Plastic Camera Reviews Archives

First Impressions: I bought a New iPad on launch day

I was being a bit of a fan boy yesterday when I bought two new iPads in the Apple Store on Lincoln Road. We’ve even joined the live event via Twit when the announcement of the new gadget was made last week.

So now I’ve got an iPad with razor sharp Retina Display, an improved camera, 4G LTE and a bunch of other stuff. Let me tell you all about my first day with The New iPad.

I’ll pay close attention to the new camera features and compare them to the iPad 2 and the iPhone 4S.

Read moreFirst Impressions: I bought a New iPad on launch day

Inside Impossible: A Factory Tour

We were lucky enough to get an glimpse inside the Impossible Factory in Enschede a couple of weeks ago! With way too much on my plate right now I didn’t find a chance to post this until now.

Setting off at 4am from London we first flew over to Bremen,  from where my friend Oliver was kind enough to drive us 200km over the border to Holland. Thanks, Oliver!

What can I say – it was a blast! All our questions about Impossible material were answered, we were shown how it’s made and how it all came to be. We had an amazing chat with Andre Bosman who took literally hours being the perfect host and tell us everything us fans wanted to know (he’s also CEO and Co-Founder of the company).

Thousand thanks go to the entire Impossible Team who made us coffee and nibbles so we felt right at home. Let me show you some pictures mere mortals (and Polaroid enthusiasts) can only dream of: let me take you Inside the Impossible.

Read moreInside Impossible: A Factory Tour

My personal Harinezumi 2+++ Review

A few months ago I took a wander around town with my friend Andy Toms, and we happened upon the temporary Photographer’s Gallery not far from Warren Street.

Spontaneous as I am I spent a rather shocking amount of money on a tiny little plastic camera called The Digital Harinezumi 2+++

This little piece of cheap engineering is a 3MP digital camera that’s meant to take “bad” pictures and apply off-the-wall lo-fi effects on the fly. Anything from harsh black and white to over-saturated colours is what you get for £140. Did I mention it does video too?

I’ve fallen in love with it and due to its small size keep carrying it almost everywhere I go. I haven’t experienced the willingness to take digital pictures with any other digital camera. In fact, Zumi feels and behaves like a plastic film camera!

Now that I’ve spent some time with her I can show you some funky results and talk you through the ins and outs of my first every digital plastic camera.

Most images on this page are shot using the Vivid 1 setting - just like this one. No processing was done, all pictures are straight from the camera.

Read moreMy personal Harinezumi 2+++ Review

Nintendo 3DS: no glasses required. It’s like Futureworld, Dude!

Well before the European launch of the Nintendo 3DS and many announcements I kept thinking: what will the impact of this device be on the broadcast industry?

3D television is spreading like wildfire and appears to be the next “in-thing” – if it wasn’t for overpriced TV sets that require you to wear sunglasses. This major hurdle needs to be overcome for 3D broadcasts to be successful.

Nintendo’s new handheld console is at the time of writing the ONLY display out there that can give viewers the desired experience without the need for 3D goggles.

Partnership deals with Disney, Warner, Dreamworks and even broadcasters such as Sky and Eursport have already been signed, which tells us that “gaming” isn’t the sole focus of this puppy. When Sainsbury’s had the Nintendo 3DS on offer earlier this week I couldn’t resist and bought one.

Let’s see how (and if) it works.

Read moreNintendo 3DS: no glasses required. It’s like Futureworld, Dude!

Horizon S3 Pro: my Russian Panoramic Camera from an Alternate Reality

After a long journey from the Zenit factory in Krasnogorsk near Moscow via Atlanta and Miami, my brand new Horizon S3 Pro camera has arrived here in London (with Chinese newspapers as packaging material). What an international adventure!

This is a slit-exposure camera like the Widelux and Noblex – neither of which I could afford. I always wanted one of these cameras and finally bought one on eBay.

I have used this beauty for nearly a year now and can give you my honest opinion about it:

The Horizon S3 sucks. Period.

Let me tell you why I think that, but let me also show you some impressive results this camera can deliver – if it doesn’t eat the film before you get a chance to develop it.

Read moreHorizon S3 Pro: my Russian Panoramic Camera from an Alternate Reality

Lomography DigitaLiza: The Scanning Tool you shouldn’t live without

The DigitaLiza a scanning mask that lets you scan your negatives and slides including perforations on any common flatbed scanner.

It works really well with those annoying curly negatives and it’s much sturdier than those flimsy masks that came with your scanner. I first heard of it when the Spinner 360 came out.

Until now, when I wanted to scan film with sprockets, I had to sello-tape the edges to a a wet mount that came with my scanner (it’s a piece of glass really). This often leads to newton rings where the film touches the glass.

Not so with the DigitaLiza. For only £25 I thought I’d check it out.

And I have to tell you: it’s one of those things that you didn’t know you always needed 😉

Read moreLomography DigitaLiza: The Scanning Tool you shouldn’t live without

The Lomography Spinner 360

When I first heard about the Lomography Spinner 360, I knew I had to have one. I’ve been racking my brains on how they’ve made this marvel of 360 degree photography a reality without this being a “pro camera”.

With a rather sharp retail price of £110, this isn’t just a throwaway toy camera.  Medium format alternatives are 50 times that price – so we’re still getting kind of a good deal here.

I’ve had this camera for over three months now and I finally found the time to write up all my findings about this new gadget.

Let’s have a closer look at it in this article.

Read moreThe Lomography Spinner 360

First Flush: I’ve shot some PX100 in my new Polaroid 600 camera

Today is a very special day for various reasons: not only has my Polaroid 600 Extreme camera arrived (the one I bought for £2.50 off eBay). Also, both me and my wife are off together – it rarely happens these days. That alone was reason to celebrate.

But more importantly: The Impossible Project have today released their brand new PX600 Silver Shade Instant Film which is made for just these cameras! I put an order for 12 packs in immediately and can’t wait to give it a try.

In the meantime however, I pondered over the question “does the PX100 work in Polaroid 600 cameras” or rather “does an SX-70 film work in a Polaroid 600 camera” as discussed in my previous post.

I’m happy to say that YES IT DOES – with a minor modofication to the camera.

Let me show you the results and talk you through my experiences with this exciting new material.

Read moreFirst Flush: I’ve shot some PX100 in my new Polaroid 600 camera

Lomo Lunch: Diana Instant Workshop at Lomography London

We had the most fantastic time on Tuesday at the Lomo Lunch Workshop about the Diana Instant Back. For only £8 per person, this is a bargain considering you get

  • to use and test a Diana with Instax Back for the whole afternoon
  • tips and tricks on how to use it
  • a free pack of Instax film
  • 30% off Instax Film for the day
  • all your questions answered and more

I bought this fantastic gadget for a whopping £70 a few weeks ago and was a bit unsure what to expect. Instant pictures a la Polaroid have always had a fascination with everybody who’s into photography, and Fuji is now the only manufacturer of such products (not yet counting The Impossible Project).

I’ll give you a full review of the back another time – there’s a lot that can be said about it. If you are in town during April you should pop down to see the Lomography Gallery Store and check out the Diana World Tour downstairs. It’s an exhibition featuring 100 vintage Diana cameras and clones formerly in the collector’s hands of Allan Detrich.

The workshop itself consisted of a brief introduction to instant photography, the do’s and don’ts, and then they let you walk away and test this puppie out. If you have questions you can pop back anytime and even buy some film for 30% off the market price.

Read moreLomo Lunch: Diana Instant Workshop at Lomography London

First Flush: Polaroid 600 and the new Impossible PX100

At the time of writing, I’m eagerly awaiting the arrival of my first ever Polaroid camera: the 600 Extreme that I got from eBay for a bargain price of £2.50. Hey, it even was for charity!

I wanted it because there’s an ever so slim chance that I can use it with the brand new film by The Impossible Project:  PX100 First Flush. It’s a black and white film that fits old Polaroid cameras and has only been released a couple of weeks ago.

The Impossible Project, lead by Lomography founder Dr. Florian Kaps, have bought the last remaining Polaroid film factory in Enschede in 2008 and have since then been working on reviving this brilliant format. I cannot wait to see what they’ve come up with!

Since Polaroid left about 300 million cameras stranded in drawers and attics around the world without fresh film coming onto the market, my fascination with a medium doomed to be extinct keeps growing daily. I never really cared for Polaroid in the past, mainly because of expensive running costs. The cameras aren’t exactly attractive either. However, my views on the subject have changed in recent years, and ever since I acquired an Instant Back for my Diana I don’t mind telling you that both Julia and I are ADDICTED to instant pictures!

With the arrival of the very first batch of newly produced PX100 film, my interest in Polaroid has skyrocketed. I had to see for myself what I could do with an overpriced and hard-to-get pack of 8 pictures for £20. Considering I haven’t got the right camera, this is bound to be an adventure…

Read moreFirst Flush: Polaroid 600 and the new Impossible PX100

Holga: Up-Close and Personal with add-on Maco Lens Sets

If you wanted to take pictures closer than 1m (3ft) with your Holga, it meant you had to hack it and permanently mutilate your camera. Even then, putting things in close focus was a guessing game so I never bothered.

Thanks to these two £10 packs of add-on lenses, you no longer need to do that: snap one onto your Holga and start shooting up-close and personal. Since the barrels are the same on the 120 and 135 models, these babies will work on all my seven Holgas. Sweet!

I couldn’t resist and bought them both at the Photographer’s Gallery. I am currently looking into doing somethig similar to Little People in the Big City with Holga and Diana so these lenses seemed ideal for the job.

What I got was no fancy packaging, a clear set of instructions and a total of FIVE lens rings in a cute plastic storage pouch. All that for £19.98 and I wasn’t even looking – amazing!

Read moreHolga: Up-Close and Personal with add-on Maco Lens Sets

Tutorial: Getting “The Grunge Look” in your photos

Blackbird, Fly!

This is an article in response to a comment I received on my Golden Half camera review, in which a poster asked me “How do you get THAT picture quality?”

Henceforth known as “The Grunge Look”, featuring harsh grain, strong contrasts and vivid colours (where available), I’ll give you a rundown of what you need to achieve it. This article is aimed at advanced beginners, plastic camera fanatics, film shooters and everyone else interested in going “beyond the clean holiday snap”. I may cover more than you want to know, but please bear with me.

So grab a coffee, sit back and let’s get started 😉

Read moreTutorial: Getting “The Grunge Look” in your photos

My Blackbird Fly TLR Camera Review

black-bird-fly-cameraMy latest acquisition in the plastic camera stable is a Blackbird Fly TLR camera! I was very excited when it arrived, and even though it’s been a while, the excitement hasn’t worn off yet. Picture taking has become a healthy obsession for me, and it’s gadgets like these that keep it going.

I’ll tell you all about my experiences with this new friend. It’s an experience unlike no other, and this camera shares almost nothing with other 35mm cameras I’ve ever seen before. A TLR is not a camera you want for snapshots, but rather for deliberate and thought out picture composition. It really makes you think about what you’re doing.

I’ve had this little plastic gem for a couple of months now, having shot 5 rolls with it, and now it’s time for my honest opinion about this camera. At the time of writing (November 2009) it’ll set you back just under $130 (plus shipping from Holga Magic, Hong Kong) or £99 from the Photographer’s Gallery in Central London.

Read moreMy Blackbird Fly TLR Camera Review

Pop Cam – The Instant Warholiser

I thought it would fit in with the current “warholised” theme to write a review about my experience with Pop Cam. It’s been sitting in my drawer unniticed far too long, so here’s the attention it deserves. Pop Cam is a highly underrated plastic camera, and if you’re thinking about getting one, I highly recommend it. It’s a lot of fun!

Some History

When I first bought the Pop Cam, I wasn’t really into all that lomographic alternative photography malarkey.  I did like Pop art though, and loved photography, and as a sucker for all novelty items that trigger my taste buds, I invested £15 at the Urban Outfitters Store in Covent Garden. That must have been a good six years ago now.

Read morePop Cam – The Instant Warholiser

Lomography Oktomat Review: the 8-eyed art machine

The Lomography Oktomat. It looks much better than it actually is.
The Lomography Oktomat. It looks much better than it actually is.

Cashing in on what made the Supersampler a success, Lomography brought out the Oktomat a while ago. Press the shutter, and over 2-3 seconds, you actually shoot EIGHT images in sequence.

All this in the space of a standard 35mm negative, it sounds too good to be true. But is it?

Let’s find out!

Read moreLomography Oktomat Review: the 8-eyed art machine

My GOLDEN HALF – a Camera Review

Golden Half: what's in the box
Golden Half: what's in the box

The GOLDEN HALF is a 35mm half-format plastic camera. I discovered it recently while browsing through some alternative camera sites, and since it takes odd 18x24mm pictures (that’s two in the space of a “normal” 24x36mm negative), I decided I had to have it.

After 4 weeks and several rolls of film, here’s my two cents.

Read moreMy GOLDEN HALF – a Camera Review

My Holga 135BC Review

Holga 135BC - what's in the box
Holga 135BC - what's in the box

I’ve had my eye on this camera for a while – like every Holga Nut I imagine… who could resist the temptation of another Holga, especially if it’s different to the ones we know and love? Unlike its big brothers, this one takes standard 35mm film and produces 24x36mm negatives – easily processed on the High Street.

I rushed down to the Photographer’s Gallery last week to get the Holga 135BC, and I couldn’t wait to try it out. But before I show you the breathtaking results, here’s what this camera is all about.

There are two versions: the Holga 135 and the Holga 135BC. As I understand it, the only difference is a pink sticker on the BC version, and the fact that BC stands for “black corners”. This one should produce stronger vignetting, while the non-BC version shouldn’t.

Although there are no clues on the package or the manual, it’s fair to assume that this little baby is made by Tokina in Hong Kong, along with the rest of the fabulous Holga family.

Read moreMy Holga 135BC Review