Sep 17, 2012
My wife was at the sporting goods store next door to the antique mall standing in a lengthy queue with her running shoes. The sale on footwear was a big deal, and so was the line-up. I took the kids into the mall next door to kill some time.
We weren't planning on buying anything, nor looking for anything in particular. As usual, the word "Polaroid" grabbed my attention after rounding the corner at the end of the first aisle. It wasn't a camera. It wasn't a box of film. What was this treasure that had captured my eye?
I soon realized that I was looking at a somewhat vintage promotional novelty distributed by the Polaroid corporation, I'm guessing from the 80s (?). There are all kinds of handheld portable radios from this pre-ipod (even pre-walkman) time, but this one had something unique and for this reason had to be mine. Instead of a 9 volt or pair of AAs or even a wired electrical plus, this radio was designed to be powered by the remaining charge in the battery in a spent Polaroid film pack; the kind that spits out the iconic Polaroid integral film that we all know and love.
I quickly made my way home and ejected the package from my OneStep.
The joy that I experienced when I heard the static and then the first FM station was not insignificant. Silly, eh? The radio is sitting on my desk beside me right now playing a little Led Zepplin.
This video was uploaded from an Android phone.
Jan 31, 2012
Now here's a camera that pads its own resumé. I think it's called a Magnabox Vision, because that's what's on the name plate on the front. However, there is so much random text on the box - a type of namedropping, it seems - that I really don't know what to make of it. I was irresistibly drawn to this camera in the thrift shop a couple of months ago. (I can't disclose the purchase price on the grounds that it might incriminate me.)
Jan 8, 2012
Here's a little beauty that I picked up for $2.99 at the Value Village thrift shop. I always spend some time closely looking at the available cameras in the thrift shops, and I usually pass most of them over. My collection has grown large enough that I've begun to grow a little more particular about my purchases. I grabbed this one for two reasons: the barn door style lens cover and the Made in the USA stamp. Neither of these are that frequently seen in the shops that I frequent.
It's a fairly compact piece with solid construction. Two AA batteries power the on-camera flash. There is a tripod mount on the bottom, but not shoe on the top. The Keytar color corrected lens (1:5.6 / 38mm) doesn't seem to be anything special, but with the right light will still yield a sharp and bright picture. Overall, the images didn't impress me too much, but I'll probably keep this one for the barn door lens cover alone. Here are a handful of the good shots from the roll:
...and a corny short video I made to introduce the camera:
Jan 6, 2012
Jan 2, 2012
I'm getting behind on the 12 Camera Reviews of Christmas. It's one thing to test a new camera every day for 12 days, it's quite another thing to create a video, write an article, and develop and scan images every day. I've decided to be satisfied with drinking coffee and unpacking and repacking cameras from their respective boxes and bags. If we're lucky, I'll get the 12 Christmas reviews all posted before Groundhog Day. ;)
Each Holga comes with its own alphabet soup. You know what I mean, that string of letters or numbers that follows "Holga" on the box. The first one was the Holga 120S. I don't think you can find this one any more. The S, I suspect, stood for "standard", the 120 let's us know that it uses medium format (120mm) film. There was also a Holga 120SF. It came with a flash. Yes, F = Flash. Then a newer model came out. So, "N" for "New". Makes sense right? Then there was the glass lens (G), the color flash (CF), the twin-lens reflex (TLR) and the pinhole (PC) version. Each of these could be combined into various other versions, like the new glass lens color flash (GCFN). My alphabet soup choice today is the Holga 120PC-3D (aka medium format pinhole stereo - that's the 3D part - Holga).
I am testing this model right out of the box. I've never used one before, and I'm purposefully avoiding the instructions on my first go. I often boast that Holgas are completey intuitive, so it only makes sense to leave the instructions in the box. (the scans will tell, right?) I ran a roll of slide film as well as an expired B&W Agfa emulsion - I wasn't very particular about what I shot, I just wanted to get a feel for what the camera produces. I have no idea how to present them, but I think I'll post the scans as soon as I get them (I sent them off to oldschoolphotolab for processing), and then maybe try to make some old school animated gifs, and figure out how to view the slide film with an even older school stereo viewer.
Until then, here's an introductory video with yours truly:
If you're looking for specific Holga-related resources, two of the best sites for all things Holga-related are here:
There are Holga cameras that do not use medium format, but I'll limit this mostly complete list to 120s:
|120S||the original, discontinued|
|120SF||the original, with flash|
|120N||updated version, tripod mount & bulb mode now standard|
|120FN||120N with flash|
|120CFN||120N with colour flash|
|120GN||120N with glass lens|
|120GFN||120N with glass lens and flash|
|120GCFN||120N with glass lens and colour flash|
|120TLR||120CFN with waist level viewfinder|
|120GTLR||120TLR with glass lens|
|120PC||120N with pinhole lens|
|120WPC||special wide pinhole camera, different body than other 120 cameras|
|120PC-3D||side-by-side pinhole lenses for 3D effect|
Jan 1, 2012
Have you heard of fiverr.com? It's a place where you can hire people to do things for $5. Yup, five bucks. Most things that folks offer to do aren't worth a fiver, but I'd thought I'd give something a try, so I gave a fellow five smackers to design a logo for this site. There it is on the upper left. Now, before you go on berating me for stealing work from some starving designer, pull your head out of that dark place, you look uncomfortable. There's no way I would have hired a designer at this stage of the game, I would have drawn something myself, scanned it, and stuck it up in that corner. For now, this is a placeholder, and I'd love to hear your comments on how it looks. I'm quite fond of the lettering.
Dec 26, 2011
The Lomokino is the newest original novelty camera from the folks at Lomography. It's an old-school movie camera that shoots up to 144 frames on a run-of-the-mill 36 exposure, 35mm film.
This is a fun concept and I couldn't wait to get my hands on one.
I should have a roll sometime around New Year's Day ready to share - as usual, I'll keep you posted! :)
Dec 25, 2011
So, you've got a Holga, and you've run a few rolls through it. You figured out the hard way not to leave the lens cover on. You've figured out the other hard way not to leave the shutter on "B" when you want a nice sunny shot. You've made some mistakes, and you've made some masterpieces, now you're wondering what else to try. At this point, some folks would suggest filters - I tried some on Christmas Eve, but I'm still not sure if I'd suggest it.
Quite a while back, probably about a year ago, I found some Holga accessories in a bargain bin at Urban Outfitters (it's the only part of the store that I regularly shop in). When I saw that everything in the bin was already 75% off and the sign said 50% off of lowest ticketted price, I dove in. I walked out of the store with a Holga brand flash, a filter holder, a split filter set, and a color filter set, all for about 10 bucks. (This is the same place I picked up a handful of Holgawood cameras (fancy-coloured Holgas) for $5 each.
We spent Christmas Eve with my wife's parents, siblings, and their respective children. It was dark outside, and we were spending much of the time inside, so I knew a camera with a flash would be quite necessary.
This first thing you notice when you slap a load of accessories on the Holga is that it is unwieldy. Lopsided. Awkward. Top heavy. One of those is the right word, I'm sure.
Also, with the goofy-looking filters on the front, I felt like I was just goofing around. Other toy cameras can still be taken seriously, but I'm not sure this combo has that going for it. Nonetheless, we had fun shooting a few square images through the various filters while we enjoyed our Christmas cheer.
I sent the roll of film, with a handful of others off to oldschoolphotolab.com in New Hampshire for developing (I won $50 in gift certificates from them a while back), but I'll post them around here somewhere when I get them back.
While you're waiting, here's a SUPER CHEEZY video I made about the Holga 120N with filters:
Dec 24, 2011
In an attempt to motivate myself to review a handful (OK, bookshelf full) of cameras that I have acquired in recent weeks, I set myself a goal of reviewing one a day for the 12 days of Christmas. I'm starting on the 23rd, just because.
The first cam is the Action Sampler Flash, from Lomography. I just ordered this camera along with a trio of other beauties because I had twenty-eight-dozen piggies burning a hole in my virtual pocket. I had an Action Sampler a few years ago, but it didn't have the flash, and I hadn't used it much since I dropped it on the floor and something in the mechanism came loose. All of the pictures on it seemed to over exposed in the fourth frame as the shutter stuttered.
The potential beauty of the flash is that this crappy camera can now be used even on the shortest days of the year. Ho ho, today just happens to be one of those! I'm a bit of a sucker for multilens cameras; the SuperSampler was my first toy camera a number of years ago. My kids like that I actually want them to keep moving when I'm taking their pictures when I'm shooting with these.
The Action Sampler Flash, or at least this one, seems to fire inconsistently. I don't know this for sure, since I just shot the first roll, and haven't had a chance to develop it, but I sensed from the sounds it made at times when shooting with it. Sometimes it seemed like it maybe didn't expose all four frames... we'll see.
This camera feels a little bulkier than it needs to be. It's fairly fat from front to back, I assume that is to fit in the funky mechanism that operates the 4 shutters. It is very shiny - a little too shiny if you ask me - I suspect it's up to something. The four-part flash rotates and then folds down on to the top of the camera. This also shuts of the flash. When the flash is in the upright position, the red indicator light on the back of the camera lights up. I suspect in rare cases the strobe-like flash could induce seisures. I keep hoping anyway.
In comparison to other Lomography products, this one is actually fairly light on the packaging. The total unpackaged weight is 372g, unpackaged with batteries and film is 244g. Packaging includes a booklet, a poster, and a simple blister-type pack.
Enjoy the video, I'll post some pictures as soon as I get them.
Dec 18, 2011
Jun 14, 2010
My relationship with my fabulous four-lensed photographical friend was physical and frenetic. The purr of the rip-cord and the whir of the shuttered foursome quickly met my heart rate for the rhythmic dance that we became when we were together.
Rip. Jump. Cli-cli-cli-click.
Rip. Run. Cli-cli-cli-click.
Rip. Lunge. Cli-cli-cli-click.
Rip. Laugh. Cli-cli-cli-click.
Rip. Spin. Cli-cli-cli-click.
Rip. Fly. Cli-cli-cli-click.
Rip. Fall. Cli-cli-cli-click.
Sometimes we would wait for the subject to move, to make a little movie that made sense for all those who needed to ‘understand’ the picture, but mostly we ran without a care. Reckless abandon. No one was safe from Supersampler. You could escape one, maybe two of her lenses, but never would all four lenses miss. Somewhere in that panoramic bliss, one of the quadruplets would catch you while you dodged or parried.
Then it happened. I pulled her rip cord a little too hard. No, much too hard. The tiny spring cried out, but it was too late. The lifeless string hung out into my hand and I wept.
Now I sit and look through the sweet evidence of our affair, the small box too full of 4×6 photos showing us in happier times. I still need to occasionally stop to catch my breath.
As soon as I have enough piggies, I’m buying another. I might even buy two – it would probably be even more fun as a threesome.
(originally published on lomography.com – Sept.12, 2008)