Thursday, May 08, 2008

The Toycam Handbook: Book Review by ChristineMM

Book Review by ChristineMM

The Toycam Handbook
Author: The members of
ISBN: 9781411663817
Publication: self published through
Price: $31.03

Summary Statement: Provides the Basics on Using Toy Cameras with Camera Lists and Prices Too

This book is a compilation of contributions of members of the discussion forums at Without ever meeting face to face, this book was compiled and is printed on demand by Before I get into comments on the book I wanted to share that unique and very cool fact. You have to love the way the Internet is not just connecting people but is now resulting in books being produced!

The book is divided into three main parts.

The first section of the book is a guide to toy cameras. About 30 cameras are described on two page spreads including multiple color images of the cameras and two examples of the photos they produce. The information on each camera provides a bit of history and an indication of the rarity and price you will probably have to pay to buy one. It is helpful to know if you have found a treasure at the thrift shop or not. Twenty more cameras, some new and still in production such as some of the Lomography cameras are shown with full color photographs of the camera, with just a small amount of information.

The second section of the book provides all kinds of useful information. As a beginner to playing with toy cameras I found all my questions answered. Basic questions such as the types of films, how much they cost and where to find them and get them developed is covered. How to modify different cameras is discussed such as converting a 120 film camera to accept 35 mm film, converting the cameras to a pinhole camera or using a zone plate. More advanced techniques are also covered such as developing your own photographs. Also mentioned is having the film developed then scanning the negatives in order to work with the images digitally or to have them printed off after digital conversion.

Lastly, there are interviews with 15 toy camera photographers who are members of who discuss why they love toy cameras, which is their favorite and some of their favorite techniques and interesting good stuff like that.

After reading this book I realized some of the differences in the different vintage toy cameras and decided which I think I’d like to use. I feel more capable of jumping into toy photography now. I know what to keep my eyes peeled for in thrift shops and at tag sales and I know what price ranges are typical before bidding on some cameras on eBay.

This book left me feeling capable and that anyone can have fun and produce good photographs using toy cameras, you just have to ‘go for it’—go get a toy camera, get out there and take some photos and get to know your camera. This hobby is accessible to all.

Some "Toy Cameras":

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