I know, I know. I said I was happy with the Maxxum 50/1.7. But I’ve had a few people comment on that post on how the 50mm f/1.4 is a much sharper lens. The trouble is that a fast prime is often more expensive, but I got a good deal on this one, so who was I to say no? And you know, this lens lives up to everything that folks say about the glass. It’s a clean and professional with nothing overly special about it and delivers quality no matter what situation or aperture you throw its way, plus it behaves much better thanRead More →

Minolta certainly got right if there is one thing the number of sleeper lenses in their initial autofocus offerings. Mostly among these sleeper lenses are the zoom lenses, and one of the best is the 35-70mm f/4. Without breaking the bank, a lens with little fanfare or flare can certainly deliver quality images. This lens was my first experience with Maxxum glass, first on a Maxxum 5000 and then again on the 7000. And while this lens looks proper on those two cameras, it is dwarfed on the Maxxum 9, but it doesn’t matter as the image quality is superb. Lens Specifications Make: Minolta Model:Read More →

When I first started working with the Maxxum system, there were two lenses recommended; the first is the 35-70mm f/4 (which will get a review next year) and the 70-210mm f/4; these were both parts of the original lineup of lenses in 1985 and have stood the test of time. Affectionately known as the ‘beer can’, a name was applied to several different lenses of the same type. While it might not be a fast lens (f/4), it still produces fantastic results, and despite the solid metal construction, the lens remains a well balanced long lens for outdoor use and one that works perfectly withRead More →

There are a couple of highly specialised and mysterious developers out there, both made by the same company. While most people are drawn towards Diafine (which I plan on reviewing next year), Acufine is the cousin of that magic bullet developer. Like Diafine, Acufine’s chemistry is a trade secret; even the datasheets are redacted in that sense. But Acufine is a rare bird; it has the capability to increase the speed of most film stocks. But without all the drawbacks of push processing, increased grain, over the top contrast. While I have worked with Acufine before the stuff was way out of date, and IRead More →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 →

These cameras go by many names, Alpha, Dynax and of course we in North American call them Maxxum. They are the first commercially successful autofocus SLRs, they changed the came, they set the trend. Today James and Alex are again joined by Marwan of Silvergrain Classics who isn’t only a Leica user, he also uses Minolta Dynax (in his case) and joins us to share his wealth of knowledge as we go from the 7000 to the 7 and almost everything in between. Plus with the return of Marwan, Silvergrain Classics has a special offer for all our listeners, if you order a subscription orRead More →

There is always a bittersweet feeling when you wrap up a project. You’re proud that you completed the project and hopefully worth the effort you took to complete it from beginning to end. But you’re also sad because you cannot keep working on the subject. While this one, compared to some of my two recently history projects, was far smaller. The Anglo-American War of 1812 and Canadian Confederation were exhaustive topics filled with all sorts of twists and turned. The Welland Canal is far more straight forward, which is why I could complete the project in such a short amount of time. I guess learningRead More →

Like the Canal, the industries that formed along the corridor needed to adapt and change as technology, power, and market demand changed throughout history. During the early day of the Canal, industries could get by working in a relatively small area. Local grain, timber, and materials were brought to the mills, and then the products were used within the local market. The Canadian Industry during the first part of the 19th Century remained local, colonial, provincial. They were dedicated mainly to the extraction and processing of raw materials. But the 1850s brought two significant changes, the first being an effective railway network that provided furtherRead More →

The Welland Canal attracted a wide range of industry. But most of the industry used the Canal as a way to bring in power to drive the machines, transport in raw materials, and ship out finished products. But if there is a single industry that not only depended on the presence of the Canal but also provided goods and service to the Canal, it is the shipbuilding industry. Shipbuilding in Canada was nothing new; ships were the cars of the day as water was the highway. And with most the communities that existed in Canada were on the water. While Mills drove inland communities onRead More →

Most will overlook the third Welland Canal, and with good reason, of all the canals it is the least interesting, the least preserved and is, to be honest, boring. The Third Canal came at a moment of transition, a move from a colonial province to a world power for Canada. Plus the end of the age of sail. The Second Canal by the 1850s had just completed their depth increase to put it in line with the improved navigation along the St. Lawerence, Detroit, and St. Clair Rivers. But the increased depth, increased size in ships only showed the need for an improved water sourceRead More →