Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Konica WaiWai

Picked up a Konica WaiWai camera recently. This is a wide-angle (17 mm), fixed-focus disposable from Japan (there was a US version at some point). They are out of production, but you can pick them up on eBay. Nice thing about them...they are "disposable", but they can be reloaded with 35mm film with a little work! In my next post, I'll have some instructions on doing this. There are a couple of Chinese sites that show how it's done, but I figure some English would be nice, as it gets a little complicated towards the end.

As you can see, there is a mirror on the front so you can take self-portraits (as advertised on the package). The viewfinder also shows an approximation of what you are shooting, though with much greater parallax than the photos have. Still, it helps visualize the final image. What is pretty amazing is how wide the lens actually is. You can be about one foot in front of something and six feet to the left, and it still appears in the photo. The focal range is a bit odd, too. You can pretty much focus on something an inch away, but things in the distance are out of focus. So it really does require a some adjustment when shooting. I took it out for a practice shoot on my bike. The interesting shots are those with something directly along the edges of the camera. Quite a few of my shots didn't have anything close by, defeating the extreme wide-angle purpose. One negative, though maybe not, is the amount of lens flare. Doesn't bother me, but there was a LOT of it, as you can see in these photos. There is also a decent amount of vignette, which can be increased by using the flash.

All in all, a really fun camera! Now that I have a better idea of what it does and how to take advantage of its quirks, I want to take it out again right away! I have another roll of color film, but I need to pick up some black and white for "artsy" experimentation. I like the effect much more than the Lomo fisheye, and can see using it for art and just for fun. In my next post, I'll try step-by-step instructions on reloading it. It does take a regular 35mm canister, instead of one of those DC-whatever canisters that other disposables just have to do some of it in the dark. Until then...


  1. Hi ! I need a Step by Step for reload WaiWai Cam!

  2. funsky1@yahoo.com8:14 PM

    This is a great little camera. B&H had them in the US for several years and it is not bad! I wish that they were back in production!
    I gave them as gifts to visitors here in DC - great for monument shots in daylight!

  3. Anonymous7:15 AM

    I tried reloading mine with ASA 400 film. I got a few good frames, but all had 2 light streaks running vertically across the frame, near each side of the frame.

    I reloaded in daylight, by first closing the back, and then winding all of the film onto the take-up reel. But I don't think that's when the streaking happened. I will try black tape next time.

  4. hello there! nice photos. would it be possible for me to "borrow" them? cuz i would like to make an advertisement for the wai wai camera and your photos are great! but if you are willing to. (:

  5. just let me know where they are being used!

  6. I notice the step by step reload guide never happened. Is this because its so easy no guide was needed or that it was so hard it wasn't worth trying?

    I'm looking to buy one of these cameras and my decision really centres on how easy it is to reload.

  7. Anonymous6:38 AM

    I found this on youtube :

    and this :

    Seems very useful

  8. Anonymous1:03 AM

    hey,Im thinking of getting a waiwai camera through Ebay.I wonder if the camera has a rewinding spool? How does a disposable camera works ? I have never used one before in my life.Gosh.But im interested in that camera because i love lomography. Hmm..I wonder how do u rewind your film back into the canister without the films getting exposed.

  9. voltaire12:57 AM

    Has anyone tried to reload it with a 400 iso/asa film?

  10. There was a Agfa LeBox Panorama with a 17mm lens too. Instead of reloading I removed the lens and glued it into a M39 body cap to use it with my Zorki 1:

  11. that is very cool...i've considered a lens transplant, and that seems to be an excellent way of doing it!

  12. Im thinking to buy one but can't find it on eBay...
    Where can I get one in the US???

  13. haven't seen one for sale for over a year! battery in mine is dead...

  14. Anonymous5:35 AM

    does anyone kno where i can find one??

  15. Anonymous9:40 PM

    Help me to find one, please..
    do you wanna sell to me?

    contact me if you find or wanna sell to me