Toy cameras are having a moment right now. They have always been popular with film purists who want the simplest possible experience, but pros have recently been throwing Holgas and other toy cameras into their bags to offer a unique stylistic twist. Now, those shooters have another toy camera option in the form of the Lomography LomoApparat 21mm Wide-angle camera.
The very compact camera accepts standard 35mm film and, as the name suggests, offers a super-wide 21mm prime lens. This is a Lomo camera, so you shouldn’t expect much in the way of manual controls. It only offers a single aperture setting (f/10) and two shutter speed settings including 1/100th second and bulb mode, which holds the shutter open for as long as you keep the button pressed. That’s a fairly common setup for a Lomo camera like this.
Get the lo-fi look
With an f/10 aperture and a 21mm lens, this camera offers a ton of depth of fields, so it’s solid for group shots or landscape images where you want to keep everything sharp. I use “sharp” as a relative term as this camera isn’t meant to provide pristine images. They have a natural softness with frequent flare and inherent vignetting. It’s designed to look lo-fi and the sample images suggest it succeeds in its efforts.
A built-in flash draws power from a single AA battery and provides enough illumination to make up for that small constant aperture. The package includes a set of colored filters that go over the flash to somewhat compensate for different color balances, or create interesting creative effects.
Thanks to the super-wide angle of view, the LomoApparat naturally focuses close—it can get all the way down to 0.5 meters. Add the included macro lens attachment and that minimum distance goes all the way down to 0.2 meters. You’ll also find a kaleidoscope lens attachment and a Spitzer lens attachment for masking the frame and creating unique multiple exposures.
Price and availability
The LomoApparat 21mm Wide-angle camera costs $89 for the black version (which I personally prefer) or you can pay $99 for the more stylized Neubau Edition. That extra $10 gets you a helping of Italian leather splayed across the front panel of the camera.