Tag Archives: vintage

Yashica Autofocus

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.

Ricoh 800 EES

This is another swapped camera, I still have quite a few to go through from that pile of swaps.

This one is from 1974 and while searching for it online, the word rare came up a few times. It was quite tricky to find any information about it. From the information I did find, it has shutter speeds from 4 seconds to 1/800th. That is where the 800 in the name comes from. You can find all the technical details you need here..in French.

As you would have seen in the details I linked to, this camera uses an awkwardly sized battery. The person I got the camera from had a clever workaround which meant I could use the more convenient LR44. A pile of tinfoil wrapped in electrical tape. The other slot was a perfect size for 2 LR44, which are a slightly higher voltage. You might need to change the asa settings if you try this.

I took the camera to Bradford city center and Moses Gate Country Park. The weather, as usual, was rainy and cloudy. I used Fomapan 100 and pushed it to 400, though the camera does have a setting for 800asa film. I found the camera very quiet, but a little disturbing as there was no information in the viewfinder at all. The rangefinders second image was very faint so I added a piece of black tape to the viewfinder to aid focusing.

When I finally finished the film I developed it as usual and waited for it to dry. Then shock horror, my scanner would not turn on. SERIOUSLY!!! It is three months old and I haven’t used it often. I tried different cables, different sockets, but nothing I did would bring it back to life. I was left with the task of calling Canon. The guy on the line was very helpful, but it didn’t make it magically work again. I had to send it to their one and only service center in the UK. It came back in less than a week with a new power “thingy”. It was a bit of a worry as I am working part-time at the moment and scanners are not really essential or cheap. Anyway, I can recommend the Canon service center in the UK.

Moses Country Park

Bradford

I do also have a cheap portable 35mm scanner. Though the cheap scanner’s results are ok, it crops a lot of the image. Neither scanners are as sharp as I would like. Here are some side by side scans from the two ones I have.

Ok, my final thoughts. I love this camera. If you can find a good one get it but be aware, it will not work without batteries and the batteries might be an issue.

Pentax ME F

I saw this camera for sale on eBay for parts/not working. The description said the battery cover was stuck. I knew the ME F was very much like the ME Super and thought, I think I can fix that! So I bought it, for a bargain price.

When the camera arrived the battery compartment was indeed stuck. I unscrewed the bottom plate and there were batteries in the compartment. Luckily they weren’t leaking and the compartment showed no damage. I took them out and replaced the plate. Next, I tried pressing the battery open button and voila, the compartment opened without an issue. I am not sure why the cover got stuck, but it seemed fine now. I put in fresh ones and the lights came on. Maybe one had swelled and was due to burst. I got there in the nick of time.

I had come into contact with this model before, but it didn’t work. I then became a little obsessed with finding another. Finally, here I am with a seemingly working model. I researched it and found it is basically an improved ME Super with a focusing assistant for the very first autofocus lens. Without the lens, it is an ME Super with a focus indicator in the viewfinder. That made me think, sometimes we really want something, like a newer model. Something bigger, better, faster. I have lost count how many times I have upgraded something or bought a new digital camera and then realized the old one was perfectly fine.

Without that all-important lens, with the autofocus built in, this one was exactly what I already had. I didn’t need it at all. You can read more about it here, with technical details galore. 

Oh well, now I have it I might as well test it as I have a few Pentax K lenses. The camera works in aperture priority mode or manual mode. The “A” for auto on the lens I chose did not work on this camera, which was tricky when I accidentally went passed f22 by mistake.

Here is the test roll. It was very underdeveloped, I am still having issues adjusting to Ilfosol 3. I corrected the shots in Preview, well the ones I thought were worth it.

As a point of note, I do not like the new WordPress gallery. The old one would arrange the photos in a much more pleasing manner. The new one leaves big gaps unless you choose to crop the images for the thumbnails which I did for the camera shots and will do for the next test roll. I wanted to try the camera again after finding out about the auto issue.

There were taken on a lovely December afternoon around St.Aidans. The light went away quite sharply throughout the roll. The well-lit shots are fine, but the backlit ones caused this example to struggle. I took a similar roll with another camera and that coped much better with backlight. This camera, with both rolls, seems to underexpose a little.

Even though I love my Pentax ME Super, I just did not take to this version or example. I say example as it might just be this one, another MEF might be perfectly ok. If I use it again I will overexpose everything by half or one stop.

Buy this camera – Pentax ME F

Please note, this will come with a Sigma 35-105mm lens not the one feature in the photos. Check the photos and read the text, that way you know exactly what you are buying. The amount includes postage to the UK. If you live outside the UK please contact me for postage details.

£70.00

Werramat

I have previously tried a Werra and mentioned that I bought a junk/parts camera for less than £5 in order to get the front lens cover. Well, this is the junk camera I bought minus the small lens cover which I put on the other camera.

I sent the original Werra off for a CLA to a well-known place in Liverpool. This one initially didn’t work and I was about to consign it to the rubbish bin. Then I heard about another person who serviced cameras. He was much cheaper so I thought I would send him this one, nothing to lose really. Well, in a week he sent it back. Apparently, a small piece of plastic was stuck in the shutter mechanism. He took it out and voila, I now have two Werras. Actually, I also sent my Leica to the hobby guy for a CLA and that came back much cleaner and smoother too. The lens was unrepairable, but the viewfinder is now brighter. I am not sure why I took the risk with that, but it worked out well.

Ok, so what about this unexpected Werramat. It was made around 1961 and is completely manual. The lens cover was damaged as on my original. The manual states to put the lens at infinity before putting it back on as it will get damaged. I found that out with the original. I loaded this one with a roll of very expired slide film a Jessops 100. I set the camera to 25ASA.

Do you see the dial on the bottom? I left mine in the “R” position which means rewind. So when I finished the roll I actually hadn’t taken any photos as the film had not advanced. The arrow needs to be beyond the black circle, as it is in the photos. Then the film will advance.

So did my cheap, junk, bargain CLA’d camera work. Yeap! but the expired film was rubbish It had a massive colour cast which I removed. You can see some sharp photos though. There is no rangefinder, so it is a matter of guesswork and using the distance scale.

I think it needs a trial with a better film. But it does work and I now have two Werras.

Keep or Sell: I think I might give this one to a friend, I definitely don’t NEED two..but do I want two?? No, my GAS has gone and so has the camera.

Kiev 88

This is one of the cameras I bought in order to play with it on my return to England. I had read a lot about it online on various blogs. I read this article which called it the “Beast from the East”. At the time that I ordered it, the UK news was full of details about their own beast from the east, kismet I thought.

Due to the fact this takes 6×6 photos, there seems to be more photos of the camera here than the 12 test shots that I will add later. The article I linked to before says that you will need at least 2 backs as the loading part is complicated and you might want to do it at home rather than out and about.

I agree I wish I had two. This 1980s camera was one of the most annoying cameras I have ever had to load. Before loading the film I read the manual a couple of times, but still struggled. It didn’t seem to make much sense. The first issue I had was actually getting the cassette back in the holder, it would not go in easily. The second was that I had forgotten to wind the film to the first frame in the cassette and cock the shutter before reattaching the holder to the body. Really, I had read the manual…maybe I have to make a video to remind myself. The body’s film advance also cocks the shutter, so I had royally screwed things up.

Once I did have the film loaded, actually using the camera wasn’t that tricky. Mine had a waist level finder, not TTL, so it didn’t need batteries. I used an app on my phone for a light reading, then adjusted the aperture when the lighting changed. The next mistake I made was forgetting to take the cassette plate out. In the manual, they call this a “shutter”, anyway, with this plate inside the camera’s actual shutter is locked on my version. So you can’t waste film by forgetting to remove this, you just get confused as to why the damn thing isn’t working. Don’t start throwing the camera though as the thing could kill a cow.  This brilliant website has a funny review of the camera and says that it “weighs a f*****g ton.” He also used the word crap a lot, but he does give a lot of technical details if you want them.

So did mine actually work? Here is my roll of Fomapan 400.

As you can see I missed the first shot on the roll completely through my bad loading skills. There are a couple of shots of the swan where I think I forgot to change the aperture and the one blank one…no idea what happened there. The ones that did come out are nice and sharp, especially the non-moving log.

I don’t know why, but there is something about this camera I love. It is big, fat, and heavy. It clunks and groans while you use it and is prone to breaking. There are many websites detailing how finding a good one is hard, but if you do it is worth it. I think I have found a fairly good one, despite my issues with loading it. I am going to use it again and maybe upload more photos here. I find it beautiful and funky. This website compares it to the Hasselblad it was originally based on, it makes for an interesting read.

Keep or sell: Keep, for now, it is waaaay too heavy to post it anywhere I would get a good return for what I paid.

 

 

 

Mamiya ZE

This was a camera I received as a swap from an internet friend. I thought I might have got a raw deal, but when I was using it with a photo group they seemed to think it was fair. Also, I probably would have never used the Konica again, so it was an interesting swap for me.

 

As you can see it is very clean and has a Mamiya Lens attached. It was released in 1980 and had aperture priority only. You can find lots of technical details here. The ZE2 added the speed choice option. This was the first Japanese SLR to have a coupled light meter. I found using the camera very easy, it is just a little more than a point and shoot due to the lack of features. It is a nice weight, not too big or small. I did use the + and – feature for backlit subjects, but apart from that, it was all about composition. I suppose if you wanted to improve in that area then this kind of camera would work well for that. In the viewfinder, you can see a red dot next to the speed chosen by the camera.

Here are my two test rolls that were taken around Leeds and the Lake District.

Given that this was the first SLR to have a coupled meter in Japan it is great to see, even in difficult conditions, the exposure choices are very good. Given the lack of a manual feature, it is good for learning about aperture and depth of field, but little more.

I am still not sure it was a good swap, but I did get the Konica I swapped for it in a junk bin 😉

Keep or Sell: Sold. There was nothing about this camera that I found so appealing that I would rush to use it again.

Mamiya 35 S2

This rangefinder from 1959 was the last camera I bought in Japan, but not the last one I have to review from there. I have one more that is currently being CLA’d and won’t be returned for another month.

In fact, I bought this camera day before I left for the airport. I couldn’t resist it. A Mamiya, a rangefinder, nice and solid…and heavy. Crap, I was already over my luggage weight limit. Maybe I could just wear it around my neck?? And that is what I did 🙂

Everything seemed great. The only issue was the rangefinder patch seemed very dim. Then I stumbled upon this article about adding a square of tape to the viewfinder. As you can see, it worked a treat. Here is another article, with photos. When researching the camera I found one site that stated there were two versions released, the f2.8 and f1.9. All the other sites I found did not mention there were two. Mine is the 2.8, so I cannot attest to the 1.9 version.

There is very little to be found on the net about this Mamiya bar from a few vague lines. They generally say its name and date of manufacture.

From the photos you can gather it has an f2.8 – f22 lens, with a focal length of 48mm. Once the film is loaded you have to manually set the film counter which counts up. There is also a film reminder dial. As there is no light meter it is a simple reminder only. The film speeds range from 1 second to 1/500th with a B and a self-timer. There is also an M and X for the flash types. Ken Rockwell explains the different settings very well here. Basically, X is for the flash sync and M is for flash bulbs which take time to reach full brightness and therefore needs a different setting. The rangefinder has a short movement and can easily be moved by the index finger alone. The winder moves through slightly over 180 degrees. The viewfinder has a square in the corner where you can see the speed and aperture settings. Unfortunately, I cannot make out the numbers due to my poor close up eyesight. Too much reading maybe.

Well, that was quite technical for me. That’s enough of that. How were the photos?

I took a few in Tsukuba before I left for the airport, then finished the film on a cloudy day out in Liverpool.

Can you see where the switch in countries takes place? One of the posters might give you a clue.

Wow, what a super, not so little camera. I definitely had issues focusing while in Japan, but once I added the tape in England there is an improvement.

As the skin started to fall off while I was using it, I recovered it with maps from places in the UK that I love.

How cool is that!

Buy this camera – Mamiya 35 S2

Please check the photos and read the text, that way you know exactly what you are buying. The amount includes postage to the UK. If you live outside the UK please contact me for postage details.

£70.00

Olympus O-Product

I saw this interesting camera on a blog about the same time I saw the Prima Sol. While looking for the Sol, I also looked online for this camera. Again, I never thought I would find a reasonably priced example and certainly didn’t think my small bid would stick. I must have been lucky that week because I won both of them.

Just look at it.

How pretty is that? The first chance I got to use it was at a photography club meeting and at my friend’s horse stables. Once I whipped out the camera a few of the members mentioned that recently there was a video online reviewing it. I looked for it after I tried it out.

There were a couple of videos, I preferred this one as I have also tried the Minolta Prod 20’s.

I felt the same way as the reviewer. I much preferred the look of the O-Product and the fact the flash is removable. I also love the sound it made, I wonder how they did that. Here is another great review that goes into much more detail than I care to give, including the history behind the design. I do know that any time I have pulled it out of my bag people wanted to look at it. But did it work?

I used some expired agfa 200 which I converted to black and white in post process due to the colour tint. The photos were taken around Leeds, with only the fish and chips using the flash.

I liked using the camera. I liked the results. I did feel it was a bit flashy, pardon the pun. It wasn’t something you could sneak a photo with. It demanded attention, especially with the flash attached. The brushed metal body was comfortable to hold and the cover over the lens was a bonus feature.

Buy this camera – Olympus O-Product

Please check the photos and read the text, that way you know exactly what you are buying. The amount includes postage to the UK. If you live outside the UK please contact me for postage details.

£160.00