When Lomography sent us a tin of sardines in the post with a message attached inviting us along to a sneak preview of its new camera, we were expecting some sort of waterproof model or perhaps even a fisheye snapper. The clue was in fact much more literal – with the Lomography La Sardina turning out to be a camera shaped like a sardine tin. While this may sound ludicrous, the odd shape is actually based on an old 1930s snapper – the Kandor Candid – made by the Irwin Corporation.
Along with the somewhat silly, yet endearing design, La Sardina also boasts a super-wide 22mm f/8 lens, while the flash has three different settings – a first for a Lomo camera. The design may be fun, but is the camera actually any good? We put it through its paces to see whether it would sink or swim.
There are four different designs available – all based on sardine tins. You can choose from the green Marathon or the blue Sea Pride, both of which come with a price tag of £49 and no flashgun. To get the flash capability you’ll need to shell out £89 for the red El Capitan or the blue Fishers Fritze (we had the latter in for review). You can also pick up the Fritz the Blitz flash separately for £55. (For more images of the other designs, check out our hands-onfrom launch day.) While the build quality isn’t quite up to the standards set my the brand’s more expensive cameras, such as the LC-Wide, it’s reassuringly robust compared to the likes of the Diana Mini.
The camera chassis itself is relatively compact, although obviously the detachable flash, which fits on the side of the body, adds a fair bit of bulk. The lens board can be twisted into the body of the camera to make it more compact (simply turn it 45 degrees until it clicks), although you need to make sure that it’s fully extended for shooting. There’s a message on the extension that reads “Only shoot if you can see me!” – and as the shutter release won’t go when the lens is collapsed, this shouldn’t be a problem. Although a useful feature if space is at a premium in your bag (and to stop the camera going off by accident), we found that it was easier just to leave the lens extended all of the time, as it only takes up a few extra mm.
You can read the rest of the article here on Pocket-lint.com (originally published 05/08/11).