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  1. #1
    BetterSense's Avatar
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    New toy camera article in Wired magazine

    http://www.wired.com/culture/design/...7-06/pl_design

    An interesting blurb, and I applaud the entrepreneur. But $125? That's not a toy anymore...

    I find in ironic that he implies that digital cameras are a more faithful representation of reality than film, and also that film has worse image quality than digital.

    In a world of precision-engineered digital cameras, the colorfully analog Blackbird fly is a strange bird—one that took almost 15 years to hatch. Back in 1995, Hideki Ohmori launched a kind of alt-Amazon .com in Japan. He cool-hunted dozens of products and exhaustively described each one—except for a light-leaking, plastic 35-mm camera he portrayed simply as "a box with a secret inside that converts every view with affection." It was his only commercial success.

    Ohmori spent the next several years selling cheap cameras like the Russian Lomo, importing burgeoning lo-fi photography to Tokyo as the Eastern bloc crumbled. Enthusiasts still clamor for the film cam, whose poor construction yields mysterious optical aberrations and sometimes doesn't even bother to keep images from seeping across the film's sprocket holes. So, when supply chains shriveled, entrepreneurial Ohmori became a manufacturer.

    Instead of imitating old Soviet shells, Ohmori's company, Superheadz, designs toy cameras. The $125 Blackbird fly is a new customer favorite. In addition to maintaining idiosyncratic lens quality, the camera has a framing mask that lets you shoot square photos on 35-mm film—or even bleed the image to the edge like its old comrades. Of course, in true Japanese form, the fly's exterior is far from proletarian.

    Why make a toy camera? They take us back to essentials. We were trying to simplify as much as possible, to create something basic, but not a faceless design.

    Are you satisfied with the Blackbird fly? If something is perfect, it responds to its creator's quest for perfection. That's not so interesting to me. The fly was born under layers of compromise, and there are some aspects I'm not happy with. Just like life. Design is as imperfect as we are, and I embrace that.

    Why are you obsessed with film? We now hear the richness of vinyl records because we can compare them to CDs. In the same way, the digital camera's crisp, clean images help us recognize the complexity and warmth of film. It's exacerbated when you shoot through a plastic lens like the one on our fly. We do not always want a faithful representation of reality. Sometimes we yearn for a dream.
    f/22 and be there.

  2. #2
    IloveTLRs's Avatar
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    Japan is pretty nutty for toy cameras. My friend saw a Fujipet for $400 a few weeks ago :rolleyes:

    Personally, $125 and an uncoupled viewfinder turned me off the Blackbird Fly. Especially here in Japan where old TLRs can be found all over the place!

  3. #3
    viridari's Avatar
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    It's not even particularly useful as toy cameras go. Just cashing in on a fad.

  4. #4
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    The only difference between men and boys, is the price of their toys!
    Rick

  5. #5
    McFortner's Avatar
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    I'd love a TLR, but my one requirement would be a 35mm. I can't afford branching out into another size of film right now. And the Blackbird, fly is just too expensive for me right now.

    Michael

  6. #6

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    I think the guys in Wired would go nuts if they knew about the "Kamen Rider Decade" Blackbird Fly...

    http://www.freestylephoto.biz/30139-...pecial-Edition

    ...especially after seeing this very cool article on the SciFi Japan web site...it actually sheds some light on some pretty interesting facts about the camera and the show it's tied into.

    http://www.scifijapan.com/articles/2...dition-camera/

    I think this is cool, but then again, I'm a sucker for Japan-pop...

  7. #7
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    It's not a camera for me, but if it gets more people to buy film, I hope that they sell by the millions. I'm only afraid that people will get bored with film photography after these cameras go out of fashion. Better cameras would be more likely to sustain someone's interest, I would think. Maybe some of the people who start with toy cameras will want to upgrade to something better? If so, and they don't want to deal with used cameras, what will they buy?
    Charles Hohenstein

  8. #8
    reellis67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by viridari View Post
    It's not even particularly useful as toy cameras go. Just cashing in on a fad.
    I tend to agree with you completely on this one...

    - Randy

  9. #9
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Today I was in Washington Square Park and saw a crowd of people using blue Dianas. They all seemed to be taking a class together. Also noticed someone with a Yashicamat D and another with a 35mm film SLR, but I couldn't pick out the model the way he was holding it.

    We've had a few mentions of the Blackbird Fly here. Try a search to find more info.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  10. #10
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    I've not seen a BBF in the wild yet but I did see a group of girls, some shooting digital, at least one had a film SLR though, on Carnaby Street yesterday.
    ~Heather
    oooh shiny!
    http://www.stargazy.org/

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