The Lomography Spinner 360° & Other 360° Rotational Cameras


I thought I’d share with you all my finding with Lomography’s newest toy, the Lomography Spinner 360° Dolphin.

Lomography Spinner 360°

First off a brief history of panoramic photography.

NOT. There is nothing brief about that subject.

But I will talk briefly about 35mm 360° rotational cameras. The first was the mysterious Japanese Panorax Zi-A or Z1 (depending on your source) made in 1954 or 1958 (also depending on your source) but it was unpopular because it used the inferior 35mm film format, not 120 which was the preferred medium of the time. It was some time before the world saw another 35mm 360° camera. Some people will tell you that the next was the Globuscope in the very early 1980s but it it was actually the Lookaround, created by a chap named Alan Zinn 1978. The Lookaround is a beautiful handmade piece of art in it’s own right, available in Oak, Cherry, Walnut or Mahogany. Mmm woody. Anyway, next came my favourite, the Globuscope. An odd looking contraption, I actually saw my first Globuscope in 1989 but at the time I didn’t realise it was a camera at all. I was being tricked! I thought it was some sort of paranormal activity sensor as it was being brandished by a Dr. Raymond Stantz in Ghostbusters 2, I wonder if it was loaded.

714_1169349808.jpg (JPEG Image, 500x511 pixels)

The Globuscope!

Let us now move forward to 1991, Operation Desert Storm begins, Sweden wins Eurovision, Slick Willy throws in his hat to be President of the USA, Paul Keating replaces Bob Hawkes as Prime Minister of Australia and Rick Corrales invents the Spinshot 35S. Now the Spinshot is an interesting camera because a) It is a 360°+ panoramic camera. b) You get about 7 images on a 36 exp roll and c) It is powered by a ripcord in the handle. Sound familiar? No? Well that’s because I haven’t told you about the Lomography Spinner 360° Dolphin yet. The Spinner is: 1) A 360°+ panoramic camera. b) Gets you about 7 images on a 36 exp roll and c) It is powered by a ripcord in the handle. AMAZING! Isn’t it? Any you know what? They look almost exactly the same, except for the viewfinder. Rick died in 2006, only 1000 Spinshots were made. Lomography, I hope  you gave his family some money.
Southbank - Lomography Spinner 360°
This image was the last on the roll and the spin was not completed, but I still like it.

So here we are, 2010. Lomography releases a cheapo 360° film camera just as I am thinking about selling a particular lens and buying a Globuscope, brilliant. I was tipped off about the Spinner 360° by a Flickr contact who shall remain nameless, a friend of theirs had heard about some people having their hands on a prototype from Lomography. I immediately thought it was bullshit as I do with all news and forgot about it, but then more rumours began to surface and then on the 11th of June it was on their website and despite hating Lomography with all of my heart (especially after what they did to my beloved Widepan) I bought one. A few days later it arrived at work, along with Ambre’s TLR Holga and before you could say “Matthew stop playing with that thing and do some fucking work” I had a film it in and I was running/walking really fast to get outside to take some photos and oh boy, did I get some looks! I should have worn pants.
The Blue Wall & The Finger  - Lomography Spinner 360°
One of the first images I took with the Spinner 360°

My first impressions of the camera were good. It doesn’t feel as cheap as some other Lomography cameras I have held. It has a heavy metal hood which helps stabilise the camera during the exposure, which happens a lot faster than you’d expect. Keeping it steady and up in the air is not as easy as it looks as it has a tendency to wobble during the exposure. The hood helps but it’s not an absolute solution, so I have tried using my monopod which was a lot better but I may have to resort to *gasp* using my tripod. Even thinking about that makes me shudder but it would also help with the second problem, I am in all of the shots. If I used my tripod extended all the way I could duck under it and you wouldn’t have to see my weird facial expressions and receding hairline. But a tripod? Maybe I will invest in some funny hats. The Spinner is definitely a sometimes camera as it is a bit of a silver guzzler, you only get 7 or 8 images on a 36 exposure roll. As far as image quality goes it’s not bad, it is mostly sharpish, some parts of the image appear to be more condensed than other, almost like the rotation is speeding up. I scan my rolls on my Epson V700, I don’t get the sprocket holes in like the arty kids do but that’s ok with me, a 1200 DPI scan give me an image I can comfortably print at 6×36″ and looks great.
A 36″ long print I made.

So if you’re a panoramic nut with a penchant for ultra wide angles, like me, then this is the camera for you. I give it 2 out of 3 thumbs up.

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4 Responses to The Lomography Spinner 360° & Other 360° Rotational Cameras

  1. Jaye says:

    sounds interesting Matt – will be a good one to see in action. Bring it to the meet next week.

  2. Barbara says:

    good on ya for leaving the sprocket holes out. The Webb bridge print looks great!

  3. Somak Ray says:

    Great !!! I hope to get one soon

  4. ziz says:

    perfect excuse to get a helmet with a tripod mount krazy-glued to the top i say.

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