Wide Angle Point and Shoots — Pt. 3 — Fixed Focus Budget Cameras
Hi in this section I return to look at the fixed focus models. These models give you some super wide angle cameras to choose from–I guess the wider the lens the less necessary focus becomes anyways. And maybe people are more forgiving about lens distortion in the fixed focus market? We are verging into toy camera territory here and that is OK. There are just so many of these fixed focus cameras out there that my attempt to list everything is plain doomed. Anyways here are some of the more interesting models that I have come across on the web.
The guidelines here are less strict than in the first two posts. What remains steady is that all of these cameras accept 35mm film. And again there are NO zoom cameras here. Selection is focused on the widest angle cameras out there that I was able to discover. Anything 28mm or less wide than 28mm is only included because the camera seems somehow special. . . I have skipped some 28mm models that are plain Jane. Anything wider than 28mm makes the list by default.
One general note that many of these camera will have plastic lenses and very limited adjustments available while shooting. A good guess would be that most of these are fixed aperture and fixed shutter speed, with some exceptions of course! I have done my best to describe them below but felt this disclaimer was appropriate. These are such low-end cameras that it can be difficult to find exact and reliable details about them. . .
FIXED FOCUS CAMERAS
Ansco Pix Panorama — Halima Panorama
28mm, fixed f-stop at f11, fixed shutter at 1/125
(2 element plastic lens)
There is something about the photos from this camera that really grab me. Clearly you have to take out that panorama mask! (Instructions can be found on the web). Basically a pretty special toy camera.
Good review by Scott J
Review on Lomography site
Wikipedia entry on Ansco Pix Panorama
The Ansco Pix Panorama pool on flickr (mostly panorama shots)
The mask taken out!! Set 1 and Set 2 and Set 3 and Set 4
Photo by nshih on Flickr
Fuji Smart Shot Plus
26mm, f-stop 8
My hunch is that both f-stop and shutter are fixed on this model (?). There are a bunch of very similar Fuji cameras with very similar names out there, it is really hard to tell them apart and keep them straight (Plus, Supreme and Deluxe)! This particular model seems like it has one of the wider lenses in the line-up and is also a very budget Fuji model. That said, Fuji point and shoots look to be sweet overall, and some of them are very wide. (Please note the Fuji “Clear Shot Plus” is different than this “Smart Shot Plus”).
Rundown of the Clear Shot and Smart Shot models
Forum entry says it is mostly manual operated?
Handful of photos on flickr Set 1 (expired film) and Set 2
Photos from the Smart Shot Plus on Lomography
Fuji Clear Shot V
27mm, f-stop 8, fixed shutter at 1/120
I think this was the most recent line-up of affordable point and shoots from Fuji. . . well the “Clear Shot V II” was the latest strictly speaking. 100/200 and 400/800 is how the ASA capabilities are listed, so looks like the camera detects 800 ASA film but only has 2 ASA settings total. (Please note there is also the Clear Shot M at 28mm, f-stop 6.3, fixed shutter 1/120th. And the Clear Shot S at 26mm, f-stop 5.6. I listed the “Clear Shot S” on the AF page (Part 1) as it comes in an AF version. . . I think there is a fixed focus version of the Clear Shot S too).
Clear Shot line-up on the Fuji site
Clear Shot V II photos on Lomography site
Photo by Boxy Brown on Flickr
Jazz Jellies 207
This seems like a popular toy camera. It has a panorama mask. . . though I don’t understand why people would crop off so much of the image by choice. Looking at the pictures on flickr I can see why this one is so popular, some of the photos are pretty cool! Something this cheap is probably fixed f-stop and fixed shutter, references on the internet seem to go along with this.
Review at kataan.org
Photos tagged Jazz 207 on Flickr
Jazz Jelly 207 picture on Lomography
Photo by Boxy Brown on Flickr
Konica POP mini
26mm, f-stop 8, shutter 1/125
I have a soft spot for Konica cameras, wish I could find out more about this very wide one. It seems like a sideline of the popular and colorful 36mm lensed Konica POP line.
A data sheet on the camera
Minimal review of the Konica POP mini
Some photos on Flickr
Photo by Berjacq on Flickr
Konica WaiWai (2002)
17mm, fixed f-stop 8, fixed shutter of 1/100
I am guessing that the focus is surely fixed on this wild beast. The Konica WaiWai is a disposable camera that is no longer made but it is really a classic. People reload the existing ones just cause the lens is so wide. And the camera is so cool!
Nice blog entry
Review of the WaiWai
Entry on Lomography
Flickr pool one
Flickr pool two
Photo by Chet4 on Flickr
Olympus Go 100
27mm, f-stop 8
It is nice that maybe you can turn the flash off. The only review I found (below) thought that both aperture and shutter are fixed.
An actual review of this thing!
Handful of photos on Lomography
Olympus Trip 505
28mm, f-stop 5.6, shutter 1/140 to 1/2
The Trip 505 is highlighted because it clearly has multiple shutter speeds and you can turn off the flash. This is a popular fixed lens 28mm camera. Results on flickr are encouraging.
The Trip 500 (28mm, f-stop 6.7, fixed shutter at 1/100) and the Trip 505 seem to be the fixed lens versions of the Trip 50 and Trip 51. Similarly the XB400/XB401 (27mm, f-stop 6.3) appear to be the fixed versions of the XB40/XB41 (See AF Page (Part I) of this series for more info on the AF cameras).
Info on the Trip 500 and trip 505.
Nice photos and review on flick of Trip 500 and Trip 505
Towards the bottom of this forum is says all glass lens and 3 flash modes
Photos tagged Olympus Trip 505 on flickr
Photo by Davidson Barea on Flickr
26mm, f-stop 6.3, shutter 1/100
My guess is that both f-stop and shutter are fixed on this very affordable model. Viewfinder is a little clunky (hard to see the side clearly) but basically works. The lens on the PC-330 I have is not even vaguely sharp, which makes the pictures look a bit like they were shot thru a slightly dreamy fog. Kinda cool looking actually but frustrating as well given the lack of detail. Evidently this camera was distributed in the states and it seems to be relatively easy to find.
Some specs below the photo
Photos on flickr example 1 and example 2 and example 3
Photo by HaarFager on Flickr
25mm, f-stop 6.3
I think this a newer version of the PC-330 (even wider tho), hard to find much info.
Ricoh My-1 (2001)
30mm, f-stop 7, shutter 1/60 and 1/125
Very simple camera by Ricoh. Not is the same league as that companies flagship models maybe. Photos on flickr are not shabby at all.
Tagged Ricoh My-1 on flickr
chatter on flickr
Photo by 33dollars on flickr
Samsung Fino 15SE
28mm, f-stop 5.6, shutter 1/125
100 or 400 ASA
(3 elements,3 groups)
This is the most basic camera in the Samsung line-up, based on the designations for the higher end ones this might have all plastic lenses? Based on the Fino 30SE I am thinking the shutter is indeed fixed at 1/125.
Page of manual with specs
Tagged Fino 15SE on Flickr
Samsung Fino 20SE — Fino 25SE — Maxima 25SE
28mm, f-stop 5.6, shutter 1/125
(3 groups, 3 elements — 1 glass lens)
This looks like a little bit of an upgrade from the 15SE. The most obvious benefit on this 20SE is the power switch with a 3rd setting that turns on the flash (the question then is if the other “on” position is auto flash or flash off?). The Fino 25SE/Maxima 25SE are very similar but with a self timer. The page from the manual makes it look like this one also has the 80% viewfinder, whatever that means. Samsung owned Rollei from 1995 to 1999, so Samsung cameras from this time period are well regarded and may or may not have Schneider lenses. In any event this camera brand is supposed to be decent bang for your buck from this time period.
Page of manual with specs
Photos on Lomography site
Some photos on flickr
Samsung Fino 20S — Maxima 25S
Gotta love Samsung making the names so confusing. This seems to be a fixed focus version of the Fino 30S/Maxima 30S (which is included in Part 1 of this survey). Not sure how those two flash buttons on the front work, but they do make the camera easy to identify. There is also a “Maxima 22S” which looks to be very similar. On the other hand, the “Maxima 25” looks like a different (pretty simple) camera.
Photos from the Fino 20S on Lomography
Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim
22mm, fixed f-stop 11, fixed shutter of 1/125
I would hazard that this is the king of the toy cameras. The plastic lens on this thing has a really good reputation and I love looking at the picture it takes. The lens does flare a lot if pointed into the light. The Vivitar company is no more but there are a lot of clones of this still available new: Superheadz Slim Devil and the Eximus UWS are two well known models. Flickr forums seem to indicate that the results from the clones are very comparable to the original Vivitar model.
GREAT comparison of the various Vivitar wide plastic cameras pt 1
GREAT comparison of the various Vivitar wide plastic cameras pt 2
Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim pool on Flickr 1
Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim pool on Flickr 2
Photo by Boxy Brown’s Bling on Flickr
Yashica Impression/Impression Plus
28mm, f-stop 4.5
Some general thoughts on these cheapo cameras:
— Buy them cheap. Thrift stores, swap meets, and junk shops are good places to find these mass produced items. Luckily these cameras are so ultra simple that there is less to break! No electronics at all on the more basic ones. This increases your chances of getting a working one used.
— Look for a control to turn off the flash on the camera. That is a handy to feature to have on these, as the results from flash shots can be iffy at this price point.
— A lot of the more basic cameras only work with a limited range of film ASA (just 100 and 400 for example). The totally fixed exposure ones of course do not calculate exposure at all!
— There are a lot of cheap cameras out there. Check out this forum with a host of plastic lens cameras.
— This lady w/ a nice camera collection also has good advice.
In a way this type of ultra-basic camera is something of a return to the early days of photography, when ALL the gear was primitive. Going along with this, some photography knowledge is probably useful to get good results from these simple cameras. . . basically the camera operator needs to judge if the amount of light available is appropriate to the limited range of exposures that the camera can provide.