Time Magazine Camera: Poor Man's Holga 135?


Time Magazine camera, a thrift store find sure to satisfy any Lomographer’s lo-fi needs!

Mr. Peabody, set the way back machine for 1984, when a company called Lavec mass produced a stunning little plastic camera and licensed it out under a company’s name as a promotional item. That’s right folks, Time Magazine didn’t actually make the camera themselves, they hired Lavec to put their name on it and gave it out with paid subscriptions to the magazine. While Time Magazine may be the most famous for it, other companies tried it too, Sports Illustrated, HBO and Bentley to name a few.

Fast forward to modern day 2011 and these cameras sit alone and frightened in the bottom of boxes and shelves in thrift stores and attics across the country. As a dedicated Lomographer, it is your duty to save these forgotten creatures, bring them home and feed them lots of fresh film!

In all seriousness, these truly are a must have in your collections folks. Easy to find, cheap and most of the time still in like new condition (due to the fact that they were seldom even used)! But they are truly diamonds in the sand, with their cute vintage styling and miniscule size, they’re considerably smaller than the Holga 135, and have a 50mm glass lens! You heard me, an actual glass lens! Sadly, no vignetting here, but the lens’s clarity rivals that of many full size SLRs and is way smaller and lighter. It also features a functioning hotshoe, paired with a flash and it’s actually smaller than the flash! It even comes with a tripod mount. (Not that you’d use it of course, but it’s there!)

Won’t you find it in your hearts to adopt one of these sweet loving cameras? They are easy to find on Ebay and Etsy, operators are standing by…

written by aroninvt on 2011-07-27 #gear #35mm #review #lomography #film-camera #time-magazine #user-review


  1. dirklancer
    dirklancer ·

    This was my first camera as a kid! I wish I still had it. At the time, I had no idea how to take good pictures with it, now I could rock it like nobody's business!

  2. aroninvt
    aroninvt ·

    Thanks for reading! These cameras are still out there and are easy to find on Ebay and Etsy, they go by a number of names, but they are all basically the same......I carry mine as a back up or when I'm in a hurry and don't want to drag my camera bag along, I'll just grab it and sling it over my shoulder as I go out the door. You can usually find them for $5-$10 online, or Salvation Army or Goodwill are also great sources for old cameras! Happy hunting!

  3. wuxiong
    wuxiong ·

    It is beautiful, I want to see more fotos by this black beauty...<:)

  4. jinxmebaby
    jinxmebaby ·

    Must play with one of these. Now to find one....

  5. andrea_gail
    andrea_gail ·

    I bet that if some company got hold of the plastic molds for this camera and decided to run production again, the camera would be priced the same as the Holga 135. :P Good find!

  6. tomkiddo
    tomkiddo ·

    cute :)

  7. rancliffhasenza
    rancliffhasenza ·


  8. droogieboy
    droogieboy ·

    A camera review showing only 2 photos?!! Whatever happened to the rest of the film?

  9. aroninvt
    aroninvt ·

    Dear droogieboy, I try to limit the number of pics I post to only the best shots. The whole roll of film did come out nicely, but most of the images weren't overly interesting to look at so I did not post them. For every roll of film I take I might post one or two of the images in the interest of not flooding this site with my mundane photos.

  10. alex73013
    alex73013 ·

    How does it's glass lens rival the clarity of many full size SLRs?

    I guess I'd like to see more photos.

  11. aroninvt
    aroninvt ·

    Perhaps I should have edited myself a bit there, I guess I can't say it's glass lens rivals most SLRs, as that would be outside my experience, so I shall say it has just as much clarity as my two SLRs, which are a Fujica ST 601 and a Minolta Maxxum7000 (which I just wrote a review for). Both of which are very capable cameras I must say. I am unable to post more pics under this article as it has already been posted, but I shall make a point of shooting another roll with the Time Magazine camera and posting them all for all to see! The downfall of the Time camera? It's inability to focus, it has a set lens, you can change the aperture (f5.6, f8, f11, f16) but it has a set shutter speed and a set 50mm lens. The lens on mine has incredible definition considering, but I can't guarantee that you shall have the same luck.

  12. strangelilgirl
    strangelilgirl ·

    Woah! I actually have this camera but have yet to use it (shame on me yes, I know). Looks like now's the time!!!

  13. camsydt
    camsydt ·

    Here's one in e-bay: cgi.ebay.com/TIME-KINETIC-OPTICAL-COLOR-LENS-CAMERA-AND-CAS… :)

  14. onegreenfan
    onegreenfan ·

    got one at a thrift store ..thanks

  15. iamalec
    iamalec ·

    I actually have one and I just consumed my first roll about a week ago. Will have it developed within the next few days, hoping to get awesome results. :)

  16. jvujnovi
    jvujnovi ·

    If this is smaller than a Holga 135 as you say, it would make a good compact camera. Perhaps Lomography should look into reproducing this type of camera.

  17. jvujnovi
    jvujnovi ·

    I just bought a Concord ss 2 camera at local thrift store that appears to be just like the Time Magazine Camera - 50mm, fixed focus, hotshoe flash, and light adjustment (sunny, cloudy, etc).
    I'm trying it out.

  18. jvujnovi
    jvujnovi ·

    I finally got film developed on my Concord ss 2 (another version of the Time Magazine Camera) and the pictures turned out good (including those taken on a flash - I used the cloudy setting).

  19. zdg
    zdg ·

    Got this a few months back, just saw a Life magazine one today but didn't buy it.

  20. crowdizzle
    crowdizzle ·

    I acquired a bentley wx-3. Exact same camera! Fixed the scratch issue by finding and grinding down the little piece of plastic that protrudes from the mold being made. While it is suggested to use high iso, i loaded 200iso lomo xpro and hooked up a fritz 2.0 flash. Hope i get some good shots!

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