Konica single use cameras
|Exploded view of a Konica single use camera 1993|
(US Patent US5,353,079)
image by U.S. Patent Office (Image rights)
Konica started manufacturing single-use ('disposable') cameras in 1987. As a major film manufacturer, Konica, like Agfa and Kodak, had to include disposable cameras in its range after Fuji had pioneered the concept in 1986 with the Quicksnap (Utsurun-Desu in Japan). Konica customer research showed that the pre-packaged single use cameras helped novice and occasional users to avoid film loading problems as well sparing them an investment in technology they used only rarely. Moreover, the light weight of the units, as well as the fixed focus lenses added to the ease of use and thus appeal. Over time, Konica developed a number of specialised single-use camera designs not offered by other manufacturers, notably the Waiwai / Superwide with its 17mm lens and mirror on the front.
Even though the units were essentially a film cartridge with a simple picture taking device attached, a 1993 US tax ruling deemed the Konica single use cameras in the same import category as full-blown 35mm cameras and levied a 3% import duty As the introduction and boom in single use cameras coincided with the rise of the global environmental movement, much emphasis was placed on the recycling element of the camera bodies. In 1999 Konica filed a patent for a composite material comprised of polycarbonates ('plastic') and cellulose, aimed at allowing the camera body to break down if it ended up in landfill.
In January 2006 Konica Minolta announced that it would stop all its activities related to photography, such as camera design and production, as well as the development and production of film and photo paper Over the next year the remaining stock of Konica single-use cameras was sold. Today (mid-2010) a handful of on-line stores still have some stock left, much of which is expired and has attracted the Lomography crowd. Sought after in particular is the Waiwai / Superwide with its 17mm lens.
The naming rights to Konica's film types, especially Centuria, as well as to its single use cameras, Torikkiri, were bought by DNP (Dai Nippon Printing) Photo Marketing. It has been speculated that the film marketed as DNP Centuria was left-over coated stock that had been in storage when Konica closed its film business, there is evidence that other film was also used.. DNP stopped production in December 2008.
Due to the very nature of recycled camera bodies, a number of what were Konica units can now be encountered refurbished and reloaded with third party film and marketed for wedding and such occasions.
|Konica single use camera with front cover removed|
image by Dirk HR Spennemann (Image rights)
- 1 Nomenclature
- 2 Technical overview
- 3 Models
- 3.1 Black & White
- 3.2 Film-In 24+3
- 3.3 Film-In 27 Flash
- 3.4 Film-In 36
- 3.5 Film-In Mini
- 3.6 Film-In Mini 800
- 3.7 Film-In Mini Flash
- 3.8 Film-In-Mini Konica Black-and-White
- 3.9 Film-In Neo
- 3.10 Film-In Neo Flash
- 3.11 Film-In Neo 800 Flash
- 3.12 Film-In Neo Super Outdoor Jour
- 3.13 Film-In Neo Super Flash
- 3.14 Film-In Centuria Super Flash 800
- 3.15 Film-In Panorama 12
- 3.16 Film-In Superwide
- 3.17 Film-In Superwide Flash
- 3.18 Film-In Waterproof 24 +3
- 3.19 Issimo
- 3.20 Issimo Mirror Type
- 3.21 Nice Shot 24
- 3.22 Torikkiri Konica Photo Hime
- 3.23 Torikkiri Motto Mini Flash Sepia
- 3.24 Torikkiri Konica AD flash
- 3.25 Torikkiri Konica MiNi 2 Flash
- 3.26 Torrikiri Konica Cho-Mini
- 4 Custom Packaging
- 5 Patents held by Konica related to single use cameras
- 6 Promotional items
- 7 Notes
The Konica single-use cameras were sold under different names in Japan, the Americas and Europe. Table 1 provides a synopsis of the nomenclature together with their first date of introduction. If you cannot find the model, look at the name index. Note that often a time lag occurred between the introduction in Japan and in overseas markets. The details of the individual models are discussed further below.
Table 1 Chronology of Konica single use cameras
|pre 1992||Nice Shot 24|
|1995, Apr||Konica Shirokuro||Mini Konica Black and White|
|1996||MiNi 2 Flash|
|1997||Mini Flash Sepia||not sold outside Japan|
|1998||27 Flash||Taticlick Flash (France)|
|1998, Jun||Photo Hime||not sold outside Japan|
|1999, Jul||MiNi Goody||Neo|
|1999||MiNi Goody Flash||Neo Flash|
|2000, Sep||MiNi Goody Super||Neo 800 Flash|
|2002, Sep||Waiwai (flash)||Superwide (flash)|
|2002||Black & White|
|2003||Neo Super Outdoor Jour|
Given that the camera was essentially a standard body with printed cardboard wrappers or printed stickers, it could readily be customised to local markets and for special occasions or customers. A confusing number of names resulted. The index below links to the description of the camera, listed under its English export name.
The technical data shown in Table 2 below have been compiled from an examination of original cameras and from technical specification sheets produced by Konica. Thus some data fields have been left blank until actual units come to hand for examination.
Table 2 Technical details of the Konica single use cameras as marketed
|Black & White||135||400||27||yes|
|Mini Konica Black-and-White|
|Neo Flash||6.3 / 12.7||1/80||135||800||27||yes|
|Neo 800 Flash||6.3 / 12.7||1/80||135||800||27||yes|
|Neo Super Outdoor Jour||135||400||27||no|
|Neo Super Flash||135||400||27||yes|
|Centuria Super Flash 800||135||800||27||yes|
|Issimo Mirror Type||APS||400||25||yes|
|Nice Shot 24||135||400||24||yes|
|Mini Flash Sepia||135||400||24||yes|
|Panorama 12||17mm||8||1/100||0.4 -inf.||135||400||12||no|
|Superwide/Waiwai||17mm||8||1/100||0.4 -inf.||135mm||52mm||39 mm||135||400||27||no|
|Superwide/Waiwai Flash||17mm||11||1/100||0.4 -inf.||135mm||54mm||40mm||114g||135||800||27||yes|
|Waterproof 24 +3||135||400||27||no|
This section sets out the various models sold between 1987 and 2006. They are arranged in alphabetical order, with the names as used in the US and European markets. Refer to Table 1 as well as the name index (above) for alternative names.
Black & White
Introduced in 2000. The camera came loaded with Centuria ASA400, 27 exposures It is characterised by an angular film unit that acts as a hand grip with two contoured grooves for the fingers. This model was also produced as commemorative cameras for special events sponsored by Konica, such as the Tour de France 2005, as well as novelty cameras of advertising purposes, such as by Coca Cola.
Film-In 27 Flash
Introduced in 1998. The camera came loaded with Centuria 400 film, 24. Later a second version with 27 exposures was produced, with variants labelled "24+3" and "27". The flash was activated by a black sliding button below the flash mirror. The camera is based on the design of the Film-In 24+3.
Two variants of the 27 exposure model are known, one in the standard Konica blue and one in purple are known. The camera was also packaged as Film-In 24+3 plus flash. In France it was sold as the Tati Taticlick (Flash).
Introduced in ¶¶¶. The camera came loaded with Centuria ASA400 film, 36 exposures.
Introduced in April 1992. It was loaded with Centuria ASA400, 24 exposures
Film-In Mini 800
Introduced in ¶¶. It was loaded with Centuria ASA800, 24 exposures
Film-In Mini Flash
Introduced in ¶¶. It was loaded with Centuria ASA800, 24 exposures. A second version is known with 27 exposures.
Film-In-Mini Konica Black-and-White
Introduced in April 1995. Sold in Japan as the Torikkiri Konica Shirokuro
Introduced in July 1999 in Japan as the ???, the camera was loaded with Centuria ASA400 film with 27 exposures. It was introduced in 2000 to the USA and Europe.
Film-In Neo Flash
Introduced in July 1999 in Japan as the Torikkiri MiNi Goody, the camera was loaded with Centuria ASA800 film with 27 exposures. It was fitted with a 30mm lens in two groups with two automated aperture settings (f/6.3 and f/12.7), set a plastic feather shutter of 1/100th sec speed. It was introduced in 2001 to the USA and Europe.
The camera has a three-lens inverse Galilean type viewfinder with 85% coverage at a 0.3 × magnification. According to the instructions printed on the camera wrapper, the flash has an effective range from 0.4 to 2.5m.
Film-In Neo 800 Flash
Introduced in 1999 in Japan as the Torikkiri MiNi Goody Super, the camera was loaded with Centuria ASA800 film with 27 exposures. Like its predecessor, it was fitted with a 30mm lens in two groups with two automated aperture settings (f/6.3 and f/12.7), set a plastic feather shutter of 1/100th sec speed. It was introduced in September 2002 to the USA and Europe.
Film-In Neo Super Outdoor Jour
Introduced in 2003. It was loaded with Centuria Super 400, 27 exposures.
Film-In Neo Super Flash
Introduced in 2003. It was loaded with Centuria Super 400, 27 exposures. The film was made in Japan, while the camera body was manufactured and assembled in China.
Film-In Centuria Super Flash 800
Introduced in 2003. It was loaded with Centuria 800, 27 exposures.
Film-In Panorama 12
The camera was introduced to the US market in 1995. It came loaded with Centuria ASA400, 12 exposures. The body has a very distinctive trapezoid sunshade surrounding the lens. Its body shape is based on the Nice Shot 24.
Introduced in 2002 and sold in Japan as the Waiwai. This is the updated version of the Film-In Panorama 12, in a new, sleeker body casing. The camera is fitted with a 17mm f11 lens in two groups, set a plastic feather shutter of 1/100th sec speed. It has a focus range from 0.4 m to infinity. The camera came loaded with Centuria 400 film rated at 27 exposures. The wide angle effect of the lens was exacerbated by a mask that shrunk the images to panorama size. The film was made in Japan, while the camera body was manufactured and assembled in China.
A major innovation was that the camera was fitted with a convex mirror surrounding the lens, allowing for more control of self portraits against background settings. This was included as Konica consumer surveys had shown that many Japanese people, in particular tourists, were reluctant to ask strangers to take their photographs, While conventional 35mm cameras had a self-timer option, the single-use cameras lacked that mechanism. The same consumer data influenced the short minimum focus of 0.4m, which was derived from the average arm length of a Japanese woman.
The design specifications for the Waiwai called for a maximum of interchangeable parts to reduce tooling costs and to maximise interoperability in recycled elements. A comparison of the Superwide with a Film-In Neo shows that the core of the Superwide is in fact a Neo with additional clip-on front wrapping and a new back. The extra length at the right hand side ensures that less careful photographers keep their hands out of the viewline of the ultra-wide lens.
Film-In Superwide Flash
Introduced in September 2002 and sold in Japan as the Waiwai. The camera came loaded with Centuria 800 film rated at 27 exposures. This camera has a similar body to that of the Film-In Neo Flash with the same lens and mirror additions as for the Superwide model without the flash. Like the model without the flash, the Superwide Flash is fitted with a 17mm f8 doublet lens set a plastic shutter of 1/100th sec speed. The camera unit measures 135 x 54 x 40 mm and weighs 114 grams. Also, like the Neo Flash on which it is based, the Superwide Flash has a three-lens inverse Galilean type viewfinder with 85% coverage at a 0.3 x magnification.
The packaging advertised the mirror function and its suitability for self-portraits shot at arm's length.
As hackers have shown, the extra length compared to the Film-In Neo Flash is purely cosmetic. It is required to ensure that less careful photographers keep their hands out of the viewline of the ultra-wide lens.
Film-In Waterproof 24 +3
The camera was sold in Japan as the 'Torikkiri Waterproof.' It was essentially a Film-In 24+3 (loaded with Centuria 400ASA, 27 exposures) in a special, plastic waterproof housing with large external frame viewfinder and wrist strap. A contemporary reviewer found it "[r]esembling a bathtub boat with a range finder mast". The camera was rated at 9ft water depth with a range of 5 to 10 feet. It had positive buoyancy and thus floated when when dropped.
The camera was also available with marketing imprints, eg Coca-Cola.
Introduced in 1998. The Film-In Issimo camera had a pop-up flash and was equipped with a 24/8.5 meniscus lens Unlike the other single-use cameras, the Issimo came in strong, unique design with a large swirl motif in blue crystal plastic around the lens unit.
Issimo Mirror Type
Introduced in 1998. The camera has a mirror glued into the front plate, allowing for more control of self portraits against background settings. Loaded with APS Film ISO400, 25 exposures
Nice Shot 24
Introduced in Japan in 19¶¶, loaded with ASA 400 film, 24 exposures. The camera has a flash, with a grey, horizontally sliding on/off switch underneath the flash unit. The unit has a deeply recessed Galileian viewfinder. Two types can be distinguished:
- Type I--A recycling symbol with the letters 'PS" can be found above the lens. The camera has a printed wrap-around cardboard slip on cover that surrounds the flash unit. It was marketed as "Say Cheese" with various company labels, such as Daiei Inc. Savings Bank and Lawson's Supermarkets.
- Type II--The text "Aspherical lens" can be found to the right of the lens. The camera has a printed cardboard cover that does not surround the flash unit. The camera is known to exist with company imprints, such as Mitsubishi Paper Mills.
Torikkiri Konica Photo Hime
Introduced in Japan in June 1998. A single use camera with flash and attachable soft focus adapter; Centuria ASA400 film, 24 exposures. The camera was not sold outside Japan.
The camera is a direct result of a survey of 115 Japanese female high school students carried out in the greater Tokyo area in June 1997. That survey found that most girls carried a camera, overwhelmingly single-use cameras. Konica learnt that some teenage girls applied lip balm or a piece of stocking on the lens for soft-focus effects.
Torikkiri Motto Mini Flash Sepia
Introduced in 1997. The camera produced sepia toned monochrome prints. The camera was not sold outside Japan.
Torikkiri Konica AD flash
Introduced in 1996. 25 exposures 
Torikkiri Konica MiNi 2 Flash
Introduced in 1996. 24 exposures
Torrikiri Konica Cho-Mini
Introduced in Japan in April 1997. The camera was equipped with a 30mm f9.5 lens and flash, and loaded with Centuria ASA400 24 exposure film. The Cho Mini was the smallest and lightest single-use camera on the market at the time, measuring only 53 x 87 mm and weighing as little as 51g.
In addition to the standard Konica and Konica-Minolta (from 2003 onwards) packaged units, Konica produced customised versions for events, for major companies as novelty gifts, as well as for major retail chains who sold them as their store brand (eg Lawson's in Japan or ¶¶).
Application filed by Konica Corp. Inventors: Iwagaki Masaru, Ezaki Atsuo and Todo Kazuo. US Patent 5,223,871. Filed 22 Janaury 1992, issued 29 June 1993. [JP] 3-022926 issued Jan 23, 1991.
1993--Einwegkamera mit photographischem Film
Application filed by Konica Corp. Inventors Todo Kazuo and Ishiyama Shozo. German Patent DE4220907A1 Filed 25 June 1992, issued 14 January 1993.
|Technical drawing of a |
Konica single use camera 1993
(US Patent US5,353,079) (Image rights)
1994--Film unit with photographic lens
Application filed by Konica Corp. Inventors: Sakai, Zeniti and Ishida Ken US Patent US5,353,079. Filed 25 Jan 1993; issued 4 Oct 1994. [JP] 4-15209 issued Jan 30, 1992
1996--Lens-fitted photographic film unit with electronic flash equipment
Application filed by Konica Corp. Inventor Mizoguchi Shuri. US Patent US5,550,607. Filed 1 Nov 1995; issued 27 Aug 1996. [JP] 5-295561 issued Nov 25, 1993
1997--Verfahren zum Aufwickeln und Laden eines Films in einer Einwegkamera unter Verwendung eines Spulenkerns mit Sauglöchern
Application filed by Konica Corp. Inventors: Sugano Kazuyoshi and Ito Kiyohide. EP0743546. Filed 22 November 1996. Issued 2 January 1997.
1998--Camera with specific exposure value and viewfinder field ratio ranges
Application filed by Konica Corp. Inventors: Iwagaki Masaru and Yamada Yoshitaka. US Patent 5,721,963. Filed 27 November 1996, issued 24 February 1998. [JP] 4-005854 issued Jan 16, 1992 [JP] 4-008688 issued Jan 21, 1992
2000--One-time use camera with strobe circuit baseboard
Application filed by Konica Corp. Inventor: Yamaguchi Hiroshi. German Patent EP0833191. Filed 29 Aug 1997; issued 7 May 1998. US Patent US6,061,531. Filed 29 Aug 1997; issued on May 9, 2000.
2002--Einwegkamera mit photographischem Film
Application filed by Konica Corp. Inventors Todo Kazuo and Ishiyama Shozo. German Patent DE4220907C2. Filed 14 January 1993, issued 2 October 2002.
2002--Lens-fitted film unit
Application filed by Konica Corp. Inventor: Haraga Hideaki. US Patent US6,351,604. Filed 18 May 1999; issued 26 February 2002. [JP] 10-158427 issued May 22, 1998
Application filed by Konica Corp. Inventors: Nakajima Akihisa, Kibayashi Hiroshi, Hosoi Yuji, Kurachi Yasuo and Atarashi Yuichi. US Patent 6,495,225. Filed 17 December 1999, issued 17 December 2002. [JP] 10-369487 issued Dec 25, 1998. [JP] 11-023849 issued Feb 01, 1999. [JP] 11-044789 issued Feb 23, 1999.
2002--Einwegkamera mit einer Sperrklinkenvorrichtung zum Filmaufwickeln
Application filed by Konica Corp. Inventors: Yoshida Koujiro, Mizoguchi Shuri, Iijima Yaichi, Era Masayoshi, Ishida Ken and Kibayashi Hiroshi. EP0750214. Filed 27 December 1996, issued 27 June 2002 German Patent DE69621286T2. Filed 27 December 1996, issued 2 January 2003.
Mini Flash 27.
- in Annual Report 2001
- Hosaka Takao, Mizoguchi Shuri, Nakanishi Hiromi, Yogata Kozue and Kogo Shoji, ‘The Development of the Torikkiri Konica MiNi Goody and Torikkiri Konica MiNi Goody SUPER Single-Use Cameras.’ Konica Technical Report 14, pp. 17-20, 2001.
- United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule CLA-2-90:S:N:N3:114 885542, May 21, 1993.
- "Molding material" filed by Konica Corp. Inventors: Nakajima Akihisa, Kibayashi Hiroshi, Hosoi Yuji, Kurachi Yasuo and Atarashi Yuichi. US Patent 6,495,225. Filed 17 December 1999, issued 17 December 2002.
- news release (withdrawal) (archived).
- | DNP Company Website
- Certainly some film was produced in the USA and is in fact repackaged Kodak stock. The body shape of some of the DNP Torikkiri models also suggests third party products
- | Company link (archived)
- Including film.
- 66mm with pop-up flash extended
- Product Codes: BY-52016; BY-92438
- Product Code: BY-72015
- Product Code: BY-36152
- Product Code: BY-38986
- Anticipated production was 1 million units per month. Konica Corporation begins marketing the world's smallest, recyclable camera.— Konica-Minolta Holdings (2005) Environmental Features for Torikkiri Mini. (archived)
- Konica Annual Report 1999, p.3.
- Yoshida Kojiro, Kuzuhara Takeshi, Masuda Takuro, Yogata Kozue, and Kogo Shoji, ‘The Development of the Torikkiri Konica MiNi Wai Wai Wide Single-Use Camera.’ Konica Technical Report 16, pp. 31-34, 2003.
- Konica Annual Report 1999, p.3
- Konica Product Leaflet (archived). Product Code: BY-38985
- Konica Product Leaflet (archived)._Product Cde: BY-39582
- Konica Product Leaflet for Centuria Super Flash 800 (archived)
- See this video: Konica Wai Wai
- Mini Waiwai (archived)
- Mini Waiwai (archived)
- George Schaub, Wet 'n' Wild Cameras. Popular Mechanics September 1994, pp. 118-119.
- Annual production about 200,000 units (Product Recall Notice 15 Nov 2000 for faulty APS cartridges also affected standard Konica APS Film 400.—See also Company History
- Product bar code 33167 29985 7
- Annual production about 200,000 units (Product Recall Notice 15 Nov 2000 for faulty APS cartridges also affected standard Konica APS Film 400.
- Lens equipped film, Japanese Wikipedia.
- Philbert Ono Photohistory Japan 1997
- Philbert Ono Photohistory Japan 1998
- Philbert Ono Photohistory Japan 1997
- Product recall due to faulty Sony battery for flash
- Specification, decomposition, modification, price and monochrome works of Torikkiri Konica ChoMini (archived).