The Action Sampler

Alfred's Camera Page

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Long before LOMOgraphy monopolized it, the "four lens camera" or "sports 35" was a cult favourite of photographers worldwide. My first encounter with it was in the summer of 2000, when a local newspaper chain sold them for about €4 a piece. Of course I immediately bought one – and spent the days after that experimenting with the possibilities of capturing motion sequences. Things I tried were creating a "panorama" by making a quick pirouette when pressing the button; throwing the camera into the air to make "aerial photographs"; and making a four-frame "movie" by running towards my subject. None of this actually worked, but it was really great to be experimenting again! But then alas, one time I thrust my Four Lens Camera skyward with slightly too much vigor, and was unable to catch it. The crash that ensued cracked the body and rendered the camera useless. But hey – for four euros?

The Action Sampler, as I'll refer to it from here on, is a small plastic camera from China that takes four pictures on a single frame, with an 0.22 second delay between each. To that end it has four small wideangle meniscus lenses and a flywheel for shutter. The system is really simple and cheap, but it's also elegant and effective. You actually do get four very clear time-separated pictures on your single frame. The camera is the epitome of simplicity, and it was sold for very low prices, but none of that prevented LOMOgraphy from assimilating it and charging outrageous prices (again). Now you can buy an Action Sampler, or its brother the Action Sampler 2.0, for tens of times its manufacturing cost and enrich the Austrians in the process. Long live LOMOgraphy. What's next people, you gonna sell the Leica M7 for $20.000 and call it the LOMO Analog?

The Action Sampler comes in all shapes and sizes. The LOMOgraphy one is transparent plastic, but the ones I've owned are black and silver, and I remember you could get them in all kinds of colours. What's less well known is that there is actually an Action Sampler Deluxe (my designation) with a real optical viewfinder on top instead of the flip-up wireframe. The body design is also slightly different, and the exposure counter is covered by a transparent plastic disc. For the rest it's the same camera. Where to get them? I bought my Deluxe at a flea market for €2...

Scanned manual: page one, page two.

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