Pentax P30T

As you know I have returned to England for a while. When I was sure I was coming back I bought some cameras on eBay to be delivered here before I arrived. I thought these would keep me amused while I am out of work and lazing around. This was the first one I tried. I still have a few draft posts from Japan, I will publish those eventually but I wanted to post one from the UK.

Oh and this was the state of my bed when I arrived.

my bed

I forgot some of the things I ordered and ended up buying a camera I had already tested and gave away.

This camera was in one of the biggest parcels as it came with a bag, a zoom lens and a few filters. I took the 50mm from another Pentax camera to try it.

As you can see it was a little dusty on the outside, but the inside was clean. The zoom lens’ front glass had loads of gunk all over it. Nothing I tried would get it off. So I resorted to very a very gentle toothpaste mixture. That cleaned it, but I would not know if I damaged it until I tried it. Nothing lost for me as I didn’t pay much for it, do not try that at home though.

This camera was on my hit list after I read this blog. I then looked for photos on the net, particularly Instagram. I loved the look and colour of the body. This great blog gives a lot more technical details and instructions on how to use the camera.

I plonked in some Fuji Venus 800 that I got out of the gatcha machine at Suzuki Camera and headed for Harewood House.

The camera was light and very easy to use. The 800ASA film and the f1.7 aperture was perfect for inside the recreation of the gardener’s house which was quite dark. I loved this camera and am torn as to which I like more, this or the ME Super. And that is tricky as I just made the ME top of my current top ten. The ME looks more vintage, but the P30T’s grey finish has its own charm.

Here is my test roll.

I left the body on Auto and for the most part, left the lens on Auto too. Inside the gardener’s house, I changed the lens to aperture priority to make sure I knew there would not be any camera shake. The goat photo was taken using the zoom lens I cleaned as were the berries and the sunflowers with the fence. It is not great, but acceptable considering it was badly damaged.

I was also surprised by the film as I got it in a random machine for $2.50 as you got 2 films for $5. I was expecting it to be expired, but it performed beautifully. I great day out on a cloudy day, but a great film and camera coped with it perfectly.

Get yourself some Venus 800 here.



Minolta alpha 360si (Dynax 303si, Maxxum QTsi)

This is the cheap version of the Minolta Sweet that I have previously tried. It was originally released in 1999. In fact, I used the same lens on both cameras. The sweet had a yellow tint in the viewfinder, this one had the same issue to a lesser extent.

As you can see it has lots of names depending on where it was on sale. You can read all the technical details you want here and here. There are more names than functions available. There is absolutely nothing to this camera, so little that I am struggling to write anything. So this might be the shortest review I have ever given. In fact, here is my test roll.

Well, that’s not too shabby, is it? They are all perfectly exposed, the lens was great. But still, I barely did anything other than press the shutter button. Many people on this review site have written exactly what I felt about this camera, it is a big point and shoot. There are no manual functions at all, just programs. In the end, I felt the resulting photos were a step up from a regular point and shoot, but the bulk of the camera, though not the weight, made it not worth carrying around.

Keep or sell: I gave it to a friend. I kind of wish I had kept the lens, though.

Canon Ixy 210, Ixus M-1, ELPH LT – APS

I think this is the smallest camera I have ever tried. Smaller than the Olympus APS and almost as small as the HIT. It may be small but it definitely has a long list of names.

I found it for $1 in a junk bin and immediately found there was a film cartridge stuck inside. Nothing I did would persuade it to rewind, even though the door opened. In the end, I levered it out and ripped the actual film. I slightly damaged the film door area with this method. Once the cartridge was out I used tweezers to remove the film that was still remaining inside. After that, I didn’t think the camera would work at all, but it did. It accepted another roll of film and all seemed to be ok.

It was released in 1998 and was considered a cheap camera. You can find all the technical information you might need here.

The lens has a focal length of 23mm, that seems wide..really wide. But if you check the comment section of this post it is probably about 40mm in 35mm terms 🙂

It is a basic point and shoot with no zoom or fancy features at all. Here is my test roll.

I took it for a walk around Harajuku with a friend. As you can see the photos don’t pop and seemed underexposed. It could have been due to the expired film, but I think it is the camera. The flash is very weak. It was easy to use and fits in a pocket easily. And that is it, a meh camera. Meh

Keep or Sell: Given back to the second-hand shop.

Current Top Ten

Someone asked me, which are your favourite cameras. Ooooh tough question. So I had a look through my camera posts list and if a camera jumped out at me I put it on the list. Once I had ten…or eleven I made a page.

As I have stated on that page, the list might change. You can find the list in the menu section or by clicking here.


Holga K202

Though I am now in the UK, I still have a few cameras I tested in Japan to publish. This is a very Japanese style camera and Sugar Honey Ice Tea it is a fun one. It is a cat camera! I was going to make a video, but I don’t have a handy cat like this video.

It has a fixed aperture of f8 and one speed of 1/100th so very limited. And as you can see from the video, it has flashing lights and a super loud speaker. It was made to attract cats to look directly at it. It seems to have been released around 2010 as it is listed on with that date.

I saw it in a camera shop in Akihabara. When I asked to buy it the store guy said, “really?” and laughed. But could it actually attract cats? Luckily I was visiting a friend who had just got a gorgeous kitten, though it was very very tiny. I also tried it on a dog, a few people and a pokemon at the Pokemon Center Nihon Bashi. Here are the results.

Well yes, it does attract cats, dogs, people, but not pokemon. The real animals and people were attracted for a short time until they wanted to smash the camera to get it to shut up. You can also see the flash really wasn’t very powerful. I did use some expired 400 asa film, but I would still expect better. Also, the minimum distance is about 1.5m which is a bit long for pet pictures.

Keep or sell: I know I will probably never see another one, but once listed on eBay it sold immediately. It was a little loud for me.

Minolta 140 Riva Zoom (capios 140A)

I leave Japan in 2 days. I have a few posts in my draft folder, but for a while I will not be testing new to me cameras. I have a few samples waiting for me in England, but I think I will be tired for a while when I get back.

This is a camera I tested about a two moths ago. I haven’t got around to posting it as there were other cameras I was excited about posting first. This is just another one of those cameras with many names depending on where you buy it. A garden variety point and shoot. I think it is from the 1990s but it is difficult to pin down technical details due to the number of variation released.

This website was the best one I found for technical details. If you check it out you will find this camera was the first to have subject detection, which is now a given with digital cameras. There is a button on the top to change the area size used for the auto-focus. This website lets you know the aperture range is from f5.4-f11.7, check out those weird decimal points. The zoom also starts at 37.5mm.

The focusing seemed average in terms of speed, sometimes the orange light would flash meaning focusing was not achieved….for quite some time. It needed lots of contrast to work effectively. When it did lock onto something you could see an orange dashed box in the viewfinder around what it had chosen to focus on. If I did not rush the process the focusing was superb. It was not really suitable for fast-moving subjects or items with flat density.

The most amazing thing about this camera was or was not the sound…it was practically silent. You barely knew it was working.

I decided to use some Oriental Seagull for the test roll.

As you can see the exposure choices were great but sometimes the focusing or speed choices were poor. I also think I used the beginning of the film before as there was some overlapping, but it might be the way I loaded it…I don’t think so though.

Keep or sell: I have many point and shoots. I do like the subject detection, but sometimes it takes a bit too long. I prefer the Olympus Mjus I have, so I gave it away.

Fujipet Thunderbird

I got this Fujipet really cheap as the back lens of the viewfinder was loose and rattling around in the funky bullet looking thing on top. Once I got it back to my house I undid the two screws holding the viewfinder on, but it took me a lot longer to get the metal ring off. I must have yanked it for a good ten minutes, but I didn’t give up. Finally, with the ring removed the front glass popped off. To reattach the back lens I used a strip of a post-it as I wanted a glue that was not strong, but strong enough. I attached the strip to the tiny piece of glass and put superglue on the viewfinder part where it should fit. It worked like a dream, the lens stayed in place and the post-it strip released easily….and then the problems started.

Have you ever seen CSI, where they use superglue to reveal fingerprints? I have, but I conveniently forgot. I put the viewfinder together again almost immediately. Have you also read that Japan is having an unprecedented heatwave right now? Combine a small enclosed space, heat, superglue and what do you have…cyanoacrylate. I slowly watched the viewfinder glass I had just reattached get covered in a white film. Then stupidly I decided to see if I could still see through it…up goes the camera to my eye…and holy crap!!!! Lesson quickly learned. My eye started to sting and burn. And then my brain switched on and I rinsed my eye. Once pain-free I quickly removed the pieces of the viewfinder and chose another glue. This glue was much thicker and harder to handle. I made a complete mess of it, especially as I decided to put glue on the front glass too. The front didn’t need glue, the metal ring holding it in place. Durh. I could take the front off and clean it, but I was done with the whole thing. At the end of the day, the actual camera lens was clear and the viewfinder was clear enough to see through.

So here is the camera, with a crappy front viewfinder.

This version was known as the Thunderbird in Japan. According to this site, I have the 1959 red version. I have seen a few of these around. I didn’t think they were so rare, but apparently, they are. This site has lots of technical details and instructions on how to use it. Though it is pretty straightforward, select an aperture, press 1 to cock the shutter, then press 2 to release the shutter. You can wind on if you like or take multiple exposures.

But did my gluey version work? I tried it at a very Japanese place with a Japan Camera Hunter film.

Like the other Fujipet I have, it worked really well. It doesn’t have all the attachments of a Diana F+, but it has its own charm. I tried another film a bit later, a very expired Svema. Only a few came out, but it was fun to use.

Keep or sell: I want to keep it, but due to the current situation it all depends on weight. This camera is light so it will probably make the cut, especially as it is rare outside of Japan.

Werra 2B (Werramat)

I have wanted one of these cameras for a while as they are quite different. I didn’t think I would find one in Japan, but voila. It was taking me a little time to figure out which version of the Werra it was. So I asked the internet gods, they were very helpful. With their guidance, I tracked down a manual from Butkus and the description and pictures matched what I thought I had.Screen Shot 2018-07-10 at 19.53.06

A Werramat. But then another aficionado looked up the serial number and said it was a Werra 2b from 1960. You can’t argue with a serial number?? Either way, Butkus is very handy. I have bought that guy a pint once, please do the same if you use the site.

Here is my actual camera.

When I started to research the 2b I found this website and it said the Werra 2b is the Werramat. Then I found another more detailed website which said the 2b is also the Werramat, but that the 2b’s photocell was unreliable so it was updated and re-released as the Werramat…bugger.

My Werra works like the others, you advance the film and cock the shutter by twisting the lens barrel in a clockwise direction. I found this example to be a little tricky, or I was just nervous about using it. It seemed to need an extra push sometimes, but I might have been too gentle as I have wanted one for a while. It could also be the fact it hasn’t been used in a while. Anyway, I was so happy about actually owning one that I made a strap with some remaining paracord. I might make a cooler one when I get back to the UK and have a better cord. At first, I thought the rangefinder was broken as I could not see the second image at all. Chatting with the internet peeps also reassured me that the rangefinder wasn’t broken, this version does not have one. That being the case I had to guess at distances for the test film.

The lens cap turns into a lens hood. Mine was damaged, but from what I have read somewhere on the net it is a common issue (I should bookmark everything I read!). Having used this camera I think I can see how it happens. The hood doesn’t actually fit back on if the lens is extended. Before putting the hood back over the lens you have to turn it to infinity, so it is close to the body. Without being in that position the lens hits the inside of the hood. If you are not careful you can use too much pressure, forcing it on and ultimately cracking the hood.

I have already bought a “for parts” camera with an intact hood and case for $10. So at some point, I will have a complete hood and case, with a hopefully working Werramat. That purchase seemed a bit overly confident given I hadn’t even tried this camera, but it was cheaper than buying a replacement cap. Plus I think I know where I can get this one serviced in the UK.

You can find more even more details on how to use the Werra on this blog.

Anyway here is my test first film, taken around Ibaraki.

As for the so-called unreliable lightmeter…I relied on the light meter for this film and it seemed to work very well. The light meter is coupled. I was unsure what coupled meant until I found this discussion. There is a needle inside the viewfinder that moves when you alter the speed or aperture. The fact you can see it in the viewfinder makes it coupled. I tried covering the cell with my finger and it didn’t seem to make a difference, so I was surprised by how well it worked. The cell is in exactly the place I like to put my index finger, so I often covered by accident. The photo of the shrine lion is especially impressive. Of course, my guesses of distance were not always accurate, and it was very tricky to get the swans in focus as they kept swimming away. You can see the first few shots are overlapping. That could be down to my nervousness and the lack of use. So to be fair I used another film and retested the camera.

This time the shutter was a bit worse as you can see. It is sticking open, hence the light leaks. OK, it needs a service for sure. And you can see what happens if you forget to take off the lens hood.

Well, now I want to say where and how I bought the camera as that is a story unto itself. As a blogger and camera lover, of course, I read other blogs too. I saw this great blog entry and made a comment and decided to act upon it (I am windswept007, if you hadn’t guessed). I followed the instructions, even down to knocking on the door. I am polite. Once inside I was determined to buy something, I had gone to the effort to get there and find the place. Inside was one other customer, I gave a polite nod/bow to them and carried on looking. Then that customer spoke to me..and in English to boot. That rarely happens in camera shops here.

“Have you seen this blog?” he asks showing me his iPad.
“Why yes, that is the reason I am here?” I reply.
…a small pandemonium occurs as he chats to the owner in Japanese, basically saying,
“See mate, told ya…I bring you customers!!”

Turns out he was the writer of the blog, and now a new internet friend 🙂
I introduce myself and tried to tell him about this blog, but I didn’t have any relevant business card. Business cards are all the thing here. I have some now. What a small world of blogging we live in. Anyway, I was still determined to buy something, so I bought this Werramat. To be honest, I think I overpaid, but it is a German camera in Japan, so that is a given. If I had waited until my return to Europe I might have got one much cheaper. Either way, I was happy with the camera, the meeting, and the whole experience.

Keep or Sell: Mine, it is soooo pretty and unique….it just needs a service….ooh maybe I need to get one with an actual rangefinder?

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