Listen to the judging of the Matt Loves Panos 2020 plastic pano camera challenge! Matthew Joseph and I discuss images listed on this page in order as they appear below – play along at home by clicking play above, or listen on your favourite podcast app!

Congratulations to all the entrants for a wide array of fantastic images taken with plastic, focus-free cameras that shoot in panoramic format. At the end of this episode, there are some brief details of the next challenge!

Anthony Chatain

Hello, Here are my entries for the Matt Loves Panos 2020 competition! (Sorry for
my procrastination in scanning this roll of film). The pictures were taken in Paris right before the quarantine started in France (between the 8th and 15th of March). I used my magnificent “2 WAY
CAMERA” (a novelty camera from a TV programs magazine, pic included) coupled with some
expired Fuji 200 for all this blotchy and fringing goodness.
I hope you’ll like them as much as I do ;-). Best regards, Anthony Chatain www.chatain.eu
@achatainfr (on Instagram and Twitter)

Dominick Chiuchiolo

“Hey there Matt,

Here are 4 of my pictures from a roll of Fuji Superior 400 that I shot with the Ansco PIX.  I picked the camera up for a dollar at a yard sale. This was my first time using it. This was a fun project as it made me look at things differently. Thanks! I added a 5th of a cool car that I saw while getting coffee. 

Dominick Chiuchiolo”

Michael Rosenbaum

“Hi Matt, these were all shot on Kodak Tri-X 400 with a used ($.99), Ansco Pix Panorama. Film was developed/scanned by Old School Photo Lab in New Hampshire (https://oldschoolphotolab.com/), highly recommended. 

I just found a used, Epson V500 scanner so had them develop-only the last batch. I’ve previously done lots of darkroom work but no longer any equipment. I’m going to get some used, stainless tanks/reels, etc. and will eventually start doing my B&W film processing again.


Hope all is well with you and the family in our recently, dystopian present. A photo contest and podcast was just what I needed, thanks!    -Mike”

Tommy Napier

“Hi Matt
So a bit of blurb about my experience shooting this plastic ……..thing. I found it in a washing basket full of old cameras down the shed covered in many layers of sawdust and dirt. Have no idea where it came from, I certainly don’t remember purchasing it. only that I remembered seeing something with Panorama written on the front while listening to the now infamous “I nearly dropped an Xpan” podcast.

I have never shot wide but have always wanted to have a go at it. It was hard to put down the OM10 and the QL17 I usually carry around with me but I went at it alone with the anonymous plastic camera for two weeks. First mistake was to load the film before I cleaned it up hence a bit of work in post to clean all the dust of the frames. Second mistake was thinking I loaded it with Kentmere 400, clearly marked on the plastic film canister by my own hand. I shot it as if it was 400 speed, throwing caution to the wind and shooting into the shadows knowing that 400 ISO would pick up some details despite not knowing the shutter speed.

Unfortunately this one  lays squarely on my shoulders for not changing the little sticky label to 100 ISO when bulk rolling the film. Not wanting to put another roll through it I forged ahead and much to my surprise I managed to get more tham 4 keepers from the roll. A few of the shots were to dark to try and recover but in the end I am pretty happy with the results. So much that it was hard to pick four good ones to share. So here is my submission to the Pano project.I share on multiple media but I think the best place to see my work will be Instagram. tommy_napier should get you to my page. Cheers Old Mate.
Tom Napier / Instagram: @tommy_napier”

  • Ted Smout bridge, right and Houghton Highway, left. Shot from Brighton Beach, Queensland.
  • Unknown building next to River Link shopping Centre, Ipswich, Queensland.
  • Kedron Brook Wetlands off Toombul Rd roundabout, Brisbane, Queensland.
  • Governor Blackall Memorial, Toowong Cemetery, Brisbane, Queensland.

Matt Evans

Matt took these fabulous images in New Zealand on a WidePic Panorama /Fomapan 100 +1

Joe Baker

“I was inspired by your competition to dust off my Widepic Panorama (weigh-in photo attached) and have had these photos ready to send for about a month. The film was Kentmere 400, developed at home in Rodinal. The photos were taken in the first week of March on my walk to and from work in Norwich, England. My Twitter / Instagram handle is @evil_chutney. 

Jr Wyatt

“So when this contest was announced, I knew I had to join in on the fun.  I ended up picking up an Ansco Panorama camera for $1 on Ebay lol Anyways, recently I went to a small town nearby (Belvidere,IL) to get out and walk the streets.  This camera definitely did better than I ever expected.  I went with Fuji C200 for these photos I submitted. ”

Paul Wheeler

“Hey Matt;
Got the photos back from that crappy Rollei Disposable loaded with Rollei 400 speed color film that had expired in 2012. You’ve got photos of it.Turned out really nice once we got a few photos into the roll. The first couple were very badly influenced by age or light or both. I tried to shoot it in very well lit situations to compensate for the age.
Cheers Paul”

J.M.Golding

“I used a Vivitar PN2011 and (in one of my springtime departures from my usual black & white work) Fuji Superia X-Tra that had expired in March 2019. (I still wish I could have found the insert for my Ansco Panorama 🙂 I took all of the photos within a few miles of my home in northern California – the pink flowers (Gum rock-rose, according to the Seek app) in a city park and the other three images in an open space area.”

Gum rock rose
Ithuriel’s spear
Common fiddleneck and mustard
Buttercups

Matt Jones

“These 4 images were taken on the Ansco Pix Panorama (as recommended by Mr Matthew Joseph), and were shot on Lomo 400 colour film processed at home. Shot around my village in Thailand whilst on my push bike.  This camera fits in my shorts pocked which is quite handy.  And I never need to worry about a battery or metering :)”

Antony Hands

Antony took these images on his Wide Pic Panorama with a roll of Kodak Portra 400 in New South Wales, Australia.

Andrew Bartram

“As a long time lover of the panoramic format, be it a 6×17 back on a LF camera, a 6×12 pinhole camera or the Lomography Belair camera with the 35mm back I saw some pictures made with I think the Ansco panorama which is also branded as the Halina at least here in the UK.  “Not bad for hopefully a small investment” I thought and a load of fun to boot.

What I love about these cameras apart from an affordable way to treat the GAS affliction, is, like my Holga and Belair, the fact there are no distractions over camera settings or lens choice. It’s been said many times before but it is a real liberation to “point and shoot”.

The colour pictures were shot on the Wide Pic (the sought after red version :-)) with 30 year old York film developed in Cinestill C41 chemistry whilst the mono ones were from the Halina which is supposed to be a “better” camera but I actually prefer the Wide Pic. TriX probably didn’t help much (developed in stock Microphen).  I like the garden table shot with evening light raking across the image. all the rest were shot on walks from the house on the edge of the Cambridgeshire Fenlands.”

Andrew Spencer

“I just noticed your Panos 2020 competition last night, and it reminded me I have the exact camera for the job. I have no idea where the camera came from; I must have picked it up with an arm full of other treasures at some time. Anyway, in the eye of an approaching storm, I shot off a roll of film as I went about my jobs this morning.

I live in a little coastal town called Kaikoura, on the East Coast of the South Island, New Zealand. We’re a tourist town, and folks visit to view sperm whales, swim with dolphins and seals and to enjoy the outrageous scenery with mountains towering close to the ocean.


The camera is a Panorama CL-168, film is Ektar which I developed in a Lab-Box using Cinestill Cs41. Thanks for the cool inspiration.” Andrew Spencer Instagram @asphotonz

Ken Bertram

“Hi Matt, here are my images.  All were taken on the Ansco Pix Panorama, HP5 was the film, and taken within York Younty in Pennsylvania, USA.  IG handle is kenbertramphoto.  By the way the Ansco has far better image quality compared to the Vivitar PN2011.  Again thanks, I had a lot of fun using these cameras.”    

Nigel Middleton

“Great to see the plastic fantastics getting some exposure and here are four shots from a Halina Panorama. I’ve picked up several of these and other similar models from car boot sales over the past couple of years, I very much doubt I paid more than 50p for it!.

The camera I used has been slightly modified by flipping the lens and taping on some yellow acetate as a makeshift filter. I used the last remaining frames from a roll of Fomapan 100 (expired April 2018), developed in Ilfosol 3 .

The photos were taken in East Northamptonshire, UK: (1) In an ASDA supermarket car park. (2) Travelling back from the same supermarket (I wasn’t driving!) (3 & 4) In the beautiful village of Lowick, which is a couple of miles from where I live.”

Casey Hall

“Greetings Matt, Casey here from Tacoma, Washington. So I smoked two rolls of film for this stupid ass competition, but then again, they were all very much expired.  

Should of brought a way better camera for one of my training flights because it was a low level flight all around the Pacific Northwest and the sunset was epic, I couldn’t document it how I would’ve liked with this plastic p.o.s, but in the name of competition here’s my entries. Well, I’ll get right to it. I used the Jazz 206 27mm f7 or 8 idk. I’m @  Instagram.com/thejunkbookjournal
Love the podcast! Stay safe! Casey Hall”

Dave Mihaly

“Hi Matt, I couldn’t pass up the chance to participate in a crappy camera challenge – You’ve given me an excuse to revive my own cheap plastic camera challenge video series on YouTube.  

I dusted off my Ansco Pix Panorama and Vivitar IC 101 and let them duke it out for an upcoming video.  Spoiler Alert – the winner, at least to my eye, was the Ansco Pix Panorama, and all the pictures I have attached are from the Pix.  “ALUM CREEK” was taken, oddly enough, at Alum Creek in Delaware, Ohio, U.S.  “FLORA” was taken at the Scioto Audubon Park in Columbus, Ohio.  “SO INCLINED” is another image from Alum Creek and “SOUTHSIDE” was taken on the southside of Columbus, Ohio.  All images were taken at box speed on Ilford HP5+, processed in Ilfosol 3, water stop bath, and Ilford Rapid Fixer and scanned with my Epson V550.


Obligatory social media info:@theoldcameraguy on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Flickr
I’ve enjoyed checking out all the cool entries so far – Thanks for helping revive these plastic craptastic fake panoramic cameras. Cheers, Dave Mihaly”

François Laverdure

“Bonjour Matt! Voici ma participation au concours.

Sometimes in life you need something to get you to try new things. This is definitely the case. For years I’ve been going around local charity shops and church rummage sales looking for fun stuff. Occasionally I find a cheap camera that I clean-up only to put it in a box full of other cameras to try out. When I saw the contest, I went through the boxes looking for the few cheap panorama cameras I knew I had. It’s only at that time that I realized that I actually owned two Ultronic Panoramic cameras! So, this had to be a sign of some sorts.

I elected to use the champagne colored one. I always thought that these crop panoramic cameras were something to sneeze at. Crappy plastic, small negative area, no adjustments. But in the end I must admit that I surprisingly enjoyed using it! Since the shutter on those is said to be at around 1/200th of a second (I measured it and it was closer to 1/175th) I elected to use some Arista.EDU 400 that I pulled processed to EI 200 using some Rodinal at 1:50. I had never used Rodinal (my go-to developer is usually HC-110). In the end, I quite like the results. The grain is massive, contrast is good. I couldn’t be happier with the results considering how low-tech the camera is.

The satellite dish was taken at the Canadian Space Agency at Saint-Hubert Airport near Montreal (Canada). The dish is super useful as it is part of the ground support for the International Space Station.The black building with the reflective glass is in an industrial park in the city of Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville near Montreal (Canada).The small tower with the curving path is near the Saint-Lawrence river in Longueuil. Just across the river is Montreal.And the tree that’s perfectly framed by the parking lines is just at the end of the runway at Saint-Hubert Airport near Montreal (Canada).
All pictures taken on a gloriously cheap Ultronic Panoramic using Arista.EDU 400 ISO film exposed at EI 200 and developed in Rodinal (1:50). My Flickr user name: Flaver-D
Cheers! François Laverdure”

Phil Watt

“Hi Matt!
The following shots where taken with a sh*tty plastic ‘Panoramic Wide Pic’ camera I found for $2 at the op shop. All images where taken at Lake Eildon where I’ve been living during lockdown.

The photos are shot on expired Ilford P4 Surveillance film. The neighbour up here saw me shooting an old folding camera one day and asked “Are you shooting film?” He went on to explain he worked in security installing surveillance cameras at ATM’s and that he had an old bulk roll of film leftover from when they went digital. Score! 

So I took my sh*tty camera and sh*tty film and took these shitty photos! Enjoy 🙂 Phil Watt”

Meredith Wilson

“Hi Matt, Hope you’re having a good Saturday. Here are my entries for the Pano competition.
I’m using a sh*tty Panorama Wide Pic camera that I bought on eBay for £1.99 to keep myself amused during lock down and take part in the sh*tty camera challenge on Twitter. 
The shed was shot in my garden on some expired HP5+ that I had knocking around in my stash. The Horse and Daisies were shot on similarly expired Delta 400 Pro during a walk around my neighbourhood (Pinner/Northwood Hills). Despite the general crappiness, I really love using this little camera. Enjoy the rest of your weekend and thanks for setting fun challenges.
Cheers, Meredith (My IG/Twitter handle is @merrimayhem)”

Dale Willetts

“Hi Matt, Here are my four entries for the plastic pano competition.

The two colour pics were taken on Fujifilm C200 and the two mono pics were on Kentmere 400.

Of the colour pics the first was taken on the M6 just outside Birmingham and the second was near my house while waiting for a bus.

Both mono pics were taken at my place of work on a gloomy Sunday afternoon.

The camera is one of those unbranded panorama cameras that were often used as promo material and are therefore everywhere.

I have noticed that the viewfinder doesn’t show exactly what you are going to get the image on the negative is slightly longer. Also in this camera at least the left side of the image is much softer and out of focus than the right side for that extra little something extra.

Also thanks for the zine. On first read through I rather enjoyed it and will let you have a more in depth critical assessment once I’ve given it another go through. Don’t worry I won’t be too mean to you…… probably 😉

Cheers, Dale Willetts @delusions_of_competence”

Sely Friday

“Dear Matt, 
Here are my four entries for the plastic pano camera challenge.I’ve been using one of those “Wide Pic, focus free Panorama” 118 gram camera’s. I dubbed it “Panchee” as, well, short for cheap panorama”. It got accidentally dropped a bunch of times and miraculously still works. The films used the past months was various expired cheap 400 iso colour film that I home developed using Caffenol (Delta STD recipe), which gives it the large amount of grain. Images from the Netherlands. Cheers, SF   Twitter/Instagram @selyfriday”

Jack Johnson

“Hello Matts!

All shot with a new-in-box Vivitar IC 101, Ilford HP5+, developed in HC-110 dilution D.
-Jack (@the_real_knapjack on Instagram)”

Jodi Benaroch

“Hi Matt,

Here are my entries for the Plastic Pano Camera Challenge. I used an Ultronic Panoramic that I bought at an estate sale for $2. Film was some Kodak 200 film; I don’t remember exactly. All of the photos were taken in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

I forgot about the light leak in this camera; by the end of the second roll, some of my photos looked like they were on fire!

Thanks for a fun challenge!

Jodi Benaroch”

Michael Newman

“Hello Matt, Please find attached my entries for the 2020 Matt Loves Panos Plastic Pano Camera Challenge!  All photos were taken during the month of May in the State of Maine, USA.  The 1st image is a statue of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wearing a mask.  The next two images were taken at Flanagan Farm.  The last photo is a snapshot of Portland Head Light lighthouse.  The camera used was an Ansco Pix Panorama picked up for $4.95 + shipping on a popular auction site.  The film used was Konica Minolta Centuria 400 (expired 03/2008).  Film was developed and scanned by The Darkroom photo lab in California. Thank you, Michael Newman”

Jeremy Wong

“Hi Matt, I had fun with this challenge. All shot with the same roll of Kodak Ultramax, with a Wide Pic Panoramic camera, out and about in Darwin. – Jeremy”

Adrian Doyle

Colour images: Ansco Pix Panorama / FujiFilm FujiColor Superia X-TRA 400 / Chapel Hill, NC
B&W image: Ansco Pix Panorama, ️Ilford HP5 Plus 400, Carrboro, North Carolina
https://www.instagram.com/doyleadrian/

Kenny Tuomi

“Hi Matt, here are four fantastically plastic images shot with the Jazz “Jelly” 207 Panoramic 35mm camera on Lomography 400 film.  Authentically home-developed in ECN-2 supplied by Conspiracy of Cartographers and scanned replete with dust specs.  ‘Cause why not mash together multiple variables for a photography competition…

This series of four images tells the dark tale of walking through a closed park playground, which is adjacent to a cemetery, a fittingly dark juxtaposition during these viral times.  The ECN-2 process (at least this round of developing) gave each frame a nuclear fallout, speckled look-icing on the Grimm cake.

I did not find the Jazz 207 a pleasure to use.  The tiny 118 gm chassis in my crude mitts yielded a 50% rate of “finger in the image” shots.  Certainly not much thought is required to use this camera; with its fixed focus 27mm lens, f/9.5 aperture and 1/100th shutter speed, all I had to do with the 400 speed film was wait for light within a few stops of proper exposure- or just shoot regardless.  Sort of a spray and pray camera as the field of view is forgivingly narrower than the actual exposed frame.  Focus was Lomo-soft, getting softer at the margins.  They are really sharp as contact prints; maybe I’ll try a matchbook zine.

This did not alleviate my lust for the Hasselblad Xpan but I did get to pretend I’m a Master of the Panoramic Format while shooting. Ken Tuomi.”

Paul Howell

“Hi Matt
I recently noticed your Pano Challenge on a saved Podcast.
I purchased the camera from eBay for the grand total of £8, (a gold Vivitar IC101 no less)!
The photos were all taken in Tideswell, Derbyshire, England on an overcast day.  The film used was Fomapan ISO 200.
Kind regards
Paul Howell
ps: If you know anyone who would like to purchase a small gold plastic pano camera, please let me know, (used only once)!”

Graham Young

“Matt, Here they are! I understand if I’m past the deadline. Anyway, it was a fun project even if I only got one roll out of my camera before the rewind lever sheered off and produced a light leak.”

John Yau

“When I first heard about the cheap pano challenge, I went all in. First step was to grab a cheap pano, second to work out what i was doing and third submit. Four frames presented from a roll of Kodak Gold 200 and a frame from Kodak Trix 400. Loved the challenge, loved the care free take of just using cheap tools to create. Loved this Matt, thanks mate. John. Instagram @john_yau_artifexfoto”

Here are the photos from the judges…

Matthew Joseph

Matt Murray

Every Summer is my first film photography zine: 48 pages of colour film photography shot on six compact cameras on the Isle of Wight in September 2019.

All of the images below appear in the book, you can listen to the podcast above for descriptions of the images.

Buy Every Summer

Buy a copy of Every Summer before the end of June 2020 and you’ll also receive three limited edition art print postcards!

Is it time for a cream tea yet? Old Thatch Teashop (circa 1690), Shanklin / Fujifilm Klasse S / Kodak Portra 400

Red railway wagon / Olympus XA / Kodak Portra 400 (EI200)

The Needles chairlift / Voigtlander Vito C / Kodak Ektar 100

The jet boat! / Voigtlander Vito C / Kodak Ektar

Jumpin Star / Olympus LT-1 / Kodak Gold 200

Every Summer film photography zine

Mirror, mirror / Canon Prima AS-1 / Fujifilm Natura 1600

Sandown Pier / Canon Prima AS-1 / Fujifilm Natura 1600

The ice cream van / Olympus LT-1 / Kodak Gold 200

The coastal path / Olympus XA / Kodak Portra 400 (EI200)

The sea stacks / Olympus LT-1 / Kodak Gold 200

Freshwater Bay / Disderi Robot / Kodak Pro Image 100

The swimmers / Fujifilm Klasse S / Kodak Ektachrome 100

Every Summer film photography zine

Light leak on the bay / Olympus XA / Kodak Portra 400 (EI200)

Every Summer film zine

Bird statue, Godshill / Fujifilm Klasse S / Kodak Ektachrome

The Island Line / Disderi Robot / Kodak Pro Image 100

Every Summer film photography zine

Hello! I’m Matt Murray. I’m a photographer, writer and podcaster from Brisbane, Australia. In 2019, my family and I spent six nights on the Isle of Wight as part of a one-month overseas trip. My wife spent many summers there growing up, but although I’d lived in the UK for 13 years, this was my first visit. When I got back to Australia, I had my film developed: there was something special about these images, so I decided to publish them.

Every Summer is my first film photography zine: forty-eight pages of colour film photographs and original anecdotes about the Isle of Wight. Essentially, it’s a book of images depicting my relationship with England. Comforting. Idyllic. Deeply nostalgic. My photos are influenced by traditional travel photography. Shooting in colour, I like to compose by decluttering what I see through the frame, presenting the viewer with a scene that they could stumble across themselves.

Every Summer Film Photography Zine

Every Summer zine details

  • Full colour perfect bound book.
  • 48 pages of colour film photography on uncoated 150gsm paper (international edition) / 170gsm paper (Australian edition).
  • 4 page colour book cover printed on 300gsm silk paper with a smooth soft touch laminate finish.
  • Introduction about the book from the author.
  • Anecdotes about locations around the Isle of Wight.
  • Two double-page spreads.
  • Full details of cameras and film stock used for each photo.
  • Three limited edition art prints (for orders made before 15 July 2020).

Every Summer film photography zine

Buy Every Summer film photography zine

US / International orders: $18.00 USD

US / International price includes shipping, a copy of “Every Summer”, and three limited edition art print postcards. (As at mid June 2020 I’ve had to increase the price of international orders by 50 cents, the Australian dollar has got stronger against the greenback!)





UK orders: £14.50 GBP

UK price includes shipping, a copy of “Every Summer”, and three limited edition art print postcards.





Australian orders: $24.50

Australian price includes shipping, a copy of “Every Summer”, and three limited edition art print postcards.

If you live in Australia and you know and trust me, you can send me $24.50 for Every Summer via this link which will save on PayPal fees. It’s only for Australian orders in Australian dollars though. If you don’t know me personally or wish to have PayPal buyer protection, please use the button below:





Take a closer look at Every Summer

48 pages of colour film photography

Every Summer features 48 pages of colour film photography, here’s an excerpt of the PDF contact sheet:

Every Summer film photography book zine

Colour film photographs

Colour film photography shot on location on the Isle of Wight, England, in September 2019.

Every Summer film photography zine

Anecdotes

Every Summer contains anecdotes from the author about locations featured in the book.

Every Summer book

Two double-page spreads

Every Summer contains two photos printed as double-page spreads.

Every Summer film photography zine

Six compact cameras used: from a toy camera to a premium point and shoot

Every Summer features images from six compact cameras:

Every Summer book

Full details of each film stock used

Film stocks used in the book: Kodak Pro Image 100, Kodak Ektachrome 100, Kodak Ektar 100, Kodak Gold 200, Kodak Portra 400, Fujifilm Natura 1600.

Every Summer film photography book

Three limited edition art print postcards

Order before the end of July 2020 to receive all three!

Every Summer art prints

Every Summer podcast episode

Don’t forget to listen to episode 31 of Matt Loves Cameras “Every Summer: film photography on the Isle of Wight” for more sample images from the book and details on places we visited.

Every Summer e-zine now available

If you like e-zines, you’re in luck! Support Matt Loves Cameras for just $3USD and you will receive a PDF copy of my first film photography zine Every Summer!

The 1994 Canon Prima AS-1 / Canon Sure Shot A1 / Canon Autoboy D5 is an excellent point and shoot camera featuring a sharp 32mm f3.5 Canon lens. It’s fun to use, produces great images, and best of all, you can use it in the rain, in the ocean, in the pool, anywhere!

Although it’s a little larger than many of my other point and shoots, it’s a camera that I keep coming back to again and again. It’s so fun to use and I can’t help but smile when I look at it.

You can read Canon Prima AS-1 review below, or listen to my podcast review of this camera (along with a brief history of underwater photography) by clicking the play button above.

Canon Prima AS-1 underwater camera review

You sexy beast! The Canon Prima AS-1 underwater camera

Using the Canon Prima AS-1

The camera is made of plastic but has a very sturdy feel to it. It’s been built tough for all weather and underwater conditions. Even the bright red strap feels very tough and hard wearing.

The camera has a huge viewfinder which was designed to be looked through while wearing diving gear or a ski mask. The viewfinder has 0.42 magnification which makes it a pleasure to frame images with. The bright red shutter button feels quite responsive and the camera makes a pleasant sound as it takes and image and advances the film.

It features a small grey self-timer button next to the shutter button. A frame counter is on the other side of the top of the camera. On the back there’s a film window so you can see which film, if any, you have in the camera. The film door is more difficult to open than other point and shoots, presumably so you don’t open the camera whilst underwater.

Having fun in the surf – not just for underwater use! Canon Prima AS-1 / Lomography Color 800

Inside the camera there’s a red rubber ring that makes the camera waterproof. Detailed instructions for cleaning the camera are in the manual. At the base of the camera is where you insert the CR123A battery, along with a tripod mount.

On the front of the camera there’s a mode dial. What I love about this camera is that it has a “flash off” mode for land photography – this was the mode I used the most. It also has an auto mode, a flash on mode, and a macro mode for underwater. When you’re underwater, the camera automatically changes to a fixed focal length.

I’ve used this camera at the beach, in the surf, in the pool, in the rain, I love it! The images are sharp, and have great colours and contrast. This is fast becoming one of my favourite point and shoot cameras.

Under the sea! Canon Prima AS-1 / Lomography Color 800

Canon underwater camera models

Canon launched this camera in April 1994 under different names in different regions. At launch, it cost 42,000 Yen, around $40USD. Below are the names it was sold under in each region:

  • Canon Sure Shot A1 (North America)
  • Canon Prima AS-1 (Europe)
  • Canon Autoboy D5  (Japan)

The camera also came in a panorama date version. A switch enabled you to change from full frame to faux panorama. The film door on this model featured a date back.

The mystery of the Canon WP-1

Rather confusingly, there is also another model called the Canon Sure Shot WP-1. This model looks very similar but has two main differences. Firstly, it has red rubber on the front under the Canon logo instead of grey. Secondly, it has a flower to denote Macro mode instead of a fish!

There is some speculation that there were some production issues with the WP-1 which led to it being reclassified as a weatherproof / splash-proof camera rather than an underwater camera like the other models. Many WP-1 models were manufactured in China, with the other models manufactured mostly in Taiwan.

Mmmm ice cream! Canon Prima AS-1 / Kodak Portra 160

Canon Prima AS-1 underwater camera specifications

  • Fully automatic 35mm waterproof camera
  • 32mm f/3.5 lens. 6 elements in 6 groups
  • Above water: 3-point smart autofocus with near-infrared beam. Prefocus enabled.
  • Underwater: Fixed focus (Macro: 0.45 m – 1 m).
  • Built-in electronic self-timer.
  • Large bright viewfinder with 0.42x magnification and 84% coverage.
  • LED lights: green okay to shoot, blink light for close-up warning, camera-shake warning, and red-eye reduction lamp ON; and turns off during flash recycling).
  • Film speed range: ISO 25 – 3200. Non DX-coded film rated at ISO 25.
  • Built-in Flash Fixed, built-in flash. Guide No. 7.5 (at ISO 100 in meters). Fires automatically in low-light and backlit conditions. Red-eye reduction lamp provided.
  • Battery: Takes one 3V CR123A lithium battery
  • Auto film advance with built-in motor.
  • Film rewind is automatic with built-in motor. No mid-roll rewind.
  • Dimensions: 133 x 88 x 56 mm.
  • Weight: 385g (including battery).

Canon underwater camera sample photos

Hydrangeas in England. Canon Prima AS-1 / Kodak Portra 160

Canon Sure Shot A1 / Canon Prima AS-1 Manual

You can find the Canon Sure Shot A1 / Prima AS-1 manual on the excellent camera manuals website from Mr Buktus. Make sure you throw him a few bucks if you find the manuals useful, which I’m sure you will.

Canon Sure Shot A1 / Prima AS-1 manual

Canon Sure Shot A1 sample images

Newcastle Ocean Baths. Canon Prima AS-1 / Lomography Color 800

Canon Prima AS-1 pros and cons

Pros

  • Super fun to use.
  • Fantastic viewfinder.
  • Excellent sharp lens with great colours and contrast.
  • You can turn the flash off – a great feature for land-based photography that not all underwater cameras have.

Cons

  • More bulky than other point and shoots, though it’s not heavy.
  • No ISO controls.
  • Only waterproof to 5 metres.

Canon Prima AS-1 review and sample images

Newcastle, New South Wales. Canon Prima AS-1 / Lomography Color 800

Is the Canon Prima AS-1 a good buy in 2020?

Yes, I believe so. I picked up my Canon Prima AS-1 for approximately $45. It’s in excellent condition and came with the original strap, case and manual.

Canon Prima AS-1 sample images / Canon Sure Shot A1 sample images

Here are some sample photos taken with the Canon Prima AS-1 underwater point and shoot camera (also known as the Canon Autoboy D5 / Canon Sure Shot WP-1 / Canon Sure Shot A1).

Canon Prima AS-1 review

Fruit picking! Canon Prima As-1 / Kodak Portra 160

Fingal Head, New South Wales. Canon Prima AS-1 / Lomography Color 800

Canon Prima AS-1 review

Surf’s up! Canon Prima AS-1 / Lomography Color 800

Canon underwater camera review

Bull Ring, Birmingham. Canon Prima AS-1 / Kodak Gold 200

Canon Sure Shot A1 sample photos

Pub in Sandown, Isle of Wight, at dusk. Canon Prima AS-1 / Fujifilm Natura 1600

Canon Sure Shot A1 review and sample photos

Surf lesson, Newcastle. Canon Prima AS-1 / Lomography Color 800

Sandown Pier at dusk. Canon Prima AS-1 / Fujifilm Natura 1600.

Canon Prima AS-1 sample images

Union Flag flying high! Canon Prima AS-1 / Fujifilm Natura 1600

Canon Sure Shot A1 sample images and review

Shrewsbury, England. Canon Prima AS-1 / Kodak Portra 160

I almost dropped an Xpan. No, that’s not a joke, it’s the truth. In July 2019, podcaster, photographer, and Sunny 16 helper Matthew Joseph flew up to Brisbane for a few days and we met up for a photo walk. Matthew gave his Xpan to shoot with when the incident occurred.
Was it my clumsiness that almost saw a legendary camera smash to the floor of the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art? Or was it Matthew’s inability to put a camera strap on properly? Listen to episode 27 of Matt Loves Cameras to find out!

Plastic pano camera challenge

The 2020 Matt Loves Panos Plastic Pano Camera Challenge is now open!

Images I shot with Matthew’s Hasselblad Xpan

My favourite Pink Trumpet flowers! Brisbane, Hasselbald Xpan with Kodak Ultramax 400

Brisbane’s Story Bridge,Hasselbald Xpan with Kodak Ultramax 400

Brisbane, Hasselbald Xpan with Kodak Ultramax 400

South Brisbane, Hasselbald Xpan with Kodak Ultramax 400

Fish St, South Brisbane, Hasselbald Xpan with Kodak Ultramax 400

Beer kegs, Brisbane, Hasselbald Xpan with Kodak Ultramax 400

Ice cream van, Brisbane, Hasselbald Xpan with Kodak Ultramax 400

Super saturated! Pink Trumpet flowers, Hasselbald Xpan with Kodak Ultramax 400

South Bank, Brisbane, Hasselbald Xpan with Kodak Ultramax 400

The 2020 Matt Loves Panos Plastic Pano Camera Challenge is now open

The idea for a pano challenge was suggested by my friend Antony who received a Wide Pic panorama in the Emulsive Secret Santa, from none other than Sunny 16 podcast host Graeme Jago. Antony also has a very nice Fuji 617, but for this competition, I have kept the barrier to entry low. Very low. Here are the details…

Competition rules

  1. The camera must be made of plastic.
  2. The camera must be fixed-focus.
  3. The camera must weigh less than 150grams / 5oz.
  4. The camera needs to be capable of taking images in panoramic format. (This means that it can either be a dedicated panoramic camera, or one that switches between full frame and panorama modes. This is usually achieved by a set of blinds or gates masking the top and bottom of the frame.)
  5. If the camera needs any kind of battery to operate, it’s not eligible to take part. You can always check with me if you’re unsure.

Cameras that are allowed for #mattlovespanos

Examples of eligible cameras include, but are not limited to:
  • Ansco Pix.
  • Hanimex Panorama.
  • Wide Pic Panorama.
  • Halina Panorama.
  • Ultronic Panorama.
  • Panorama Optical Lens 25mm.
  • Vivitar panorama cameras such as the IC101 and PN2011.
As long as you adhere to the rules above, you’re in.

Cameras that aren’t allowed 

  • No Xpan, Widelux, Linhof, Fuji, Horseman or Horizont cameras are allowed to take part in the challenge.
  • No Minolta Riva / Ps – they actually focus so they are way too good.
  • No fancy Olympus Stylus or Pentax zoom cameras with pano gates / blinds.
  • If your camera contravenes any of the 5 competition rules above, it’s out.

What about the Sprocket Rocket?

The Sprocket Rocket zone focuses, so it’s nowhere near crappy enough. Stay tuned though, I’m thinking of running another challenge very soon.

Fingal Head taken on the Vivitar IC101 Panorama with Ilford HP4.

Competition details

  1. Photos must be taken between 1 March 2020 and the closing date 30 June 2020.
  2. On or before the closing date, email up to four of your favourite images from your cheap plastic pano camera to mattlovescameras [AT] gmail [DOT] com.
  3. If possible, make your images a minimum of 3000 pixels on the long side. Crop out the black pano blinds area if you can before submission.
  4. Be sure to tell me where you took the photos, which camera you used and which film. You can also add your Twitter or Instagram details if you like.
  5. Images can be colour or black and white, and can feature any subject that shows off the panorama format well.
  6. As the entries roll in, I will feature them on the Matt Loves Panos 2020 competition entries page.
  7. If you’d like to share on Instagram or Twitter, use the hashtag #mattlovespanos
  8. The prizes are as crap as the cameras. Matthew Joseph has donated the only official Sunny 16 podcast mug in existence. I am donating some film that fell down the back of my fridge.
  9. If we get a lot of entries (or a small number of amazing entries!) we can look at doing a zine of them.
  10. Judges are Xpan man Matthew Joesph and me, Matt Murray.
  11. The judges will also be shooting with plastic panos. We will send our portfolio of four images to a jury of seven (as yet to be determined) film photography podcasters.

Light, footloose and focus free!

Konica Big Mini BM-201 review

The Big Mini is a compact 35mm point and shoot camera launched in 1990 by Japan’s oldest camera company, Konica. Over the last 30 years, it’s become a cult classic point and shoot camera, thanks to its sharp 35mm f3.5 lens. No doubt helping this reputation was the fact that 10-15 years ago, you could easily pick one up for around $20USD.

Pocket gem: The Konica Big Mini BM-201.

Although its reputation has grown since then, time has not been kind to the Big Mini. Perhaps more than any other compact camera, it has a reputation for dying. So is the Big Mini still worth buying in 2020 and beyond? Keep reading and find out.

You can also listen to my podcast review of the Konica Big Mini BM-201 by pressing play in the header of this page, or by searching Matt Loves Cameras in your favourite podcast app.

A truly pocket sized camera. When the lens retracts, the Big Mini is sleek and comfortably fits in your pocket.

Konica Big Mini models

The Big Mini is not just one camera, but a whole lineup of compact cameras from Konica. Some good, some not so good.

  • A4 – what looks like a Big Mini but isn’t a Big Mini? The Konica A4! This was the predecessor of the lineup introduced in 1989.
  • BM-200 Ex
  • BM-201 – the classic Big Mini, this is the model I’ve reviewed in this article.
  • Konica Big mini BM-300 – a new take on the Big Mini, the 300 series featured a circular lens housing instead of the square / rectangular lens housing. Konica 35mm f3.5 lens.
  • Konica Big Mini BM-300s – same model as the BM-300 but with different colours
  • Konica Big mini BM-301 features a data back
  • Konica Big mini BM-302
  • Konica Big Mini F – a premium Big Mini with a fast f2.8 lens.
  • Konica Big mini BM-310Z / 311Z / 411Z / 510 Z / 610 Z – zoom models, not as highly coveted as fixed lens models.
  • Konica Big Mini VX BM-701 – why was the Big Mini name slapped on this model? Fixed lens piece of cheap plastic.
  • Konica Big mini Neo-R – another zoom model.

My favourite boat, Victoria Point. Konica Big Mini BM-201 with Fujifilm C200 film.

Konica Big Mini BM-201 specifications

Launched in 1990, the Konica Big Mini BM-201 is a a compact 35mm point and shoot film camera that originally sold for around $200 AUD / $130 USD. Here’s a run down of all the Big Mini specs:

  • Konica 35mm f3.5 lens, 4 elements in 4 groups, with a built-in skylight filter.
  • CDS centre weighted metering, exposure controlled automatically – no aperture or shutter controls.
  • Automatic DX code recognition: ISO25 to ISO3200. Non DX films rated at ISO25.
  • Auto film advance and rewind.
  • Nice, bright viewfinder.
  • LCD panel on the back showing the mode the camera is in, frame counter, and battery indicator.
  • Mode button cycles through flash modes (Auto flash, flash on, flash off) and exposure compensation (+1.5 aperture, -1.5 aperture)
  • Weighs just 200 grams with a CR123A battery.

Central Brisbane skyline from below. Konica Big Mini BM-201 with Agfa Vista 400 film.

Konica Big Mini manuals

You can find two Konica Big Mini manuals on the excellent camera manuals website from Mr Buktus. Make sure you throw him a few bucks if you find the manuals useful, which I’m sure you will.

Konica Big Mini BM-201 and BM-302 manuals

Using the Big Mini

I loved using the Big Mini. I only shot two rolls of film through it before I sadly had to send it back to the eBay seller I bought it off. They said it was in perfect working condition, but sadly the flash modes didn’t work, I suspect the exposure compensation also didn’t work, and the shutter was very hard to press.

The Big Mini has a reputation for having a hard to press shutter, but often I would have to press it four or five times quite firmly before it would take an image, marring an otherwise fun shooting experience.

Catching rays on Coochiemudlo Island. Konica Big Mini BM-201 with Fujifilm C200 film. I like the way the Big Mini handled the exposure in this scene.

The camera makes a lovely sound as it turns on, the square / rectangular lens housing popping out of the sleek, stylish body, ready for action.

It has a nice bright viewfinder and I found it a pleasure to compose images with. When I was able to press the shutter, I really liked the noise it made. Some say it’s noisy, but I thought it was fine.

A mode button on the back cycles through flash and exposure compensation modes: Auto flash / Flash on / Flash off / Flash off +1.5 aperture / Flash off -1.5 aperture. The ability to alter exposure with these modes is a feature not usually seen on point and shoots other than high end models.

Also on the back is a frame counter and a battery level indicator. There’s also a self-timer button, a rewind film button, and on the base of the camera there’s a tripod socket.

It has a really stylish design for a mid-range compact camera – when it’s turned off, it’s a really nice light, compact size that easily fits in my pocket.

The film door of the Big Mini with its control / LCD panel.

I’m really happy with the images I took with the camera on Fujifilm C200 and Agfa Vista 400 film. The images look sharp, are well exposed, and have fantastic colour and contrast.

I really loved my two rolls with this much-admired point and shoot, and I’m on the look out for a replacement.

Big Mini Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Sleek, compact, light and stylish.
  • Great image quality thanks to that Konica 35mm f3.5 lens.
  • Exposure compensation – a feature not usually seen in mid-range point and shoots.
  • Super fun to use.

Cons

  • Reliability: the Big Mini is sadly a byword for unreliability. Even 10-15 years ago, many internet forums were awash with people talking about their cameras dying.
  • Price: with stocks dwindling and its reputation rising, you can no longer pick these up cheap, unless you’re very, very lucky.
  • Shutter button needs to be pressed quite firm on some models, marring what is otherwise a pleasant shooting experience.

Classic Jag. Konica Big Mini BM-201 with Agfa Vista 400 film.

Is the Big Mini a good buy in 2020?

It’s maybe not a good buy compared to so many other good mid-range point and shoots out there that can be picked up for $100USD or less (the Olympus MJU 1 and Olympus LT-1 spring to mind), but it’s a camera that has a certain “je ne sais quoi” about it. I will definitely try and pick another up, if I’m able to for a decent price.

Konica Big Mini sample images

Petrol station. Konica Big Mini BM-201 with Agfa Vista 400 film.

Naldham House, Brisbane. Konica Big Mini BM-201 with Agfa Vista 400 film.

My favourite boat again! Konica Big Mini BM-201 with Agfa Vista 400 film.

Trees at Capalaba. Konica Big Mini BM-201 with Agfa Vista 400 film.

Central Brisbane. Konica Big Mini BM-201 with Agfa Vista 400 film.

Coochiemudlo Island sunset. Konica Big Mini BM-201 with Fujifilm C200 film.

Victoria Point. Konica Big Mini BM-201 with Fujifilm C200 film.

Yellow boat close up. Konica Big Mini BM-201 with Fujifilm C200 film.

In late August 2019, I met a giant of film photography podcasting. I say giant, because not only is he an integral part of one of the world’s favourite analogue photography podcasts, but also becuase he’s actually very tall. I am of course talking about when I drove down from Shropshire to meet Graeme from the Sunny 16 podcast in rural Oxfordshire.

Dumb and Dumber? / Graeme / Olympus AF-10 XB / Expired Jessops Everyday Diamond film 2007

We raced around small villages, we shot expired film on plastic point and shoots, we recorded some audio, we talked about photography, and we were both very, very nervous about getting back to Graeme’s house late for dinner.

Some would call this rendezvous a meeting of two gentlemen, two intellectuals, two scholars. Others would describe it as rerun of Dumb and Dumber. Either way, check out the amazing photos below!

Images talked about in this episode

Selfie! That’s me with Graeme doing something in the background… I dread to think what he was up to… Matt / Panasonic C-525AF / Expired Jessops Everyday Diamond film 2006

Tractor / Matt / Panasonic C-525AFMatt / Expired Jessops Everyday Diamond film 2006

Hay bale / Matt / Panasonic C-525AF / Expired Jessops Everyday Diamond film 2006

The Giant / Matt / Panasonic C-525AF / Expired Jessops Everyday Diamond film 2006

Church doorway / Matt / Panasonic C-525AF / Expired Jessops Everyday Diamond film 2006

Sigh… I fell into the minimum focus distance trap. Here are some blackberries (or are they deadly nightshade?!) Matt / Panasonic C-525AF / Expired Jessops Everyday Diamond film 2006

English church / Matt / Panasonic C-525AF / Expired Jessops Everyday Diamond film 2006

RAF plane / Matt / Panasonic C-525AF / Expired Jessops Everyday Diamond film 2006

Hay bales / Graeme / Olympus AF-10 XB / Expired Jessops Everyday Diamond film 2007

Road sign / Graeme / Olympus AF-10 XB / Expired Jessops Everyday Diamond film 2007

Pandas / Graeme / Olympus AF-10 XB / Expired Jessops Everyday Diamond film 2007

Tombstone / Graeme / Olympus AF-10 XB / Expired Jessops Everyday Diamond film 2007

Village church / Graeme / Olympus AF-10 XB / Expired Jessops Everyday Diamond film 2007

End of summer / Graeme / Olympus AF-10 XB / Expired Jessops Everyday Diamond film 2007

Check out that red! / Graeme / Olympus AF-10 XB / Expired Jessops Everyday Diamond film 2007

Moving selfie / Graeme / Olympus AF-10 XB / Expired Jessops Everyday Diamond film 2007

Ze plane, ze plane / Graeme / Olympus AF-10 XB / Expired Jessops Everyday Diamond film 2007

Me clearly not impressed by Graeme’s Jollubitel (spelling?)

 

Shropshire, how wonderful! This instalment of my travel with film podcast series details highlights from two weeks spent in the beautiful West Midlands of England. I acquired another 12 (yes 12!) cameras during this time. This episode also features call ins from Dustin Cogsdell of the Grainy Dayz podcast and our man in Thailand Matt Jones. Make sure you listen for details of how to win a bumper stash of film in time for the festive season!

Episode summary

  • Arrival from Switzerland
  • Staying in the barn
  • Just like Christmas! Five new cameras greeted me upon arrival
  • Shopping in Birmingham
  • The wedding
  • Staying at Aunty Shirley and Uncle Mark’s place
  • Bridgnorth and The Ashes
  • Norton car boot sale
  • Travel location and camera call ins from Dustin Cogsdell and Matt Jones
  • How you can win an amazing stash of 35mm film in early December!

Links discussed

Images discussed in this episode

My handsome rogue! England, Klasse S, Kodak Portra 400

Hydrangeas, Shropshire, England, Klasse S, Kodak Portra 400