When it comes to bare-bones Mechanical SLRs, the Zenit 122K is as bare-bones as they come. This mostly plastic camera comes from the rather odd times right near the end of the Cold War and Soviet rule in Russia. I mean it’s pretty basic even for someone who just wants to learn how to use an all manual camera. But oddly enough the camera still looks cool, in fact at forty yards you might think it a Contax RTS III or similar camera with a squat prism and all black with white lettering, but don’t be fooled this camera is no Contax…not by a longRead More →

Probably the most powerful pocket camera I’ve ever used, the Olympus XA brings the power of the rangefinder, aperture priority and stunning optics into something that can fit in almost every pocket. I’ve used a couple cameras from the XA line in the past, the terribly restrictive XA1 (don’t let the 1 fool you, the 1 came later than the XA and was pretty darn limited), along with the wide angle XA4, but the XA is truly where Olympus made something that was nothing short of magic. The Dirt Make: Olympus Model: XA Type: Rangefinder Format: 35mm, 35x24mm Lens: Fixed, Olympus F.Zuiko 1:2.8 f=35mm YearRead More →

The Nikon F5, at first glance you might mistake it for a digital SLR. I certainly have been asked ‘what sensor is in that camera’ and depending on my mood and my general view of the person asking I might reply with something a little more sarcastic, other times a simple response is “oh a 36x24mm or full-frame as it’s called in digital photography.” The F5 was my second grail camera after switching over to a Nikon system from Minolta, in fact, I picked up the battery grip for the F80 to make it look like an F5 because at the time the F5 wasRead More →

It’s the home of the Greek gods and producer of several ‘cult classic’ cameras, today join Mike, Donna, and John (Alex has been captured by the French but should be back next month) as they dive into the wonderful world of Olympus cameras. Cameras featured on Today’s Show… John and The Olympus Pen F The Olympus Pen F is a classic, and unique as the only dedicated 35mm half-frame ever made. Beautiful to hold and handle, it is a joy to use! Here is a great information page on this little jewel. Here’s my Pen F, on a recent “photo outing” And here are aRead More →

If there is an icon of Nikon’s durability and commitment to quality the Nikon FM2 is that camera. With one of the most extended production periods of any Nikon camera (1982-2001), the FM2 is a no-nonsense, mechanical camera that can take any punishment you throw at it. I picked up the FM2n originally as a gift to a friend, but quickly fell in love with the camera and promptly purchased an older FM for the friend and kept the FM2n for my own. The FM2n became a constant companion. The Dirt Make: Nikon Model: FM2n Type: 35mm, Single Lens Reflex Lens: Interchangeable, Nikon F-Mount YearRead More →

At first glance you would think that the Lynx-14 was just another mid-1960s fixed lens rangefinder, along the lines of the Minolta Hi-Matic line or a cousin of the Yashica Electro line. But the model of camera gives you an idea of what makes this camera stand apart from its contemporaries. The Lynx-14 is the only fixed lens rangefinder to feature an f/1.4 lens, which gives about an extra stop over most others that only have an f/1.8 or f/1.7 lens. Big thanks to Mike Bitaxi for loaning me this beauty. Would you just look at that glass! The Dirt Maker: Yashica Model: Lynx-14 Type:Read More →

A favoured camera of the street photography group, the rangefinder, is one of those niche cameras that is often associated with brands like Leica. However while none of us have a Leica to present this episode we have some fine (cheaper) alternatives to the Leica that are sure to get your attention. The main feature of the rangefinder is that the viewfinder is often off-set from the taking lens, and uses a super-imposed image that you ‘line up’ to get the focus. However, composing takes a bit of work. The first rangefinders were produced by Kodak back in 1916, but really got popular in 1925Read More →

When it comes to cameras that have seen a lot of action through my life as a photographer, there is currently none as worthy of the title of a constant companion as my Rolleiflex 2.8F. The twin-lens design is not a new one in the camera world, first coming out in the 1880s. But for me, the Rolleiflex has been in my hands shortly after getting into medium format film with a Lubitel 2 first, then a Yashica-12. After being offered a Rolleiflex by a gentleman at my church which belonged to his father and not knowing anything about the camera at that point, IRead More →

Accept no copy, the one the only, the iconic camera that started out life as the bargain model that featured the new K-Mount (Introduced in 1975), but has since gained greater popularity, and the camera you most likely used in your High School Photography Course, is the Pentax K1000. This all mechanical marvel is the essential student camera and general beater that can be used pretty much anywhere in the world today! The wide range of top quality lenses and ease of use saw it named the Film Photography Project’s Camera of the Year for 2014 and after having several passes in and out ofRead More →

When my Nikon F80 started to flake out, I needed a replacement, but in those days the Nikon F5 (my grail camera) remained financially out of reach, so I went with the one step down from the F5, the F4. The camera quickly gained my trust as the go-to 35mm camera when I headed out into the field and lasted in my collection for several years before I switched to the Nikon F5 and even then there was overlap. Despite the flaws of the early autofocus, the LCD bleed, and limitations with manual focus and AF-G lenses, the F4 became a constant companion. I knewRead More →