Tag Archives: toy

Fantastic Plastic Book

I have finally finished the book about Frank Hurley. It was a heavy read. I don’t think I will read another biography for a while.

So now I have picked up this book…

I am thinking about the cameras I want to take to Japan tomorrow. I have to take my Nikon D750, but what camera for fun?

I have a suitcase with at least 5 cameras in it safe with a friend in Japan. Inside is a 35mm SLR, a TLR, and compacts are easy to get. So a toy camera seems the best choice at the moment….I am ignoring the golden half I know is in the case too.

I thought I would look through this book for inspiration. I do have the Diana F+ with an Instax back, plus the super wide and slim which I have yet to test. I don’t want to fill up my luggage with cameras I own in case go shopping for some bargains.

If you could take one camera for fun, what would it be?

Halina Smile

As of writing this post you could still buy this camera on Amazon. I put in half a roll of expired film from another toy camera.

This is a cheap plastic camera with very basic specs. A single aperture, a single speed, and a fixed focus lens. 

28mm lens
F/9.5 aperture
Fixed focus
Shutter Speed: ~1/100th / sec

I don’t know why anyone would buy this camera. You might as well get the simple use camera, at least then you will get a decent film with it.

Loading the film is a little awkward as there is no slot for the film end, only some bumps for the sprockets, as with the simple use. I found after loading the half used roll, the winder became stiff. I recommend only using a 24 exposure film, of 400asa of course.

After a few shots, my example seized and I gave up.

Here are the few shots I got.

Not the best camera, not the sharpest of lenses. Not recommended by me at least. The colours are nice though 🙂

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 Amazon.com 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.

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.


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 and “taking time out” my collection is being decimated. I sold this one too.

Lomography Pop 9

Ok, I was sold on the gold. I saw the shiny rectangle in the junk cabinet and thought, “I’ll have that!”

I had no idea what it was or how weird it was, it was just shiny and I wanted it.


The shiny surface did make it difficult to take photos of the camera, I kept seeing my own reflection. Researching the camera was even more tricky. There really isn’t anything on the net apart from a few people selling it. I did find a site dedicated the camera, you can read all about it here and maybe order one for yourself. Looking at that site you can see this camera has nine lenses with a set f11 aperture. The focal length of each is 24mm and they fire at the same time with a shutter speed of 1/100th. On this example, the flash powered up, the light came on but it never fired. I am sure there is just a short in the circuit somewhere, but I don’t feel like taking the camera apart to find out.

So what is special about this camera? It takes 9 photos at once, simple as. I had a look online and the best photos seem to be ones with bold colours. It just so happened that Tokyo Pride was happening when I found this camera. There were bound to be some bold colours at an event like that. I loaded some Fuji 100asa and set off. These are the photos I got.


The index print looked perfect, but I wasn’t sure the shop could scan the negatives or if the camera worked so I didn’t pay for the cd. Scanning the negatives at home was tricky and all the photos were blue and pale.

As with all the Lomography or toy cameras I have tried, the winding mechanism was really weak and stiff. In fact, the whole camera felt like it would break at any moment. But it didn’t, toy cameras are sometimes sturdier than they seem.

I was surprised by the results and I kind of liked the photos, but will I used it again? Maybe not. As for Tokyo Pride, well that was interesting. If we ever meet I have an interesting story to tell about that.

Keep or Sell: Given to a friend due to my imminent move.




Lomography Diana F+

This camera was in a shop in a ziplock bag with an extra lens. As I had recently tried another Lomography camera and liked it, I decided to give this one a go.

You can also get another lens, a fisheye, that was not in the bag. Neither was a mask which lets you take 6×4.5 photos. So I was stuck with the 6×6 on 120mm film. I was fine with that. There are quite a few reviews of this camera online already including this one with lots of technical data and this one with details of the Instax back. I also didn’t get the flash, but I really do not mind about that as I will probably only use it outside.

The settings are found on the barrel of the lens, before the part that the lens parts attach to. There are a few settings for lighting conditions, plus a P for pinhole. The actual lens has the distance selector which is incredibly hard to see. It is a tiny little arrow which can only be seen if you catch a reflection at the right angle.

Once I had figure out how the camera worked and found a spare spool, I loaded some Shanghai GP3. Unfortunately, this film has a black paper backing and it was almost impossible to see the numbers through the window. Unless I was in really bright light, I had to guess how much to advance by the number of rotations. If I use this camera again I will use a film with white backing paper.

I took the camera to a street corner in Akihabara and tried out the various settings. Of course, I could try multi-exposure pinhole, super-wide 38mm (how is that superwide?), and 75mm. I tried them all 🙂

Here is my test roll.

Low and behold, for a toy camera these aren’t bad at all. I really like using it. I am not so keen on the pinhole ones of the crossing, but I love the multi-exposure and the blurred edges of the super-wide lens. I am really tempted to get the Instax back for this setup and try to find the 6×4.5 mask.

Even though I like this camera and the functions, I am absolutely sure I would not pay the full price for another if it broke. And it is plastic, it is all plastic. One drop on hard ground and it is done for.

Keep or sell: I don’t have another pinhole camera and it is very light, so I am going to keep it.

Lomography MEG x Fisheye

Another toy camera. Sometimes they are super easy to find and usually, they are in pretty good condition. Maybe they are unwanted presents. This one just had some stickiness from the price sticker on the back, easy to remove when I have the chance. I am always surprised by the toy cameras I try, surprised by how well they work considering the cheap production and plastic lenses. They look and feel cheap, I would never buy a brand new one.

Much like the camera I already linked to, this one is also associated with a Japanese artist. Here is a link to the Japanese page, let google translate it for you. There are various versions of this camera and they are still available to buy new on Amazon and other places. The Lomography shop gives you more technical details. Using the camera was pretty easy, you can get close to the subject and take advantage of the 170-degree wide angle lens (10mm). Even close up your photos show a distance from the subject. On some of my shots, I was touching or practically touching the subject.

Before using this one I did look at some example photos on Instagram for a feel of what other people have done. There was no concept that drew my eye, so I just plonked in a 12 exposure, out of date 400asa film and got to shooting. I did find it tricky to open the camera, the release was a bit stiff. The film winder was also stiff, but that is common with toy cameras.

Aaaaagh light leaks. As with this reviewer, I found the shutter release was not stiff and if left cocked it would easily take a shot in my bag. I remembered not to wind the film until I wanted a shot. I also tried not looking through the viewfinder…most of it is taken up by the barrel of the lens anyway and it does not give a true representation of your finished photo. The flash also fires if it is charged, even if you turn the button to off after charging. But gosh it is a fun little thing. I am tempted to keep it as I have nothing like it in my arsenal.

I think I will play with it until someone buys it…..and sold.


KFC Novelty Toy Camera

After the last few expensive camera posts, this is the complete opposite. I got this for $3 in a junk bin. It is unlike anything else I own.

It was clean as a whistle, no haze or fungus..but it is completely plastic so could there be any as fungus grows on the lens coating?? Either way, everything was finger-lickin’ good.

Finding any information on the net about this camera was tricky. I did find this Japanese blog that states it came with a $30 bucket of chicken, but could be bought for $15…which annoyed the writer. He said he got the camera around 1997, but never put a film through it. He has even included a manual which says you should use 400ASA film, I wish I had seen that before as I loaded a 100ASA for testing. The camera has a fixed aperture and one speed, which I guess to be around 1/100th as my test shots did not show too much movement.

Here are my test shots.

I decided to use the camera to take photos along the main street in Akihabara, and of shop fronts. Considering it was a dull day, I used the wrong speed film and it is a toy camera…it didn’t do so bad. There are some signs of stress on the film and the film winder/rewinder was stiff. But I think it has been a while if this camera was used, if ever.

Would I use it again, probably not. It would also be tricky for a child to use it due to the stiff winder, my thumb was sore.

Keep or Sell: I think sell or swap. Though I really do not have anything like it and it is fun. It would make people smile when you take their photo.