Canon A35 Datelux

I found this camera when I was looking for a simple rangefinder with an f2.8 or lower lens. And then I saw this one in a plastic bag with a Japanese manual. The bag meant I could not look closely at it, but it seemed clean so worth the gamble.

These websites will give you all the technical information you might possibly need.

I decided to invest in some proper replacement batteries instead of a workaround. BUT when I put them in the camera, the light meter needle in the viewfinder did not move. I tried wiggling them, cleaning the contacts, but still nothing. Then suddenly the thing started working, no reason. So I took the camera on a walk, but as soon as I tried to use it the batteries seemed dead again. Either way, as you can’t use the camera without the batteries so I put the camera in my bag and used another, I often carry more than one. I tried again a few days later with regular hearing aid batteries and a bit of tinfoil to bridge the gap.

This time the camera stayed working for much longer, but every now and then it stopped again.

It is best to keep the lens cap on when the camera is not in use as the light meter will drain the batteries. Though I don’t think this was happening here. This is Canon’s first camera to have a built-in flash, which is powered by a battery separate to the light meter ones. This example’s flash worked perfectly, which was a nice surprise. In Japanese, this 1977 camera is nicknamed, “Nighter”. This is the name given to nighttime baseball matches. There is no zoom on this camera so you can’t really take photos of the matches, but you can of your friends in the stands.

Focusing is achieved with a rangefinder second image. With regular batteries, you have to set the asa to a lower setting as the camera will underexpose things. I forgot and the test roll was a 100 asa with the camera set to 100asa.

It seems a tiny bit hazy. But it is not so bad. The batteries seemed dead the next time I tried to use. So the issue might be more serious which makes this example very frustrating. Finally, I figured out the batteries were not quite the shape of the ones it was originally made for, so as you walk they slip inside the compartment. A bit of a wiggle puts them back in contact. With that in mind, I tried another roll. This time I used an expired 400asa roll and set the camera to 200asa.

That’s better. By the way, the escalators you see are the smallest in the world and you can see the flash works really well. It was taken inside the More’s mall that you see. I bought a second-hand UV filter in there and the last shots outside were with that attached.

Keep or Sell: With the battery issue, I am unsure what to do with it. I know it is a great camera and a good example, but I found this draining – draining. I will ponder it a while.


Leica M3

I know!!!! I got to use a Leica M3!!! I was slightly excited. What better camera to talk about for the 200th camera post.

Someone I know has a few Leicas and let me choose one to play with on a short walk. He even provided the film.

I only had my phone with me to take the camera shots, it doesn’t matter, it always looks good. This version was a one-stroke version which he has had CLA’d. Using the focusing mechanism was as smooth as a knife through butter. The viewfinder was the brightest one I have ever seen. The second image was really clear. I have serious camera envy. I almost feel like selling all my cameras and getting just this one. In return for me using this camera I gave him my Leica III with the Canon 1.4 lens to use.

When I pressed the shutter I asked if that was it, did it work? It was so quiet I was unsure if I had pressed the shutter hard enough. I agree with all the good things that Mr. Rockwell said in his review. This website also talks about the bright viewfinder. Seriously, it made using my Leica like looking into a cave with only a candle while wearing sunglasses. If you need any more details, here is the ultimate M3 review, honestly that is the title. Though I want one desperately now, I am not going to do what Hamish did and buy one while tipsy. I have a habit of doing things like that.

The walk our group did was far too short. I think we all finished one film. I used a Fuji Acros 100. Here are my test shots, with permission from the parents to post the children’s photos.

I love this camera. I love the smoothness of the lens movement, shutter movement, and winder movement. Now, how do I get one for myself? Wait, what about the photos from my Leica that my friend used.

Hey, not bad at all…maybe I just need to stop playing with cameras, get the Leica CLA’d and use that more often.

As for the M3, keep or sell: I had to give it back ūüė¶

BUT 200th camera reviewed!!!!!

Minolta Alpha Sweet S (Dynax 404si, Maxxum STsi)

I wouldn’t say this was an accidental buy, but a curiosity based one. I bought two lenses for a Canon camera body I had, both the lenses said Canon and I didn’t look beyond that. They were clean and that was my main concern. It turned out one of the lenses didn’t fit. So now here I was with a lens and no idea which make it belonged to. Of course, I have a few camera bodies lying around and I tried it on all of them, but it didn’t fit any of them. So my last resort was looking through photos of the lens online and checking the mounts similarities. After a bit of looking, I decided it looked like a Minolta. The next time I went wombling I looked for a clean Minolta body and found the alpha sweet from 1999. And just like the glass slipper, it fit.

It was wrapped in plastic so I didn’t get a chance to look in the viewfinder. If I had I might have changed my mind about getting it, there was a serious yellow stain.


That is focused on a white wall. I read on a few forums that it was probably the adhesive used for the pentaprism. As it was not on the lens I figured it probably would not affect the photos. Some forums said to leave the camera in the sun and the UV ray would probably reduce the staining. I might try that…when there is some sun.

It felt light to hold, perfectly fitted my tiny hands, very easy to use, all the settings you might need, just the yellow stain. I wasn’t too worried. If you want more technical details, look here.

This is an entry-level SLR and it is perfectly fine if you are getting into film photography. It does the job, it doesn’t wow.

Here are my test shots…no yellowing ūüôā

You can see I tried out the multi-exposure function for fun. I said I would keep the Pentax MZ-30 due it having this function, but the battery lid on that camera was weak. Apart from the yellow issue, this camera is in a much better condition so I think I will keep this one and get rid of the other.

Canon EOS 700 QD

Gosh, this felt like a heavy camera. This great blog says the camera is from 1990 and has a very heavy plasticky feel. I agree. That blog has all the technical details you could ever need including descriptions of all the different modes, and there are a lot of modes. Have a look at the selection dial.

There is even a mode for panning, I haven’t seen that before. When I put the film into the camera it wound all of it into the place that usually takes up the film. That meant every time you took a shot, the camera wound it back into the canister. I like that, it means if you accidentally¬†open the back, most of the shots taken are safe.

With so many modes it was difficult to remember them all. This is one of those cameras you have to use a lot to get fully familiar with it and to know when to change modes. I tended to stick to the “P” mode which is the intelligent program mode. Due to the area, I was testing the camera in I did use the landscape mode sometimes.

One feature I really loved was the switch on the side to turn the automatic flash on and off. It was easy to see and simple to use, no pressing buttons and rotating through modes.¬† In auto mode, the flash pops up when needed and automatically retracts after. Really the only thing I didn’t like about this camera was the weight. Even with the shorter, light lens, it felt really heavy.

I took the camera on a scoot up a mountain. Here are my test shots.

It was a really bright day, the Fujifilm handled it very well. Plus the camera’s intelligent program also coped very well. It chose to use the flash a few times and the resulting flash did not overpower the image. In fact, you might find it hard to tell which shots used the flash. The image of Ebisu and the image of the lion’s butt both used the flash. I think it is a great camera, but get a very comfortable strap if you want to carry it around.

Keep or Sell: The camera can be found quite cheaply on eBay. The weight would make it expensive to post anywhere for a reasonable price. I will have to ponder it…I gave it to a friend.

A Photo Book on Japan

I finished school a week ago and have been hanging around watching the world cup. I was planning on traveling around Japan, but England is doing surprisingly well, though I might have just jinxed tonight’s game. Well, yesterday was very rainy and there was flooding around Japan. So instead of going out walking and exploring I sat down at my computer and made a small photo book using iBook Author. It doesn’t have much text, mainly photos. It is already on iTunes and iBooks. You can find it here.

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Nikon F-401s (N4004s)

I was strangely attracted by this camera even though it was far too heavy for me to keep forever. I have already tried a few similar Nikons recently, so this didn’t really seem like anything special. Plus it didn’t even have a lens, and I hate having a body without a lens, but buy it I did. I took this¬†1987ish camera to Yokohama and a new-to-me shop.

I think I was attracted to this camera by the dials, they look kind of funky. The plate on the top of the dials needs to be pushed down to in order to turn them. I think there used to be a button there instead of pushing the plate, but it is not there now.

The lens you can see is the one I bought in the junk section of the shop I mentioned. I attached it after buying. Before that point, I had another lens attached of course. You can see a photo of the shop front. That is the point where I changed the lenses. I don’t see any discernable difference, well-done junk lens.

Another feature I liked was the extra little window on the back. This had a barber shop like pole inside that turned when the film moved. Handy to see everything was moving correctly. Back to the dials, you can keep the top one on A (aperture) and the bottom on S (speed) for the camera to be fully automatic. Move one dial away from those mentioned and the camera becomes semi-automatic. Take them both away and the camera is fully manual. Easy peasy. By far the best feature is the battery choice, AA batteries. That means no matter where you are, you will probably find batteries for it.

And that is that. It is DX coded only, no exposure compensation unless you use the manual mode, nothing special really. You can read a great review here.

The only other thing I can mention is the weight. Oh, it is heavy, especially with the new lens. I think you really have to use two hands to keep it very steady. The shutter release is a bit sensitive, so you might accidentally take a shot while focusing. I did that on a couple of shots, can you see which ones?

Is the weight worth is? Are the shots exposed well enough that you will put up with the weight? Yes, I think so, look.


Not bad at all.

Keep or Sell: I have already said I have no intention of keeping it. In fact, I have already promised it to a friend, if she wants it. She might actually choose another, lighter, but not as good camera.

Windsor Delux (Konair 35)

This camera was given to me by a friend who moved house recently. In the new house were two vintage cameras which she gave to me to check out. Unfortunately, one, a Canonet, was jammed and not working. This was the other one. It wasn’t jammed, but it had not been used for a very long time so I was not sure it was working.

It is a monster of a camera, so heavy. The front trapezium is very art deco. There is very little about this camera on the net. The most I found were sites saying this was the same as the Konair 35 and was released around 1956. The only other information I found was from this great blog which reinforces the fact that it seems to be rare. Really the best place to find information is by looking at the camera.

The shutter speeds go from B to 1/400th of a second. The apertures ring moves smoothly between f1.9 to f22 so you can set the camera partway between the markings. The lever to cock the shutter is between the speed and aperture dials. It is possible to take multiple exposures if you wish. The lens is a 45mm T.K.C. Super Color Sygmar with Velex engraved on the underside. This example also has a dyno sticker on the side with the previous owner’s name. I like that, a connection to the past.

Focusing is done with a second image which on this example was fairly light, but it was still possible to use. Winding on was fairly easy, but rewinding was not. Oh my goodness, rewinding was tough. I had to use quite a bit of effort and I could sense the film scratching. It would need a CLA in the future, or a tiny bit of light oil in the relevant places, if I was going to use it again. But, did it work? It is the rainy season here so blue skies are a little rare and when they do arrive it is super hot.

Yeap, the film is scratched. Some of the shots were taken of students at my school so I have decided not to use them or blur them, but they all came out. Apart from the scratches, the shots have a really nice quality. But ultimately I did not enjoy using this camera. It was far too heavy. To be fair it is a good camera, I just have a weight issue right now. Due to leaving Japan and luggage allowances. The lens was so nice though. And after all this time it still worked. The fact that there was no fungus on the lens in this climate was amazing. It must have been well looked after and stored.

Keep or Sell: I asked the new house owner if it was ok to give the camera to a mutual friend, she said yes. So my camera stealing friend has another camera from me. She likes the fact it has the name on it. It makes it personal and when I said so, she put her hand on her heart. It will be well looked after.

Suzuki Camera Yokohama

If you ever visit Japan and like film photography, then this is the place to visit. I went for the first time today and I can’t believe I have not been there before.

It has a plethora of film choices, including loads of APS. They also stock refurbished cameras, junk items, books and general film gear. Plus they develop film in just over an hour.

Link to Google Maps

Oh and when I went to pick up my films I noticed this at the entrance…

Gatcha machines, random film for 500yen. Of course I tried…

Two films for 500yen, not to shabby. Definitely expired, but still….love this shop

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