As our collection of Lomographic gear grows each year, we believe it's becoming more challenging for interested beginners to pick on which camera, film or accessory they should start their analogue journey. So, this time, we asked our long-time Lomographic experts vicuna, fisheyemary and zulupt on the perfect Lomographic gear to equip the budding Lomographer.
Lomography has a wide array of film cameras. In fact. we'd dare say most of them are very beginner-friendly, as part of our creed is to make the analogue lifestyle easier and accessible. Of course, we have the Simple Use Film Camera for hesitant newbies, but for those who want to start their Lomographic life, you'll prefer analogue gear that will stick around for a long time, perhaps forever!
"For a beginner, the important thing is to practice the "Don’t think, just shoot! » and the have an easy camera to use without thinking too much about different settings. In this spirit, I think the best camera is the Fisheye No. 2: it's fun, easy and produces great results, allowing very creative processes with double exposures and bulb mode. It was my first Lomographic camera which started it all!"
Iconic Lomography cameras are very suitable for beginner Lomographers. Heck, you can even start with medium format already with the darling Diana F+ camera. Lomographer Maria Georgiadou, a.k.a. fisheyemary believes that the Diana F+ will satisfy the artistic cravings of a visionary beginner already:
"One of the best cameras to start with, is Diana. It's easy to use, you don't have to worry about settings and that makes you more focused on composition and feeling. It produces those lovely squares and the dreamy effect that made her so famous in the first place!"
Another recommended classic by Maria is the LC-A+. There's no better way to start your Lomographic journey than with the LC-A, as it is the one responsible for the vivid, saturated and vignetted aesthetic in the 90s. Starting Lomographers should also experiment with multiple exposure technique as soon as they can, as its auto-exposure and precise zone-focusing features make the training easier. With all these said, Lomographer Hugo Pereira, a.k.a. zulupt agrees:
"I think most of the Lomography cameras are good to start with as long as there is a strong commitment, willingness to learn and a willingness to try new things. There is a lot of information available on the Lomography site and many users who want to teach, the rest depends on the creativity of each one. I started with a Supersampler but the LC-A is the easiest to learn, good results will start to pop up fast."
As a beginner, we'd recommend films that would remain true and loyal to the colors and look in real life. Mastering film photography may be tough at first, so you'd want films that will deliver accuracy. For this, Stéphane and Maria both recommend the Lomography Color Negative Series. The film series is available in 100, 400, and 800, perfect for all lighting situations. Maria and Stéphane said:
"I would definitely recommend all Lomography Color Negatives, depending on the lighting conditions you can experiment with 100, 400 or 800 ISO. The colors are vivid and beautiful and the price is very affordable." -- fisheyemary
"For the best starter films, don’t think the most expensive films are better, as you’ll need to try a lot of things when you start analogue photography, you’ll fail pretty often in some of your attempts and the price of a film doesn’t matter: so choose the range of Lomographic films, they’re very affordable and good as well! My favourite is the Lomo Color Negative 100 as it renders gorgeous colors and has a wide latitude of exposure, thus perfect for beginners." -- vicuna
Simple Yet Powerful Accessories
There is essential analogue equipment you'd need no matter you're a newbie or an expert on the Lomographic look. The top recommended additions to your film photography are a flash, an instant back and a splitzer. Instant photography has been a rising trend it's going to stick around for a long time. If you already have a Diana F+ camera, you might want to add in the Diana Instant Back to get more out of the aesthetic prowess with this darling. An available instant back is for the LC-A+.
"The best accessory, in my opinion, is a good flash. I’m a big fan of the Colorsplash Flash, I still use it very often, and it’s one of the easiest flashes to use. But I don’t know if it’s still produced as it’s not available in the shop for some time now… If not a Colorsplash Flash, try another one from the Lomographic range, like the Diana Flash and Fritz the Blitz."
The spitlzer is a little device known for slicing images, meant for experimenting with the multiple exposure technique. It's a very popular tool among Lomogrpahers, and it is, of course, highly recommended that newbies should be experimenting as soon as they can. Hugo said: "One of the essential accessories is the splitzer, it allows to make fantastic and surreal photographs using the multiple exposure technique."
Once you've graduated and mastered some of the recommended above, the next thing is to explore the rest of the Lomography collection and master them. Stéphane suggested indulging on a panoramic camera (Horizon Kompakt and Horizon Perfekt) or instant cameras such as the Diana Instant Square and Lomo'Instant Wide.
"If panorama is your thing, get a Horizon Kompakt or Horizon Perfekt. both are great and it’s essential for panorama lovers. My love story with panorama started with a Horizon Kompakt, and I highly recommend to get one! .After you've got a bit more familiar with all these, I would definitely recommend a dive into the instant world! Diana Instant Square or Lomo'Instant Wide are my favorites."
If you're ready to move on from 35 mm to 120, Hugo further suggested getting a Lubitel 166+ for yourself. "The Lubitel 166+ is a fully manual camera but, although there is a guide on the back plate, the results will be much better if you master the aperture, speed, double exposure, etc."
After mastering simple color negative formulas, Maria urged to immerse on emulsive experiments as well like redscale such as the Lomography Redscale XR or black-and-white like the Earl Grey and Lady Grey. While Hugo believes that any of the Lomographic films are fit for starters, as the formulas are very simple and adaptable to use, these films, especially the LomoChrome Purple. are only for those who are already comfortable experimenting with color:
"To begin with, the negative color films until you get the hang of it, after that, any film is good, from redscale, slide film to 'special films'. Black and white films are also very good for those who are monochromatic enthusiasts. The other range of Lomographic film is also great to use, like the Earl Grey and Lady Grey (great contrast and tonality) and if you want to experience a bit more, why not try the Lomography Redscale XR or the LomoChrome Purple."
Furthermore, you may want to upgrade your camera lenses with the prestige Art Lenses collection.
Lastly, know that you don't really need to follow this guideline! Feel free to use and do whatever you want, kick off your own Lomographic journey with a quirkier camera! You'll become a seasoned Lomographer in no time as long as you keep shooting. As Hugo advised: "As long as there is commitment from the user, anything is possible."
Hey Lomographers! Got some of your own tips and recommended gear to welcome our starting analogue lovers that we missed out? Make sure to comment your suggestions below!