Category Archives: Swaps and searched for

Pentax P30 (P3)

This is the first camera in the P30 series or P3 series elsewhere. I have already tried the P30T and loved it. So when a friend cheekily asked for my ME Super in exchange for a few other cameras including this one, I decided to say yes. Though I did think long and hard about it. In the end I realised, yet again, I have far too many cameras and I didn’t NEED the ME so why not let a friend, who really wanted it, have it??

Hello Pentax P30 from 1985…I kept the lens though.

The difference from the ‘T’ is simple, no aperture priority mode. Apparently there is a program mode, as stated in the manual, but mine doesn’t show the ‘P’ with the lens I have attached.

The ISO/ASA is set by the DX coding on the canister and there is no way to override it. Though you could use the method I have written about before or adjust with the manual exposure you choose.

I tried my P30 with an expired film, that I had already half used in another camera, and took it for a walk in the woods on a very dull, windy day. Due to the movement of the branches and leaves I chose a speed of 1/125th which meant I was sometimes choosing f1.7 at some points. That meant a very shallow depth of field.

This camera is fine, in the passive aggressive sense of the word. I don’t like it as much as the P30t or the ME Super, but it does the job. If I was going to use a K-fit camera I would still choose Spiderman. I found it a porridge kind of camera, not bad, not good, sort of ok if that is all you can choose. You can tell I was enthused by the camera by the length of the post.

Selling at a Vintage Fair

Last weekend I was invited to sell some of my cameras at a local vintage fair. I say invited, but I had to rent the table of course. What I mean is, I had forgotten all about it and received and email reminding me and hoping that I would be there.

At first I declined. Last time, I only sold 3 cameras, but gained 4 or something like that. I just about covered the cost of the stall. My wares were a bit of a curiosity, different from the other vintage stalls, a topic of conversation…not real antiques or vintage apparently. But then I remembered HOW many people I spoke to and the man who gave me the Contax RTS III. I still have that, maybe he would come to the fair again and I could hand it back?

So I changed my mind and said yes. I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t have enough cameras to sell…ha ha ha what was I thinking and this was before I got a heap of brownies.

I packed the night before and while doing so made a list of prices. Last time I put the price on the camera which seemed to stop people looking altogether. This way the customers had to ask, and seeing as they were talking to me anyway it seemed the way to go.

Last time I was a newby and felt out of place. This time, I was in the club and the other store holders remembered me, it felt much friendlier. Some of the other stall holders asked me about cameras and what to charge. One offered to sell me his father’s old camera, but the price I could offer was way less than it was worth sentimentally to him.

I set my table up in price order, that way I knew where to keep my eyes it if got busy or I left the table for a drink or bathroom break. The person on the next stall happened to be wearing the same jumper as me, so we were immediately friends. We covered for each other.

I sold a point and shoot almost immediately, then later another and finally the Olympus O-Product. It was a camera I had searched for and would have been happy to keep, but ultimately I wasn’t using. The prices for that camera have gone up recently and will probably continue to rise. I got a fair price for it and it happened to be the buyers birthday, lucky for us both. That was another reason for not putting prices on things, prices are going up. The last time I was there the o-product would probably have been half the price I eventually got for it.

Money in my pocket time for cake! They are smaller than they look.

The day went very quickly for me. I was posting photos online and I got a couple of nibbles on one of the camera forums I am in for other cameras.

And of course I chatted with lots of people. I gave demonstrations and answered questions, especially to children. I am a teacher after all. Some of the children had never seen a film camera let alone held one. Seeing a child hold a hundred year old camera was charming to say the least.

One couple said they had a camera at home they would like to sell, they described it to be and I knew exactly what it was. They went home and brought it in to show me, a polaroid land camera. I really wanted to buy it, but at that time I had not sold the o-product so didn’t have any spare cash. I am too honest so I showed them what they were fetching online and gave them a very low price I would offer. I explained I would have to test it and film was expensive. I even suggested they didn’t sell it to me but post it online as they would get more.

And finally it happened a woman came to the store and told me she had a Leica in the cupboard that her father had brought back from Germany after the war. She doesn’t know what to do with it or anything about it, but it is definitely a Leica.

I KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH IT!!!!!!!! Please let me see it, please let me try it. I could at least let you know if it is working and what it might be worth????? PLEEEEEASE. But she laughed, took a card and walked away 😦

Bugger.

Anyway it was a nice day and I will do it again as I now have a world of Brownies. Roll on March.

Ihagee Exa – Version 2

I was intrigued by this camera after I saw the top viewfinder on Instagram. A 35mm with a top viewfinder, beautiful. So I actively looked for one on eBay, a cheap one. Finally I found one that said untested so the price was cheap, a gamble.

When it first arrived the shutter button was sticking on all speeds. I added a little clock repair oil to that and just kept pressing. Eventually it didn’t stick any more. By looking through the exposure opening while firing I could see the shutter working. At the top speed the mirror seemed to cover the light entering a little and I wasn’t confident it was working at 1/150th. So when I loaded the camera with Fuji Acros, I left the speed on 1/100th for the test.

This is the second version of the Exa. I know for two reasons. Firstly, this site says the second version has a cover over the shutter button. Secondly, there was a sticker on the bottom saying ‘version 2 1953’.

Mine came with a f2.9 50mm lens, the lenses are interchangeable. This lens has an aperture stop function. You set the aperture you want by pushing the front towards the body and then move the red dot. You can then open up the aperture to aid focusing, then close it down again to take the shot. Once you fire the shutter the mirror moves up as the backside of the mirror acts as the shutter curtain. It is not a focal plane shutter. Once you wind on the film and cock the shutter the mirror returns to the original place. As you can see on the photos the shutter speed is set with the stick on the side of the viewfinder.

With the aperture wide open, the image in the viewfinder is very bright. There is a magnifier to help with focusing. But this didn’t help me, I really need a split screen or micro-prism. On my example the film counter did not work, but it would be set before hand manually, then it should count down.

I took the camera to Hebden Bridge and Heptonstall. The former can be reached easily by train, which I recommend as it can get quite busy. The latter can be reached by a local bus, which I also recommend as the walk is quite steep. I haven’t been to Heptonstall before and I thought it was fantastic. As the link says, it is a hidden treasure. I found it more photogenic than Howarth, with much fewer people. You are just missing the Brontes, but you gain a Plath.

So did my camera work?

I doubted it and felt kind of disappointed all day using it. But work it did, though I had a lot of trouble gaining a sharp focus. My scanner didn’t help in that respect.

As you can see I only took one photo in portrait mode because using the viewfinder on its side was a real pain in the butt. You can also see a light reflection on some shots.

The gentleman you see seems to be a real figure of Heptonstall. He was outside the museum and really interesting to talk to. He told us about himself, his cameras, and the history of the place.

Inside the museum was this display about Alice Longstaff. You can find out more about her here.

I think I will get this camera serviced at some point. It is too pretty to get rid of quickly. I would like to try it again to improve the focusing.

Agfa Isoly-Mat

I was given this 1962 camera by a reader who found it for £5. Apparently it was in a bit of a state with some potential light leaks so he filled the holes with light seal foam.

Actually, I really like the look of this camera, even with the foam around the viewfinder 🙂

As you can see there are choices of aperture at the bottom of the lens. When set to the flash mode the shutter speed is 1/30th and you change the aperture dependent on the distance of the subject. The bulb setting only allows the use of the f5.6 aperture. In auto mode speed is set at 1/70th and the camera chooses the aperture based on the available light. And talking of available light, there is an indicator in the viewfinder. It shows red until the shutter button is pressed and then changes to green if there is enough light. On this example the shutter will fire even if the indicator remains red, the website I referred to said it would not. Without another camera to compare I don’t know if mine is correct or broken. Amazingly I found a pdf manual here. That does not mention a transport lock though it does talk about a shutter indicator next to the rewind button. The camera will fire if the indicator shows red.

The camera feels sturdier than the modern fantastic plastics and even the older toy cameras such as the Fuji Pet. This does not look or act like a toy camera even with the plastic body.

Another difference is the size of the negative, though it takes 120 film the negative produced is 4×4. That means you get 16 shots per roll.

I loaded my example with Fomapan 100 and took it to Hebden Bridge and finished the roll while on a course at Doncaster Racecourse. I was there two days and didn’t see a single horse.

I set the camera to 200asa, but on some shots the red light stayed up so I decided to push develop it to 400asa.

For the most part I set the zone to mountain, except for the wall which I took to try a closer focusing choice. I love the look of these photos. There are only 14 instead of 16 as I didn’t realise it was a 4×4 camera so stopped at 15. I have never used a 4×4 before and thought the number 16 must be wrong. The other missed shot was a where I wound the film on without taking a shot. There is no film stop but neither is there the scope to take double exposures.

I do like the camera, but I decided to send it back to the previous owner. After researching I found it was quite rare and could fetch prices much higher than £5, plus it worked really well. The previous owner should get the chance to benefit from his efforts.

Kodak Brownie No.2

Let’s go back in time 100 years, what kind of camera would a regular, everyday person be using? Probably this one, the Box Brownie. This camera was in use around 1901-1935. There were five different models and was the first camera EVER to use 120 film. Mine seems to be model F which is from the very end of the production cycle.

I have found the balcony at the top of my stairs makes a perfect light box for taking photos of cameras. Well I like it anyway, and it was free 🙂

I became interested in trying this camera after reading this great review. When I saw the photos Jim obtained I wanted to try one and kept looking on eBay for a decent example. They really do vary in prices, of course I wanted a very cheap one and eventually I got this. As you can see it is pretty good condition. It was light tight and the lens was clean. The viewfinders were not and I did have trouble framing my images.

There are two pull out tabs on the top. One changes the speed between roughly 1/50th to Bulb. The other tab lets you choose between three apertures f/11, f/22, and f/32. By the way, that link is also a fantastic review. Anyway, I kept both of my tabs pushed down as it was sunny and I was outside. The other choices are for inside or cloudy, which I might experiment with another time with the aid of a tripod as there is mount on the bottom.

I tried to load mine while waiting for my car to go through its MOT. As such I was sat on an uncomfortable chair with no surface spaces. I found it a bit tricky to load as the tension of the roll kept becoming loose. I ended up fogging the first frame. Basically I had the opposite experience to Jim.

I then got bored of waiting for the retest and decided to take a bus to Leeds and get some films developed. I waited for those by watching the Wimbledon women’s final on the Millennium Square big screen. Well, that only took an hour to finish, so back to pick up the photos then back to pick up the car. It was a day of waiting and filling in time. Also during that time I managed to finish the roll of film inside the Brownie. As it takes 6×9 images, you get 8 shots to a roll. So finishing it really didn’t take long. I was worried about camera shake so for a couple of shots I placed the camera on a wall and a bench. But looking at the other images I didn’t need to be worried, they were fine. Next time I won’t bother with that.

So what do photos from a 90ish year old camera look like…

I have no idea why I didn’t turn the camera to landscape view, there is a viewfinder on both sides. Maybe because it was the cleaner of the two viewfinders. Again, I will try landscape next time.

So for next time the list goes
1. Try landscape view
2. Try a different aperture
3. Try a tripod and bulb mode

I would say try colour, but I want to keep costs down and I don’t have any C41 chemicals yet. I think it would be too unpredictable for slide film.

I don’t feel these are the best photos I have ever taken, but there is potential. I may add some more photos later when I have tried it again. BUT what a camera, what a piece of history. I would compare this camera to the Barnack for its contribution to the photographic industry. For the first time a regular person like you and me could take photos out and about without too much hassle.

UPDATE: After reading Jim’s comment about cleaning it. I decided to have a look and it is indeed easy. Basically the front is just held on with two pressure points and can be prised off with a well placed screwdriver. So while watching the Tour de France highlight I did take the front off and used a standard lens cleaner to wipe the lenses and mirrors. In the end I decided to tackle it as the camera has lasted 90 years, it would surely last me giving it a quick clean.

I also gave the front and back of the actual lens a quick, gentle clean by using the bulb mode. The cleaning wipe came out very dirty after touching the mirrors, but was surprisingly clean after the lens. There was clearly 90 years of dust in the viewfinder. I just hope I didn’t scratch the actual lens. I will load it again with film and take some more shots…when the rain stops.

Zenit 11

This post is absolutely ridiculous, or at least ironic in the Alanis Morrisette version of the word. I have already mentioned how this was the first camera I ever owned. Not this actual one of course, I used that example as part exchange for an Olympus OM-10 when I was about 19-ish. But as I am in a habit of searching for past cameras, I could not resist trying to get another Zenit 11. That feeling was further spurred on after reading this article…I wanted my godamn Zenit back! Hello eBay.

The Zenit 11 was produced from 1981-90. There really isn’t anything to say that can’t be gleaned from the photos above.

  • Shutter speeds: 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250, 1/500 and Bulb mode
  • Metering : Uncoupled selenium meter above the lens mount in the form of a needle match system
  • Lens mount: M42

As you can see, my new one came with the Helios 58mm lens (like my old one). It is built like a tank and looks like one too. And way back in my youth that was the issue. I was young and had to buy a camera from a catalogue with my pocket money. It meant I could not buy a fancy pants camera with all the bells and whistles, just the cheapest in the book. When it arrived I loved it and took lots of photos of my pets and tried out the bulb feature, though only a few photos exist now. Here are some I took around the age of 15 or 16.

But being young, I was worried about what other people thought and quickly envied the fancier cameras. That meant my zenit ownership days were numbered. I am older now, somewhat wiser. What would that mean to my views on the Zenit 11?

Firstly, I no longer care what other people think, plus I have some fancy cameras so *thrrrrrr* (that’s my version of a raspberry).

Secondly, I appreciate the fact that this camera does not need batteries and will work even if the selenium cell is no longer working. It is a mechanical monster.

I loaded it up with a roll of fresh film and got to shooting around London….

Not content with one film and the wait to see the results. I actually used a roll of Oriental Seagull 100, which I found out was rebadged Kentmere. That was annoying to read as Kentmere is much cheaper, I will just get that next time. I pushed it to 400 and used it on the same trip to London. How nice to know I didn’t have to worry about batteries.

I found the camera a little stiff and shuddery when I pressed the shutter. There was such a clunk when I pressed the shutter, I felt there must be camera shake evident on the resulting photos. I don’t think my example had been used in a while as the shutter curtain seemed a little unreliable too when I watched it before I loaded the film. I was hoping using the camera would oil the cogs so to speak and I was right. There weren’t any issues with either rolls.

Focusing the Zenit was also a little awkward due to the focusing screen. I prefer a split screen as opposed to the shimmering of the microprism. On close up shots it was really hard for me to see when it was fully focused.

Anyway here are the results from the other film.

There are a couple of light leaks on the film. I am not sure where they came from as they are completely randomly places and go right across the film. There were non on the first roll, so I think it was down to me throwing it in a bag or something.

So has my opinion of the Zenit 11 changed changed?

Hell, yes! I absolutely love this camera and lens combination. The fact that it doesn’t need a battery is a bonus. It took me a while to get use to the 58mm focal length, I was constantly having to take steps back from the subject. I have the 35mm lens I got for the LTL, I will try that on this camera next. I might even look for a few more M42 lenses or a adaptall2 M42 adapter. What a cracking camera, I highly recommend it. Gosh if I can only go back in time and tell my younger self not to worry about what other people think and keep the Zenit, I would be so much richer…and this blog probably would not exist 🙂

This camera is going straight into the top five of my list.

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.