Wednesday 1 February 2012

Digital "Lomography"

A few days ago I came across an old camera that has been sitting in a draw for some years. It's a low quality 1.3 M pixel camera, the Packard Bell DSC-3. We were given it by a friend many years ago so that one of my daughters could play with it, and I'd remembered that some of the photos she came back with had a certain something.

There's no getting away from the fact that this is a primitive digital camera. The LCD screen on the back tells you the status of the battery and how many shots you have left on the compact flash card that it uses for storage, but it does not display a preview of your photos, or let you view your photos after you've made them.

The only way of composing your photos is to use the viewfinder, or "shoot from the hip".

Furthermore, there is no zoom lens and it's fixed focus. There's a mechanical lever on the side which changes the focal length for close-ups, and apart from that it's focused at quite a long distance. It doesn't make very good photos of people as they need to be quite a long way away to be in focus.

However, the photos that it makes have a certain something:
Packard Bell DSC-3 ignored the trees.
And actually, the sky really was blue,
not purple as on the left.
Sensible Olympus compact camera focused on
the trees
Sensible Olympus
Packard Bell gives everything an etched
appearance as if it has been processed outside
of the camera
Rain-drops in focus, a grim view of
the world. A fairly accurate depiction
of the weather for the Noordelijke
elomobieltocht 2012 (which was
otherwise very enjoyable)
The rest of the world in focus, and the weather just doesn't
look quite so bad from the view of the DSC-3.
Judy walks our dog. A dull day somehow transformed.
Hello tree. I like the way the fixed focus worked here.
So, will I use this camera for all my photography from now on ? Of course not. It's flawed. Sometimes hopelessly so.
Sometimes the Packard Bell camera
completely loses the plot and produces
photos like this one

You can forget about taking photos with low light with this camera as the amount of noise quickly becomes intrusive.

There are lots of photos that you can't get with a camera like this, as you can never be sure what it will do in any particular situation.

However, when it "works" it does occasionally produce rather pleasing results, so I will use it sometimes.

Yes, I know that "lomography" refers to a particular type of film camera. However, this sort of primitive digital camera endorses a motto of "Don't Think, Just Shoot" just as much as a real LOMO.