Thursday, November 3, 2011

My Journey with La Sardina 35mm Camera

Dear readers...

Do you still remember that I've received a DHL express parcel all the way from Hong Kong not too long ago? If you have forgotten or didn't know anything about it, just click on the link here if you want to refresh your memory. I am very honored and happy to be selected as the top 10 finalist of The Loblography Malaysia Challenge and I am given a month time to actually review the La Sardina 35mm Camera, which is my first lomo analogue camera and I named him.....


..... el Capitan! (which is actually stated at the front & back of the camera. LOL!)

When the parcel first arrived at my place, I was hoping that I might be getting the red color one when I first seen it in the Lomography website. The redness of it actually attracts me the most compared to the other three colors. The clue was in fact much more literal when I first unwrap the parcel and the color red actually trigger a slight delight feeling in me. This can shape lomo cam may sound a little ludicrous. From the quick research which I did before hand, the odd shape is actually based on an old 1930s snapper, called as the Kandor Candid and made by the Irwin Corporation.


The front and back layout of this sexy red el Capitan!

Here's something about the name el Capitan. "El Capitan" is actually a vertical rock formation in Yosemite National Park, located on the north side of Yosemite Valley, near its western end. The granite monolith extends about 3,000-foot (910 m) from base to summit along its tallest face, and is one of the world's favorite challenges for rock climbers. The formation was named "El Capitan" by the Mariposa Battalion when it explored the valley in 1851. El Capitán ("the captain", "the chief") was taken to be a loose Spanish translation of the local Native American name for the cliff, variously transcribed as "To-to-kon oo-lah" or "To-tock-ah-noo-lah". It is unclear if the Native American name referred to a specific Tribal chief, or simply meant "the chief" or "rock chief". In modern times, the formation's name is often contracted to "El Cap", especially among rock climbers.

As for me, it has brings a special meaning to me. When I was holding it, I sense the that the camera is truly an attention seeker which most of the Captain in the old days will get, for example, Captain Jack Sparrow in the movie Pirate of Caribbean. Carrying it around gives me great proud attitude at the same time it perform (picture quality) almost similar to the high rank lomo cam in the market.



1. Panasonic CR123A Battery
2. Fritz the Blitz Flash
3. 35mm film
4. Film roll container
5. A pack of 3 x  Color XPRO Chrome 35mm film (ISO 100)
6. Camera body
7. Camera back door



The advance knob at the corner of the camera along with the shutter button next to the film exp indicator. It doesn't complicate the users with the simple design panel of every single parts that completes the camera. This somehow silly, yet endearing design, has a super-wide angle of 22mm f/8 lens, while the Fritz the Blitz flash comes with three different settings. I think this is the first for a lomo camera, since I've not found this function in other lomo cam flash yet. The design really attracts a lot of people, young and old, but still it comes down to a question, is it a good lomo cam? I did some test shots with this lomo cam and you can see some of the results below.


By default, the lens board has been twisted out from the body. The lens board can be twisted into the body of the camera to make it more compact (simply turn it 45 degrees until it clicks), although you need to make sure that it's fully extended for shooting. So before shooting, I've listed down 5 simple steps that a lomographer MUST check before he/she starts to shoot:

1. Make sure you can read the word horizontally with the viewfinder that says,
"ONLY SHOOT IF YOU CAN READ ME!"



2. Set the lens tube to 'three human figure' if you are shooting scenery or group of people, or set the lens tube to a 'crown' shape if you want to snap portrait or close up shots.

3. Set the shooting mode, either B(Bulb) or N(Normal) depends on the lighting. Or you can do multiple exposure by switching to MX, cock the shutter and you're ready to shoot!

4. Attach the flash onto the body, turn on the flash and set the level or turn the flash all the way down to turn off the flash.



5. Last but not least, make sure you have inserted a fresh new film! The steps are pretty easy right?


Loading the film is a piece of cake. All I need to do is press down the small tab on the left-hand side of the camera, which releases the back panel of the body. Then it's just a case of pulling the rewinding knob up, popping the film in and attaching the sprockets to the take-up spool and winding on the film until its firmly wrapped around the spool. After that I just simply pop the back of the camera body back on and press the shutter release and advance the film to the next frame. To be safe, I normally twist it twice and off I go! :D


The el Capitan comes with four different color filter for the flash as seen as above. I prefer using the yellow one because it gaves the old vintage feel in every pictures that I took. Below are a few new La Sardina series which are already available in the market. For more info, do check out http://microsites.lomography.com/la-sardina/cameras


1. La Sardina Beluga (metal body)
2. La Sardina Czar (metal body) *the potential one that i'll be getting soon!
3. [NEW!] La Sardina - Cubic, Domino, Mobius, Quadrat (From left to right)

Below are some pictures which I've taken with el Capitan using the provided Color XPRO Chrome 35mm film (ISO 100).


A sneek peek of me snapping with el Capitan!

My first few shots without flash on, Bulb mode. Taken at the Kuala Lumpur Photo Fest. This shot wasn't really good but the el Capitan sure is a hot babes magnet because this girl kept posing for my camera instead of posing for those photographers with big DSLR cameras! :D


Over the weekend, I attended the Tri Factor Glam Night event by HELP University at KL Live Center. It was quite good and the el Capitan didn't spend the night just collecting dust at home. From left to right: Eric Lee, Caroline, Janice & Isaac Tan.


A group photo of my blogger friends having supper at Restaurant Wong Ah Wah after the Tri Factor event. Like what the tagline on the La Sardina box said, "Best Served with Friends" definitely the appropriate phrase for this.


The el Capitan had the privilege to visit the cat city as well, KUCHING! :D

Some Chinese and clock landmark at the city center.


The building from the James Brooke's generation. It was located along the river and I felt that I really have to shoot this!


The Riverbank Tower right opposite the Riverbank Majestic Hotel which I was staying.


Some old shop lots in the city, I simply love the wideness of the image that the el Capitan can capture.


The wide angle of the lens did not result any distortion on the edges instead it gaves a very small amount of fish eye effect that somehow makes every architectural shots look great.

The classic vehicle which belongs to the Chief Minister of Sarawak, when he attended the Swinburne University graduation ceremony at the Borneo Convention Conference Kuching (BCCK). As you can see the el Capitan may not be as sharp as the LC-W but at least it has the capability to capture almost similar wide angle shots.

Trying out the MX mode in a very low light condition. Oh by the way, the Octoberfest is finally over!

Paparazzi spotted! Taken with flash, blue filter attached.

My grilled chicken @ Tom, Dick & Harry's... flash on with yellow filter.

Yes! You've been hoofed! Just right on top of Tom, Dick & Harry's. Same owner :)

Now pigs can fly? xD

La Sardina indeed is a really good choice for those who wanted to snap wide-angle full frame shots, but who can't afford to get the Lomo LC-Wide that cost roughly about RM1,400.00. More scenery shots below taken at the recent All Bloggers LouMou Outing! at Desa Park City. Nine of us attended this outing.

Myself, Caroline & Benjamin.

A shot of my latest gadget for blog & work purposes.

Finally I've upgraded to my Nikon D200 to Nikon D7000 after so long, I've been shooting side by side with el Capitan since I got both almost the same time which is early October! My own birthday gift! :P

We were trying to do the 'B-L-O-G-G-E-R-S' word, can you see it?
This shot was out of focus though, forgot to set the focus tube to 'three human figure' mode!

Desa Park City, capture at sunny day around 10.30am. The very obvious lens glare there.....

Some tall condominiums view nearby the lake.

A lovely & friendly couple who was there to have their pre-wedding photos taken. They let us play with their dogs, Money, Dollar and Euro! Such a cool name they have! :D

Benjamin scratching Money's neck, it must be really good. Jackie has one fat beagle at home too.

It's Caroline's time to play with the friendly Money the beagle!

Flash on | Yellow Filter | Close-up Mode


After the outing, we had our lunch at Restoran Bak Kut Teh Klang Yip Yong...

It was good and everyone was satisfied there.... oh no Isaac's side too dark! :(

Spotted an old broken luggage bag at the parking lot after the lunch. The messiness actually attracted me to snap this, it brings a feeling of being abandoned and loneliness......

Found this BIG mirror at a mirror shop next to Kedai Gambar Fotosun.

A shot of the shop before I send in the film for cross processing.......

A few more film exp left and I shot this, near the drainage with some broken tiles.


The results of my one month journeying with el Capitan...

I've yet to try out other film especially ISO 400 Lomography colour negative film which my fellow lomographers has been recommended to me, if there's an opportunity to extend the period for me to use the La Sardina, I would try bulb mode on the road at night or even the KLCC tower. As what I've gone through with the results of the photo, it's a great cam to shoot on a particularly sunny day but of course we won't be able to get the very vivid blue sky in Malaysia. I think the only issue was the lens glare that appears on some of my photos which I discover might be caused by the the reflective metallic ring that surrounds the lens.


Digital vs Analogue?


Overall, the La Sardina 35mm camera is a great and affordable lomo. It priced at RM399.00 with the Fritz the Blitz flash. The camera is user friendly and the very great benefits of having this cam is that the flash can be set at three different levels which comes in really handy. The only problem that I found in this camera is unprotected flash switch that's all too easy to flick on by accident and will drained out the battery. Also the lens glare problem when it's really sunny but I would say that I am deeply in love with this camera and I'm proud to be given a great opportunity to review it.


So that's all I got to say about my journey with La Sardina 35mm Camera a.k.a el Capitan!
That's my first step into lomography which actually changes my perspective about analogue film photography. That's everything that I can tell about my journey... indeed it's a memorable one!

Here's some good news if you are reading my blog post from the beginning until the very end.
From now until 6th November 2011, you will get free shipping offers if you check out with this voucher code (below in blue) when you purchase anything above 65usd/500hkd at the Lomography online store (http://asia.shop.lomography.com/). You can use the same vouchers up to 10 times!
How awesome is that?

[ Special voucher codes : CLEVERMUNKEYMY ]

Do read my other post: The La Sardina 35mm Camera has Arrived!


.: Peace Out :.