The Konica Mermaid Is an Unexpectedly Rare Underwater Film Camera

Missing a rare underwater camera in your collection of rare goodies? This Konica Mermaid could be a rather unexpected addition!

A vintage or film camera collection may not be complete without a quirky underwater camera. If you feel like adding one to yours, we may have found an interesting choice. The Konica Mermaid has a name that fits the bill, but you probably wouldn’t expect to learn that it’s rare. Well, kind of.

Now that we have your attention allow us to introduce a pink Konica Mermaid listed on Etsy for $150. It’s in good condition, has been tested in the water, and comes with a new battery. There are also a few units listed on eBay, including a tested orange unit that comes as a complete package with a case, batteries, and the original box for $110.99. If you don’t mind buying from Japanese sellers, there’s a couple of near mint units up for grabs: a gray one for $109.99 and another orange one for $89.99.

Okay, you’re most likely wondering why the hell would you grab a point and shoot that looks like an overpriced child’s toy from the 90s? Well, because underneath all that cutesy, waterproof exterior is a Konica Big Mini. It even says so at the top of the camera! However, while there are lots of Big Mini models up for grabs on eBay, it seems that this is the only waterproof Big Mini model made.

According to Collection Appareils, it was manufactured in Japan in 1993, predominantly in Rose and Orange colors. It’s waterproof up to five meters, but sometimes also indicated for seven meters. It also floats to make it a convenient camera for most swimmers. If you’re wondering if the camera can be taken out and used as a regular Big Mini, the answer is no: it’s permanently encased in the rubber shell. The lens is protected by a window and is sealed with O-rings. The built-in viewfinder is pretty much useless underwater, but a rubber sports finder can be attached to the outer housing for shooting instead (see one of the listings above). Other Konica Mermaid specs mentioned by Camerapedia are active autofocus, built-in flash, motor-driven film advance, frame format switch, and LCD display.

The Konica Big Mini can get pretty pricey due to its cult status among fans of point-and-shoot film cameras. But if you don’t mind the rubber exterior and can actually use the waterproofing, this could be a nice camera to add to your collection. Perfect for pool parties and summer trips, if you ask us!


Photos from the Etsy listing by iBuyFilm