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Blackheath winter dusk with tree and church (Pic: Stephen Dowling)
Late evening light in Blackheath, south London, taken on a Chinon Pocket Dual-AF-P (Pic: Stephen Dowling)

Part of the fun of buying random lots of cameras via auction is the almost constant education. Pretty much every time I win a lot, there’s something in there I’ve never seen before.

In the last few months, three cameras arrived which I’d never set eyes on before; one from a once innovative camera maker swallowed up Kodak in the first years of the 21st Century; another from a Korean industrial giant now one of the world’s biggest tech firms; and one produced by Kodak’s fiercest film rival.

Chinon Pocket Dual-AF-P (Pic: Stephen Dowling)
The Chinon Pocket Dual-AF-P – two lenses for the price of one

Chinon Pocket Dual-AF-P

While the name might be something of a mouthful, the Pocket Dual AF-P is a suitably pocket-sized compact camera made by Chinon Industries in 1992. The “Dual” in its name comes from the fact it has two different focal lengths – a 52mm and a wide-angle 28mm. It also has a “cheat’s panoramic” mode – cropping the frame top and bottom of the frame to produce panoramic-style images.

The Pocket Dual-AF-P is typical of early-1990s Japanese compacts; smooth plastic body with an integral flash nestled in the front right corner. Sharpness is surprisingly good – the 52mm lens has no less than six elements. The panoramic mode is of course a gimmick but surprisingly fun to use when the right scene presents itself.

Chinon’s cameras rarely get mentioned in the same breath as those from the bigger, more established producers like Canon and Nikon, but deserve more interest. This camera was also produced by Chinon for Minolta as the P-Twin.

I sold this camera recently on Cameraburo, but if I find another one I’ll more than likely keep it in my shooting collection.

Fuji DL-7 (Pic: Stephen Dowling)
The Fuji DL-7 – almost disposable, but capable of decent pics (Pic: Stephen Dowling)

Fuji DL-7

Fuji today are best known for a range of excellent mirrorless digital cameras (and a dwindling range of films), Fujifilm made film cameras.


Their Fujica range of SLRs contained some fantastic models, but in the 1980s and 90s their attention seemed to be more on their range of compacts cameras, some of which sported a unique Fuji “drop in” loading system designed to make film loading easier.

The DL-7 is one of Fuji’s DL range made in the 1980s and 1990s. It’s essentially a glorified disposable, made for the lowliest end of the camera-buying market. The DL-7 has a Triplet lens with only three elements, which only opens as wide as f/8. It has an integral flash which will most likely be needed if you’re shooting in anything other than bright daylight. Advancing the film and rewinding? You’ll have to do that by hand, as the DL-7’s batteries are only used to power the exposure system and the flash.

And yet… the pic below, taken in London’s famous Bar Italia, shows that sometimes all you need is a Triplet lens and a decent exposure system. The DL-7 is blessed with an ambitious spec sheet, but sometimes that’s just fine. This is definitely one of those cameras which has made me reappraise this end of the compact camera market.

Samsung AF 480R (Pic: Stephen Dowling)
“Samsung Galaxy… I am your father!” (Pic: Stephen Dowling)

Samsung AF 480R

Samsung came late to the camera game, but made up for lost time with a string of auto-focus compact cameras. Some of them were very good indeed – like the AF Slim Zoom which was featured in the first of these “crap compact” posts. (It’s very much not a crap compact.)


The Samsung AF 480R is definitely a few rungs down from the likes of the AF Slim Zoom – a cheap and cheerful autofocus which has a 34mm f/4.5 lens. The plastic body is easy to grip thanks to a well in the front left of the body where a finger naturally sits.

The camera has an integral flash which can be switched off as needed, giving a little bit more creative control. The camera is… not exactly stylish, but pleasing to look at. The two buttons on the front, one of which over-rides the flash, are two little splashes of red on an otherwise black frame.

The Samsung’s lens has bags of contrast and a touch of vignetting at the corners, especially in scenes with blue skies. The lens coatings aren’t as effective at dealing with backlighting – as you can see in the image below – but this results in a glow rather than distracting flare.

Read part one and part two of our crap compacts series

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Stephen Dowling
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