Week 40 – Meikai EL

The Meikai EL is a Japanese toy camera c.1963. I was initially undecided whether to classify it as a toy camera or merely a cheap one. You will notice the plastic around the viewfinder made to look like a selenium light meter. If it has fake features, it’s a toy in my book.

The EL features a fixed focus “Tuogodo New MK lens” which appears to be glass, mounted in “Metsunii instant shutter.” Part of the lens turns like a focus ring, but this is in fact aperture adjustment. There are sunny/cloudy pictographs but no numbered apertures. Internet reviews state it has a single shutter speed, yet mine has a switch under the lens barrel which seems to indicate two speeds. It is marked with sun and cloud/flash icons. My iPhone Shutter Speed app times them at approximately 1/100 and 1/50 respectively.

Film advance is via a lever on the top plate. It travels for slightly more than one stroke per frame. There is a PC flash socket on the front of the body and a cold shoe on top.

My example came from eBay. I don’t remember exactly what I paid, but it wasn’t more than $5. I loaded it with a roll of Kodak 400 respooled redscale and carried it for a few days last week.


Camera Wiki

Review from Junk Store Cameras

eBay – As of this writing there are only a few listed. Prices are a bit on the high side, although I note there is a deluxe ELX version with a hot shoe, and another version with a flash cube holder. Thrift stores might still be a better bet.

RESULTS here and here.