Employing and Enjoying the Toy Camera Effect

by | Jul 18, 2018

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

These days almost all cameras, DSLR or mirrorless, have a built-in Toy Camera effect. Even the new full-frame Pentax K-1 Mark II that I just tested for Shutterbug (look for a review on line real soon now) has a Toy Camera Filter, in addition to filters for Extract Color, Replace Color, Retro, High Contrast, Shading, Invert Color, Unicolor Bold and Bold Monochrome.

Another way that you can add this effect is in the digital darkroom by using a Photoshop-compatible Plug-in or Photoshop Action such as Dave Ward’s “Old Toy Camera” Photoshop Action. It gives photos a look similar to shots that were made with a Diana, Holga or an antique camera. The .ATN file also includes two additional Actions that imitate the borders and edges produced by vintage and toy cameras.

The above photograph was originally captured in color using a Canon EOS 50D (before I converted it to for IR capture and then even later sold) with EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM lens. Exposure was 1/80 sec at f/7.1 at ISO 250. It was a cool morning in San Diego and was still overcast from a light rain that stopped just moments before I made the  photograph.

The “Old Toy Camera” Action adds some of the general elements that make photos captured with toy and antique cameras so beautiful.




My now out-of-print book Creative Digital Monochrome Effects is still available and (I think anyway) is a fun read. It’s available from Amazon as a used book for the bargain price of less than four bucks.