Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Letter From a Fan

Dear Toyeur,

This site is great- but I'm one of those iPhone Hipstamatic fakes! I want in on the action of toy cameras! And yet, I don't know where to start. I go to Urban Outfitters and see shit like this:

but are they legit? This is what I got when searching ebay:

So there's the camera-buying situation, but then there's a film situation. What kind of film to get? Expired seems to be the hip thing, but do you have any other referrals? Indie places to buy/support? What about indie places to get the film developed?

Many questions I know, but I'd like to hop on this band wagon soon!


J.J. Baubeau

Dear J.J.,

Both examples above are "legit" toy cameras, cheesy-as-fuck as that "Wonderland" Diana is. Ugh. I'm sure everyone has differing opinions on the "toy" definition, but here we just have 3 guidelines:
1. No digital, ever. There's plenty of other places for that.
2. Typically, the camera should have a fixed focus, meaning you can't control it, and no F-stop or aperture settings.
3. Most toy cameras have a crappy plastic body.

Of course there are toy camera "mods" where people have made adjustments, and that's fine too, as long as the mechanics are still minimal.

If you need specific examples think Diana, Holga, pinhole, Vivitar, one-use point and shoots, photobooths, Polaroid, I'm sure you get the idea...

For film, use whatever is available to you! I'm no snob when it comes to film. I enjoy experimenting to see what products different films produce. A little internet research will tell you what kind of results you can expect with differing films, but keep in mind that the element of surprise is part of the fun.

And support any photography store local to you. It's the best way to keep film photography alive in your community.


  1. The only toy-cam-like digital camera that I found is the VistaQuest VQ1005- a digital key chain camera which takes pretty bad ass weird photos.


  2. and the digital harinezumi?

    But other than that, I like your criteria. In all seriousness, I recommend picking up a basic second hand point and shoot film camera - the kind that families discarded in favour of the equivalent in digital. They cost next to nothing these days, and give all kinds of fun results.


  3. Darren- Point and shoots are my favorite. I have a blue plastic camera with a hotshoe (!). Love it. I don't think it even has a name. Also, great site!

    Dennis, I would love to see some of those photos! I don't completely discount digital toy cameras, just here for the sake of keeping it all in the film family.