Lomography’s La Sardina is a great looking camera. I love my Marathon and the way the olive drab colored case is decorated with graphic prints that make this simple camera look like a sardine case. So, do I love how this camera takes pictures? The answer is a resounding yes.
Let’s start off with the basics. La Sardina is a 35mm camera with a rather wide 21mm lens that gives you an 89-degree look at your world (wow!). The aperture is a fixed f/8, which is relatively large in the toy camera world (the majority of plastic cameras have f/16 or higher making it necessary to use them only in bright sunlight). Two shutter speeds are available, bulb and normal (1/100). I love this feature in toy cameras and find it almost a necessity because of their tiny apertures. Here are some long-exposure shots.
It’s also possible to create multiple exposures with just a flick of a switch.
There’s a film counter on top and a window on the back door to view information on the film canister. This often-overlooked detail is huge because in many plastic cams it’s impossible to tell what kind of film (if any) is loaded in the camera. If you’re anything like me you’ve exposed many frames of film to direct light while opening the back of the camera to check what’s inside.
The La Sardina is one of the easiest rewinding cameras around. The process is simple and fast PLUS your film is always left with a bit of the leader exposed, making it much easier to shoot a doubles roll with your favorite photography buddies.
Also included on the body of the camera are a cable release connection, tripod screw mount and the ability to attach an external flash.
Now, enough about aesthetics, how does it take pictures? I have found that, like many wide-angle lens cameras, the closer I am to the subject the better the picture. Here are some shots of far away action
And close up
Since the closest focusing distance is 0.6 meters (roughly 3 feet) you can stay pretty close to the action and get some nice shots but only if you remember to set the focusing ring to the appropriate setting. The one drawback to the La Sardina is its two-step focusing system. There are three distances to choose from: 0.6m, 1 meter and infinity. It is important that you set the right distance on the camera otherwise your subject will be out of focus. I found this out the hard way, as you can see from these shots.
With other plastic cameras setting the focusing distance is irrelevant. In fact I don’t even bother with that step when using my Holga. I’m going to have to play with La Sardina a while longer before I figure out it’s optimum focusing distances and that’s OK. The other features of this camera make it a stellar addition to LSI’s line of cameras.