Toy Camera Notes - Draft in Progress

These are some draft notes about my experiences with a few toy cameras.  Do not chew or crush.  Administer by mouth only.  Your mileage may vary, but it's useful to know what other folks are doing.

The pre-shot Mantra: B/N?  Focus?
The post-shot Mantra:  Double-check B/N and Focus.  Advance yer flim now, not later.

Light meters, for fun and profit.  This sentence is a stub.  ;)

It's not dust and scratches, it's "character."

Just throw your lens cap out.  It's more trouble than it's worth.

Taping on a macro lens?  Find focal point with paper taped where film would go, adjust distance until LED or somesuch is in focus.  Measure distance.

Diana Mini :
The "top shelf" of the bunch, available at hip stores like Urban Outfitters, this camera has so far been the most ornery.  It likes to eat film.  It likes to incorrectly advance film for your current frame size.  The shutter on this one wants to stick open, leading to some "interesting" rolls of film.  (Try gun/trimmer oil.)

Feeding it properly seems to soothe its anger.  If you can afford it, waste a roll of film to see just how the innards are gonna interact with your film.  (If it just ruined a roll for you, congratulations, you can afford it.)  Here's my process for loading a new roll:
  • Getting the winding spool to grip a new roll of film, *lay* it on the teeth.  It'll catch eventually.
  • Wind out enough film to get it to catch properly on the advance stopper.  Make sure it's got it.
  • When you flip up the platten, make sure the advance dealie has its teeth in the film.  Wind to test.
  • Gently slip the back of the camera back on.  If it won't go, twiddle the rewind knob.
  • Snap, advance, snap, advance, snap, advance.  If anything felt wrong, trust your instinct.
Here are the specs to tell your light meter, so it can help you tame the thing.
  • Aperture: "cloud" is f/8 and "sun" is f/11
  • Shutter: 1/60 second (or whatever that is in metric.)
I'm having good results with a 400 speed film.  In daylight, just leave it on N mode and snap away.  Indoors, you've gotta use the B mode (or a flash, but that's tacky) and take some longer exposures.  I shot a roll comparing shots with the incident recommendation, and shots with the reflected.  Reflected works well (makes sense) and you really don't need to stretch the exposure time.  It's surprisingly good at collecting light.

Holga 120CFN:
Aperture: f11 (?)  Adjusting switch doesn't actually change f.
Shutter: 1/100 (?)
Take out hte mask altogether.

Brownie Hawkeye (Kodak):
Aperture: some say f11, original specs may say f15, some measure it as f16
Shutter:  "1/30 to 1/60" is what folks say.  Some just do the caclulation for 1/45.
Man do I have notes about cleaning one of these.
Also, approximate price is something like five buck these days.  Dunno if that's accurate.

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