Why Lo-fi is better than digital

I stuck with my film cameras waaaay into the digital age. I have a wonderful Minolta SLR, fully automatic with a kick-ass telephoto lens that my parents got for me as a high school graduation present (long before digital cameras were even invented). Right after I had my first daughter my husband bought me an auto-focus Nikon D60 SLR with a two great lenses. I used the hell out of both of them. Then DSLRs got semi-affordable and with the impending birth of my third child I figured it was about time to get a digital cam. My third and final child is now 2 that’s how long I held out. My Panasonic DMC-FZ30 ultra-zoom (fixed Leica lens) is a great camera and is still my go-to camera when I absolutely have to make sure I get the shot. I was really beginning to outgrow it last spring and REALLY wanted a big, fat DSRL with a sick macro lens. I had recently began selling some of my photos and was starting to get back into photography seriously. My husband Jake is really quite wonderful when it comes to my ‘toys’. I’m the one in the house who gets all the latest and greatest gadgets and hooks up the computer and stereo equipment (it goes back to my recording engineering days) but this time we just didn’t have the money. I was bummed but not deterred. I played around with the Panasonic for a few more months but was growing increasingly bored taking a ga-zillion pictures then editing them on the computer. My good friend Harry is also a photographer and he was the one who first told me about the Holga. I googled it that night and was fascinated! I couldn’t believe there were people out there using a $24 for serious stuff. I had to have one and the price was right. For $100 I got the Holga 120N, the filter holder and filter set, and a boatload of 120 film.

That was it. I was hooked. I’ve since gotten a Lubitel 166B, Smena 2, Fed 2 with an awesome 135mm Industar lens in addition to the 55mm it comes standard with, Action Sampler, Polaroid back for my Holga–or Holgaroid as it’s commonly referred to, Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim, Polaroid iZone and the Olympus XA2 (otherwise known as the poor man’s LC-A). It’s enourmously entertaining to play with these cameras! Between the funny looks I get from adults and the blank stares I get from kids (not my own as they’re used to the fact that Mom uses film cams) when the try to look at the back of the camera to see the picture, it’s completely gratifying. I love the fact that I’m exposing my kids to what could be a dying art and have also had the chance to teach a class or two with my toys (one boy told me “My Mom should get one of these” in realtion to the Holgaroid). The two best things that lo-fi photography has done for me is a) put the joy back into it by getting me away from the computer and b) given me back my photographic eye. I had really started to get very indiscriminate about what I shot with digital because I was bound to get a good shot from the 390 that were on my camera, right? I feel like I’ve been in rehab from March until now in regards to learning how to look at subjects. It is truly only with the last few rolls that I’ve shot that I am starting to see development and improvement. Now that I’ve gotten the feel of my ‘tools’ I’m learning how to use them in a much more creative way. But that will be a subject for another blog.

I’m still trying to figure out how to hook my Flickr stuff directly onto the blog but until then here’s a link to my page.  http://flickr.com/photos/ipdegirl/

About ipdegirl

analogue girl in a digital world View all posts by ipdegirl

2 responses to “Why Lo-fi is better than digital

  • erik

    I have 2 Holgas, one of them is a pinhole camera (Pinholga). they are great in their low tech approach to photography and the images they produce. To avoid the cost of processing film, though, my latest experiment is using old soviet era lenses on my canon DSLR (using screw mount to EOS adapters). I have an Idustar 50 f3.5 from 1964 that has poor resolution at the edges and seems to be uncoated, so the images are soft and creamy with a little vignetting at the edges – they positively glow and look amazing once converted to B&W. I liked it so much I also bought a like-new Industar 50-2 from 1979 that has similar softness at the edges, but has much better contrast. these old soviet lenses are cheap ($15 or so) and produce very lo-fi images, even if the recording medium is decidedly hi-fi. If you go down this path, make sure you get an Industar off a Zenit SLR – the Zorki and FED rangefinder versions won’t work because the distance from the lens to the film plane is different.

  • ipdegirl

    I love that tip! If I had a DSLR I’d be doing this all the time. Industar lenses are of such high quality. It’s so great to be able to get them so cheaply. Send me a link to some of your pics. I’d love to see your work.

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