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 →

If there is one lens that completely changed my outlook on photography, this is that lens. I know I usually don’t say that gear can make you a better photographer, and I’m not saying that this lens made me a better photographer. But it did help me realise and execute my vision. I use these two photos as an example of that, in the first photo, shot in 2005 on a K-M Z2 digital camera at the widest angle I knew exactly what I wanted to capture. That grand scale of the Hearn generating station, but I couldn’t with the gear I had. So whenRead More →

Let me start this by saying that DD-X and I have not had the best of relationships. The first time I used it I wasn’t happy with my results and decided that I was never going to touch the stuff again. But hey, almost every filmstock and developer are worth a second glance. DD-X, like its Kodak cousin, TMax developer was initially designed for use with the Delta range of films, specifically Delta 3200. Ilford has two versions of this developer, Ilfotec DD which is designed mainly for automated film processors that will use a dedicated replenisher and used in the stock formulation. White DD-XRead More →

If you’re deep into the Minolta/Sony A-Mount system, you probably know this lens better as the Secret Handshake; in fact, that’s how my friend (fellow photographer and brother-in-arms) James introduced the lens to me. The nickname, given erroneously, is one of the first instances I’ve heard of an Internet rumour going ‘viral’ when it was shared that Minolta sold these lenses at cost when it was initially introduced with the first Maxxum cameras in the mid-1980s. This rumour is not true; at an initial price of 350$ USD (that’s 1,073.55$ CAD in 2021), honestly, that doesn’t sound like at cost to me. But ultimately, itRead More →

Several years ago, when I was starting to branch out in my home film developing, I would try a lot of different, strange, and odd-ball developers. Sure I went with the basics, D-76, HC-110, Rodinal. But as I continued to listen to the Film Photography Podcast, I started to get my hands on stranger items, PMK Pyro being the first speciality developer and from there Pyrocat-HD which has become a fast favourite. But then I heard Matt talk about a developer call FA-1027. The next trip I made to New York City, I popped into B&H and got myself a bottle. Sadly I have onlyRead More →

These days I will rarely work with Ilfosol 3, but it remains a developer that I always keep in the back of my mind. After learning how to develop my own black & white film from my good friend Julie using Kodak D-76, it would be a few more years before I started taking on the process full time. When I went into Burlington Camera to get all the equipment I needed to take on the daunting task some eight years ago, Joan pointed me towards Ilfosol 3 as a good starting point when you didn’t want to keep a large quantity of developer mixedRead More →

Back in my first struggling steps into the broader world of film photography, I came across this strange camera. Now, I knew about Hasselblads and also knew how expensive they were, but the seller informed me proudly that the Kiev 88 is a direct copy of the Hasselblad but at a far better price. I ended up getting the body, two lenses (but never used the second one??) and a pair of film backs. Oh, the seller also threw in a Zorki 4 with a pinholed shutter. I had to admit; I liked working with the 88, I lucked out and got the CM versionRead More →

When I started building my Minolta A-Mount kit, the Maxxum 100/2.8 Macro was not the first choice for a short telephoto lens. Instead, I was more drawn to the 135mm f/2.8 lens, only because Minolta did not have a 105, which has always been my preferred short telephoto prime lens. It wouldn’t be until a Toronto Film Shooters event last year hosted by Burlington Camera that I had the chance to try out the 100mm macro for the first time care of my good friend James McFarlane. While I wasn’t completely sold at that point, I wasn’t completely turned off the lens either. That lovelyRead More →

The 35mm f/2.8 lens saw initial release in 1959 and consisted of 7 elements in 6 groups, this optical construction would continue into 1974. The AI version of the lens that saw release in 1974 changed the optical construction to 6 elements in 6 groups (a construction shared with the f/2 version). In 1979 a fourth version of the lens saw release that many see as ‘inferior’ with only 5 elements in 5 groups. The lens I’m reviewing today is the fourth version of the 35mm f/2.8, and honestly, I find it just as good as my 35mm f/2D. Not only does it still performRead More →

Do you know that Kodak D-76 has a cousin? Although in the grand timeline of things, I can’t place exactly when the stuff was first released. But if I had to hazard a guess it was sometime in the 1920s. It proved to be a favourite of Ansel Adams along with HC-110. Today Kodak no longer produces D-23 in favourite of the far more shelf-stable D-76, but you can still mix it up from raw chemistry if you know the formula (I’ll be sharing that later) or you can purchase pre-made kits. Personally, I enjoy working with D-23 when I need some compensating capabilities andRead More →