Panoramic photos are cool and so are sprocket holes that show in your 35mm pictures. How much better could it get if there were a funny looking camera that takes these kinds of pictures? Fortunately we live in a world where that camera is a reality—it’s the Spinner 360, released last year by the Lomographic Society International.
As soon as I heard about this camera I knew I wanted it but I was reluctant to part with $145.00 US (gasp!!) for a toy camera. Holy crap–were they serious? So began my quest to achieve enough Piggie Points to defray some of the cost.
Finally, as Christmas approached I had about $100 worth of points and my dear husband proclaimed it my Christmas present (YES!!) so I finally got my hot little hands on it. I can tell you, it was worth every penny.
I can’t even imagine the R & D that must’ve gone into this thing. It is designed and constructed very well and is not your typical lightweight plastic camera body. The Spinner feels much heavier in your hand than a Holga or Diana, probably because there’s a fair amount of metal on this camera.
First, the kind of boring stuff. You already know from it’s name that you’ll get a 360 degree shot. Vertical angles are 66 degrees. When loaded with a 36 exposure roll you can get approximately 8 shots, which you’ll have to keep track of on your own as there is no film counter. You’ll need a bright, sunny day to use your Spinner as the shutter speed is somewhere between 1/125 and 1/250 and an aperture of f/16. For night-time or low light shots you can move the camera manually to allow each section of the frame to get more light. There’s a lovely tripod mount on the bottom of the handle and an all-important bubble level on the top to keep your horizons straight.
Since it’s not your typical camera, you really should read the instructions. To load the film you must remove the thick, black rubber band from the driver at the bottom of the camera that serves as it’s motor. Open the back for a view into the one-of-a-kind innards of the Spinner. The lens opening is a slit, not the typical circular shape. Load the film from left to right but be careful of the little black fabric piece that blocks light from hitting your already exposed film. After taking up the slack on the right, close the door, re-attach the black rubber band on the bottom and you are ready to shoot.
There are many, many techniques you can use to get some crazy 360 shots. Because the weather has been so rotten this winter I haven’t had much of an opportunity to go out and play, so I’ve used the more traditional technique of holding the camera with my left arm fully extended and then pulling the cord with the right. If you don’t want your mug in the picture, don’t forget to hold the Spinner up over your head.
I’ve had such a blast with this camera! The Spinner is best at capturing things that are closest to the lens. I love that, even with the camera as close as an arm’s length, your subject is still in focus. However after a certain distance, the subjects just appear really small. Don’t forget that if you want to take a picture of something that’s on the ground, just turn the camera upside down and pull the string–that way you don’t have to bend over or contort yourself into odd positions for the sake of a worm’s eye view.
I am full-on giving this camera a two thumbs up. It’s fun, freaky-looking and satisfying.