A need to trim down my cameras this year saw my Fisheye One go. But did this plastic beast with a 170º angle of view live up to its price tag ?
LSI brought the Fisheye One out as the first compact camera with a built in fisheye lens. It is still available for sale new as is the updated fisheye two.
The camera is a plastic affair but fairly tastefully done (depending on which one of the myriad of colours and designs you pick) and is ruggerised in texture. The striking thing is that lens which protrudes like a SLR 50mm lens. This huge lens gives an effective focal length of only 10mm.
Lomography Fisheye One Specs
- Lens: 10mm
- Focus: Fixed
- Metering: None
- Aperture: f/8
- Shutter: 1/100 sec
- EV 100asa: 13 by spec
- Filter-Thread: None
- Battery : AA (flash only)
It’s tempting to twist that lens but don’t as this a fixed focus affair and LSI make a point of warning you not too which makes me think too easy to detach. The camera is also specified as 1/100 fixed shutter and f/8 making it on paper EV 13. There is no metering obviously and the 1 AA battery the camera only serves to power the manual flash so you can use the camera without batteries. There is no timer nor a cable point.
The camera’s viewfinder is clear but only serves to point to the centre of your shot target as it is just a basic viewfinder. The camera’s film advance is pretty restive and tends to jump back but as long as you can wind til finishes you’ll secure for your next shot. I tended to shoot with 200asa film and things seem fine re exposure in reasonable to bright conditions. Flash is helpful inside and for backlit shots.
My big issue is you have no real sense of how your shot will turn out due to the basic viewfinder. Perhaps that’s part of the fun but…. That aside the lens is a bit soft not surprisingly. This is a toy camera and you shouldn’t kid yourself it’s anything more. That said the focus is alright at both close and a distance. You’ll get a circular frame that also captures part of the lens barrel. The camera can be used for arm length selfies if that’s your thang.
For me it was just a one trick toy pony and just not my thing. It was fun while it lasted. For me in hindsight I should have got Lomography’s fisheye lens for my Diana F+ and that’s my rub. The fisheye one costs £45 GBP plus P&P. You can buy the diana fisheye lens for a tenner less and use that with an adaptor on your Nikon or Canon SLR/DSLR (okay with a cropped frame but..). The Superheadz reboot of the 22mm vivitar ultrawide and slim (VUWS) can be got for less than 20 quid too.
If you do want – buy when LSI discount (usually they sell some styles cheaper) or get second hand usually for under 20 quid (mines sold for a fiver with a roll of poundland’s finest – sniff – so if you watch out you can get for a bargain). The fisheye 2 add a Bulb mode, the chance to use a hot shoe flash, Multiple exposure switch (really, don’t you just depress the rewind button) and most important a detachable fisheye viewfinder
- Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim & Clones – Cult wide angled plastic
- Halina Panorama – Cheap but boxy wide-o-rama fun
- Diana F+ (with fisheye) – More practical plastic fisheye fun
- Lomo LC-A : wide angled cult compact
- Lomography Fisheye Series on camera-wiki.org
- Lomography Fisheye Microsite at Lomography.com
- LOMO Group at Flickr