This is probably the newest camera in my collection. In fact, it is brand new and arrived still sealed in its original box. However, it was made in 2001 as far as I can tell. It is a very simple camera with an unorthodox shape. It is, basically, circular with a straight grip on the right. It is strictly a one-hand camera. The camera takes APS film (APS = Advanced Photographic System) and produces negatives in the H format (30.2 × 16.7 mm) which has a 16:9 aspect ratio. The box contained two instruction leaflets. One stated that the camera could switch between C and H formats and the other stated that the camera is H format on ly. Confusing, but there is no switch on the camera and the box has a sticker which states H format only.
The camera is battery powered and uses a CR2 battery – still readily available and supplied with the camera. There are dire warning in both instruction leaflets about replacing the battery with a film cassette in place. It would seem that the camera will think that the film is finished and refuse to use it. First rewind the film, remove the cassette and then replace the battery. It appears that when replacing the rewound cassette, the camera can find its place on the film.
The camera measures 96 by 75 by 34 mm and weighs 120 g with a battery in place and no film.
On the top of the grip is a chromed plastic button (the whole camera is plastic) for the shutter release. The top of the grip is the on/off switch.
Turning the power on slightly move the shutter release to the left – I am not sure why or even if this is a design feature. On the right side of the grip there is a neck/wrist cord which is permanently attached. This cord has a sliding button to allow you to make a smaller loop for when used as a wrist strap. This cord has two attachment points v- top and bottom of the grip. Between the attachment points is the release for the film chamber This rotates slightly anti-clockwise which causes the film chamber lid to pop out – this lid is on the base of the grip and the film cassette fits into the grip. The film cassette will only fit in in one orientation. There is no need to thread the film at all – I assume that this is usual for APS cameras. Inside the film chamber is a small sprung lever and a row of six electrical contacts.
The rear of the camera has a viewfinder eyepiece which measures 10 by 7 mm. The viewfinder is a reverse Galilean finder (which means that it is like a telescope used backwards making the image smaller – by 34% of life size according to the instruction leaflet). This eyepiece is in a black plastic surround with a circular grey plastic disc on the right. I am assuming that this grey disc covers the hole where the C/H format switch would be if this was the version of the camera with such a switch. Beside the viewfinder eyepiece on the left is a small green LED. This is a flash-ready indicator. It is clear that the flash gun is charged for every shot – even in bright light – which is wasteful of the battery.
Below the viewfinder eyepiece is a square (11 mm by 11 mm) LCD. This contains the current frame number and battery charge status and a film present indicator. Below this LCD and to the left is a small hole in the casing. Behind this hole is a switch to force the camera to rewind the film before the film is finished (see comments above about inserting new batteries).
The front of the camera is more complex – but not very complex. In the centre is the lens. This is a Fujinon 22 mm lens. A ‘normal’ lens for APS-H format would be 34 mm so this lens is rather wide angle (Full Frame equivalent or 29 mm). According to the instruction leaflet, this is a two element lens. The lens has autofocus from m to infinity. When the camera power is switched off, the lens is covered by a plate for protection. This plate is mechanically connected to the on/off switch.
Above the lens is the viewfinder window – 12 by 7 mm. Above this is a small flash gun. This has a sensor on either side for the light meter. This meter is crude – there are no adjustments for shutter speed (1/1000 s) or aperture – it merely determines if the flash gun is required.
Below the lens are a pair of red LEDs. One lights when you press the shutter release – it is red. This is a red-eye reduction light. It causes the subject’s pupils to contract slightly so the flash is less able to reflect from the subject’s retina (the cause of red-eye). I have been unable to get the other LED to light. This might be because I have yet to find the circumstances when it lights (probable) or it might just be a dummy. The instruction leaflet makes no mention of it.
The base of the camera (in so far as a circle has a base) contains the battery compartment. This is opened by sliding and lifting. It contains one CR2 lithium battery.