One shot was made with a Holga toy camera loaded with Kodak 400VC film. The other shot is with an iPhone 4 and the Hipstamatic app on the Buckhorst H1 lens setting. As with previous toy camera vs toy camera app comparisons that I’ve done, the real toy camera wins. Why? The much wider dynamic range of film. The sharp center with the radical falloff to out of focus. The true randomness of the light leaks. Not waiting around for the digital file to “develop.” The longer wait before seeing the results. Talking to the friendly folks at my local lab. The only things I don’t like about film are paying for it and scanning. You can click any of the diptychs above for a bigger image.
Holga vs. Hipstamatic: Click on either image above for a larger version
1. The Holga 120N image at the top has light leaks, is only sharp in the center, and has limited depth of field. The Kodak 400VC negative film handled the harsh mid-day lighting just fine (400VC has been replaced by Portra 400). At $5 + tax for the film and $6 for developing, it’s about $1 per shot when shooting with a Holga. Plus scanning time.
2. The second monkey photo was taken with the popular Hipstamatic app on an iPhone 4 using the Helga lens, and has been color corrected and resized in Photoshop. The framing is tighter because that’s the only way the iPhone would meter for the subject. I liked the image OK until I got the film back from the lab — now I much prefer the Holga version. iPhone photography apps are fun, but still haven’t replaced toy camera goodness for me. It’s a different thing.
Worldwide Pinhole Day was Sunday, April 24th. Images taken between April 23-May 1 are eligible for the 2011 online exhibition. This non-commercial event has no entrance fee, isn’t a competition, and you keep copyright. The image above was taken with a Zero Image 69 medium format pinhole camera. This beautiful little wood camera shoots 645, 6×6, 6×7, or 6×9. The pinhole is f/235, which requires about an 8 second exposure in bright sunlight with ISO 400 negative film. The image above was exposed for 16 seconds with Kodak Portra 400VC.
The sign is next to the viewing platform at Audubon Canyon Ranch’s Martin Griffin Preserve (formerly Bolinas Lagoon Reserve). There are 62 egret nests visible from the viewing platform, and volunteers have spotting scopes available. When the birds stand up, you can see the beautiful pale blue eggs. The chicks will be born in mid-May. Bring a long lens if you’d like to photograph the birds from the platform.