Tag: camera

CCR Review 91 – Zeiss Ikon Contaflex 126

CCR Review 91 – Zeiss Ikon Contaflex 126

There are plenty of unique cameras that you can get your hands on, most of them come from the era of film. And one of the cameras in the group is the Contaflex 126. While you may recognize the Contaflex name, I have reviewed a pair of them (Contaflex Super and Super B) the Contaflex 126 is not a common camera and if you’ve got a keen eye you will have already guessed the reason. Yes, the Contaflex 126 takes the 126/Instamatic cartridge format introduced by Kodak in 1963. While Instamatic cameras are a dime a dozen, SLRs that take the format are rare, in fact, there were ever only three different models made. The obvious Kodak Instamatic Reflex, the Contaflex 126, and the Rollei SL26. There are two individuals I have to thank for this review, the first being Kevin Paschuk for the camera and Michael Raso and the Film Photography Project for supplying the reloaded 126 cartridge with TMax 100.

CCR Review 91 - Zeiss Ikon Contaflex 126

The Dirt
Make: Zeiss Ikon
Model: Contaflex 126
Type: Single Lens Reflex
Format: 126 (Instamatic), 24x24mm
Lens: Interchangeable, 126 Mount
Year of Manufacture: 1967

CCR Review 91 - Zeiss Ikon Contaflex 126CCR Review 91 - Zeiss Ikon Contaflex 126

The Good
The design of the Contaflex 126 is perhaps one of my favourites, short squat profile, and easy to operate even for someone who has limited knowledge of Instamatic Cameras. The design reminds me of the new Reflex SLR system being produced this year. The film advance is a single stroke slide that if you used actual 126 film make it fairly quick to operate. Size and Weight make the camera easy to carry about without too much trouble and it fits easily in the hand. The camera has a shutter priority meter with a limited range of shutter speeds. But the best part of the camera is the lenses, they’re all Carl Zeiss and it shows in the images, most are Tessar or Distagon design, there was a cheap Plantar model but you do want to get the better Tessar model.

CCR Review 91 - Zeiss Ikon Contaflex 126CCR Review 91 - Zeiss Ikon Contaflex 126

The Bad
The most obvious downfall for the camera is the fact it takes 126 film, 126 hasn’t been made in a decade and while there is still plenty of expired stock left there are a couple of options that allow you to reload old cartridges and adapters (Fakmatic). But herein lies the problem, 126 film has single indexing sprockets which many cameras including the Contaflex 126, required to cock the shutter upon advance. While 126 is the same basic size as 135 (35mm), there are a lot more sprockets. I got past this by just putting the lens cap over and fire and advance to most it to the right spacing. And while I can speak to the reloads, I’m not sure how the camera will handle the Fakmatic, as the camera takes the film speed from the cartridge. The second issue with the camera is the placement of the light meter, it sits on top of the body so it gets the reading from any light source above the photographer, rather than reflecting off the subject in a thru-the-lens setup. While the images seemed to be alright, I did notice in some cases the images were either under or overexposed due to the light filtering in from above.

CCR Review 91 - Zeiss Ikon Contaflex 126CCR Review 91 - Zeiss Ikon Contaflex 126

The Lowdown
As a camera, the Contaflex 126 is a handsome unit and today would make a better shelf-queen than a daily user and there are a couple reasons for that. First is the struggle to use 35mm in the camera the second is the fact it needs a mercury cell. While you can get Wyne cells, they are pricey and hard to find outside of major centres with a speciality photography store. And then there’s the cost. While the camera bodies can be had cheap because they clearly show they’re 126 format, it’s the lenses. Many resellers feel they can take the Contaflex 126 lenses and use them on the other Contaflex bodies and combined with the Zeiss branding the prices skyrocket. The sad fact is that the Contaflex 126 lenses only work on the 126 camera.

All Photos Taken at Crawford Lake Conservation Area, Milton, Ontario
Zeiss Ikon Contaflex 126 – Carl Zeiss Tessar 2,8/45 – Kodak TMax 100 @ ASA-100
Ilford Microphen (Stock) 8:00 @ 20C

CCR Review 90 – Canon EOS Elan 7NE

CCR Review 90 – Canon EOS Elan 7NE

I’m a Nikon shooter and have shot a lot of Nikon Cameras, but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate a fine Canon. Of the modern Canon EOS cameras, I’ve shot the Elan 7ne is probably the best camera, I mean I’d take this over an EOS-1. But the Elan 7n/7ne are unique cameras in my view, one of a few the others being the Canon T90 and Nikon F90. These cameras have the specs and could very well be professional models but often are left aside. But if the three, the Elan 7ne would get the most publicity, but to be honest, if I had one land in my lap, I wouldn’t say no to keep it. Thanks to Mike Bitaxi for loaning this beauty out!

CCR Review 90 - Canon EOS Elan 7NE

The Dirt
Make: Canon
Model: EOS Elan 7NE (EOS 30V/EOS 7S)
Type: Single Lens Reflex
Format: 135 (35mm), 36x24mm
Lens: Interchangeable, Canon EF Mount
Year of Manufacture: 2004

CCR Review 90 - Canon EOS Elan 7NECCR Review 90 - Canon EOS Elan 7NE

The Good
The first frame I shot on the camera my first instinct said, man, this is a smooth operating camera. Everything just works and works well. From loading the film to turning it on and operating the camera. The size, weight, and general feel of the camera make it ideal for shooting on a regular and daily basis, one thing that I had an issue with more consumer-oriented Canon cameras was the handgrip, far too narrow, but on the Elan 7ne, it’s perfect and reminds me of my old Nikon D70s or Nikon D300. The control layout is decent, with the main command dial right by the shutter release and the thumb wheel nicely placed so you can operate the camera, even in manual mode single-handed.

CCR Review 90 - Canon EOS Elan 7NECCR Review 90 - Canon EOS Elan 7NE

The Bad
There’s really only a couple things that I don’t really like on this camera. First off is where the on/off control is as part of the mode dial. Honestly, I don’t know why they did that. Having to not only turn on the camera but then remember to return to your mode is a bit odd to me. I personally would have preferred a separate on/off switch. While not a major dig at the camera, I find it more of an annoyance. The second annoyance is the eye-control, I ended up having to turn the feature off, which I’m glad you can. I can understand why such a system would be nice being able to look and have the camera focus, but honestly, I tried to get it to work and it didn’t. Not sure if I was doing it wrong or the system itself is flawed. As I said, at least you can turn it off and manually set the focus points.

CCR Review 90 - Canon EOS Elan 7NECCR Review 90 - Canon EOS Elan 7NE

The Lowdown
You don’t need to jump on an Elan 7ne, the original Elan 7n will do you just fine. As I said in the introduction the Elan 7n/ne is a camera that occupies a unique section of SLRs, when you started to see more advanced cameras that aren’t aimed at the professional but more the advanced amateur those who love photography and desire that higher-end camera but don’t have the budget. Now if you’re looking for a good spot to start in 35mm film cameras and already have the EF (not EF-S) than an Elan 7n would be a solid camera to start with as it does have a very similar look and feel to most digital SLRs offered up from Canon. Plus, even on the used market, they can be had for a fair price.

All Photos Taken along the Historic Welland Canal, Ontario, Canada
Canon EOS Elan 7NE – Canon Zoom Lens EF 28-90mm 1:4-5.6 – Kodak TMax 100 @ ASA-100
Kodak D-76 (1+1) 9:30 @ 20C

Classic Camera Revival – Episode 41 – Pick Your Poison

Classic Camera Revival – Episode 41 – Pick Your Poison

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In all cases, it’s all about picking the right gear for the job, so this episode the gang talks about the cameras they use when they’re in specific situations from street photography to travel, sports to portrait work. It’s all about picking the right poison for the job.

Portraiture – James is an amazing portrait photographer who has done hundreds of wedding and even taught on the subject. And while he does shoot plenty of digital images when out doing portrait work he uses a few film cameras. The iconic Hasselblad 503 and more importantly the Carl Zeiss Sonar 150mm f/4 lens and the other being the Nikon F6 with the AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G lens. For Mike, however, being a loving father, he does most of the portraits of his kids using his trusty Canon AE-1 and a 50mm lens.

Remembering When...

Travel – Most of the gang have the travel bug. And at least three of us are huge fans of New York City. And when travelling, especially by air you have to keep your kit fairly compact. For Bill, he mostly works with the compact Olympus OM-1n for 35mm and the Rolleicord IV to cover off medium format work. Alex’s travel camera of choice especially for New York City is the Nikon FA with the MD-15 motor drive attached. But it’s the lenses that truly make the trip and it’s the three lens kit that he takes no matter the camera, a wide angle (24/28/35), a normal (50), and a short telephoto (85/105/135) to round it out. Both Alex and Bill use messenger style bags, Domke for Bill and the Peak Design Everyday Messanger for Alex.

Inside the TerraceAn Empire of ThoughtsLast Look at TriBeCaShadow Cable on the Brooklyn Bridge

Street – Street photography is one of those genres that tend to polarize people on the gear that should be used and how it’s to be done. But for John, it’s all about comfort and for that, it’s the Voigtlander Bessa R3m and with a 35mm lens, he finds he can wander around and stay out of the notice of his subjects, wide enough to catch the moment, yet not too wide to lose the subject. As for the manual focus, he sets the lens to f/8 and sets the focus and forgets it and let’s hyperfocal distance do its thing. Also, the camera is easy on his back.

View from Banff Springs hotelSteel and ConcreteOutside a Glasgow Art Gallery

Sport – Our newest addition to the team, Trevor, has a lot to share when it comes to the professional side of photography. He even got some shooting in during the last time the Toronto Blue Jays won the World Series in 1993! And for that, the camera of choice is the Nikon F4 with the 80-200mm f/2.8D lens. The camera and the lens gave him all the reach he needed to catch the action of the first base line.

Looking for a good spot to get your gear and material fix check out Burlington Camera (Burlington, ON), Downtown Camera (Toronto, ON), Film Plus (Toronto, ON), Belle Arte Camera (Hamilton, ON), Pond’s FotoSource (Guleph, ON), Foto Art Camera (Owen Sound, ON). Out West there’s The Camera Store (Calgary, AB) and Beau Photo Supply (Vancouver, BC). Additionally you can order online at Argentix (Quebec), buyfilm.ca (Ontario), the Film Photography Project or Freestyle Photographic.

Also you can connect with us through email: classiccamerarevivial[at]gmail[dot]com or by Facebook, we’re at Classic Camera Revival or even Twitter @ccamerarevival

CCR Review 89 – Minolta XG-M

CCR Review 89 – Minolta XG-M

The first time I picked up the Minolta XG-M, it felt as if I were coming home. If you’ve been following along with these reviews for some time, you’ll know that my first real camera system came from Minolta, first with the SR-T 102 and then the X-7a. When I had the chance to get back into the Minolta cameras, I had no qualms about getting an XG series as they have plenty of good options, but out of all the XG line from Minolta, the XG-M is the one that suited me the best. A real camera of the 1980s yet carries on the legacy of both Rokkor lenses and Minolta quality before they joined up with Konica. Thanks to Trevor Black for this camera.

CCR Review 89 - Minolta XG-M

The Dirt
Make: Minolta
Model: XG-M
Type: Single Lens Reflex
Format: 135 (35mm), 36x24mm
Lens: Interchangeable, Minolta MC Mount
Year of Manufacture: 1981

CCR Review 89 - Minolta XG-MCCR Review 89 - Minolta XG-M

The Good
First and foremost the XG-M is small, but not in a bad way, I should rather call it compact for an SLR, along with the same lines as a Nikon FA and Olympus OM-1. Combine the size with an equally compact weight you have the perfect camera to carry around no matter if you’re travelling light or attending a moving photo walk. While the XG-M lacks the full auto-exposure shooting of the X-700 or Nikon FA, the aperture priority is perfect and the fact the camera has the full manual mode which sets it apart from the rest of the XG series. The camera’s viewfinder is big and bright and has feedback on both your shutter speed as indicated with lights and your aperture through an under-prism window. Though in low light it is difficult to see both. Operation wise the shutter release is a soft touch one but doesn’t take away the mechanical release, which Minolta could have easily done. The release is located just by the lens mount. The film advance is short and allows for quick operation. Or you can add the Motor Drive 1, which I had with my X-7a but had no desire to add to my XG-M, if I need that, I have the FA. There’s a dedicated on/off button (more on that later), and everything is well laid out on the camera body. And I do have to make a mention of the sharp line of underrated Rokkor lenses available for the camera, though I do recommend sticking to the modern Rokkor-X models.

CCR Review 89 - Minolta XG-MCCR Review 89 - Minolta XG-M

The Bad
There are some things that I do dislike about the camera. First of all is the placement of the on/off switch, more specifically where the indicator on if your camera is on or off. That is covered up by the film advance lever when it’s placed flush into the body. You can pull it out part way (like turning on a Nikon FM/FE/FA), and then you can see it. At least the actual switch unit is on the opposite side. I feel it could be better placed for more feedback. The second item is the restrictive ISO/ASA ratings for the camera meter, running from ASA-25 at the low end and ASA-1600 at the high-end. It’s not so much the low-end rating it’s that the camera tops out at 1600. Sure I could use the EV adjustment (+2/-2) to adjust it higher and lower, but I tend to avoid using it as I often will forget to adjust it back and mess up the next roll of film.

CCR Review 89 - Minolta XG-MCCR Review 89 - Minolta XG-M

The Lowdown
The XG-M is certainly a camera I would recommend; they are inexpensive on the used market as are the lenses which makes it an easy way to get into manual focus, semi-automatic film photography without too much out of pocket. You could get a camera and lens for about 100$ and still have lots left over to get lots of films to run through the camera. Personally, I’m looking forward to using this camera at plenty of Toronto Film Shooters meetups when we’re moving as I can bring plenty of lenses along for the ride and still have space/weight for a medium format camera in the bag.

All Photos Taken in Milton, Ontario
Minolta XG-M – Minolta Rokkor-X 45mm 1:2 – Kodak TMax 400 @ ASA-400
Kodak D-23 (Stock) 8:00 @ 20C

CCR Review 88 – Wirgin Edixa II

CCR Review 88 – Wirgin Edixa II

When it comes to exciting cameras, there are plenty out there that I have never heard of before starting to review them. And I’ve come across some that are awesome and others that it came as no surprise why I had never come across them before. The Wirgin name is one that isn’t well known in North America; yet have produced a wide range of cameras that sold in the German Market. I first heard the name on an episode of the Film Photography Project where Leslie reviewed the older Edinex. So when I had a chance to try out the Edixa II, I figured it would be a decent camera. Well, I think I was wrong on that one. At least it has a rangefinder. Thanks to Mike Bitaxi for the camera!

CCR Review 88 - Wirgin Edixa II

The Dirt
Make: Wirgin
Model: Edixa II
Type: Rangefinder
Format: 135 (35mm), 36x24mm
Lens: Fixed, Isco-Gottingen Isconar 1:2.8/43 C
Year of Manufacture: 1953-7

CCR Review 88 - Wirgin Edixa IICCR Review 88 - Wirgin Edixa II

The Good
For a camera the size and construction of the Edixa II you’d think I’d be lugging around a bit of a paperweight, but surprisingly it carries rather well and doesn’t add too much to one’s pocket. And unlike the original model, the Edixa II has a rangefinder which does ensure quality in focus images. The viewfinder is bright and well in line with the lens, so no parallax error creeps into your image composition. The lens is a happy medium and is decently fast for the age, a f/2.8 lens you do pretty much everything. And the lack of a meter isn’t too bad as you can shoot sunny-16. Sadly the camera I have you’re stuck on single shutter speed, 1/100th which isn’t the end of the world but might be something I can look into fixing on my own. If there was one thing that surprised me about the cameras were the optics, for a lens brand and style I had never heard of before I found the images sharp, while having a pleasant organic softness to them, especially at wider f-stops.

CCR Review 88 - Wirgin Edixa IICCR Review 88 - Wirgin Edixa II

The Bad
It’s been some time since I’ve reviewed a camera that I could yell about for a bit and the Edixa II is one of them. There are several things on this camera that made me scratch my head going “what were they thinking” let’s start first with the focusing, rather than use a typical barrel. It’s a small lever at the bottom of the lens that you turn to focus, sadly the focusing lever feels a lot like, and is near the self-timer. There were a couple of times where I would go to focus and start the self-timer instead. The rangefinder, while nice to have, the way its setup is something I’ve never seen before. First, there are two windows, one for the viewfinder, the other for the rangefinder, which is tiny. An in the rangefinder window there are two other windows, in a T shape. You have the line up the images, which would not be too much of an issue if there wasn’t a black piece, rather thick for space, which made it rather difficult actually to locate a spot to make your focus. And finally we have the film advance, it’s a 1.5 stroke, I mean pick one, either go for a full double stroke like some Leica models, or do a proper one stroke, but the whole one and a half business is nonsense. And the size of the advance lever and construction left my thumb smarting a few times.

CCR Review 88 - Wirgin Edixa IICCR Review 88 - Wirgin Edixa II

The Lowdown
Thankfully this camera can sit as a shelf queen, it does look pleasing enough, and I can, as I mention see if I can run a CLA on it and maybe get it cleaned up a bit. And if I end up breaking everything and turning it into a pile of parts I don’t think I’ll be too let down. Another odd thing I noted on the camera was the negative frames; they were not sharp and well defined again a more organic feel to each frame. So unless you’re a big fan of West German cameras from the mid-century, then I would say pass on the Edixa II.

All Photos Taken at Sheridan College, Oakville, Ontario
Wirgin Edixa II – Isco-Gottingen Isconar 1:2.8/43 C – Kodak TMax 400 @ ASA-400
Kodak D-23 (Stock) 8:00 @ 20C

CCR Review 86 – Yashica YF

CCR Review 86 – Yashica YF

The iconic Leica camera, often cloned and duplicated by many, the Russians with their Fed line, and the Japanese by Canon, Nikon, and Yashica. Wait, Yashica? Meet the Yashica YF, a camera that I didn’t even know existed until fellow photographer and friend James Lee showed it off. The YF, based on the Nicca 3L, which Yashica bought up the whole company, is a wonderful combination of the Barnack Leicas and the M-Series. Combined in such a way to produced a spectacular camera that shows off exactly how a rangefinder of the era should look and behave. Big thanks to James Lee for loaning out this rare beauty for a review.

CCR Review 86 - Yashica YF

The Dirt
Make: Yashica
Model: YF
Type: Rangefinder
Format: 35mm, 36x24mm
Lens: Interchangeable, Leica Thread Mount (LTM/M39)
Year of Manufacture: 1959

CCR Review 86 - Yashica YFCCR Review 86 - Yashica YF

The Good
One of the biggest issues I have with the Barnack Leicas is film loading, it’s difficult to put it mildly. From having to trim the film, and load it up just right for everything to catch. Even in the M-Series, you have the same song and dance, but have a window to help you actually see if the film got loaded correctly. On the YF, you still have the bottom load, but this time around I nailed it on the first try without any trimming. Now the YF also has the backdoor to help ensure you have it loaded correctly. For advancing the film, gone is the knob and the long traditional leaver, instead, there’s a small thumb advance located between the top plate and main body, well placed to easily operate. The viewfinder is big and bright with a large rangefinder patch and bright lines for the 50mm and 90mm focal lengths. Take these items, the YF offers an enjoyable user experience, even for those who don’t have a fond view of the older Leica experience. And finally, you have the M39/Leica Thread Mount (LTM), this gives you a wide range of lenses including Leica, Canon, Nikon, Russian, and Yashica giving you a powerful camera that can be moulded to exactly how you want. And I wouldn’t look down on the native Yashica glass, the results I got out of the Yashinon 50mm f/1.8 are spectacular.

CCR Review 86 - Yashica YFCCR Review 86 - Yashica YF

The Bad
The two biggest complaints I have about the YF are actually two rather small features, both in what they are, and their physical size. The first is the shutter speed dial, in addition to having two shutter speed dials (normal and slow), which is something you see often with cameras of this era, and it a minor annoyance. The dial is rather small given the area on the top of the camera. You could easily have put a single shutter speed dial on top, and make it a little more normal size. The second is the rewind release, it’s a tiny button on the top, if it wasn’t for the red dot, I would’ve missed it, and I nearly had to use the point of my pocket knife blade to depress it. At least it doesn’t need to be held down to allow for rewinding. And speaking of rewinding, it ended up being a rather awkward method as you can’t lift up the rewind knob for easy turning. I ended up having to spin the camera body like a noise maker for an effective rewind. And finally, there’s the PC socket, I got a couple small jolts from it as it sits rather close to where I put my finger when shooting.

CCR Review 86 - Yashica YFCCR Review 86 - Yashica YF

The Lowdown
If you can find a YF in working order, you’re in for a treat. Of course, you’ll also have to shell out a great deal of money for it at the same time. Unless you are lucky and come across one that needs a great deal of TLC to get it up and running and is being sold at a deep discount. But no matter how you get your YF, it would be worth the effort. This is a photographer’s camera, well designed, and well made. If you can find one with the original Yashinon lens, all the better, but I think, no matter what glass it on the front, it will give you a solid performance.

All Photos Taken in Oakville, Ontario
Yashica YF – Yashinon f=5cm 1:1.8 – Kentmere 100 @ ASA-50
Blazinal (1+50) 9:00 @ 20C

CCR Review 85 – Pentax MG

CCR Review 85 – Pentax MG

I don’t mean to knock a camera right off the bat, but honestly, Pentax could have done far better than the Pentax MG. Built as part of the compact M series of Pentax SLRs following the release of the Olympus OM-1. Designed as an entry level camera and it shows, bare-bones, simple, and so small it hurts. But you have to take the good with the bad in these reviews, and it’s been a while since I found a camera that I immediately disliked the moment I picked it up. Thanks to James Lee for loaning out the MG for review.

CCR Review 85 - Pentax MG

The Dirt
Make: Pentax
Model: MG
Type: Single Lens Reflex
Format: 35mm, 36x24mm
Lens: Interchangeable, Pentax K Mount
Year of Manufacture: 1981-1984

CCR Review 85 - Pentax MGCCR Review 85 - Pentax MG

The Good
Probably the best part about the camera is the fact it has a K-Mount, you have at least access to a set of fantastic lenses that you can easily mount, and you may even get a solid Pentax-M lens attached when you get the camera. Operations are simple, a pull out to turn on with the advance lever and that has a great short throw. You have your shutter speeds displayed along the edge of your viewfinder which is far better than the MV which was the original entry-level camera of the M-Series. But in this case, as soon as I took the camera out the battery died, thankfully the manual override speed of 1/100″ I could at least using the Sunny-16 technic to keep going. And the camera has next to no weight so it can be carried in any bag or even a large pocket if you must especially if you have the 28mm Pentax-M lens.

CCR Review 85 - Pentax MGCCR Review 85 - Pentax MG

The Bad
As I mentioned in the introduction, the camera is so small it hurts. I can barely wrap my hands around it comfortably. Which is, what the designers were going for, but honestly even though it’s light I couldn’t imagine using it for a whole day and actually enjoying it. Despite being easy to use, the camera itself feels cramped. I’ve had the chance to use both the ME and ME Super, and while they are designed to be semi-automatic cameras, they at least have a little more space around the controls. And finally the viewfinder is fairly dim, even with an f/2 or f/2.8 lens and the LED readout for the shutter speeds works great in daylight but in low light situations can be hard to read.

CCR Review 85 - Pentax MGCCR Review 85 - Pentax MG

The Lowdown
The small form-factor Pentax cameras are excellent choices, they provide a less-expensive option and if you already have a set of K-Mount lenses, you can easily move between the larger models like the K-Series and the M-Series with ease. But you want to avoid the entry-level options. If you are considering a purchase the ME Super or MX will be a better choice than the MV, MV1 and especially the MG.

All Photos Taken in St. Jacobs, Ontario
Pentax MG – SMC Pentax-M 1:2.8 28mm – Fomapan 200 @ ASA-100
Pyrocat-HD (1+1+100) 8:00 @ 20C

CCR Review 84 – Polaroid One

CCR Review 84 – Polaroid One

Polaroid, the name itself implies instant photography, and in this case, you would be 100% correct, the Polaroid One is probably the best Type-600 camera I have used. It’s also the most modern being the last one built before the company went bankrupt in the early 21st-century, and while Polaroid Originals does produce brand new modern instant cameras in the form of the stunning OneStep2 and the I-1. But if you have a desire for a classic Polaroid then look no further than the Polaroid One.

CCR Review 84 - Polaroid One600

The Dirt
Make: Polaroid
Model: One
Type: Point-And-Shoot
Format: Type-600 Instant
Lens: Fixed, Polaroid 100mm f/11.5
Year of Manufacture: 2001

Building On UpSCAET

The Good
The primary and only reason the Polaroid One is top of the game for classic Polaroid cameras and by extension the Image/Spectra system is that they are the newest out there. You don’t find many people out there, outside of Polaroid Originals, who service the cameras and most of the cameras are starting to get old. This instantly shoots this 2001 beauty to the top of the list for cameras to last. Secondly, the One uses the same optics as the Polaroid Spectra, so we’re talking a glass lens, not the plastic that they were using up until the 1990s. But you still have the classic Polaroid look with the soft edges and blown out highlights. Not to mention a plethora of other functions, such as a self-timer and ability to turn off the built-in flash, but that isn’t advisable unless you’re under bright light. And finally, the camera itself just looks awesome, with a more streamlined look of the Spectra, and the pop-up style it does look unique to the type-600 cameras as gone is the classic clamshell look from the 80s and 90s. Plus it makes it a lot easier to handle than the older ones.

Burlington CameraPolaroid Week - Fall 2017

The Bad
While one of the better choices of all the classic Polaroid cameras out there, this is still a Polaroid and when it does die it’s dead. Plus these cameras were not produced for long, so they are rare on the used market. In fact, I never even knew they existed until I got the one I own from my good friend Marcia. And there is, of course, the quality issue as well, the camera itself won’t produced the best quality image, but it certainly is fun! But one of the biggest downsides to these cameras is the cost actually to use them. While the cost of the film has gone down and the quality improved from the very early days of the Impossible Project. These are not cameras that you can just shoot on a regular basis, or your wallet will not be happy with you.

Polaroid Week - Fall 2017Polaroid Week - Fall 2017

The Lowdown
While the camera is not the iconic rainbow oneStep or folding SX-70, it is your best bet for actually going out and shooting classic Polaroid gear. You might even be able to find new-old-stock or new-in-box with this camera. And with the improvements from the fine folks at Polaroid Originals, I do intend to keep working with the format, if only for special occasions such as Polaroid Week or Family events for something different that you cannot duplicate easily with a digital camera.

All Photos Taken in Ontario, Canada
Polaroid One – Polaroid 100mm f/11.5 – Polaroid Originals Color and B&W
Impossible Instant Process

CCR Review 83 – Fuji GSW690II

CCR Review 83 – Fuji GSW690II

The Fuji GSW690ii is not a camera you need, but it sure is fun to have. That being said, a lot is going for the camera and if you’re like me, and are a wide-angle junky who loves to shoot big and wide than a GSW690 is certainly a camera that will make you very happy. There’s a reason they have the nickname Texas Leica because everything’s bigger in Texas, and what’s better than a superb rangefinder, a magnificent rangefinder that shoots 6×9 and a wide angle lens that covers everything. Special thanks to James Lee for loaning out this beauty!

CCR Review 83 - Fuji GSW690II

The Dirt
Make: Fuji
Model: GSW690II
Type: Rangefinder
Format: Medium Format, 120/220, 6×9
Lens: Fixed, EBC Fujinon-W f=65mm 1:5.6
Year of Manufacture: 1985

CCR Review 83 - Fuji GSW690IICCR Review 83 - Fuji GSW690II

The Good
There are several points about the camera that stand out as being the number one reason this camera is awesome. But honestly, given the size of the camera, I’m amazed at how light the beast is and how easily it fits in hand. You could easily spend a whole day shooting with the camera and not have it weigh on your neck at all. And along the same lines how easy is to operate, I didn’t even have to read the manual, and I had it mostly figured out. Not to mention on a cold winter’s day, the camera works great when your hands are in gloves. Another factor that helps the camera out on a cold day is the fact it’s mechanical, no batteries at all in this camera. The viewfinder is big and bright, with clear framing lines to help with image composition. And finally, the optics are superb. I’ve shot Fujinon optics on my 4×5 almost since I started working with Large Format and have never complained about it. And while the lens is only rated to f/5.6 at wide open, trust me, this isn’t a problem as even wide open and given the 65mm focal length everything in the frame will be in focus.

CCR Review 83 - Fuji GSW690IICCR Review 83 - Fuji GSW690II

The Bad
There are of course a few small items that do detract from this fantastic camera. The first being the rangefinder patch, given the size of the viewfinder the patch itself is rather small for the size and can easily be lost in low light or complex scenes, but it does have good contrast. Secondly, there’s the film loading, while easy given the camera’s size and style, and the film loads quickly, it is, however, the alignment of the starting line of the film that is hard to determine. I mean, if you’ve read the manual you can get it right, but in the camera itself, there’s no indication on where to put that line. Now if you mis-load the film you can still operate the camera, and shoot all eight frames on your 120 rolls, you do however lose that first frame. And finally, there are the exposure controls. While I can see the wisdom in making the controls for aperture and shutter different, the aperture control have two nice handles making it rather easy to adjust, the shutter control is recessed into the lens barrel and can be troublesome to operate.

CCR Review 83 - Fuji GSW690IICCR Review 83 - Fuji GSW690II

The Lowdown
Now, the camera doesn’t do anything automatically, so you will need to either use the Sunny-16 rule or carry around a meter, and if you’re shooting landscapes, a tripod might help also. I really should have used a tripod the two days I was out so I could see what the camera could do beyond f/5.6 (and I should take it out for one more spin). But the camera also handles wonderfully hand-held! Fuji did release three versions of the GSW690 cameras each of them would make an excellent choice, although some out there will say the original and the ii version are your best choices.

All Photos Taken in Oakville, Ontario
Fuji GSW690II – EBC Fujinon-W f=65mm 1:5.6 – Ilford HP5+ @ ASA-400
Kodak TMax Dev (1+4) 6:30 @ 20C

CCR Review 82 – Mamiya 645AF-D III

CCR Review 82 – Mamiya 645AF-D III

It only makes sense that the iconic Mamiya m645 grew up, and ended up being a perfect camera that blends the traditional film and modern digital photographic market. I am of course talking about the Mamiya 645 AF-D III. The AF-D III is by far the newest and most advanced camera I’ve had a chance to review in these blogs and well worth the wait. The camera is the medium format camera for the 21st-Century hybrid shooter as it can accept both traditional medium format film and digital backs. The penultimate iteration of the classic wedding photographer workhorse that will pay for itself if you care to invest in the system and a joy to work with. Thanks to James Lee for loaning this beauty out.

CCR Review 82 - Mamiya 645 AF-D III

The Dirt
Make: Mamiya
Model: 645 AF-D III
Type: Single Lens Reflex
Format: Medium Format (120/220), 6×4.5
Lens: Interchangeable, Mamiya 645 AF Mount
Year of Manufacture: Post-2001

CCR Review 82 - Mamiya 645 AF-D IIICCR Review 82 - Mamiya 645 AF-D III

The Good
Like the Nikon F4 bridging the divide between auto-focus and manual focus professional 35mm SLRs, the 645 AF-D III bridges the divide between film and digital in the professional medium format market. The camera features few menus, opting for buttons or dials operations of all the major functions and the camera controls are well laid out and easy to figure out what does what without too much referencing the manual. The camera has an amazing metering system and autofocus that is snappier than I expected. While the optics aren’t anything special, they are decent for the job. And the camera is well balanced and fits well in hand and handles well; I could shoot the camera all day at a wedding and not get tired. But the one thing that sells me on the camera is that it uses proper magazines, you can swap out mid-roll, you could even go right from shooting film to shooting a digital back without blinking. Plus when shooting film, you get the full 16-shots on a roll unlike the m645, and the magazines accept both 120 and 220 film with just switching around the pressure plate. And a final bonus feature is the imprinting of the exposure data in the rebate area of the film, you can also find this on newer Pentax 645 cameras.

CCR Review 82 - Mamiya 645 AF-D IIICCR Review 82 - Mamiya 645 AF-D III

The Bad
I always try to come up with a couple of poorer points of a camera but in this case, I can only a few little tiny annoying feature. First is setting the ISO settings on the film magazines it a bit fiddly with the small buttons that you need to use a fingernail to operate and the fact that the film back requires a battery as well it a bit annoying. I also think the placement of the strap lugs could be moved to be parallel to the darkslide so that the camera hangs on the chest with the bottom flush instead of having the back fo the film magazine against the chest with the camera sticking out awkwardly. But if that’s all I can come up with, then you have what I like to call a near perfect camera.

CCR Review 82 - Mamiya 645 AF-D IIICCR Review 82 - Mamiya 645 AF-D III

The Lowdown
If I did a lot more professional work, or photography was my primary source of income, then this camera system would be one that I would certainly invest in. First off the system is still supported by Mamiya/Leaf/PhaseOne and a 22 megapixel digital back is more than enough for anything you need to do these days, plus the option to still shoot film makes the camera very attractive. While rare on the used market, when you do come across them, the price is reasonable, a kit might set you back about two grand, which is certainly cheaper than a Hasselblad digital system. Which makes it a camera system that will last you for a while and keep on pumping out quality images with the right person behind it.

All Photos Taken in Milton, Ontario
Mamiya 645AF-D III – Mamiya 645 AF 80mm 1:2.8 – Fomapan 100 @ ASA-100
Kodak TMax Developer (1+9) 8:00 @ 20C