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Kinon SL-III favori envoyer Print
Photos by RP text by RP. From the collection of RP
France Version française

Chronology of the Kinon brand  New window

Manufactured in Taïwan from (Circa) 1980 until () 0.
Index of rarity in France : Rare (among non-specialized garage sales)
Sold listing on New window
Inventory number: 3134

See the complete technical specifications New window
Kinon SL-III

We know this was made by the Formosa Plastics Corporation because all known examples have a sticker on them reading "FPC Quality Passed".

It has not yet been possible to determine an accurate date for this camera, but the high shutter release (threaded for cable release or a timer) and lever wind suggest a date in the late 1970's or early 1980's. The Formosa Plastics Corporation had been looking for new ways to use its resin since the mid 1950's, and Kodak had made plastic cameras for many years, but the major manufacturers did not embrace plastics for 35mm cameras until the mid 1970's. 

Cameras of this type were made to be very inexpensive because they were often given away at corporate promotions and as fair ground prizes. In the right hands they seem to be capable of images similar to those of an Instamatic, but they are no good for fast film or close up photography. They are also prone to light leaks in direct sunlight, which some people seem to find appealing.

The lens has focal length of about 42mm (not 50mm), the apertures are formed by a moving slot of varying width and are reasonably accurate on this model. Cameras of this type often had metal added to give a little extra weight.

FPC made a number of 'Kinons' most of which have clones under other names. This one is probably the first of them, and appears to be unique. The other reasons for buying it were the interesting graphics, and the cheeky rearrangement of the letters N-I-K-O-N.   

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