This digital camera takes retro-style pics without the retro film

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/07/08/this-digital-camera-takes-retr.html

Holga Digital? That’s like an analogue cameraphone.

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You’re just trying to get me to spend money, aren’t you?

Oh. Right.

I am tempted by this. However a big part of the appeal of the original Holga (and the Diana, a similar plastic camera) to me is the film–and the unfussy darkroom aesthetic that went along with it. I am frankly crap at processing film, but it doesn’t matter as much.

If I had a working scanner and more time I’d shoot more with the Holga and Diana. On the other hand, film is a pain in the ass.

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With original Holga being a medium format camera, and this one having a really small CCD sensor, I doubt it can be anything like an original one. It would be better to get a cheap used DSLR with as large sensor as possible, buy really old and crappy lenses and machine or 3d print converters between lens and camera. I bought some M42 threaded lenses (some probably made before 1970) and the results with Nikon D5200 DSLR are amazing.

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I shoot a Nikon DSLR (a D7100) and I use a lot of older, AI and AI-S lenses. The results are amazing and great. Which is the problem when I am looking for the crappy results that a toy camera returns. :slight_smile:

In some ways, a large sensor HOLGA with the traditional light leaks and introduced sensor errors and randomized film errors would be wonderful. But that would be a $3,000+ camera.

But in other ways, HOLGAs have always been cheap, one step away from a scam, cameras that barely fit the word “camera”; and a small-sensor cheap lensed barely functional digital camera kind of hits that tradition well. The problem is they may be too good.

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I’d love to see a simple match-needle DSLR, like a digital equivalent of a Pentax K1000 or Minolta SRT202. Unfortunately, that’s not likely to happen.

ETA: A DSLR in full-manual mode can come pretty close to the experience, but it’s still not quite like having an analog meter needle.

Funny you mention that because Holga actually makes what you’re talking about for modern cameras. I have one. It partially reproduces the effect, but the grain and colors are your problem :slight_smile:

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The real problem with this camera was that most people thinks it’s a pile of rubbish with non of the charm of the original film holgas. The shutter lag is so bad it hinders using the camera and images have little charm. It was a great idea. But failed in reality

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The lenses you use are too good then :slight_smile:
Get a really old and cheap toy camera (full frame or preferably smaller, not medium format, or there will be no vignetting), extract the lens, and hot glue it to a Nikon F-Mount body cap with a hole in it. If you get proper distance from the sensor, it’ll work perfectly (for a certain definition of “properly”).

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How does this compare to the Yashica Y35?

It seems as if this “retro” photography idea surfaces every now and again. Nostalgia is not what it was but I really can’t see the point of this. Retro looks can be achieved by other means than using a not-so-cheap plastic box with a crappy lens and a dodgy sensor. Save your money, folks.

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Sold the last medium format camera I owned in 2007. Never missed them. Not even the Lubitel or the Leica. I am not going to process any analogue #@%&! in a dim, poorly ventilated chamber full of stinking chemicals again. Never ever. Shoot me if you see me trying! You’ll be doing me a favour.
Nor will I be going back to linear audio editing because somebody comes up with a cool, “retro” tape machine (Tape! Machiiiine! Cleaning Woman!).

Seriously: most images nowadays aren’t “perfect” because of the “great cameras” in everyones pocket. 90% of all photos still are crap and that’s not technologies’ fault. Digital imaging, however, has the big advantage of not wasting paper and energy or poisoning the environment with chemicals and heavy metals.
Let’s just grow up, bury photochemistry and let’s try to face a reality where lousily composed, colorful images of ourselves and our beloved ones in front of whatever are just the boring, worthless mess they have always been.

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Or, as I’ve been told, the most important part of the photographic process is the nut behind the camera.

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I really miss 8x10 Tri-X at ASA 160. Creamy.

I had a friend in MFA school who did her whole thesis show on a Holga/Diana. It was marvelous, even to me - a superannuated sharpness freak who lugged around 50 pounds of gear all the time.

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For a lot less (free, up to $hundreds) you can download Hipstamatic if you have an iPhone. This app is the only reason I haven’t switched fully over to android (I have a medium-priced android work phone and a handy 8-inch android tablet, but the iphone is my number one device). You can spend nothing on the app, or, like me, probably $200 in the last ten years. You get a few simulated lenses, films, and flashes for free, and they have various packs of same from 99 cents to a few bucks for collections. I started out on the ipod touch, and spent a dollar here, a dollar there. Used it on family vacations, and generally everywhere, until I grew up and got a smartphone in 2012. I use Hipstamatic every day, to have fun capturing photos in sometimes barely predictable ways. You can play in modern mode, with the capability to fully edit after taking pictures, or go old school and you get what you get. Shake to randomize. Shoot. Shake again. Shoot again.
In a way, it hearkens back to the days of film, when you took your shot and that was the end of it. The feeling is heightened in the print store, which lets you choose prints of various sizes (4-inch are my favorite), which arrive in the mail in a few days. So we learn a bit of patience, and enjoy the sense of anticipation. When the prints arrive, we gather around, shoulder to shoulder, to flip through the pictures, reliving the memories. Hipstamatic helps me to be more aware of the present, and to enjoy the memories I’ve made in a classic way.
I’ve downloaded tons of photo apps on android, but not, ahem, ‘spark joy’ in the way that Hipstamatic does. You can use the film and lenses to subtly enhance everyday pictures, or go nuts with light leaks and other oddities.

But for $70? I’ll probably pick one of these up and add it to my lomo collection. I’m lame that way.

I wasn’t paid for this, but I probably should have been.

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