favorite toy cameras

I recently shared my favorite camera gear and thought it might be fun to share some of my favorite “toy cameras.” Toy cameras are those that are simple, inexpensive (uh, sometimes) and mostly just for fun. You’re not going to get the same quality photos you’d take with a fancypants camera but the results are almost always super interesting.

I’ll start with my favorite first, the split-cam. The split-cam’s “claim to fame” is that you’re able to to take two pictures and fuse them together, perhaps putting the dog’s head on your friend’s body. It’s actually quite tricky to pull it off perfectly but that doesn’t mean the camera still isn’t tons of fun. It takes 35mm film.

Below are four of my favorites that I’ve shot with the split-cam. Two are just double exposures and the other two are taken using half and half method the camera is all about. Like I mentioned above, it’s actually incredibly hard to actually pull off the whole wrong head on the body photo. In all the rolls I’ve shot I’ve only managed to do it once, but it still makes me laugh hysterically every time I see it.

Instax mini is perhaps one of the most popular toy cameras out there right now, most likely because of the sheer thrill of instant photos. I own three instax mini cameras, the 50S, the 7S, the 8. My first, the Instax mini 7S is my favorite. It’s a chunky little camera that, in my opinion, isn’t very reliable. Does that stop me from continuing to shoot with it? Nope because when the pictures turn out even remotely like I pictured, they’re amazing! Since you can’t adjust or turn off the flash it can sometimes blow out photos which is why I found it does best outdoors on sunny days instead of in the house.

Some examples of instax mini photos I’ve taken are below…

Though it’s twice the width of the instax mini, the instax wide is still fairly similar. It performs best outside on sunny days. It’s not reliable indoors, so much so that I’ve come to avoid ever taking any pictures indoors. Back in 2010, shortly after I bought the camera, I wrote a little review on it. Despite the review’s age I still basically feel the same way about it. 

Some instax wide examples…

La Sardina was a fun little camera to shoot with. I’ve since sold it due to the fact it was collecting dust but that doesn’t mean I still didn’t enjoy it while I had it. La Sardina shoots 35mm film, and comes in a variety of different patterns and colors.

Here are some examples of photos I’ve taken with La Sardina…

I may have originally bought TIM because he’s the cutest little camera but he quickly ended up becoming one of my favorites. With TIM you can shoot two half frame exposures at the same time with both of his eyes open or one after the other by closing one eye, opening the other for one shot then switching which eye is open for the next shot.

 Some TIM photo examples. The first was taken outside on an overcast day, the second was taken under the same conditions but the film accidentally took a dip in Lake Erie before being developed and the third was taken inside using the flash.

In the past I’ve also played around with a few others including the Diana mini, Diana with instant back, and the quad cam, but they didn’t compare to the ones mentioned above. What are some of your favorite toy cameras?

Author: Kaylah Stroup

A collector of weird things. Plant Enthusiast. Wanderer. Beachcomber. Forever longing for the desert.

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