Northern Arizona University recently decided to conduct a photography shootout that pitted two of its photography professors against each other. The challenge: to shoot the best graduation portraits they could with toy digital cameras designed for children. You can see how it went down in the 8.5-minute video above.
Professional photographers Amy Horn and Eric O’Connell were each given a WOWGO Kids Digital Camera, a 12-megapixel toy camera that costs about $40 and has surprising good reviews (4.3 out of 5 stars with over 1,500 ratings on Amazon).
Horn and O’Connell then went out onto campus with a student model and attempted to shoot high-quality portraits with a low-quality camera. While the megapixel count of the camera may be a respectable 12MP, the tiny sensor in the camera and the bad lens in front mean the resulting photos are extremely pixelated with all kinds of optical issues.
O’Connell says he kept running into issues with the camera’s auto white balance and its inability to handle less-than-optimal lighting conditions. He attempted to overcome this weakness by bringing an assistant and light modifiers to his shoot.
The poorly designed physical interface of the camera presented additional challenges: Horn kept accidentally turning the camera off when her thumb pressed the power button located in the upper-right-hand corner of the back panel.
Here are Horn’s results:
Here are O’Connell’s results:
“It was a great experience,” Horn says afterward while recapping the challenge with O’Connell. “I learned a lot about limitations.”
Both photographers say they’re planning to take what they learned from this brief experience into the classroom in discussing the idea of limitations with their students.
Image credits: Photographs by their respective photographers and courtesy Northern Arizona University.