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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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.

Lomography Simple Use

This is one of two crossover cameras from Japan that I have yet to post about. As in, they had film in them when I came back so had photos from both continents. This one is also a kind of crossover camera. It is almost a throwaway camera and also not as you will see.

The design looks like a classic throwaway camera, but once you finish the film that comes preloaded you can reload it with another. Therefore they are essentially not disposable and are a cut above them. This is what was in the box.

You can find more technical details on the Lomography website.

I kept mine in my bag and just used it randomly throughout the last week I was there. The film counter counts back and throughout the film is returned to the cartridge. This means you can just open it up and take it out when you have finished without rewinding. It also means all your shots are protected if you open it early.

Here are the black and whites I got from the preloaded film.

As you can see the flash is quite powerful for the camera size. The battery is also preloaded when you buy the camera. The minimum distance is 1 meter and over that the f9 lens is sharp enough in the centre and tapers off to the corners. Given the loaded film is a 400asa, some of the outside shots are a little underexposed in the shade. The camera is not made for different situations. You need bright light or flash. However, I like the results when those conditions are met. The very last shot of the roll feels a bit loose and I wasn’t really sure I had finished the roll.

Then comes the interesting part, taking out the roll and inserting a new one.

Starts easy…

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Then you put in the film and make sure the top is flush with the camera body.

The take-up column has no slot or slit, just one little nobble. Can you see it? It is very small.

You have to put a sprocket over this nobble, then keep your thumb on it to apply pressure. Then wind on some film until it goes around the column. It will not catch fully or be tight if you let go.

Wind on until you can see it go around the column and under the film again.

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Now is the tricky part. You have to close it quickly so it doesn’t unwind too much…it will unwind a bit. Once the door is closed you have to wind the rest of the film onto the column. Remember, it counts down so you have to “preload” the camera again.

There is a switch next to the wind on wheel. Use your nail and push that to the left. Then you can wind on the film until the end.

It might get stiff, release the button wind on and try again. On the Lomography website they say…

  • Reload if You Dare: if you’re feeling like an analogue superstar, you can try reloading your camera once you’ve finished the preloaded film. Be careful though, loading film can be tricky and it is not covered by any warranty!

OK, now it is reloaded with another roll of 400asa film to match the camera, off I go and take more photos.

I have a feeling the film might have been expired, it does look that way. I got it out of a gatcha machine so there was no box. Either way, the same issues arose. If the day is not sunny the camera just couldn’t cope.

For a day when you want a camera, you don’t have one and don’t want to buy a digital, this camera is great…as long as it is a sunny day or you are using the flash. There are a variety of films preloaded and you end up with a cheap camera. Much better than a regular disposable camera in terms of the environment.

Keep or sell – seems like a moot question, buy your own.

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