Tag: Canada

Delta Def Jam – Part III

Delta Def Jam – Part III

In the past, I have chosen to use just a single film stock to shoot these film challenges laid out by Emuslive. Not because I have to based on the rules of the challenge, just because I choose to. In part one I used Delta 100 in 35mm and part two Delta 400 in 120. But for part three I decided to go crazy and shoot not one, not two, but four rolls from all across the spectrum. Following no real pattern, shooting from the hip and living with the results! I plan to have seven solid shots from each of the four rolls to toss into the ring for the judges that make up the board for the Delta Def Jam!

Roll One – Into the Valley
One of the joys of working at Sheridan College’s Trafalgar Road Campus is that I have a beautiful valley behind the campus in which to escape from the world of computers. For me, it provides a haven from the stresses of work!

HalfWaySpookyMis-Shapen

Roll Two – Of Abstract Nature
I had originally wanted to shoot some street style portraits of the faculty on the picket lines as if you’ve been following the news here in Ontario all the College faculty are still on strike. However, the day I was shooting, bad news had been dropped so the feeling on the line was low, so I decided it best to just avoid them and headed back into McCranney Valley to do some detail shots. I have, in the past, shot Delta 3200, and it isn’t exactly my film of choice. But you don’t turn down a free roll so I pulled it to ASA-800 and let fly. And despite being ever so grainy, I am actually pleased with these!

The Smaller ThingsNew LifeClinging On

Roll Three – Early Mornings
As the weather has all of a sudden turned cold here in southern Ontario, it’s time to get the winter tires installed on my car, so a Saturday morning found me in downtown Milton. While waiting for my car to be done so, I figured it was perfect to get those early morning rays in the historic downtown with the Hasselblad and Delta 400.

The Old Post OfficeWaldie's BlacksmithSt. Pauls

Roll Four – We Will Remember Them
The final roll of the jam I took out to my local Remembrance Day ceremony. And it was cold, so rather than take out an electronic camera with AA batteries, I decided to run with something a little more mechanical in nature and decided to shoot my F2 with the 135mm f/2.8 lens. I aimed to capture respectfully the faces of those in attendance especially the veterans who still live and who’s friend’s names could be listed on the cenotaph. For me, these ceremonies are emotionally charged so having a camera helps keep me grounded.

A Chilly MorningRest on Arms ReversedA Helping Hand

And that’s it! It’s been an amazing three months and the finalists who made it through September and October have outputted some fantastic work with the Delta line of films. I even had a chance to prove that I do actually like Delta 400 I just need to develop it right and Delta 3200 is still really grainy, but hey it was a fun roll to shoot! Next up I’m looking forward to the return of the FP4Party! I have my plan, my cameras, films, developers, and locations ready!

Technical Details.
Roll One – McCraney Valley Park – Oakville, Ontario
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Ilford Delta 100 @ ASA-100
Blazinal (1+25) 9:00 @ 20C

Roll Two – McCraney Valley Park – Oakville, Ontario
Nikon F5 – AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1:2D – Ilford Delta 3200 @ ASA-800
Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 7:30 @ 20C

Roll Three – Historical Downtown – Milton, Ontario
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Ilford Delta 400 @ ASA-400
Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 7:30 @ 20C

Roll Four – Remembrance Day Ceremony – Milton, Ontario
Nikon F2 Photomic – AI Nikkor 135mm 1:2.8 – Ilford Delta 100 @ ASA-100
Kodak D-23 (Stock) 7:00 @ 20C

CCR Review 74 – Nikon FE

CCR Review 74 – Nikon FE

When it comes to classic cameras, there’s a specific look that will always be connected to Nikon. From the massive metered prisms of the F and F2 and the red strip that remain with the cameras to this day first introduced with the F3. But in the 1970s a certain touch of class entered the Nikon line, clean, simple, sharp. Pure photography as Nikon touts in their advertisements for the Nikon Df, which oddly enough is based around the camera under review, the Nikon FE. The design of the FE and it’s mechanical cousin, the FM, remained so popular the design lasted for several more models before production switched to Cosina where they took on a more modern Nikon look complete with the red stripe. The FE remains a solid shooter even today with a semi-automatic aperture priority electronic (hence the E in the name) camera with full manual function on top of it, and it fills in a small gap in my Nikon kit between the F2 and FA.

CCR Review 74 - Nikon FE

  • Make: Nikon
  • Model: FE
  • Type: Single Lens Reflex
  • Format: 135 (35mm), 36x24mm
  • Lens: Interchangeable, Nikon F Mount
  • Year of Manufacture: 1978-1983

CCR Review 74 - Nikon FE

CCR Review 74 - Nikon FE

The Good
The strongest feature on the FE is in its simplicity, having on a few dials to run the camera operations in a well laid out manner. A dedicated on/off switch with a pull out on the film advance lever. And that film advance, nice and short that allows for quick shooting. And don’t let the small size of the camera body, it has a decent weight and balance. I’d put the FE up against an OM-2 for size and functionality. While the viewfinder isn’t the brightest out there, that honour goes to the FE2, but the viewfinder is one of the best I’ve seen. A clear display of shutter speeds along the one side that makes the automatic mode easy as the shutter speed is indicated by a needle. And when you’re in manual mode, you simply match a needle to the indicated shutter speed. A modern version of my favourite match needle system. And the camera has a good meter in it to boot, centre-weighted and dead accurate.

CCR Review 74 - Nikon FE

CCR Review 74 - Nikon FE

The Bad
There is one lone issue I have with the Nikon FE. It’s not that it’s an electronic camera that requires a battery to operate fully, I knew that when I got the camera. Like many electronic cameras of the age, they came with a mechanical mode with a single shutter speed. That’s not the problem either; it’s the selected speed to make the mechanically fixed speed, 1/90th of a second. It just doesn’t make sense to me. The camera would be far more useful in mechanical backup if the speed were 1/125th makes it easy to run with Sunny-16! Thankfully the camera is not a battery hog, and the spares are pretty easy to acquire so having a couple in the bag wouldn’t be too much of an issue.

CCR Review 74 - Nikon FE

CCR Review 74 - Nikon FE

The Lowdown
Having shot the Nikon FM2n in the past I took to the FE immediately. It also reminds me of my third camera, the Minolta X-7a. For a first camera, this camera is great for anyone, style and class, second to none. With access to every Nikon lens out there from the early Auto-Nikkors to AI and AI-S (including AF-D), you have a solid camera that really won’t let you down. And while they carry a decent price-tag on the used market you can have one for between 80 to 200 dollars, and even in rough shape, the camera will still work. And while you can get a two-toned chrome/black, I’d go with an all black one; they look better in my opinion.

All Photos Taken in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Nikon FE – AI-S Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4 – Bergger BRF 400 Plus @ ASA-400
Kodak HC-110 Dil. E 10:30 @ 20C

I Will Remember

I Will Remember

Here, at the end of history, we know that the war that is The Great War would only last one more year until on the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour the guns across Europe would fall silent. But one hundred years ago they did not know that.

Least We Forget

The men and women who served, in another 100 years will they names be read aloud by the public? Will their names still be remembered? Will our grandchildren know of the sacrifice of those who died 200 years before? Will there be the same fanfare of sober celebration?

In Memorial

I don’t know about then, that’s the future, I’m here now, and I know that I will remember. And I take my duty actively to make sure the generation after me remembers as well.

Least We Forget

Because if I forget, how can the future remember?

DO:T 2017 - Church of the Redeemer

All the photos featured here were taken in 2017 of war memorials I have photographed in my travels. The icon on social media is a simple 3D replica of a carving found in the tunnels beneath Vimy Ridge in France. I hope you, dear reader, take the time to attend a ceremony tomorrow or take a moment to be silent and remember at 11 am. If you need to know where you can attend such a ceremony in Ontario, you can find the details on the Ontario Government Site.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
We will remember them.

Technical Details (From Top to Bottom)
Cambridge, Ontario – Downtown Galt
Pacemaker Crown Graphic – Kodak Ektar f:7.7 203mm – Rollei RPX 25 @ ASA-25
Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 5:00 @ 20C

Toronto, Ontario – Kew Gardens
Nikon FA – AI-S Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4 (Yellow-15) – Efke KB 100 @ ASA-100
Pyrocat-HD (2+2+100) 8:00 @ 20C

Oakville, Ontario – Georges’ Square
Nikon F5 – Lomography Achromat 64mm/2.9 (Orange-22) – Efke KB100 @ ASA-100
Kodak D-23 (Stock) 7:45 @ 20C

Toronto, Ontario – Church of the Redeemer
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G VR – JCH Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400
Blazinal (1+25) 10:30 @ 20C

Engagement at the Bradley

Engagement at the Bradley

There’s a fun nature for an event that is total fiction rather than historical. It gives us a chance to play and provides us with a view of other historic sites within our province. Until this event, I had never even heard of the Bradley House. But as I took the gentle curve along Orr Road in the village of Clarkson on the border of Oakville and Mississauga I was pleasantly surprised at the industrial fences of a Suncor Petroleum plant melted away into a forest alight with fall colours.

The CampThe Log CabinToo Early for This...

As I chatted with folks around the site, it turned out that Clarkson has a bit of lore related to the War of 1812 surrounding a wife of a local farmer who enjoyed taking pot shots at American ships on the Lake as they sailed past with her husband’s musket. The site is a small scale living history museum consisting of three buildings that moved to the location. The first two formed the core arrived in the early 1960s when the museum first opened. The site’s name comes from the Bradley House, built in the 1830s a Salt Box styled Farmhouse that stayed in the Bradley Family until the late 1840s. It passed through several more hands before the whole farm fell until the eye of Suncor who planned to demolish the house in 1959.

Join the Crew!And that American Frigate...Just Singing on a Log

The second home, an 1820 Regency cottage known as The Anchorage coming either from when the Jarvis family lived in it and merchantmen anchored on a sandbar just off the lakeshore or from a letter written by a retired Royal Navy Commander who took up residence in 1838 calling it his anchorage in his retirement. It too faced demolition when Suncor moved in. A local newspaper publisher seeing the historical significance of both homes purchased them to donate them to the Mississauga Heritage Foundation. The third and final building, a log cabin dating to the early 19th-Century coming from Mono Mills and moved into Clarkson as a clubhouse for a Cub/Rover Scouts band. As it fell into disrepair, the cabin moved to the museum in 2002 and fully restored.

Bruce!The Story TellerHung out to Dry

Probably the most fun I’ve had at an event in a while, mostly because of the small number of reenactors and a large battlefield there was plenty of room for us in the 60th to show off our skill and light infantry tactics which often cannot happen at larger events with many other light infantry units on the field and general static nature of the pitched battle. But certainly this would be an event I will gladly return to.

All Photos Taken at the Bradley House Museum – Mississauga, Ontario
Nikon FE – AI-S Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4 – Ilford FP4+ @ ASA-100
Kodak D-23 (Stock) 6:00 @ 20C

CCR Review 73 – Yashica 108 Multiprogram

CCR Review 73 – Yashica 108 Multiprogram

The 1980s were a weird time, both for the world as a whole and for the camera industry. We saw the rise of electronics in cameras and the strange merge between the modern era and style and a clinging to the earlier form factors. One of the iconic styles is the Canon T-Series, these were automatic cameras complete with auto-exposure on manual focus cameras. While these T-Series started off fairly boxy, but by the Canon T90, they had some streamlining. Enter the Yashica 108 Multiprogram (Yashica 108MP), like the T-Series Canon cameras the 108 features autoexposure (heavy automation in the camera) and a manual focus lens. Despite carrying the Yashica name, this is not a Yashica but rather a Kyocera. The same time the Japanese firm got their hands on the Contax name. They aimed the Yashica on the consumer market while Contax aimed at the higher end while maintaining the C/Y Mount. Now the 108MP is aimed at the middle of the line photographers and like other cameras from the 1980s provides a solid shooting experience for someone who needs a cheap and fast way into 35mm film photography but is only a stepping stone.

CCR Review 73 - Yashica 108 Multiprogram
The Dirt

  • Make: Kyocera
  • Model: Yashica 108 Mutliprogram
  • Type: Single Lens Reflex
  • Format: 135 (35mm), 24x36mm
  • Lens: Interchangeable, C/Y Mount
  • Year of Manufacture: Unknown, guessing late 1980s or early 1990s

CCR Review 73 - Yashica 108 Multiprogram

CCR Review 73 - Yashica 108 Multiprogram

The Good
The strongest feature on this camera is the C/Y mount, or rather Contax/Yashica. This means that you have access to a pile of amazing lenses including Carl Zeiss (built under license) which match the optical quality of the German-built lenses. Trust me, I shoot these lenses on my Contax G2 which is also a Kyocera camera. And the camera itself is fairly easy to use and figure out even without a manual. One thing I always harp on with cameras is how it’s powered and in this case, the 108MP, despite being from the 80s/90s is powered by AAA batteries, four of them. This makes it easy to find batteries no matter where you are in the world.

CCR Review 73 - Yashica 108 Multiprogram

CCR Review 73 - Yashica 108 Multiprogram

The Bad
One of the first thing I recognised with the camera is how plastic it feels and bulky. Despite the streamlined look of the camera that looks like a T90 but this camera is little more than a T90 lookalike without the guts of that camera. The 108MP isn’t tall, and I found myself constantly looking for a better place to set my fingers. For a 35mm SLR that has a fairly normal look and operation, it’s awkward to operate. You have no feedback in the viewfinder when operating in Program and Aperture Priority mode (which is marked as Av on the dial, another Canon inspired mark) only a green dot and an icon to indicate you need flash. Now despite having some amazing lenses available in C/Y mount, there are plenty of bad lenses, truly cheap. And finally there’s no way to manually adjust the film speed, it auto recognizes the film canister’s DX code and if there isn’t one it defaults to ASA/ISO-100. And it doesn’t even do a good job with that, my film came out a touch over-exposed. While not a deal breaker, you will want to stick to DX Coded films.

CCR Review 73 - Yashica 108 Multiprogram

CCR Review 73 - Yashica 108 Multiprogram

The Lowdown
This is not a camera I would recommend for anyone looking to get into the C/Y system, poor build quality, awkward operation, and generally a poor man’s copy of a Canon T-Series. And the reason being is that it is a stop-gap camera, a save-face before the release of the Autofocus 230AF. But if you’re starting out, this might be an okay choice. Basic, no-nonsense, and little you can do. However, as soon as you use it you’ll want to start looking for another camera to move up to. At least there are better C/Y cameras out there. You’d be better off finding a Canon T50 or going with the Contax line of cameras from Kyocera, better quality overall.

All Photos Taken at the Bradley House Museum, Mississauga, Ontario
Yashica 108 Multiprogram – Yashica Lens Zoom MC 35-70mm 1:3.5-4.5 (Yellow-12) – Fomapan 100 @ ASA-100
Blazinal (1+50) 9:00 @ 20C

Return of the Original – Polaroid Week 2017

Return of the Original – Polaroid Week 2017

Polaroid is dead, long live Polaroid

A rather morbid way to start this whole celebration of Instant Photography. Polaroid week and I are a bit hit and miss. And yet I’ve managed to join in on it several times. But this year I thought that it would be at an end for me. See, I had ditched all my instant photography gear between the end of last year’s Polaroid Week and the early spring of this year. And as the quote says, I tried to get out, but they just pulled me back in.

Polaroid Week - Fall 2017

Polaroid Week - Fall 2017

I guess you can say at the last recording session for the 2017 season of Classic Camera Revival; co-host James Lee had a Polaroid Spectra with the latest batch of Impossible Project Black & White film. Well, that was that I had to get back in after seeing the quality of the newest batch. And I had just received as a gift, a Polaroid One from a friend, Marcia Cook. What made the Polaroid One different from all other 600-Type Polaroids is that it had a manufacture date of 2001, one of the last cameras to be produced by Polaroid.

Polaroid Week - Fall 2017

Polaroid Week - Fall 2017

It’s always a gamble with Polaroid Cameras, but I invested in a couple of packs of film, and bam, it worked. Beautifully! The black & white film, stunning, and the colour stock held that typical charm I had come to expect from instant film. And then the big news hit, and man, what news! The Impossible Project was no more; they were now Polaroid Originals. Yes, the original is back!

SCAET

Toys

Polaroid has always been attached to “Instant” photography at least more me. I’m sure more people these days attach it to Fuji Instax. I went on a hunt, eventually getting some film packs from Henry’s in Oakville and Hamilton and then I saved them up for Polaroid Week. And all I can say is I’m impressed the colour is spot on, gone is the faded yellow I had come to expect from Impossible. And then there’s the black & white, I already am impressed with the stock, and under the new name, it’s even better! Which I never thought possible. Of course, this might all be a placebo effect, even if it is, I’m good with it.

Building On Up

Burlington Camera

For us in Canada, the price remains at thirty dollars a pack for eight shots so not exactly something I’ll be shooting on a regular basis. However, for something special, I think it’ll be worth the money.

CCR Review 72 – Pentax 67II

CCR Review 72 – Pentax 67II

When in the past I’ve shot 6×7 cameras I’ve found them clunky and unwieldy. Think back to the Mamiya Universal and RB67. Even the Bronica GS-1 which is better than most. None of these cameras had the style and handling of the Pentax 67II. Now the 67II fixes what I would see as problems with the 6×7 and 67. This camera is a traditional 35mm SLR on steroids and worthy of the description. There are some cameras that I have an instant enjoyment of, and this camera certainly ranks among those. Thanks to James Lee for loaning out this beauty.

CCR Review 72 - Pentax 67II
The Dirt

  • Make: Pentax
  • Model: 67II
  • Type: Single Lens Reflex
  • Format: Medium (120/220), 6×7
  • Lens: Interchangeable, Pentax K67 Mount
  • Year of Manufacture: 1998

CCR Review 72 - Pentax 67II

CCR Review 72 - Pentax 67II

The Good
If you’re used to operating a traditional 35mm SLR of the more modern ilk, think Nikon F4, then stepping up to the Pentax 67II is easy. Everything is where you think it will be. Shutter speed control, EV adjustment, shutter release, even the film advance. As for handling the weight of the camera is no big deal for me, it’s well balanced even with the heavier lens on the front. The beefy side grip with the shutter release is perfect. Everything on this camera is manual, no menus to hunt through, everything is connected to a knob or dial. And then there’s the meter, I would pit the thing against the meter in my F5 with spot metering, centre-weighted, and matrix metering I don’t think there’s anything that could trick the cameras exposure system. And the optics available for the system are brilliant, and even if you get a 67II, all the original glass will work perfectly as the 67II remains a manual focus camera. So you have access to Super-Takumar, Super-Multi-Coated Takumar and SMC Takumar glass all work and are tack sharp. Now let’s talk negative size, while I’m a fan of 6×6 there are certain applications that the 6×7 negative applies itself to better. It’s the same image ratio as 4×5 (Large Format) making it ideal for print in magazines and even in the darkroom and inkjet printing. It’s big and beautiful.

CCR Review 72 - Pentax 67II

CCR Review 72 - Pentax 67II

The Bad
While the 67II is near perfect, there are still a couple of little things that can be annoying. Despite the ease of use, loading the film can be a bit tricky, having to unlock and pull down the two locking lugs for the film spools. It does slow it down, and when you only get ten shots per roll, you need a good 2-3 minutes for a proper reload. And with the lack of newly manufactured 220 film, which would yield 20 shots per roll you have to time yourself when at a job working with the camera. The second thing, which is a minor annoyance is the continuation of allowing people to mount the large wooden grip on the camera. This throwback to the original 6×7 and 67 isn’t a requirement on the 67II since it’s on the opposite side and the camera has a decent grip already. It also throws off the strap mount which when you hang the camera around your neck the lugs are on the one side only so when you pull the camera up to shoot; you twist it sort of. Just makes it a little bit awkward.

CCR Review 72 - Pentax 67II

CCR Review 72 - Pentax 67II

The Lowdown
I’m glad I only shot one roll through the 67II not because I hated the camera but because I took to it right off the bat. And if I had shot more there would be a strong chance I’d be hunting one down. Now, these cameras are rare on the used market, and while I’d jump on a 67, again the system is not a cheap one. But worth the money. And if I hadn’t invested in Hasselblad I’d go for one of these in a heartbeat. But these systems aren’t for the faint-hearted. They’re heavy, bulky, and designed for professional work. But they’re designed for being out in the field. But if none of these things scare you, the 67II will not let you down.

All Photos Taken in Elora, Ontario
Pentax 67II – Super-Multi-Coated Takumar/6×7 1:3.5/55 – Ilford HP5+ @ ASA-400
Kodak D-23 (Stock) 7:30 @ 20C

Delta Def Jam – Part II

Delta Def Jam – Part II

When it comes to the Delta line of films from Ilford, my least favourite is Delta 400; I don’t know why. I just never got the results I honestly liked out of it. So with Delta Def Jam in full swing, I figured why not give it another go!

The New Post Office

The Old Post Office

Downtown Cambridge, or rather the historical name for this part of the city, Galt has always been on my radar as a place to take a camera and have some fun. While I have tried in the past to do some shooting here, the camera I had with me just didn’t behave. I grabbed my Rolleiflex, two rolls of Delta 400 and hit the road. I also had along my Nikon F90 loaded with Kodak Ektachrome E100G along with three final sheets of RPX25 for my Crown Graphic.

Great Little Pub

A Bit of a Mess

However, I miscalculated just a bit, and the sun didn’t start to show up until after I had left the city and well into developing the film I shot. But a 400-Speed film provided me with enough reach speed wise, and I just made sure to shoot flat compositions or put the f/2.8 lens to use. One of the more exciting interactions I had was when I went into a church in search of a washroom. One of the gentlemen running their pie table asked if I had a Hasselblad. I replied that it was a Rolleiflex, and I had left the Hasselblad at home. As it turned out, he is a fan of the Film Photography Podcast.

Basic + Person

Centering

While I had plans to develop the film in Pyrocat-HD, but I’ll save that until next month. I decided to try another one of my magic bullets, Kodak D-23. And I am pretty happy with the results. Maybe I just don’t like Ilford DD-X. I’ll see you next month for the final Delta Def Jam. Until then keep Jamming folks!

All Photos Taken In Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
Rolleiflex 2.8F – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 (Yellow-12) – Ilford Delta 400 @ ASA-400
Kodak D-23 (Stock) 7:00 @ 20C

Skilled Trades – A Farewell to a Campus

Skilled Trades – A Farewell to a Campus

September 2017 marked a milestone for Sheridan College. As a College Sheridan began its life as a collection of Satellite campuses, those campuses closed, the college moved to centralised campuses. One remained the Skills Training Centre. This September that campus would close its doors as the last satellite campus for Sheridan. STC, as it was better known, holds a special spot for me. I worked at the campus for several years, establishing a permanent IT presence at the small campus. So when I learned that the campus was doomed to closure I made a point to return one last time and document it. And document it as I would any of the abandoned buildings I had explored in the past.

Part One – Before the Move
Unlike many abandoned buildings I have explored in the past, in this case, I had a chance to visit the campus before it closed.

STC - Before the Move

STC - Before the Move

STC - Before the Move

STC - Before the Move

Part Two – Empty Walls
At the end of August, all but one department had left the building leaving nothing more than an empty shell.

The Approaching Storm

Registrar

The Moody Darkness

Leftovers

Part Three – Finally In Colour
Having one last errand at the campus I decided to give it one last go around with a digital camera.

Cleanliness

Lab

Tickle Me

Metropolis

Techincal Details:
Part One:
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Distagon 50mm 1:4 – Fuji Acros 100 @ ASA-100
Kodak D-23 (Stock) 9:00 @ 20C
Part Two:
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm 1:2.8G – Ilford HP5+ @ ASA-400
SPUR HRX (1+17) 11:00 @ 20C
Part Three:
Sony a6000 – Sony E PZ 16-50mm 1:3.5-5.6 OSS

CCR Review 71 – Nikon Zoom 500AF

CCR Review 71 – Nikon Zoom 500AF

When it comes to reviewing a point-and-shoot camera, especially one from this era, you have to approach it differently. While many cameras of the era have earned a place in cult camera history, such as Olympus Stylus and Stylus Epic, high-end cameras like the Contax T2 and Nikon 35Ti. And then there are these cameras, the ones that more likely will languish in your family junk drawer or collect dust on the local thrift shop shelf. There’s a good chance that if you’re of a certain age, your parents used a camera similar to the Nikon Zoom 500 AF to capture family vacations and holidays. Released just before the digital storm, the Zoom 500 or Lite Touch 105 if you’re outside the North American Market, was a camera designed for just that. Simple, some zoom, designed to work best with consumer 200 and 400-speed colour films to be dropped off at your local one-hour photo lab. There’s a certain satisfaction to using the camera, simple to use, load, and shoot. Some features that would’ve made my life easier in those early days I was shooting with my family compact camera. Again, thanks to my Uncle Harvey for donating this camera, another one used by his father well after giving up on the Voigtlander!

CCR Review 71 - Nikon Zoom 500AF

  • Make: Nikon
  • Model: Zoom 500AF/LiteTouch Zoom 105
  • Type: Point-And-Shoot
  • Format: 35mm, 36x24mm
  • Lens: Fixed, Nikon Zoom Lens 38-105mm f/3.5-9.2
  • Year of Manufacture: 1995

CCR Review 71 - Nikon Zoom 500AF

CCR Review 71 - Nikon Zoom 500AF

The Good
The cameras of the era, especially those of this time aren’t exactly designed to give one a shooting experience that is exciting. The Zoom 500 is purpose built, to allow everyone to take snapshots without fuss or muss, and this case the camera works perfectly! Easy to shoot, easy to load, controls are well laid out especially the zoom and shutter release. And it’s hard to forget which is which. Another point on the handling of the camera is that there’s a slight lens barrel making it more difficult to stick your finger over the lens. The viewfinder gives you feedback on the zoom of the lens, which doesn’t have a bad range for a point-and-shoot. And the one thing that stands out to me with the viewfinder is the framing lines to help with composing your shots. The one thing I was afraid of when working with the camera is that I kept on turning off the flash as I was outdoors, it was a sunny day, and I was only shooting 100-speed film. To my surprise the results were sharp, some underexposure but not surprising but overall well-exposed images and the quality of the images at every zoom, point surprised me. While chatting after the fact with John Meadows, he noted that Nikon Point-And-Shoots had good optics for the cameras of its type.

CCR Review 71 - Nikon Zoom 500AF

CCR Review 71 - Nikon Zoom 500AF

The Bad
It’s straightforward to blast this camera for the lack of feedback and manual functionality I simply cannot because this isn’t a high-end camera, it’s not designed to be used in that way. So I cannot fault the camera for that. However, the one thing I did find annoying is that it kept asking me to turn on the flash, even though looking at the negatives the exposure seemed perfectly fine. Now while the optical quality of the lens is excellent, it isn’t the fasting glass on the block, nor would I expect it to be. Sure at the 38mm end, the maximum aperture is f/3.5 which is nothing to sneeze at, but when you have it at the full 105mm you’re looking at only f/9.2, I have faster lenses with my 4×5 setup. I also think the placement of the viewfinder could be a little more towards the centre of the camera body to aid in full composition with the aid of guidelines. The way it’s placed now you’re losing a good chunk of your lower right side of the frame. And finally, it suffers from the same problem that many cameras from the 1990s suffered, the CR123A battery. While easy to find in both camera stores, once you get out of major population centres you’ll struggle, at least they have a long life.

CCR Review 71 - Nikon Zoom 500AF

CCR Review 71 - Nikon Zoom 500AF

The Lowdown
You’re better off with a modern digital point-and-shoot camera than shooting with any 1990s point and shoot camera. But if you want something dead simple to get a child or a digital shooter who has no experience with an SLR, there’s something to be said about the Zoom 500. The viewfinder, while not placed ideally has the guides to help with composition, and the hands-off controls make it simple just to get the shot. It lets the shooter figure out composition first and worry about exposure later. In shooting with the Zoom 500, I realised that maybe my family should have looked at Nikon cameras more so than Minolta when we were replacing our old 1980s family camera.

All Photos Taken in Toronto, Ontario
Nikon Zoom 500AF – Nikon Zoom Lens 38-105mm f/3.5-9.2 – Kodak TMax 100 @ ASA-100
Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 6:00 @ 20C