Lo-fi photography starter

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by jmeager, Jan 17, 2010.

  1. jmeager

    jmeager TPF Noob!

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    Hi everyone,

    I'm looking at getting into lo-fi photography and am just after a bit of advice where to start out.

    Is the Diana F generally the best place to start? Or is there another film camera I should use? Or should I just use some different lenses with my existing digital camera?

    I'm aware the Diana uses 120 film - is that really hard to get your head round and developed?
     
  2. I believe most of the lo-fi cameras are affordable. The Dianas are pretty lo-tech for my taste. I have one, and shot with it for a while... Meh. Lots of mail-in places will develop it, and for an additional fee they can also scan to TIFF or JPEG so you can do additional work digitally.
     
  3. jmeager

    jmeager TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the reply! Do you have any recommendations for cameras that are less low tech but still lo-fi?
     
  4. kaiy

    kaiy TPF Noob!

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    I usually like to recommend the Holga 120N or 120FN for beginners, but lately, I've been leaning towards the 35mm lo-fi cameras for beginners. Why? They are cheaper and simpler cameras. If you get one of these cameras, it keeps the cost of exploring lo-fi photography on the cheaper side. You won't get quite the same look with the 35mm film, but it is so much easier to learn with and it's lower cost of camera and film will help you figure out if this works for you. If it turns out that toy camera photography is your passion, then you can explore getting the larger format 120 cameras.

    Take a look at one of these 35mm cameras:

    Holga 135 or 135BC
    Supplier: Freestyle Photographic Supplies - Traditional Black & White Film, Paper, Chemicals, Holgas and ULF or B&H Photo Video | Digital Cameras, Camcorders for about $46.
    Similar cheap lens and operation as the Holga 120 cameras.
    1 aperture setting (yes, the camera has 2 settings, but they are identical), 2 shutter settings, N (1/100 sec) and B (Bulb setting)
    tripod mount, cable release socket
    If you want the corner vignetting like on the larger format camera, get the Holga 135BC.

    Sample photos:
    Flickr: Holga 135BC / Holga 135

    Superheadz Black Slim Devil
    Supplier: Four Corner Store : Your store for all things Toy Camera — Welcome or Freestyle Photographic Supplies - Traditional Black & White Film, Paper, Chemicals, Holgas and ULF for about $30.

    This is a clone based on the popular vintage Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim. It has no exposure controls and no flash option, but with it's wider than normal lens (22mm) it is capable of taking some outstanding photos.
    Sample photos:
    There really isn't a good Flickr group for these cameras yet, so the sample photos are from the Vivitar UWS
    Flickr: Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim

    The Diana Mini
    Supplier: Lomography.com for about $60

    Lomography took the Diana camera, and shrunk it down to 35mm format. The Mini, while it lacks the interchangeable lenses of the full sized Lomography Diana+, is still a feature packed camera (at least compared to the Holga and Black Slim Devil). The frame format is unusual. They stuck with the square format of the Diana camera, but it is centered on a standard 35mm frame. The reason for floating the square on the 35mm frame is that be using a standard 35mm format, most 1-hour labs will be able to more easily deal with making scans or prints, since they are set up for regular 35mm film. You can also set the camera to half-frame 35mm, which is 2 vertical 24mm x 17mm images. This translates to 2 images on a standard 35mm frame. Currently a favorite of mine, it lives in my camera bag so it is handy where ever I go.

    2 aperture settings, 2 shutter settings, N (1/100 sec) and B (Bulb setting)
    tripod mount, cable release socket
    This camera is unusual in that it offers square format,24x24mm on a standard 35mm frame (24x36mm). It also offers a half frame option, 17x24mm frames (it doubles the number of exposures you get on a roll of film)

    Whichever camera you choose, remember that the point of lo-fi photography is to have fun and don't sweat the details!

    For Holga tips, check out this website:
    Go Holga | Holga Hacks Mods Tutorials and More

    Then there's my own website:
    lo-fi photography - dianacamera.com
    I have lots of tips, tricks and photos taken with plastic cameras.

    For how-to videos for Holgas and Diana cameras, check out my youtube channel:
    http://www.youtube.com/kaituba
     

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