mechanism that requires removing the face and loading the film around a top spool and into a bottom spool. As expected, your first few frames are going to be totally obliterated, but after a few tries, you’ll get the hang of it. However, be careful when removing this face. You’ll have to squeeze two buttons on either side of the camera (same for opening the viewer), so don’t apply too much pressure.

lomokino review

All in all, what I want to say here is this: the LomoKino is essentially a toy (which is not an insult). Honestly, I would even go as far as to say that it’s a good design for what it is. For all the times I thought it would break, it wouldn’t.

The Specs

What you have to keep in mind is that there is nothing electronic or digital about the LomoKino. It shoots at about 1/100 a second (so in theory it could pick up more detail than a standard video camera, but it lacks the resolution), is totally manually cranked, and only offers three apertures:  f/5.6, f/8, and f/11.  Beyond that, you don’t need to worry about batteries whatsoever with the LomoKino or for its Viewmaster-esque LomoKinoscope. Below are a few more tech specs:

  • Exposure area: 24mm x 8.5mm (so it’s a really wide picture)
  • Frames per roll (36 exp.): 144 frames (but you don’t have to use 36 exp.)
  • Frame rate: Approximately 3-5 fps
  • Taking lens: 25mm
  • Angle of view: 54 degreea
  • Film counting: Volume display (red flag meter)
  • Focusing : 1m – inf., 0.6m close-up (press button)
  • Viewfinder: Inverse-Galileo foldable viewfinder
  • Flash sync: X-Sync (Hot-Shoe)
  • Tripod mount: Standard 1/4″ tripod screw

For my first time shooting with the LomoKino, I popped in some black and white film that I found at my grandfather’s house, and that’s when I realized one of the nice things about the LomoKino – it uses pretty much any form of 35mm film that you have. However, being a digital kid, I forgot that exposing any amount of film to light will totally ruin it. So while I got some frames right, others were blasted because I actually ended up opening the contraption to check on the film.

lomokino review

Overall, my footage wasn’t great. I decided to go around my sunroom shooting handheld like the scenes from Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan while cranking along, and it just looked bad. With that being said, it is recommended to use a tripod with your LomoKino. Granted, due to the plastic nature of the product, I found cranking it to be a little tough.

lomokino review

The cranking goes for the same with the LomoKinoscope – the viewer for your footage. Once you get your developed film, you actually have to place it in the LomoKinoscope’s included canister by wrapping it tightly around a spool. I found this to be a little challenging but not impossible. In fact, I kind of appreciated being able to do things manually rather than depend on a computer.

lomography lomokino review

What you need to do with the LomoKinoscope is press your eye up to the eyecup and hold it to a source of light. Crank (as much you can), and you’ll be able to see your footage go by. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look as much like motion as I’d like to, but I’ll speak more on this.

Using the LomoKino and the LomoKinoscope

As I mentioned before, my first-time out with the LomoKino was simply in my sunroom with a black and white roll of film, and at that point, I didn’t know what I was doing. With that being said, if you haven’t messed with loading film in a while, it’s going to take you a little time to get started. For my second time out shooting, I decided to just go grab some outside color footage of my dogs (Laci and Scooby). Playback of this footage was better this time, but there were gaps between frames, and I couldn’t get it to crank enough to where it looked like actual motion.

Overall, I found that in the short time I had the LomoKino I wasn’t going to be making super-artistic, Instagram-like videos that I saw all over the Internet. Like I said, it’s going to take a little bit of practice with this thing if you’re not used to analog equipment.

lomography lomokino review

Speaking of seeing those LomoKino videos all over the Internet, there’s something you need to know. When you take your film to the developing center, you’re going to receive negatives, right? So with that in mind, you’ll actually only be viewing your negative footage with the LomoKinoscope. Granted, you could be using color reversal film, but that’s another story.

lomography lomokino review

But the question is this: how in the world do those nifty videos get on the Internet?

Simple answer: request a photo CD when getting the film developed.

In order to upload your footage online for everyone to see (and not in the aforementioned choppy, hand-cranked format), you need to take apart each frame individually, put them in order using your favorite video editor, and then reverse the colors. All this can be done by just getting the photos in a digital format. At this point, the analog magic is kind of taken away, but it’s the only practical way of sharing your videos properly.

The instructions suggest scanning the film negatives, but when I tried (because I was not aware of the CD option), I did not think about how conventional scanners don’t have backlights. So unless you have a film scanner, get a CD when you get your film developed.

Should you buy it?

Coming from a camera enthusiast, I’d say go ahead and buy the LomoKino. It’s a fun little toy, and with proper planning and execution, you could come out with something pretty nifty. If anything ever serious came out of it, I suppose that it would be akin to a music video being shot entirely with an iPhone – creative, but not practical.

lomography lomokino review

With all of this in mind, just recognize that the LomoKino is definitely a novelty. You won’t be using it much. However, I think it’s worth having – if anything, it’s a window into the past, and for just $79 from their online store, I think it’s worth it.

But guess what, readers – we’re giving FIVE LomoKinos! Below you’ll find all the info to join the giveaway.

How do I win a LomoKino?

It’s simple, just follow the instructions.

Step 1: Fill in the giveaway form

Please fill in the form with your real name and email address so that we can get in touch if you are chosen as a winner. Click here if you can’t view the form.

The giveaway code required to activate the form is available from our Facebook page, our Twitter stream and Google+ page.

The giveaway is over. Here are the winners:
  • Pam Howell
  • Michael Lacy
  • Mary Prendiville
  • Kylee Kanavas
  • @mtechman

Congratulations! If you were selected as a winner, you would have received an email from jackson@makeuseof.com. Please reply that email by June 6 to claim your prize. Enquires beyond this date will not be entertained.

Step 2: Share!

You’re almost done. Now, all that’s left to do is to share the post!

Like it

Tweet it

+1 on Google

Double your chances to win by following us on Twitter! We’ll be hosting the Lomokino giveaway there as well! Find out more by following us.

This giveaway begins now and ends Friday, June 1st. The winners will be selected at random and informed via email.

Spread the word to your friends and have fun!

Interested in sponsoring a giveaway? We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with us via the form at the bottom of this page.

  1. Kim Paula Guess
    June 20, 2012 at 7:52 am

    I've always wanted to have a vintage camera. Too bad, I didn't catch up with this giveaway.

  2. Christy
    June 3, 2012 at 9:24 am

    I've used one before; not mine, it'll be fantastic to own my own !!!!!!!!! (:

  3. Kirsti
    May 29, 2012 at 8:57 am

    this would be a perfect addition to my camera collection!

  4. DonnaB
    May 28, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    I tried to enter this used the code from the website, and twice it said I had the code incorrect refresh and try again, yet when I did it said I had to use my other email address. How do I make sure that I am only entered once? Thanks DonnaB

    • Jackson Chung
      May 29, 2012 at 4:49 am

      Donna, as long as you receive the confirmation email, you're in.

      Ta.

  5. Ravi Lodhiya
    May 27, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    Wish me a luck!!!

  6. Steve
    May 27, 2012 at 8:23 am

    Is there a way to convert the film to digital without the choppy final effect of piecing frames together one at a time (at least the way it seems to be commonly done)?

    I guess what I'm asking (from the editors or anyone who happens to know) is...

    Is there a professional service or downloadable program which guarantees smoother transition between frames in the digitalized final product?

    Gracias

    • Joshua Lockhart
      May 27, 2012 at 5:27 pm

      Well. Steve. Due to the frame rate, it's going to by choppy regardless. You can piece it together using the digital files with a video editor (if you get the CD), but there just isn't a way to make it very smooth.

      • Steve
        May 27, 2012 at 9:58 pm

        Ohh. I didn't consider that. Well, it's sweet regardless

        Thanks for the quick response!

  7. Carol
    May 27, 2012 at 4:38 am

    What a cool, little camera. I would love to win one.

  8. Alem
    May 26, 2012 at 9:18 am

    Hope I win this one! :) Will surly be fun!

  9. Stephanie Evans
    May 25, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    I love your giveaways. I have never won, but I love them just the same!

  10. Jame
    May 25, 2012 at 8:14 am

    Great camerra :)

  11. Chip Crell
    May 24, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    i love this return to analogue..

  12. Glen
    May 24, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    Looks cool. It would be fun to make old looking movies to share with the family.

  13. mit thakkar
    May 24, 2012 at 7:26 am

    again a very good giveaway.....

  14. Nilantha Balasooriya
    May 24, 2012 at 6:09 am

    I hope to win one......

  15. Reny Bunjamin
    May 24, 2012 at 5:17 am

    What is LomoKino? Can't wait to see it!

    • Joshua Lockhart
      May 26, 2012 at 8:37 am

      Give it a looksie, Reny! Fun little camera.

  16. Brenda
    May 24, 2012 at 4:36 am

    Love giveaways!

    • Joshua Lockhart
      May 26, 2012 at 8:36 am

      I love them too : )

  17. Brenda
    May 24, 2012 at 4:36 am

    Love giveaways!

  18. Brenda
    May 24, 2012 at 4:34 am

    Love giveaways! Please choose me.

  19. Leo Bien Durana
    May 24, 2012 at 4:26 am

    Wicked cool! Thanks Josh for the review!

    • Joshua Lockhart
      May 26, 2012 at 8:36 am

      It was fun writing it!

  20. Rob Blanchard
    May 24, 2012 at 2:24 am

    Very Interesting. Buster would have loved it.

    • Joshua Lockhart
      May 26, 2012 at 8:35 am

      Baha. Unfortunately, I doubt we would be able to tell...

  21. JasonAH
    May 24, 2012 at 2:08 am

    This looks to be a very cool camera, one that anyone who likes photography would love.

    • Joshua Lockhart
      May 26, 2012 at 8:35 am

      For sure. I've shared it with some of my friends who are into this film and such.

  22. Mario Ornelas
    May 24, 2012 at 1:16 am

    This camera remember my lost 8mm camera, and if you use B/W film, it's more like the old films.

    • Joshua Lockhart
      May 26, 2012 at 8:34 am

      It works with B/W film, so it's pretty cool!

  23. Gary McDonald
    May 24, 2012 at 12:12 am

    Awesome site - LOVE the newsletters; always something to download and learn- thanks

    • Joshua Lockhart
      May 26, 2012 at 8:34 am

      As a reader (even though I'm a writer) of MUO, I have to agree.

  24. Dave Upen
    May 23, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    An excellent site -very educative and full of relevant information useful to newbies and pros as well. This give-away takes me back quite a few years, nostalgic because am 72.

    • Joshua Lockhart
      May 26, 2012 at 8:33 am

      Glad to have you here, Dave : )

  25. David
    May 23, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    Nice camera. really liked the review. Could all kinds of interesting photog outdoors.

  26. David
    May 23, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    Nice camera, really liked the review. Could use one to do lots of interesting outdoor stuff.

    • Joshua Lockhart
      May 26, 2012 at 8:33 am

      Outdoor seems like the best bet. Based on other clips I've seen, there are a few possibilities.

  27. Owen
    May 23, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    This looks cool thanks.

    • Joshua Lockhart
      May 26, 2012 at 8:32 am

      You should google some videos made by it.

  28. ted mullen
    May 23, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    Would love this, but at any rate, Make Use Of’s guides and giveaways are great

    • Joshua Lockhart
      May 23, 2012 at 5:42 pm

      I agree.

  29. Jaqui Miles
    May 23, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    very kewl!

    • Joshua Lockhart
      May 23, 2012 at 5:42 pm

      True story.

  30. Pedro Oliva
    May 23, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    this is a really fine givaway... i hope win one

    • Joshua Lockhart
      May 26, 2012 at 8:32 am

      Five chances, right? Good luck!

  31. Brad
    May 23, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Nice, very nice

    • Joshua Lockhart
      May 26, 2012 at 8:32 am

      Very cool little piece of equipment. So definitely.

  32. Crescent_Silver
    May 23, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    Just discovered Lomography on Monday to my unspeakable delight(once upon a time I made my way as a film photographer)and 2 days later here is a giveaway. Oh the joy of its existence!

    • Joshua Lockhart
      May 23, 2012 at 5:42 pm

      Great timing, eh?

  33. suyanto
    May 23, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    thank of the giveaway

  34. Frederick Lane, III
    May 23, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    WOW!!!

    • Joshua Lockhart
      May 26, 2012 at 8:31 am

      That's what I was thinking!

  35. igbo14
    May 23, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    fine giveaway

    • Joshua Lockhart
      May 23, 2012 at 5:41 pm

      It sure is.

    • igbo14
      May 23, 2012 at 7:48 pm

      not a good giveaway

  36. Dan Chapman
    May 23, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    sweet!

    • Joshua Lockhart
      May 23, 2012 at 5:41 pm

      Definitely!

  37. Julie Brown
    May 23, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    Would love this, but at any rate, Make Use Of's guides and giveaways are great

  38. Julie Brown
    May 23, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    Would love this. Even if I don't win, I love the Make Use Of guides and giveaways.

    • Joshua Lockhart
      May 23, 2012 at 5:41 pm

      They are all pretty great.

  39. Emil
    May 23, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    Nice! I hope to win one

    • Joshua Lockhart
      May 23, 2012 at 5:41 pm

      There's five of them, so good luck!

  40. Halim3050
    May 22, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    Another Giveaway :) Hope 2 Win :)

    • Joshua Lockhart
      May 23, 2012 at 5:40 pm

      Good luck!

  41. Rachel
    May 22, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    What a quirky giveaway!

    • Joshua Lockhart
      May 23, 2012 at 5:40 pm

      Quirky is certainly one way to describe it! : )

  42. Dave
    May 22, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    Another fine giveaway, nice one MUO.

    • Joshua Lockhart
      May 23, 2012 at 5:39 pm

      Thanks! It's a nice little camera.

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