TEC Olempia Big Royal View

While on holiday on the Isle of Mull I saw a charity shop. So of course I stopped and checked out any cameras. They had one. So for fun and charity I bought it.

Once I got it back to the hotel I did some research….there is a storm brewing so there is no travelling today. Anyway, I couldn’t find anything in the net apart from it has a few names and is a toy camera of the Lomography and Holga fashion. Super. I can play with this around the hotel while the rain falls. It takes 2 AA battlers in the camera and in the flash. I have those. Double super.

Bugger. Oh well, money to charity at least.

Minolta Hi-Matic AF2 MD

This camera is from 1982. There is a lot of information about the AF2 online, but not too much on the MD version so I am struggling to link to anything. Anyway here is the camera.

I took a few pictures of things that I had issues with to remind me to write about it at this stage. I don’t have the camera in my hands so I am working on memory. I did find this tiny entry on the web, you will have to use google translate to read it in English. It does state the shutter speeds and apertures are from EV 6 (F 2.8 1/8 sec) ~ EV 17 (F 17 1/430 sec). I think the MD means motor drive, but I can’t confirm that. I did try the AF-D and that had a film advance lever so I am confident with my guess.

Using the camera is easy, just point and shoot. There is a red light and audible beep if there is not enough light. The flash on this version did not work, so I decided to set a limit – I would only take shots of buildings. So off I trundled to Odaiba and got to shooting.

As I had recently found a few expired films in a junk bin I loaded one of those into this funky camera. I had a couple of issues with the camera. The date imprint would randomly turn back on, I think the cover was pressing on the button. Plus the rewind did not work. That meant I had to put the camera in a dark bag and rewind it manually. This was another film I brought back to the UK for developing at Picture Lizard.

Here are the test shots.

For an expired film, the shots are great. The sky is especially impressive, with the highlights showing good detail. This is why I love film. There aren’t many digitals that would capture this amount of detail and sharpness.

Keep or Sell: Actually I threw it away. With the flash issue combined with the rewind fault, I didn’t see the point in keeping it…but now I have seen the photos?? Would I buy another? No, I have the Nikon I tried recently and a plethora of others. BUT, I would recommend it to others. Any of the other Minolta AF versions would be great if you happen upon one.

Canon IXY aps (or IXUS, or ELPH)

This camera is TINY, pocket and palm small. Plus it is an aps. Plus I actually owned one of these back in the day when the film was readily available. So when I saw it for a $1 I snapped it up. What I didn’t know was…there was a partly used film inside. So there I am trying to prise the film door open not knowing the camera was desperately trying to save the film inside. Eventually, I did have a lightbulb moment and retrieved the film. I wrote about the film here.

This is another one of those cameras with many names as you can see in the title of the blog entry. You can see all the different incarnations here and that this is the very first one from 1996. For more technical details look here. I really loved the feel of the camera, metal and cool in the hand. It functioned well. I won’t say worked perfectly because I had issues. The flash on this example never quite closed, but it worked when needed.

I ended up trying this camera a number of times. I had such bad luck with this camera. I tried two completely different films due to the nature of expired aps films, neither would be scanned by Yodobashi Camera. Eventually, I decided to break the cassette open and try scanning them myself. Both of the films were very dark and purple, which to me indicates poor chemicals. I think there are just not enough people using this type of film in Japan. I then cut the strip into 2 neg strips and used the 120mm scanner plate. It was a real pain and in the future, I will try this method and make my own plate.

Here are some of the shots from those films.

But, I didn’t give up and tried another film. This time I brought the film and the camera back to the UK. I sent the film I took in Japan to Picture Lizard, who I found on eBay. This time the film was scanned even though the film was less than perfect. I was very pleased with the scanning. Here are the photos from that film.

I noticed something on this film and another one I got developed..there is a camera strap dangling in front of the lens. I think the trouble I have been having with developing has made me a little careless when it comes to aps cameras. I will correct that from now on.

As for the photos, the camera was ok apart from the odd light leak..maybe due to my prising. But again the film was less than ok.

Keep or sell: I have already sent it and a film to a new friend…maybe old friend after he has tried aps.

Two Nikon TW Point and Shoots

I looked through my list of cameras tested and realised there are surprisingly few Nikons on there. So, this post goes some way towards addressing that. I was recently hunting through some junk bins and came across two versions of the same series. The total price for both was $3.

Yipee! Of course, I bought both, then I went further and put the same kind of film in each, Fuji Acros 100. AND to go further I took both cameras out on the same kind of day…unfortunately dull, humid and rainy.

So the first film I finished was from the Nikon TW2D.

This camera came into production in 1987 and was Nikon’s first autofocus point and shoot. There is a button on top to switch between 35mm and 70mm. There is a slider on the front which turns on the camera and opens the shutter cover. As you can see there are also buttons to control the flash, continuous shooting and midroll rewind. On the side of the lens barrel is a slider for soft focus too. Unfortunately, the zoom motor for this example was faulty and struggled to control the lens barrel extension or retraction. The camera seemed to work fine in the 35mm position, but struggled to do anything if you tried to set it to 70mm. Anyway, here is my test roll.

Hmm, there are a couple of nice shots, but on the whole, these are seriously underexposed. Bless this little camera, it really tried hard, but it just didn’t work. BUT, if the exposure had worked it would be a great camera. I would recommend it if you can find a good example.

And on to the next, the Nikon TW20 AF.

This one was a bargain, $1 for the camera and case. This one was produced a couple of years after the TW2D from 1989. It also has a button to switch focal lengths, 35mm and 55mm. The former camera had the first autofocus, this one has the first red-eye reduction. For a point and shoot it isn’t the smallest camera I have ever tried, even a little ugly on which I agree with this great blog. But I love sliding lens covers so that redeems it in my book. The lens cover also protects a few other buttons such as the self-timer and flash suppression. But was it a bust like the $2 camera?

This camera is AWESOME! All the more for costing $1. Remember it was a very dull day and I was using 100ASA film. For the most part, the exposure is great, plus the focal length button worked well. I really enjoyed using it and would recommend it if you can get a good example.

Keep or Sell: The TW2D is in the bin, but the TW20 is a keeper, though as always I have too many. I just can’t get rid of this one though, how would I ever find such a good example for $1.

Kyocera 210-AF

After the bother I had with the 230-AF, I was left with a lens and no body at my house in Japan. I waited and waited and finally, I saw this 210-AF. Eureka I now had a full set again and maybe I could sell or give it away…providing all worked well.

There is very little about this version on the net, just a few Japanese sites. This one says it was released in Japan only in 1987. It worked a lot like the aforementioned 230AF, so I am not going to go into detail here…especially as this was my test roll.

Two shots only. After a few shots it became very clear there was an issue. It only worked efficiently in manual. In auto mode, an exposure of 8 seconds was always chosen no matter what settings the camera was on. I just could not see any way to change it. If it had worked I think it would be an awesome camera. I really liked the 230. I think I will play with it a little longer before giving up on it completely.

Olympus Trip AF

I love the Olympus Trip, so when I saw this one for $3 I didn’t even think about it, mine. This trip was released in 1984.

This one needs two AAA batteries to run the flash and the light meter. If there is enough light a green indicator shows in the viewfinder and the shutter works. The camera selects one of two speeds, either 1/85 or 1/120, which is not much of a choice really. There are also two choices of film speed which can be set on the side of the lens. It really is a camera of TWO.

The lens has a cover, which was really stiff on this example. I tended to leave it open while I was walking around with it as it was a pain to move the position. The film wind and rewind is manual.

Here is my test roll.

Well, the exposure is spot on even with the difficult backlighting of the windows. I took this camera on a location walk for the movie “Your Name“. Luckily I took another camera because this one has obvious haze…though not obvious when I loaded the film. Would I buy another version of this camera? No, I much prefer the original, it is far superior, though I only have this hazy version for comparison.

Keep or Sell: I put it in the bin.

Konica Pocket 400 – 110mm

When I was little I thought 110 cameras were really cool, so small. They were like a spy camera. Then I started to work in a photo lab and realised the negatives were so small that all the movies were fake, small neg = crap photo. The 110 film cartridge was introduced in 1972 by Kodak. It stopped being produced in 2009…and amazingly was reintroduced by Lomography in 2012. So when I saw one in a junk bin for $1, I thought ok I will buy a pack of 3 films and try only 3 cameras. This is the first.


This camera was released in 1975 and as it suggests it was made to be kept in your pocket. So that is was I did, I walked around with it in my pocket for a day. It is so small that I sometimes forgot it was there. It was very simple to use, basically point and shoot. There is a distance selector on the top, but I left it on the further distance choice.

This example had fungus or dirt in the viewfinder and I suspected there was the same on the lens, but the lens was so small I I found it difficult to check.

I put in the required 4LR44 battery, then the cartridge, and got to shooting. The battery powered the light meter. If there was not enough light a red light could be seen in the viewfinder and the shutter would not fire. There was a green light if all was ok. There were two flash options, the old cube type or you could add something to the hotshoe. I did neither as I only used the camera outside.

The film was wound on by a push slider on the bottom, two pushes for one shot advance.

So did it work?


Yes, quite well considering. I do think there is some haze on the lens, but it is difficult to tell due to the natural quality of the 110 film. I enjoyed using the camera and carrying it around, but I will not be using it again.

Keep or Sell: Neither, I might throw it away, but for now I will just add it to the box of cameras I don’t want to keep.

As an aside, I really didn’t like the Nikon AW130 I bought, so I am giving that to my sister and I found a junk bin Ricoh GXR. The flash catch is broken, which is a common issue – nothing a bit of tape won’t fix, but apart from that, it seems fine. The camera shots on here were taken by it. When I saw it I was reminded of the GR1v I tried recently. Of course, it is not waterproof, but I only go diving once a year so that is not an issue.

Minolta alpha 3xi Panorama

I was unsure whether to buy this junk bin camera given the obvious damage to the side. It was also covered in stickers with a variety of prices. The lowest was $3 and that is what I paid for it. The lens was a bit more, but it looked in better condition though still was covered in masses of price stickers. I hate that. It took ages to clean them all off before I could even begin to think about whether they worked.

This camera is was originally produced in 1991. You can get some more technical data here. When I walked around with it I noticed that when it was turned on and next to my body, it was trying to focus on stuff.  It turns out the two bars on the front of the camera operate the auto eye focusing system. If you cover the dot on the right of the eyepiece, preferably with your eye, and hold the camera covering these two bars with your hand, the camera will automatically focus on the subject. You do not need to press the shutter. You can press the shutter half way to achieve the same results, so it is a bit fancy and superfluous. Pressing the shutter halfway also locks the automatic focusing. The button on the back saying ASZ is for an automatic zoom system, but it only works with certain lenses. I did not have that lens, so have no idea if it would be useful.

I loaded the camera with fresh Fuji 100 film and went for a walk along the Tachikawa river. I find it funny to write that as ‘kawa’ means river, so really I am writing Tachi river river. Anyway, I made a map of the walk. which you can find on my other blog here. This was walk 7 and here are the test shots.

Wow, not bad for $3, every shot is perfectly exposed. The walk was lovely too. The last place is a sake brewery. I bought 3 bottles and had to carry them for the rest of my journey, stupid thing to do given I was also carrying 3 cameras. I was supposed to go to a firefly festival, but with the heat, the walk, and the weight of my bag I decided to give up and go home. BUT, the camera was great. It worked perfectly and was easy to use. It didn’t have many functions, so not much better than a point and shoot. The olympus mju would have served just as well, but not have been as much fun to use. I also tried a very similar camera here, I gave that camera to a friend and always kind of regretted it. Anyway, it seems Minolta do indeed make great cheap SLRs.

Keep or sell: Given the damage to the body I think I will give this one away. Plus along the walk, I saw many cyclists and realised I really missed my bike. I might finish the cameras testing the cameras I have then return to cycling. I think I have about 10 in various places.

Ricoh SE2

I thought this was such a funky looking camera, coupled with the fact it still had the lens cover…I had to try it. Then I found out it was a half frame. Did I still want it? Yeah, ok.

The seals on this 1976 camera were completely shot and disintegrated on touch. So I changed them before I even thought about trying it. The selenium cell seemed to be working fine, but what was that weird dial on the bottom? It turned out to be a spring loaded film winder. It worked intermittently, I was never sure when and how to charge the spring. If it didn’t cock the shutter you could also wind it manually.

There is a great blog post here in Chinese, (use Google Translate), that really explains how to use the camera, plus there are example shots of some pimped up versions. It almost made me want to do that to my camera. The review explained the red dot in the middle of the viewfinder. If there is not enough light a red dot will appear, it there is enough light the dot will be yellow. Mine camera’s dot was a little light and I didn’t really think about it too much. If you leave the camera on auto the speed is 1/125th, if you use it on manual aperture then it is 1/30th. That is way too slow for me so I left it on auto most of the time, but really…one film speed?

I took the film to a festival and then around and about. This camera got more attention and comments than any other I have walked around with, but did it work?

Yeap it worked. But as a half frame, it took forever to finish the film and there were a lot of shots. There are so many shots that this time I could not be bothered to remove all the hairs from scanning. I didn’t think the quality of the shots was worth the effort.

Keep or sell: Definitely sell. I still do not like half frames and I think I will only try another by accident…though this camera is one of the coolest I have tried.



Yashica Half 17

When I saw this camera, I thought…REALLY??? A Yashica half frame? I hate half-frames, but I love Yashicas. Should I buy it? It isn’t cheap for a junk bin chance, but it is clean and a Yashica…OK, I will do it.

According to this reviewer it was produced in 1964. As you can see it has a selenium cell light meter and a f1.7 lens. It has zone focusing with an image scale inside the viewfinder that has the regular mountain, people, person symbols. On the right side of the view finder is a needle scale that tells you the speed. So you can choose the aperture and check what speed will be selected by the camera. Or everything can be automatic. When you press the shutter button half way, the needle moves…and this one did, which let me know the selenium cell was working 🙂 A good sign. Here are a few more details.

So I plonked in a film and went for a wander…

…and out of 72 photos these are the ones with an image 😦

On a closer inspection, the shutter blades moved very, very slowly. They seem clean, but must be sticky. I do not have the skills to take this apart and clean the blades. Plus as it seems quite a rare camera I don’t want to spoil such a good example. Therefore I am going to send it to a Yashica expert and hope he can bring new life into it…or at least love it.

To be honest I didn’t mind so much. I still do not like half-frame cameras.