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.
As it has been a while since I tried it, plus have only even done pinhole a couple of times before. I forgot how to calculate the exposure. So I lost the first 4 shots as they were too underexposed. Then I remembered the handy guide in the box and adjusted the timings. There are the results from that point.
Now that I have worked out the timings I might try a few experimental shots. Actually the Building shot on the top row has a person running passed the camera, but the exposure was so long she has disappeared. I think I will try this again…but with a slightly more visible person.
Pinhole is not like anything I have tried before. Initially I am always disappointed by the lack of focus. Then I look at the shots in a different way, they make me do that. I look beyond the actual image and think about the process. Pinhole is not for a rich person, a person in a hurry. It is something to savour, to enjoy for just what it is. For me it is a time to be alone, even when I am not.
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.
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.
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.
Sometimes, I am enough lucky to be given cameras to try or am offered great swaps. This camera was one of those swaps. It is a basic SLR from 1980. It has manual mode or aperture priority depending on the lens. Two regular button batteries can power the coupled light meter guide in the viewfinder, but does not control the camera.
As you see it looks like a classic SLR should. It would be perfect for a beginner or someone who is not bothered by bells and whistles. You can find a few technical details here. The camera is activated by moving the film advance to uncover the red dot. Without a battery the mirror can lock up if the shutter is activated, but the red X will release it. The film advance has one of the shortest movement I have experienced.
The first time I tried it I didn’t particularly enjoy using it. Sometimes you do, sometimes you don’t. Maybe I foresaw the test photos.
As you can see the lens worked fine, but everything was underexposed…and these are the best ones from the roll. At this point I was not sure if it was the camera or the film. I was using the light meter scale as a guide.
Everything seems to be working so I gave it a second chance. I loaded it with fresher film, Kodak Ekta 100, and tried a different lens. I also put on a shutter release button as I have not tried one before. I thought pimping the camera might make me like it a tad more.
It worked, I enjoyed using the camera much more this time. Ironically, it was only spoiled by the button. It made the shutter much more sensitive. When I wanted to get a light meter reading by a half press, the shutter would fire.
Anyway, here are some of the photos from the second test.
Well, much better. If you want to get into film photography this camera is simple to use and cheap to buy. It is basic, no bells and whistles at all. But it is a Pentax K fit so lenses are easy to get. It is slightly bigger than a Pentax ME Super which I prefer, but much smaller than some SLRs.
I have many cameras like this so I won’t be keeping this one.
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.