The Two Bit Camera Toy Box

My cameras broadly fall into two sets.

The surefire classics I love and use regularly, like my Ricoh GRD III, Lumix LX3, Pentax Q, Pentax K100D and Pentax K-m.

Then, a shoebox with cameras I’ve yet to try, usually bought very cheaply.

The Sony Cyber-shot P51 I talked about recently is one such camera.

Given that we have a little more time at home currently, and this month I’m taking a break from my One Month One Camera adventures, I thought it would be a good time to delve into, let’s call it, the Two Bit Camera Toy Box.

That Sony aside, here’s what else it currently contains. 

I can’t recall which cameras I bought individually and which came in lots (most of them!), but I would estimate overall these six cost a total of about £20.

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A quick overview, starting top left, and going clockwise.

Vivitar Vivicam V5385

This one definitely came in a lot, feels cheap, and made for a five year old, and doesn’t promise much.

According to this site it was made by a company called Premier, and sold under various brandings, including Ricoh and Pentax, strangely, two companies who are very capable of making good cameras in the same era.

The fact it takes two AA batteries is handy.

If I can get anything half decent out of this I’ll be happy.

FujiFilm FinePix E900

This is a far more enticing prospect. Fuji 9MP SuperCCD 1/1.6″ sensor, 32-128mm lens starting at f/2.8, PASM modes and more.

Plus it’s built like a baby DSLR with a large rubberised hand grip containing two AA batteries, but overall remains very small and light (102mm wide and 200g) – far less than a bridge camera like the FujiFilm S7000 I also have.

Given the two previous FujiFilm cameras I’ve used with Fuji SuperCCD sensors – the F810 and that S7000 – have been very impressive in the final image, I’m really excited about what this one can do.

Ricoh Caplio R5

I love Ricohs, and the R5 is a relative of my GRD III, albeit nearer the consumer rather than pro end of the spectrum.

It does share the same kind of feel and customisation though, as well as a 7MP CCD sensor, and 28-200m lens that goes down to 0.01m.

Plus it uses the same type of battery as the GRD III, GX100 and Lumix LX3, so I’ve plenty of cross compatibility there already with no need for extra batteries and chargers.

Casio Exilim EX-Z1000

I will always have a fond place in my memories for Casio, given that I had some calculator or other of theirs by my side for every maths lessons from the age of around seven, right through to my Bachelor of Science degree.

Turns out they’ve made plenty of well regarded and very slim digital cameras too.

This model feels very classy indeed, plenty of metal in the body and controls and very slick and luxurious. A 10MP 1/1.8″ CCD sensor should do well, paired with the lens starting at 38mm and f/2.8, and able to focus down to 0.06m.

Could be the dark horse of this batch.

Samsung Digimax A7

This one feels only marginally better than the Vivitar, but again it’s not going to keep me awake with anticipation.

Samsung these days are pretty high end with their TVs, smart phones and other electronics, but this camera is from the era they were finding their feet and often using other people’s designs (like their partnership with Pentax around 2006 and their rather-excellent-because-they-were-Pentax-clones DSLRs) and doesn’t have any of the class of more recent products.

It does have a surprisingly large (for a compact) 1/1.8″ 7MP CCD sensor, a lens beginning at 38mm and f/2.7 and focusing down to 0.04m, shutter speeds from 15s – 1/2000s, as well as PASM modes, so it might surprise me.

Ricoh Caplio R7

Well, this is a successor to the R5 above, so should be similarly good! It will be very interesting to see how the two compare.

Look out for more on some of these in the coming days and weeks.

Do you have the equivalent of a two bit camera toy box – cameras you’ve bought cheaply, not tried out yet, and almost forgotten about?

Please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).

Thanks for looking.

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4 thoughts on “The Two Bit Camera Toy Box”

  1. Not anymore! There was a time though, in the age of film, when I would acquire a half-dozen in a weekend and it could take a year to go through them all.
    These days I’m not apt to pick up anything of course, being restricted in travel and such. I really just wish the last of the snow would melt off so I could at least wander around the yard more and use the cameras I’ve got!

    1. Did you do that every weekend and collect more and more, or wait until you’d tried out the first batch before getting any more? I think I already know the answer!

      1. Oh the buying was a weekend thing. Sometimes I’d find nothing, other times I’d come home with a box full. After that the trying out was a matter of what shape they were in, how much cleaning was needed, and whether or not I could get film as some of the sizes had already vanished from the shelf (like 118).

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