Made in the early 1960s, Fisher Price’s Picture Story Camera was the first “camera” owned by many photo-enthusiasts. They’re built out of paper-covered wood and plastic, and contained a tiny disc with eight different “photographs” that could be seen by looking through the viewfinder — similar to the View-Master, except not in 3D. To change the photo, you simply hold down the shutter and turn the “flash”, a yellow block with pictures representing the four seasons.
If you want to play around with lo-fi photography, you don’t have to venture into the world of analog or hack together a DIY lens for your DSLR. There’s cheap plastic lenses you can buy for a toy-camera look, and one of them is the Holga HL-N lens available for both Canon and Nikon mounts.
The Gizmon Half D is a digital toy camera by that mimics the look of the Olympus PEN F half frame 35mm camera. The 2 megapixel camera has a 1.5-inch LCD screen, ISO ranging from 100-400, VGA video mode, three aspect ratios (standard, half, and square), and 10 different color modes. Like the Chobi Cam One, the Half D has a number of lenses that can be used for different looks. You can buy one for $120 through the Gizmon store.
Gizmon Half D (via 43 Rumors)
If you’re looking to get your kid hooked on photography from an early age, giving them this Voltron Star Shooter toy might be a good place to start. Made in 1985, it starts out as an innocent looking SLR camera but transforms into a beastly Voltron action figure. The best part of it is that it’s actually a working 110 camera, even though the big SLR lens on the front is fake (the real lens is above it). This brings new and awesome meaning to the term “toy camera”.
Image credit: Voltron Star Shooter by John Kratz
Wow, who knew this little toy camera by Penchan would beat all the big camera corps in being the first to offer terapixel photos?… Now all you need is a
terapixel petabyte memory card.
Image credits: 5.5 Terapixel Penchan Camera by Jim O’Connell
This morning Japanese toy maker Takara Tomy announced the 3d Shot Camera, a simple toy camera that lets kids shoot 3D stereoscopic photos, print them out, and view them using special fold-up viewer. All that is pretty cool and dandy, but now comes some of the downsides: the camera costs $70, and only weighs in at 0.3 megapixels. Shucks.
Holga D is a concept camera by India-based industrial designer Saikat Biswas that brings the plastic, medium-format Holga camera into the digital age.
The cheap toy camera design retains the optical jankiness that lures hipsters to this type of camera (i.e. vignetting, blurring, and light leaks), but a DSLR-caliber sensor inside ensures that the anomalies are optical rather than digital.
I have been using Holgas on and off for many years, and I have always had the idea of how to make it digital. There are many current options one being strapping a medium format digital back to your Holga, but that method is very cost prohibitive for most people messing around with toy cameras. I have seen lens mods on DSLR cameras that take the body cap and glue the holga lens on, but they are upwards of 50 bucks each.
I like a challenge so I decided to make one myself! Here is my method for doing so, so you can do it too.
The Spinner 360º is a new plastic camera by Lomography that lets you capture 360 degree panoramas on strips of 35mm film.
Shooting involves turning the camera on the handle, which exposes the film through a vertical slit while advancing he film at a speed that synchronizes it with what you’re capturing. You can either turn the camera by hand for longer exposure shots, or use the pullstring built into the handle.
Here are some example panoramas taken with the camera:
Eight panoramas can be captured on each roll, with the image covering even the sprocket holes. The camera is available from the Lomography store for €125.00, or about $150.
The Golden Half is a plastic half-size format 35mm camera by Brooklyn 5 and 10, an online shop specializing in “whimsical gifts”. The fact that it’s half-size (aka half-frame) means each exposure only uses half of the film’s intended frame. A 36-exposure roll of film will therefore allow you to shoot 72 different exposures. Here’s what the resulting frames look like when you get them developed:
You can either cut the frames up into individual photos, or leave them as a diptych if you feel so inclined.
Golden Half cameras are available in three flavors (Zebra, Telegraphy, and plain) and cost $50.
Image credit: Saint-Sky by madmolecule