Customer Discussions > Photography forum

Does Anyone Think Lomography Is Over-Hyped/Over-Rated?


Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-25 of 46 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 27, 2010 7:52:47 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 27, 2010 7:56:02 AM PDT
Ok, now before you all start calling me names, or responding to this post with nasty comments, I know that there is going to be people out there who are going to disagree with me on this, and that is ok.

All I ask is that you just hear me out for a sec!

I was just wondering if I am the only one out there who thinks this whole Lomography thing is over-rated and/or over-hyped?

I have been an avid photographer and camera collector for many years; I've used all sorts of different makes and models of cameras, film sizes, etc. You name it; I've probably used it or played around with it at some point.

However, I fail so see what is so great about taking fuzzy, blurry, and out of focus, pictures. And, why does a poorly made camera made with no more than a dollar or two worth of plastic, costs about $60-$70? (Am I the only on that thinks there is something wrong with that?) For $60-$70, you can by a fairly decent used 35mm film SLR!

Cameras such as the Holga and Dania for example, are not even built that well, considering their price. I think it is rather funny how vendors try to put a positive twist on the cameras design flaws. Such cute fraises as, "Soft Focus", this means that the pictures are blurry due to the poorly made plastic lens. "Intense Vignetting", basically it looks like you are taking pictures through an empty tissue paper roll, again, because of the poor lens. And lets not forget, "Unpredictable Light Leaks", in other words, the camera is so poorly built that light gets in and ruins the film (Rather counterintuitive don't you think?)

If you think about it shooting in 120 can be kind of expensive, after you buy a roll, take pictures, and get it developed, it can work out to over $2 per picture. Even with 35mm film, both the cost of the film and developing can easily be over $10 to $12 per roll.
With film, obviously you are paying for each picture you take (whether the picture comes out or not) with that said, shouldn't the pictures look half decent?

Ok, I get it the whole "artsy" prospective, with taking pictures with a low-tech camera, and "going back to basics". This seems to be the big thing with the hip and artsy crowd. I have played around with my share of old box cameras (Some of which are probably about as low-tech as you can get) and take amazingly sharp pictures. But in the case of Lomography, honestly, do the pictures really have to look bad?

Sadly, I think in our society we have gotten to the point where anyone can take a blurry picture, and say "look at me I'm an artist!" or "Look at me I'm a photographer!"

Just to clear things up a little, I am not bashing Lomography; I just do not understand what all the hype is about. I am just presenting my point-of-view on the matter, and can someone please explain it to me what the big deal is? And/or does anyone out there share my thoughts on the subject?

Posted on Jun 27, 2010 8:48:10 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 27, 2010 9:12:11 AM PDT
Tom Martin says:
I don't think you'll get too many arguments here. Most of the regular posters here started with film photography and have embraced the migration to digital photography. While many of us still shoot film occasionally, I for one have used the plummeting prices of film cameras to pickup very good film cameras for pennies on the dollar. I personally picked up a Canon 1N for little more than the cost of a Lemography camera.

It's easy to degrade the quality of a good lens, using cheap filters covered with Vaseline, shooting through stained glass, cloth, saran wrap, or masks or snoots cut from construction paper for vingetting or manipulation of the bokeh. Also, shooting that digital allows you to see the effect instantly, as well as not costing you for throw away shots.

I do think there is value in learning how to develop, and print film. But, as you've said buying a new camera to do Lemography is marketing hype. There are hundreds of used film camera for sale at very, very, very, cheap prices.

edit: Getting away from the camera doing everything for you isn't bad either. I did purchase a Split Focusing Screen for the Canon 1N, also when set to manual the 1N has a light meter on the right of the view finder, allowing back to basics shooting.

Also, going to medium format film with the intent to degrade image quality doesn't make a lot of sense. If the intent is to learn how to use film, with the intent to creatively degrade the image quality, 35mm is perfectly fine for that.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 27, 2010 1:35:09 PM PDT
"""
It's easy to degrade the quality of a good lens, using cheap filters covered with Vaseline, shooting through stained glass, cloth, saran wrap, or masks or snoots cut from construction paper for vingetting or manipulation of the bokeh.
"""

Those methods do not allow for optical aberration caused by the lens itself. They all rely upon changing the light rays entering the lens. I know of no common filter that can add chromatic, coma or spherical aberration to an image. (Cheap single element "close-up" filter/lenses may, but they've also limited your focus range -- no more distorted landscapes)

Posted on Jun 27, 2010 1:48:59 PM PDT
I personally have been in to lomography for about 7 years. stumbled upon it in college, and then you could get a holga 120 for $20.00. thats when it was fun, buy cheap cameras mod them(pin hole , crazy paint, ect.) then urban outfitters started selling them and all hell broke loose. now a holga is around seventy bucks. i think that it has become really hyped up but it is still fun, and you can get some great pictures with these cameras, i think the examples you are looking at must not be very good. get one of the books put out by lomography.com they are full of some great shots, most of wich are in focus. so my final statement is yes it is over hyped right now, but as all things go as soon as the hipsters are done with it, it will go back to normal and youll be able to snag them cheaply again.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 27, 2010 3:56:33 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 27, 2010 3:58:22 PM PDT
Tom Martin says:
If you want the effects of a bad lens, you can pick up a EOS film camera with a early kit lens for $15 on ebay.

just research in reverse find the lens with the worst reviews

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 27, 2010 4:55:38 PM PDT
EdM says:
Lomography is a choice. All choices have pluses and minuses.

"... I am the only one out there who thinks this whole Lomography thing is over-rated and/or over-hyped?"

I think this is not the correct way to think about photography. There are people who think that a sharp picture of whatever is in front of the lens is what photography is all about. Those people will surely not "get" Lomography.

http://www.lomography.com/about

In short, and IMO, lomography is normally about using film, analog, and dealing with the great limitations of low cost to make good photos despite bad gear.

You might say this is the ultimate expression of the sense that it's the photographer, not the gear, that makes a great photo.

Joanne - "... and take amazingly sharp pictures. But in the case of Lomography, honestly, do the pictures really have to look bad?"

There are good photos and bad photos. It is a challenge to make a good photo, using bad gear. The point is not to make bad photos; slews of bad photos with excellent sharpness and few if any lens aberrations are found in abundance, most anywhere you look. The challenge is to make great photos despite bad gear.

It is not THE WAY for all photographers, it is merely a choice. Perhaps it's more a diversion, for photographers for whom a sharp, quality image is little challenge. Rest assured, there are many bad lomo photos. If you don't "get" it or don't like it, then choose another way and forget about lomography. It isn't about you or me [or shouldn't be], it's about the photography. Some prefer portraits, some prefer sports. Some prefer landscape, or low light shots, or ..., or lomography. Do what you prefer, the rest will just pass by.

Posted on Jun 28, 2010 1:14:26 AM PDT
Just a general observation...

Consider "fine art" painting... Up to the mid 1800s artists tried for realism... Then along came photography which, even in monochrome, out-did the best "realism" painting in terms of sharpness and detail... Painting suddenly went to blurry and color bright impressionism.

Now that digital cameras are replacing film cameras in normal photography, what is the "big thing" in film? Producing photos with an impressionistic effect... <G>

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 28, 2010 2:34:32 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 28, 2010 2:37:47 AM PDT
EdM says:
<G> "Painting suddenly went to blurry and color bright impressionism."

Only some painting, the impressionistic movement. There were [and are] very many painters who still, then and now, produce realistic paintings. For example, people of today still produce bird, wildlife, flower and plant paintings, much as Audubon did in the middle of the 19th century.

Of the original impressionists, they were banned from most display rooms and contests ...

"... so radical for their time, their paintings were not accepted for display into a traditional gallery called the Salon. They were banned from the Salon, so Impressionists started their own gallery called the Salon de Refuses. In French, that roughly translates to "room of trash"."

http://viscomm.wbschools.com/impressionismwebquest.htm

I also understand that there is a flavor of room/gallery for trash producers, e.g. impressionists [to display work in].

So, indeed there was no wholesale conversion to impressionism. It's just that impressionism has taken hold and succeeded, in the fullness of time, in finding its own place in art.

Further, representational painting continues to this day, e.g. in the Classical Realism school:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_realism

"Classical Realism refers to an artistic movement in late 20th century painting that places a high value upon skill and beauty, combining elements of 19th century neoclassicism and realism."

"The movement's aesthetic is Classical in that it exhibits a preference for order, beauty, harmony and completeness; it is Realist because its primary subject matter comes from the representation of nature based on the artist's observation. [1] Artists in this genre strive to draw and paint from the direct observation of nature, and eschew the use of photography or other mechanical aids."

Generally on painting of all sorts:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Painting

DB - "what is the "big thing" in film? Producing photos with an impressionistic effect..."

I certainly wouldn't say that it's a big thing at all. Instead, it's a tiny, tiny thing, that few practice. OTOH, there are some very serious photographers who are doing this by various means, and not lomography. Check this out, which I just love.

http://www.williamneill.com/portfolios/impressions-of-light/index.html

BTW - Neill normally produces these images with a digital camera. AFAIK, many shots, few keepers. For a bit more on how he produces his images:

http://www.outdoorphotogear.com/blog/photographer-spotlight-william-neill-4462

Enjoy! That's what I call impressionism in photography.

Posted on Jun 28, 2010 7:17:16 AM PDT
C. Zajic says:
Some people like it, some people don't, big woop.
Don't like it, don't buy it.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 28, 2010 7:10:38 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 28, 2010 7:11:57 PM PDT
Jimmy Lamont says:
Joanna, I agree with you wholeheartedly. I recently made my first venture from digital into 4x5, and I now see photography in a completely different light. It's easy to take crappy photos on 4x5, I'll tell you that much (even easier on an overpriced Holga!)

Dennis - Buying super-cheap chinese products and stacking them will work if your object is to make crappy photos with aberrations. I like aberrations sometimes, but the majority of lomography I've seen is just crap- crappy photographers make crappy photos. Lomography is a way to mask it, much like audio distortion masks the poor technique of a musician.

Give 'em a D3 and let's see what they can do. A good photographer can make good photos, period.

I realize there are an abundance of good photographers who may be 'limiting' themselves, and more power to them, but I view lomography as a waste of time and money. To each his own.

Posted on Apr 29, 2012 7:28:32 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 29, 2012 7:31:47 PM PDT
Okay, so I shoot a combination of analog film and lomography. I got off the ground shooting digital, but then sold them and moved to film. I find myself using my toy cameras more often, they're light, wieldy, and feel somewhat fashionable.

You're right about the costs though, it's like alot of the cost for buying a new lomography product is the packaging (the packaging is overkill) and supporting the lomography community. But as a matter of relative value, I'm pretty sure that all the lomographers already have a film SLR. I do, and so all of the non-lomo cameras that I want are pricey ones like the Fujifilm Klasse W (not much cheaper than a Sigma DP1x) or the Contax T (yeah, I know these are sharp).

But as Kodak as just cancelled their slide film line, you should appreciate that lomographers and film revivalists are contributing to the demand in medium format and slide films even though we use it mainly for X-pro.

If lomographic pictures don't click with you, then I don't blame you. If you go to lomography.com or, I guess, even instagram, and hop across a handful of photos and feel something within you resonate, or like the idea of carrying around cameras that have some personality tied to them, then you might be one of us. The point is that it's not about softness, vignetting, plastic toys, overpaying or keeping film alive. It's a myriad of things, maybe some see the photos as escapism, or some people like the process, or maybe it's the blown out colors, or maybe photos have gotten so good and consistent that the only way to make it stand out is by making it worse, dreamy, or surreal.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 30, 2012 7:54:25 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 30, 2012 9:11:40 AM PDT
"However, I fail so see what is so great about taking fuzzy, blurry, and out of focus, pictures. And, why does a poorly made camera made with no more than a dollar or two worth of plastic, costs about $60-$70? (Am I the only on that thinks there is something wrong with that?) For $60-$70, you can by a fairly decent used 35mm film SLR!"

Growing up, I had a passing interest in any old film camera. I recently inherited an old Polaroid camera...my folks mainly used it for family photos around the time I was born. I'm surprised that there is a group devoted to preserving this format as well: they offer suggestions on finding equivalent film packs (and hacks to try to put the battery in the pack). I'm not going to go to those lengths (especially since it's now like $70 for a pack), and am debating about whether I should just throw it out or sell it for a couple bucks on E-bay (which when you factor shipping, that seems to be the most you can hope for).

With digital photography, if I'm looking for an artsy visual style...I'll just use a graphics program to add and paint in any effect.

I would say the worth of Lomography is more as a collectable/novelty rather then an intrinsic film camera. As time progresses, and more Soviet era items are discarded, there will be some who will still want to buy *inferior* Soviet era cameras for the novelty/history aspect...they will set the price. With the odd world of collectables/antiques...one person's junk is another person's treasure!

Posted on Apr 30, 2012 11:56:41 AM PDT
Count me as a vote for "if I want that effect, I will add it, after the fact". I can take a sharp picture, and make it less sharp, I can't go the other way round. I want a good image to start with, and then I will manipulate it.

Maybe I just haven't looked at the right examples though. I think all of what I have seen could be described as snapshots, that are supposedly art, because of the equipment used to capture them. Part of my approach to photography is that it stands on it's own. If I have to offer up an excuse for the quality of the camera, to justify the look of the image, in my mind, it doesn't work. I am happy to talk about images, but that first impression is entirely what you see, and you can't change that first impression with an explaination. I don't want to arrive at a point where I understand that this image is lomography and therefore it has certain constraints and within those constraints, the result is a good image. I just want a good image. "Good image" can mean a lot of different things, but I have yet to see how lomography leads to good images.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 30, 2012 1:49:45 PM PDT
I've not looked at the so-called "art" but...

I suspect 99% can be recreated using a digital camera with a LensBaby and optional inserts (single-element glass or plastic optics).

Posted on May 1, 2012 11:46:41 AM PDT
Zach S. says:
I'm the sort of guy who's the first to encourage people to mod their cameras, equipment, etc. But as far as lomography goes, I think it's kind of a gimmick. Sure I've seen great images from Holgas, but they were all taken by great photographers. I certainly wouldn't pay 70 bucks for a Holga, 20 maybe. I think what's happened is Urban Outfitters has started trying to tell hipsters that they're selling artistic vision, when in reality they're selling a tool. Yeah you can make some cool images with Holgas and Lomo cameras, but it's not useful for general picture taking which is what makes it a gimmick.... It doesn't adapt to other styles. As far as what you're making, they're not hi-fi images(They're also not really my style).

That said, I've seen art shows done with Holgas that were good. I've also seen art shows done with just one fisheye lens that were very good. But you wouldn't use a fish eye lens as your general lens, and I'd contend the same thing about the Holga. You can do some good work with it, but if you're going to own one camera, that shouldn't be it.

Posted on May 1, 2012 5:03:28 PM PDT
Where is it written a professional camera costing thousands takes a better picture? Marketing/hype.

In reply to an earlier post on May 1, 2012 5:25:42 PM PDT
The point people were making was that there are used film cameras that take a sharper/CA absent/less grainy pictures then Lomography. Based on photos I have seen from Lomography, I'm pretty certain my old P&S film camera (now probably worth $20) takes "a better picture". The argument, then, is that Lomography has a niche value for those who like it's particular qualities (which is not a realistic image, but a particular "artsy" style).

Posted on May 1, 2012 7:34:53 PM PDT
JCUKNZ says:
+1 Joanne :-)

In reply to an earlier post on May 1, 2012 9:28:15 PM PDT
Out of every statement and argument defending the artistic usefulness in film, this is the most valid argument I've heard yet. My hat goes off to you good sir.

Posted on May 1, 2012 10:19:16 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 1, 2012 10:37:18 PM PDT
aznpoet says:
As the saying goes ...
One man's trash is another man's treasure ...

Van Gogh, if I remember correctly never sold a painting in his lifetime ... and his brother was an art dealer! And the Impressionists were villified as no talent hacks by the establishment for a time being. But times change and tastes change ...

As for "Lomograph", time will tell whether it is merely a passing fad or enduring artisitc vision, although I'm with you in thinking that it's whole lot about nothing/or not much.
For most people that are snapping up $20 clunker camera for $70, they are buying into that "artistic vision" (generous use of the term here). Annoying, yes but completly harmless. Let them indulge their visions and dreams as just as some of us gearheads here fret about pixel peeping, and discuss finer points of quantum physics of airy disks and what not ... different strokes for different folks, live and let live ...

Posted on May 2, 2012 3:37:26 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 2, 2012 6:35:04 AM PDT
Tom Martin says:
The part of Lemography that is over-hyped is the thought that you need to buy an expensive 'special camera' for it.

Take a very cheap point and shoot video of a fall drive, add Youtube's Lomographic effect to it to increase the color saturation, make a more surreal image. Then throw in some techno music to enhance the dream effect.

http://youtu.be/ZCmarwSnm1k

In reply to an earlier post on May 2, 2012 9:04:07 AM PDT
It's not written, it's just true. The professional camera can take the same image the lomography camera can. The lomography camera can not take the same pictures the professional camera is capable of. If one camera can do everything the other can, and more, it's better. You can dismiss what you don't understand as marketing hype, but if it were just hype, the people who make their living making pictures wouldn't spend the money on the more expensive camera.

If you think that a lomo camera can compare to a professional camera costing thousands, we can compare. Each of us specifies, setting and shot, and we compare the outcome. From the professional camera side, I will offer up, an action shot from an indoor contact sport such as basketball or mixed martial arts, indoors under artificial light only.

You might enjoy any given product on the market, that doesn't make it better.

In reply to an earlier post on May 3, 2012 7:33:24 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 3, 2012 7:34:08 AM PDT
EdM says:
"The professional camera can take the same image the lomography camera can."

Technically, no DSLR has the shoulder [and toe] exposure characteristic that film has.

http://www.sprawls.org/ppmi2/FILMCON/

Search within the page for "shoulder". There is no shoulder with a digital sensor, instead the sensor clips, e.g. popularly known/seen as "blinkies" on the camera's LCD when able to and set to show them. Film is more forgiving than digital in this respect.

OTOH, perhaps if you develop your memory cards in D-76 long enough in your home darkroom, then the images might be comparable ... <G>. [Don't actually try this, you'll destroy your stuff.]

In reply to an earlier post on May 3, 2012 8:49:26 AM PDT
Tom Martin says:
EdM says: "The professional camera can take the same image the lomography camera can." Technically, no DSLR has the shoulder [and toe] exposure characteristic that film has.

He said professional camera, NOT, professional dSLR.
My Canon 1N is a professional camera that uses film.

Posted on May 3, 2012 10:02:06 AM PDT
Richard Hohn says:
Nothing says distorted images more than an old film camera like a Nikon or Minolta from the 1980's. The seals are shot and the lenses are usually a bit fungus infected due to the autofocus system they used at the time.
‹ Previous 1 2 Next ›
[Add comment]
Add your own message to the discussion
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Prompts for sign-in
 


Recent discussions in the Photography forum

Discussion Replies Latest Post
Advice on Selling Photos 47 1 day ago
SD cards at Airport 61 4 days ago
Light weight "DSLR" recommendation 27 18 days ago
Studio lighting advice. Pease help 1 21 days ago
Advice please 19 24 days ago
Group shot, lens?? 4 26 days ago
Upgrade camera body (Canon T1i) or lens? 0 Nov 20, 2014
Cokin series A vs: P 12 Nov 11, 2014
omd em-5 vs dslr 27 Nov 1, 2014
books to avoid/books you will use 1 Oct 31, 2014
Sellers on Amazon concerns about legititmate 0 Oct 31, 2014
who is dbroth? 31 Oct 20, 2014
 

This discussion

Discussion in:  Photography forum
Participants:  23
Total posts:  46
Initial post:  Jun 27, 2010
Latest post:  May 15, 2012

New! Receive e-mail when new posts are made.
Tracked by 3 customers

Search Customer Discussions