Wizen AW 818

This is a very cheap, fully automatic, point-and-shoot camera. I have never heard of Wizen before – a Google search comes up with batteries and pictures of cheap looking  cameras. The camera is made in Taiwan – so it is Chinese. I have no instructions for it but instructions are not really needed.

There are five controls: off/on for the flash, lens cover/camera on/off, shutter release, rewind switch and ISO setting. It is fully automatic – exposure and film advance (film rewind is still manual). The lens is fixed so no focusing is required or possible.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo, a description:

The top is dominated by a large, red, shutter release which falls naturally to my index finger. To the left of this – centrally on the top – is the legend “AW 818”. Behind the shutter release is the rewind switch. This is spring loaded and is operated by pushing left against the spring. Left of the rewind switch is the frame counter. As is normal on post 1960 cameras, this is reset to ‘S’ by opening the back. It counts up. Over to the right of the top is a window marked ‘Film Drive’. In the window are alternating red and white spots on a disc which rotates as the film is either advanced or rewound.

The front of the camera has a grip on the right which doubles as a battery holder – it takes two AA batteries. In the centre is the lens. It is very difficult to count the elements in a fixed lens but you can sometimes count reflections from the glass surfaces. On that basis, I can count two pairs of reflections which suggests a doublet but I am far from certain – it could be a triplet with cemented elements which would not produce reflections. Two of the reflections are blue and two are yellow – this suggests that the two outside surfaces are coated but not the internal surfaces.

The lens is covered by a moveable cap – this is moved by a slider on the underside of the camera. This slider also acts as a power switch for the camera. The lens is on a raised fascia and on the left corner of this fascia (left when using the camera) is a small window marked ‘CDS’ – this is the sensor for the light meter.

Above the fascia is the viewfinder window. This is large enough for easy use. It has bright lines for framing but no allowance for parallax.

On the top left corner of the front is the built-in flash. This has its own on/off switch. It is simple to use – switch it on and the flash will fire when you take a picture.

On the back of the camera is, as you would expect, the eyepiece for the viewfinder.Left of this are two LEDs, one red and one green. the green LED is a flash ready indicator. The flash will only power up if the slider for the lens cap is switched on. The red LED is a low light warning. This does not stop the camera from being used. It only comes on when the shutter release is partially depressed. If the flash is switched on, this red LED will not come on.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe hinged back takes up most of the back of the camera. This has a small clear window to allow the user to see the film cassette and film type – very useful. There is no sprocket shaft in this camera. Its function is taken up by a sprocket wheel above the film gate.

The plastic moulding for this camera has good, light-tight, flanges so no foam light seals are necessary. There is a light seal around the clear window; on my camera this has turned to mush and needs replacing.

The base of the camera has very little – no tripod socket, for instance. There are two sliders, the on/off lens cap slider ready mentioned and a film speed slider. This last has two options – 100/200 ISO and 400 ISO. Contrary to what you might expect, this is not connected to the light meter but merely changes the aperture. This works by a moving plate with two different size holes drilled in it – a Waterhouse stop. For 100/200 ISO film you get the larger aperture (f/3.5) and for 400 ISO film you get the smaller aperture (f/5.6?) Here is also the door to the battery compartment which holds 2 X AA batteries.

According to the legend beside the lens, the aperture is f/3.5. The legend also mentions 33 mm. Is this the focal length of the lens or the film size? I suspect that it is the focal length, but who knows? It also mentions that the lens is glass.

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