This wasn’t a camera I ever intended to try, but I was loaned one and thought, “why not?” A free camera is a free camera and I am giving it back very soon so I better get around to trying it out.
The sampler has a focal length of 20 mm and a fixed aperture of f/8, add that to a fixed focus of 0.3 metres to infinity. So when I rushed towards some black-headed gulls, I could get quite close before pulling the trigger. That minimum focal distance means you can also take selfies with ease.
There are two different shutter speeds that you can switch between. Both take 4 photos, but one setting takes them over 2 seconds and the other over 0.2 seconds. The 2 seconds is better for action or movement shots and 0.2 seconds produces 4 almost identical images. For both settings, the exposure is 1/100th of a second. You wind the film on and cock the shutter by pulling a cord on the side. Actually doing that feels pretty enjoyable.
I was given a boxed example with instructions that I did read. It recommended 400asa film for bright days or 800asa for cloudy days. I loaded mine with 400 and pushed it to 800 for the first roll as it was a dull day, but I still found the results quite underexposed. The next time I used it I put in 400asa as it was a bright day. Still the results were less than perfect. According to the official website, 800asa should be used for nearly all situations. They should write that in the booklet too!
For both films, I chose the 2-second setting, but on some shots, you can barely see any movement. I think the most effective shots were the selfie and the gull photos. For those, I was close to the subject and there was quite a lot of movement.
Here are some samples from my first roll, the 400 pushed to 800.
As I said they were quite underexposed.
The photos below are from the second outing which was a brighter day in London, not much brighter as it is still winter and the UK.
Better, but still a little dark. As the website says, better to stick to 800asa. Also, you might see some wonky shots or lots of cut-off. There is no viewfinder on this camera, you just shoot from the hip. Given the 20mm focal length, it is a bit like the fisheye, but that camera does have a viewfinder. I think this would benefit from even a rudimentary one.
This is a very niche camera and without kids or pets, for me, it is definitely superfluous to my needs. I am glad I tried it, but I won’t be sad to give it back to the owner.