Monday, December 31, 2012

Canon A-1

Canon's A-1 semi-professional camera is a solid, robust, and weighty Advanced Amateur/Semi-Professional entry into the camera world.  With shutters speeds from 30s to 1/1000s it out distances itself from the AE-1, and AE-1P (which has the same metering system).
The body is only available in Black, so don't expect to see any silver or brushed aluminum cladding on this camera.

The camera has a presence to it. The shape, the design, and especially the solid black body with the white accents of the lettering.  When paired up with the Motordrive MA, it makes quite the site to behold.  A Canon Speedlite 199a, Motordrive MA, and 50mm ƒ/1.4 (or 85mm ƒ/1.8 or even the ƒ/1.2) is just an amazing site to see.
Some of the weirder aspects to this camera is the ASA dial.  With speeds from ASA6 to ASA12800, it seems a bit extreme.  I do not know of any film that was ever up to ASA12800, and would hate to see the grain in 35mm for a film that fast.
It's also a bit tricky to adjust.  There's a little metal lever on the side of the dial to help lock it so you can't accidentally turn it from one ASA to another mid-roll.  This lever is a pain to work with because it is in a very difficult to access location.
There's also an exposure compensation dial on the ASA dial, with a lock button located at the rear top of the camera beside the Pentaprism hump, and located almost directly in front of the film-plane mark.
There is also a switch that turns the red LEDs inside the viewfinder on and off.
Also located on the Pentaprism hump, on the back of the camera, is a switch to black out the viewfinder to prevent fogging of the film during long exposures.
In the middle of the ASA dial is the rewind crank which also doubles as a level to pop open the back of the camera, or the film-chamber door.
Opposite side we have the On(A)/Off(L) and self timer (2/10) switch which, does exactly what you'd expect.  Turns the camera on, or off, or sets the exposure timer.
There is also the switch to adjust from Av (aperture Priority) to Tv (Shutter Priority) along with a switch to guard against accidentally changing the settings.
Depending on what setting you have the camera set to, you will see a window because the Av/Tv switch that has shutter speeds, or Aperture values depending on the priority mode you have the camera set to.
Looking on the left side of the camera at the front you a few more buttons and a slider switch.  The slider is the DOF preview switch, which stops down the lens, which is good if you are using an older FL lens which requires stop down metering.
Above that switch is a Meter preview button, which will display the settings the camera's meter reads according to the preset shutter speed or aperture value.
Above that button, there is third button, which is nothing more than the exposure compensation button. As on the AE-1 and AE-1P, it'll open the lens 2 full stops, which is very useful when metering for backlit scenes.
On the right side of the camera is the battery door.  When opened it houses a PX28 battery, or 4 LR44 batteries in sequence.
Once the film is used, it is then rewound back into the canister using the film rewind crank.  But before you can rewind the film, you have to press a button which is located on the bottom of the camera.

Although I've yet to finish a roll of film in this camera, the half-dozen photos I have already taken with it, I already know I'm going to have a hard time putting this camera down.

Until next time, keep those shutters firing!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Agfa Optima 1a

On this post, we're going to look at the Agfa Optima 1a.  The Optima 1a is also known as the Agfamatic, which is a Scale Focusing 35mm camera that actually has a built in AUTOMATIC mode that is completely powered by the Sun.  It has a Selenium power-cell that uses the light from the Sun to set the shutter speed and aperture size in accordance to the amount of light, vs the film speed.

With film speeds for 10ASA to 200ASA it actually is a fairly versatile camera.  Equipped with an Agfa Agnar 45mm ƒ/2.8 lens, which is coated for colour correction, and to help against flare. 
It is a very basic camera, with a viewfinder with Parallax markings, advance lever, and shutter release, which is mounted beside the lens.

Although it is a basic camera, do not let that fool you.  The lens is remarkably sharp, it has a hot-shoe for an electronic flash, or a flash bulb, is very simple to operate in all types of weather.  Can be used indoors (with the help of a flash) or outdoors.
The automatic mode can be over-ridden using a dial on the side of the lens mount.  Turning it to one side, with the little lightning bolt, goes into flash mode.  This mode sets the camera to 1/30s and whatever aperture setting you wish to set it at. Turning it the other way puts it into BULB mode for long exposures.  There is a threaded shutter release on the top of the camera for a cable release for long exposures. 
Also, looking at the top of the camera, you will see the film rewind crank, and the film advance lever.  Beside the lever is the film speed setting, from 10ASA to 200ASA.  Beside the rewind crank is the hot-shoe.
I was more than impressed the first time I really used this camera.  I took it out, loaded with my favorite film, Polypan F 50, and decided to use it in bright daylight.  It suddenly came alive in my hand as I just grew more and more excited with the camera.  Sure, I didn't take anything fancy with it, just random photos around the neighbourhood, but it let me get acquainted with this camera. 
In the photo to the right you can see the shutter release lever on the lens mount, and just beside that is a honeycomb window that is the Selenium cell which powers the camera.  The blue window on the left of the camera is the viewfinder.
Toward the top of the camera on the side is the frame counter dial, which is marked up to 36 frames of film.  Upon loading the film you will wind the dial to 0 to mark the start of the roll of film.
Opening the camera is very easy.  It opens from the bottom by turning the locking release which causes the entire back of the camera to become released from the camera.  Made almost entirely of plastic, save for a few parts, like the base plate, top plate, and lens mount which are metal, the camera is very light and can be held for hours in hand without causing you to become fatigued from holding it.
Directly beside the film back release lock there is the standard threaded tripod mount socket so that you can mount it to a tripod or monopod for long exposures.  There is no self-timer, so no photos of yourself with this camera.
 Focusing is done by turning the front ring  of the lens which will allow to you focus from 3¼ feet (1 meter) to Inf.  There are different symbols on the camera to make it easier to focus using the viewfinder and gauging the distance.  First is 3¼ feet, then two-heads (about 5-8 feet) then 3 people for group shots, which is about 8-15 feet, and lastly is the mountains, which is from 15 feet to Inf.
It is very easy to know when you have focused the ring as there are actually detent stops at each setting. 
This camera is almost like a Program AE camera, except it isn't quite that sophisticated.  Close, but not quite. 
Like a predecessor to the Program AE cameras of today, it was a step forward in time for auto-exposure cameras for weekend shooter who wanted to take a photo or three of the family, or around the house, on vacation, or just someone who wanted to step back and away from metering light, setting the aperture and shutter speed to match light conditions, and just get out and shoot some photos.

Yes this camera does make you go out and enjoy the thrill of taking picture after picture in vivid colour, or beautiful B&W.  Whether you're using Colour Negative, B&W print, or Transparency film, this camera will not let you down. 
Who needs batteries for the shutter, when you have this camera, through the power of the sun (even 50 years later) you can take one beautiful photo after the other.

The Agfa Optima 1a (Agfa Agfamatic 1a in Canada) is a beautiful camera to hold, and an even better camera to use!


Do you have an Agfa Optima 1a, or another 35mm camera, and not sure what film to get?  Check out the Film Photography Podcast for your source of 35mm film.  Want more?  Sure!  They have Polaroid film and cameras, The Impossible Project film for your Polaroid 600 or SX-70 or even your Spectra camera.  They also have Fuji FP100C, FP100B and FP3000B peel apart film for your Polaroid Pack camera.  They have 35mm, 110, 120, and even 4x5 film!
120 cameras, like the Plastic Filmtastic Debonair.  Check them out, at the Film Photography Project now!

Until next time, keep those shutters firing!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Canonet 28 First Look

On first look, it's not too much unlike my Canonet QL25, except it's smaller, and uses a 40mm ƒ/2.8 lens instead of the 45mm ƒ/2.5 lens on the QL25.  The same silver/black body, and big bright viewfinder and nice contrasty rangefinder.
The most noticeable difference between the QL28 and QL25 on first look is size.  The QL28 is more compact, and lacks a Flash Sync Port, where as the QL25 has a PC-Port beside the lens, but no Hot-Shoe,  where the QL28 has the Hot-Shoe for a dedicated flash.

The next noticeable difference is the lack of shutter speed select.  The Ql25 is loaded with a Prontor-SV shutter with speeds of 1/15s to 1/500s, while the 28 does not have a shutter speed select dial at all.

In defence of the 28 though, it has a very sophisticated shutter system.  The camera, essentially, is a Program Automatic Rangefinder.  You literally just have to compose, focus, and shoot, and the camera does the rest.  From setting the aperture to selecting the appropriate shutter speed.  The other interesting thing is that if the shutter speed required is above 1/125s and below 1/250s, say 1/175s, the camera will actually fire the shutter at 1/175s, while the base minimum shutter speed is 1/30s, and the absolute fastest shutter speed is 1/600s.
If taken off automatic mode, you are limited to 1/30s and whatever aperture size you select.

Opening the 28 is a little different than the QL25, where you lift the rewind know fully and it pulls the release up to open the back so you can load/unload the film.
The last thing to note is the loading system.  The QL (Quickload) system is not utilized on this camera, which is very unfortunate, as it does make the camera a little more difficult to load in comparison to the other rangefinder models of similar design.

The meter & automatic mode is powered by a PX625 1.35v Mercury cell, but I have used a newer 1.5v Silver Oxide battery with no noticeable effects against the meter.

Specifications; from Camera Wiki

Type: rangefinder camera
Manufacturer: Canon
Year of launch: 1971
Film: 35mm with speeds 25 to 400 ASA (Frame size of 24x36mm)
Lens: 1:2.8/40mm (5 elements in 4 groups)
Shutter: programmed shutter with speed/aperture combination 1/30 sec./1:2.8 to 1/620 sec./1:14.5
Aperture: automatically or manually, 1:2.8 to 1:16
Viewfinder: bright frame finder with 0.6× magnification, superimposed coupled rangefinder, shutter speed control meter scale and parallax marks
Metering: CdS photo cell above the lens within the filter ring (EV 8 to 17 at film speed ASA 100). The shutter is locked when the meter indicates over- or under-exposure
Battery: 1.35 V battery type PX625
Film advance: Lever, exposure counter, rewind unlock button, and rewind crank
Flash: hot shoe with second contact allows usage of Canolite D flash in automatic exposure mode. Other types of flashes may need an adapter and can be used only with 1/30 sec. shutter speed with manual aperture setting
Dimensions 125×75×61mm

Weight: 550g

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

ФЭД - The Fed 2

Fed 2 Gazing
"The Fed 2 Gazing" - HTC Kaiser Smartphone
Not to be outdone, the Fed 2, a Leica M39 screwmount rangefinder copy, is actually a very impressive little camera.  With speeds of 1/30s to 1/500s, it is capable of handling pretty much any situation needed.  The only downfall to this camera is the shutter.  The cloth curtain is unfortunately very prone to pinholes.  Now, of course, this is also common with Leica's as well, especially if you accidentally forget to put the lenscap on and have it pointed toward the sun.  In only a matter of moments it'll burn a hole through the curtain.

The rangefinder on this, although a little murky when compared to some other rangefinder cameras, is very easy to use, and I find it actually pretty bright, myself.  The winding mechanism to advance the film is pretty straight forward, and again, easy to use, even wearing gloves.  Loading the camera is a simple endeavor, unlike Leica's, you don't have to cut the film and load it in some weird fashion.  You basically load it like any other 35mm camera.  Pop over the back, although there are two locking mechanisms on the bottom that you have to open, and the entire back comes away allowing simple and easy access for loading of any film.  The lens attached is a Industar 50mm ƒ/2.8 lens, which is very sharp, contrasty, and simple to use.  The coatings are very basic, and it is prone to a little bit of flare, but nothing that isn't easily remedied with a lens hood, and in fact, I would highly recommend a lens hood for pretty much any lens.

The lightweight, solid, and slender body of this camera is very easy to hold, and fits very nicely in anyone's hand, big or small.  The camera is also very durable, and since there are no electronics on it, takes no battery(s) so you can use it in any weather, or temperature.

The best feature, and one that is not on many other Rangefinders, is a built in diopter correction in the viewfinder.  Nearsighted, far-sighted, no longer a problem with this camera.  Take off your glasses and adjust the diopter for sharp focusing so that you can see without smushing the camera up against your glasses and hurting the bridge of your nose (especially if you have lost the nose-guards on your glasses).

Simple Quickspecs;

Fed 2 - 35mm Rangefinder Camera
M39 Leica thread mount (for any M39 Rangefinder lens)
1/30s to 1/500s Cloth Shutter Curtain (X-Synced and M-Synced at 1/30s)
Rangefinder designed around a 50mm standard lens

"Wagon Suspension" - Fed 2 Rangefinder
Polypan F 50ASA Film
HC-110 Dil. M (1+250)
If you haven't had your chance to try out a Russian Rangefinder, pick yourself up a Fed or a Zorki, they are wonderful little cameras, and will fill your days with shooting bliss.
Just be careful, collecting these little cameras can be rather addictive!
"Bike" - Fed 2 Rangefinder
Polypan F 50ASA Film
Caffenol-CM Coffee Developer

Friday, October 5, 2012

Ricoh 500G

Ricoh 500GThe Ricoh 500G, one of my late-grandfather's 35mm Rangefinders, is a fun, simple to operate, and lovely little camera.  It's lens is incredibly sharp, renders colour beautifully, and brilliantly crafted.  The rangefinder is big, and clear, contrasty, and very easy to operate.
The diminutive size should not be an expectation of its usefulness, as the small size just means it is compact, and can fit in a purse, pocket, or your jacket.
Because of its small size, it can literally be taken along anywhere with you, and remain conspicuous.  The only downfall to this camera, though, is the light seals.  Being 40+ years old the light seals are crap, turning literally into a black goo that can cause serious problems on the film.
Not only that, the light leaks onto the film are something else, and it's not the easiest type of seal to replace.
Nonetheless, it's something that will require if you intend on using it for more than decoration.

Tech Specs:

Ricoh 500G 35mm Rangefinder
Rikenon 40mm ƒ/2.8 Lens fully coupled
1/15s to 1/500s +B Copal Shutter (X-sync via Hot-Shoe)
10s self-timer (lever beside lens)
24mm x 36mm frame size
25ASA to 800ASA film speed selector
Light Meter at front of lens for filtering through screw on filters
400g without film or battery
1xLR-44 Battery for Light-Meter and Auto-Aperture
Single-Crank film-advance

Monday, September 24, 2012

Ricoh Mirai 35-135 Zoom

Ricoh Mirai 35-135Bar none, the oddest camera in my entire collection is this one.  The Ricoh Mirai 35-135 ZOOM Bridge SLR.  It is a remarkable camera though, as it has a tack sharp lens, brilliantly fast and accurate autofocus, which uses and Infrared Beam, MACRO mode, nice zoom with the flip of a switch, Program Shift including a BULB mode, pop-up flash, including an attachable proprietary flash, and a lit LCD inner display, well, if it's viewed under dim lighting.
The strange design, including plastic body and weird ergonomics, make this a very odd camera indeed.  The flip-down handle gives it a "Speed Radar" kind of design, and many drivers have slowed down when I am using this camera near a road way.
The thing is, the lens is amazingly sharp, and renders beautifully out of focus areas.  Film is AUTO-SET VIA DX-Coding, but can be +/-EI over-ridden.  Provided you remember that + is for slower film, and - is for faster, which is great if you are using bulk rolled or non-DX coded rolls of film.

This camera has proven many times over, again and again, proving to be a great amateur's camera, and an instant head turning camera.  I've gotten asked, "Is that a video camera?" many times over this one, as it truly looks like a video camera, instead of a stills camera.

The simple operation, and relatively easy one-handed use of this camera, has easily made it an instant favorite of mine, even if I don't use it as often as I should.
It has some very interesting quirks, but nothing that cannot be over-looked, as it is, after all, an older camera during a time when camera manufacturers' were trying many radical new things with their cameras.
The Mirai 35-135 is actually the successor to the Ricoh/Olympus joint venture of the Mirai 35-105.

Camera tech-specs;

Ricoh Mirai 35-135mm 35mm SLR (Bridge Program)
Rikenon 35-135mm ƒ/4.2-5.6 15-elements in 13 groups Fixed Lens
52mm ø Filter size
TTL Metering
Program Mode w/Smart Shift & AE-L + Aperture Priority Mode
Single A/F w/IR Focus Assist
Compound Vertical travel Focal Plane shutter 32s to 1/2000s +B
1010g w/o batteries film or accessories

And a couple of sample images taken with this camera;

Locking Combination
"Combination" - Fuji Neopan 400CN
Victorian - Not Colonial
"Victorian" - Polypan F 50
Taking A Lonely Walk
"A Lonely Walk" - Ilford FP4+ 125

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Rolleicord V

The year 1933 gave way to the longest running medium format camera company today.  With new models of camera still being designed, and released, even in 2012, the Rollei camera company is still producing some of the best and most beautiful cameras today.
I happen to own one of their more "basic" models, the Rolleicord V.  The difference in the Rolleicord models and the Rolleiflex models isn't as extreme as you would think.  The Rolleicord V, introduced in 1954, with a 3 year run to 1957, was an amateurs camera, with a 75mm ƒ/3.5 Schneider Xenar Kreuznach lens, and a maximum close focus of 3 feet.  Although that could easily be changed with the addition of Rolleinar close focusing attachments.
The model I have is a mid-run model, around 1955, possibly 1956, and was purchased from an Antique seller during an Antique Display Show back in 2010. 
I've used the camera on and off in 2010, and the same for 2011.  But lately I've been finding that I have been reaching for the Rolleicord V as my main 120 camera instead of my Bronica, simply because of the wonderful design, sharp optics, and WLF of the camera.
it is just so much fun to use!
My latest accessory purchase for that camera was a new Waist Level Finder screen which is brighter, and not to mention a fresnel screen, which means no dark/bright spots on the screen.
It's much cleaner, brighter, and easier to focus with, than the original MATTE screen.
Sure, it loses the grid lines, but the split prism and laser etched fresnel matte is so much easier on the eyes, allows faster focusing, and is so much brighter to see!  A blessing in disguise, and a must-buy for anyone with an older Rolleicord looking for a brighter screen.

This camera is a rather interesting mix of amazement.  For one, it's a TLR (Twin Lens Reflex) camera, which has two lenses, hence the name, which allow for easy focusing, and no lens blackout or shutter lag from a mirror that has to move out of the way of the shutter, just set, click, move-on. 
Wondeful design, and super simple to operate.
And two, the taking lens has an interesting characteristic to it.  First off, it can be incredibly sharp.  Stop it down to ƒ/8 or ƒ/11 and get some incredible sharpness out of lens, but if you shoot it wide open, you get a soft dreamy look to it that is amazing to behold.

East German/West German

Franke & Heidecke - Rolleicord V
Schneider-Xenar Kreuznach 75mm ƒ/3.5 Taking Lens (minimum aperture ƒ/22)
Schneider Heliostat 75mm ƒ/3.2 Viewing Lens
120 Roll Film camera taking 12 6x6 images
Synchro-Compur Shutter 1s to 1/500s + B
X-Sync at all speeds
M-Sync at all speeds
Close Focusing of 3 feet (36 inches)
Double-Exposure Prevention (over ridden with a flip of a switch)

You can see more photos taken with the Rolleicord V on my Flickr Stream

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Steinheil Munchen Culminar 135mm

Earlier this year I picked up a Steinheil Munchen Culminar 135mm ƒ/4.5 lens for my Exakta.  I know, why such a slow lens?
Aside from the price?  No other reason.  I had priced out many other 135mm lenses, whether from Schneider, or Carl Zeiss, or even Sun Optical, and decided that the Culminar would give me the best bang for the buck.  I mean, I only paid $10.00 for the lens, so how much less expensive can you get?

I have used it sparingly, as it takes a fair amount of light for focusing, as it is a slower lens, but it has very nice sharpness even wide-open.

I recently tried it with some Adox CHS20 film, and if you remember from a previous post that I printed and developed an image in Caffenol-C from this particular roll of film.  Well, I didn't have the proper lighting for using such a film, as the highlights were clipped, and the images were not what I was hoping for.  By the time I had the lighting that would suit this type of film, using anything longer than my Carl Zeiss 50mm would be a wasted endeavor.

Sure enough, out in Port Colborne, I managed to get a few images taken with this lens.  Although some were mediocre, and not really worth mentioning, one stood out above the rest, and rightly so.
Scritching - B/W
Scritching - Exakta VXIIa - Steinheil Munchen Culminar 135mm ƒ4/5 - Kodak Gold 200
Developed in JOBO C-41 Press Kit - Toned in Photoshop CS5
Although this was originally taken on Kodak Gold 200, the colour image truly doesn't do it justice.  The feel to the colour image is nice, really it is, and you can see it here, but the B&W toning draws the eyes to the subject far better than the colour image will.  Perhaps I am a little biased toward B&W than colour, but the truth be told, I just love it in B&W.  The Bokeh produced with this lens is smooth, transitions from focused to out of focus are clean, clear, and very nicely rendered, and the 15 blades on the iris add for some incredibly fine Bokeh!  It's near circular in design, the iris is.  The interesting part of this is that the lens is a Triplet.  That, on its own, really gives it a special place on my shelf, where it shall stay.

I am intending on giving it a whirl in studio, with some strobist work, and see how it'll render some images that way.
Really looking forward to seeing this lens used in a way it probably hasn't in at least a quarter century!
Exakta VXIIa

That's my VXIIa alongside the Steinheil Munchen Culminar lens.  The beauty is in the long tube!  The silvered body just seems to belong paired up with the silvered body of the Exakta.  The sleekness to the lens make  it far more desirable to hold and shoot the Exakta.

Steinheil Munchen Culminar 135mm ƒ/4.5
3 Elements in 3 Groups Coated
15 Bladed Iris with Max Aperture of ƒ/4.5 and Minimum of ƒ/32

Until next time, keep those shutters firing!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Fujifilm Instax Mini 50S

Instax 210When you hear about the discontinuance of films, like Fuji Neopan 1600, or Kodak Ektachrome, heck even Fuji FP100B film being discontinued, it hurts. Yet, Fujifilm is still releasing INSTANT cameras. From the Venerable Instax WIDE to the INSTAX Minis, they continue to manufacture instant cameras and film.

I picked up a Instax Mini 50s for a decent price, considering what they are going for used online, such as EBAY, or even Kijiji/Craigslist. The big difference is that this is new. In Box, unused, untouched by human hands (err, not really as it was a display model). But it is new, with a full manufacturer warranty!
In actuality, I purchased this camera solely for my wife to use, as she has been wanting this one for a while. So I gladly obliged picking it up for her. I can see the increase in "Selfies" while she is working, but she pretty much does that anyway with her cell-phone.  This time it'll mean she's, at least, using film!

Back to the camera.  This is a sleek looking little body, with a Piano black glossy finish, triple shutter releases, one for Portrait, one for Landscape, and one for SELFY, fill flash for backlit situations, and even a ±2/3 EV (darken/lighten).  It's a FIXED Focus (mostly) that will focus from 0.3m to 3m, and with the press of a button, will focus from 3m to INF. 
It is not exactly a small camera, even with the MINI name, and won't fit into anything but a large pocket, or a big(ish) handbag.

The lens is decent, considering it's a doublet lens, but then again, Kodak used a Doublet on many of their cameras, such as their TwinDAR lens.  It was a basic doublet lens which usually allowed the possibility of focusing.  For instance, the Kodak Brownie Bullseye 6x9 Bakelite camera used a Kodak TWINDAR lens.

The two ViewFinders (Portrait or Landscape) are okay, but can be a bit difficult to use as they are small.  The film is very easy to load, and the film is ejected from the camera at the top/side, depending on the orientation of the camera.  There is a TRIPOD socket for use at slow-speeds when shooting landscapes in low(ish) light.

All in all, this is a very nice camera, which will bring much enjoyment to the instant photgrapher.
Quick Specs;

Fuji Instax 50s Mini
60mm ƒ/12.7 Fujinon Lens
1/4s - 1/400s Auto-Select shutter
Fuji Instax 800ISO Instant Print Film (10 pack)
Multi-Shutter Release (Portrait/Landscape/Selfy)
Fill-Flash AUTO/ON/OFF
Close-up Lens attachment (Focusing at 30cm)
±2/3 EV Darken/Lighten Button
Tripod Socket
10s Self-Timer

Friday, July 27, 2012

Minolta Maxxum 5000

Thrift Shop FindMinolta MAXXUM 5000 SLR - The 35mm Program camera that I found recently, and rescued, from a Thrift Shop for a mere pittance of it's original value.
This little camera is a late MID-1980's Autofocus Entry level SLR.  With either a basic PROGRAM mode or a MANUAL mode, this is a great amateur photographer's camera.
The AUTOFOCUS is a little weak, but since it is an A/F that was implemented during the A/F infancy, it is to be expected.  Heck, my T80 isn't that much better, if at all.  Of course, my Ricoh Mirai 35-135mm ZOOM Bridge SLR is far superior to many, even modern, dSLRs using IR focusing which will focus even in near total darkness. 
But that's a different review entirely.
This little camera has actually performed very well, at least in a setting where I have set the camera up with a flash, and manually operated shutter and aperture. 
The MANUAL mode takes some getting used to, as the buttons to adjust the Aperture are located beside the lens in a hard to reach spot, where as the buttons to adjust the shutter speed are situated right behind the shutter release. 
Not the easiest operation, but would be made far simpler on later designs with a wheel instead, something that is found on Modern dSLRs and SLRs.
The mount is a "newly", for the time, designed AF mount, which is still in use today on the Sony (α) Alpha model cameras.
The Maxxum is my first Minolta camera, and when I saw it in the Thrift Shop (Value Village) and the condition it was in, plus the nice lovely leather case, I had to pick it up.  The lens is easily worth twice, or more, what I paid for the camera, and the body alone is worth at least double. 
My first images taken with it were in a controlled environment where I could learn how to operate the manual settings, and how the camera would function with a FLASH.  Sure enough, it has performed perfectly in a setting where I can control all the variables. 
With a roll of film awaiting development where I allowed the camera to control as much of the operation as possible.  I have one further test to conduct on it, which is the aperture/shutter speed test to make sure that the shutter and aperture speeds correspond properly to one another.  If one image comes out lighter, or darker (less or more dense) I'll know that the shutter and/or aperture are having issues at what speed and aperture setting.
It'll just mean that I have to figure out if it is the aperture that is sticking, or the shutter.

HC-110 1+500 Dilution Test
House Keys - Minolta MAXXUM 5000 - Minolta 28-85mm ƒ/3.5-4.5 - Polypan F 50 - HC-110 1+500 (Dilution M2)
Image above I had a bit of a mishap while developing the film.  I didn't fill the tank completely, and this was an unfortunate circumstance.  But it proved my point with the dilution and the fact that the camera is functioning as it should.
Minolta MAXXUM 5000 35mm SLR
Minolta A A/F Lens Mount
4s to 1/2000s +B Vertical Travel shutter curtain with 1/125s Flash X-Sync
Center Weighted Average TTL Metering
10s Self-Timer
ISO Over-Ride
IR Safe for IR Film
Remote Release Socket
Powered by 4xAAA Batteries with standard grip.
Program Mode w/o smart shift + Manual Mode Operation
550g w/o batteries

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Polaroid P600

Ah, the world has changed for the worse, sadly, as Polaroid, in 2008, completely stopped producing film for their entire lineup of Instant Cameras.  As the factories shut down their operations, workers took to the streets and shook their heads looking back at the plant that gave so many people joy to shoot with their Polaroid Land cameras.
After 60 years of production, Polaroid film ceased, and the world became a darker place.
This saddened many, as instant photography became a thing of the past, unless you looked to Fuji, who took up the reigns with their Instax line of cameras, or their Pack Film for the various Polaroid Pack Film cameras.  But of course, for those that used Spectras, 600s, Joycams, and the like, their only hope of film, their sole bastion of instant pictures, in the year 2009, was gone......

or was it......

Enter Impossible Project.  In 2008, they, the Impossible Project founders, purchased the last remaining factory in Enschede, NL.   
Their goal was to bring a new, and different film to market.  Not the Polaroid film of old, but a completely reinvented type of instant film.
2009 Marked the beginning of a new venture in film photography with more than 300,000,000, yes Three hundred MILLION Polaroid Cameras that would, otherwise, be completely worthless by the time the last remaining batches of unused Polaroid Film was gone.  They began firing up the machines, feeding the beast various pieces of vintage and redeveloped materials, trying to bring a whole new line of product to the market.
By 2010 Impossible Project announced a new, yes NEW in the digital age, film.  A brand new analog (I hate that word) instant film with PX100 and PX600 Silvershade film, allowing Polaroid 600 camera owners to rejoice in the wonders of the new PX600 film, and SX-70 users to shoot on the PX100 films.  This new B&W film drew in the first Impossible Project customers, wondering what this new, and exciting film might be.  Later that year, in July, the PX70 Colour Shade film is introduced, bringing a new world of Colour to the Analog world of Instant Photography..

2011 brought even more excitement and new films to the forefront of Instant Photography, with Colour PX600 films, special edition films, different colour shades to the borders, such as black, gold, or gray.  

Today, in the year 2012, there is even more film available.   Colour shade GOLD, Silvershade Cool, Silvershade Warm, 8x10 films, and even up to 20x24! 
With the guys at the Film Photography Project, Instant Photography has exploded!  There is a boom of Instant Photography, and it's only getting bigger. 
Check out their store, as all their cameras are reconfigured for modern AA/AAA batteries, tested with film, and made sure to be fully functional.  In fact, you buy a Polaroid Camera from them, and the first film-pack is on them, err, minus a frame or two.  They do have to make sure the camera does work, after all.

With the demise of many different films, such as Kodak E6 Transparency films, Ektachrome, or Kodachrome, even Fuji E6, like Astia, and now Velvia in large format, it's nice to see brand new films coming to the market.

I count myself to be one of the new-Polaroid shooters, or is it Impossible Shooters? 
This is a very fun film to use, and I can see that it's rapidly evolving into a very usable, and exciting film.

Kudos to the Impossible Project, to the past, the present, and whatever the future may bring.  If you aren't a Polaroid user, visit your local thrift shop and pick one up today.  Whether a Spectra, 600, or SX-70 type camera, you won't be disappointed in Impossible films.

Polaroid P 600My Polaroid 600P is the most basic of 600 models.  The lens is a 110mm ƒ/11 Single Element plastic lens, with an auto-diaphragm.  The Shutter speed is 1/4 to 1/200s auto-selecting shutter, controlled by the "ELECTRONIC" eye.  The focusing is fixed at 4' to INF (call it 15' for "sharp" images) or it has a "slider" to place a special lens in front to give closer focusing of 2' to 4'.
The flash always fires, whether for fill lighting, or as a flash in a dark room, unless you press the flash-over ride shutter release instead.  Then the shutter fires, and the flash doesn't.  This is good for out-door images where you don't want the flash to add "fill" lighting, such as a sun front-lit subject at close range.

Takes 600 film in 10 exposures, or PX600/PX680 Impossible Project 8 exposure film.

Posing For The 'Roid
Polaroid 600P - PX600 Impossible Silver-Shade Cool
Vintage In 2012
Polaroid 600P - PX600 Impossible Colourshade Gold

For more information check out the Impossible Project.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Zeiss Ikon Nettar 517/16

Neiss Ikon Nettar
Zeiss Ikon Nettar 517/16 - 120 Roll Film Folding Camera
Taken with HTC Kaiser Smartphone - Toned in CS5
The Zeiss Ikon Nettar 517/16 camera is a 120 Roll Film camera that takes 12 square 60mm X 60mm images.  It has a wonderfully sharp 75mm Anastigmat lens, but only opens to a maximum of ƒ/6.3, which is rather slow for a lens, but for the most part, it works well.  At 75mm it is the most basic of lens lengths for 120 film.
The shutter, at least on my model, is a very basic Vario Shutter with speeds of 1/25 1/75 and 1/200 +B. 
The thing about these cameras is the viewfinder is just that, a view finder.  It is simply used to compose your image, and does not have a coupled rangefinder, although other Nettar models do have one, or you can get one for the accessory shoe.  The distance is set as you "guess" the range from yourself to the subject on the front dial, which moves the lens in or out to set the focus.  The scale focusing of this camera is designed as such so you can accurately "Guess" the distance from yourself to the subject, and get a large (ish) depth of field to get your subject in sharp focus.
This, of course, can easily be really pinpointed with an accessory rangefinder, or if you use another method to accurately focus.  Tape measure?  Another camera with a couple rangefinder, or an SLR with distances marked on the lens would work too.

Minus those minor draw-backs, and limitations to the camera, you can easily get pin-sharp images, great tones and some wonderful photos out of this camera, regardless of how you focus with it.

1956 Mercury M800
Zeiss Ikon Nettar - Plus-X Pan 125 (Expired 1990) @ 125ASA - Ilford ID-11 8:30 20°C

Calm Reflections
Zeiss Ikon Nettar - Kodak TMAX 100 @ 100ASA - HC-110 Dilution B
Vintage cameras will really surprise you, whether shooting with a 35mm Rangefinder, or a large format view camera.

Until next time, check out our Film Photography Podcast friends, and keep those shutters firing!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Leica IIIa

Leica IIIa
I recently have acquired a gem of the camera world.  A near pristine Leica IIIa 35mm Rangefinder.  The rangefinder is bright, clean, and accurate.  The camera is in fantastic condition, the vulcanite is very lovely, the chrome parts are nice, but could probably do with a polish just to bring out more shine, and body seems to be well taken care of.
Now the bit of bad news on this camera, and it's just a bit.  The shutter has failed, and will not actuate at the proper speed.  Why? I couldn't really say, but it seems to stick at times, or just go through its travel at full speed instead.
It's like there's no difference from 1/1000s to 1s at all, which is unfortunately, and it will not stay open at Z (BULB). 

Upon opening the box on Friday Evening (May 18, 2012), I was greeted with a box full of packing peanuts, and a camera wrapped in bubble wrap.  It felt like Christmas unwrapping this camera, as the excitement was very high.  My very first Leica camera!  I was intent on putting it to immediate use.. so I pulled it out, wound the shutter for the first time, and clicked the release...

The shutter fired nicely!  Oh what a nice sound it was too.... then, winding the shutter again, I turned the speed dial to 1/20s...  and click.. Uh-oh....
The shutter fired... oh, but it fired too fast!  1/1000s it went... and it happened at every speed, including Z (Bulb)... I knew there was an issue with the camera, but was really hoping it was the sellers error on not knowing how to properly use the camera.  Unfortunately, it had nothing to do with that.  The camera is otherwise functional, considering that the shutter will fire at high speed through the full travel and winds nicely, and the rangefinder is bright, clean, and very accurate.
My New Toy...Even though there are some issues with this camera, I'm still going to try it out.  I plan on putting a roll of 200ISO film (or so) through it and test out the over-all workings of this camera.  See, I want to know if it has a problem with the shutter curtain as well..  The only way I'll know if there are pin-holes in the cloth curtain is to actually use the camera.

That said, I am also currently calling around trying to find someone that is reasonably priced for the repairs on this camera, and hoping that once I find said person, that it won't be long to get the camera back.

This is probably the most expensive camera I have purchased, considering I bought it as a camera that isn't fully functional without a lens...  Heck, the Bronica I bought had 1 lens, a film back, and was ready to go when I bought it.

I hope to have this camera out for service soon so that I can start using it to its fullest potential in the near future!

Quick Specs

Leica IIIa 35mm Rangefinder
1s to 1/1000s Horizontal Travel Cloth Shutter
M39 Lens Mount
Rangefinder & Separate Viewfinder for easier focus and composition

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Agfa Shurshot B2 Box Camera

About a year ago I purchased an Agfa/Ansco Shur-Shot Box Camera.  The model I purchased takes B2 (or 120) film, which is still widely available today.
It's a single element ƒ/13 Meniscus lens camera, with a hyperfocal range of 8' to INF.  The shutter speed is 1/60s (approx) which will slightly over-expose 100ISO film, but that's when you can try to control the exposure by either slipping the yellow filter in, or sliding it to the further ƒ-stop instead.
There is a small slider on the side of the camera just above the shutter which is "BULB" or "TIME" exposure, which, when pulled out, will cause the shutter to stay open as long as you have the shutter release lever pressed.  Above that is the aperture/filter slider.  When you pull it out to the first marking, you get the Yellow Filter.  Pull it out further, and you get ƒ/22, which will give you a much sharper image over all, but will slightly underexpose the film, but not badly if you have plenty of sunlight.  Composing the photo is simple.  There are two view finders on the camera, one is a portrait layout and the other is a landscape layout.  There are also lines in the finders which represent the HALF-FRAME photos, so when you are shooting 6x4.5 images you use the inner lines to compose the image.

Agfa Shurshot B-2 Box Camera
 Agfa Shur-Shot B2 Box Camera
Single Element 105mm ƒ/13-ƒ/22 Meniscus Lens
Focusing: 8' to INF for Box Cameras
Shutter: Slicer type Non-Sync Shutter 1/60s (approx)

A Shot From The 50's

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Nikkormat FT2

I recently purchased 2 Nikon cameras from that great Auction Site.  One, a Nikon EM, which does, and does not, work, along with this Nikkormat FT2.  I got a fantastic deal on the both of them, at a cost of $20.00 for the pair, shipped!
Why so cheap, you might ask..  Well, that's actually quite simple.  The camera didn't work.  There was an issue with it, where the mirror was stuck in the LOCK-UP position along with the self-timer being stuck.  Now, I did not realize, at the time, that the self-timer was jammed, and figured that the person selling just didn't realize that the mirror was in lock-up, which is an available option for this camera.  So I took a chance, and jumped on it.
Quite the chance indeed that I took, because when both cameras arrived, I was at a loss for words on what the problem might be.  The mirror was locked up, yes, but upon resetting the mirror and pushing the shutter release, it would just flip back up and stay there.  That was not a good sign, and I was rather dismayed at what was looking to be a rather piss-poor investment.
Shortly after making that mistake, though, I started to browse the internet looking for anyone experiencing a similar problem
That's when I happened to come across an article that stated - "The shutter is a common issue with this camera locking up due to the self-timer jamming".  Well, that got my curiosity peaked and so I opened up the base-plate of the camera and located the self-timer gears.  Using a very fine flat screwdriver I started to carefully advance the self-timer through its motions.  Sure enough, within a few seconds the shutter fired, and the mirror returned to its lower position.  I was relieved and excited, to say the least.  Well, I wanted to make sure it wasn't a fluke, so I quickly took up the camera, and started to test each shutter speed, from 1 to 1/1000 and B.  All fired, all sounded accurate, and the camera continued to function as normal.  Well, almost.  You see, in advancing the self-timer manually like I did, it must have dislodged something because now the self-timer mechanism doesn't work.  In fact, it is completely dead, and doesn't function at all anymore, which really is no problem at all.  I don't use a self-timer, and if I really want to, I can always get an air-release so I can use it on any camera, including one that doesn't have a self-timer normally.
Rather heavy-ish body, and the shutter, on rare occasions, sticks a bit, and it has an odd way to turn the meter on/off, but a decent camera, with mirror-lockup and DoF preview.

Nikkormat 35mm SLR
Nikon NON-AI Bayonet Lens Mount
Instant Return Mirror with Lockup (Switch located at side of mount)
Vertical Travel Shutter Curtain 1s to 1/1000s +B (Speed adjustment ring on front of camera around Lens Mount)
Match The Needle type meter system powered by a single LR44 button cell Silver-Oxide battery (1.5v)
Meter On/Off Switch is also the film-advance lever.
TTL 60/40% Center Weighted Average Metering System
DoF Preview located beside Pentaprism Hump
PC-Sync Port + Hot-Shoe 1/60s Sync Speed
ASA Scale 12-1600
887g without lens, battery & film

A great little camera that seems like it'll keep on working for a good many a year to come.  If you get a chance to use one, you just might become a believer in Nikon cameras as well!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Honeywell Pentax Spotmatic SPII

From it's conception, to the final model, the Spotmatic has been a staple and strong running camera that has really been one of the all-time great 35mm SLR Cameras.  This particular model, the Spotmatic SPII, was badged with the Honeywell logo, sported a pair of PC-Sync Ports (F Sync and X-Sync) as well as an X-Sync hot-shoe.  The shutter would sync at 1/60s for electronic flashes, or 1/30s for flash bulbs.
The M42 lens mount is probably the most versatile and widely used lens mount of any camera.  Whether it is an Olympus, Pentax, Praktica, Zenit, or otherwise, this lens mount has been used on so many cameras that it is a wonder it was ever stopped.  They attempted to take it a step further for open aperture metering with the M42 Electric, or M42e, lens mount, but unfortunately it was too little too late.  With cameras becoming more and more sophisticated, the manufacturer's for these cameras opted to end the reign of the M42 mount, and switched to Bayonet style mounts instead.  This leads to the K-Mount, which Pentax still uses to this day, after it was originally introduced in 1976 coinciding with the Pentax K-1000 35mm SLR.  The K-1000 uses much of the same systems and body styling as the Spotmatic, but the K mount allowed for wide-open metering, as opposed to the stop-down metering of the Spotmatic bodies.

This particular model that I have in my possession, sadly, does not have a properly functional light meter.  It is approximately 2 stops off, even with a proper battery, so I have to take it into account when I am setting my film speeds.  If it is 100ISO film, I always set the dial to 25 instead, so that I can get near correct metering from this camera.

I must admit that I have taken some phenomenal photos with this camera, not this model, but a similar model.  In fact, my ultimate all-time favorite photo was taken on my original Spotmatic.  A photo of my eldest when we went to Port Colbourne last year and he decided that he would go off and sulk because we were heading into the town from our Hotel.  He wanted to stay back and play with his cousins, but didn't realize that they were coming with us.
Needless to say, when I had the roll developed, I was so impressed with what I saw I got it printed.
It basically sums up my son in a perfect photo.  One of those photos that, no matter how hard you could try, you probably wouldn't get another one like it again.

Took the photo on the right on Polypan F 50ISO film, which wasn't easy, considering the dial only goes down to 25ASA, so I actually had to meter for 25, than add one more stop off it.
Shot it on a Pentacon 50mm ƒ/1.8 lens, which is my one, and only, M42E lens. 

Technical Specs;

Pentax Spotmatic SPII 35mm SLR
M42 Auto-Diaphragm Screwtype Lens Mount
Horizontal Travel Cloth Focal Plane Shutter X-Sync @ 1/60s M-Sync @ 1/30s
Match the Needle type Stop-Down Metering powered by a single 1.35v Mercury Battery (small button type)
Top-Mount Hot-Shoe X-Sync For Flash
2-Front mounted PC-Sync Ports (F/M Sync + X-Sync)

If you get a chance to pick up one of these cameras, I would highly recommend it.  They are a fun, and simple camera to use.  You really can't go wrong using one, and they use one of the most widely available lens system.

Keep those shutters firing!


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Exakta Camera

The Ihagee Dresden Exakta VX IIa 35mm SLR is a brilliantly designed camera.  From the innovative cartridge to cartridge winding system, with integrated film cutter, to a unique and bold look and feel to the camera, including a big and bright viewfinder.  This is quite the camera to behold.  It uses pretty much only Zeiss and Schneider lenses, but there are a few other manufacturers in there.

I really like this camera, really I do!  Although it feels backwards, and I have to completely forget about anything resembling a 35mm SLR to use this, it just works so nicely, and feels so right in my hands.  There is something about this camera, and perhaps it is because it is over-engineered?  I don't know.

What I do know, is that I can't stop using it.  Coming up on April 21, 2012, is another Roll In A Day, Day In A Roll, project that I will be using this camera to shoot. 
That, along with it's incredible Carl Zeiss Jena T* 50mm ƒ/2.8 15-Blade Iris Monster!

Either way, this camera has performed  flawlessly from the first frame I put through it, and probably will continue to perform when I finally decide to either retire it, or let it pass on to someone else (perish the thought!)

Exakta VX IIaOne really nice thing about this camera is the 3 sync ports on it.  This camera is synced for M class and F class bulbs, plus has an X-Sync, which is brutally slow-synced at 1/25s!  Oh it's terrible to know that it its sync speed is that low, but it's more designed for M class flash bulbs compared to the modern electronic flash guns.

The other thing about it that I really like, is that it has interchangeable finders. 
From the standard PRISM finder as you would see on any other SLR, to the Waist Level Finder that you see on Medium Format cameras.  The Waist Level Finder is fun, but tough to use.  As the screen isn't the easiest to see when you've got it down at waist level, at least for sharpness, you can't properly guage if the subject is in proper sharp focus or not.  Granted, most oft times you can just get it in NEAR focus, and stop down the lens, which is the common practice of using a WLF.  The only thing is, what if you want to use a fast shutter, slow film, and a wide aperture?  Well, focusing is then critical, and HAS to be sharp!  Especially when focusing near and doing portraits, a necessity!
Well, the easiest way for that is switcing to the Prism finder.  But what if you don't want to, or you didn't bring it to your locale.  Well, there's the handy FLIP OUT magnifying glass to help you focus.  Similar to using a LOUPE on a L/F camera, the magnifier will allow you to nail that super sharp focus you need for the perfect look on your image.
Which reminds me.  I REALLY have to try this camera out for some portraits.. Perhaps this weekend will be the time to try it!

Tech Specs;

Exakta VX IIa 35mm SLR - Ihagee Kamerawerk Steenbergen & Co. - Dresden, East Germany (USSR Occupied)
Circa between 1960-1963 (65,600 total produced)
Lens Mount - Exakta/Topcon Lens Mount
Shutter - Focal Plane Cloth Horizontal Travel Shutter - Speeds 12s - 1/1000s +B +T
3 flash Sync PC-Port Sockets (M, F, X - Sync Speed 1/25s)
Film Cutting Knife Under Body on Right Hand Side
Interchangeable Focusing Screen
Interchangeable Finder (Eye-Level Prism & Waist Level Finder)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Kalimar A (Welmy 2)

Kalimar A (Welmy 2)Perhaps my favorite all time triplet Zonefocus (Viewfinder) camera is my Kalimar A.  The Terionon ƒ/3.5 45mm lens is just fantastic.  The 45mm is ALMOST identical to the total coverage area of the 35mm frame, which is 43.3mm diagonal, but not quite as close as the Kodak Signet 35c's 44mm ƒ/3.5 lens.

Focusing is, actually, able to be as close as 2.5', although not marked on the ring.  I have focused this close before, and actually a touch closer at ƒ/16.  Image came out very sharp, and I was quite surprised at how close you can actually focus this camera, considering it does not have parallax correction marks in the viewfinder for close focusing.  Just means you have to have it slightly UP tilted when framing the shot.

The first roll of film I put through this, more than a year ago, had left me slightly disenchanted with the camera.  I spent a few hours cleaning this camera up, from cleaning the lenses and viewfinder, to adjusting the focusing and polishing the metal.
Needless to say, I didn't use it much after that.  I decided to give it a second chance.  After all, what is the point to having a functional shelf-queen, instead of having a camera that is fully functional, and still looks good?
Bobcat Front End LoaderI will continue to use this camera for both colour and B&W film, and just MIGHT put a roll of chrome through this, and why not?  With 100F Sensia that I got or cheap, I will most likely be doing that soon.

There is a fair bit of construction going on near my work, although the street construction has started to wrap up for the time being, so I decided to visit a couple of the locales that are being dug up and changed.  Near the railway with the upgraded GO line being installed, there is a fair bit of neat things to photograph, such as this little Bobcat 350.
I remember driving one of these years ago when I worked as a labourer on a couple construction sites, and what incredible fun it really is!

Kalimar A 35mm Viewfinder Camera
3-Element Cooke Triplet Terionon 45mm ƒ/3.5 Lens
4-speed Vario Leaf shutter 1/25, 1/50, 1/100, 1/200 +B
Frame Size 36mm X 24mm
Double Exposure Protection
Flash M-Sync PC Port (No X-SYNC but I have used a flash with this with no problem)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Kodak Signet 35C

An interesting little Rangefinder I was given. 
It is actually a bit of a problem too.  See, the rangefinder portion is buggered!  I don't understand why, either.  The rangefinder and viewfinder do produce an image together, if I point it towards a light source, such as a, well, a light.  I get a great image on image, very easy to focus, and use.  But that's the problem in of itself, it is only when pointed at a light.  For some reason, when I point it, say, at a chair, the image disappears, and I'm left with a viewfinder camera instead.

Not a major issue, as I've gotten quite good at guessing distances, and I don't use this camera in low light, so ƒ/16 is a great way to use it.

it does have a Kodak Standard flash sync port on the side, unfortunately it is synced for "BULB" type flashes only, and does not have X-Sync capabilities. 
The camera, itself, is very rugged and sturdy.  It is made of a single piece of stamped aluminum, and feels like it is built to last a long time.  The shutter is pretty much its weakest link, as that is the item that will fail first.  The lens, I haven't disassembled yet, as I can't figure out WHY I can't pull off the front element retainer.  It is stuck in there good!

Then again, there is little reason to clean this lens, as there is no real dust inside, nor fungus.  The thought of chancing breaking this little camera just doesn't sit well with me, and I think I'll just leave it as is.  The only bit of an oddity that I have with this camera is the backing plate.  It's bright polished aluminum instead of flat black.  A design flaw?  Or does it actually help the photos?  I don't know!  But it doesn't seem to make much difference on the image when properly exposed.  Although, I do think it helps shadow detail.

The shutter is decent, with speeds of 1/25s to 1/300s + "B", more than enough as the lens stops down from ƒ/3.5 to ƒ/22.  Even in the brightest of lights, it'll stop down enough to work with the shutter speeds, even shooting with 400ISO film!

The lens is a Kodak 44mm ƒ/3.5 EKTAR lens.  Their EKTAR line was supposed to be the highest possible line of lenses that they had available.  As it was designed after the older Zeiss Tessar lenses, it is very sharp, and a very capable lens.  Coated for colour correction, is capable of shooting EXCELLENT Chromes.  I very well may have to do that.  Shoot some Chromes with this camera!

The most interesting part of this camera is the slide rule.  Designed to be a simple exposure guide for the (KODAK) film loaded in the camera, and guaged off the lighting conditions present, so you do not require a light meter to get good exposures.  Personally, I feel a light meter is near indispensable, but this slide rule is a great way to guage good exposure.  Mind you, if you do not have an eye for it, then it is a good idea to use a light meter until you can train your eye for the lighting available.

Kodak Signet 35c - 44mm ƒ/3.5 Ektar Lens - Polypan F 50 - HC-110 B 7:30
This is one of those images that surprised me.  The buggy, which I focused on with the help from another camera, is tack sharp while the rest of the water gently softens toward the top of the image.  The highlights are perfectly exposed, not too dark, and not blown out.  The really weird thing is that I'm getting fantastic shadow detail here.  Perhaps there is something to having a polished backing plate!

Kodak Signet 35c - 44mm ƒ/3.5 Ektar Lens - Fuji Superia 400 - ƒ/16 1/300s
This is the image that took me completely by surprise.  The bell is just tack sharp, and perfectly exposed.  Take into account, this is 400ISO consumer grade Fuji Superia.  It is not know for lack of grain, yet here's an image that is perfect.  There is little noticeable grain, except in the sky where it is accented during the scan.
As it was a camera test, I wasn't really holding my hopes up high.  Now, when I use this camera, like the above image of the buggy, I expect the results to be strong, sharp, and very well exposed!

Below image is shot on Polypan F, close focusing at 2 feet.  This was a simple close focusing test of the camera, and to see how well it'll render the out of focus area.  Well, from what I can see, there is no swirly bokeh, but I would like to see how this camera does for potraits.
Kodak Signet 35c - 44mm ƒ/3.5 Ektar Lens - Polypan F 50 - HC-110 B 7:30