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Toy Camera Feature - Introduction

Toy Camera Feature - We're looking at five toy cameras from Japan to see how they perform. Each camera has a unique feature, some more than others.

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Over the next 5 days, we're going to be showing you five digital cameras from the other side of the world (aren't they all?), normally these cameras are unavailable outside Japan, but thanks to the kind folks at the photographers gallery, you can now buy almost all of these cameras in the UK. We'll also be showing you the best shots we could take with the cameras, and awarding a prize to the person who took the best photos! 

Originally the "toy camera" term came about due to extreme budget cameras being released, often they were keyring sized, as in the VistaQuest VQ1015, and the majority of them had one thing in common: low quality or "lo-fidelity" images. In fact, one of the first, made by VistaQuest was called "the digital lomo" on the internet, and when VistaQuest released a new improved image quality version, the internet reacted. They wanted the low-quality version back - and thus the VistaQuest VQ1015 Entry model was released. More recently other companies have joined in, realising that this is an opportunity to create unique cameras, such as the NeinGrenze 5000T with built in tilt shift lens, and the Necono Cat Camera, shaped like a cat!


The Superheadz Harinazumi was introduced to be a film-like camera with digital output, the original version did not show you a live-preview of the photo you were taking, instead only showing you the photo after you'd taken it. Over the years it's been updated with pluses, +, ++ and the latest verion +++ (triple plus), and now it will show you the live preview of what you are taking a photo of. It also features a lo-fi "8mm" style video mode.

Necono Digital Camera

Other cameras include a camera shaped like a cat, a "pocket-square" model that takes, you guessed it, square photos, and the NeinGrenze 5000T, the world's first pocket camera with built in tilt-shift lens.

These cameras have been so popular, it almost seems a rarity for a modern digital camera, not to have some new "toy camera" or "miniature" creative modes built into the camera. We thought it would be best to go back to basics, and see what these unique cameras are cable of, using in some cases low quality lenses to achieve the effect, or alternatively built in colour modes. Click through to the first page, and keep checking back for the next entry.

Photoshop challenge: If you can improve any of the images please post your results here.

Article pages:
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?
Conclusion and winner.

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