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Thread: Fun with toy cameras

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    Fun with toy cameras

    I'll begin this thread by sharing a fun kit that I recently assembled.

    Otona no Kagaku (Science for Adults) is a series of "Mooks" (magazine/book) published by Gakken in Japan and available elsewhere through sources like Books Kinokuniya, Make Magazine, jlist.com, etc. I bought mine from Books Kinokuniya in San Francisco's Japantown for about $40.



    Wish I could read Japanese better! Besides containing the assembly instructions, the magazine portion of the kit also includes general photo-enthusiast content, along with unrelated topics like the life cycle of swine flu in comic form.

    Enough talk, let's get started!

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    Re: Fun with toy cameras

    About halfway through the build.



    Almost there.



    Done!







    Super-cute! Just wide enough to house a 35mm film cartridge. Very light but solid-feeling. This is a very basic camera with just a single aperture and shutter speed, plastic meniscus optics (one element) and no niceties like flash synchronization or film counter. Optics focus down to about 0.5 meters.
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    Re: Fun with toy cameras

    And a couple of shots taken with it:





    Any worries that I may have had about it looking too normal were quickly put to rest. A fun build for sure.
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    Re: Fun with toy cameras

    I placed a $40 bid on a Lomo LC-A then forgot about the auction until I received a notice that I had won. The cosmetics are decent, but it's suffering from crumbly foam, and I'll probably need to CLA it before use.


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    Re: Fun with toy cameras

    Impulse-buy Lomography Spinner 360. Around $80 on sale. Totally non-electric and mostly plastic, but it feels pretty solid. I never was big on taking selfies, but I'm curious to see what I can do with this thing.



    Last edited by 4season; 5th December 2014 at 22:17.

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    Re: Fun with toy cameras

    I found this one on Amazon for $179, and it turned out to be a better-than-expected buy with the inclusion of the optional Instax instant-film back! I originally chose it as a fairly cheap and lightweight way to try the 6x12 format, but right now I'm sidetracked using it as an instant camera. Not a true 6x12, the camera's bellows limits vertical image size to about 52 mm.




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    Re: Fun with toy cameras

    In use, the Lomo LC-A has a certain charm about it: Though mostly made of plastic, it feels sturdy, and it's simple controls can be operated quickly by feel.

    Mine's an original circa 1986 Soviet version with aperture control lever, whereas the current Lomography product (LC-A+) omits the feature but adds cable release and double-exposure capability. And that's probably a fair tradeoff, because shutter speeds are fixed at 1/60th second when an aperture is manually set, so the feature isn't all that useful except when shooting with a flash.

    Reliability: As delivered, mine was semi-broken with a sticky shutter, a funny smell and crumbly, sticky foam.

    This how-to guide was a big help in disassembling the camera:

    Lomo LC-A Sticky Shutter Fix | Camera Monkey

    I diverged from the guide by also re-foaming the camera, cleaning electrical contacts (probably the real source of my camera's problems) and re-lubricating.

    Result: It works! And no longer smells funky.

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    Re: Fun with toy cameras

    (Photos taken with the Lomo LC-A)

    Some folks celebrate light leaks, but I took them as a sign that I needed to replace my camera's deteriorating foam light traps sooner rather than later. As for the heavy vignetting: hmmm.

    This was more to my liking:
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    Re: Fun with toy cameras

    Looks like you're having some Very Serious Fun...

    Have you had a chance to try the Spinner yet?

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    Re: Fun with toy cameras

    Hi Oren,

    I went out shooting with the Spinner 360 almost immediately after unpacking it a couple of weeks ago. I doubt it will ever be one of my most frequently used cameras partly because it devours a 36-exposure roll of film almost as fast as you can load it! And how often does one encounter a situation which begs for the 360-degree treatment? Parts of my pictures (mostly a central band) look sharpish while others seem soft and glow-y. Camera shake + not-particularly-precise film path? Who knows, and maybe that's beside the point: I wanted to experience a new way of seeing things, and Spinner 360 delivers a generous helping of that.

    With the standard spring-powered drive it needs plenty of light and fast film to do it's thing, but it also completes it's circuit in just a fraction of a second, so it's just the ticket for subject matter in motion.

    Speaking of rotational speeds, the rotating lens slit is the only shutter, so the faster the camera revolves, the faster the shutter speed: Lots of creative possibilities there for alternative drive mechanisms or simply turning it by hand.


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    Re: Fun with toy cameras

    I had fun playing with Lomography's Belair X6-12 but ultimately decided to sell it off: The soft, minimally-corrected plastic optics performed about as expected and the whole outfit (instant-film back excepted) was delightfully lightweight. But maybe a little too bulky and fiddly for my tastes.



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