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It always surprises me that anyone would actually seek my advice but this seems to be so, so a Frequently Asked Questions page appears to be in order. I will add Q & A’s as I get time and try to organise the page in a semi-logical manner once I have enough entries to warrant that. For the moment however it will be an ongoing work in progress.

Q: Are you Crazy?

- the future is digital, why are you playing with this antiquated medium?

A: Quite possibly I may be slightly crazy, just ask my friends!

Most would actually argue that the present is digital, not just the future and if you are a professional photography dealing with workflow issues, deadlines and economies of scale then the digital pathway of photography is probably the most sensible way to work. I however am not a professional and photography is my hobby and passion, so I choose film as my preferred folly. If you are interested you can read more.

Q: Diana vs Holga

- what is the difference? Which is better? (or variations of this theme)

A: It seems that this question pops up quite frequently in multiple threads on the www.

Let me state my view quite clearly that I find these ‘vs’ issues quite annoying. Different people will like different cameras for different reasons, full stop. There are no ‘better’ or ‘worse’ cameras, just cameras with different attributes that appeal to some more than others. Some cameras certainly have more features and range of options than others, but this does not guarantee a ‘better’ photograph is made with them! For my semi-comprehensive and hopefully reasonably objective comparison of the different attributes the Holga and Diana cameras have, please read here.

Q: I’m completely new to Toy Cameras and/or Film Photography

- why are my pictures so dark, how do I load the film, what is the difference between 35mm and medium format film, what is this thing called love? (etc)

A: Perhaps I can guide your journey a bit

- I can’t help with the last one, only to say if you find it cherish it and appreciate it while you can. For people new to the adventure of toycameras and/or film perhaps this article may help. As for the others, like loading film please refer to my DIY category archives for now and I will attempt to address unaddressed issues as the year rolls on.

Q: How did you go about having your film developed, printed and/or scanned/uploaded to the web?

- how do you get the edges of the film, the sprockets, panoramic images, my lab only prints 6 x 4 photos? (or similar to that) – Just got this question in today:
I would like to know do you scan your own film?? if yes, what scanner you use or and recommendation? i am mainly using 35mm format.

A: The best thing you can do for your self is to get a negative capable scanner.

- if you have a scanner capable of scanning negatives that is ideal for control of how your images will look, getting panoramic aspects, sprocket holes or the unexposed edges of the film around your exposed images. I develop my own film or get my film “developed only” (no prints) which is less expensive than develop and print. I just scan all my negatives these days, printing those I like. I take so many non-standard photographic shots such as panoramic ,or exposures all the way to the film edge (sprockets) or square format (which isn’t really that non standard but try telling any modern lab that!) it is far easier for me to do this than put up with prints that don’t really reflect what I shot in the first place! You may need to make modifications to the mask/holder that holds your negative in the scanner if you want to get the sprockets in the scan and/or unconventional exposure sizes such as panoramic. In the past I have used a Canon Scanner capable of scanning 35mm & medium format film, but these days I use an Epson Perfection v700 because of its ability to scan film sizes up to 8″ x 10″ (At the moment the largest format I use is 4″ x 5″ but perhaps one day I will have an 8″ x 10″ camera)
See this blog entry about scanning for sprockets.
I advise anyone interested in going down this path to do some research on the latest scanner models and their capabilities and specifications so you get what suits your needs & budget.

Q: Where can I get a [name of plastic camera that takes your fancy here] camera?

A: From lots of places!

- depending on the camera you want and where you live. Read on…
Much of what you may be interested in can be ordered directly from the store on this site, check and compare prices though, as the items are sourced from different retailers on Amazon and some are better value for money than others.
The BBF (blackbird,fly) – The Superheadz dedicated bbf site has a guide of where to get your bbf, anywhere in the world.
Traditional Dianas comes up every now and then on ebay, the newer Diana + cameras can be found in the plasticlens store and also in many retail stores, such as adorama, freestyle, urban outfitters and Amazon. Of course they are marketed by the lomographic society but depending on where you live the shipping can be quite exorbitant (so shop around!)
The Holga can also be found in the plasticlens store, and many other places such as those mentioned above. You can get good modifications of the Holga (two apertures, internal flocking and more) at Holgamods. Whatever you do, don’t get it from the lomographic society, they are overpriced there.