Another plastic-tastic number from Haking arrived in one of the Job lots for a quid.
But did the lump of plastic live up to Haking’s ability to make not bad cheap shooters ?
Let’s be honest – if you want a crisp accurate shooter look away, this is more for the toy camera/lomo brigade.
It is styled like most 90’s compact in matt black plastic. The Vision series was made from the 80’s into the early years of this century with a range of basic flash cameras. Many are fixed focus like this one, others offering AF. The awful Halina Silhouette Zoom can be found as the Vision Mini MZ (Haking had a habit of re-badging).
The XF is a fixed everything camera. The shutter, focus, aperture all remain the same except when you manually turn on the flash (the aperture widens). The 2 AA batteries just power the flash – there is no low light warning LED. I’m guessing the camera is geared for 100 ISO film. Usually you’ll find the camera geared to a EV13 or so level as modern print film can tolerate a few stops of over exposure so I’m guessing this camera is either f/11 & 1/60 or f/8 & 1/100 assuming 100 ISO was the target film speed.
For such a basic camera it has an easy load system like you find in motorised AF compacts (but without the motorwind) an odd nod to improvement. Otherwise very simple stuff with basic unmarked viewfinder but at least there is a sliding lens cover that locks the shutter.
Shotwise it ain’t bad for what it is. Not as sharp as glass fixed focus like the Olympus Supertrip nor the rare Goko UF but actually not that bad. Haking have a history if fixed focus shootahs dating back from their early days with things like the Viceroy or Perfect Pseudo TLRs right up to the Hong Kong Lomo, the Halina Micro 35 and this is up there with the good ‘uns. Not as sharp as a VUWS but that’s half the fun
100-200 ASA will require reasonably bright conditions or the flash will be needed. I shot my first roll of AVP200 in less than optimal conditions and it shows. Flash isn’t great with just a 1.5-3m range and you loose from a worse depth of field with the wider aperture. But on dull days loaded up 400 ASA as I did in Carlisle one cloudy day and it’ll be fine especially with B&W.
Obviously you are reliant on the flexibility of modern negative film (not one for E6 slide then) to cope with variation in exposure and things can be a tad soft but compared to my cute but bête noire Lomography Diana Mini, you’ll get a lot more useable shots a roll. As ever does best with stuff a few metres away. It is no good closer and softens at distance but is still acceptable
The Goko UF is the obvious close rival I can think of and is sharper and has a low light LED. But it is pretty rare whereas the XF and related models are much more available. It doesn’t hold a patch to the VUWS but then again that’s arguable the best plastic P&S in the world (and has no flash option)
- Not that bad
- Easy loading
- not much in way of features
- No metering or exposure control
- Technically better plastic cameras out there
What I paid and got
- Part of 99p Job lot
- Came with strap and case
- Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim – Top dog plastic fixed focus camera
- Goko UF – Rare but good plastic lensed fixed focus flash shooter
- Halina Speedy 33 – Good Haking fixed focus with glass lens