UK-based photographer Tony Kemplen has been at the forefront of film photography for many years now, writing for Amateur Photographer Magazine and pushing the boundaries of film photography with his playful approach. Previously he tested out some LomoChrome Turquoise film and shared his colorful mixed doubles with us too. Today he is back to share some new tests using the LomoApparat camera and to give us some tips on shooting with the Kaleidoscopic lens attachment.
Hi Tony, how have you been since we last spoke?
I'm well thanks, keeping busy with photographic projects and writing about cameras.
What made you purchase the LomoApparat?
As soon as I saw the publicity about the LomoApparat I knew I wanted one. One of my favorite cameras, that I've taken literally hundreds of photos with, is the Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim, which has a 22 mm lens, but can't do multiple exposures and doesn't have a “B” setting. The LomoApparat can do both of these and has an ultra wide 21 mm lens. Throw in the flash and the various attachments and what's not to like?
What did you choose to shoot?
For the first film I tried a variety of subjects and settings to get a feel for what works, then I went out with a more considered approach to subjects. Ultrawide lenses can give great results, but some things just don't work very well. I find that landscapes for example can be disappointing, having something close to the camera definitely works better for me. After that test run, I loaded up with Lomography Color Negative ISO 400 film and headed off the the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, where there's no shortage of subjects.
How did you find the experience of using the LomoApparat?
It's pretty straightforward to use, and the filters and splitzer are easy to attach and remove. My impression is that the photos aren't as sharp as those from the UWS, but then sharpness is not really a big priority with this kind of fun camera. I plan to do a few side by side comparisons of old subjects to see how they compare.
Any tips or advice for other people wanting to shoot with this camera?
I've found that when using the kaleidoscope filter, it's best to have the point of interest away from the centre of the viewfinder, especially at close range. Also using the flash together with the close up lens, even with a colored filter in place, can result in overexposure.
A simple way to avoid this is to half cover the flash tube with a finger. Previously I've had fun with the Splitzer device on the LCA+ and Diana F+, and it's a bit hit and miss at the best of times, but with the LomoApparat you're basically shooting blind, as the Splitzer almost completely covers the viewfinder!
What's coming up in 2023 for you?
Mindful of the sharp increase in the price of film, I've decided to make 2023 the year of the half-frame camera, so I'll get twice as many photos from each roll. I've got at least 20 half-frame cameras, and plan to use as many as I can this year. I like to make in-camera sequences or panoramas with my half-frame cameras, although that will tend to negate the saving on film.
To see more of Tony's work check out his Instagram page.