Category Archives: Swaps and searched for

Yashica Autofocus

I bought this camera a while ago, it wasn’t expensive and it was a Yashica, yippee. Plus, I hadn’t tried or even seen it before.

There is very little on the net in English about this camera, but I did find one site in Japanese. That one stated that it was released in 1978 and has shutter speeds from 1/60 sec to 1/360 sec. After using the camera I can add, if it is too dark for the shot, a red warning light appears in the viewfinder and it will not fire. It accepts films up to 500asa, a bit of a weird top choice. As you can see from the photos it has a 38mm f2.8 lens.

You can also gather from the photos that it has autofocus, hence the name. Once you have taken a shot you can check the zone chosen by looking at the scale on the front of the camera. That is a cool feature if you want to learn about zone focusing. On the front, you will also find a focus lock button. The flash is activated by pressing down on the top where it says push. On this example, everything worked as it should apart from opening the back. It was a bit sticky and as I had just cut my nails, hard to open. The focusing mechanism was a little loud, but not overwhelmingly so.

I really liked the look of the camera and really enjoyed using it. I took it on a bike ride to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park on another beautiful day. Then later I to it to Walton Colliery to finish off the film.

There are two very similar shots, I used the flash on one thinking it was too backlit and it would be underexposed. The camera and film were fine and it didn’t need that help. Wow, what a stunning little camera. The focus lock worked perfectly and produced a rather nice bokeh on some shots. It didn’t handle sky shots well as it probably confused the focusing system.

I will have to ponder this camera a while as I have a few similar ones. I might keep this and sell the Ricoh 800 I just tried. Not sure.

Pentax Espio 928M

I have recently tried another point and shoot from Pentax, which I lent to a friend who hasn’t tried film for a very long time. Then the person who gave me that camera sent me a remote for it, bugger. I always regret parting with cameras, but for the sake of my sanity and wallet, it has to be done. Anyway, in order to try the remote, I looked for a cheap but good replacement. Hello 928M.

The zoom on this 1999 camera was not as long as on the other one, but 28-90mm was still ok for me. I chose this one as I read somewhere that it did multiple exposures. I won’t link to that article, because it doesn’t. Though this one also has a bulb mode which is rather good for a point and shoot. It also accepts DX coded film up to 3200asa, available apertures range from f3.5 – f9, and has a maximum speed of 1/400s. That is all quite impressive really. Here are some more technical details.

I used this camera on a day out in Doncaster, exactly as a point and shoot might be used. One film, one location but I saved a couple of shots to use with the remote, gosh I have been enjoying fish and chips lately looking at my increase belly size. The remote worked perfectly, and the case even had a little pocket to keep it in. Cameras with a brushed metallic finish are always lovely to hold. It was quick and responsive, but the proof is in the pudding or photo whichever you prefer.

Golly, I think this one did well. Even the tricky shot of the market roof is perfectly exposed. I might be converting to Pentax as my main camera of choice. And what the heck is happening to the weather? The day in Doncaster was the warmest day on record for February in the UK, warmer than most summer days. Look at it now, barely a dry day in sight.

As for the camera, I think I will keep this a while seeing as I the other might not be returned and I now have a remote. These cameras are still fairly easy and cheap to find. If you can find a good example it would be a great one to keep in a handy location.

Contax RTS III

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.

And it says it right there on the tin! Push once for 800, twice 1600, thrice 3200.

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.

Pentax Efina T (aps)

This is the second APS I have tried recently. This one is small, well built, solid. It feels like a quality piece of equipment in your hand. There is also a lot about it online, including all these technical details. The brushed metal finish of this 1999 camera makes you feel like, yeah…this is gonna work. And then you remember the film issue.

Anyway, here is this great looking camera.

And look at that tiny, tiny flash! I thought…That is never going to work and most of the reviews agreed with that thought. Oh well, I still like it.

I loaded it with Agfa Futura II and left it in my bag for ages…and ages, whipping it out when I remembered, testing the flash on Christmas day. It was just so small, it was easy to lose it at the bottom of a big bag. Then, when I finally remembered it again, I took it to Bradford.

Oh, if it only had ISO over-ride it would be super. Oh, if only there was fresh film it would be even super-er. But no. Great to hold, fun to use, not great for important photos.

Buy this camera – Pentax Efina T

Please check the photos and read the text, that way you know exactly what you are buying. The amount includes postage to the UK. If you live outside the UK please contact me for postage details. Included: One aps film

£15.00

Canon EOS IX7 (aps)

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 300 I 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 with Kodak 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.

Ricoh 800 EES

This is another swapped camera, I still have quite a few to go through from that pile of swaps.

This one is from 1974 and while searching for it online, the word rare came up a few times. It was quite tricky to find any information about it. From the information I did find, it has shutter speeds from 4 seconds to 1/800th. That is where the 800 in the name comes from. You can find all the technical details you need here..in French.

As you would have seen in the details I linked to, this camera uses an awkwardly sized battery. The person I got the camera from had a clever workaround which meant I could use the more convenient LR44. A pile of tinfoil wrapped in electrical tape. The other slot was a perfect size for 2 LR44, which are a slightly higher voltage. You might need to change the asa settings if you try this.

I took the camera to Bradford city center and Moses Gate Country Park. The weather, as usual, was rainy and cloudy. I used Fomapan 100 and pushed it to 400, though the camera does have a setting for 800asa film. I found the camera very quiet, but a little disturbing as there was no information in the viewfinder at all. The rangefinders second image was very faint so I added a piece of black tape to the viewfinder to aid focusing.

When I finally finished the film I developed it as usual and waited for it to dry. Then shock horror, my scanner would not turn on. SERIOUSLY!!! It is three months old and I haven’t used it often. I tried different cables, different sockets, but nothing I did would bring it back to life. I was left with the task of calling Canon. The guy on the line was very helpful, but it didn’t make it magically work again. I had to send it to their one and only service center in the UK. It came back in less than a week with a new power “thingy”. It was a bit of a worry as I am working part-time at the moment and scanners are not really essential or cheap. Anyway, I can recommend the Canon service center in the UK.

Moses Country Park

Bradford

I do also have a cheap portable 35mm scanner. Though the cheap scanner’s results are ok, it crops a lot of the image. Neither scanners are as sharp as I would like. Here are some side by side scans from the two ones I have.

Ok, my final thoughts. I love this camera. If you can find a good one get it but be aware, it will not work without batteries and the batteries might be an issue.

Lomography Konstructor Update

Only yesterday I posted about the camera I built and how the shutter didn’t work. Well, as usual, I couldn’t let it alone and today I took it apart and had a look at the shutter mechanism. I looked at my example and compared it to the instruction book. Even though the mirror and shutter come ready built, the instructions and build diagram are included. This is probably just in case you want to take it apart…or in my case check it when it doesn’t work.

And this is what I found.

See that wire…it is in the wrong position.
It should look like this.

And voila! It started working as it should. So I reassembled the other parts and tried again. The mirror seemed slow and worked much better when the camera pointed to the ground, I still wasn’t sure it would work.

I put in the remainder of the film from yesterday and tried a few shots around my garden. Then I processed the film and there were the negatives in their beautiful black and white. Now to scan.

BUT, my friggin second scanner would not turn on. WHAT IS IT WITH SCANNERS AND THIS ROOM???!!!

My first choice scanner is somewhere in the postal system on its way to a Canon service center. The second one is not worth fixing and is now waiting to be retested and then thrown away. So I resorted to my third choice. Using an iPad and a phone.

Well, you can see the images and they are not too bad considering I thought the camera didn’t work. You can also see the LED display points of the iPad so not a perfect replacement. I think I will be using colour film until my first choice scanner returns or I can afford a replacement.

As for the camera, I now would recommend it if you can find a cheap one. It was fun building it and it actually doesn’t work so badly. It is on par with other toy cameras. You can do multiple exposures and have some fun. Use 400asa film for the best results.

UPDATE: I got my scanner back 🙂 It is a canoscan 9000F Mark II. I rescanned the photos so you can see the difference. The ipad and phone work better in terms of sharpness, but the canoscan is better in terms of ease of use and density. If it wasn’t for the LED thing showing through I would stick with the iPad and phone setup.

Lomography Konstructor

Today was a terrible day, lots of rain and wind. So I decided to stay inside and build a DIY camera. I had seen it second-hand packet on eBay at less than half the price of the new version, an unwanted present. Really? I would have been happy with a gift like this, each to their own. Everything was there, even the stickers and screwdriver.

I had a look through the instructions and just as I suspected, they weren’t great. I have other Lomography items and they seem to spend more money on leaflet design and promotion than they do on the actual instructions.

In the above images, you can see the different parts I made, ready to be snapped together. I found the screwdriver was poorly fitting and stripped the screws.

This reviewer found the same thing. Plus he recommended sorting the screws before you start as they are all clumped together in one bag. I agree with that direction, though it didn’t seem to matter in the end. I found my counter did work correctly though.

It did take me the 1-2 hours suggested and here it is all done.

Even though I put it together correctly, I didn’t have any confidence in it to take actual photos. When I looked through the lens to observe the shutter motion, I didn’t see any light appearing when it was in action. That part comes pre-assembled and you do not construct it, you slot it in. So I did my part ok, but the supplied part seemed faulty. I put a film in and took 5 shots before the whole thing became stiff and jammed, like many toy cameras. I only intended to take a few shots to trial the camera anyway, but still, it was disappointing.

When I developed the film, my suspicions were confirmed. It was completely blank. No fogging, but no photos. The end of the film was fogged as you would expect, meaning the development process was fine. On another site, I read the builder made it once then took it apart again to make improvements and repairs. I might take it apart another day, but not for now.

Here is a great video I found detailing the box contents and finished camera. I did not find his photos so maybe his didn’t work either?

Afterward, I went to the Lomography site to check if there was any extra information on their own site. They have the same instructions posted online with videos. BUT the videos are very poor, no close-ups and dull lighting. When you are trying to look at a small black part being fitted to another black part, you really need to zoom in and have stronger lighting. From what I could see, I didn’t do anything wrong and the shutter just doesn’t work on my version.

Though for 1-2 hours I was thoroughly engaged, now I am thoroughly disappointed. I don’t think I will bother with another DIY camera unless it is an actual gift. I might try to make a pinhole though, maybe I can scrounge parts from this camera…ooooh…or turn this INTO a pinhole camera.

UPDATE: I had another go at getting it working. Read about it here.