The heavy-duty lens hood is made from metal and looks like overkill until you understand it’s also designed to act as a counterbalance and allow for smoother spinning.
A built-in bubble level helps with holding the camera level. Note, too, the provision of an accessory shoe. There’s no viewfinder because it doesn’t really matter where you point a camera that records a 360-degree (or more) panorama. If held conventionally, the Spinner 360° will always record you in the picture (sometimes more than once!)
The Spinner 360° accepts standard 35mm film, but exposes the entire area including the sprocket holes. Its exposure settings are based on ISO 400 speed film, but obviously you can experiment with slower or faster stock.
Care needs to be taken when loading film that the black velvet baffles don’t get snagged or folded. These bits of cloth stop the film that’s wound onto the take-up spool being fogged from the exposure slit.
To check everything is properly in place and the film is securely on the take-up spool, turn the camera handle slowly a couple of times. You’ll need to do this again after the back has been closed just to make sure all the exposed section of film is moved on. Finally, if you haven’t already done so, move the aperture selector off the closed ‘R’ setting. There isn’t a frame counter, but you’re only going to get between six and eight frames from a 36-exposure length so it’s pretty easy to keep count. When the film is finished, the camera body essentially locks so it won’t turn and the rip cord won’t snap back into the handle.
As noted at the outset, the Spinner 360° doesn’t have a viewfinder and that’s obviously because it’d give you a severe smack in the mouth if you held it up to your face and let go of the rip cord. Because it spins through 360 degrees or more, it doesn’t really matter all that much where you point the spinner so it’s more a matter of making sure the vertical framing is what you want (the vertical angle-of-view is 66 degrees). Being a Lomography camera, the idea is you don’t try to do anything too formally, but think outside the square (literally in this case!).
Taking It For A Spin
The Spinner 360° is supplied with a set of shooting technique cards which are replicate contactprinted film lengths so you can get idea of what will actually be recorded. If you simply hold the camera in front of you in the conventional manner and let it rip you’ll end up in the middle of the picture.
A beefy rubber band spins the camera body and needs to be detached to enable film rewinding. A spare is supplied with the Spinner.
If you start with the camera pointing at you, you’ll appear in the picture twice – at either end of the panorama frame. If you don’t want to be in your pictures, you’ll have to hold the camera above your head which makes for some pretty interesting landscapes. After that, you might want to try the ‘Backflip’, the ‘Rollercoaster’, the ‘Footloose’ or even the ‘Toothbreaker’. The ‘Rollercoaster’ can be a lot of fun as it simply involves holding the camera at an angle so, as it spins, the image is recorded in a wave-like flow of ups and downs.
In practice, the purpose of the heavyweight lens hood becomes quite apparent because without it acting as a counterbalance, the spinning action isn’t nearly as smooth. However, you can detach it in order to fit standard 52 mm diameter screwthread filters should you want to make your image even wackier (or use a ND filter for some additional exposure control).