Out doing a bit of festive shopping yesterday in the retail heaven/hell*(*delete as you feel) that is TK Maxx. When I spotted near the checkout a camera for just £12.99. Let’s meet the Cylo 35mm although Oddly I feel I’ve met it before.
TK Maxx are a off price fashion & home discount chain found in most British large towns. They are the equivalent in Europe and Australia to TJ Maxx in North America and are both owned by the same US parent company.
When I spotted this camera I did assume it was another of the legion of Dubblefilm Show Clone. But whilst it isn’t- but I have seen it before.
Yup me neither. A glance at their website shows they’re one of those numerous companies making iphone cases, bluetooth speaker, chargers and headphones etc.. Products seem to be sold by sold via holding company called MWA LLC in New York.
They have also sold those budget underwater cameras (and similar models without waterproof housing). these seem to have been preloaded with film
So tell me about their camera ?
I struggled with the spec until I realised what this. the manual has next no info and the website does not feature it.
In fact the box tells a porky. The flash is not automatic. You need to switch it on in low light
This is a plastic fantastic simple camera with flash. The flash is not automatic as the box says but as you’d expect needs manually triggering . It uses a single AA to power. The fixed focus lens is plastic 28mm 1:8 and that aperture is fixed at f/8 even when flash engaged. The shutter will be fixed at I assume 1/120 if my theory about this is right.
The fixed aperture and subtle differences made it clear this wasn’t a dubblefilm clone. And that was reinforced when looking at the inside. Yes it’s a curved film plane but the rear of the lightbox looked familar
It’s the nigh identical in design to the LensFayre Snap LF-35M
Similar but not quite the same
Turns out if you head to chinese wholesale sites like Alibaba, you can pick these up for around the same price as TK Maxx before postage. If you go wholesale they’ll even be supplier who can stick your logo on these,
And I know realise that these are more widespread. The Catch 35mm is one of these being sold for a whooping £60GBP
But what I would say is the Cylo feels cheap. I haven’t my lensFayre anymore but it didn’t feel as cheap as this does. It doesn’t feel as well built as my Escura Dubblefilm clone.
It is available in at least 2 colours. The Green one with gold accents and someone was selling a pink version on eBay for a tenner but postage was over £3 quid. Both have a leatherette effect bit of vinyl on the frontThe LensFayre was much better looking and had the changeable covers too
Final Thoughts on Unboxing the CYLO
I must point out I was given a pre-release version of the LensFayre, I wasn’t obliged to write anything distinct for that. And you’ll see I rated it a reasonably close alternative to the Dubblefilm class. My assumption this is mechicaially the same so similar results. But…
If money is really tight, this is a cheap as you can go without a sale on the UK highstreet/retail park. It is cheaper than Boot’s own brand disposable and will produce better images, That said the Lensfayre one is only a bit more and looks way nicer. And if things go wrong you’re dealing with a UK company.
I’ll add this to the test queue.