The Sintex might look like a bad ~2000 mini DV camcorder. But the Sintex is actually an ergonomically disastrous 35mm still shooter and a scammy one as well. It’s a dubious lo-fi number reeking of scamera and a niche design that is frankly garbage.
I’d come across an Olympia camera which is very similar a few years ago but just missed it at auction. That camera I believe was the V-3000 and it is even more scammy. It was also sold under Canomatic branding, Mitsubu and even worse as a fake Sony or Panasonic. !!!
The V-3000 is basically similar to our Sintex but with an added music cassette player.
There is also the V6000. The most classy of the bunch but scant details are known. I suspect these were both preceded by our Sintex but in Olympia branding.
So the Sintex isn’t a Video camera then ?
This is a fixed focus 35mm still camera. The instructions give no details away of spec. In fact the best we get is from the lens cap with a “Camera” logo (always a sign of quality 🤣🤣). It describes the lens as 35mm f/6.3. It made of a shiny silver plastic that creaks a bit. I suspect the winder is the weak point however.
f/6.3 that sounds familiar ?
Yup the 50mm color-optical lens lens cameras almost always had a maximum f/6.3 aperture. And our lens although claimed to be wider is like those made of plastic and has a clear plastic protective filter way in front. It also feels like a 50mm for angle of view.
The aperture is fixed as far as I can tell. The camera does have DX coding pins (3 pairs). These allow it to delineate between 100, 200 and 400 ISO. I’d love to tell you these allow the camera to adjust the shutter speed along with the light sensor. But I suspect that would be a lie. Most likely it allows the camera’s primitive exposure system a way of determining when to fire the flash according to film speed. It certainly seems more ready when using 100 ISO film v 400 ISO.
The flash power is unknown. No range distance are given It has a gimicky red eye feature (depress shutter half way and a small red LED starts blinking. This by some breaking the laws of physics method apparently causes your pupil to constrict. Both it and the Motor Drive is powered by 2 AA batteries.
Hot tip make sure those are fresh- this munches batteries for breakfast. It does work with rechargeables however.
Film moves vertically through the film gate. This is flat and and a full frame gate so the camera is designed to shoot in portrait format.
Didn’t Yashica make a half frame like this ?
You mean the legend that is the Samurai series of half frame SLRs made by Kyocera and sold under both Yashica and Kyocera branding around 2000. Arguable the most developed half frame cameras ever with non changeable zoom lens SLR system and full control of an auto exposure system. And only half as annoying as the Sintex to use. Importantly as they’re half frame, the Samurai series shoot in conventional landscape format as typically held the same as full frame cameras.
The camcorder design really only works for ….erm camcorders.
So this lacks the cassette player ?
Yup you need to get the V-3000 for that treat.
Like all the other models it comes with a plastic fold out tripod and should have arrived with a bag. The manual is basic, has no spec and doesn’t detail a lot.
The camera has a standard tripod point but no timer feature making it mute
But there’s a swing out LCD right ?
No. You fell for that little stunt
The door swings out to give you a pointless poor quality waist level finder. I mean it works but you’re off centre unlike the simple viewfinder up top. Both weirdly are in landscape format give the camera natively shoots in portrait. The swing out door covers the film counter which really is the only reason you will need to open.
Using the Sintex
Loading is okay actually. It has the common easy load system of most motorised compacts. Put the film in and pull out, so the leader passes the over the take up drum. Click the shutter button to ensure winding on, and close the back. The winder isn’t as noisy as I thought but it ain’t quiet either.
According to the manual the camera need to be set to rewind manually by depressing the rewind button. That should be recessed but mines certainly wasn’t and given they stuck right beside the shutter button I managed to hit it after 6 shots.
Luckily the camera leaves the leader just out on rewinding.
Ergonomically this is a shi# show to hold. The best way is to stick your middle 3 finger through the handgrip and use the thumb to hold the base and keep your pinky out of the way of the lens. With luck your middle finger may fall over the shutter button and avoid hitting the rewind one.
If you get comfortable, once the camera is turned on a red LED should appear in the finder to tell you battery power is okay. The camera part charges the flash each time it is switched on and will lock the shutter until the flash fully charges if it deems too low light. You have no control over that short of covering the light sensor.
The main viewfinder is confusingly square but at least is central. It does not articulate.
Credit due most of the shots came out well enough exposed by Lo-Fi standards. You could tell the flash kicked in when needed.
Optically it’s a game of 2 halves. In all shots it softens and distorts more to the corners. There are obvious aberrations from the lens. But centrally there is a marked difference depending on distance.
Unsurprisingly even centrally is at its best soft. The camera shares some properties with the Olympia OY4040. It’s better within a few metres and actually can give some quite pleasing lo-fi images. But it goes mushy, really soft at a long distance. It shows only minimal worsening to the edges of the frame. There is a very subtle vignette.
The radial distortion is quite noticeable with a fair degree of pincushion distortion.
The viewfinders encourage you to shoot this as a standard (i.e. landscape orientated) camera which doesn’t help as this shoots in portrait. That said the main finder is roughly central and way more helpful than the waist level finder which is at best off centre and completely the wrong orientation. On a plus it does quite nice lens flare halos in bright light if that’s your thing.
Conclusions – Is the Sintex the worst camera I’ve ever tested ?
It ain’t great.
It is awful to hold with rubbish image quality. I mean why ? But you can take useable images in a lo-fi context I suppose if close. And it is novel
This has scam written all over it and to be honest any more standard color optical lens camera will at least be easier to hold and offer 3-4 aperture settings. That said those vary. My Tamashi is better my Olympus OY4040 worse. But both of those you can hold easily enough and the viewfinders. Rubbish as they may be are correctly orientated.
But there are worse cameras……. but that’s for another day.
Alternatives to the Sintex
Well there’s a few
Look if you must have this look get a working color optical lens scamera/fake SLR. Actually get 2 one might work and you’ll probably get it for less than one of these.
For a Lo-Fi experience that works and looks better you have a legion of choice. New you can buy a Dubblefilm Show/M35 Clone, VUWS clone or a Holga 135BC for starters. Old I’d recommend the Halina Panorama – fixed everything with a soft yet characteristic lens and a faux pano aspect (you can remove the mask too and shoot full frame)