My Precious

The Art of Spinning

Spinshot 35S by Corrales Camera, Whittier, CA
Spinshot 35S
Comanche Drive In
School Buses
Miniature Horses
Military Train
Where you are going and where you have been...Roller Coaster
Skeleton on a Railroad Bridge

As a little girl I would spin and spin until I fell down and would watch the world twirl around me. Little did I know that I would end up shooting a camera that spun for me.

The Spinshot 35S is by far my favorite camera. It always puts a smile on my face and gives me a little giggle. The Spinshot is a slit-scan panoramic camera that shoots 360 degrees (sometimes even more) on about 7 inches of film. With only 7 images on a 36 exposure roll of film, this camera can be a film eater. The 35mm film moves across a 1.5 mm slit once you let go of the cord. The Spinshot 35S has a fixed focus, two element 25mm wide angle lens. The aperture is f11 with a 3 foot depth of field (arms length to infinity) so you can choose to be in the image or hold the camera over your head or duck if you do not want to be included in your unique image. The camera spins very quickly about 1/500th of a second while exposing the film. This is a fully manual camera. The pull-string spring is the motor that spins the camera and moves the film.

The Spinshot 35S was invented by Rick Corrales in 1991. With digital becoming more popular and the ease of stitching together images to make a panorama in Photoshop, this special camera had a very short production run...only 1000 were made. The camera weighs about 1.5 lbs and has a sturdy construction. The warranty on the instruction page states "Full Spinshot warranty buyer protection for life ... plus reincarnations".

To shoot the Spinshot, you must put your eye up to the 90 degree fisheye-like viewfinder and turn in a complete circle in order to see what you will be photographing. Next remove the lens cap and hold the camera at arms length. There is a bubble level on the bottom of the handle so you can see if you are level when holding the camera above your head. Next pull the string straight out and let go. Then whhiirrrll the camera spins. Watch out so your hand doesn't get in the photo. If you desire a level horizon line, hold the perfectly balanced handle straight up. You can make your horizon line appear as an "S" by wiggling your wrist while you make the exposure. Once the exposure is finished, put the lens cap back on to stop the light from hitting your film.

I waited for 2 years for a Spinshot to appear on Ebay. Within one month, two of them were put up for auction. I was outbid on the first Spinshot, I believe it sold for $800 (just about what they were being sold for on B&H when they had them for sell years ago). The second Spinshot and the last one I've seen on Ebay since was going to be mine no matter what! It was destined to be...I was the only bidder and bought it for $350. The first roll of film was shot and processed within 2 hours from the camera landing on my doorstep.

The Spinshot 35S will always have a spot in my camera bag. You never know when you must spin the perspective. It allows me to photograph where I am going and where I have been. I can also shoot horizontal and vertical within the same exposure. I have taken the Spinshot on many of my photographic adventures...from the top of a speeding rollercoaster to the quiet forest. I haven't had much luck shooting indoors, a sunny day is a must if you want anything to appear on your film. I prefer to use 400 asa film, anything faster has too big of grain for my liking. To make enlargements I have to scan the long negatives. Even though the instruction manual that came with the camera states that I could make enlargements 11"x80" or larger, I choose to print them 5"x40" in order to keep my framing costs down. With such a long image, I think of each shot as a sentence...with a beginning, middle, and ending.

12 responses

  • Andrew Chapman

    Andrew Chapman said (20 Mar 2009):

    I just checked on ebay.. nothing. I'm making note of this bad boy. I'll be on the lookout for one. If you find one and are feeling helpful please let me know. I would appreciate it. Loved the story and pictures as well.
    have a great day

  • rizky nurfa'ni

    rizky nurfa'ni gave props (11 Apr 2009):

    envy. :)

  • Omran AlOwais

    Omran AlOwais (Deleted) gave props (21 Aug 2009):

    It's the process not the end result. Thats the way to enjoy film.

  • Paul Lavallee

    Paul Lavallee gave props (30 Dec 2009):

    This is way cool! I wish I could find one.

  • Bhrahu P. Padmodiwiryo

    Bhrahu P. Padmodiwiryo gave props (10 Feb 2010):


  • disdis y Leo

    disdis y Leo said (8 Mar 2010):

    Mola!!!! Will it be the same Lomo is going to launch?

  • Stéphane Heinz

    Stéphane Heinz gave props (15 May 2010):

    A spectacular camera!! :))

  • michaela Lewis

    michaela Lewis gave props (31 May 2010):

    Great review!

  • Stéphane Heinz

    Stéphane Heinz gave props (10 Jun 2010):

    Well, this camera is now available again on!! It's the re-birth of the Spinner 360° roundshot camera! :))

  • Heather Oelklaus

    Heather Oelklaus said (10 Jun 2010):

    WOW!!!! THANKS SO MUCH STEPHANE!!! I'm too excited....had to buy 3 this instant!

  • Stéphane Heinz

    Stéphane Heinz gave props (10 Jun 2010):

    You're welcome! And the spinner shoots the 35mm film with the sprockets, was it the case of the 35S? Wish you a lot of fun with the new spinner :))

  • Epin Hervin

    Epin Hervin gave props (30 Aug 2011):

    Oh My Allah Swt, this things were recently a hip thing in my country, and you wrote this in 2008 ;)

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