Tag Archives: minolta

Chinon CE-4

I love this camera. Though it isn’t my best camera or my most sophisticated…it has Spiderman all over it!!! What’s not to love?

I had seen a few of these cameras online with the skin either off or falling off. That made them cheap, so I bought one. I was looking for a replacement body for some Pentax lenses anyway. As soon as it arrived I set to recovering it and just happened to be reading a comic. I wonder??? Could my comic be a new cover? Yes it could. I cut it to the right size and glued it on. Gosh, I hoped the camera worked as I was already enamoured with it.

It was produced around 1980 and this excellent blog post compares it to the Pentax ME Super, which is great as I bought mine as a replacement for that camera. A friend had cheekily asked if I would swap that camera and I was reluctant as the prices are rising for the ME. But at the end of the day I don’t use it and I have lots of others. I still wanted a Pentax K mount, because I am me 🙂 So I decided to get this one. That blog post has all the information you might need for this camera.

I had recently been gifted an Ilford FP4 plus film so loaded that up and then took my camera everywhere with me. I just couldn’t stop looking at it and playing with it. That being said, it took me longer than usual to get through the film…and there were ghosts, trials, and tribulations.

Firstly, I took it to Harrogate and took a few shots before feeling like I was getting a massive migraine. So I headed home very quickly…I was right.

Then I took it to the exhibition in Blackpool, but it was raining so I didn’t take many shots there either. I just took a few inside, making good use of the 1.7 aperture.

Then I thought, well, I bought it to replace the ME Super so why not try out the Pentax lens. So for the next trip to Manchester I swapped the lenses. I was going there to hunt for ghosts as it was almost halloween. I managed to capture one before the mirror locked up and the camera became unresponsive 😦

Just before it died, it acted a little weird, the wind on acted oddly. As you can see the first two frames overlapped. I tried some new batteries, as they were LR44 they were easy to replace. But it had no effect, the camera was dead. I carried on the monster hunt using a Brownie and a very old film which didn’t turn out well either. It was supposed to be an experimental combination not my only camera.

Anyway, when I got home I decided to see if I could reset the mirror somehow. There was very little on the net, no fix that I could find. So I took off the bottom plate and had a look. I found a piece that moved and then tried to turn the electronic winder mechanism manually. Basically I was looking for anything that would move. Low and behold my experimenting worked and the mirror came down.

Here is a diagram of what I did.

A coin fits in the winder mechanism quite well making it easier to turn.

With the batteries back in and the lens back on I tried it a few times before putting the plate back on. All seemed well, but what had happened and would it happen again. I suspected the Pentax lens and with some more experimenting I found the issue. Though it is the same mount, the “A” setting totally confused the camera and caused the error.

I could repeat the error and fix it. In the end I decided to play safe and put the Chinon lens back on for the remainder of the film, which I took on a walk around my house. I also added a red filter just for fun.

And here is where another ghost appeared…I took another camera out on the walk to finish some infrared film I have, a Minolta XG2. That camera also suffered a mirror lock up. When I got home I took off the bottom plate and had a look. It seemed to work in exactly the same way as the Chinon.

Yatta, I have learned something new. So I then went on eBay and bought another Chinon CE-4 with a stuck winder and crappy skin for very, very small fee as it is listed as broken. I will see if this works on that one too, though now after posting this I might not be able to get them quite so cheaply.

Minolta Alpha 8700i (Minolta Dynax 8000i)

I got this body in a second hand shop in Japan. I was looking for a Minolta auto focus lens as I seemed to have given all mine away. I thought I might as well look for a cheap body that I hadn’t tried before to keep the lens safe. That turned out to be quite tricky as Minolta cameras are the most common ones to be found in junk shops in Japan. Not because they are bad, but because there are just a lot of them around. Well, I eventually found this one. The body was about $3 which was cheaper than an actual lens cover. It even had a working battery in it already. Bargain! But gosh it was heavy when combined with the lens I found, a Tamron 28-200mm. I wanted a 50mm, but I could only find zoom lenses in the junk section.

In fact, I was so worried about the weight and excess baggage on this trip that I tried the camera straight away to make sure it worked. I didn’t want to bother packing a body that didn’t work. I carried this camera as hand luggage around my neck, but I still had too much luggage and was charged $110 yikes.

The 8700i was produced from around 1990 and was one of their top models. It has the card slot for different programs, but I didn’t have any card. You can find more technical details here. There you will see that the top shutter speed is 1/8000th, wow. Remember this camera is 30 years old and not their top professional model. That is impressive. I have the Nikon F90x which also goes that high, so maybe I will have to compare them.

I used this camera on a day out in Yokohama, visiting my friend and her little boy. Here are the test shots.

I found the camera fairly quiet. So quiet that I told my friend I thought it wasn’t working, but I would finish the film anyway to be sure. The lens was very responsive to touch, quick to focus. I took a couple of shots on a train station platform to try out the zoom on the lens. It captured the boy at top zoom on his bike, though admittedly he wasn’t exactly mr speedy. But the quick focusing at that distance was impressive. The exposure choices are spot on, even in bright sun and shade. There was also a multi exposure feature which I had a play with. What a cracking not so little camera. I think I prefer the Nikon F90x, but this one was much cheaper and a great alternative. I think I might keep this…for a lens cover..plus I absolutely don’t care about it so it will be great to take places it might get damaged. I might not even remove the stickers for posterity.

Vintage Fair, Bleurghhhh and Issues.

You may have noticed the change of blog theme just when I was settled on a new layout. I have been having issues lately with WordPress losing media selections from the galleries. This was happening every time I updated or edited a post. It only started to occur since the previous theme change. Hence I thought the new theme was the issue and the reason for this new change.

WordPress help was very responsive and attentive, I can’t fault them on their attempts to fix the issue. But in the end it seems to have fixed itself…for now. It was very frustrating, especially when I edited an older post and had to relink the photos.

The “bleurghhhh” in the title means I am sick, it is cold season and I have a stonker. This week I had to skip work and my volunteering duties, staying in bed watching Game of Thrones. I did manage to attend my very first vintage fair as a stall holder before being afflicted. The fair was not as well attended as in previous years, but I did manage to sell a few cameras. Strangely, I ended up being offered more cameras by visitors. Those that lived nearby went home and got them. At the end of the day I walked away with the same amount. That was interesting, just as I was saying I could not afford new cameras, here are people offering them to me to keep, borrow, or buy for next to nothing.

Here are the phrases I heard the mosts:

  • Oh, I used to have one of those
  • Do you buy cameras? I am sure I have one in a draw somewhere.
  • Can you still get film?

It was nice to chat with people as they seemed genuinely happy to see the cameras, but I would have preferred to sell more. There will be another fair at that location in October so I think I will attend again. I also realized I will never be rich as I ended up giving some film away to a couple of people for various reasons.

It was hard to choose the cameras I put up for sale and repacking them after the event, I changed my mind on a couple of them. One the changes of mind was for the Minolta Weathermatic. It is just such a good camera. I reread my own post and then up popped this one from 35MMC. And after that I checked the prices. Wow, it has gone up in price. That settled it, I am keeping it….Especially as I sold the Sea & Sea at the fair.

Lastly if you are interested in buying a film camera, here is the most comprehensive guide I have ever seen. It is a few years old, but it is a treasure trove of information.

Minolta XG2

I bought this camera for a stupid reason really. I was sorting out my father’s filing cabinet, bills and certificates and the like. And in one of the folders, I found a brochure for this camera. Neither one of us could remember ever having owned the camera.

Me being me…I could not let it go and I wanted the camera portrayed inside the pages. I bought one example on eBay which came with 3 lenses, a manual and an alternative brochure. It was an “as is” buy and nothing I did would make the batteries power up the camera. I ended up sending the body to an internet contact who needed a focusing screen from a Minolta. I kept the lenses and kept on looking. Then I found a body for sale, no lenses, no manual. Perfect. Please excuse the photos, it is cold and rainy outside and as you will read I am feeling a little lethargic.

This time the lights lit up as they should so I popped in some Street Candy 400 and since the day the camera arrived, the clouds loomed and stayed. Even today.

I dislike grey skies, dull grey skies. I don’t mind storms, fierce clouds, heavy rain, but dull and grey seems to affect my moods. If the weather can’t be bothered, then neither can I. It took me ages to get through this roll of film. In the end, I even took a couple of selfies and processed it with a couple of shots left untaken.

None of this has anything to do with this camera from 1977. I love the look of the camera, a classic look. All the lenses seemed to work. I especially liked the Rokkor 50mm f1.7. You can find all the French technical details you might ever need here. The camera is a little basic on modes. There is aperture priority or manual modes, no speed priority mode. In manual mode, the viewfinder gives no information at all, not even a suggested setting, just dullness…like the weather.

I also found the viewfinder a ‘little’ bit dull and the information on the right a ‘little’ bit hard to see. My example’s shutter release seemed a ‘little’ sensitive too. While using the camera I felt everything was ok, but maybe a ‘little’ off. I want to like it, I want to love it, but I just felt a ‘little’ underwhelmed. Then again, I also think the weather had something to do with that.

When I finally did develop the film, it also seemed a little off. I am not taking to Ilfosol 3 at all, so when I run out of it, I think I will try another kind of developer. I am also having a little trouble with hairs and dust. I think I need to move my drying space. At the moment it is next to my bedroom door. So each time I open it, dust moves around and onto the film.

Anyway here is my test roll. I suggest looking at the photos in the full screen viewer by clicking on them as the new WordPress gallery crops the images.

And there is me looking a little sad, totally posed. Even though this review is a little depressing, I most certainly am not. I am always putting photos of other people on my blog, but rarely myself. So I tried to take a selfie by first focusing on my hand then swapping the camera to my hand. Some of the photos are from the 52-week challenge, this week was to tell about me. Right now I am all about walks, listing to audiobooks in my car, and birds. You are not supposed to show your face for this challenge, but I am a little off today 🙂

In the end, I think the test film shows my personality quite well. I even managed to get a dinosaur foot in there.


Minolta Vectis S-100 (APS)

I left my other Vectis S APS camera in Japan, but I had weirdly ordered lots of APS film in the UK. So now I have a plethora of film and no SLR type camera to use it with. Hello Vectis S-100, but really that is an excuse as I do have other APS cameras and I was just given even more. APS cameras…they breed you know.

Look at the size of that lens 25-150mm and it was cheap as many APS cameras are. When it arrived there was a film already inside, score.

It was produced around 1996 and apparently was a simpler version than the S-1. You can find all the technical details you might need here. Really, it is a point and shoot with a few modes. It is one of the smallest APS SLRs there is, but with this zoom lens it was hardly pocketable.

There really isn’t much more I can say than that. Pop in a film, point, shoot, done. I finished off the roll that was inside.

Here are the found shots.

Well, whoever owned this camera liked their motorbike.

Here are my photos take on the rest of the film. The first shot is me working out if the camera worked, then I realized there was a film inside. I took the rest of the photos around my garden and the local parkland.

For a film left inside, it was surprisingly good in terms of colour and noise. The camera focused quite well, it felt comfortable to hold and looks good, to me anyway.

Actually, maybe I should say more. Some of the cameras I try don’t leave an impression on me or maybe I am not in the mood to write much. Today it is a bit of both. The weather has been very drizzly recently, a bit depressing really. I have also just started working again, supply teaching. Some of the schools you see and the children you meet make you wonder about the state of the world. Then you see other children, other schools and it makes you wonder in a completely different, more inspiring way. Being a teacher is definitely a rollercoaster ride.

Anyway…the photos I took with this camera were of my local nature park and I think I miss it. I know I can go in the rain, but it is not the same as a blue sky day. Also, it is turning colder so not only are you wet but cold as well. There is also the issue of…there is never the wrong weather, only the wrong clothes. True. But being all wrapped up doesn’t make taking photos easy. Maybe I am just a warm weather photographer. It is supposed to rain tomorrow too. That’s it, I am going out rain or shine!

Update: As I bought the Canon IX7 I decided to sell this camera.

Minolta 110 Zoom SLR Mark II

I sold my original Minolta 110 Zoom SLR and invested the money in this Mark II version. This 1979 version has a more traditional look compared to the first version.

You can find all the technical details and another great review on this website. I found the camera easy to use, but not exactly pocket sized. The focusing split screen was very “slight” meaning it was hard at times to see if the two images were aligned. I do like that you could lock the camera so you didn’t accidentally shoot it in your bag..not pocket. It was not as attention-grabbing, due to the more conventional shape.

Of course, I used a Lomography 110 film to test the camera as that is really all that is available. First, we went to York and I am amazed I haven’t visited the area more as it is less than a hours drive away from me. Then I took it to Lemonroyd Marina where I bumped into Emma from Heart Radio on her Coast to Coast challenge. That was a huge coincidence as I love Heart Radio, but my new/old car’s radio has just stopped working and I have been stuck listening to old cds. Damn it, I am going to install the app on my phone now. Anyway here are the test shots.

For once I didn’t get the pinhole light leaks on the 110 film and the colours are lovely. For a small negative the images are quite sharp. I do prefer this size to half frame, I just wish there was a bigger choice of film.

Keep or Sell: Already sold, I rarely if ever use 110 films so don’t need two cameras and I still have the Pentax which is much smaller. My thoughts are if you are going to use 110mm film it should really be with an actual pocket-sized camera.

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.

Minolta alpha 360si (Dynax 303si, Maxxum QTsi)

This is the cheap version of the Minolta Sweet that I have previously tried. It was originally released in 1999. In fact, I used the same lens on both cameras. The sweet had a yellow tint in the viewfinder, this one had the same issue to a lesser extent.

As you can see it has lots of names depending on where it was on sale. You can read all the technical details you want here and here. There are more names than functions available. There is absolutely nothing to this camera, so little that I am struggling to write anything. So this might be the shortest review I have ever given. In fact, here is my test roll.

Well, that’s not too shabby, is it? They are all perfectly exposed, the lens was great. But still, I barely did anything other than press the shutter button. Many people on this review site have written exactly what I felt about this camera, it is a big point and shoot. There are no manual functions at all, just programs. In the end, I felt the resulting photos were a step up from a regular point and shoot, but the bulk of the camera, though not the weight, made it not worth carrying around.

Keep or sell: I gave it to a friend. I kind of wish I had kept the lens, though.