With a conventional camera the expectation is that your photo will at least resemble what you saw through the lens finder. Obviously there’s a ton of variable that affect the final outcome but there’s not a lot of surprises. When I started experimenting with toy and vintage cameras it altered how I saw the world. I’d be driving in my car and something would catch my eye and I’d find myself thinking that would look great if I shot it with my Holga/Diana etc… it freed my mind of what made a conventionally good photo regardless of what camera I was shooting. I saw the world differently. I didn’t realize this was simply a form of pre visualization. I grasped pre visualization in the most literal sense. The boring zone system sense which while helpful took almost all the fun out of photography. Another benefit was it teaching me the effect of latitude on film. Or at least that with modern film and scanners it’s almost impossible to not get a workable image. And while not technically perfect or ideal the exercise taught me how to overcome issues that come up when working with film. I learned how to push and pull film when needed. All in all I think everyone should own a “toy” camera and shoot it once in a while. Have fun with it and the learning that comes along won’t feel so academic.
My Diana clone is a 4×4 with working aperture. It’s a fun camera and I realized today I had a full roll of film loaded. I think I’ll take it out this weekend to help me remember that photography is fun.