Both fortunately and unfortunately, it is a digital world. And, no we're not talking about the new television conversion.
With the exception of the most committed photographers, most users have turned their backs on film photography...including us. Until now, that is.
The new Blackbird, Fly is the much talked about addition to the niche market of toy cameras–a type of camera made almost entirely of plastic (lenses included) that takes odd photos that are hard to predict. This one comes from Japan (hence the odd name), but is modeled after old Soviet-era cameras.
We picked one up off of eBay for around $100. Not cheap for a toy camera, but definitely a good buy for the photography hobbyist that wants to have a cool conversation piece around his neck and likes to WOW his friends on Facebook and Twitter with having far superior photos than they do.
Out of the box, the Blackbird, Fly looks very retro, but at the same time modern. A plastic box with lenses reminiscent of old school photography that comes in bright primary colors or black.
Now when it comes to loading film and taking photos, it is definitely not the easiest camera to operate. Reading the instructions is absolutely necessary as there is NOTHING automatic about this camera. No batteries included, because no batteries are required.
Even taking photos isn't the most straightforward operation. It takes a little practice to get used to looking through the top of the camera and the image being opposite from what reality.
And, like it was in the old days, film speed is an essential detail you can't forget. Get a faster film speed to ensure all of your photos come out regardless of your time of day.
All in all, while it isn't the easiest camera to operate and it is far more difficult to use then our digital cameras, we really like the Blackbird, Fly. The photos it takes are really interesting and, in a digital world where everything is clean and perfect, it is great to add some inconsistency and art to something we take for granted.
After all, having your photo taken was once a special thing. With the ability to take thousands of photos on a single memory card in a camera that does all of the work for you, it is easy to forget the art and craft of photography in favor of being able to take, view and erase immediately because your smile is a little crooked.