Tag Archives: review

Braun Super Paxette II

I got this camera down the pub. Not a knock off, hey do you want a camera, type deal. But someone who knew I liked film cameras gave it to me to try. It had a film inside that had been there for well over 20 years. If I could try and retrieve the photos then I could have the camera.

Firstly, I want to say thank you to the person who gave me the opportunity to try this camera. Secondly, I really don’t like it 🙂

Sometimes you like using a camera and sometimes you don’t. With this one I could not wait to finish the test roll and almost abandoned it altogether. Some of that dislike is based on the example that I used. It had been stuck in a cupboard for many, many years and was very stiff. It also needed a double stroke to wind and cock the shutter. The rangefinder second image was a little light and juddery, this was probably due to the stiffness of the focusing. I had no confidence it would work, therefore I thought I was wasting my time.

Once I retrieved the found film. I loaded the camera with a newer one, because I said I would. I sent off the original film to get developed and some images were saved. They contained pictures of the owners ex-wife who died a few years ago. So I am glad to save those for him. The camera was tricky to load and I had to try a couple of times. I could not see if it worked as the rewind dial did not spin when it was pushed down. This also cause me an issue when unloading the film and I ended up doing it manually in a dark bag. It turned out the dial is not engaged unless you pull it up. I have not come across that before.

So about the camera. After looking at this website I realised this was the Super Paxette II version introduced in 1953 or 1956. The simple fact it has a rangefinder means that it is the super version as regular Paxettes did not have that feature. Through those links and the photos of the camera you can get all the technical details you need.

Given that I had no confidence in the camera, it was stiff and awkward…didn’t know if it worked. I took it to Buxton to use while I took part in a photographic competition. I could not use it for that event as it was a digital only event, but used it as I wandered about looking for the categories I needed.

Well, it did work. It was not my favourite experience with a camera. I tried to give it back to the original owner, but he said he would rather it be owned by someone who might take care of it. He would probably put it back in his cupboard. As I didn’t want it, what to do?

I offered it for free to the film photo group I am in and someone responded. I handed the camera over and the new owner seemed really chuffed to own a vintage camera. He really looked like he would take care of it and maybe give it a bit of a clean. A good deal all around.

Zenit 11

This post is absolutely ridiculous, or at least ironic in the Alanis Morrisette version of the word. I have already mentioned how this was the first camera I ever owned. Not this actual one of course, I used that example as part exchange for an Olympus OM-10 when I was about 19-ish. But as I am in a habit of searching for past cameras, I could not resist trying to get another Zenit 11. That feeling was further spurred on after reading this article…I wanted my godamn Zenit back! Hello eBay.

The Zenit 11 was produced from 1981-90. There really isn’t anything to say that can’t be gleaned from the photos above.

  • Shutter speeds: 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250, 1/500 and Bulb mode
  • Metering : Uncoupled selenium meter above the lens mount in the form of a needle match system
  • Lens mount: M42

As you can see, my new one came with the Helios 58mm lens (like my old one). It is built like a tank and looks like one too. And way back in my youth that was the issue. I was young and had to buy a camera from a catalogue with my pocket money. It meant I could not buy a fancy pants camera with all the bells and whistles, just the cheapest in the book. When it arrived I loved it and took lots of photos of my pets and tried out the bulb feature, though only a few photos exist now. Here are some I took around the age of 15 or 16.

But being young, I was worried about what other people thought and quickly envied the fancier cameras. That meant my zenit ownership days were numbered. I am older now, somewhat wiser. What would that mean to my views on the Zenit 11?

Firstly, I no longer care what other people think, plus I have some fancy cameras so *thrrrrrr* (that’s my version of a raspberry).

Secondly, I appreciate the fact that this camera does not need batteries and will work even if the selenium cell is no longer working. It is a mechanical monster.

I loaded it up with a roll of fresh film and got to shooting around London….

Not content with one film and the wait to see the results. I actually used a roll of Oriental Seagull 100, which I found out was rebadged Kentmere. That was annoying to read as Kentmere is much cheaper, I will just get that next time. I pushed it to 400 and used it on the same trip to London. How nice to know I didn’t have to worry about batteries.

I found the camera a little stiff and shuddery when I pressed the shutter. There was such a clunk when I pressed the shutter, I felt there must be camera shake evident on the resulting photos. I don’t think my example had been used in a while as the shutter curtain seemed a little unreliable too when I watched it before I loaded the film. I was hoping using the camera would oil the cogs so to speak and I was right. There weren’t any issues with either rolls.

Focusing the Zenit was also a little awkward due to the focusing screen. I prefer a split screen as opposed to the shimmering of the microprism. On close up shots it was really hard for me to see when it was fully focused.

Anyway here are the results from the other film.

There are a couple of light leaks on the film. I am not sure where they came from as they are completely randomly places and go right across the film. There were non on the first roll, so I think it was down to me throwing it in a bag or something.

So has my opinion of the Zenit 11 changed changed?

Hell, yes! I absolutely love this camera and lens combination. The fact that it doesn’t need a battery is a bonus. It took me a while to get use to the 58mm focal length, I was constantly having to take steps back from the subject. I have the 35mm lens I got for the LTL, I will try that on this camera next. I might even look for a few more M42 lenses or a adaptall2 M42 adapter. What a cracking camera, I highly recommend it. Gosh if I can only go back in time and tell my younger self not to worry about what other people think and keep the Zenit, I would be so much richer…and this blog probably would not exist 🙂

This camera is going straight into the top five of my list.

Voigtländer Vito B

I got this film developed before I went on holiday and I thought I had already written the draft, but you know what thought did.

This camera was a cheap eBay purchase well over a year ago and I never got around to using it. Too many other cameras I suppose. I have never tried a Voigtlander and wanted to add one to this blog, this was the cheapest I could find. Look how small and shiny it is.

My example has the small viewfinder which means it is an earlier model from 1954-57. There are loads of technical details on the net about this camera. Here is one. That link and this link mention the shutter is cocked by the advancement of the film. So without the film inside the winding mechanism just keeps turning making you think it might be broken. You can test it by manually moving the sprockets to cock the shutter, but I wouldn’t recommend it..just in case something happens and you blame me.

Mine came in a case with a paper manual. The case was useful as the body didn’t have any lugs to attach a strap or I don’t have the kind of strap that would attach. Having looked over the camera and noticed the markings in the lens barrel, I wrote this post about zone focusing. I decided to try a few shots with a rangefinder attached and some using the zone focusing technique. The camera uses an Exposure Value system. You set the speed and the aperture you want and then the system moves both at the same time. It means you need to change the setting if the available light changes. I do find this system annoying to use in the UK as the light it nearly always changing. I tried to keep the camera on the highest aperture possible, that would give me the widest depth of field for zone focusing. I also avoided setting the camera to infinity as the depth of field should be covered by the zone choice as well.

I took the camera on a bike ride along the Trans Pennine Trail which goes just passed my house. I have recently discovered how lucky I am in this regard. Summer is here, so expect more photos from this area. I also used it around a garden and Gawthorpe which has a large maypole, but I went in June. You can see a video of the festival from 1914 here, very interesting. I might try and catch it next year.

As for the new WordPress gallery, I have figured out how to avoid cropped photos. I upload all the landscape first and then the portraits.

The camera performed really well and the images are nice and sharp with a lovely quality. It was smooth to use and load. Considering it is a small camera, it is fairly heavy even without the case. These cameras are easy to find and many are in fantastic condition. If you want a cool looking film camera, then you can’t go wrong with this camera for the price. I might keep mine as it seems the price I would get would not be worth the hassle of selling it.

Nikon FM10

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.

Lomography Konstructor Update

Only yesterday I posted about the camera I built and how the shutter didn’t work. Well, as usual, I couldn’t let it alone and today I took it apart and had a look at the shutter mechanism. I looked at my example and compared it to the instruction book. Even though the mirror and shutter come ready built, the instructions and build diagram are included. This is probably just in case you want to take it apart…or in my case check it when it doesn’t work.

And this is what I found.

See that wire…it is in the wrong position.
It should look like this.

And voila! It started working as it should. So I reassembled the other parts and tried again. The mirror seemed slow and worked much better when the camera pointed to the ground, I still wasn’t sure it would work.

I put in the remainder of the film from yesterday and tried a few shots around my garden. Then I processed the film and there were the negatives in their beautiful black and white. Now to scan.

BUT, my friggin second scanner would not turn on. WHAT IS IT WITH SCANNERS AND THIS ROOM???!!!

My first choice scanner is somewhere in the postal system on its way to a Canon service center. The second one is not worth fixing and is now waiting to be retested and then thrown away. So I resorted to my third choice. Using an iPad and a phone.

Well, you can see the images and they are not too bad considering I thought the camera didn’t work. You can also see the LED display points of the iPad so not a perfect replacement. I think I will be using colour film until my first choice scanner returns or I can afford a replacement.

As for the camera, I now would recommend it if you can find a cheap one. It was fun building it and it actually doesn’t work so badly. It is on par with other toy cameras. You can do multiple exposures and have some fun. Use 400asa film for the best results.

UPDATE: I got my scanner back 🙂 It is a canoscan 9000F Mark II. I rescanned the photos so you can see the difference. The ipad and phone work better in terms of sharpness, but the canoscan is better in terms of ease of use and density. If it wasn’t for the LED thing showing through I would stick with the iPad and phone setup.

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.

Ondu Pinhole Camera

A while ago I was contacted through my other website and asked to take some photos. Plus I would be paid, Awesome!! That would be almost like free money. My Japanese friends never understood that phrase, but basically, it is when you get something unexpected. Like when you get cash back from a purchase or store credit. As I was still working full time as a teacher, I didn’t have to worry about where my next paycheck was coming from…or sell stuff to fund my hobby as I do now. So, what to buy??

A completely weird and gorgeous camera. A camera for fun. A camera I would not usually buy. Hello Ondu Pinhole Camera 🙂

Luckily for me, there was a sale on and the multi-format camera was still available. That turned out to be not quite so lucky later as you will see.

I had to wait until I returned to the UK to use it. Plus, as it was a camera I would not normally buy, I had forgotten all about it. So it was a nice surprise when I opened the box, a present to myself.

At first, I had a lot of issues loading and winding the film. When I first tried loading it, the film just slipped out. It was frustrating. Once it did seem to be moving ok I put the back on the camera and put it in my bag.

The day I decided to try the camera was quite wet and windy. As it was dull, I exposed the film for 2-3 minutes. Of course, I used a mini-tripod, but probably there was still movement. After 4 shots the film would not wind on anymore, it just spun inside the camera. I thought it might have got wet or something. When I got home I put the whole thing under my bed covers and I found the film was fine. I rewound it and transferred the roll to my Yashicaflex.

These are the shots I got from the Ondu from that outing.

I waited for a brighter day and tried again. BUT…I forgot I had moved the masks. I thought it was still set for 6×6, but I had set the masks to 6×9. That meant all the shots would be overlapping. Due to the increased brightness, I exposed the Fomapan 400 roll for 10-25 seconds. I took it to my local cemetery as I thought the camera would suit this kind of subject.

I don’t know if it is a shame about the overlapping or if I like it. I do think the small tripod and low viewpoint enhances the look achieved from the pinhole. Also, Photo Hippo did a great job developing and scanning the negs. At the time I was still waiting for my developing equipment 😦

Anyway, Now I have a little notebook to remind me of these things for when I try again. As for the camera, I find it stunningly beautiful. I also find it tricky to use, but there is something about it. I took it to a camera club meeting and the other members wanted to examine it, check out the construction. If you have some spare money, then this is a cool camera to play around with. It is not the camera to buy if you want super sharp, point and shoot images.

Here are some other blogs with reviews and sample photos from this camera. As I wasn’t entirely successful, these might be better places to see what this camera can do.

http://scenictraverse.com/blog/2016/8/22/review-the-ondu-pinhole-nothing-camera
http://filmbasedtraveler.com/2017/09/07/review-ondu-6×6-pinhole-camera/
https://luminous-landscape.com/art-meets-function-pinhole-cameras/

Keep or Sell: Keep for now. I would like to try it again. For me, it is a purely for fun camera so I am not sure how long I can justify holding on to it.

 

Analogue Wonderland and Street Candy

I do believe as part of the film community we should support each other, especially new films.

I recently tried a roll of Street Candy and immediately ordered more through Analogue Wonderland. They recently posted a great article detailing their rewards program.

But why was Street Candy my first order after joining the program? Well, I liked it, it is new. Though I did find the actual film very thin, very, very thin. In fact it was returned from the processing lab ripped and damaged. But I loved the contrast of those shots that did make it through and if I process it myself it should be ok. I just need to add a thicker leader.

Here are some shots, some with the damage.