I'm so glad I found this site. My name is Malia and I live in Brooklyn, NY.
I'm a plastic toy camera junkie and also have a love for Polaroids. All in all I have a constant curiosity in film photography, cameras and techniques.
Right now I have a Diana and a Fuji Instax Mini (looking into getting the Diana Instant Back to sort of satisfy both sides)
I recently went on my 1st trip to Europe and left the Diana at home (I didn't want to break it) and bought a little digital point and shoot. I regret not taking it with me and have come home to a new need to satiated my love for film.
I just love the sound of click and drag.
Hopefully this forum will help me figure out my next step past the toys and into the big kids toy box.
Let me be the first to welcome you to the group.
Great bunch of folks with an incredible amount of knowledge to share.
Welcome, Malia. You'll enjoy this site a good deal, but, unfortunately, you may also aquire "Gear Acquisition Syndrome"....it's painful....but it's a good kind of pain!
Welcome to APUG from the Borough of Queens!
Welcome from Washington, DC!
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Welcome to APUG. I'm sure you're going to get a ton of advice from lots of people here, so let me get my 2 cents worth in first. At this point, I would consider playing around with some more toys for a little while...they really drill composition and lighting into your head due to the lack of shutter and aperture options. And of course, they produce images that digis just can't...for example, I have a Diana myself, and I just ran a couple of rolls of Kodak Ektar through it. Fantastic stuff--the bright color really adds to the Diana's photographic motif.
I would also strongly consider playing with a Holga, if for no other reasons than it can shoot truly a full-frame 120 image (unlike the Diana which crops), and it leaks more light than the Diana, so it creates even more of that toy camera atmosphere. Also, the Holga's lens is a slight wide-angle, whereas the Diana is nearly a "standard" lens.
There have also been some new additions to the toy camera family in the last couple of years. The Blackbird Fly is an honest-to-goodness old school TLR that shoots on 35mm film. The Golden Half 1/2-format camera is a tiny little thing that shoots 72 images on a 36-picture roll of film. The Holga now comes in a stereo version, as well as pinhole. So, your options are wide open.
I would also advise that whenever possible, shoot in black & white if you can. B&W lends itself to toy cameras really, really well, especially with all the light leaks some cameras produce. When you combine B&W toy camera images with techniques like lith printing, creative toning, or wilder stuff like chromoskedasic, the images really take on lives of their own. Well worth the extra hours spent in the darkroom.
When you're ready to move beyond the toy camera world, I would recommend picking up a good used all-manual camera. There are plenty out there, so if you're patient and selective, you should be able to find yourself some good deals. Classic Nikons, Canons and Pentaxes (I personally love the old Spotmatic line) are almost always good bets, since many of them were built really well, and there are plenty of lenses available out there for them. Or if you want to go larger and have a little more money to spend, it's hard to go wrong with a used Mamiya or Hasselblad...there are even some affordable Rollei's to be found. Or, if you're interested in something more off the beaten path, you can check out places like this:
Whichever way (or ways) you choose to go, I wish you luck, and hope that you choose to take yourself in exciting new creative directions.
Thanks for all the friendly Hellos!
Silverhead - Those vintage folding cameras have just been added to my equipment obsession list.
I had a holga but I broke it...so I thought I would try the Diana out. I have the super wide on it now and never really switch to the regular. The whole construction of the Lomo cameras and their accessories is the only thing that frustrates me. The super wide can't be used with the Ringflash mounted to the front, the regular flash can't be mounted with the super wide viewer. So I basically try not to use the Diana in a situation where i'd need a flash which is a bummer.
The Blackbird has also sparked my interest.
I think I'm going to buy a roll of the Kodak Ektar this weekend and try it out!
Thanks for all the tips!
p.s what I'd really like to learn more about is Daguerrotype photography. I just love the haunting spectral look you get from them but not even sure if there is a modern adaptation of the process and equipment.
You can still do daguerreotypes today, but the process is essentially unchanged - it involves a lot of doing stuff from scratch, and working with some hazardous materials. There are a couple of folks here who do the process, and some really good books that cover the materials and techniques. You might be better off starting with wet plate collodion, which is less dangerous and less expensive, and probably easier too.
Welcome, Malia, from near Washington, DC.
John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA
Welcome from northern Indiana.