All posts by Peggy

Canon IXY aps (or IXUS, or ELPH)

This camera is TINY, pocket and palm small. Plus it is an aps. Plus I actually owned one of these back in the day when the film was readily available. So when I saw it for a $1 I snapped it up. What I didn’t know was…there was a partly used film inside. So there I am trying to prise the film door open not knowing the camera was desperately trying to save the film inside. Eventually, I did have a lightbulb moment and retrieved the film. I wrote about the film here.

This is another one of those cameras with many names as you can see in the title of the blog entry. You can see all the different incarnations here and that this is the very first one from 1996. For more technical details look here. I really loved the feel of the camera, metal and cool in the hand. It functioned well. I won’t say worked perfectly because I had issues. The flash on this example never quite closed, but it worked when needed.

I ended up trying this camera a number of times. I had such bad luck with this camera. I tried two completely different films due to the nature of expired aps films, neither would be scanned by Yodobashi Camera. Eventually, I decided to break the cassette open and try scanning them myself. Both of the films were very dark and purple, which to me indicates poor chemicals. I think there are just not enough people using this type of film in Japan. I then cut the strip into 2 neg strips and used the 120mm scanner plate. It was a real pain and in the future, I will try this method and make my own plate.

Here are some of the shots from those films.

But, I didn’t give up and tried another film. This time I brought the film and the camera back to the UK. I sent the film I took in Japan to Picture Lizard, who I found on eBay. This time the film was scanned even though the film was less than perfect. I was very pleased with the scanning. Here are the photos from that film.

I noticed something on this film and another one I got developed..there is a camera strap dangling in front of the lens. I think the trouble I have been having with developing has made me a little careless when it comes to aps cameras. I will correct that from now on.

As for the photos, the camera was ok apart from the odd light leak..maybe due to my prising. But again the film was less than ok.

Keep or sell: I have already sent it and a film to a new friend…maybe old friend after he has tried aps.

Two Nikon TW Point and Shoots

I looked through my list of cameras tested and realised there are surprisingly few Nikons on there. So, this post goes some way towards addressing that. I was recently hunting through some junk bins and came across two versions of the same series. The total price for both was $3.

Yipee! Of course, I bought both, then I went further and put the same kind of film in each, Fuji Acros 100. AND to go further I took both cameras out on the same kind of day…unfortunately dull, humid and rainy.

So the first film I finished was from the Nikon TW2D.

This camera came into production in 1987 and was Nikon’s first autofocus point and shoot. There is a button on top to switch between 35mm and 70mm. There is a slider on the front which turns on the camera and opens the shutter cover. As you can see there are also buttons to control the flash, continuous shooting and midroll rewind. On the side of the lens barrel is a slider for soft focus too. Unfortunately, the zoom motor for this example was faulty and struggled to control the lens barrel extension or retraction. The camera seemed to work fine in the 35mm position, but struggled to do anything if you tried to set it to 70mm. Anyway, here is my test roll.

Hmm, there are a couple of nice shots, but on the whole, these are seriously underexposed. Bless this little camera, it really tried hard, but it just didn’t work. BUT, if the exposure had worked it would be a great camera. I would recommend it if you can find a good example.

And on to the next, the Nikon TW20 AF.

This one was a bargain, $1 for the camera and case. This one was produced a couple of years after the TW2D from 1989. It also has a button to switch focal lengths, 35mm and 55mm. The former camera had the first autofocus, this one has the first red-eye reduction. For a point and shoot it isn’t the smallest camera I have ever tried, even a little ugly on which I agree with this great blog. But I love sliding lens covers so that redeems it in my book. The lens cover also protects a few other buttons such as the self-timer and flash suppression. But was it a bust like the $2 camera?

This camera is AWESOME! All the more for costing $1. Remember it was a very dull day and I was using 100ASA film. For the most part, the exposure is great, plus the focal length button worked well. I really enjoyed using it and would recommend it if you can get a good example.

Keep or Sell: The TW2D is in the bin, but I kept the TW20 for a while. Eventually, I sold it to reduce my collection.

Kyocera 210-AF

After the bother I had with the 230-AF, I was left with a lens and no body at my house in Japan. I waited and waited and finally, I saw this 210-AF. Eureka I now had a full set again and maybe I could sell or give it away…providing all worked well.

There is very little about this version on the net, just a few Japanese sites. This one says it was released in Japan only in 1987. It worked a lot like the aforementioned 230AF, so I am not going to go into detail here…especially as this was my test roll.

Two shots only. After a few shots it became very clear there was an issue. It only worked efficiently in manual. In auto mode, an exposure of 8 seconds was always chosen no matter what settings the camera was on. I just could not see any way to change it. If it had worked I think it would be an awesome camera. I really liked the 230. I think I will play with it a little longer before giving up on it completely.

Olympus Trip AF

I love the Olympus Trip, so when I saw this one for $3 I didn’t even think about it, mine. This trip was released in 1984.

This one needs two AAA batteries to run the flash and the light meter. If there is enough light a green indicator shows in the viewfinder and the shutter works. The camera selects one of two speeds, either 1/85 or 1/120, which is not much of a choice really. There are also two choices of film speed which can be set on the side of the lens. It really is a camera of TWO.

The lens has a cover, which was really stiff on this example. I tended to leave it open while I was walking around with it as it was a pain to move the position. The film wind and rewind is manual.

Here is my test roll.

Well, the exposure is spot on even with the difficult backlighting of the windows. I took this camera on a location walk for the movie “Your Name“. Luckily I took another camera because this one has obvious haze…though not obvious when I loaded the film. Would I buy another version of this camera? No, I much prefer the original, it is far superior, though I only have this hazy version for comparison.

Keep or Sell: I put it in the bin.

Konica Pocket 400 – 110mm

When I was little I thought 110 cameras were really cool, so small. They were like a spy camera. Then I started to work in a photo lab and realised the negatives were so small that all the movies were fake, small neg = crap photo. The 110 film cartridge was introduced in 1972 by Kodak. It stopped being produced in 2009…and amazingly was reintroduced by Lomography in 2012. So when I saw one in a junk bin for $1, I thought ok I will buy a pack of 3 films and try only 3 cameras. This is the first.

 

This camera was released in 1975 and as it suggests it was made to be kept in your pocket. So that is was I did, I walked around with it in my pocket for a day. It is so small that I sometimes forgot it was there. It was very simple to use, basically point and shoot. There is a distance selector on the top, but I left it on the further distance choice.

This example had fungus or dirt in the viewfinder and I suspected there was the same on the lens, but the lens was so small I I found it difficult to check.

I put in the required 4LR44 battery, then the cartridge, and got to shooting. The battery powered the light meter. If there was not enough light a red light could be seen in the viewfinder and the shutter would not fire. There was a green light if all was ok. There were two flash options, the old cube type or you could add something to the hotshoe. I did neither as I only used the camera outside.

The film was wound on by a push slider on the bottom, two pushes for one shot advance.

So did it work?

 

Yes, quite well considering. I do think there is some haze on the lens, but it is difficult to tell due to the natural quality of the 110 film. I enjoyed using the camera and carrying it around, but I will not be using it again.

Keep or Sell: Neither, I might throw it away, but for now I will just add it to the box of cameras I don’t want to keep.

As an aside, I really didn’t like the Nikon AW130 I bought, so I am giving that to my sister and I found a junk bin Ricoh GXR. The flash catch is broken, which is a common issue – nothing a bit of tape won’t fix, but apart from that, it seems fine. The camera shots on here were taken by it. When I saw it I was reminded of the GR1v I tried recently. Of course, it is not waterproof, but I only go diving once a year so that is not an issue.

Minolta alpha 3xi Panorama

I was unsure whether to buy this junk bin camera given the obvious damage to the side. It was also covered in stickers with a variety of prices. The lowest was $3 and that is what I paid for it. The lens was a bit more, but it looked in better condition though still was covered in masses of price stickers. I hate that. It took ages to clean them all off before I could even begin to think about whether they worked.

This camera is was originally produced in 1991. You can get some more technical data here. When I walked around with it I noticed that when it was turned on and next to my body, it was trying to focus on stuff.  It turns out the two bars on the front of the camera operate the auto eye focusing system. If you cover the dot on the right of the eyepiece, preferably with your eye, and hold the camera covering these two bars with your hand, the camera will automatically focus on the subject. You do not need to press the shutter. You can press the shutter half way to achieve the same results, so it is a bit fancy and superfluous. Pressing the shutter halfway also locks the automatic focusing. The button on the back saying ASZ is for an automatic zoom system, but it only works with certain lenses. I did not have that lens, so have no idea if it would be useful.

I loaded the camera with fresh Fuji 100 film and went for a walk along the Tachikawa river. I find it funny to write that as ‘kawa’ means river, so really I am writing Tachi river river. Anyway, I made a map of the walk. which you can find on my other blog here. This was walk 7 and here are the test shots.

Wow, not bad for $3, every shot is perfectly exposed. The walk was lovely too. The last place is a sake brewery. I bought 3 bottles and had to carry them for the rest of my journey, stupid thing to do given I was also carrying 3 cameras. I was supposed to go to a firefly festival, but with the heat, the walk, and the weight of my bag I decided to give up and go home. BUT, the camera was great. It worked perfectly and was easy to use. It didn’t have many functions, so not much better than a point and shoot. The olympus mju would have served just as well, but not have been as much fun to use. I also tried a very similar camera here, I gave that camera to a friend and always kind of regretted it. Anyway, it seems Minolta do indeed make great cheap SLRs.

Keep or sell: Given the damage to the body I think I will give this one away. Plus along the walk, I saw many cyclists and realised I really missed my bike. I might finish the cameras testing the cameras I have then return to cycling. I think I have about 10 in various places.

Found Film and Lomochrome Purple

This is a different kind of post, a film post as opposed to a camera post. I got two films back today and both have a tale to tell, so tell it I will.

Firstly, I bought a junk APS camera for $1, which I haven’t written about yet, and I could not get the film door open. I tried yanking it, sweet-talking it, but nope. Then I put a battery in it and low, there was a film inside. So, the camera did a very good job of protecting it. BUT, did the camera work? I hadn’t tested it yet. Was the film ok? maybe not as I tried to yank open the door. In the end, there were too many unknowns so I pressed the rewind button and put in another film. The film I retrieved was a Fuji Nexia 800, quite rare these days with the ever dwindling supply of APS.

I decided to use the found film in a known camera. Now, here lies the problem…all APS film is unknown so to speak, as it is all expired. So, why not use this film in the unknown camera. Because I would not know it if was the camera or the film. Minolta Vectis to the rescue. I knew this camera worked very well and it accepted film that had been rewound midroll. When I put the film in though, it did not accept it. The junk camera I found the film in had set the code on the film to 3, ready to process. Here are the cassette codes.

  1. Full circle: Unexposed
  2. Half circle: Partly exposed
  3. Cross sign: Fully exposed but not processed
  4. Rectangle: Processed

Then I remembered the old, use a pencil in a tape cassette to rewind it, trick. Maybe not a pencil, but a screwdriver?? I rewound the cassette so the code showed a 2, and put it back in the Minolta. Goodness me, if it didn’t go and load 🙂 I never thought that would work.

So off I go on a walk around a river in Tokyo. And finally, I got a cd back with viable images. The film was great, perfect even…an absolute steal for $1.

 

The second film I got back was a Lomochrome Purple. The last time I used a lomochrome film, I forgot to ask for a cd and my scanner could not handle it at all. I was very disappointed with the results. This time I put the purple in the Olympus Mju I had just tried and remembered the CD. Holy crap, there was a huge difference in quality. I have changed my mind about the film and I am so in love with the camera. This week I had the pleasure to try a very expensive camera and I was impressed. This Olympus was $3 in a junk bin, and I think it is better. Sure it doesn’t have some of the fancy settings, but wowee, it is sharp. Here is the test roll I took around Akihabara.

The result from the Olympus makes me think that I will probably sell all the other point and shoots I have…apart from the one other Olympus Mju I have.

Ricoh GR1v

This is the second of the cameras lent to me by an associate. The first being the Russian one here, which I was not impressed by. However, when I saw this camera from 2001 I almost snatched it out of his hand. Really a GR1…not only that a GR1v. Holy Guacamole, and I can use it?

Apparently, it had been stuck in a cupboard for a while…with…shock horror…the battery still inside. Luckily it hadn’t leaked so that was not a worry. So I put in a new battery and turned it on. The lens came out, but the LCD was completely blank. Apparently this is such a common problem that there are many blogs written about it. This one gives a way to fix it and so does this one. This blog gives you instructions on how to use it even if the LCD does not work. I wish I had read that first.

As it was not my camera and by far the most expensive camera I have held, I was not even tempted try to fix it. The Ricoh GR1v is worth over $200 broken…if it is working then double or even triple that.

When a couple of other friends saw this camera, they could not understand why…why is it so expensive? It is not big, it is a point and shoot, why?

I gave a few reasons. Firstly, the lens. It should be super sharp and with f2.8 it is great for low light situations. You also have control over which aperture is chosen, see the dial on the top. Secondly, and a great feature for those who know how to use it, you can override the ISO coding. That means you can push films, a 400asa can be used as 1600asa if you so wish. In P-mode the camera does all the choosing for you. There is also manual focusing, bracketing and a wide 28mm lens. There are a few other features, but most of these and those features were inaccessible to me due to the LCD issue. Basically for me, this really would be a point and shoot.

This great blog shows you what the inside viewfinder looks like, but this one was also not working…was the camera actually working? I put in a Kentmere 400 and got to shooting. Here is my test roll.

Wow, I love this camera. It is light, thin and easy to carry. It works in low light, just check out the forest and shrine photo. I was disappointed with the minimum focus length, but if the LCD worked it would not have been an issue.

Keep or Sell: It is not mine, I have to give it back. Would I buy one if I could…hmm tough question…It has many weaknesses, the LCD and the motor are both prone to breaking. So maybe not for the price. BUT if I was given one I might use it constantly until it broke.