Closed Produce Stand, Huntington Beach, California, 2012.

Filter: "Tunnel Vision".
Border: "Cut".

Toy-Camera Looks

[You're probably not much interested in the toy-camera looks — DPReview isn't exactly a hot-bed of toy camera lovers — but CameraBag 2's design certainly is informed by the toy-camera movement, so this information provides some background. Feel free to skip this page if doesn't interest you.]

CameraBag 2 doesn't really attempt to emulate the focus issues caused by the plastic lenses in toy cameras like the Lomo, Holga, and Diana. CB2 primarily concentrates on brightness/exposure, contrast/flare, color shifts, vignetting, light leaks, and grain. The main Styles that CB2 provides for emulation of toy cameras are:

  • Lolo — emulation of the high-contrast, high-saturation effects of the Lomo's Minitar lens and, to some extent, cross-processing (E-6 slide film processed as C-41 print film) which is often associated with the Lomo (example on page 9 of this review). This includes an increase in overall brightness and a tendency to blow out highlights. Some hue distortion is also present at some Remix values, especially toward warmer colors. It's often useful to stick a Colorcross style ahead of Lolo in order to provide more color shifting. However, Colorcross and Lolo sometimes gang up to produce a large shift in brightness, so you might want to put a Brightness Adjust tool ahead of both of them.
  • Helga — emulation of Holga imagery. Contrast and saturation are reduced, and vignetting is added.
  • Plastic — emulation of a non-specific, very low-fidelity, toy camera. Center is overexposed while corners are seriously vignetted. Hues may be distorted. An overall flare may be apparent, washing out the shadows except in the vignetted area.
  • Hipster — emulation of Hipstamatic iPhone app. Heavy vignetting, weak reds resulting in a strong cyan cast, and grain.
  • Colorcross — emulation of cross-processing (E-6 slide film processed as C-41 print film). Where Lolo emphasizes the contrast and saturation effects of cross-processing, Colorcross emphasizes the color and brightness effects. The default remix gives a noticeably brighter image, with somewhat subtle hue shifts, but Colorcross is rarely used without adjusting the Remix. Colorcross is occasionally used on its own, but more frequently it's used in combination with other styles.
  • Lightleak — emulation of a light leak. Lightleak is usually used in combination with other styles. The Remix slider moves a parade of different light leaks across the image.

Some Adjust tools that are particularly applicable to toy camera looks:

  • All of the tools under the Color grouping — all sorts of color modifications and distortions can be applied. These Adjust tools are discussed in more detail on page 6 of this review.
  • Discolor — variable discoloration across the image, generally larger than a light-leak and less pronounced. This Adjust tool is discussed in more detail on page 6 of this review.
  • Grain — adds grain (noise).
  • Vignette — adds vignetting. Vignetting can be black, white, or gray, and controls are provided to adjust the size of the vignetting and the sharpness or gradualness of the boundary. It's not critical at all, but Nevercenter recommends putting Vignette at the front of the filter chain for best results on most images.

Some notable pre-defined filters applicable to toy-camera looks (these are often just starting points for adjustment):

  • Diane — emulation of Diana imagery. Based on a Helga style with a Remix value that gives a somewhat warmer look, and some of the lost contrast is reinstated.
  • Pinhole — emulation of a camera with a pinhole lens and B&W film. Color film can be emulated by turning off or deleting the Saturation tile.
  • Tunnel Vision — a toy-camera look that's made up from individual Adjust tools. If you need to customize specific aspects of the look, this might be the one to start with. There's a secondary 0.45x wide-angle lens that's nicknamed TunnelVision when used on Lomos and Holgas, but that lens is noted for giving images with only a small in-focus area in the center and with heavy vignetting (when used on a 120-film camera), so this filter probably isn't related to that lens. (Example on this page.)
  • Helga Alternate — a Helga style with a different remix value that gives a brighter image with more contrast.
  • Mild Hipster — a Hipster style with a different Remix value and with Amount=50%.
  • Plastic II — an overexposed and vignetted image roughly based on a Helga style. More adjustable than the Plastic style.
  • Colorcross Alternate — a Colorcross style with a different Remix value for a stronger effect.
  • Superleak — multiple leaks produce lots of flare.

Borders that are often associated with toy cameras:

  • 35mm Bleed — emulates a paper print of a full-height exposure of 35mm negative film in a camera designed for type 120 roll film. The width (length) seems to be approximately equivalent to 59mm, which is a reasonable approximation to what a Holga without the 6x6 mask would produce. (Example on page 1 of this review.)
  • Eroded — emulates a 6x6 square transparency (or a print from a transparency) from type 120 roll film, with some roughness around the edges of the image area. (Example on page 2 of this review.)
  • Cut — I think this emulates a 6x4.5 (4:3) image from type 120 roll film, mounted in a dark gray mount with rounded image corners. The Holga and Lubitel come with both 6x6 and 6x4.5 capability. (Example on this page.)
  • Insta — emulates Fuji Instax Mini (Polaroid Mio) instant film. This film gives a 62x46mm (4:3) image, and adapters are available to use it in the Lomo LC+ and Diana F+, in a horizontal alignment. On both of those adapters, however, the wide part of the film border is on the left, not the right. On the Instax Mini, the film is in a vertical alignment with the wide part on the bottom.

In keeping with the "unpredictable results" aesthetic of the toy-camera movement, CB2 provides a way to obtain random results. Press the space bar, and CB2 will randomly pick a Style or Favorite, and it will set all of the Remix values to random numbers.