Spinner is a special purpose camera that makes 360° panoranic photos on
35mm film. One picture is about 120mm wide, which is a bit more than 3
ordinary pictures, so you will get 8 pictures from a 36 exp. film. A
plastic camera body is mounted on a handle and spins around itself
while taking the photo, driven by a spring motor in the handle. There
is a battery driven motorizer for slower movements -> longer
exposure times at the end of the page.
As usual, Lomo took the
ideas from existing models. The basic priciple is a slit camera, a slit
moves along a strip of film. This was already the case with the ultra
panoramic cameras like the Russian Horizon or the German Noblex. In
these cameras the slit optics are turning in front of a long curved
film plane. To get 360° pictures, you have to spin the camera around
with a fixed slit and move the film in syncronized movement. This was
the case with the high class Seitz Roundshot (since the 1950s) and the
simpler Globuscope (1981).
The camera's main features are:
~24mm ultra wide angle, F8 or F16, ~1m-∞ Shutter time equivalent somewhere between 1/125 and 1/250 Size 100 x 200 x 110mm (80mm without shade)
Rear view. Ring to pull a cord that winds the spring motor.
Right side. The only setting is a slider with 3 positions: Rewind,
sunny and cloudy. You can see the rubber belt that drives the film
Camera top. Film rewind, accessory shoe and bubble level.
Camera back open.
Lomo Spinner is a plastic fun camera with a unique feature: it makes
360° panoramic photos. Loading the camera is easy. Hook the first
perforation of the film onto the winding spool and wind at least half a
turn of the spool by cautiously turning the handle a bit. Close the
back and turn another little bit. You are ready for the first spin.
camera has 2 apertures for sunny and cloudy weather. Set your aperture,
pull the the cord. If you let go the cord, the camera makes its spin,
it's less than a second. So be well prepared. If you hold the camera
above your head, you are out of the picture. If you hold it with an
outstrched arm, there will a selfie on a (small) part of the picture.
Although Lomo says that minimum distance is 1m, arm length seems to be
fine. In any case, try to hold it perfectly vertical, otherwise the
horizon will be a wave. You can put the camera on a tripod, control it
with the built-in bubble level and then hide between the legs of the
tripod. If you pull the cord only half way, the camera makes half
a spin, a 180° panorama. You will get used to control this if you want.
there is no shutter, the slit that exposes the film stays always open.
So the part of the film where the slit is "parked" between 2 pictures
may get a lot of light. It's better to either put the lid that was
delivered with the camera back on the camera or you put the slider back
to rewind. Rewind position closes the slit. But do not forget to put an
aperture again for the next photo.
There is no counter. So
either you have a good memory or you take notes. In any case, a 36 exp.
film gives about 8 pictures, sometimes it's half of a picture more. If
the movement stops and a part of the cord hangs out, you film is at its
end. Put the slider to rewind, this is important! Otherwise you can
ruin your film during rewinding. Fiddle the rubber belt off the camera
spool, the handle will turn until the cord is back into the housing.
Unfold the rewind crank and spool the film back into the cartridge.
Open the camera back and take your film out. Do not forget to tell your
lab to not cut the film.
Unless you have a specialized lab at
hand, you will have to scan and print the pictures yourself. The camera
exposes the sprocket area. To scan the entire picture with the
sprockets, a Lomo Digitaliza frame is very helpful. Lomo says that you
better keep the rubber belt off the camera when you don't use it for a
If you choose the right film, ISO 400 in general, you can shoot outside
photos that look fine. On dull days and in shady cities ISO 800 will be
better. No inside photos. This is a fun camera that may bring exciting
inside photos there is a "Motorizer", a handle with a battery driven
motor which spins much slower. It's quite expensive, but it's the only
way to get interior photos. The exposure time equivalent is ~ 1/4 sec.
As you have 2 apertures, you should get usable photos. It comes with a
remote control with a range from 5 to 10m, so you can stay out of the
photo if you want.
It's also possible to shoot outside photos on dull days with 50 ISO film.
This is the device:
What's in the box: base, remote control and instructions.
compartments. The base takes 4 or 8 AA batteries. It works with 4, but
8 are better and more stable. If you only use 4, put one battery into
each compartment. The remote takes one AA battery.
Motorizer and a Spinner Camera taken off it's handle. To take the camera head off, first fiddle
the rubber belt off the camera spool, then pull the camera off the
handle. It only sticks on a metal pin, but it may stick very well. Put
the rubber belt on the Motorizer base and transfer the camera to the
Motorizer. Putting the belt back on the camera spool is even more
fiddly as the base has a much bigger diameter which hinders full access
to the spool. Insert the pin only half way into the camera, put the
belt back onto the spool and the insert the pin further.
to spin. There is a switch on the base. If you put it to "On", there
will be a "ready" light on the base as shown in the photo. The remote
control has 3 settings: Off, cycle and continous movement. It has no
light to confirm.
light on the base changes when moving as shown above. In "cycle"
setting the camera moves one cycle after a short push on the button. It
makes about one and a half turn. This is quite some waste of film. In
continous mode it turns as long as you hold the button. If you release
the button after a full turn it stops immediately.
gereral words about Lomography and their service: There is a 2-year
warranty, at least in Europe. My personal experience with their service
is very good. As most of their cameras are made of (cheap) plastic,
there is no repair, they just exchange your defective camera. You have
to send it in to their Vienna office at your expenses, which is not cheap
if you are not based in Austria, but they try to compensate by adding
film or so to the return. You absolutely need a proof of purchase,
there was heavy abuse by fraudulent customers they told me. So if you
buy second hand or your camera is gift, be sure to put your hands on
the proof of purchase. After the 2-years warranty period it's over.
They will try to help for the expensive not-so-plastic cameras like the
LC series, but for the rest there is no repair. Keep this in mind for
the prices you pay for older gear.