Discussion in 'Lo-Fi Cameras' started by narsuitus, Aug 11, 2011.
Exactly what is the definition of a toy camera?
A camera that is intended for fun use but not for the end result? I dunno. Cute aesthetics?
I think most toy cameras are made from plastic, and have a plastic lens (although I'm not sure if the Holga with the glass lens would still be considered a toy camera). There may be exceptions to this rule. In some photography competitions, pinhole cameras and lensbaby lenses are also acceptable, but disposable cameras and old (vintage) cameras like Brownies are not.
Why would a particular brand not be "acceptable"? Surely if it produces the required result, that is all that matters...
I don't see the point in looking for a precise definition for a term that is generally used only as a pejorative.
1-"All my cameras" because there major use is fun.
2-"All your cameras" because mine are better.
Seriously though the definitions I've seen are pretty arbitrary.
A toy camera is any camera you would be willing to hand over to an unsupervised child and not worry about the child or the camera being harmed. I would not put the Holga into that category, I don't believe that a Holga could take the punishment a child can dish out.
Fisher Price made a lot of really great cameras for kids over the years.
You would be surprised what passes for "toy" at my house, my kid has a Kodak cameo Motor EX (possibly the last folding camera Kodak ever made, it has a plastic folding bellows), a Canon WP-1, and a National Geographic half frame binocular camera that I let her run free with. She also has a Nikon N65, that she only uses under parental supervision. As for my equipment, she is only allowed to use the cameras that she can hold by herself and look through the viewfinder, the only cameras she can't use now are the F4 and the Pentax 6X7, and always supervised.
I'd submit that anything that satisfies the entrance requirements of the SohoPhoto Krappy Kamera competition fits the category--
They don't necessarily have to be toys, and there's a question of whether Dianas and Holgas were literally intended originally to be toys or just as inexpensive cameras manufactured from cheap materials, but I think there's an aesthetic there. The idea is to make an interesting photograph with a camera that doesn't necessarily give the user much technical control and may even introduce artifacts that are beyond the user's control. It's about giving chance a greater role in the production of art.
I surely need a good definition of toy camera. All my cameras are my toys.
I was glad to see this thread and the replies generally confirmed my thoughts.
Reading Markbarendt's reply gave me a good chuckle and is one of the reasons I enjoy APUG.
All my cameras are my toys and may be that is why I never have backup camera. I have many cameras but never a backup. If one of them quit working I would stop shooting and cry. I can't see myself when one of mine quit working simply pull out the spare and go on. That would be too professional like when I lose or break my tools at work. I don't care about the shoot I care more for my toys.
A toy camera is one that costs less than the roll of film with which it is loaded.
in this case there would be very few. a toy camera as I understand it, is a camera with which I want to play around and not do serious work. although the result might be fantastic and quite be commercially exploitable.
Plastic body and lens, no settable focus, aperture, shutter or film speed, just shutter release and film advance. Pure and simple.
By that definition, the Holga is not a toy camera.
Yes, that's what I'm saying. Just my definition...
Anything originally produced to sell at a very inexpensive price point. Intended for beginners, and uncomplicated ease of use. Something you can hand to a kid and not worry about and expect viewable images back. Designed for fun, and have looser tolerances in all aspects of use and build.
It is any camera you are using when you are not being paid!
Good! My toy camera, an original Diana, cost me 75 cents (marked down from $1 at the thrift store). Now if I can find 120 film as cheap as the camera!LOL!
The creative part of a Krappy Kam is its Krappy Lens - invariably a plano-convex with the aperture mounted too close to the lens. The problem is the rest of the Kam is so unreliable, and usually the worse [better] the lens the more unreliable the shutter/winding mechanism/door latch/etc.. The Empire Baby is probably the worst/best example. It was also my first camera, purchased at the age of 7 for 2s/6d [make it 50 cents] at Woolworths. It cost a lot less than the film and processing that I had to wheedle out of parents and relatives.
Reliable almost-a-toy cameras from Kodak, Herbert George ('Imperial'), Ansco and others had meniscus lenses and correctly placed apertures and produced results that were uninteresting.
'Lens Baby' was supposed to be the answer - a crappy lens for your Nikanoltax - but the prices got out of hand and the lenses never had the right amount of optical charm. I have found a good lens is a Spiratone Portagon coupled to a 2x extender - without the extender there is too much peripheral blur.
A Petzval portrait lens for 35mm would be intriguing.
A toy is something to play with. Leicas, Wistas, Speed Graphics are all things that can be played with. For collectors who do not use them, they are indeed nothing but toys.
My BMW is a toy, and so is my very fast crotch rocket motorcycle. They are objects of play.
They become tools when used. A plastic box with a hole, a Mickey Mouse camera to get an image onto film, a Holga used to expose film or grafted onto a digital camera, is a tool.
BAM! There it is.
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