This was truly Minolta’s last hurrah; the age of the film SLR was starting to come to a close. Rather than let it go out with a whimper, Minolta took things by the reigns and rode out into the sunset with a sixth and final generation of film cameras before merging with Konica and leaving 35mm behind. Meet the Maxxum 70, elsewhere known as the Dynax 60 or α-70. While much of the final era of cameras from Minolta were continuations of their original three market segments, the Maxxum 9 (Professionals), Maxxum 7 (Advanced Amatures), and Maxxum 5 (Consumers). But this final subset of camerasRead More →

There is a legendary film that many professional photographers whisper about in hushed tones of reverence. Part of a lineup of professional films held near and dear to many photographers’ hearts. Especially regarding its sharpness and fine grain, that film is APX 25. I have shot this film many times; it’s one that I always will seek out when hunting through boxes of expired films or in the fridges at camera stores or when offered up by former professional photographers. Despite being a slow film, it is fun to use in almost any situation, and though it has been gone for twenty-two years now, itRead More →

When it comes to assistance with long processing times or the need for constant agitation, there aren’t that many options out there today. Sure there is the original Jobo system, but these are completely closed systems that often carry a high startup cost. And on the opposite end of the spectrum are the Besler and Unicolor Cibachrome bases and tanks. But what about something new, using modern solutions. Last year I had the chance to try out one such system, the AuRA film processor, and it certainly made an impression on me and my processing. Sadly these aren’t yet for sale, and given the technologyRead More →

After the last TFS meetup I did in November 2021, it’s hard to believe I was able to get back to one so soon, especially one that’s in the city where the group takes its name. Since the birth of my son, I’ve been delegating some of my work out to trusted friends. The photo walks were given over to John Meadows and Bill Smith, who welcomed a couple of additional group members. As much as I enjoy planning out these events, it’s always nice to attend as an attendee. I don’t often drive in the city, relying on public transit to get around. ButRead More →

When it comes to fixed telephoto lenses, something is satisfying about these lenses, while they may not always be the ideal lens in a situation. When I first picked up that kit, the lenses that I got were a Soligor 200mm f/4, and it was the first lens I used when shooting my first roll of film. And for many years, I was happy with having only the 135mm f/2.8 in my manual focus Nikon kit. Then a chance at a 200mm f/4 brought me back to my first SLR, the Minolta SR-T 102. , That lens puts the Nikkor 200mm f/4 to shame inRead More →

While I’m not always a fan of third-party lenses, every so often, one comes along that impresses me as an alternative to an OEM lens. And the Osawa is one of those lenses that I probably would have used more if I had known what a sleeper I was sitting on. Unlike Vivitar, Osawa is a lens manufacturer in their own right and produced lenses starting in the 1970s when many SLRs were beginning to gain popularity in the consumer market, and many were clamouring for inexpensive alternatives. While working with this lens in an OM-Mount, they also produced for other major camera makers likeRead More →

Throughout these reviews, I have shied away from third-party lens makers. But I have a long history with third-party lenses and often with good results. My favourite lenses are from my first SLR system, the Minolta SR-T 102, a Kiron 70-150mm f/4 lens and a Vivitar 75-210mm f/3.5. Although that Vivitar is different from today, the Series 1 70-210mm f/3.5 in many ways. The biggest is the size and function; the Series 1 is a beast and a lens that surprised me that they even released the lens in an OM-Mount. Lens Specifications Make: Kiron Model: Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm 1:3.5 Macro Focusing Auto ZoomRead More →

When it comes to a 50mm lens, they are often overshadowed by faster fifties, the f/1.4 and f/1.2 and even crazier f/0.95. But sometimes, all you need is something at f/1.8, and the Olympus F.Zuiko, 50mm f/1.8, is a spectacular choice for your OM-System. While the lens has gone through several changes since its inception, this chrome nose version fits in nicely next to my 50mm f/1.4 chrome nose and is a tack sharp option for the more budget-minded Olympus user. Lens Specifications Make: Olympus Model: OM-System Auto-S F.Zuiko 1:1,8 f=50mm Focal Length: 50mm Focal Range: ∞ – 0.45m Aperture: f/1.8 – f/16, 6 BladesRead More →

I remember not being overly excited about Rollei Paul & Reinhold when it was first announced in September of 2020. I mean, yes, it is great to see a special edition film released to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of a premier and historic camera maker (Franke & Heidecke later Rollei). There was little data on the film at the time, and there are still many gaps. Given that the actual film stock is unknown, it’s either a limited edition run (made in Italy, not Belgium) or a found stock that has been rebranded. Either way, Rollei has been tight-lipped about the film’s source. Given thatRead More →

I’ll admit, I have a soft spot for manual focus Minolta cameras. And the Minolta lineup is a unique cross-section of camera technology through the post-war 20th Century. All my early experience with photography came in various Minolta cameras, from my family’s Riva Zoom to my first personal camera, the Hi-Matic 7s and the first SLRs in the SR-T 102 X-7a. More recently, the XE-7 has been my Minolta SR-Mount of choice. But the XE-7 lead me down the rabbit hole of the 1970s of Minolta’s technology-sharing agreement with Ernst Leitz because, of course, there was something better. And that something better is the MinoltaRead More →