THE GREAT WALL…WASN’T FOUND IN CHINA

There’s not much to say, except for, “I’m addicted to Craigslist”.

I used to live in Seattle and for whatever reason, the Craigslist there was a goldmine- a goldmine I tells ya! Here, in San Diego, well, it’s somewhat slim pickin’s. So, many months go I found an ad on Craigslist that advertised selling a bundle of analog cameras. Included in that bundle was a Polaroid Macro 5 SLR, a (possibly working) Polaroid One Step Land Camera, a Diana F+ with various accessories and a Great Wall PF-1.

At first sight, I thought the Great Wall just looked neat. It’s a very traditional “retro”-looking SLR camera, lightweight and has Chinese lettering on the front. The Great Wall I purchased in the bundle had two corroded AA batteries in it, which I had to pry out with some tweezers. Inserting two new AA batteries wasn’t easy, but once I cleaned up the battery cavity, the flash worked just fine. It also came with the original box, instructions and the original camera case.

I hadn’t heard about the Great Wall before I actually owned one. Googling it, you’ll find that it runs for at least $50 on eBay and Amazon- I got it for about $5 (Score!). It’s basically a Holga-style, plastic-lens camera that produces vignetted images. When looking into the camera’s viewfinder you’ll find a light-meter, which, in all honesty, I’m not sure how accurate it really is. Nonetheless, I used the light meter before shooting my images.

It took me a couple months to finish a roll of 35 mm film in this camera; I’m really picky about how I use my film. I used Lomography Color Print film at 400 ISO and the results I got were great! Grain, grain and more grain! And also some vignetting. I think camera enthusiasts can relate to A) the steal of a price I paid for the Great Wall B) my excitement at the fact the flash works just fine with two new AA batteries and B) the beautiful soft focus of a plastic lens.

Take a look for yourself:

All in all, I’m pretty happy that I stumbled upon this little gem of a plastic camera.ย If you happen to come upon a Great Wall PF-1, I wouldn’t suggest paying more than $10-$15, tops. That’s just because of the fact I understand how fun it is to have a kitschy camera like this. You can find an album of photographs taken with the Great Wall PF-1 on my Facebook page.

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