Tag: toy camera

CCR Review 69 – Holga 120N

CCR Review 69 – Holga 120N

When you think of toy cameras, certain models come to mind almost instantly. Names like Diana, Debonair, Lomography, and of course Holga. I have in the past reviewed the FPP Debonair, a solid toy camera but the first toy camera and the one that stuck the most is the Holga. Sadly my camera broke several years back, and I never bothered to replace it. While I did mean to replace the Holga with another one, the sad fact is that in 2015 Holga nearly vanished if not for the quick actions by Freestyle and the Sunrise company. The two managed to recover one mould and restarted production. The Holga is the iconic toy camera if you’re looking for any high-quality performance you’ll want to look elsewhere but if you want something fun, this is your camera.

CCR Review 69 - Holga 120N

The Dirt

  • Make: Sunrise
  • Model: Holga 120N
  • Type: Point-And-Shoot
  • Format: Medium, 120, 6×6/6×4.5
  • Lens: Fixed, Optical Lens 1:8 f=60mm
  • Year of Manufacture: 2003 – Present

CCR Review 69 - Holga 120N

CCR Review 69 - Holga 120N

The Good
As toy cameras go, the Holga is incredibly accessible; you don’t need much to start shooting and enjoying this camera. It’s fun, easy to use, and produces a unique image that I’ve only seen in one other camera, the FPP Debonair. Far from perfect, the soft plastic lens has a fixed 60mm focal length with several zone focus options, and two aperture (f/8 and f/11) means if you’re close, your photo will be in focus. And the slightly wider than the normal focal length and smaller than required image circle produces a heavy vignette. All these things make for a unique image quality. The 6×6 negative size gives you plenty to work within regards to cropping or just leaving it as a square format. The camera does come with a second mask and slider to shoot in the 6×4.5 negative size, but you’ll be forced to shoot portrait orientation rather than landscape. I prefer landscape, but that’s just me, so I tend to leave the 6×6 mask in place. And having it take the standard 120 film makes for easy loading and shooting, just point, guess, and shoot!

CCR Review 69 - Holga 120N

CCR Review 69 - Holga 120N

The Bad
When I first started using toy cameras, I had to give myself a bit of a mind-shift. I knew I was not going to get perfect exposures, tack sharp images, or even in focus images. You don’t even have much control over this camera, focus, aperture, and flash. If you can’t handle that much guess work, then this is not your camera. The cameras have a poor build quality, light leaks even out of the box will be standard. At least you know you can repair it quickly with duct tape or gaffer tape. Another option is just to leave it and embrace the unknown.

CCR Review 69 - Holga 120N

CCR Review 69 - Holga 120N

The Lowdown
For the sake of transparency this is a review of the new Holga 120N, and from what I’ve found is that in my particular model the new maker has taken all the quirks of the old Holga and cranked them up 50%. Toy cameras are not every photographer’s cup of tea; even I have to be in the right mood to work with them. But if you find yourself in the right mindset you can produce art. Photography doesn’t have to be about perfection in any sense of the word. All the rules can be thrown out the window and in the end, if you produce an image that you love, then you’ve done it. Sure if I need high quality I’ll go to my Rolleiflex or Hasselblad, but if I want fun, I’ll grab the Holga. Remember, life isn’t perfect, sharp, or in focus, sometimes just let your photos reflect that.

All Photos Taken in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Holga 120N – Optical Lens 1:8 f=60mm – Ilford FP4+ @ ASA-100 – SPUR HRX (1+20) 9:30 @ 20C

Holga Week – 2017

Holga Week – 2017

It’s been a while since I have been able to participate in this celebration of the world’s famous toy camera, the Holga. I had a Holga several years ago, and it ended up breaking and not in a right way. These cameras aren’t made to last, plastic, fantastic, and produces a unique image. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but for me, the Holga holds a special spot on my camera shelf.

Holga Week 2017

Holga Week 2017

For several years I rocked the FPP Plastic Filmtastic Debonair, a solid performer for sure, a cross between a Holga and a Diana. But the one issue I had with it is not that it’s a 6×4.5 camera, it’s a fact the film aligned in a portrait orientation, not my usual landscape. I am in the process of modifying it to be a landscape Debonair.

Holga Week 2017

Holga Week 2017

And then there was the scare that Holga was gone, done, the factory that produced these iconic cameras closed. That was 2015, but 2017 is a year of comebacks! Film Ferrania brought back a classic film, P30, Kodak is bringing back Ektachrome. So why not Holga? An excellent question and one that people asked and the given answer, yes. There had been news that the original manufacturer destroyed the original molds, and I’m sure a great many were, but not all of them. Another factory found one, for the iconic medium format, 6×6 120N.

Holga Week 2017

Holga Week 2017

Soon, I had one in my hands. Heading over to the Holga Week website and to my joy I wasn’t late for this year’s Holga Week and took it with to a classic car night in downtown Milton loaded up with a roll of Kodak Plus-X Pan. Because why not use a roll of expired film and just have some fun. Despite having a range of quality cameras at my fingertips, sometimes it’s just fun to let loose and run with it. Of course, the best tip I ever got with shooting toy cameras is actually from the Lomographic Society. And while some might deride the folks at Lomography, I think they have it right with these rules, especially number 10. Don’t follow the rules and don’t worry. Of course, I can’t always go out and shoot like this if I’m doing a paid gig. But hey, even us professionals need to let loose.

All Photos Taken in Milton, Ontario
Holga 120N – Optical Lens 60mm 1:8 – Kodak Plus-X Pan @ ASA-125 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 5:00 @ 20C

CCR Review 52 – Agfa Ventura Deluxe

CCR Review 52 – Agfa Ventura Deluxe

If there is one type of cameras that I have little experience with its folders. Back in the summer, I did have a chance to review one; nothing could prepare me for the Ventura. It’s a camera with a bit of an identity issue, in addition to the Ventura Deluxe it could also be the Ventura 66 or the Isolette II, and while this camera did not perform how I thought it would it did give me a pleasant surprise. The history nerd in me also digs the fact that the camera was made in the “US Zone” part of the occupation of Germany after World War II.

CCR Review 52 - Agfa Ventura 66

The Dirt
Make: Agfa Camerawerk
Model: Ventura 66/Ventura Deluxe/Isolette II
Type: Point & Shoot
Format: 120, 6×6
Lens: Fixed, Agfa Apotar 1:4,5 F=8,5cm
Year of Manufacture: 1952-1955

CCR Review 52 - Agfa Ventura Deluxe

CCR Review 52 - Agfa Ventura Deluxe

The Good
There are two things the Ventura Deluxe has going for it if you’re looking for a toy camera that isn’t anything that is more common on the market. You have a glass lens, the Apotar is sharp in the middle and has some fall off at the edges with the vignette. And you have a lens that can stop all the way down to f/32 so if your focus is seized at the top end or near the middle of the focus scale you can still pull out images that has most of the scene in focus.

CCR Review 52 - Agfa Ventura Deluxe

CCR Review 52 - Agfa Ventura Deluxe

The Bad
The Ventura is an old camera and such there will be a lot of age related issues with them. The first and the biggest is that the focus helical can seize and in the case of mine it already has. It can be fixed, but not without a lot of blood, sweat, and tears on my part. Thankfully for my camera, it is set at the infinity focus point so I just make sure to stop it down to get the depth of field. Another problem that could plague this camera are the bellows. When looking at these cameras get out a flashlight to check for pinpricks both outside and inside. But then again if you’re buying one to rock them as a toy camera some light leaks might be a welcome!

CCR Review 52 - Agfa Ventura Deluxe

CCR Review 52 - Agfa Ventura Deluxe

The Lowdown
While the Holga system is no longer being produced finding a decent 6×6 toy camera can be an expensive proposal, but the Ventura 66 certainly fits that bill at least for me. You have a fixed focus camera, with exposure control, a decent lens that while glass gives a nice soft low-contrast look and vignettes your edges. While the camera wasn’t built like a toy camera, age has certainly made it that way, and I’m okay with that.

All Photos Taken in Oakville, Ontario
Agfa Ventura Deluxe – Agfa Apotar 1:4,5 f=8,5cm – Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ASA-400 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 7:30 @ 20C

CCR Review 44 – Nikon AF240SV

CCR Review 44 – Nikon AF240SV

If you grew up in the 1980s and 1990s, you’d first recognize the sound this camera makes when it takes a photo. It’s a total nostalgia fest from those long family vacations, holiday snaps, and trips to the amusement park. And you would be right; the Nikon AF240SV is a mom camera, designed to be as simple as possible the modern version of the ever present Kodak Camera from the 19th century. You press the button; it does the rest. While my family never used Nikon, we were mostly Minolta; it still was a trip back in time for me to use such a camera again.

CCR Review 44 - Nikon AF240SV

The Dirt
Make: Nikon
Model: AF240SV
Type: Point and Shoot
Format: 35mm, 24×35
Lens: Fixed, Nikon Lens 28mm 1:5.6
Year of Manufacture: 1980

CCR Review 44 - Nikon AF240SV

CCR Review 44 - Nikon AF240SV

The Good
So the one thing that blew me away about this camera is the lens. You would not think that some basic ‘mom’ camera would have a decent lens on it. But I was impressed with the quality of images that came out of this camera. Plus it’s a nice wide 28mm lens so you can get the whole family in the picture and the silly mascot. Next up is the battery power, now many cameras of a similar vintage would have some weird, camera-store particular battery that you would have to shell out twenty some odd bucks to buy. Not the AF240SV, it takes two AA batteries. So you could be at the theme park and be able to pick up spare batteries at the gift shop (and still may have to shell out a twenty for).

CCR Review 44 - Nikon AF240SV

CCR Review 44 - Nikon AF240SV

The Bad
Don’t expect to be doing anything advanced with this camera. Everything, everything is automatic. Focus, Loading, Rewind, Flash, Exposure. But sometimes simple is what you’re looking for then this is your camera. Probably the thing that is most annoying about this camera is that it’s a box, so it doesn’t hold well in the hand for a long period, and because of that, you can find that you’ll see some of your fingers in the image. So in reality, it’s just like it was when mom or dad was taking photos on family vacation. And finally, this camera gives little in the way of feedback, other than to tell you that your flash is charged and ready.

CCR Review 44 - Nikon AF240SV

CCR Review 44 - Nikon AF240SV

The Lowdown
Alright, so you have to remember I’m a user of fairly advanced cameras, so there has been a fair amount of snark in this review. But in all honestly, this is a pretty decent camera in the point-and-shoot field. I may go as far as to say this would make for an elegant camera to do street photography. You just have to point and shoot; the camera will do the rest for you! Plus you could even classify this as a toy camera even.

Photos Taken at Photostock 2016, Birchwood Inn, Harbor Springs, Michigan
Nikon AF240SV – Nikon Lens 28mm 1:5.6 – Kodak TMax 400 @ ASA-400 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 5:3- @ 20C

CCR Review 25 – FPP Debonair

CCR Review 25 – FPP Debonair

Found in a mysterious factory in Rochester, New York, the Debonair, or the FPP Plastic Filmstastic 120 Debonair is one of the strangest cameras I’ve reviewed for this blog series. But also one of the more fun ones to use. This funky toy camera is one of many Holga/Diana clones that started to pop up in the late 20th century. It uses 120 roll film in a 6×4.5 format but portrait orientation, light weight and produces actually really fun results with the nice soft plasic “Super” lens. And to make this review extra special the images shot were done on World Toy Camera Days the 17th and 18th of October, 2015!

CCR - Review 25 - FPP Debonair

The Dirt
Make: Unknown
Model: Debonair
Type: Point-And-Shoot
Format: 120, 6×4.5 format
Lens: Fixed, Super Lens 1:8/60mm
Year of Manufacture: Unknown, either 1970s or 1980s

CCR - Review 25 - FPP Debonair

CCR - Review 25 - FPP Debonair

The Good
This is a toy camera, so image quality and sharp images are not going to hit this review. The camera itself does have some good talking points. First off it has a hotshoe, so you can use a flash on it without any trouble and it really does change the way the image looks! Also despite being plastic it does still have decent balance and weight to it without it being overly heavy. Also if you’re into sprockets this is an easy camera to just fit your 35mm film into. And finally despite it being zone focus the f/8 lens does give you a decent depth on your focus even if you’re out by a bit.

CCR - Review 25 - FPP Debonair

CCR - Review 25 - FPP Debonair

The Bad
The only problem I have with this camera is the format, I do love the 6×4.5 image size on medium format, but the camera shoots it in portrait orientation which makes it awkward to shoot in landscape, but hey, it’s a plastic toy camera, if that’s all I can complain about it, it’s pretty great for what it is.

CCR - Review 25 - FPP Debonair

CCR - Review 25 - FPP Debonair

The Lowdown
If you’re looking for something a little different than your average Holga or Diana this camera is certainly worth a glance. And at a good price point from the FPP, you really can’t go wrong. It’s one of the few toy cameras I’ve actually been pretty happy with the results. No they’re not perfect, but it’s a toy camera, if you want sharp images, pick up a camera with a good glass lens. But what this camera has that many of the ‘good’ cameras don’t is magic. Seriously, I know that I can only pick this camera up once or twice a year when the fancy strikes me take it out with one maybe two rolls of film come back and bam, magic. It’s not complex, it won’t complain if it gets rained on, snowed on, dragged through the mud…it just shoots and you have something wonderful.

You can get one yourself at the Film Photography Project Store!

All photos taken in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
FPP Debonair – Super Lens 1:8/60MM – Ilford Delta 100
Ilford Microphen (1+1) 10:00 @ 20C

Plastic Filmtastic

Plastic Filmtastic

I was bitten by the toy camera bug a while back after getting a Holga, which has served me well, but recently on the Film Photography Podcast they were pushing this odd “new” camera that Michael Raso had discovered on “The Bay” named The Debonair, it looked like a cross between a Diana and a Holga. He had managed to stumble upon a lot of 2000 of these cameras sitting in a warehouse in Rochester, New York. I didn’t need another toy camera, but after seeing some of the shots out of the camera I needed to get one, and at twenty bucks, it wasn’t that expensive.

Cheers!

The camera itself is fairly light weight, but still feels solid in my hands, good control placement also. The camera is all plastic, built in the 1980s in Hong Kong, features a “Super” 60mm f/8 lens with two shutter speeds, one for sun, one for cloudy/flash. Focus is handled by the zone system, and it has a hotshoe, but doesn’t need batteries to operate a flash, which is a plus! It takes your regular 120 roll film and shoots in a portrait orented 6×4.5 format giving you 16 shots on a roll of film.

Candice

Optically I was surprised at the all plastic camera, the images when focused right came out really sharp with plesant vingetting around the edges, and with a flash makes for a great party camera. The one issue I have with the camera is loading it. You slide the entire back/bottom off the camera to load the film, and putting this back on is a bit of a pain, but in the end worth it for the wonderful images you get out of the camera. I do highly recomend this camera as a nice way to get into toy camera photography, very unassuming and no-nonsense, and more importantly it’s fun. And in the end isn’t that what photography should be…fun? At least I think so.

Let me explain this...

So why not Pick one up in the store today!

All images shot with the FPP Plastic Filmtastic Debonair on Fuji Neopan Acros 100 developed in Kodak HC-110 Dilution B for 5:00 at 20C.

Toy Camera

Toy Camera

When you use Leica, Nikon, Carl Zeiss optics the idea of plastic lenses and “toy” cameras will often scare a photographer, you really don’t know what you’re going to be getting out of your image. It certainly won’t be the sharpest image on the block, vignetting is going to be there, soft focus, light leaks, all very possible. Add Expired film into the mix and things just start getting dicy.

Something that many photographers won’t even touch, and I used to be like that…until I picked up, on a whim, a Holga from The Film Photography Project. And instantly was dragged into the wonderful world of toy camera photography. I just had to tell myself “the images won’t be perfectly exposed, they’ll be out of focus, and probably look weird” and sure enough they did.

But I was okay with this. I recently took my holga out to a small group retreat back in march but never got around to scanning the film I shot, until recently and found that I really liked these images.

Partnered

Seeing Double

Through the Woods

Golden Wastes

Come Along Pond

Holga 120N – Kodak Tmax 100 (TMX), Kodak Ektachrome Lumiere Pro (LPP)

Project:52 – Week 44

Project:52 – Week 44

I’m not often one who will get a new camera and throw it into a project that has been going very well, and hoping that I’ll get something decent. I usually test out the cameras first. But when I was given a Lomo Smena 8m from Michael Raso of The Film Photography Project it must be a good camera. And well the manual was all in Russian so I just launched right into using it. The results were…interesting. I carried it with me over the course of Sunday errands so there’s really no rhyme or reason to the images, they’re shot straight from the hip with little or no looking at focus or settings.

The Smena is as basic as basic can be, it’s plastic (although sporting a glass lens), there’s no focus aid, you just sort of guess, shutter speeds are indicated by pictograms (the actually numerical speeds are listed on the side of the lens barrel), and the aperture settings are on the front of the lens and you seem to pick them by the film speed you have loaded although the scale is none that I had ever seen before. Oh and there’s no light meter or automatic settings.

You shoot from the hip, and pray it turns out.

Project:52 - Week 44

Project:52 - Week 44

Project:52 - Week 44

Project:52 - Week 44

Project:52 - Week 44

Project:52 - Week 44

Project:52 - Week 44

ЛОМО ϹМЕНА 8M – T-43 4/40 ЛОМО – Kentmere 100

Project:52 – Week 31

Project:52 – Week 31

Going a little crazy for week 31….

In a recent trip to Toronto’s Lomography store I came across their Fisheye camera, a cheap plastic fisheye lens camera, and compared to other cameras they have so I picked it up, having caught the toy camera bug from my Holga (c/o the FPP). The results were well interesting to say the least, I was literally just shooting from the hip, not bothering with any rules or that nonsense, just going out and photographing for the sake of photographing.

Project:52 - Week 31

Project:52 - Week 31

Project:52 - Week 31

Project:52 - Week 31

Project:52 - Week 31

Project:52 - Week 31

Project:52 - Week 31

Lomography Fisheye (Version 1) – Fuji Superia X-Tra 400