Canon IV SB2

My first camera post of 2019. I saved this one in my draft folder for ages.

I have now been back in the UK for 5 months, to be honest, it seems longer. During my last couple of weeks in Japan, I met a friend to give her some film cameras. I couldn’t bring home all the ones I had, so I gave a few away. When we met she asked me how I chose the cameras I buy. So I took her to a little shop I knew in Akihabara and looked in the window. I pointed to a couple of cameras I thought were a good deal, they were both Canon IV SB2. One was slightly more expensive than the other. I asked to look at the more expensive one and cocked the shutter. It sounded clunky and the movement was stiff. So I asked to look at the cheaper one. Now, to be honest, I had no intention of buying either…until I tried the cheap one. It felt smooth and everything worked. It was less than £30. Plus, I had a Canon f1.4 LTM lens that would fit it nicely.

Hello Canon IV SB2, surely I could fit one more camera in my luggage?

This camera was released in 1954 and you can find lots of technical details on the linked site. When you load the camera the leader of the film has to be cut in the same style as the Leica Barnacks. It felt super to hold, a piece of quality machinery. I loved the viewfinder with the magnifier built in. I put an expired film in as soon as I could as I only wanted to take fresh film back with me.

Not too bad for a dull day in Minami Senju. As soon as I got back to the UK I tried another roll. The rangefinder’s second image was a bit light so I put a little square of tape on the window which helped.

Oh dear, this time the shutter seemed to be less smooth and the photos show the curtain was sticking. This was beyond my fixing abilities and I am out of work. Hmm, is it worth paying for a CLA?? Only if I sell some cameras to pay for it, so I did.

I took the camera to Newton and Ellis in Liverpool and waited, and waited, and waited. I am not patient, but this was different. I had never had a camera CLAd before this, I have now, but this was my first and it was going to be expensive. Would it be worth the wait and expense?

Finally, after a near 3-month wait and a few camera sales, I got the call. I rushed to Liverpool and picked it up. As soon as I did I could feel the difference. The shutter was so quiet. I could see the second image. The film advance moved like a hot knife through butter. They said they replaced the shutter curtain as it was crispy. They cleaned the rangefinder among other things. After a brief chat, I loaded some pre-cut film and not just any film. I tried my first roll of Kosmo Foto and wandered the area.

I didn’t quite finish the film as I had to head to Manchester to meet a friend. I love that, how English am I? I was in Liverpool and drove to Manchester 🙂

As I am from Yorkshire, I decided to finish the film in Haworth, because I can. This is a beautiful village and the former home of the Bronte Family.

Holy moly, I can quite honestly state…

  1. I love this film
  2. I love this lens
  3. I love this camera
  4. It was worth getting it CLAd
  5. I might have paid more for the CLA than the camera body is worth, but I don’t care
  6. I am keeping this camera
  7. Oh and England is lovely

Plus, now I have well and truly decided to sell most of my cameras. Soon I will be putting notices on my camera review posts for ones that are up for sale. I will no longer put them on eBay. That means if they sell, great. If they don’t, I get to keep them a little longer.

I will still write new reviews, especially as I have a shelf of about 10 cameras to get through. But I am going to move towards getting to know a few cameras better.

This is definitely a keeper.

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Canon Sure Shot Z115 (Autoboy S (super), PRIMA SUPER 115)

Once back in the UK I bought a car and started driving my father to a few places. He loves shopping, markets, and car boot sales. On the first one we visited, we found this camera for £1. It even had a partly used film inside. The seller said he had no idea if it worked or if the film was ever fogged. For one pound I was willing to find out.

It didn’t have batteries, but I had some lying about…it fired up.

 

This camera was originally marketed from 1993 and seemed to have been quite expensive. This example worked as it should, but when you turned it off it made a clunking sound. It was like something was getting stuck. The reviews on this page often mention it breaking. I think this one might break soon. I was also quite surprised to read the maximum or rather minimum aperture is f8.5.

Ok, let’s get to the point. I hate autoboys…apart from this one 🙂 They are fat, ugly and clunky. Sorry inanimate object, but you are. They don’t feel nice to hold, they are too big and heavy to put in a little bag. The photos they take are average at best.

And that is it. That is all I am prepared to write about this camera. Here are the results from the found film.

The water slide shots were the ones already taken on the found film.

 

It does look like someone opened the film door at some point, but thank goodness there was nothing weird on the film. That is always a worry.

The film is obviously expired and not stored well 🙂 I am not going to try the camera again with a fresher film. Life is too short.

Keep or sell: Sold already

Canon Prima Sol (Sure Shot Del Sol, Autoboy SE)

Lots of names for a camera ahead of its time. This 1995 camera is powered solely by the sun, hence the name “Sol”. I wanted this camera since the day I read about it. I kept looking back at Ebay for it, though it rarely came up. When it was listed it was over what I really wanted to pay for a point and shoot. Then one day my persistence paid off. Not only did I find a Prima Sol, but a mint one in a box even including the cleaning cloth case. AND it was half the price of every other example I had seen. Would my tiny bid stick? Of course yes or you would not be reading this. I was sooooooo happy, even if it is a Canon Sureshot, which as I have stated I am not keen on.

 

You can find more technical details here, but that site does state “powered entirely by solar” then later it states uses a CR-123A battery, I am not sure how reliable it is. On the other hand, I have the manual 🙂

IMG_3169

When mine arrived the battery was not charged at all so I left it on my windowsill for a while. Looking in the manual it seems to suggest one bar on the battery level will be enough to take one roll. It did take a while for one bar to appear. As you can see from the manual, it is better to charge it outdoors, so using while outside should be enough to keep it charged….if you have it outside your bag and on a lanyard with the solar panel towards the sun. Or even better on a table while in a beer garden, perfect!IMG_3170

But I did get enough power to try out the camera. Here is my test roll, taken around my home and Liverpool.

 

As you can see it worked perfectly, even on a dull day. I took a couple of shots inside just to try the flash which also worked well.

I love the idea of this camera, why can’t there be more solar-powered cameras? It would solve a few issues environmentally.

Keep or sell: I really want to keep this, but I am also tempted to sell it. As I am out of work right now, I have to really think about my keepers. AS I won’t be using it again for a while I have ultimately decided to sell. Sold

Canon Ixy 210, Ixus M-1, ELPH LT – APS

I think this is the smallest camera I have ever tried. Smaller than the Olympus APS and almost as small as the HIT. It may be small but it definitely has a long list of names.

I found it for $1 in a junk bin and immediately found there was a film cartridge stuck inside. Nothing I did would persuade it to rewind, even though the door opened. In the end, I levered it out and ripped the actual film. I slightly damaged the film door area with this method. Once the cartridge was out I used tweezers to remove the film that was still remaining inside. After that, I didn’t think the camera would work at all, but it did. It accepted another roll of film and all seemed to be ok.

It was released in 1998 and was considered a cheap camera. You can find all the technical information you might need here.

The lens has a focal length of 23mm, that seems wide..really wide. But if you check the comment section of this post it is probably about 40mm in 35mm terms 🙂

It is a basic point and shoot with no zoom or fancy features at all. Here is my test roll.

I took it for a walk around Harajuku with a friend. As you can see the photos don’t pop and seemed underexposed. It could have been due to the expired film, but I think it is the camera. The flash is very weak. It was easy to use and fits in a pocket easily. And that is it, a meh camera. Meh

Keep or Sell: Given back to the second-hand shop.

Canon A35 Datelux

I found this camera when I was looking for a simple rangefinder with an f2.8 or lower lens. And then I saw this one in a plastic bag with a Japanese manual. The bag meant I could not look closely at it, but it seemed clean so worth the gamble.

These websites will give you all the technical information you might possibly need.
http://camera-wiki.org/wiki/Canon_A35_Datelux
https://rangefinder-cameras.com/canon-a35-datelux-1977/

I decided to invest in some proper replacement batteries instead of a workaround. BUT when I put them in the camera, the light meter needle in the viewfinder did not move. I tried wiggling them, cleaning the contacts, but still nothing. Then suddenly the thing started working, no reason. So I took the camera on a walk, but as soon as I tried to use it the batteries seemed dead again. Either way, as you can’t use the camera without the batteries so I put the camera in my bag and used another, I often carry more than one. I tried again a few days later with regular hearing aid batteries and a bit of tinfoil to bridge the gap.

This time the camera stayed working for much longer, but every now and then it stopped again.

It is best to keep the lens cap on when the camera is not in use as the light meter will drain the batteries. Though I don’t think this was happening here. This is Canon’s first camera to have a built-in flash, which is powered by a battery separate to the light meter ones. This example’s flash worked perfectly, which was a nice surprise. In Japanese, this 1977 camera is nicknamed, “Nighter”. This is the name given to nighttime baseball matches. There is no zoom on this camera so you can’t really take photos of the matches, but you can of your friends in the stands.

Focusing is achieved with a rangefinder second image. With regular batteries, you have to set the asa to a lower setting as the camera will underexpose things. I forgot and the test roll was a 100 asa with the camera set to 100asa.

It seems a tiny bit hazy. But it is not so bad. The batteries seemed dead the next time I tried to use. So the issue might be more serious which makes this example very frustrating. Finally, I figured out the batteries were not quite the shape of the ones it was originally made for, so as you walk they slip inside the compartment. A bit of a wiggle puts them back in contact. With that in mind, I tried another roll. This time I used an expired 400asa roll and set the camera to 200asa.

That’s better. By the way, the escalators you see are the smallest in the world and you can see the flash works really well. It was taken inside the More’s mall that you see. I bought a second-hand UV filter in there and the last shots outside were with that attached.

Keep or Sell: With the battery issue, I am unsure what to do with it. I know it is a great camera and a good example, but I found this draining – draining. I will ponder it a while.

Canon EOS 700 QD

Gosh, this felt like a heavy camera. This great blog says the camera is from 1990 and has a very heavy plasticky feel. I agree. That blog has all the technical details you could ever need including descriptions of all the different modes, and there are a lot of modes. Have a look at the selection dial.

There is even a mode for panning, I haven’t seen that before. When I put the film into the camera it wound all of it into the place that usually takes up the film. That meant every time you took a shot, the camera wound it back into the canister. I like that, it means if you accidentally open the back, most of the shots taken are safe.

With so many modes it was difficult to remember them all. This is one of those cameras you have to use a lot to get fully familiar with it and to know when to change modes. I tended to stick to the “P” mode which is the intelligent program mode. Due to the area, I was testing the camera in I did use the landscape mode sometimes.

One feature I really loved was the switch on the side to turn the automatic flash on and off. It was easy to see and simple to use, no pressing buttons and rotating through modes.  In auto mode, the flash pops up when needed and automatically retracts after. Really the only thing I didn’t like about this camera was the weight. Even with the shorter, light lens, it felt really heavy.

I took the camera on a scoot up a mountain. Here are my test shots.

It was a really bright day, the Fujifilm handled it very well. Plus the camera’s intelligent program also coped very well. It chose to use the flash a few times and the resulting flash did not overpower the image. In fact, you might find it hard to tell which shots used the flash. The image of Ebisu and the image of the lion’s butt both used the flash. I think it is a great camera, but get a very comfortable strap if you want to carry it around.

Keep or Sell: The camera can be found quite cheaply on eBay. The weight would make it expensive to post anywhere for a reasonable price. I will have to ponder it…I gave it to a friend.

Canon Autoboy Zoom 105

The first Autoboy I tried, I hated. It was too noisy, too bulky, too ugly. The second one I tried faired a little better. Where would this junk bin find lie? Right in between.

It was lighter and quieter than the first, but bulkier and noisier than the second. The zoom function has been moved closer to the shutter. I found this an issue as I sometimes pressed the shutter instead of the zoom.

It was originally released in 1991 and as you can see this is the updated “caption” version. And holy moly it was expensive! This example still had the remote attached and it worked, though I didn’t take any selfies. The battery inside the remote is non-user replaceable, so I was impressed it still worked. That last link also states the iso setting for none DX-coded film is 25ASA, wow that is low.

Whoa, this camera is good. A point and shoot that you really can just point and shoot. I used in on a walk on Mount Tsukuba. The photos have a definite feel about them, they scream film photography, which usually I don’t feel on point and shoots.

Oh and the lens goes from 38mm to 105mm. You can see the difference in these two shots.

Awesome. Just pity about the zoom button placement.

Keep or sell: I have many point and shoots, so I don’t need it…but it is heavy and can be found quite easily. Hmph, it should be worth more. Anyone want to make a swap?

Canon EOS Kiss (or EOS 500 or EOS Rebel X/XS)

Gosh, this camera has a lot of names, but in Japan, it is a Kiss. I find a million of these in junk bins, I just had to try one while I had the chance. They are as cheap as chips, plus I already had a lens.

You can read all the technical details you might ever need here. As you can see it is from 1993 and is cheap and plasticky. This one has a panoramic switch, but when I used it the mask got stuck and didn’t retract unless I pushed it, so I just didn’t bother using it after that. The flash also didn’t work. The last thing that bothered me was the super slow focusing. I can find millions and I pick up a faulty one, perfect!

The thing I did like was the super silent shutter, honestly the quietest I have ever heard. Hardly even a whoosh or a pfttth. Perfect for ninja stealth photography…not so perfect when you are shouting, “focus, damn it.” Though the bodies are easy and cheap to get, the lenses are a bit trickier as they fit modern digital cameras. I lucked into this 35-70mm zoom which was as clean as a whistle, but not wide enough or long enough. I much prefer a 28mm.

Here are my test shots which I took at Mashiko Pottery Fair and a few at the Hitachi Nemophilia Festival.

I really didn’t like this camera. While using it I barely thought about what I was doing, I just didn’t like the feel of it. It just didn’t click with me. Isn’t that funny? How one camera you love and another you hate, but there really is no reason why. I was also a bit late for the nemophilia which didn’t add to my feelings about the camera.

Keep or sell: These cameras are a dime a dozen and with this one having issues I think it will just go in the bin.

 

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