UPDATE : A summary of all this website’s reviews of the Sony NEX-5n and NEX-7 is now available.
Serious reviewers and serious shoots scoff at the gimmicky “creative settings” on today’s little digital cameras. And, sometimes, they’re right. But not always 🙂
The top 3 reasons to like the Toy Camera mode are : it’s fun, it’s fun, it’s fun 🙂
The viewer’s eye is immediately attracted to the brightest most contrasty part of a picture. So vignetting, like selective focus is a way of guiding the eye in a picture that would otherwise have no intuitive reading.
But Toy Camera is simply so overboard that I’d never even think of processing a picture like that. The beauty with an electronic viewfinder or live view rear-screen is that you can adjust exposure on the fly for the desired effect. Get it dark for a brooding atmosphere.
It’s best not to underexpose as correcting this is tougher than accentuating it, though. Set it light for a high key effect that doesn’t let the eye leave the frame too quickly.
Of course, you can always do exactly the same by hand by adding vignetting to your picture and ajusting exposure and white balance to taste as done in the HDR picture below.
I think this is a wonderful little feature for experimentation, particularly for beginners who want to try to escape the strait rendition of most point and shoot cameras. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut if you do nothing else, but a few tries always produce some unexpected results and pleasant surprises (as well as dreadful horrors ;))
Simulating is never as pleasant as the real thing (now then ;)) so using an old Lubitel or the fashionable Holga revival jobs probably feels a bit more authentic than tooling around with the menu on what looks like a fat iPod. But given the unashamed success on trick artsy sites such as Instagram, I see no reason to hide my pleasure with this fun mode !
I’ll leave you with a before/after shot and a final gallery from Western Australia. Have fun with your Toy Camera 🙂