The Obscure Camera

The Sprocket Rocket

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I purchased a Sprocket Rocket camera from the Lomography folks. There are plenty of images on the site, so I won't post any pictures. The camera is all plastic, and seems very well put together. Of course, my first thought was to install a pinhole right away, but it turns out that the two screws on the front of the lens are for show only, have no threads, and do not hold anything together. This means that removing the lens most likely entails disassembly from the back side, which I don't want to do (yet).

The camera shoots at 24 x 72 'ordinary' panoramas with the sprocket mask installed, but when you remove it, you get the full width of the film at 33 x 72. The knobs turn both backward and forward, and there is a very ingenious film advance notofier that consists of a white dot on a toothed wheel that the film advances. You start with the dot centered in the window on top of the camera, and each time the dot is in the window again, you have the next frame.

There are only two aperture settings, that correspond to a 'sunny' day and a 'cloudy' day, f/16 and f/10. There are two shutter settings, 1/100 and bulb. There are two focus setting on the lens - 0.6-1 meter, and 1 meter to infinity. The focal distance is 30 mm, which is pretty wide for 72 mm panoramas. There is some vignetting.

The lens is plastic, so it has many of the quirks that Diana and Holga lovers all over the world adore. There is lots of flare and distortion and haphazardous focus involved, but the camera delivers what it advertises - fun.

The coolest part of the package for me was the additional film scanning aid that facilitates the scanning of 35 mm film all the way out to the edge of the sprocket holes on a flat-bed scanner. It is worth going to the website only to pick up this little gem. It uses an ingenious magnetic base and cover to stretch the film out flat, and when you remove the top cover and the bottom base, the hinged holder has the film stretched tight for scanning. There is a 120 version of the same animal on the site, and I might have to invest in it.

I would not hesitate to recommend the Sprocket Rocket to anyone who want to have some fun with a plastic lens camera. I shot Fuji Superia 800 (available at WalMart) for my first roll, and I was able to get 7 out of the 12 possible images to be reasonbly well exposed.
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  1. Jimmy G's Avatar
    Thanks Earl, that's a cool camera. Also, that scanning aid is certainly interesting!
  2. scheimfluger_77's Avatar
    So Earl, what color did you get?
  3. earlj's Avatar
    Mine is black. It looks a lot like a real camera.
  4. GLSmyth's Avatar
    That does look like fun. I did not see the 120 version on the website, do you have a link?

    Cheers -

  5. earlj's Avatar
    Thanks, George - you have to go to the site - here is the link to the 120 scanning aid:
  6. GLSmyth's Avatar
    Earl - Gotcha, looks like a good idea.

    Cheers -