*Updated: Lomography’s Diana Lens
I don’t know what is it about old-fashioned things that attracts us, maybe it’s the history, the richness … or maybe we just want to look cool!
One of the very popular old looks are photos; vintage, lomo or the effects produced by an analogue camera is almost considered an art form these days! With digital cameras completely pushing away traditional photography, re-creating the photos with that style has a very large fan base. From actions in photoshop, apps on your phone and using an actual analogue camera (Lomo cameras), anyone tries to have a go at this, but what if you could do the same with your digital camera?
Holga camera, initially designed in 1980s, is a low cost camera mainly made from plastic.” It usea a single-piece plastic meniscus lens with a focal length of 60 millimeters and utilize a zone-focus system that can adjust from about 1 meter (3 feet) to infinity – wikipedia“. The typical characteristic of Holga is vignetting and more blur around the frame. Holga camera can still be bought and used, but what you can do now is to buy the Holga lens and attach it to your digital camera!
The result is actually very interesting and your photos look as if they were taken with a classic analogue camera (look at the three photos on the top right side). The only difficulty with Holga lens is its appetite for light! in other words, it’s only useful on a sunny day and preferably before the sunset! At the fixed aperture of 8 there’s not much can be done with this lens other than satisfying your lomo desires! which should be met with the very pleasing result. It’s very cheap as well so definitely worth checking out; I’m certainly very happy with my experience!
The Holga lens for Canon (and Nikon) is available for about £20 from eBay or similar sites. It’s compatible with some of the accessories such as the Fisheye and Wide lens converters.
The Crop Factor
On a camera with a crop sensor (most Canon and Nikon mid-range DSLRs) this lens will actually become 96mm which in practise is a telephoto lens! This makes framing very limited, and taking photos of closer objects very difficult if not impossible (focus is limited too, about ~90cm to infinity) . This also means accessories like the Fisheye won’t give you the fisheye look but it will act as a wide lens converter which is actually a good thing! You can see from the image below that using a fisheye converter will give you a wider range (it transforms 96mm to something like 50mm) and make Holga lens easier to use.
The effect of the Fisheye; Not Fisheye! but a good wide converter
And here is one comparing a photo taken with a normal 18-55mm Lens to Holga so you can see the effect of the lens.
But what about video? Let’s have a look at some sample clips shot on Holga plus the fisheye converter recorderde yesterday in London.
Lomography also has a Canon EOS mount for Diana F+ range of plastic lenses which is somewhat disappointing. Taking the crop factor into consideration (sensor size) most of the lenses will become telephoto and practically a little useless! The only lens that can actually get you some result is the 20mm Fisheye. The other problem is the hole in the mount is too big making most of the photos too blurred, so I had to make it a bit smaller otherwise most photos won’t be usable.
The photos right off the camera even with the smaller EOS mount hole still look a little blurry and flat and will require retouching. Below is a test videousing Diana F+ 20mm Fisheye lens, there’s a nice look to it and it does get better with a little grading which you can see in the same video after the raw version.
Just one of those random days. Shot on my Canon 550d with a 50mm lens.
This is the first member of my gogos’ collection which I had promise to introduce! There are three wallpapers that you can download here; one studio shot and two in action!
We use different methods to get inspired. In fact, we need ‘different’ and ‘many’ methods to get inspired! and this inspiration could come in different forms, sometimes to help starting a new idea, and sometimes to aid finishing one! One of the methods I use is ‘object oriented photography’. By concentrating on a series of objects that have some kind of harmony within them, usually a collection, and paying attention to details you let your brain to do a lot productive processing in the background. This usually proves to be extremely helpful in situation where you are stuck in middle doing a project! e.g. modelling a 3d artefact in houdini!
The objects that I’m using for this purpose now are gogos (Crazy Bones) collectible figures. These little creatures that are originally based on the games children played with pieces of bone 2,000 years ago in Rome and Athens, provide me with enough variation and details to keep me entrained for hours! and taking photos of them is a delight! I’ve made a little studio for them where they can pose for the camera and the result is very satisfying! I’m planning to introduce the member of my collection here and soon there will be posts in addition to the gogos bar that will be appear in the right sidebar!
It’s true that you can always colour grade your footage in post, but if you use the camera’s colour settings and try to get as close as you can to your preferred setup, not only you will have less to do in post production you may not even need colour grading. Different cameras offer different solutions to make this process easier but for some such as Canon XH A1 there are presets that you can download which changes the look and feel of your film instantly. The camera has 9 built in presets and of course you can make yours as well using the custom settings that enables you to save your desired settings designed for different situations. Let’s have a look at some of the presets for XH A1 that you can download here and how you can install them in your camera. Look at list corresponding to the numbers on the video here.
After downloading all the presets (*.CPF files), create a folder called ” PRESET” in your memory card copy them there. Now insert the memory card back in and turn on the camera. Using the custom preset button now you should be able to access all your new presets. If you want to replace your existing presets with one of the new ones it’s possible by accessing the custom preset settings from the menu (as shown here). You can download this 18 presets from here. There are more which I’ll try to introduce in the near future.
This was filmed early last month with my canon XH A1 in London and I did a quick edit in premiere. Using handheld shots is becoming extremely popular and you can see it not only in all films but also on TV shows as well these days. This opens door for more flexible camera angles and room for creativity of course. The trick is to find the movements and angles that are happening around your object and follow them rather than just concentrating on one thing. Every person, every object has an angle and a flow, it’s like music, if you hear it you can capture it.