Category Archives: Swaps and searched for

Voigtländer Vito B

I got this film developed before I went on holiday and I thought I had already written the draft, but you know what thought did.

This camera was a cheap eBay purchase well over a year ago and I never got around to using it. Too many other cameras I suppose. I have never tried a Voigtlander and wanted to add one to this blog, this was the cheapest I could find. Look how small and shiny it is.

My example has the small viewfinder which means it is an earlier model from 1954-57. There are loads of technical details on the net about this camera. Here is one. That link and this link mention the shutter is cocked by the advancement of the film. So without the film inside the winding mechanism just keeps turning making you think it might be broken. You can test it by manually moving the sprockets to cock the shutter, but I wouldn’t recommend it..just in case something happens and you blame me.

Mine came in a case with a paper manual. The case was useful as the body didn’t have any lugs to attach a strap or I don’t have the kind of strap that would attach. Having looked over the camera and noticed the markings in the lens barrel, I wrote this post about zone focusing. I decided to try a few shots with a rangefinder attached and some using the zone focusing technique. The camera uses an Exposure Value system. You set the speed and the aperture you want and then the system moves both at the same time. It means you need to change the setting if the available light changes. I do find this system annoying to use in the UK as the light it nearly always changing. I tried to keep the camera on the highest aperture possible, that would give me the widest depth of field for zone focusing. I also avoided setting the camera to infinity as the depth of field should be covered by the zone choice as well.

I took the camera on a bike ride along the Trans Pennine Trail which goes just passed my house. I have recently discovered how lucky I am in this regard. Summer is here, so expect more photos from this area. I also used it around a garden and Gawthorpe which has a large maypole, but I went in June. You can see a video of the festival from 1914 here, very interesting. I might try and catch it next year.

As for the new WordPress gallery, I have figured out how to avoid cropped photos. I upload all the landscape first and then the portraits.

The camera performed really well and the images are nice and sharp with a lovely quality. It was smooth to use and load. Considering it is a small camera, it is fairly heavy even without the case. These cameras are easy to find and many are in fantastic condition. If you want a cool looking film camera, then you can’t go wrong with this camera for the price. I might keep mine as it seems the price I would get would not be worth the hassle of selling it.

Return to the Contax RTS III

As I was lent this camera and I am not sure when I have to give it back, I thought I would try the Contax RTS III again. I popped in some Fuji film and headed to Skipton with my father.

In the short time I have left the camera on my shelf I had forgotten how to use it. I have been using automatic cameras recently and for the first few shots I even forgot to focus the thing. Golly, what a complete amateur. But circumstances meant that my failings were not a total disaster in regards to the film.

The 28mm lens has a long depth of field and the camera and film coped with my setting choices until I came to my senses.

I still found the camera very heavy and would have preferred a different strap. The look of the camera is also not “classic” enough for my tastes. But gosh, the lenses are sharp. After the 28mm I tried a few shots of my 40 year old ape toy with the 50mm lens. A few of my friends are freaked out by Charlie, but it is a new project I have started.

Here are the new Contax shots.

It is a stunning camera and if you only want one camera then it would be an awesome choice….if you can afford a good one.

Superheadz Ultra Wide and Slim

For a change I bought a new camera. It was on Amazon for a reasonable price and I had just won some money on a lottery scratch card. Plus I had read this article about a dirty camera, which reminded me of my own dirty camera from the same company. Knowing that I was about to swap/lose my Golden Half I decided to get this one…because it said Tokyo 🙂

Gosh my mind and reasoning goes around and around to persuade myself to buy or not buy cameras.

This camera is based on a Vivitar point and shoot with many different colours and designs being available. It is very basic with one speed and one aperture. It doesn’t even have a flash. Therefore it is best to use 400asa film outside. The surface of the camera does have a weird feel to it and I am sure it will go sticky and gooey eventually. It made me realise my original Superheadz camera was not covered in tobacco residue, in time they all turn sticky.

I took mine to Koishikawa Korakuen Park and Ueno.

There is a weird swirl on some of the photos, I have no idea why. The shutter speed of 1/100th is a little slow, but not slow enough for me to twist the camera in anyway. Could it be light on the lens? The lens staying open longer than expected? I don’t know.

I did use another film in it while there, but as with the FM10 I tried recently the results were wild. I have since dumped those chemicals and will make a new batch…despite the funky results. Here are a few from that funky roll.

I have to say, I absolutely enjoyed using this camera. The wideness of the shot it captures without being fisheye is impressive and interesting. It is small enough to fit in a pocket and cheap enough for you not to care about doing so. And the results are acceptable, possibly good, definitely interesting. But I would not pay an over the top price for a rare design. Hence I decided to swap my Golden Half with someone who really wanted it and also did not want to pay exorbitant prices for a toy camera. Toy cameras, fantastic plastics are fun, but for me film photography is expensive and I want to have a little more control over what is produced. I sometimes feel our love of film is being taken advantage of and it is annoying. Tiny rant over. I like this camera 🙂

Pentax Pino 35

I am currently in Japan on a short holiday, but here is a review I prepared before I left. It is another Pentax, you would think it is my favourite brand. No, I know someone who is trying to convert me though. It is also another cheap and cheerful point and shoot from the mid 80s.

As you can see, it is a very simple camera to use. You set the film speed of either 100, 200, or 400 ISO/ASA then choose the conditions based on the weather symbols. The camera has a fixed speed of 1/125th, the weather symbols change the aperture which ranges from f3.8 to f19. If there isn’t enough light a red warning indicator appears in the viewfinder, but it will still take the shot. The camera will work without the two AA batteries as they power the flash and warning light not the mechanism. That means if you find an example with battery corrosion damage, it might still work. Oh, if you are using the flash, there is a distance scale on the side but that really opens and closes the aperture as it is linked to the weather symbols.

And that is it, not even a self timer to worry about, just point and shoot at things beyond 1.5m. This review says it is one of the worse looking cameras of the plastic era. Bit harsh, but somewhat true.

I had a film in this one for a while and kept it in my bag as I wandered around Yorkshire. It was small and study enough to go on a bike ride too.

Well, nothing special really. Some are sharp, some are a bit soft. It produced typical results for a basic plastic camera. It is fine if you plan on taking it somewhere where it might get stolen or damaged. But really, there are plenty of better cameras out there. It is fine if you find it for a couple of quid. I will not be keeping my example.

Nikon FM10

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.

Loreo MK II 3D Stereo Camera

What a funky looking camera! I bought this with my winnings from the 2019 Grand National. I had a couple of quid on Tiger Roll at 14/1 before it finally settled at 4/1, lucky me. As it was free money, I decided to get myself something superfluous. Free money refers to money you didn’t expect to have and so have not budgeted for anywhere. The Grand National is a somewhat controversial topic, but I have not been in the UK to see it for 20 years so I was quite excited on the day. But at the very first fence a couple of horses fell, one obviously heavily and that made me feel very emotional with mixed feelings about the whole thing. Even so, free money!!

Recently I have been watching a TV show about World War 1. It features stereo photos that have been digitally enhanced. They are freakily effective.

Also Brian May has been on TV promoting his book about Queen which contains the same style of photos. He is a complete nerd when it comes to stereoscopic photos 🙂

That was it, I wanted a stereo camera!!! Oh crap, they are expensive 😦 Hmm, what to do??

Solution, buy an untested one with a broken flash and hope for the best. When it arrived it seemed in pretty good condition, but looking closer the mirrors do seem to have a slight layer of haze. I wondered whether I should try taking it apart and cleaning them before using it. In the end I decided against it as it might not even work. So here is the Loreo Stereo camera from 1999, but it is still available.. It has twin 28mm lenses, a single shutter speed of 1/60th and an aperture of f18 or f11 if you have one with a working flash.

You may have noticed I am a little impatient at times (all my family will laugh at that statement). Having a love of film photography has had no effect on that trait. If I am excited about a camera I tend to use it straight away, even when the weather might mean waiting would be a better choice. This camera was a prime example. I needed a clear, bright day with good film. I chose a humid, cloudy day with old film 🙂

The inside of the camera suggests 200asa film. I had some expired 400asa film. Seeing as I didn’t know if the camera would work, I didn’t see the point in using fresh film. I decided to take the camera to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park as they had a few new pieces on display by Damien Hirst. Perfect for a stereo camera.

The way the camera works means you can take it to a regular shop for developing and scanning. Here are the results I got from that test.

Of course you can’t see the 3d effect but they came out….not in great condition, but they are there. There seems to be a light leak or a reflection of some sort. But, how to effectively view them. I tried the free viewing method and it made me a bit dizzy. I used to be able to see magic photos, but I think the fact I now wear glasses might have affected my ability. So I ordered a Google Cardboard device which has yet to arrive. In the meantime I decided to learn how to make wigglegrams using the free program Gimp.

This is a video heavy post, but what can you do if you decide to ‘wiggle’. Anyway, it didn’t take long to learn, but did take a long time to convert them all. It also made me a tiny bit queazy. So be warned, below are some of the wigglegrams I created. If they make you feel a bit weird, then don’t scroll down. I found the best ones have the subject closer to the camera. This style of photography is not mean for far off landscapes.

As for the camera, I did take it apart and cleaned the mirrors, it did make a difference. I also used some black tape on the film door which reduced the light leak. There also seems to be a reflection from somewhere, a ghost image on the negative. For the second test I used some street candy film. Here are some of the results after the cleaning.

And the second test.

Lomo Smena 8M

It is a lovely Easter holiday and the sun is shining. I am sat in the garden with my computer writing this review…well, trying. The sun is shining and I am having trouble seeing the screen, but it is a small price to pay. Yesterday the weather was much the same so I took this little camera for a walk along the Leeds Liverpool canal. I walked until I ran out of film. I had intended to walk all the way to Kirkstall Abbey, but it was sweltering by UK spring standards, so I decided to wait for another day when I was more prepared.

There are many versions of this camera, but according to this site I have the PK3470. The Smena was first produced in 1970 and ceased production in 1995. This site says the first two digits of the serial number indicates the camera’s production date. Mine starts with 94, so it was one of the last made.

I got mine very cheaply from a Ukrainian seller on eBay. It came with the rangefinder you can see attached. I was actually looking for a cheap rangefinder attachment to try out. This one was much cheaper than some others I saw and had a camera attached to it too.

There is a lot written about this camera online. It is easily, cheaply available. So I will stick to the notes I made while using the camera. Yes, I made notes! That’s quite well organised for me, but as I said it was a lovely day, taking time to sit along the route and write was a welcome break.

I used a Fuji 200 film that was not in a box so I was unsure of its expiry date. Therefore I set the camera to 125 ISO as the choices were 16,32,64,125,250. These do not corrolate to ISO but are GOST. Therefore, they just about mean 250=400, 125=200, 64=100, 32=50, and 16=25. So phew, good guess by me.

The camera does not react to light and has no power of any kind. Setting the ISO is actually setting the default aperture based on the film choice, 125 ISO meant a default of f11. Then to change the exposure you move a dial on the lens between different weather symbols.

As you can see from this diagram found in the manual, changing the position does not change the aperture but changes the speed. That is important to know if you want to avoid camera shake. Another factor that can cause an issue is the location of the shutter cocking mechanism. To take a shot you have to cock the shutter on the lens barrel. When you press the shutter, this lever flicks back up…unless your finger is in the way. When I first used the Smena, my finger caught it twice before I remembered to switch finger positions. The sound the camera made indicated the shutter was also affected by it catching, the photos I got back proved it. By this cocking method you can take multiple exposures, which I completely forgot about and didn’t try. I will next time.

When you load the film you have to set the film counter manually to 0. My example’s counter didn’t really work and I gave up on it. To rewind the film you press the shutter release without cocking it and turn the rewind knob.

And that is it, simples. On the day I used mine it was very sunny so I swapped between the top two symbols. I used the rangefinder for closer shots, checking the distance then setting the camera to match. For everything else I set the camera to infinity.

The walk along the path was something I have wanted to complete for almost 30 years. I know, bit of a long time. I used to work in a photo lab right next to it and would sit on the wall during my lunch break. I always wondered where it went but being younger and not really interested in walking, I never actually did it. Here I am older and wiser and I finally found out. The photo lab is long gone with a hotel occupying the location, but the path and wall are exactly the same.

One thing I noticed when I saw the results, what I saw through the viewfinder was much less than I got on the photo. Many times I took a step back thinking I wasn’t getting everything I wanted in the frame. That was especially true where writing was included in the shot.

I simply love this camera. I love it doesn’t need batteries. I love the combination of the rangefinder attachment and the glass lens. How sharp are they? The rangefinder does slow you down, but it is worth it. The film is super too, nice colours and great latitude. Interestingly as I was preparing this post I got an email from someone about their post on different film types including Fuji200. Here is that post. The great performance of the camera reminded me of another post about the outdoor eight rule. Basically this camera followed the default setting and I didn’t change it much. Like the article says, the film could cope with the various conditions though he does say use black and white for the best results.

I am keeping this one, it is too cheap to sell 🙂