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When the Action Sampler was first in production, it was marketed towards children, which is why some more avid photographers will call it a 'toy camera', even though that is basically what it is, the more creative photographer like me find it as a new means of experimentation and a whole lot of fun!
In my own experience I have found that using ISO 200 film has worked well with the camera, although I mostly shoot the outdoors, and usually in bright conditions, so a film with a higher ISO such as 400 may be more affective for lowlight conditions and the indoors. At first I had a slight bit of difficulty loading the film into the camera, but as soon as you get the hang of it once, you won't forget for next time!
There is little control over how the images will turn out on this camera, as there is only a shutter release button and a small view finder (which I find only approximates the area in image), but I think that the surprise of how your images will turn out adds to the charm of this camera. When I have taken this camera out in sunnier weather conditions I have found that the images come out in a more vintage style, e.g. slightly blurred, hazy colours and only emphasis on contrast on certain colours, which is rather desirable. I have had no trouble in getting the films developed from this camera, just ensure that you take it to a decent photo lab (e.g. Boots or Jessops if in the UK) or develop it yourself.
For making the best out of the 4 frames the camera takes, try moving around with it and taking a picture, or taking pictures of things that are moving, just experiment in whatever way you find works for you! You'll often find that the moving images often come out rather abstract. Others who have had this camera suggest that it is not the greatest for portrait images, but I think that's debatable as I have found some of my portrait shots of my friends rather amusing, there is a whole load of fun this camera can give, so just have fun experimenting!
When taking images on this camera make sure you don't have your fingers near the front by the lenses, or you will find yourself with sneaky fingers creeping into your images like I found when I first started using this camera!
Overall I would recommend this camera for those looking to have fun with their photography, whether that is experimentation or just candid shots of their friends.
The Lomography ActionSampler camera is available, as far as I know, exclusively through the website lomography.com. The website is basically a home for all things analogue photography, from purchasing rare types of analogue cameras (remakes not the originals), to posting analogue images, and getting tips on getting the best from your analogue cameras.
Lomograph photography is based on the idea of casual, sometimes a bit blurred, or slightly discoloured photography, which captures movement by taking numerous frames within a very short timeframe and displaying them on the same photograph. That means this type of photography is not best for capturing family portraits or crystal clear images. It works best when you're willing to play around a bit, experiment and have fun! If you're prepared to do this and have reconciled yourself to the fact that some frames won't work out the way you'd planned, you'll find that you get some extremely interesting and artistic effects. Not to mention some really funny action shots!
The ActionSampler camera couldn't be simpler to use, once the film has been loaded. You simply wind it on, then snap! There is a viewfinder attached to the top of the camera, but this is more of an approximation than a precise definition of what will be in the final frame.
When taking a picture, you'll find that by far the best results are achieved when either you (the camera), or the subject is moving at a reasonable speed. If the movement is slower you will have less variation between each of the four frames displayed on the final picture. And if the movement is faster you will probably have a more interesting picture, although there can be some blurring (personally I don't find this a negative).
My main tips would be for each roll of film, try to take as many different approaches as possible. Photograph ordinary things at high speed and try a whole range of different subjects. I've found landscape shots, taken while moving or spinning the camera rapidly, can create beautiful, semi-abstract images, while for taking images of people, it's usually best to be at a distance of between 0.5 and 2.5 metres. This is where the pictures are clearest. As the ActionSampler doesn't have a flash, you also need to ensure that there's plenty of light on the subject. This means, bright daylight is preferable, or if you're using artificial light, the subject needs to be REALLY close to the light source. Of course you can always experiment with darker lighting arrangements, who knows you might end up with something really interesting! Just don't expect to see a crystal clear image at the end.
I did find getting the film to load in the camera pretty tricky. It's not easy to roll the film around the tube in the body of the camera, and get it to take, and I did end up wasting quite a few frames before it finally stuck. This requires some patience. Rewinding the film when you're done is easy - you just use the winder at the top of the camera to manually wind the film back to the beginning before opening the chamber.
The camera itself is extremely light and doesn't feel very sturdy at all. It feels more like a disposable camera in your hand, although you can reload the camera with new rolls of film. I don't expect that the camera would last more than a few years with heavy usage, but then for the price (less than 30 pounds at time of writing), I don't think that's too bad. Also the camera is fully mechanic and doesn't require any batteries, which is handy and reduces costs. It comes with a roll of film (35 mm) to get you started.
Overall I would highly recommend this camera for people looking to have a bit of fun with photography. It would also be a great gift for an older child/teenager, to use at kids parties, or as a gift for a creative person. It's inexpensive, easy to use, and a lot of fun. The quality is not great, but then again that's the whole point and leads you to some very unique images!