Feb 26 2015

Leica Mini


The Leica Mini cost about $300 when it was new while the Minolta Freedom Escort cost about $85 I’ve written previously about how these are for all intents and purposes the same camera.  Fraternal twins? Leica and Minolta

Despite this knowledge the gravitational pull of the Leica still seems to draw me in as it obviously has others.  It’s true Leica have created some incredible photographic equipment and I guess this halo allowed them to charge more for the same thing such as the Leica Digilux 4.3 which was essentially a Fujifilm 4700 or the Leica Digilux 3 which was the same as a Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 and there were and are more examples.  There is always just enough modification to at least create the plausibility of justification whether it’s the lens or firmware.  In the case of the Leica Mini its the lens that is different but from what I can see there is little or no gain over the Minolta.  See what I just did there?  Even I hedged my bet that there could be a difference, what am I afraid of, the not so secret society the Leicati?   If having a Leica is something that matters to you then this is a good one to have it’s cheap and decent and has a red dot but if you can’t find one you could always just put a red dot on the Minolta.



Feb 21 2015

Sometimes its enough to make you want to use a digital camera


There is a ‘feature’ of the Contax RTS that has now bitten me twice.  On many SLR’s of its vintage with manual film advance the film rewind level turns to indicate that the film is actually advancing.  Not so with the RTS it has a fancy system that allows the rewind lever to remain stationary even when the film advances but that is also exactly what it also looks like when the film isn’t advancing at all.  To be fair I should have double and triple checked that it was working but in my excitement to continue taking pictures I guess I forgot.  So after quite some time and 36 blank frames of missed opportunity I discovered my error.  That put a damper on what was otherwise a great day where I also saw and bought some fantastic art cards from a fellow photographer. Here is the GPS track of my photographic excursion so I will actually re-cover the ground at some point where I have no images.


It’s tough because I can remember several pictures that I thought I took and was quite pleased with.  I really hope the other camera I was using for the first half of my tour worked.

A little bit of information for thought:  A 35mm 36 exposure roll of film is about 1.4meters long, a 32Gbyte card will store about 600 RAW images from my Pentax K-3 DSLR which if it where film would be about 23.3meters long.  That amount of film canisters would also weigh around 375g not that I would shoot that much film in a day.

Provided the first 24 exposure roll from the RTS turns out I will have a little mini review and further rant at that time.


Feb 19 2015

Fuji DL mini (Cardia) 28mm verticals


This has to be one of the best little cameras even though my copy looks like its been thrown off a cliff.  It’s missing pieces has dents and requires tape to keep everything in place the strap has been cut but it works like a charm.

As a focal length 28mm allows a lot to be included in the frame this encourages the photographer to get up close to the subject.  When doing that it also makes shooting in vertical orientation a nice variation.


Feb 15 2015

Canon A35F


One of the reasons to like this camera is that while it has automatic exposure it is still manual rangefinder focusing.  That appeals to me, in fact the first camera I bought for myself was the Minolta X700 a manual focus SLR at a time when autofocus cameras were everywhere.  In some cases I don’t mind turning certain aspects of making pictures over to the camera when I know how its going to behave anyway, but letting the camera choose what is in focus seems to be giving up too much.  Even today I mostly use spot focus with my DSLR and recompose.

Back to the Canon A35F which looks a lot like a Canonet or a QL17 with a built in flash.  One downside of this automatic camera is that it will lock the shutter if the light level falls too low, I would rather have an underexposed image than no image at all.  This happens at EV9 with 100 ISO film (1/60 @ f2.8) a place I often go photographically, so that does limit its usefulness.  You can always turn on the flash I suppose and go for that 1980’s party flash look.  Speaking of looks I like the all black of the camera, so many of the other rangefinders I have seen from this time have the silver black two tone look, making the A35F actually stands out.  It looks better than the Canon AF35 that came out the next year as well.  So it sits between these two designs

1971_nnet28 1978_a35f 1979_af35m

Bring on the pictures!

Feb 11 2015

Yashica Electro 35 GX with Portra 800


Lets see…good film (check) great camera (check) interesting place (check)  it all adds up to a great time taking pictures.  I helped chaperone a group of highschool photography students downtown Vancouver and true to form I had a couple different cameras with me.  One of them was the Yashica Electro GX only recently knocked from its pedestal of favourite rangefinder in my collection by the equally good Olympus SP35

I really like the look I get from Portra 800 as well and am amazed at how fine the grain is considering the speed of the film.  Here is a crop from one of the images.


More about the Yashica GX through searching my blog here Yashica Electro 35 GX

Feb 7 2015

Konica Lexio 70 is the lens really that bad?


Yes its pretty bad at close focus distances but improves when the subject is further away  it also doesn’t hurt to put what you want to see clearly, in the center of the frame because the corners are full of distortion. This is my second go around with a Lexio 70 the first one was even a little worse producing gems like this May2012_Konica_Lexio70_008 Which is perfectly valid if your intention is to make the viewer feel slightly uneasy even if their not sure why.   On the positive side of things the Lexio 70 has a nice LCD panel that clearly shows what your settings are it’s small and looks nice and it does 28mm.  Given the opportunity I would choose the Canon Z90W which has a 28-90mm lens and is an all around better camera.  Having now tested two examples of this camera I can say that the 28-70mm f/3.4-7.9 lens performs poorly which is a shame because its an otherwise nice camera.


Feb 3 2015

Polaroid P-14


Feb 1 2015

Yashica T4 Super


I’m going to try to have a look at this camera in a more objective fashion and separate its performance from its somewhat cult status.  My first objective though was to test that it worked and for that I used some dubious outdated film.  That may not have been the greatest decision I ever made.  While the images turned out it left me with the question of whether or not the camera meters accurately because both rolls of film I used ended up being very contrasty. For both rolls I shot under dark rainy conditions as well.  It’s not all doom and gloom though the camera worked well and earned the right to have some decent film next time.

One thing about one camera: The T4 Super was available in 1993 for $129.90 today it sells on Ebay for around twice that much.  One of the few point ans shoot cameras that actually went up in value. I have no intention of ever selling it though as I consider it a gift.  Why Photography Makes you a nice person