Published on March 14th, 2011 | by Rita0
The Simple Joy of Photography with the Sprocket Rocket
There are a few things that we at TrulyNet have unabashed affection for, things like electronic gadgets or anything technical. It’s not hard to pull any one of our staff into a conversation about the newest iPad, the latest and greatest DSLR camera, or the best digital wine cellar. There would be few surprised readers if this was an article about the newest indestructible digital camera, but we’re willing to bet nobody saw an article about an extremely analog camera coming their way. However, that’s exactly what you’re getting, and we couldn’t be more excited about it.
From Lomography I had the opportunity to test out the Sprocket Rocket, which is easily the least complicated camera this photographer has ever used. In fact, when it came out of the box my first reaction was surprise over how light it is. I’m used to my Canon T1i, which, by DLSR standards is pretty light, but feels like a tank next to the Sprocket Rocket.
Before I delve much further into the camera itself, a word about Lomography. The makers of all things analog, including pinhole camera, Holga cameras, various fisheye and panoramic camera, and a few premium cameras including a TRL. They have what is most accurately described as a cult-following, in the best possible way.
Using the Sprocket Rocket was an exercise in minimalism. I’m very used to taking pretty good photos, using a wide array of settings, dials, focus rings and the occasional speed light. On the Sprocket Rocket you get aperture control that consists of cloudy (f/10.8) and sunny (f/16) which can be obtained by flipping the switch between the cloud icon and the sun icon. Your shutter control is N – 1/100, for daytime snapshots and B (bulb) for complete control over how long you expose a photo. Last, but certainly not least, is the focus ring, 0.6-1m for close-ups, and 1m to infinity for distance shots. When control settings become this limited, you’d be surprised how much more you have to think about what you’re doing. Photography definitely becomes a matter of puzzle solving and creativity, which is awesome!
Because there are no motorized or battery operated parts in this camera the film has to be wound and re-wound manually. The reason this is important, is because you can easily double expose photos. Sometimes you do this entirely with intention, but it’s just as easy to forget that your camera hasn’t moved you to the next frame of film. The exposures are wide, generally a single photo involves three frames of regular 35mm film. If you don’t want your sprockets exposed they include a frame that snaps in over the film as you’re loading it, just remember that once you start on a roll of film you’re committed to it, unless you can find a dark room to open the camera to remove the frame again.
When you take your film to the lab, presuming you’re not using your own dark room, make sure to let them know that the exposures are much wider than a regular photo, and that the sprockets are exposed as well. At my film lab I believe they ended up using a 65mm carrier to expose the film. I then asked them to put the images on a disk, because I’m all about putting my photos all over the internet. If you’d prefer to digitize your own negatives Lomography has a DigitaLIZA that can assist you, provided you’re using a regular size scanner.
There’s a neat joy that comes with waiting to have photos developed, instead of the instant gratification of digital. You truly get to re-live the moments that got captured, and it’s a really fun feeling. I’m not sure I’d use the Sprocket Rocket as my primary camera, but it’s a really fun addition to my photography arsenal. You can purchase the Sprocket Rocket directly from Lomography for $89, or from Amazon” for a little less.