So, What is a Toy Camera

The toy camera is typically a cheap, poorly made all plastic camera

The majority of people believe using a toy camera for photography is a complete waste of time. However, there's practically a cult following of enthusiasts for toy cameras out there that believe toy camera picture taking is exciting and think those random light leaks create interesting photographic results. You can find toy cameras at a whole range of different locations, such as antique stores, flea markets, websites and toy stores. 

Holga 176-120 Holgawood 120N Medium Format Camera (Yellow Brick Road)
Holga 176-120 Holgawood 120N Medium Format Camera (Yellow Brick Road)

A toy camera is a cheap, usually plastic makeshift camera. Although some may think toy camera photography is a waste of time. The random light leaks provides an interesting outcome on photographs. Toy camera photography is exciting. They can be found at a variety of different places like flea markets, antique stores, toy stores, and websites.

Toy cameras include everything from the Barbie pink plastic 110 camera through the Holga 120S. Others include spy cams, an Lomo Action Sampler, and Lomo Supersampler. Prices for toy cameras can vary from only a few dollars up over $150 to buy a Lomo Kompakt.

Toy cameras are inexpensive simple box film box cameras usually made entirely from plastic, typically including the lens. The term "Toy" is misleading, as they aren't 'toys' because these cameras actually have capability to take pictures. Many were made a promotional items be given out as prizes or novelty items. The Diana camera, a novelty inexpensive 4x4cm box camera from the 1960s and made in Hong Kong, is most often the camera that comes to mind with the 'toy camera' term. Other cameras, like the Lubitel, LOMO LC-A, and Holga, although initially created as mass-market consumer cameras, have also come to become linked with the term.

Eric Lindbloom - Pine Woods #32
Eric Lindbloom - Pine Woods #32

Several professional photographers have made use of toy cameras with the typical strange optical results of these camera's inexpensive lenses to capture award-winning photos. The photography of toy cameras has been widely displayed at numerous popular art shows, like the Krappy Kamera exhibit held annually at the New York City Soho Photo Gallery. A variety of publications including Popular Photography magazine in the past have praised the merits of the Diana medium format camera as an "art" fabricating image maker. A number books have even featured the photographs of toy cameras, like Iowa" written by Nancy Rexroth, Friends of Photography's "Diana Show", plus "Angels at the Arno" written by Eric Lindbloom.

updated article Oct 17, 2011

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