My Precious

My Fishy Relationship

Fisheye No.2 by Lomographic Society International
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Fish are sometimes seen as the easiest pets to own. They do not scratch, nor bite; they cannot poop on your carpet, throw up on your shirt and they definitely cannot hump your leg. In fact, they are so easy to keep that very often owners neglect their fish and do not bother involving the poor thing with their lives, forgetting them as quickly as if they themselves had the minds of a goldfish.

But there is one fish that is not to be messed with. There is one fish that will demand your constant attention. There is one fish that has an even sharper memory than you. And this fish is called Mr.2.

My relationship with my Fisheye No.2 has not been plain-sailing. It's not the easiest of cameras to use for the simple fact that it feels so flimsy; mainly due to its lightweight plastic build which makes using the thing just too easy. The shutter release in particular is so light and swift that the transition from being used to pressing heavier buttons to the Fisheye's will certainly be one filled with many unintended shots. And the first time I used the camera I was constantly finding I had accidentally photographed pictures of the inside of my bag, forgetting to turn the camera's lock on. But of course, once you are used to the oh-so-simple handling of this speedy little camera and have familiarised yourself with its quirks, you realise that things that once threw you are a blessing as opposed to hindrances. That hasty shutter release will capture faster-than-the-speed-of-light action quicker than you can see it coming, and that lock option, once a habit, will save you many an accidental shot.

And you'll want that, because my-oh-my will you not want to waste film with such an awesome camera as this. The main difference with a Fisheye is of course the lens, which captures nearly 180° of your surroundings, curling them into an almost circular ball in the middle of your 35mm film. Watch as your cat's nose blots out its face, as the columns of the Athenian temple buckle, as the horizon curves up on itself. The distortion a Fisheye lens creates is always surprising, and more than not is makes a more intriguing view of reality than a normal lens.

Yet this curvature can of course be created using the simple Fisheye No.1, so why is Mr.2 any better? Actually, you could argue that it's not. That the shiny new features are just distractions from the shooting and that the resulting pictures are no better. But I would disagree; Fisheye No.2 gives you options, and with more things to play around with there is more you can do to your shots.

My favourite addition is most definitely the variable exposure switch. Rather than being confined to how long your camera wanted to expose for, the power was now given to their owners to decide; turn to 'L' for that heaven-sent shutter lock, use 'B' to hold the shutter open as long as your finger stays on its release for swirling neon strands and gleaming lights, and there's always 'N' for the lazy option of an automatic exposure (1/100 sec, f/8). Although used much less by me than the exposure choices, the rest of the new features have their uses. The hotshoe port allows you to rig up a compatible flash to use individually or in conjunction with the in-built flash, creating creative new possibilities for layering and motion-capture, while the MX switch for multiple exposures is certainly a bonus, enabling you to build on layers as much as you care to. And the cute mini Fisheye lens viewfinder that slips into the hotshoe; well how many times have you wished you knew what life looked like through your pets eye?

The Fisheye No.2 is like any pet. Treat him well and he will reward you, in this case with dazzling and unique pictures. But neglect him, and you will suffer the consequences of having missed out on dozens of astounding shots. Remember; a fish is not just for Christmas. Take this little camera everywhere with you and the results will not fail to amaze you.

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