Aug 12 2017

Kodak T550


The Kodak T550 is a diminutive camera that separated itself from the rest of the APS pack with a flash that flipped up from its other duty as a lens cover. The 28mm f3.5 lens gives an angle of view similar to a 35mm lens on a 35mm film camera when you use the entire film area of 30.2mmx16.7mm.  With each APS exposure the full image area is recorded and with that also recorded magnetically the aspect ratio setting the user had selected.  There were three settings known as H (high definition), C  (Classic) and P (Panoramic) so while the entire image area was always recorded, during printing the machine would read the magnetic info and crop the images accordingly.  I prefer to use the full 16:9 aspect ratio for composing images as it is the one interesting thing about APS film.  And it shouldn’t be a surprise but I used out of date non refrigerated film with an unknown history as that is my primary source of APS film.

Aug 1 2017

Minolta Freedom Vista Redux



This is my second Minolta Freedom Vista, the first one I had was stolen with a few other items from my vehicle. This one is every bit as beat up as that one was but despite the weathered look it performed well.  I do need to find and remove all the little fibers that must be around the edge of the film mask as they show up on every image. The defining feature of this camera is of course its ability to shoot panoramic images with its 24mm lens.  The caveat being that it can not be used to create anything other than panoramas.  Having this sole purpose though allowed Minolta to provide it with a nice large viewfinder dedicated to the effort, and it makes composing with such a different aspect ratio fun.  That aspect ratio is a wide 2.6:1 which falls among various widescreen cinematic ratios.

The lens on the Freedom Vista is a 24mm  f4.5 with five elements.  It’s only at the outer edges where the chromatic aberrations really show themselves which is amazing considering how thin the camera is and how close to the film plane this places the lens.


So in summary composing with this camera offers some small opportunity to try your hand at creating unique compositions and the large single purpose viewfinder is superior to any other point and shoot that offers a panoramic mode.


Jul 14 2017

Cinestill 50


Cinestill 50D is a unique 35mm daylight film that starts life as Kodak Vision3 50D movie film before Cinestill removes the rem-jet layer and packages it into 35mm canisters so you can put it into a regular 35mm still camera.  I loaded a roll into my Minolta X700 for a try as I’m always looking for something unique.  The ‘D’ in 50D refers to the colour balance of the film which is nominally 5500K..  What they mean is that under the light of the sun items will have accurate colour representation.  So something like a white sheet would appear white when scanned without adjustment.  We don’t often speak about films as daylight or tungsten balanced any more but it points to this films origin as a movie film where a distinction like this is more important.

I find that the un edited scanned files from Cinestill 50D are quite muted and require an increase in saturation to reach a more natural result as seen bellow.


The film is very fine grained as expected as it originates as Kodak Vision 3 50D which they advertise as the worlds finest grain film.  Kodak Ektar is also described as the worlds finest grain colour negative film.  Unfortunately grain values are provided using different methods for the two films so they are not easily compared using data sheets.  However I can say that they are both incredibly fine grained to the point that even with a 16×20 print the grain will not be that visible at normal viewing distances.  The grain is more pronounced in areas of under exposure but still remains very low with a small amount of  colour mottling.


Like other current Cinestill films in order to make them developable in regular C41 processes its necessary for them to pre-remove the remjet anti halation layer.  With Cinestill 800T this can result in interesting halos around light sources as bright light is scattered and reflected within the film base.  I didn’t see much evidence of this with Cinestill 50D however even when trying to cause it.


You can consider Cinestill 50D to be the equivalent to a RAW file in digital terms, it is able to capture as much detail as possible.  In fact its ability to preserve highlights makes it an excellent choice when that is important.  The downside is that it requires some saturation and colour adjustment to achieve a natural result much like a digital RAW file would.  This shouldn’t be surprising as Vision 3 film is intended to be used as part of a film to digital work flow that includes digital post production.



Jul 2 2017

Cosina CX7 with Adox Color Implosion


Adox color implosion is a film that gives a look that could have come from a camera left on the dashboard of a 1984 Oldsmobile. That’s why I paired it up with the Cosina CX7 they were made for each other.

With Adox Color Implosion shot with a little underexposure in drab light the only thing that you get is grainy pictures but if you feed it some bright light that’s when it shows its ‘true colours’. And by true colours I mean cartoonish cerulean sky’s and deep crimson reds.

Here is a detail of the unique grain you get from Color Implosion


The CX-7 has a 33mm f3.5 lens with 4 elements and a shutter that goes to 1/600 sec  along with a fairly powerful flash.  Some other postings about the CX7 Happy as a clam shell  Cosina CX7 Oct 2009

Jun 25 2017

Canon Z90W


This is one of the cameras that I wanted to take on a trip because of its wide angle and ability to force the flash off. I have never had any issues with it and have always been pleased with the results but I wanted to test it anyway. So in goes the Fuji 200 and out come these images.

Other posts about this camera here: Canon Z90W Oct. 2015 , Canon Z90W May 2013

The lens is made using 7 elements two of which are aspherical, the overall result is reasonably sharp images with little vingetting and well controlled aberrations.

Here is a crop from the image of a wildflower that gives an idea of the amount of detail that is captured with this camera and 35mm film combination which I’ve stated before can be in the neighborhood of a 14mpixel equivalency as far as the amount of useful information captured although the images will have that film look.


Jun 8 2017

Pentax 140V


Pentax may have been the most prolific manufacturer of mediocre point and shoots.  To clarify all but a few premium point and shoots fit into that category so they had competition from almost every camera maker but for shear quantity of middling quality Pentax takes the cake.  I don’t know what the actually sales figures were but based on the percentage of Pentax cameras found in thrift stores one can surmise.  So in no way does this camera rise to the top of the pile, it provides a 38-140mm zoom of f 5.8 – 11.8  and pretty standard features.  The only nice things about this camera are the sliding lens cover and the blue backlit top LCD display.  These touches set it apart from the more common pile dwellers the Espio 140 and Espio 140M.

May 24 2017

Yashica Micro Finesse

The lens of the Yashica Micro Finess is a 33mm f3.5 triplet nothing fancy just functional.  The first triplet lenses date all the way back to 1893 and are considered the simplest lens that can correct most aberations.    I haven’t been able to find much other information about this camera.  One magazine from the time suggested that it had similar specifications to the T4 although with the Triplet lens rather than the Zeiss Tessar of the T4. This does seem plausible when you consider that it can accommodate film DX coding from 50-3200 which was unusual for an inexpensive camera at that time.  Whatever it might borrow from Yashica’s parts bin it is ultimately a middle of the road camera with a middle of the road wide-angle lens.  As is often the case I used severely expired Kodak 400 in this camera.

May 20 2017

Minolta Vectis 10


The APS film format was short lived thankfully so despite the often inventive designs of some of the cameras there are just as many boring offerings.  The Minolta Vectis 10 is one of these.  It has a 25-50mm f4.8-9.1 lens and what must be one of the most limiting shutter speed ranges of 1/90 sec to 1/200 sec.  Even though it uses the smaller APS film format the camera itself is as large or larger than many contemporary 35mm film cameras.  It’s around the same size as the Yashica T4 zoom for example.  I would describe it as being chunky.  The viewfinder is a tiny little thing that’s easy to miss when bringing the camera up to your eye.  Without many redeeming qualities and with better camera options to use the dwindling supply of APS film in the Minolta Vectis 10 is not worth bothering with.

May 6 2017

Minolta X700


Some images from a camera that has always served me well.  While it is a sturdy enough camera the thing that hampers the X700 from being one of the great manual focus SLR’s of all time is its use of a plastic body.  At the time the Canon New F1, the Nikon F3 and the Pentax LX were made of sturdy metals the X700 felt cheap and I guess that’s why it was comparatively affordable.  The use of plastic aside the exposure system and functionality were top notch.  The top shutter speed of 1/1000  is also somewhat limiting although not an uncommon top speed for SLRs of the time.

Apr 22 2017

Canon MC


The Canon MC (MC stands for Micro Compact) is on the small side at 4.25″ x 2.5″ x 1.625″.  One of the ways that it achieves this small size is by placing the two infrared autofocus modules in a vertical arrangement.  They are uncovered along with the lens when you slide the lens cover open which also turns the camera on.  An additional way size is kept down is by using AAA batteries for power. (Lithium batteries were only just starting to be used around the mid 1980′s)

The lens is a 35mm f2.8 made from 4 elements the rear element being a molded plastic aspherical one.

The shutter itself is electro mechanical which allows settings between 1/8 and 1/500 second.  If the exposure system deems that there isn’t enough light for a proper exposure it flashes a red LED in the viewfinder to suggest that you use flash.  The flash is a detachable unit that mounts on the side of the camera and is also powered by two of its own AAA batteries

A common way that many cameras achieve pre-focus and recompose is to allow a half press of the shutter button before fully pressing it and taking the picture.  The Canon MC takes an entirely different approach. There is a (Self-Timer Pre-Focus) switch on the top of the camera and by sliding this to the left and then fully depressing the shutter the autofocus system is activated and set without tripping the shutter then a second press of the shutter button will trip the shutter using the previously set autofocus. Here is the kicker though you need to do that before the self timer goes off and takes a picture anyway.  It does give you 10 seconds and that 10 seconds doesn’t start until you release the shutter button when setting the focus.  So in practical terms you could set the focus and hold down the button until you are ready to take the picture and then release and re-press.  The actual tripping of the shutter is extremely quiet but then the thundering film advance happens sounding a lot like some injured animal.

I found the camera to be a capable performer in most cases and with its small size and angular design it achieves a level of fun that’s hard to explain.  While it’s a cumbersome process you can use the Canon MC in a silent way which I will describe here.

1.  Slide the Pre-Focus switch to the left

2.  Press and hold the shutter button to set focus

3.  Wait for the moment you want to take the picture

4. Release and repress the shutter to take the picture KEEPING the shutter button pressed

5.  Wait until an opportune moment to release the shutter button again to advance the film and mask the noise, a moment such as a jet taking off or a stuck car horn.