Alex shoots the Plastic Filmtastic Debonair!

Blog by Alex Luyckx

It’s not a Holga, nor is it a Diana - it’s a rather odd breed of toy cameras known as the Debonair. I really wasn’t planning on going beyond my trusty Holga 120N. It was a good toy camera, great for tossing about, having fun and just walking the street. On a whim one day I threw the 6x4.5 mask into the camera and went shooting. I loved the portrait format, and with 16 shots per roll that’s more Holga fun. So when the FPP came across the arsenal of Debonair cameras that did the format natively I was excited, but hesitant at first. After seeing the camera at the PhotoPlus Expo last year in action and the wonderful shots being put up on flickr, that sealed the deal and I put in the order.

above video: Michael Raso of The Film Photography Podcast gives an overview of the FPP Debonair Camera!

The first place I took the camera was a friend’s Christmas party! Loaded with a couple rolls of Fuji Acros Neopan 100 and a flash, I just went and had fun taking snapshots of the guests. The camera was great and a much more solid feel in my hands than my Holga ever was. The general plastic feel of the toy cameras were always a turn-off for me, as I am much more used to the solid metal feel of bigger cameras. The Debonair just felt right. I was not expecting dead sharp images out the camera, but a soft dreamy feel that is common to most plastic lensed cameras, but what a surprise it was when I pulled the first two rolls from the tank. A pleasing vignette (probably thanks to the flash) and decently sharp images. I was stunned. That “Super” lens was something else!

The next test for me was how it handled colour film, so on a trip back down to the Dayton, Ohio area I made a stop off in lovely downtown Findlay with the Debonair and a roll of mystery Fuji slide film. The film it turned  out to be and ISO-400 film and it was a really bright day (stups!), but the fine folks at Old School Photo Lab pulled the film two stops so some of the images were recoverable. There were some odd colour shifts from either the film being expired, or the pulling (or maybe both). There was the soft dreamy images that I had come to expect and fantastic images at that.

The Debonair is a worthwhile camera, it’s a great way to get into medium format and Toy camera photography! At twenty bucks at the FPP store, what’s not to love. I for one love that the weather is getting warmer so I can’t wait to get my Debonair back into the field for the spring and summer!

Banner Image Care of James McFarlane - Remaining image care of Alex Luyckx.

Long-time FPP listener Alex Luyckx works both in Information Technology support and as a freelance photographer. He describes himself as an analog photographer stuck in a digital world. He loves using cameras older than he is and long walks through abandoned buildings. You can follow his photo blog at: alexluyckx.com/blog/

Read previous posts about The FPP Debonair!

Brian Moore's FPP Debonair Blog HERE!

Shelly Sometimes FPP Debonair Blog HERE!

Comments

Mark Olwick's picture
Nice review. I just recieved two of them and haven't shot them yet. Four things to note for potential buyers: 1. There's no Bulb setting. 2. There's no tripod socket 3. There's no cable release socket. 4. There is no thread for filters. Those may or may not be important to you. They are to me as I usually work slow and on a tripod. I wish FPP had mentioned those on their shopping site. Mark
Susan Stayer's picture

Thanks, Alex! I enjoyed your review of the Debonair. And your photos look great! I'm pleased with the results I'm getting from my little plastic gem.

dav.d's picture

My first roll of film through a Debonair was a roll of Fuji Astia, an expired color postive film and the photos looked awesome. It's a great toy camera. Now I need to try using the flash/hotshoe.

I am now the proud owner of 3 of these cameras, cause when they're gone, they're gone. 

John Schuster's picture

We both happened upon it independently, but Acros 100 and a flash-equipped Debonair is a great party cam. http://www.flickr.com/photos/phcordner/8347276699/ Double exposure because the hot shoe's mechanism wasn't as hot as it needed to be, and flash firing was intermittent, so the Christmas lights showed up a few times.

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