The Lomo 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 winding spool.
Camera top. Film rewind, accessory shoe and bubble level.
Camera back open.
The 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.
The 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.
As 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 long time.
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 new views.
For 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.
Battery 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.
Ready 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.
The 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.