At the end of May 2011, Lomography launched a brand new camera - the Lomo LC-Wide. It is an updated version of their existing LC-A+ with one major new feature - a massively wide 17mm lens. I've always been a fan of ultra-wide lenses so knew that I had to have this camera one day!
I already have a Wide Angle Lens attachment for my LC-A+ so I was interested to see how the new LC-Wide compares. Here is a side-by-side comparison of the new LC-Wide camera and Lomo LC-A+ & Wide Angle lens. I've also included shots with the LC-A+ to show just how wide the Wide Angle Lens and LC-Wide are.
The LC-A+ has an f/2.8 32mm lens and four focus settings - 0.8cm, 1.5m, 3m and infinity.
The Wide Angle Lens attaches to the front of the Lomo LC-A+ camera (or modified LC-A). It equates to a 20mm lens and has a 120° field of view. It also changes the focus settings to 0.35m, 0.7cm, 1.5m and infinity.
The LC-Wide has an f/4.5 17mm lens and 103° field of view. The other difference between the LC-Wide and LC-A+ is that it only has two focus settings - 0.4m-0.9m and 0.9m-infinity.
One other new feature that the LC-Wide has that I've yet to mention is the ability to shoot full-frame/square-frame/half-frame using a mask insert. Unlike Lomography's Diana Mini, you need to make your choice before loading a film - you can't just switch format mid-roll. I have seen some impressive panoramas created by bending the "rules" of the masking system (I may play around with that and write about it another time).
One major downside to the LC-Wide is the price. When launched it was £349 but has recently dropped to £329 - you can get a DSLR, or 5 original Lomo LC-As for that price!
Lomography does offer incentives and discounts to its community members. Writing articles & reviews and taking part in (well, winning) competitions helps you earn "piggy points" - one point = £1 discount. With a lot of perseverance and competition winning, I managed to get an LC-Wide for just over £65!
The LC-A+ & Wide Angle Lens is a great way to get wide photos, and costs a fraction of the price of the LC-Wide. That is, if you already have an LC-A+. If not, it works out at roughly the same price.
The Wide Angle Lens is not perfect though. Photos taken with the Wide Angle Lens are very sharp when the focus is on something close, but seem to get softer when using the infinity setting. The photos also suffer from curved distortion - almost like that of a fisheye lens (some people may like the effect though). The LC-Wide is sharp at all(both) focus settings and doesn't suffer from the curved distortion that the Wide Angle Lens does.
The LC-A+ & Wide Angle lens is a bit more versatile - you can choose to attach the lens at any time and shoot wide, or not. With the LC-Wide, you're shooting wide all the time. That said, the seperate lens/viewfinder of the LC-A+ Wide Angle does make it cumbersome to carry around and use. With the LC-Wide, it's all in one compact camera.
The LC-Wide has the added ability to shoot different frame formats, and the two focus settings mean that you're less likely to get blurry shots (ideal if you're not too good at judging focus distances).
I think I prefer the LC-Wide over the LC-A+ & Wide Angle Lens. The sharpness, lack of curved distortion and slightly-extra wideness make it the winner for me.
These side-by-side photos will hopefully allow you to see the different results you'll get shooting with the different cameras/lenses. They were taken from the same spot with roughly the same item in the centre of the viewfinder.
*I shall update this post with a few more photos when developed.