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: