Let’s just start with the premise…I LOVE THIS CAMERA. Love it. I don’t care that it is not made by Nikon. I don’t care that it does not have automatic focusing. I don’t care that it is plastic.
It is extremely light, small in size, takes multiple exposures, has a shutter lock built into the winder mechanism, a split screen, a brightish viewfinder, has speeds up to 1/2000th, and accepts films from 25 to 3200asa. The plastic doesn’t feel plastic, it feels very nice to hold. Plus it works without batteries but takes LR44 for the light meter. What more could you need? Here are more technical details if you need them. Best of all my example was bought for less than £35, barely has a scratch and it works. Bargain.
I took it for a walk near the Paddock Viaduct in Huddersfield. I put in some expired E6 Film and set the asa a stop lower. It was a lovely walk, quite surprising to me as it wasn’t something that I expect to find in that area.
Then I developed the film when I got home. Here are the results.
Holy moly, they are just wild. I don’t have much experience developing E6 film, but I know I followed the instructions to a T!
I checked the cartridge and it was definitely E6, I didn’t cross process it or anything. The scanning process enhanced the colour shift. So as Bob Ross would say, it is a happy accident.
Of course it did mean I should try the camera again 🙂 To avoid the same colour issue I tried a Fomapan 100 black and white film in my local area. I also tried a few basic double exposures which were achieved with the black slider next to the film advance lever. I usually forget to try this feature, but I think I will try a few more in the future as this camera makes it easy to do them.
I am going to have to smile a bit more…but I like the moody look, it seems to suit mono film more.
Well, the results from both films only make me love the camera more. The exposures are spot on. The kit lens that came with the camera is pretty good too. For a couple of shots I switched to a sigma 35-70mm auto focus lens which also worked well, though of course I manually focus it. I did try a vintage f1.4 50mm lens, but the aperture ring would not move and I didn’t want to break either the lens or the camera. I also tried a Yongnou flash that I use on my digital Nikon, but though it fired, the negatives are blank. I think that means the sync was out. I will try it again on the next film, plus a regular old flash for comparison.
If you can find a cheap FM10 then buy it, but the price of this camera varies a lot. They can be quite expensive. Here is another post raving about the camera. As for me, this camera is going to go on my top ten list, though at the time of writing I am not sure where.
I recently received a package from a reader, I love it when that happens. He sent me two black and white APS film cartridges.
I said thanks of course and promised to use it somewhere “nice’. I ended up taking it to Castle Hill and Almondbury, Huddersfield.
As this was ‘special’ film, I decided to use it in my Canon IX7 as it has an ISO override feature. The film is rated at 400, I set the camera to 200. I think I will set the next roll to 100 as it still turned out a little underexposed.
I think the photos lack contrast, but considering the age of the film they are not so bad. In my opinion the grain adds to the shots. I did a quick search and the film is still available from various places including Amazon, Ebay, and certain film supplying sites.
As for the hill, gosh it was windy. The hill overlooks the whole region and catches every bit of wind. I can’t wait to go back on a sunnier day for a picnic. BUT there are no toilets nearby, I do miss the lovely toilets in Japan. Always clean, always present.
While taking part in my first vintage fair I was contacted by a reader of this blog who made me an offer I could not refuse.
“Would I like to try a Contax RTS III with a lens of my choice?” he asked. “Erm yes please!” I replied without much delay.
So at the fair he brought in said camera as promised with a 28mm lens as I already had a 50mm. He also brought in a box of other items including a 500mm mirror lens with a Contax adaptor.
Here is the camera with the wide angle attached.
My goodness this is a heavy camera, but as you can see in perfect condition. I think if I had owned this camera it would have been a lot more scratched up as I carried it and swung it around. Mr Generous really did look after his stuff. Everything in his box of goodies was in its original box or a bag and labelled.
This camera was first introduced in 1990 and you can find all the technical details you like on this page. Really far down on that page you will see details of a ceramic film pressure plate. This other site also mentions it as a starred feature that ensured a flat film plane as it was enhanced by a vacuum. Well, that is impressive. This reviewer said it felt and looked like a Porche of cameras. I have to agree. Even though it was heavy it was surprisingly comfortable to hold, the hand grip being just the right size for my tiny hands. The diopter adjustment made the already bright viewfinder a delight to look through.
As I had this camera for “as long as you like” I decided to put a few films through it and experiment a bit. So for the first film I put in some Kodak EPH P1600X slide film that I had been given by another reader. In fact he gave me a fair bit of this now unavailable film. I wish I had read that link before as it mentions it is a rare 400asa film that can be pushed to 1600…oh I think that is what the ‘p’ indicates before 1600x.
Well, I really should start reading instructions and reviews before I use things, but where is the fun in that. Anyway, nowhere does this film have 400asa written on it, not even on the box, you just have to be clever enough to know it??
So as I thought the film was 1600asa and it was from 2002, I set the camera to 1250, moving the dial two places lower on this camera. First I tried the 500mm lens, as it did not have an aperture dial I used it at various settings. I tried aperture and speed mode hoping the camera would figure it out the aperture of the lens. I also tried manual, guessing the lens was an f8 as I had seen other lenses with the same sized aperture. I took ten shots then changed to the 28mm lens.
Then I made some calculations. Sending the E6 film off to be developed would take at least a week and cost about £15 with postage. I have at least 12 rolls of slide film. Gosh that would be expensive. An order of Tetenal Colortec E6 would be about £50, arrive the next day, and possibly develop 30 films if I could do it. And there is the rub, I have never done E6 processing before. In Japan you could only get black and white chemicals due to government restrictions on the chemicals needed. So I had next to no experience with colour processing. How hard could it be?? Be brave I thought, chemicals ordered!
I found this site and followed it to the letter. I followed the mixing ratios and timings with a quick glance at the pack instructions. If I had known about the pushing element I would have also followed the film guide which I found later. That would have meant adding 5 minutes to the first development stage.
I boiled a kettle to use as topping up water for the tub which I had filled from the hot tap. I put all the chemicals in the tub and took constant temperature readings to check it stayed at 38C. The main issue I had was the wash process, because the sink was full and I have a small kitchen. But in the end it was not as hard as I thought it would be to keep the temperature fairly stable, even on a cold day. I agitated the developing tank every 15 seconds by using the agitation stick rather than taking the tank out of the warm water and inverting it. Then I waited very impatiently for the film to dry.
So the first part of the film was from the 500mm mirror lens.
Well, they are a bit crappy. Underexposed and fuzzy, focusing was quite hard due to the very small depth of field and darker viewfinder. I don’t like the lens very much, though I am glad I tried a free one as I always wanted to buy one for bird watching. The slides were obviously underexposed which enhanced the blue tint.
Here are some of the ones from the 28mm lens.
At first I was disappointed with the results, but then I remembered…Hey, I developed these slides! The film was 17 years out of date and I used it at the wrong settings on the camera and wrong timing of the film processing. So actually, they are not that bad 🙂
These slide also have a blue tint. The ones in the link I shared to before were also blueish. I wonder what the slides will look like when I try another roll and set the camera to 400asa.
As for the camera, it is a bit awesome. I have put a fresh roll of C41 film in it which I will not be processing myself as I want to see what it can do without the hit and miss of my own processing skills. For a Contax camera these can be found for sale at quite reasonable prices. If you are looking for a good quality, manual focus SLR, they don’t come much better than this.
Update: I tried another roll of the slide film today, this time taken at 400asa. I tried a few settings and a yellow filter. I found the yellow filter definitely was not needed and the blue colour cast was probably due to the underexposure of the first film. Some of the new roll were still blue, but some were relatively ok. Either way this roll came out better.
Here are some more from the second roll. It is not my favourite film at the moment, but I will try it in another camera for another comparison test at a later date.
I have a heap of APS film and it is all out of date. What I need is a camera that allows me to select the ISO. Hello IX7. It was released in 1998 and it was a bugger to find anything about it on the net that had any useable details. I did find some technical details in Polish.
Using it reminded me of the Canon EOS 300I have just tried. In fact, I even used the same lens on both cameras. The mode dial for both cameras is exactly the same. The only thing missing on this one was the multiple exposure function, shame as that would have been interesting.
I found using the camera easy, very intuitive. It did have a plastic feel to it, but it had a very pleasing look. I loaded it withKodak Advantix 100 and set it to 25.
Here are some of the shots from that experience. I won’t subject you to the full roll as they are truly awful. APS film is really hit and miss, and this one was a big fat miss.
Sometimes I try to salvage films with a colour cast by changing it to black and white. With this film, it didn’t do much to improve anything, but it is interesting to see the results.
The next film I tried was a Centurian 200 which expired in 2005. I shot it at 80.
Wow, that came out much better. I did like using the camera, it responded well to everything I asked of it. The weight was comfortable, again comparable to the EOS 300. With fresh film, it would be outstanding. With the ever depleting film stock and my lack of funds, I probably will not be buying any APS film in the future, the prices are shooting up. The remainder I do have will more than likely be used with this camera due to the ISO function. The price of processing is quite reasonable though. I used Picture Lizard to develop these and it was just as cheap as 35mm colour, they did a good job too.
Once back in the UK I bought a car and started driving my father to a few places. He loves shopping, markets, and car boot sales. On the first one we visited, we found this camera for £1. It even had a partly used film inside. The seller said he had no idea if it worked or if the film was ever fogged. For one pound I was willing to find out.
It didn’t have batteries, but I had some lying about…it fired up.
This camera was originally marketed from 1993 and seemed to have been quite expensive. This example worked as it should, but when you turned it off it made a clunking sound. It was like something was getting stuck. The reviews on this page often mention it breaking. I think this one might break soon. I was also quite surprised to read the maximum or rather minimum aperture is f8.5.
Ok, let’s get to the point. I hate autoboys…apart from this one 🙂 They are fat, ugly and clunky. Sorry inanimate object, but you are. They don’t feel nice to hold, they are too big and heavy to put in a little bag. The photos they take are average at best.
And that is it. That is all I am prepared to write about this camera. Here are the results from the found film.
The water slide shots were the ones already taken on the found film.
It does look like someone opened the film door at some point, but thank goodness there was nothing weird on the film. That is always a worry.
The film is obviously expired and not stored well 🙂 I am not going to try the camera again with a fresher film. Life is too short.
So I found some expired Instax film in a junk bin so I decided to compare it to Polaroid Originals. I don’t think it is a fair comparison, but it gave me a chance to use both types of film again. I was unimpressed by the last Polaroid film I used and was by the Instax. I ordered a pack of colour and a pack of monochrome. It is quite expensive considering you only get 8 shots in each cassette. I found 3 packs of expired Instax in a junk bin which I got for $10, considerably less.
I tried the Polaroid in a Sun 600 camera.
This camera from 1983 has a built-in tongue, which is important as detailed in this super blog. But I found the original tongue was just not long enough and whipped back scratching the polaroid and exposing it in the first few seconds of development. This was an issue as it damaged the sensitive photos and overexposed them, as you can see in the scans below.
You can clearly see the scratches and overexposure in these crappy photos. The black and white film was much more resistant to the scratching, but it is still there as is the exposure issue.
I did try and combat the exposure issue by placing the film box over the photo exit slot. That way the photo slid straight into the box and received less light. Awkward and impractical, plus ultimately it didn’t work.
I have decided to try one more time with this camera and film type, but first I will install an impossible frog tongue.
I have reloaded the photos into the cassette as I noticed the flash still charged once all the shots were taken. The cassette has the camera power source. That means I can use these exposed polaroids to check my success with the installation of the frog tongue and that it stays in place without ruining another cassette. I am still unimpressed by Polaroid, I can’t believe I am willing to try again, but I don’t like giving up.
So how was the expired Instax film, was it better than fresh Polaroid Originals? I loaded it into a new Instax Mini 8.
Each cassette was at least five years old and I had no idea how it was stored. Here are some of the 30.
Ignore the writing, I was making notes for something, but due to the state of the results, I gave up on that project. Yeap, these suck too. So the moral of the story is…Originals film is very, very sensitive and expired instax sucks. I will buy more fresh instax for sure as I love that stuff, the only problem is people steal the photos. As for the Originals, I will try one more time, watch this space.
I found this camera in a camera junk shop in Tokyo. There is a chain of shops in Nakano and one only sells junk or near junk film cameras. Their junk is better quality than most junk shops. Over the road on the second floor is their film camera shop where they have an amazing display of Leicas. This camera was there, all shiny and the lens looked really clear.
The viewfinder of this 1958 camera is one of the brightest I have used, big and clear. It makes aligning the two images of the rangefinder much easier than other cameras I have used. The film crank has to be used twice, once to advance the film and once to cock the shutter. It works on an EV system which changes the speed and aperture together. The EV value can be set by pressing down the EV scale on the lens barrel towards the body. I actually found it a little annoying and much prefer the ability just to change the aperture on its own as this coupling means you have to take a light reading more often. The viewfinder is on the far left so you can focus with your right eye and keep looking at your subject with the left. And that is it, no light meter, no fancy buttons, just a solid, well-built camera.
But did this camera work? I put in an expired Kodak Super 400 and set off for a quiet part of Tokyo.
I lost a few shots as the shutter release was so quiet I didn’t realise I had pressed it. The EV system meant that the exposure was sometimes a little off as I didn’t change the value. The expired film and the EV system meant that the colours were a little wild at times. BUT the camera worked and the lens was sharp. The weight of the camera and EV value system means that this is not my favourite camera. I probably won’t use it again.
I tried a few cameras over the summer and made draft posts as I did. Work starts again next week so I will have less time to test and post, so over the next few days I might have a few posts to get through.
As I was in the UK the number of ‘junk’ finds was considerably less. So I opted for searching on eBay for charity posts. Charity shops often sell cameras on eBay now and you can sometimes find a bargain as they do not test them. That means the prices are reduced if you are willing to take a risk. At the end of the day, you have given money to a worthy cause.
This was one such buy, a Foca Sport I. It was originally produced in 1956 and was the first and most popular of a short lived series. It is a French camera for which there is very little on the net as it lacked popularity elsewhere.
Even for the time, it is a very basic camera. There is no rangefinder and focusing is achieved by guessing the distance. The film winder also houses the counter, which goes down as you shoot. So you have to set the number before you start shooting. The winder is also used to rewind, which was a little tricky to figure out without instructions. You have to lift the winder and then turn the other knob in direction of arrow. It has a top speed of 1/300th and apertures between f3.5 and f16. I took mine on a walk along the coast near Craigure, Isle of Mull. I used an expired 400 film which I thought would be suited to the low speed by rating it at 100 asa.
The camera was easy to use, even with guessing the distances as I mainly kept it at infinity. Mine seems to have a hazy lens, but the shutter worked fine. I also seemed to have a little trouble getting a straight horizon. It was a windy day and I did get stuck in a bog, but they are not good excuses. I almost got stuck by the tide at one point and I was glad I decided to wear waterproof boots so I could make a quick dash to more stable land. It was one of the reasons I chose this camera for the walk…I didn’t mind it getting damaged if I did fall over in the mud.
Keep or Sell: As I would probably not use it again I decided to try covering it with an unusual skin I saw online. After that, I sold it as a display model…or fun experiment for someone.