For some reason throughout my collecting of film cameras, I have been constantly intrigued by ridiculously lo-fi plastic cameras. These cameras range in form from the freebies that were given with magazine subscriptions and bank accounts to the purpose made Holga and Diana plastic beauties. The nice thing about the supremely crappy ones is that one can pick them up for a dollar or two at local thrift stores. I will run through my favorites of these plastic gems in somewhat chronological order as I obtained them.
The Time Magazine 35mm film camera. I picked this one up in the local Animal Aid thrift store. I believe it was 2 or 3 dollars. It was a cruddy and dirty mess, but I had seen some nice results so figured it would be worth cleaning up. Heck, it even had a hot shoe! It features the 50mm Kinetic Optical lens…sounds great, huh? Settings include the “Diana-ish” sunny, partly sunny, partly cloudy, and cloudy for aperture and one guy, multiple guys, or landscape for focus. I have enjoyed using this camera and have had fun with a flash on it.
I believe the second camera of this genre I picked up was the Ansco Pix Panorama. I had a very similar camera in the early 90s and really liked it, but I think I broke the rewind lever on it…go figure on an all plastic camera 😉 This one is panorama except you can remove the “mask” that goes over the film frame, which I did. I used it for a while this way and just guessed through the viewfinder until I hacked it up to resemble the full 35mm frame view. This is an uber basic camera with only a lens cover, shutter button, film winder, and film rewind. I truly love the simplicity in shooting this offers…no doo-dads to fiddle with…just pure composition to think about. I now have two of these, one with the mask removed and one intact…although I have yet to really use the intact one for panorama style images…think I prefer to just shoot “wide angle.” And on that topic…I did try a Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim and actually preferred this model…it’s not quite as wide, but also does not feel as though I am going to crush it in the pressure of my hands 😉
The third camera I will mention is my latest addition, the “no name” blue and black “Sports” model 35-55 zoom 35mm camera! Just got this for $2 at a new Goodwill store I just found. Haven’t run film in it yet, but will soon. Its controls include a manual zoom ring on the lens that even zooms in the viewfinder…how high tech!
If you are dabbling in film at all, I highly recommend this type of camera. It’s great when you are feeling overwhelmed with f-stops and shutter speeds and all of the other decisions to make when shooting. It brings photography to its purest form of light/shadow and composition. And as I like to say, it’s not the camera that takes the photo, it’s the artist behind it!
Here I introduce you to one of my favorite rangefinders in my collection. This camera never ceases to amaze me with images it produces with little to no effort on my part 😉
Here I introduce an oldie but a goodie, my beloved SX-70. Sadly, I had to sell it and did so on Etsy (my new favorite way to sell on the internet!). Luckily for me, I have a good “user” in my black and tan one that I just did a leather replacement on (to be featured in a future blog post, but you can go to my YouTube channel to see what I’ve uploaded so far).
I had started this project about a year ago and never really completed it as I would have liked. I finally decided to quit sitting on the idea and pursue it. The concept is to have an image of an old camera printed on the front of a t-shirt with it appearing to be a real camera worn by the person. The camera straps could actually be extended up to look as though it is hanging on the front of them.
I started by shooting my beloved Pentax MX slr, Yashica Electro 35 GSN rangefinder, and Canon Canonet QL17 GIII rangefinder. I got them posted on my website that night. I decided the next day to do some more, so I shot my vintage Diana plastic camera, Kodak Brownie Chiquita, and WWII era Rolleiflex twin lens reflex (tlr).
I’ve got them on my website through RedBubble and I think they came out great. Had to tweak the sizes a bit to give them a realistic look. Thinking of ordering the Pentax one for myself because it’s my favorite camera and it’ll be cool to wear it even when I’m not 😉
I was lucky enough to be loaned a great vintage Harmony guitar by friend and musician Bobby DeVito recently. I had mentioned to him that I wanted to “borrow” great guitars from some of our musician friends to do some film based art photography on them. He was happy to oblige.
The guitar is an acoustic with an arch top and beautiful f-holes. It belonged to his grandfather “Slim” Henderson who was a country artist in the 1940s. Apparently he played for the Grand Ole Opry and once cursed in a song on live radio and therefore blackballed in the industry. I guess things were different back then, especially in the country music genre 😉
I set up the studio (aka: second bedroom) with a black backdrop and frame given to us by a friend. I also set up two studio lights, loaded up the Pentax MX and shot away.
I was happy with what I got…some detail shots and some full body shots. I am just amazed at the artistic elegance of musical instruments like this…and shooting the details makes me see so much more!
The hubby and I decided to go to a classic car show a couple of weeks ago at the Hard Rock Casino here in Hollywood, FL. I thought it was a great idea because I hadn’t been out shooting film in a while and needed some eye candy for inspiration. I checked the film drawer in the fridge just to realize I had only one roll of 120 film and no 35mm though! Oh, the conundrum! Out of film; is this even possible? I do need to place an order, but things have been tight, so I have yet to do so, so I’ve been getting by on rolls that I’ve received in swaps of camera gear, film, etc. from fellow flickr-ites.
Now I figure that there must be a roll in one of the 60+ cameras I have laying around, so I proceed to check. There it is, in the quirky old beast that is the Argus C-3…but I figure it’s an appropriate camera since it’s more than likely 1950s vintage and many of the cars I will see will be around the same age…perfect! I also loaded up the 1940s Rolleiflex with the one remaining roll of 120.
We get to the Hard Rock and once we finally figure out how to get to the show from the parking lot, it is amazing! There are beautiful concours worthy automobiles from every maker and every era. Oh, the eye candy, now I was truly inspired!
I shot many makes and models and came up with quite a few images from the old C-3 that I really like. I have yet to develop the roll out of the Rollei, but should be getting to that one soon.
All of the shots are in the Transportation section on my website here: Transportation Gallery on AnalogSoulPhoto.com
This is the second in my series introducing my collection of film cameras. This one features the lovely and talented original Diana plastic camera from the 1960s.