I have mixed feelings about the extraordinary popularity of Holga/Diana/Lomo plastic lens cameras. On the one hand, it’s great the way so many folks are rediscovering film, and the magic of creating photos that may or may not turn out, with simple opto-mechanical instruments that don’t require power to run… On the other hand, people spend lots of money on what are rather terribly poorly manufactured plastic cameras with low-grade plastic lenses, when these days it’s fairly simple to buy a top quality professional film camera for literally $5 secondhand. I even popped in to the Lomo shop in Vienna last year, expecting to be gleeful at all the film stuff there, but left (WITHOUT BUYING ANYTHING) feeling more like I’d been in a cheap knick-knack shop instead…
“But Marc, I love the down-to-earth simplicity of the Holga, and unlike you, I am not unhealthily obsessed with sharpness and perfect exposures!”, I hear you (Holga users) say… Well, have you considered one of these?
This is a bakelite masterpiece from the 1950’s by Kodak in England – The Brownie Cresta II – one of a series of models that are all moreorless the same. It takes the same 120 film as a Holga, features a similarly cheap and horribly vignetting plastic lens, and has only three “controls”: The shutter button, The film winding knob, and a sliding piece of metal that puts either a yellow filter, or a closeup adapter in front of the lens. That’s IT. The aperture and shutter speed are probably 1/40 at f11 or so – and the only thing you have control over is composition and the decisive moment.
Best of all, I just did a search on that auction site, and found many many minty ones, and one similar to mine for…. wait for it…. AU$4.67. The postage they want is more than the camera. Get one, and be cool I say!
In other news, a good friend of mine is having an exhibition at Craft Victoria shortly, and my photos of her work are being used for the associated catalogue and publicity, which is grand.
I encourage you all to pop in and have a look at her great, epic work!