Saturday, September 20, 2014

Voltron Camera Review

Voltron Star Shooter Camera

(Article originally appeared in Light Leaks magazine)

Manufacturer: Made in Macau for Impulse LTD.
Date: 1985
Format: 110 film
Price: $50-$75 US
Summary: Plastic construction resembling a robot
Technical Details:
• Single element lens
• Simple thumbwheel film advance
• Flash socket for Magicubes

• No noticeable vignette
• Slight peripheral blurring.
• Relatively sharp lens on center.
• 110 film produces small negatives.

Field Notes:

  Voltron is a giant mecha robot from the 1980s cartoon series: Defender of the Universe. Thanks to the Impulse company, we have todays featured toy camera. What a beauty he his. Able to transform from a cool Japanese anime robot, to a fake 35 mm film shooter. Although the main lens on the front is fake, inside the body of this robot, is a 110 film shooter. Aside from being one of the coolest cameras I have ever come across, it does take pictures fitting of  the toy camera genre. The camera is very easy to use, as you can only push the shutter button, and advance the film using a thumbwheel. It does have a socket for Magicube flashes, but I did not have any to test. Without the flash, indoor shots are pretty much out of range. Getting 110 film is also getting harder to come by. Once a staple for all small instamatics and toy store cameras, it is slowly fading away. I found a supply of drugstore branded film at the local Walgreens. Color 200 ISO was my only choice. Since 110 film makes a negative size of only 13mm x 17mm, enlargments are pretty much out of the question. There is quite a bit of grain on the 4.5 x 3.5 inch prints that came back from the lab. There was no in-house developing available at my lab either. They had to send the film out and it took about 2 weeks to return. In summary, if you can locate one of these at a decent price, they are worth adding to the collection. Even if you don’t shoot with it, it’s a gorgeous shelf sitter and conversation piece for your toyhead friends to envy. * 110 film can now be bought thru 

Friday, October 25, 2013

World Toy Camera Day 2013

"WTCD 2013"
October 19th 2013 was once again World Toy Camera Day. The day originated quite a few years ago by Becky Romotowski. This image was shot on some expired film with my Lomo Sprocket Rocket Camera.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

PhotoFlex MX-35 Camera

"PhotoFlex MX-35"

Thanks to my friend Gilbert and his mother Leslie,  I have this new camera called the PhotoFlex MX-35. Its a variation model of the plastic Time (magazine) camera. They were built to look like 35mm SLR cameras but do not operate as such. The camera has a 50mm plastic lens that is fixed focus. You can adjust the aperture to F6,8,11, and 16 if the lens markings are correct. The camera does have a hot shoe so you can use a flash unit if you like. For this test I loaded up some expired supermarket branded film. Very easy camera to operate and I like my first results.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day 2013

"Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day"
April 28th 2013 was this years worldwide pinhole photography day. Got out to shoot a roll of film thru my Holga 135PC camera.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Photo Books That Inspire

 "Camera Obscura" by Abelardo Morell
Abe make some great photos by converting rooms into camera obscuras. He blocks out all the light with plastic over the windows and leaves a small pinhole opening in one of them. The resulting outside landscape is then projected onto the room walls and furnishings.  Abe uses a large format camera setup inside the room to capture the images in the book. Some exposures lasting up to 8 hours!

"Photographs" by  Rocky Schenck
Rocky's images in this book are dream like. He manipulates both the film negative and the prints surface. He says the images are "illustrations of my conscious (and perhaps subcoscious) dreams, emotions, and longings.....

"Explorations Along An Imaginary Coastline" by Martha Casanave
Gorgeous photos that capture some nice wide angle, distorting views from her 4x5 pinhole camera. The long exposures and sometimes solitary figures create some stunning imagery.

"Within Shadows" by Susan Burnstine
One of my favorite photo books of all time. Susan has been a photo friend of mine for quite a few years now going back to the first issue of Light Leaks magazine. The book is gorgeous and remarkable. The quote inside from Carl Jung sums it up nicely- :Who looks outside, dreams: who looks inside, awakes." This is a must have for your collections.

Friday, February 22, 2013

1st Shots- Belair X 6-12

"Belair X  6-12"

   Finally got around to testing out the new Lomo Belair X 6-12 camera. For this test I went wide and used the 58mm lens with the 6x12 mask. You get 6 shots on a roll of 120 film this way. This camera has an auto exposure mode. It basically is aperture priority with your choices of F8 or F16. No manual shutter speed selection except bulb. Typical zone focusing and you can select your films ISO speed. Other features include a tripod mount, hot shoe, and an additonal 90mm lens. There are 3 film masks to choose which format you want to shoot. 6x6, 6x9, and 6x12. I bought the City Slicker version which has the basic cosmetic trim. With the lens collapsed, it slides nicely into my bag. Takes some good holding technique to keep the camera still during shooting. The viewfinder was decent, just make sure you are using the proper one that matches your lens choice. Pretty fun camera if you like folders with the choice of formats and 2 lenses.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Adore Noir Magazine

  Check out Adore Noir magazine. Full of great interviews and stunning photography. Not all is film based, but a large portion of it is. They are also looking for portfolios. Chris Kovacs has made a winner here. From their home page-

Adore Noir is the world's first black & white, fine art photography, PDF based, E-magazine. We publish bi-monthlynand feature the works and Q&A interviews of six photographers per issue, along with articles covering a wide range of topics such as: Art vs Science.

When your purchase is complete a download link will be automatically emailed to you.
Please be sure to check your spam folder if you cannot find the email.
If you are downloading directly to iPhone or iPad and want to save the PDF you must have iBooks or Good Reader installed on your device.
We aim to be an inspiration to anyone interested in photography and the arts.
Chris Kovacs, editor/publisher

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Plastic Fantastic Talk video now online

Thanks to B H Photo in NYC and Deborah Gilbert for hosting my toy camera talk. It was recorded and now available on YouTube.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Plastic Fantastic Class

"Plastic Fantastic: An Intro to Toy Cameras"
I will be once again giving another toy camera class at B&H Photo NYC. Still time to register- REGISTER for Toy Camera Class

Friday, November 16, 2012

Holga Micro-110 Camera

"Holga Micro-110 Camera"
Finally tested one of Holga's smallest cameras- the Micro 110. Since 110 film is gaining some popularity due to the new films by, now is the chance to give one a try. I picked up the 110 camera from the good people at Four Corners Store The camera literally fits in the palm of your hand. Snap a roll of 110 film onto the back, advance the thumb wheel, and trip the shutter button. That's all there is. I used some expired Walgreens film for this test. You get a lot of grain working with these small negatives, but can be nice in the right situations. Lomography has fresh 110 film in stock and I get my 110 film processed by the good people at Old School Photo Lab

Thursday, October 18, 2012

New Jersey Psychic

"New Jersey Psychic"
More Holga stuff shot with expired Fuji color film. Ocean City NJ.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Chess Army

"Chess Army"
Holga 120 CFN camera loaded with Ilford XP-2 Super 400 film.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Monday, September 24, 2012

Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday, September 14, 2012

Juice Camera

Juice Camera

Manufacturer: Fuuvi
Date: 2011
Format: 35mm film
Price: $25.00
Summary: Plastic 35mm spy type camera

Technical Details:
 Aperture F9.5
 Shutter 1/100
 Lens 28 mm
 Wide angle
 Slight vignette
 Slight edge blur

Field Notes:
  Using this camera is as easy as stealing a juice box from your nephew. You can go 007 with this baby since it looks like a typical child’s juice box. It’s also as basic as you get with a toy/plastic camera. It has a simple viewfinder, thumbwheel film advance, and a secret straw type shutter button. For this test, I popped open the back door and loaded some color 35mm 400 iso film. After advancing the film with the thumbwheel, you just take a peek thru the viewfinder and push down on the straw shutter button. There is also film counter window to keep track of what frame you are on. When you trip the shutter a small lens cover slides out of the way before the picture is taken. It’s all part of the disguise! That’s about all there is to this camera. Small, easy to toss in the camera bag, and takes some fairly decent pictures. They make a bunch of different style drink labels to choose from. I bought mine from the good people at the Four Corners Store.    

Friday, September 07, 2012

Holga 120 Pan at Point Pleasant NJ

"Holga 120 Pan"
A few new shots using the hefty Holga 120 Pan camera. Check out Holga 120 Pan for my full review

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Debonair Camera

   I just purchased the Debonair from the gang over at The Film Photography Project  The Debonair is kind of a hybrid Diana Holga camera. Lens is very Holga like and the body/back is very Diana like. It takes 16 6x4.5 cm sized shots on a roll 120 film. The box says it was made in Hong Kong and calls it the model 819. I have seen this camera around for some time now, but the Film Photography Project are selling it for 19.99! They even threw in a free roll of film. Going to take this camera on a little trip next week, stay tuned for sample pics.