This camera was one of my many Internet auction purchases, It came up the first time for $10 plus post by memory and I just couldn’t justify it, the whole reason that I was interested was because it looks like the bastard child of an instamatic and a holga. I have since seen the holga 135bc, which looks strangely like it shares some sort of ancestry with this wee beasty, though the specs are quite different.
Anyhow, it came back at $5 and I snaffled it up. When it turned up it had had a bad repair attempt done on the flash and hadn’t been put back together right, that was easy enough to fix and get the flash working, though I stuffed up something in the frame counter in the process so it sits on zero permanently – no biggie, it’s not like I actually look at it on cameras like this, it also had a couple of rusty screws, they’re still rusty – who cares?.
The specs are essentially as follows;
Body; Black plastic, with black plastic bits, a sliding flash, and white screen printing here and there. It feels fairly solid and is kinda chunky with the battery compartment at the side. Dunno the weight, fairly light I guess – Normal point n’ shoot weight? (guess who doesn’t have scales?)
Lens; 38mm plastic fixed focus.
It actually looks about 38mm too compared to my ricoh. Being a plastic lens it’s a bit soft on the contrast and isn’t corrected for anything, it doesn’t have much distortion and very little viginetting generally.
Shutter speeds; One, no bulb mode, seems to be about 1/100 or so with three apertures which I’d guess are maybe 5.6, 8, and 11 – this is a total guess from the sunny symbols.
Flash; Manually switched (switched off above, on below), probably pathetically weak, no indications given whatsoever as to distance Vs aperture. Runs off 2xAA batteries – nimh are too fat to fit in comfortably, needs to be disposable (hence the fact I haven’t experimented much with flash on this camera).
Advance/Rewind; It’s a plastic camera – thumb wheel advance and normal rewind crank.
And are we impressed by this marvel of camera technology?
Well, it’s cheesy as hell, but in a terribly serious sort of a way, I have serious reservations about the claim that the lens is ‘Coated’ – Unless it’s a plastic lens which is coated in more plastic I’d go so far as to quietly suggest that this might be an ever so slight exaggeration in terms (or even a falsehood perhaps). It looks like it might be coated in the shot above, but in truth that’s just a reflection of me in the lens.
It came with a Chinon lens cap (shown above) which may very well imply that it shares some ancestry with the holga 135bc (or conversely that it’s cross dressing), though I’m completely unsure on this point as I haven’t found any net data on this camera. The lens does take filters, which is a bit odd and slightly pointless, I’ll try it with a yellow filter when I get an adapter for my Ricoh.
The viewfinder strangely enough ‘is’ coated to reduce flare and even has bright lines – Classy! – though it’s slightly awkwardly placed a frazz to the right of center, which feels odd to a left eyed person like myself. The Flash as above and below slides out from the body to switch on. It has a swiveling ring on the flash side for a wrist strap I guess.
You can see the flash switch and the aperture symbols for 100 and 400 speed films, No focus and it seems to be telling you to only use the widest aperture for flash, no idea on the distance. The flash ready light works, as does the shutter release. The frame counter does not. In use the thumb wheel is light, comfortable, and pretty quiet, as is the shutter, though the “ping-ChucK-ping” noise is a little off putting to begin with. The rewind knob is better than many of my more expensive cameras.
To open the back you lift the rewind knob and scrabble frantically at the back – fingernails are quite handy for this task. Other than that – no light leaks, and nothing special, it has a tripod socket and rewind button on the bottom, not exciting enough to warrant a photo.
All in all I actually kinda like this camera, it’s a slight step up from the regular plastic cameras, having a selectable flash is kinda fun, though I’d prefer a hotshoe. The three apertures is a nice touch for daytime photos, and it takes an okay photo so long as you can accept the limitations of plastic lenses, at that level it’s better than most plastic cameras, it’s also somewhat solid feeling (relatively speaking).
But the real reason that I like this camera is because it tries so hard to look like a serious camera and fails utterly – from the molded black plastic ‘leathergrain’ to the “COATED LENS MADE IN JAPAN” (made in Hong Kong) it’s just trying so hard to look like something a serious photographer might pick up to take ‘good photos’ that I can’t help but giggle just a little bit (and pick it up and attempt to take ‘good photos’ with it).
Photos to follow;