This camera package is as cheap as it gets. For the price alone, it is a must have!
Background: CD-R King is the largest store chain of I.T. accessories in the Philippines. They began with a few outlets that sell blank CDs and DVDs. Today, they have a store in almost every mall in the nationwide. Their products now range between blank CDs, thumb drives, cables, televisions, and all else in between. I would not be surprised if a CD-R King Laptop, or even a CD-R King Car becomes available soon.
Among their products is a film camera package that has been neglected by costumers for years. Formerly priced at Php 380 (about US $9), the package contains a camera, AA battery, camera strap, and a Superia 200 Film. Never was I temped to buy the camera, because at that price, I just thought it was not worth the risk. After three years, or so, the store management probably figured out that no one will ever buy the film camera anymore, given that most people are using digital cameras already. So, a couple of months ago, news came buzzing that said camera is now being sold for a mere Php 50 (a little more than a dollar). Here in the Philippines, the cheapest negative film is at Php. 55. So, buying the CD-R King Camera was much like buying a precious Superia 200 Film, with a free camera! At this price, it really is next to free.
And so, I bought 4 and quickly loaded film on the CD-R King Camera and took it for a test drive.
Package: Camera w/ Flash, Superia 200, Hand strap, AA battery
Shutter speed: Probably 1/100
Aperture: Probably f/11
Focal length: Unknown
Focus: Free focus
There is nothing specifically fancy about the lens; it is dead simple. It produces decent images I would say. The image seems to clearer at the center, while the periphery seems a bit softer.
The camera particularly captures the blue sky well.
With a 200 ISO film, using it in open shade on a sunny day, seems to be most flattering.
There is a hint of vignetting, which I think will be more pronounced if slide film is used.
I tried to shoot directly at the sun thinking that it might produce flares, but it didn’t; so no flares for us folks.
The flash also works as expected. Although I do not have a color splash example, I am sure that plastering colored gels onto the flash is always a good Idea.
Using the typical technique of tightening the film, holding the rewind lever and button while advancing, one can do multiple exposures.
Because the camera is so cheap; you can simply buy 10 sets, and modify (or destroy) a few.
I performed the multiples exposure and bulb modifications, but for some reason, I would not recommend it. Still, I will try to write a tutorial on such, soon.
A more interesting modification I tried was the inverted lens. Here are some sample shots.
With the inverted lens, taking photos of people is a no no, But then again, I you like what you see, then go ahead!
It is best to put your subject in the middle, with the inverted lens. The images come out generally blurry, with a circular bokeh of some sort.
Putting the camera about 5 inches form a textured subject, such as vegetation, creates circular abstract images.
Be careful with your fingers in the inverted lens, if they are close enough to the lens, they are likely to be captured too.
I was not contented with the inverted lens, so I took a lens form one of my spare CD-R cameras, and glued it in front of the inverted lens. Below are some interesting results, which mostly look like blurry fisheye images.
So there; in conclusion, we love all things cheap! For the Superia film alone, I will not hesitate to buy five more sets of the CD-R King camera package. If you have your LC-A+ with colorsplash flash, you are likely to neglect this camera. But if you are a beginner with minimal budget, this is a decent introductory camera. I am sure using slide film will bring more kick to your images. There are still a lot of things you can try with this cam, such as turning it into a pinhole.
So, Pinoy Analogue community, while there is still supply, grab a couple of these cameras! The Superia 200 is already a winner! If you do not like the camera particularly, then give it to a friend who has been thinking of going analogue, but is waiting for a good push.