Pentax ME F

I saw this camera for sale on eBay for parts/not working. The description said the battery cover was stuck. I knew the ME F was very much like the ME Super and thought, I think I can fix that! So I bought it, for a bargain price.

When the camera arrived the battery compartment was indeed stuck. I unscrewed the bottom plate and there were batteries in the compartment. Luckily they weren’t leaking and the compartment showed no damage. I took them out and replaced the plate. Next, I tried pressing the battery open button and voila, the compartment opened without an issue. I am not sure why the cover got stuck, but it seemed fine now. I put in fresh ones and the lights came on. Maybe one had swelled and was due to burst. I got there in the nick of time.

I had come into contact with this model before, but it didn’t work. I then became a little obsessed with finding another. Finally, here I am with a seemingly working model. I researched it and found it is basically an improved ME Super with a focusing assistant for the very first autofocus lens. Without the lens, it is an ME Super with a focus indicator in the viewfinder. That made me think, sometimes we really want something, like a newer model. Something bigger, better, faster. I have lost count how many times I have upgraded something or bought a new digital camera and then realized the old one was perfectly fine.

Without that all-important lens, with the autofocus built in, this one was exactly what I already had. I didn’t need it at all. You can read more about it here, with technical details galore. 

Oh well, now I have it I might as well test it as I have a few Pentax K lenses. The camera works in aperture priority mode or manual mode. The “A” for auto on the lens I chose did not work on this camera, which was tricky when I accidentally went passed f22 by mistake.

Here is the test roll. It was very underdeveloped, I am still having issues adjusting to Ilfosol 3. I corrected the shots in Preview, well the ones I thought were worth it.

As a point of note, I do not like the new WordPress gallery. The old one would arrange the photos in a much more pleasing manner. The new one leaves big gaps unless you choose to crop the images for the thumbnails which I did for the camera shots and will do for the next test roll. I wanted to try the camera again after finding out about the auto issue.

There were taken on a lovely December afternoon around St.Aidens. The light went away quite sharply throughout the roll. The well-lit shots are fine, but the backlit ones caused this example to struggle. I took a similar roll with another camera and that coped much better with backlight. This camera, with both rolls, seems to underexpose a little.

Even though I love my Pentax ME Super, I just did not take to this version or example. I say example as it might just be this one, another MEF might be perfectly ok. I am going to give this to a geocaching friend with the remit to overexpose by 1 to half a stop.

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Chinon CP-7m

This camera from 1986 is another donation. I also took this one on a trip to Manchester. I looked it over and everything seems to work, but I forgot one thing. A basic thing. The seals. The first rule of junk camera use is to check the seals. I didn’t notice these ones until I took some photos of the camera for this blog. Then I saw them.

How could I not have noticed that. The film window seal, really the only seal, is disintegrating in front of my eyes. How would that affect the photos I took in Manchester?

A massive reoccurring light leak.

Bugger. Oh well, more on that later. Did you see the battery compartment? This camera takes either four AA batteries or one 2CR5. How convenient is that? Plus there is a switch for multiple exposures. Not only that, you can attach a cable release and set the timer for interval shots. Pretty impressive.

Apparently, this is also the only Chinon that uses the K-Mount lenses in fully automatic mode. I used this one in P mode with a Chinon 28-50mm lens for the test film. I have not seen a 28-50mm lens before, it is a really useful choice. I hope it is sharp. The grip was covered in a white leather due to the original owner covering a sticky patch. It made the camera more comfortable to hold. 

 Apart from the now obvious seal issue, I really liked this camera. It has enough features to make it interesting, but not too many that is is confusing. Plus the layout is really easy to understand. And the test shots?

Due to the resulting fogging, I cropped some of the photos to a square format. That way you can observe the photos without being distracted by the light leak. Shame though as I really like some of the shots I got and I met some interesting characters. The guy in the hat standing quite proudly was someone I approached and asked to pose for me. I have done that before, but it always leaves me a little surprised by myself. Surprised I did it, surprised they said yes. He was great and super polite. He really owned the alley 🙂 I took a photo on my phone just to be sure I got the shot as I had not used the camera before. I am glad that I did that. Though, my phone camera glass was cracked too…super photographer I am, everything is falling apart.

The lens cover on my phone camera is cracked, but I still managed to get this shot. Thanks random guy,

As for the Chinon shots. I used Fuji Acros 100 pushed to 400. The exposure settings are spot on for the most part, but the lens is a little soft for my liking. So after fixing the seals, I tried another film. I used a film I thought was damaged as I still wasn’t sure about the film door seal. I don’t like using lots of tape on a camera, they should just work without too many fiddly adjustments. The film I used was a Fomapan I had tried in a 126 adapter. I suspected it had been covered by my fingerprints or scratches, but as this was a light leak test those issues didn’t matter.

Here are the results of that test.

What is it!! I changed the seals, where is that light coming from??…let me check.

As you can see the light from the torch shines through the edges of the seal material I chose for the film door. This must be where the light gets on the film. So I tried the camera one last time. I usually don’t try a camera 3 times, but I like this one. I am not giving up on you mighty Chinon. This time I put a lot of tape on that section and around the back of the camera.

Nothing is getting through that. If there are more light leaks then it is coming from somewhere else, somewhere from the depths of Mordor.

And the final film results.

Yes, finally. Ok I will change the seals on the film door again with thicker material. This film was an Agfa 200 that I got from Poundland when they used to sell it, I miss that cheap film score. The camera and lens performed really well this time and the back lit nettles are particularly well exposed.

I have seen this camera for sale really cheaply on eBay. If you are looking for a motorized SLR, this is a good choice due to all the cool features.

Halina Smile

As of writing this post you could still buy this camera on Amazon. I put in half a roll of expired film from another toy camera.

This is a cheap plastic camera with very basic specs. A single aperture, a single speed, and a fixed focus lens. 

28mm lens
F/9.5 aperture
Fixed focus
Shutter Speed: ~1/100th / sec

I don’t know why anyone would buy this camera. You might as well get the simple use camera, at least then you will get a decent film with it.

Loading the film is a little awkward as there is no slot for the film end, only some bumps for the sprockets, as with the simple use. I found after loading the half used roll, the winder became stiff. I recommend only using a 24 exposure film, of 400asa of course.

After a few shots, my example seized and I gave up.

Here are the few shots I got.

Not the best camera, not the sharpest of lenses. Not recommended by me at least. The colours are nice though 🙂

Pokemon 35mm Camera

I didn’t actually know what to title this post, should I write souvenir camera, tiger camera as it says it on the front, or toy camera. It really is a unique camera, purely a fun camera. You can find the manual here.

I love toys and I love pokemon. So when I read about this camera from 1999 my inner child clicked on and I decided I must try it. See I said “try” not keep. I already knew when I bought it that I didn’t want to keep this camera. The manual recommends 400asa, like most other toy cameras. The second article says it puts all 150 pokemon around the photo. As of writing this post, there are over 800, so the catchphrase of “gotta catch ’em all” is no longer true. How can you catch them all when they just keep designing more?

I love the look of this camera, with Pikachu, Diglett and some pokeballs incorporated in the design. The on/off button locks the shutter. As it is a very basic camera, it will still work if there is no battery in it. On my example the flash was a little hit and miss. I had to add a piece of tinfoil to make it more reliable. The flash fires each time it is charged and the camera is turned on.

If I was using it to take photos of children, they loved it. Even adults had a giggle. Children tended not to understand that they could not see the photos straight away and kept grabbing at it to see the back. But at the end of the day how many photos do you need with a Pokemon border? I took the film out mid roll and put it in another toy camera.

Here are the shots I took. I put in an expired roll so was nowhere near the 400asa suggestion. 🙂

Well, it works. It was fun while it lasted. I think if the Pokemon was a choice you could make, I would like it more. But the border is built into the camera, Pokemon galore, constantly.

Olympus AF-1 (Infinity)

Seeing as the price of the Olympus Mju has shot up beyond most people’s budget and with this having the same f2.8 aperture…I wondered, is it just as good for a fraction of the price? I thought I would find out and I got this one for £4.99 not even 10% of the Mju’s current prices.

It was originally produced in 1986 and was the very first weatherproof camera. It was nicknamed “Nurepika” (wet flash) in Japan. You can read more about the history of waterproof cameras and this camera at Olympus’ own website.

For this “early” point and shoot, it also boasts a focus lock feature, though it is tricky to use. To activate it you have to press a button next to the viewfinder, which is a bit of an awkward location. The flash fires when the light available is not sufficient, there is no override. You can find more technical details here, and some example photos.

I tried an expired XP2 Super, which I have never used before. It was perfect for this outing as it could be developed in a C41 process. That meant I could get it developed and scanned at a local camera shop before I headed home.

Here are the results.

The first few shots seem to be overlapping, but then the camera sorts itself out. The flower shots are out of focus as I did not use the focus button correctly.

I do not like the results from the film. They are all quite dark and lack contrast. I decided to try another film to give it a chance as I could see that most of the shots were sharp.

The second film I tried was a Fujicolor 400 that I brought back from Japan. I went to Nostell Priory This time I actively tried to use the autofocus correctly. I found that pressing the extra button sometimes caused me to pull the camera to the side, so I was expecting some camera shake on the test film.

So, it doesn’t do well when pointed towards the sun, but otherwise, it seems ok. It is not my favourite camera, the focus lock button is slightly awkward. But, it is an absolute bargain if you can find a good one.

I actually sold mine straight away as I have quite a few point and shoots, I have no need for this one.

Minolta 7000 AF (Maxuum 7000)

I read about this camera online somewhere. I have a feeling it was Jim Grey’s blog, I am sure it was on another one as well, but now I can’t find it now. All I know is I saw the photos of the camera and thought, “ooh pretty”. Then I saw one for sale on an eBay charity shop and a few clicks later it was mine. It was a charity case honest.

 

Why did I want this camera? Well, if you read this blog it says how this camera “rocked the entire photographic world”. It was the first true autofocus SLR. I think this blog and this blog have the best descriptions of all the features. I think it is pointless to write more when there is already so much out there. Posts like this let you know what I read and introduce you to some great blogs. Also, I love the graphic on this page that lets you know where it sits on the scale of Minolta cameras, but now I want the 9Ti.

Ok, so apparently a great camera. How did my example do? I took it for a walk in my local reclaimed colliery. I decided to take photos of as many different trees as I could find.

 

I tend to keep cameras on auto, not because I am lazy or don’t know how to work them, but I like to see what the camera chooses. I found this one seemed to underexpose a little. One of the blogs I read and linked to said the camera matches the aperture to the type of lens fitted. So a wide angle lens leads the camera to choose a small aperture for landscapes. This could be the reason for the underexposure, but as I had a zoom lens on there is no guarantee I had the lens set to 35mm. I would like to try this camera with a 50mm lens and see the difference.

Keep or sell: I wanted to try it again with a different lens, but it seems I either left or gave that lens away in Japan. Now the camera has been sold, so obviously it didn’t rock my world.

Contax 137 MA Quartz

Believe it or not, this was a junk find. A seller in Japan was selling it for junk as the skin had disintegrated and there was a dent on the bottom. Apart from that, they said it worked fine. So I got it for less than £8 plus postage. Then the fun started. I knew what I wanted to do with it so I ordered the covering material which arrived in a few days. But the camera took well over a month to arrive. A few days after I ordered it there was a massive typhoon in Japan which damaged Kyoto airport, and where was my camera…at Kyoto airport according to the tracking information. And there it stayed. I was just about to give up all hope when new tracking information arrived. But what state would the camera arrive in? Did it get damaged in the typhoon? Well, the package was perfect. Inside was this camera. It came without a lens, but I put one on from another camera to test the viewfinder and operations.

Actually, I almost forgot to take photos before I got stuck in recovering it. These were taken with my phone when it arrived. And the covering? Japanese stamps!!

This is what it looked like once I had finished.

The strap was made in Okinawa and was a gift from a friend when I left Japan. I also put on a lens hood. Even if the camera didn’t work, and I hoped it did, I already loved it.

The camera was produced from 1982 for around 5 years. You can find all the technical details you like on this website. I left the camera on automatic for my test shots, but you do have the options of full manual, aperture, and shutter priority modes. I found the camera very easy to use and quite responsive. It was sturdy without being so heavy that it became uncomfortable. The strap helped with that. The length of the strap meant I could move the position of the camera over my shoulder like a bag.

I put in a roll of Street Candy with the original thin film base. I developed it by adding a leader, in ilfosol3 using the same process times as I would use for Ilford HP5+. I still found it difficult to thread it on the holder though.

I tried the camera around my house as it was raining quite heavily. Once it had died down a bit I went for a walk. Here are my results:

I was really impressed with the camera and film. I spent a little more time post-processing these photos using Snapseed on my iPad. I don’t usually alter film photos in this way, but why not? It is just another form of photography I suppose.

I think this might be the subject for my next zine.

In my film pile, I had a very expired E6 film. I didn’t trust it for anything I cared about so I put it in this camera and wandered around Leeds. I was right about the film, the photos came back in a terrible state. I used Preview to change them to black and white, then increased the contrast. In the end, they came out ok. I just love this camera.

 

Keep or Sell: This is by far my favourite camera. As I am reducing my collection it has persuaded me to sell nearly all the other SLRs I have and stick with Contax. Yeap, I love it more than my Olympus cameras due to the lenses.  This other reviewer came to the same conclusion.

 

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