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Toy Camera Feature - Conclusion - We've had a look at five "toy cameras" each different in its own unique way, but what conclusion is there?
Each camera has its own unique charms - whether it's the Necono digital camera that looks like a cat, the NeinGrenze 5000T with tilt shift lens, the Superheadz Digital Harinezumi* 2+++ shaped like an old 110 film, the ultra small Pokedigi pocket square, or the digital lomo VistaQuest 1015 Entry. You get a different experience and different results from each camera, some of them may give you better results than others. *meaning hedgehog.
But is the image quality what these cameras are trying to offer? (If you've seen the photos taken with them, then you'd know instantly that that's not what these are about) No, ultimately these cameras are about capturing something different, whether it's the expression of confusion on someone's face while you try and take a photo of them with a plastic cat, or the wibbly wobbly world you can capture with the tilt shift camera, the hyper saturated and vignetted view of the world from the vistaquest, or you might want to put everything in a square box with the pocket digi, or maybe you want to capture the world with a coloured filter with the Zumi 2+++?
The important thing that these cameras do is make you think about what you're taking a photo of, or perhaps the opposite, you don't need to think, you just snap away and hope for the best. The rules of "lomography" is: don't think just shoot, and then rule number 10 says something like "there are no rules."
Then there's the price consideration to be factored in, and build quality, the Superheadz 2+++ and Necono Cat Camera (also by Superheadz) command the highest prices at £140 each, but also offer the best built quality of the cameras tested. The NeinGrenze 5000T costs not much less at £130, but has the air of an extremely cheap camera (such as anything available in major supermarkets priced at £30), apart from of course, the tilt-shift lens. The Pokedigi is available for £75, which is more realistic, not that it's good value for money, but it's much closer to what you would expect to pay for such a camera. Then there's the VistaQuest 1015 Entry, which you can find on ebay for around £35, which is the price you would expect to pay for this camera. Such a relatively low price (compared to the other cameras shown here) make it much more agreeable, especially if you buy it as a "toy" or "just for fun" and then find you don't get on with it.
This has been an extremely interesting feature for us to write, and hopefully one you've enjoyed as well, and hopefully it's also helped bring some additional information to an area of the camera world that's often overlooked by the western world. If you would like to see more of this kind of feature, then let us know, and if you spot a camera you don't think we've seen yet, again let us know.
It's definitely an area that's not going to be going anywhere soon, with new "real" cameras featuring "toy" and "miniature" effects, and the next generation of "toy camera" already under development, it's an interesting, if a little quirky, area to keep an eye on.
The Winner: (If there can in fact be a winner) We all voted in the office for the best photos, and the tilt-shift photos from the NeinGrenze got the most votes - the particular photo that was most popular, was the photo featuring the red mini, the tilt-shift miniature worked really well and the way the faces of the pedestrians were blurred made it look like a very convincing model. I think the fact that the NeinGrenze is the only compact camera with a tilt shift lens makes this really interesting, but also quite tricky to use, perhaps with some refinement and improvements this camera could be really great. We will be awarding Pete some kind of prize shortly.
The 2nd most popular photos were produced with the Harinezumi 2 with the most convincing black and white images, and colourful, and quite detailed shots. Nik fell in love with the Necono Cat Camera (and never wants to give it back), and my personal favourite was the VQ1015 Entry, with massively saturated images, and vignetting to the max straight from the camera. The PokeDigi was cute and small, but didn't really find favour with the user, although it is the smallest and does have a nice texture to it.
The Photoshop Challenge: We asked you to see what you could do with the photos produced by these cameras, have a look at what's possible, and why not have a go here.
Thanks to the photographers gallery for providing the Necono, Superheadz, PokeDigi, and NeinGrenze, and thanks to VistaQuest for providing the VQ1015 Entry.
Introduction - what are toy cameras?
VistaQuest VQ1015 Entry - the "original" digital lomo?
Necono Cat Camera - is it a cat? is it a camera? it's both!
NeinGrenze 5000T - the world's only camera with built in tilt shift lens
Pocket Square - keychain camera with square photos
Superheadz Harinezumi 2+++ - shooting like it's a film camera?