When I got into shooting film again last year, a heady combination of GAS and a wife addicted to charity shops meant that I tried out quite a lot of different cameras in a short period of time. What I concluded was that I love shooting with an SLR, but very much less so with cheaper, plastic cameras. I certainly couldn’t see what the whole toy camera/Lomography thing was about.
So when my wife returned from a car boot sale with what has come to be referred to as the “Hanimex Thing” I was distinctly underwhelmed. My initial thoughts were to get the monstrosity on eBay and forget all about it.
But then a funny thing happened. For some weird reason, it began to grow on me.
It is very definitely a cheap plastic thing, but actually feels large and quite solid in the hand. It’s laughably easy to use, has a blindingly bright flash and, although it lacks any sort of class or refinement, is more 1980s than Knight Rider, The A-Team and Airwolf combined.
I don’t know what possessed me but I decided to shoot a roll though the Hanimex Thing before selling it on. There was a part-shot roll already inside and somehow I managed to snap the rewind handle off when winding back the film. Nevertheless, I stuck in a new roll of Agfa Vista 200 and took it on a family trip to Bradgate Park.
I had very low hopes, but actually really like the resulting shots. The camera definitely lacks the nice tactile shooting experience that I get from a higher quality unit, but those lo-fi, old-school looking pictures have genuinely won me over. Although they were shot only a couple of months ago, they could be straight out of one of our old family albums. The plastic lens lacks any sort of sharpness (and only just focuses) but that’s not the point of a camera like this is it?
So has the toy camera bug bitten? Probably not. But I think this one’s a keeper, at least for a little while. And then again, perhaps someone also made a more compact version…
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