I am going to start this by saying…I like this camera. It is a simple point-and-shoot, with no zoom, and no features, but I like it.
I like that it has a 35mm fixed lens and a way to turn off the inbuilt flash. It also has a clam-shaped cover which protects the lens and resets the flash switch to auto when you close it. Saying that you simply slide the switch back, no scrolling through menus.
It wasn’t like at first sight though as it didn’t work when I first aquired it. I saw it on eBay while looking for a cheap Olympus point-and-shoot. It was listed for less than £20 and described as untested but looked decent…but it wasn’t. When it arrived it was very clear that it was very far from perfect. As you can see in the photos, the battery cover wasn’t there and it had been replaced with a strip of metal attached by tape. The original tape was black which was hard to see in the description photos. When I removed that, the spring battery connector fell out too. I wrote to the seller and he gave me a full refund but allowed me to keep the camera.
I put the spring back in and loaded some batteries, amazingly it started making noises…not great ones. It didn’t sound normal, like it was trying to load a film but it just wasn’t stopping when it failed to do so. I took the batteries out and pondered. What if I loaded a scrap film so it could get to the end and reset the cycle. So I put a test/fogged film in and closed the door, then loaded the batteries. Sure enough it started to load the film and didn’t stop. When it finally got to the end of the film it started rewinding. I opened the door, reloaded the film, and closed the door. The camera loaded the film as it should and stopped on the first frame. I then shot the film until it got to the end again. Once again it rewound the film without issue. Oh and it left a little tab out when it had finished.
Here is a bit more about this camera from 1991. It has DX decoding, but not for every speed. The previous link says it functions in steps 50-100-400-800-1600 and non-DX film will be set to 50. According the manual, it sets 1600 to 800. Other technical details are, it has a 35mm F3.5 lens, 3 elements in 3 groups, autofocus with focus lock, a minimum focus distance of 65cm, an electronic shutter with a range between 1/45-1/360s. The view finder has a flash ready and focus achieved light. You can half press the shutter to activate focusing and a green light comes on when it has found it, that also locks the focus if you want to reframe.
Ok, but would my dodgy one work? I loaded it with a roll of Ilford Delta 100 and took it to the The Photography Show and then to London on a She Hearts Film walk…more about that on the next post.
As the day in London progressed it got darker and darker of course. In the end the camera struggled as most would, especially with a 100asa film inside.
The bottom of the battery compartment on this example is hanging on by a thread and it will fail in the near future making it impossible to load batteries. There is no saving it as it is the moulded body that has snapped. I could use epoxy to save it, but it wouldn’t be pretty. When it finally breaks, will I replace it? Nope, I looked online at other examples for sale and the battery compartment does seem to be a weak point. There were a few for sale with the door broken or missing. So for now, I am just going to treat this as a throw away, disposable camera until it gives up the ghost.