Tag Archives: 35

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.

Chinon 35 F-M

This is another camera that was donated to me. The seals were shot so I changed them straight away. The rest of the camera seemed really clean. The battery check button sounded and lit up without issue, as did the flash. This camera from 1980 takes two AA batteries and one LR44. I think one set powers the flash and the other the light meter…maybe.

I really liked the look of this camera, plus it had an f2.8 lens. The only issue was the zoned focusing rather than autofocusing or a rangefinder. Both of those are just easier for me to use. The grip makes holding the camera really comfortable. I put in a roll of Kodak 200 and wandered around Manchester with a film group I join from time to time. I don’t live in Manchester or I would join them more often, they are super friendly.

The speed is set to 1/125th, but the camera adjusts between F2.8 and f16 depending on the available light. You can see the choice made by the camera in the viewfinder by the way of a scale and needle. The “F-M” I would guess means Film Motor and the motor does make a bit of a racket. The noise meant it was nowhere near stealthy enough for secret or street photography. Every time I used it, the people near me looked around. It might be good for dog photography though, I think they would love the sound. Lots of head tilting I am sure.

But how did this example perform?

Considering it was a dull day, as most seem to be recently, many of the shots are brighter than I remember. A few are out of focus due to my zoning technique and handshake. I was trying to catch people as I walked past, but I really needed a faster speed for that. The lens is nice and sharp, and the flash does not overpower the shot. 

I like the results, pity about the noise. If you can find this camera for a reasonable price, I think it would be a good one to have.

On another note, I am using the new WordPress editor. It is a little different from the classic version. It reminds me of the Squarespace editor with the use of blocks. It is not so different from the classic version that it was easy to navigate, definitely an improvement. It does make editing old pages sometimes a little tricky. When editing the stuff page, I almost had to recreate the whole thing.

I also prefer the older style gallery, just for the final look. This version seems a little neater which just isn’t me.

Mamiya 35 S2

This rangefinder from 1959 was the last camera I bought in Japan, but not the last one I have to review from there. I have one more that is currently being CLA’d and won’t be returned for another month.

In fact, I bought this camera day before I left for the airport. I couldn’t resist it. A Mamiya, a rangefinder, nice and solid…and heavy. Crap, I was already over my luggage weight limit. Maybe I could just wear it around my neck?? And that is what I did 🙂

Everything seemed great. The only issue was the rangefinder patch seemed very dim. Then I stumbled upon this article about adding a square of tape to the viewfinder. As you can see, it worked a treat. Here is another article, with photos. When researching the camera I found one site that stated there were two versions released, the f2.8 and f1.9. All the other sites I found did not mention there were two. Mine is the 2.8, so I cannot attest to the 1.9 version.

There is very little to be found on the net about this Mamiya bar from a few vague lines. They generally say its name and date of manufacture.

From the photos you can gather it has an f2.8 – f22 lens, with a focal length of 48mm. Once the film is loaded you have to manually set the film counter which counts up. There is also a film reminder dial. As there is no light meter it is a simple reminder only. The film speeds range from 1 second to 1/500th with a B and a self-timer. There is also an M and X for the flash types. Ken Rockwell explains the different settings very well here. Basically, X is for the flash sync and M is for flash bulbs which take time to reach full brightness and therefore needs a different setting. The rangefinder has a short movement and can easily be moved by the index finger alone. The winder moves through slightly over 180 degrees. The viewfinder has a square in the corner where you can see the speed and aperture settings. Unfortunately, I cannot make out the numbers due to my poor close up eyesight. Too much reading maybe.

Well, that was quite technical for me. That’s enough of that. How were the photos?

I took a few in Tsukuba before I left for the airport, then finished the film on a cloudy day out in Liverpool.

Can you see where the switch in countries takes place? One of the posters might give you a clue.

Wow, what a super, not so little camera. I definitely had issues focusing while in Japan, but once I added the tape in England there is an improvement.

As the skin started to fall off while I was using it, I recovered it with maps from places in the UK that I love.

How cool is that!

Buy this camera – Mamiya 35 S2

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.


Minox 35 EL

I bought this camera over the internet while I was in Japan. It was waiting for me when I returned to the UK.

This camera was released in 1973 or 1974 depending on which website you check. It was the first of the Minox 35 line. It was so popular that it was copied exactly in Russia as the Kiev 35A.

The first film I tried was some Street Candy. I ordered it when it first came out as I think we should support new film makers.  It was posted to the UK so it has taken me a while to try it. I did notice it was very thin…and I think that caused an issue with the developers. My own developing equipment has not arrived from Japan yet so I had to send it away. When I received the scans back, it was obvious there was an issue. There was a lot of damage apparent on the images.

Looking beyond the damage, I love the contrast of the film. The shots are also sharp when the film speed chosen was high enough. A couple of the shots were taken as I was walking around an indoor market and obviously the camera struggled with speed. There is only half a film here as I tried the film in an LC-A first, but I wasn’t confident that one was working, so I rewound it and tried the remainder in the Minox. I sent the LC-A for a service and tried another film in the Minox. I have a few more rolls of candy left and I received a message from the makers that there is a new version that is the regular thickness. I ordered some from Analogue Wonderland.

So back to the camera, I did find the speed chosen by the camera for the aperture chosen by me seemed very high for the conditions. On the first film, I checked the camera against a light meter and it seemed about 1.5 or 2 stops too high. This blogger said that was normal with modern batteries and suggested using a black and white film which has more tolerance. The original batteries were 5.6V, but those mercury ones are no longer available, the modern ones are 6V. This is where the overexposure comes from.

I hadn’t read that before and chose an expired venus 400. Here are the results from that film.

As you can see, a few of the shots are underexposed. The blog I linked to also mentioned that the camera gives you the feeling it is not working and that is exactly how I felt. It was one of the reasons I chose an expired film as I did not want to waste a good one on this camera and I had not received the candy back yet. That blogger was left with the same feeling and had also compared it to the LC-A. Snap. The shutter button was very light to the touch and I sometimes didn’t think it had been activated. It was only when trying to advance the film I realised it had taken a picture. It was also quiet which didn’t help the situation. Oh, and the camera had a double stroke film advance.

On top of all that it is just so damn small. The rings for changing the aperture and focus distance were also very tiny and hard to adjust, even with my tiny lady fingers.

Keep or Sell: I really disliked using this camera, this camera is not for me. Sold.

Rich-Ray 35 Junior

This camera is unlike any other I have tried. It is tiny.


…and my hand is ridiculously small. In fact, it is a sub-miniature…the camera, not my hand. And that sub-miniature can be related to the amount of information I found about this camera on the internet.

Most of the information about it can be garnered from the camera body itself.

On the front of the camera, there is a switch to choose between two aperture f8 / f5.6 and on top a switch to choose I or B shutter speeds. I have no idea of the shutter speed. There is a red door on the back, so whatever film it used had a paper backing or was in a cartridge. The two screws release the top which revealed an empty spool, so backed film then.

On the net I found the camera was produced in the 1950s. It used Bolta Film which was a 35mm film with a paper backing rather than sprockets. The film stopped being produced in 1950s, soon after production began. That must have been annoying.

I did notice the size of the spool was the same size as a 35mm film cassette. So I decided to load some film and see what happened. I taped the end of some random film I had in a reusable cartridge to the spool. I put that and the camera in a light-tight bag. I had covered the red window on the camera with black tape. So in the bag, I pulled out the rest of the film from the cartridge and rolled it up as tight as I could. I then loaded that into the camera. I could already tell the film would be scratched to death as it immediately unspooled and filled the chamber, but I wanted to try it anyway.

I had no idea how much to wind on the film to advance it but decided to do one and a half rotations.

The film was indeed scratched and the red hole still let light through, so if I tried it again I would need two pieces at least. The one and a half rotations seemed to be the right amount. I realized after that I had used really, really old film…like 1985 old. So I am surprised anything came out at all. I had simply forgotten what was inside the cartridge. I think given the aperture choices, 400asa might be a better choice. But I definitely won’t be using it again. I didn’t enjoy it. The camera is small, but not cute to me. There is nothing I really like about it.

In a funny coincidence, while I was out and about using the camera a friend messaged me. She was in a museum halfway around the world looking at cameras. She sent me a photo, they were sub-miniature.

Anyway, I am definitely selling this one. I know there are many collectors of these types of cameras. I will not be one of them. Send a message if you want it.


Olympus 35 LC

This was such a nice camera to try after all the toy cameras, half-frames, and APS cameras. This is a good, solid rangefinder from 1967. You can find some more details here.

It is heavy, solid and fairly large. Swung correctly, it could kill someone – ssshhhhh. But honestly..it lacks that satisfying “thunk” of other rangefinders when the shutter is pressed. It’s more of a “pffffthhh”. How disappointing. The battery compartment has a great, springy connection spoke which means it can fit a variety of batteries. Unfortunately, no matter which one I used the light meter needle just wobbled all over the place. It was never really reliable. In the end, I decided to just use this example manually.

The winder has a short movement, not even 180 degrees. On this version, the winder does cock the shutter, but you can keep on winding to your heart’s content. I had to remember to wind on as soon as I had taken a shot. Otherwise, I forgot if I had or not and wasted film.

The 1.7f lens on this one looked pretty clean. The viewfinder was bright too. BUT the second image for the rangefinder was slightly dull, not enough that you couldn’t focus though. So I put in a roll of Lomography Lady Grey 400 and got to shooting. I took the camera with me on a walk I did for my other blog.

Holy shitake mushrooms! This camera is freaking awesome. Look at those photos. Now, admittedly my reaction might be because of the cameras I have used recently but sufferin’ succotash it is sharp. The film and the camera combination gives the photos a really pleasing look to me. The shadows are captured well, and I even like the contrast on the shadowy photos…and can you see how I am not swearing 🙂

Golly, I want to keep this camera. Toooooo maaaannnny keeeepers!!


Olympus 35 RC

I recently exchanged cameras with another camera blogger, this is the one I got in return. I have tried the DC, EC, and ED. This one has the 2.8 lens like the EC and ED, gosh there are a lot of letters here.

This version was released in 1971 and is small and cute. You can see a few more technical details here. This one had a little something on the lens, but nothing too serious. I left it on 1/125th with automatic aperture and took it out for a flower day.

I really don’t remember taking the photo of the pies, though I do remember eating them. I enjoyed using the cameraThe photos have an interesting vignette effect but are a little hazy. I am not sure I would use this one again, but I would recommend all of the 35 versions if you can get a good one.


Yashica Electro 35 G

And another Yashica Electro 35, this time the G from 1968. I found this languishing in a junk bin and it was barely holding itself together. I thought I might be able to scavenge some parts from it or take it apart for fun. I won’t list all the others I have tried, you can look at the camera post list page for that.

But before I totally gave up on it and ripped it apart, my love of all things Yashica meant I had to test it. So, I super glued the view finder glass at the front back on and cleaned out the gunk from the battery department. I spent ages doing that, as it just would not light up. I was about the give up completely then, low and behold, bright lights, big city. Amazingly, everything seemed to work ok with a functioning battery adapter.

The shutter speed seemed to be spot on and the aperture seems to open and close as it should. If it was light tight, then it might just work. So I changed the seals at the hinge and put in some film.

Here is the test roll.

Well, holy crap…it worked. Now, what do I do with it? I have at least two others versions that work so I don’t need this one. The view finder is very hazy and I literally superglued the glass back on the front. The focusing is a little weird, it seems to have a lag when you turn the lens…but it does work.

Keep or Sell: I already gave one away to my camera stealing friend, I do have another friend obsessed with Spider-Man and this is Peter Parker’s camera of choice. Wow, what a nice situation to be in. I will think on it some more.