Thrift Store Find: Sports Illustrated 35mm Promotional Camera

Spring started last week and my schedule has been filled with part-time work at the restaurant and preparation for 36th BBQ & Western Event held at the Jacksonville Fairgrounds. I was getting stressed out and I needed to turn back to doing photography again. But this time, I decided to explore the nearest Goodwill thrift store for anything interesting.

Sure enough, this little camera stood out when I wandered into the Electronics section of the store for interesting finds. It didn’t have a price tag on it when I turned it over in my hands, but it was only $1.99 plus tax after I paid for it!

After some research, this camera was revealed to actually be the Sports Illustrated Promotional 35mm Camera!


I didn’t find much about this particular camera since most of the results talked about the Time Magazine Camera, so I’ll share info about the TIME camera instead since both cameras are very similar.

According to Camera-Wiki, the TIME Magazine camera was a toy camera given to people for free in exchange for a subscription to the magazine. This camera was very popular in 1985 and was manufactured in Taiwan. Although TIME was huge in branding back then, the same camera model has been used by other companies like Ultronic, Meikai, or even Sports Illustrated like the one I found.

The lens is 50mm with a fixed focus and four choices of apertures ranging from f/6, f/8, f/11, and f/16. These are indicated by cloud and sun symbols for how much light is available for whatever scene or object you’re trying to shoot. The only shutter speed available for this camera is 1/100th of a second.


With all the technical specs mentioned, this is a very simple toy camera that I’m excited to have! I’m going to use it with a roll of Kodak ColorPlus 200 to see the results. The first roll will be a tester before I get serious about what I want to shoot with this camera.

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