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Camman 35mm DIY Camera: Easy to Assemble, Fun to Use

Here's a review of another Do-It-Yourself camera from China. Marketed under a few brand names, it's fairly easy to assemble and fun to use.

I have been on a kit camera building kick lately. I am not sure if the change is brought on by getting comfortable with building baby furniture or just a maturity thing. Either way, I find it relaxing and a small sense of pride in making something work. My latest project was trying to get the Superheadz Plamodel kit. I had seen it around the internet for about two years. When I found myself really wanting one for myself, I had a difficult time locating them. Most of my usual haunts were out and on long back-order. In addition, Superheadz has a new more expensive, more complicated kit that they are marketing. That was not really feasible for me. I found that the Plamodel had a clone from China called the Camman. It looked entirely the same except by name.

A two week wait had it at my door.

The kit came with bilingual instructions in English and what I can assume is Chinese. The box contained everything I needed with parts and screwdriver. I found a small cutting plier an asset in removing the individual pieces from the molds.

I believe the entire build went together in thirty minutes. To be honest I put a few pieces on backwards and had to figure out how to put both of the two final halves together without dropping little parts on the floor. I had a little trouble with the lens sliding door. I took it apart and assembled again because I thought it was wrong, only to find out I needed to depress the slide lever before moving. Here is the finished product with the shutter door half open to show the movement action.

I decided I did not want to use the included strap

Here are the technical specs as given by seller:

  • Format: 35mm
  • Lens: Plastic
  • Focal length: 28mm
  • Aperture: f9.5
  • Shutter speeds: 1/125
  • Includes: Strap, Screwdriver, English manual.

It was a few days before I could test it out. I used a trusty Fujifilm 100 roll and tried it in some various lighting in the afternoon and morning. I found the lens surprisingly forgiving in different lighting of shade and direct light. I could also see that focus is central to the lens and is not great before 1.5 meters or after 15 meters.

I like the camera a lot for the $12 USD it cost me. There is no flash and I have another 28mm plastic camera, but the slide lock is invaluable. I have the habit of advancing the film after every shot from other cameras. With the slide covering the lens, the shutter is also locked. This assures a clumsy hand or bump will not fire off a useless shot. The lack of flash leaves it in the realm of daylight, but the focus-free lens means as soon as the shutter is open, I can start shooting. The aperture and speed were forgiving enough that I could take a good picture with the afternoon sun behind me or in the slight shade of a building without bad exposure.

My next kit to review is a paper pinhole. Until then, Aloha!

written by neanderthalis

1 comment

  1. segata

    segata

    I keep seeing these kits while on a search for some camera bargins, I think I might give one a go now Ive seen the results, thanks for the article :)

    over 1 year ago · report as spam