Wednesday, March 23, 2011

It's No Toy. It's the Nikki NK-2626 Camera!

OK. I’m not going to waste too much time on this, but I feel obligated to make this post. When I first relaized that this camera was coming to me, I immediately began to search for information. I knew nothing about the camera and found very little information online. I’m sure I wasn’t the first, nor will I be the last to try to find information on the Nikki NK-2626 35mm camera.

First of all, the camera is marketed under a couple of different names. Here are a handful of the names that I’ve come across:
  • Nikki NK-2626
  • SUNNY S-2000
  • Olempia Big Royal Camera
  • Olympia DL-9000
  • Olympia GM8426

First Impression

My intial impression (before actually holding the camera) was that the Nikki NK-2626 was a ‘toy camera’--a camera aimed at the toy-camera enthusiast market. That intrigued me. Since having the opportunity to inspect the camera, I’ve come to the conclusion that the NK-2626 is not a toy camera at all—at least not in the same sense as the Holga or the Diana camera. The Nikki definitely falls into the same low-cost camera bracket (however, it is more stoutly built and has a tad more sophistication). Instead I think it's accurate to view the camera as a cheap Chinese knock-off of an SLR, and probably more accurate to view it as a cheap Chinese knock-off of someone’s idea of an SLR camera, an exploitation of a real 35mm SLR. That alone could endear the camera to some folks, and I have to admit that holding the camera in my hand and inspecting it up close did generate a very brief photographically-illicit cheap thrill sensation. The camera is covered with hints and claims seemingly designed to fool the clueless into believing the camera is something considerably more than what it actually is (a big motor-driven point-and-shoot camera). It doesn't take much photographic knowledge to 'get' the inside joke of such claims as 'red-eye reduction' and the center circle line in the view finder.

Regardless, with the flash attached and fully loaded with batteries, the camera has decent heft. It has a good right-side grip and a clear viewfinder. The motor drive is l-o-u-d, as is the self-timer beep, which is probably one of the most annoying beeping sound I've ever heard. There's definitely nothing stealthy about the NK-2626. If you want a camera that announces your arrival, then the Nikki NK-2626 is your camera.

NOTE: The weather hasn’t been very agreeable for camera testing, so I’ve not had a chance to shoot this camera. I found a couple of samples on Flickr, but it’s difficult to get a feel for what the camera can produce. I'm in no rush to shoot with this camera, but when I do, I'll post some images here.

The Nikki NK-2626 35mm camera

The camera has 50/6.3 lens. This shot shows the lens set at the maximum aperture (f6.3).

To adjust the aperture to one of the other two settings (f8 or f11), twist the outer knurled ring.

The f-stops are also designated by little weather report-type icons, cloudy (f6.3), partially cloudy (f8), and sunny (f11).
There's a three position switch with settings for off, on, and rewind. The camera is motor-driven, so there isn't a film advance lever or a rewind knob.

On top of the camera there's a waist-level finder. The image through the finder is really distorted. It's not very good, and I'm not sure that there's much value in this "feature", really.

Below is a shot through the viewfinder. There's a frame line and a center circle line. There isn't auto-focus or a meter on this camera, so there really is no purpose to the center circle line, except to indicate frame center for framing.

Here's a front-side detail. There's a self timer, and a red-eye reduction claim. The only red-eye reduction feature on this camera is the side/bracket-mount flash.

That's it. That's the Nikki NK-2626 35mm camera.