Signpost. Mystery toy camera, expired fuji superia reala 100 film.

Recently, I’ve been shot most of my street candids portrait-style. I don’t know where this is coming from, maybe I should buy a square-frame medium format camera to cure myself of this? Or am I just looking for an excuse to buy a Holga, Diana or a Lubitel?

Does anyone have a favorite, obscure medium format toy camera I don’t know about? Let me know.

Aiptek Pencam SD — Digital Holga, or a better Digital Harinezumi?


I took this picture with a Aiptek Pencam SD, a camera I liken to the Digital Harinezumi. The Pencam SD is roughly the same size, and does 1280×960 max resolution (still), and 6-8 frames per second at 640×480. Like the Digital Harinezumi, the Pencam SD has 64MB of built-in memory and an SD card slot. Instead of an expensive CR2 battery, the Pencam SD uses AAA batteries – I have a stack of rechargeable AAAs at home.

Unlike the DH, the Aiptek is less than $20.

Is this a “Digital Holga”?  Probably not, while it can vignette, it can take impressively sharp pictures in the right light.
Is the viewfinder a best guesstimate of the image area? Definitely.
Is it fun to shoot with? Extremely – I prefer not being able to see the photo until after I get home.

Being able to record sound with the Digital Harinezumi 2 would be interesting, but I really like the effects people have created by adding soundtracks to silent video created with the original Digital Harinezumi.


This pic came off the first test roll from my Vivitar IC 100, a $1 plastic camera I picked up recently. It’s pretty standard looking. The insides could come from a LOMO Colorsplash or any number of unremarkable cameras. A simple lens, shutter speed and aperture fixed at 1/100th sec and f/5.6, and cheap enough to take anywhere (and not worry about it)…

Another toy camera – Meikai EL

This is a Meikai EL, circa 1963. Bought on eBay, I was the only bidder!

As toy cameras go, this one feels pretty solid. The body is metal and plastic and the leatherette makes it feel like a “real” camera. The film advance is smooth, and there’s an indicator to let you know when the film is properly advanced. The lens looks like it’s made of glass. The door latch is solid.

The fake light meter surrounding the viewfinder give it away as a toy camera, and the fixed focus, fixed shutter speed lens adds to the toy camera gestalt.


The camera has 3 aperture settings – f/8, f/11 and f/16. If you’re not sure which direction stopping down is, the BRIGHT and DULL labels should help to match the weather conditions to the aperture settings. There’s an Instant and Bulb shutter setting next to the aperture setting.

The Meikai EL has an accessory shoe and a PC socket for flash. The instructions recommend using the Bulb setting for flash shooting – flash bulbs need a a slower sync speed, like 1/15th sec or so.

The Meikai EL only has one lug for attaching a strap, so you’re stuck with a wrist strap. This camera CALLS OUT for a two-lug thin leather tourist-ey neck strap.

The pictures I’ve seen on the net have the simple lens elements, soft focus, toy camera look. I’ve shot a roll of 5-year-old Jessops 200 speed film on my lunch hour and should get it back from York Photo in a week.

Somewhere in my garage I have an old Vivitar 16M flash with a PC cord, I’ll have to dig it up tonight.


Meikai Links: