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!