10 Crap Cameras That Are Just Crap

Regular readers will know I have a love for those cheap ‘n cheerful Lo-Fi cameras that other reviewers wouldn’t touch with a barge-pole. But even for me there are some pretty inexcusable garbage that tries to pass themselves off as being a camera. Here’s my top 10 plus some views of others in what cameras you really want to avoid.

We have some surprises as we go from Halina to Leica in this list. But do you agree and what would you add ?

A matter of taste…

There’s plenty of cameras that are crap to one user and lo-fi gold to another (e.g. the Halina Panorama). This list is not about those nor those cameras that just disappoint but still take okay shots.

At this point some of you might be screaming a bad workman always blames his tools. But whilst that true some of these are equivalent to handing Michelangelo a blunt chisel and telling him to paint the Sistine chapel with it. Yes I suspect many of you could pick up some of these and take fine shots but really the effort and film wasted isn’t worth it

So here’s my ten in no particular order and I’ve also some picks from fellow bloggers at the end . But what would you add to the list ?

(1) Halina Silhouette Zoom

Halina Silhouette Zoom

Possibly the most pointless camera on the list. You’ll not find the name Halina in any list of classic or top cameras. Haking’s own brand cameras however are often cheap and cheerful copies of better known cameras. And some are not bad.

But this is just mince. It looks like any other 1990’s AF Zoom compact. Except they left out the AF. Yes you heard right it’s over engineered fixed focus with pretty rubbish optics before you start zooming and exposure system with glaucoma. The question is why ?

(2) Barnet-Ensign Ful-Vue

image taken by Frisno Boström. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic License.

What the 40’s British Design classic ? Have you gone mad ?
Granted it does look pretty on the shelf but trust me, just leave it there. You can put a pig in ermine robes but it will still be a pig. This camera is just a reworked cheap 1939 box camera that had a rubbish lens and less features than a 1901 Brownie No 2.

Weirdly a design “classic” and weirdly collectable. Go Figure.

(3) Olympus Trip 500

Olympus Trip 500
Trip 500

The misuse of the Trip brand by Olympus is legendary. No camera that followed the Trip 35 would ever be deemed classic. But there’s many an okay and quirky camera with that moniker.

This is not one.

Oddly described by some as the Olympus Lomo (it’s not). This is just awful. The plastic lens starts off soft even when your at focal point and seems to have a DoF of about 3 inches. There’s tons of aberrations but not in a good way and it’s flash will tend to fire even in broad daylight . It’s glass lensed sibling the Trip 505 cost just little more in the day but offered a a huge leap in image quality and is a real contender for the Olympus Lomo title.

(4) Panorama Wide Pic

Panorama Wide Pic 35mm Plastic Camera
Panorama Wide Pic 35mm Plastic Camera. Fixed focus shutter and aperture.

Pretty much ever job lot on eBay seems to come with these. I suspect its because folk are trying to rid themselves of these accursed items by bundling them with quite good cameras at knock down prices. This is a camera geared for taking panoramic shots but the absolute muppet who designed it set the focal point too close meaning things a couple of metres away are (relatively) in focus but anything further isn’t. And they are a curse because otherwise they’re working and none of us like binning a working camera. Hence they’re a job lot regular.

(5) Lomo Zenit 35F

Zenit 35F
Zenit 35F

In 1987 those crazy Russians at Lomo decided they wanted a piece of the action that Simple Japanese fixed focus flash cams like the Konica Pop series were getting. It’s picked up a bit of Kudos for two reasons. The first is absolute tripe. It’s often found on eBay as a rare soviet camera. It would only be rare to find one outside Britain as over 75,000 were made and only for UK export. The second reason is the Minitar-1 lens also used in the LC-A. Works great on the LC-A, not so good on a fixed focus camera made out of pig iron.

Talking on Konica….

(6) Konica EU Mini

Konica EU-Mini

Now Konica made some great compacts but the EU-mini isn’t one of them. Like many other cameras here it looks the part but it really isn’t. The lens is more dodgy than some campaign promises made on the Brexit referendum, with a woeful distorted & myopic view given. The exposure’s there but the view just ain’t. Trust me no one is voting for this option.

(7) Halina Micro 35

Revue 35FC aka Halina Micro 35
Halina Micro 35 aka The Hong Kong Lomo in Revue 35FC guise

Known as the Hong Kong Lomo, this is Haking’s take on the Cosina CX-1 & CX-2. For a Halina, it is well put together with an innovative sliding design and built in flash. Just a shame the lens is guff and not helped by the lack of a genuine exposure system. All Fur coat but Nae Knickers as my granny would say.

(8) Lomography Diana Baby 110

Lomography Diana Baby 110

Now Lomography deserve some Kudos for resurrecting the 110 film format. However they did their best to re-bury it with the Diana Baby . The concept was simple – ape the Diana camera as they successfully did with the Diana Mini and later the Diana Instant Square. Sadly they spent too much time designing the camera to look like the Diana, ignoring practicalities & the lens. unloaded the camera looks the biz. But it doesn’t look so clean loaded, has a shake inducing shutter switch on the lens (fine on the bigger format cameras but real pain here). There’s the flash sync completely useless as no mount or point for a flash bracket.

Then there’s the mess of the standard lens. It’s not so much as lo-fi soft but more totally out of any focus. Weirdly the optional wide lens is much more useable but the standard one is just rubbish. Just buy any vintage cheap 110 instead and save yourself a fortune.

(9) Minolta Riva Zoom 90c/Leica C2-Zoom

Minolta Freedom (aka Riva) Zoom 90c

On one level when behaving these are straight forward and average performing AF Zooms from the early 1990’s. Essentially the same cameras with just some minor tweaks as you can see from this review at 35mmc. The problem is the Auto Standby Zoom (ASZ) feature. ASZ was intended to intelligently zoom the camera to compose the subject when you hold it to your eye. In reality you’ll end up with folks looking at you screaming at your possessed camera as the zoom flies about in an uncontrollable fashion. Funnily enough you don’t find it on a feature of cameras made today.

(10) Hanimex 35DL

Hanimex 35 DL
Hanimex 35DL

Again one of those cameras that sound great but are just crap. Why not give folks a camera which has 2 lenses built in. Now if the lenses were any good this could have been a lomographer’s wet dream but sadly these two had the ominous Japan made seal of crapness. They are just mince and are even just 10mm in focal length difference making the entire camera pointless. The body is also a brilliant example of the worst of the 1980’s.

If you thought that lot were weird choices..

Now I asked some fellow bloggers what they would list as their crappiest cameras. Boy did they let go with some gusto.

CCR Review 47 - Mamyia Universal
Mamiya Universal taken by Alex Luyckx . This work is used & licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic License.

Alex Luyckx nominated the Mamiya Universal (which he reviewed on his blog). “the lenses and optics on this camera are top notch. The problem is that Mamiya had the chance for greatness building a medium format press camera and take advantage of all the ease of roll film, instead they built a roll film camera with all the unforgiving features of a 4×5. Not to mention an awkward user interface.”

Nikon Zoom Touch 400
Nikon Zoom Touch 400 taken by Jim Grey. This work is used & licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic License.

Jim Grey of Down the Road suggested both the Trip 500 (see his review) but also the Nikon Zoom Touch 400. In his review he reflected that “My mom used this awful camera for about 20 years to record family events. Mom, I’m really sorry you had to suffer with this piece of crap for so long.”

Konica Aiborg (2226568424)
Taken by John Nuttall from Hampshire, United Kingdom [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

Mike Eckman went for the technological monstrosity that is the Konica AiBorg. “What I hated the most about the Konica AiBorg is that they had this idea to design an innovative camera with a unique body and fun bonus features, but gave it a viewfinder nearly as small as that from a Kodak Retina, the worlds slowest zoom, and absolutely horrible ergonomics.” Read his full review on his blog.

Hasselblad 500 C-M medium format camera
by Lies Thru a Lens [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

Emmet Brown of Emulsive.org picked the Hassleblad 500CM with older C lenses. “Why? Simple. The reason why film photography “slows you down” or at least, the reason for that statement existing is the f&*king stupid bare scalloped metal rings on those old lenses. they slow you down because 73.4% of the time, you’re bandaging your fingers up (which will be bleeding by the second roll). If you happen to be shooting in hotter climbs, the burns will get you. Colder climbs result in lost skin, frostbite and ultimately, death.”

Lotus ME35
Lotus ME35 (clone of the Zenit) by Arty Smokes.
This work is used& licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License.

Stephen Dowling of Kosmo Foto picked another Cosina CX-2 clone, the Chinese made Zenit ME35. ” It is without doubt the worst camera I’ve ever used. The ME35’s futuristic good looks are similar to the Kodak Advantix compacts / but in comparison it’s a resolutely unsophisticated. It’s focus free, has a fixed shutter speed and the aperture only changes with the ISO selection. How does it expose properly? By firing a flash as subtle as a nuclear detonation, whether you need it or not. “

So what did you think? Do you agree or disagree with these choices? Have we missed something that is just bloody awful or have we relegated an absolute classic to the bin ? Join the discussion below.

11 thoughts on “10 Crap Cameras That Are Just Crap”

  1. Hahahaha! Seriously? Hasselblad as a crappy camera? You have either never used one or are not a photographer. The Mamiya press camera is also a classic that you butcher here. You have lost all credibility.

    1. I guess if you’d bothered to read the post you’d have noticed these were both submitted by 2 different well known camera bloggers both of whom have used the cameras they picked and indeed I linked to Alex`s lengthy review on the universal. All the cameras listed by myself or my colleagues are based on our first hand experience in using them

      1. I’ve used a 500C/M with mostly C lenses for years. I haven’t ever had bleeding fingers.
        The C lenses also featured self timers, something later lens types omitted, and which can sometimes be handy in the field.
        We all have cameras we love to hate, and that’s fine, it would be a very boring world, if we all shared the same tastes.
        As a C/M owner, it bothers me not at all that Emmett dislikes the model—but, I think his stated reasons for this are, to put it kindly, rather dubious. “Well known camera blogger”, or not.
        (Having a blog, well known or otherwise, in itself, doesn’t rate highly in my assessment of personal credibility, Alan. It will be the intelligence manifested by the author of same, and their ability to present reasoned, factually accurate material which may impress. Perhaps this is Emmett’s forte—however arguments like the above, do not entice me to investigate further…)

    2. There should be a way for bloggers to monetise comments. Every time someone who’s never read the blog or the post leaves inaccurate criticism the blogger should make five dollars. When a nobody claims you’ve lost all credibility you should make ten dollars. Hey Google, let’s talk.

  2. These thoughts are just your opinion most people collect cameras for their history and their design, not for their functionality. As a lot of good photographers will tell you if you are a no good photographer no amount of money you spend on a camera will make you a good photographer.

  3. One photographer’s crap is another photographer’s lomo style treasure. Or not.
    I would add the 110 keyring camera I got free with a magazine in the 80s. 110 is bad enough but this was next level shiiiiiite.

  4. Quite a polarizing article. Like one commenter said, one man’s treasure is another man’s trash. These cameras all seem to be on here for a decent reason. My personal pick would be any camera that is extremely pricey/hyped but fails miserably in terms of features (leica, voigtlander…). I’ve always resold these as soon as I got them

  5. I don’t doubt that the Halina Silhouette Zoom is a piece of crap, but at the tme it was made there weren’t too many zoom compacts with a 28mm lens and it was probably the cheapest of them by a considerable margin.

  6. The AiBorg looks vaguely obscene to me. Not so much Darth Vader, but more like something from a fevered HR Giger-esque nightmare. I can imagine the controls being similarly labyrinthine and anxiety inducing.

    I quite look the look of that Zenit, but I am a sucker for anything commie-make.

    Not really sure what my most hated camera is? I don’t really care much for my Neikai scamera, and was never able to channel Lomo magic with it like you’d expect to be able to.

    I feel a certain amount of resentment toward my various charity shop Mjus on account of the stupid prices they now fetch – too bad my Mju-II was dead, but I took a certain perverse joy in gutting it anyway.

    One of my Mjus has the most ridiculous telescoping zoom lenses I have ever seen. Also obscene, but at least not Gigerish.

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