Tag: review

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:FRB – Review 16 – Rollei RPX 25

CCR:FRB – Review 16 – Rollei RPX 25

Through 2016 I did a 52-Roll project where I shot the Rollei RPX films for each week, out of the three flavours available my personal favourite remained RPX 25, a spiritual successor to the iconic Agfa APX 25. These days in film photography there aren’t many offerings below ASA-100, Pan F+ is a solid choice, but sometimes you want something sharp, fine-grained, and slow. And for that, you have Rollei RPX 25. While the thin polyester base might make it hard to handle in the bag and widely thin in sheet formats, the results are worth the trouble.

CCR:FRB - Review 16 - Rollei RPX 25

Film Specs
Type: Panchromatic B&W
Film Base: Polyester (PE)
Film Speed: ASA-25, Latitude: 12-50
Formats Avaliable: 35mm, 120, 4×5

Roll 01 – Rodinal
Where best to start with a slow film known for its sharpness is Rodinal. And honestly, it doesn’t matter which dilution you use, 1+25 or 1+50 it depends on how much time you have to develop it. You see clearly the fine-grained nature of the film and the sharpness. I mean the negatives are sharp enough to cut yourself on. Plus you see a touch of the extended red-sensitivity in the film as you get the darkened blue skies.

52:500c - Week 21 - Welcome to the Roc52:500c - Week 21 - Welcome to the Roc52:500c - Week 21 - Welcome to the Roc52:500c - Week 21 - Welcome to the Roc

Technical Details:
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Distagon 50mm 1:4 – Rollei RPX 25 @ ASA-25
Blazinal (1+25) 6:00 @ 20C

Roll 02 – Kodak D-76
Sometimes you want a film to be sharp, sometimes you want it to be soft. For the most part, RPX 25 is a sharp film, yet in D-76 it tones down the razor sharp edge, but don’t think this is a bad thing. The film itself is fairly high-contrast, not so much here, the contrast is toned down to a pleasing level but you don’t lose the tonal range at the same time. In generally I rather like RPX 25 in D-76 if I’m looking for a more normal look rather than a deathly sharp contrasty punch in the face you tend to get. If I had to pick a word, smooth comes to mind.

CCR:FRB - Review 16 - Rollei RPX 25 - Roll 2 (D-76)CCR:FRB - Review 16 - Rollei RPX 25 - Roll 2 (D-76)CCR:FRB - Review 16 - Rollei RPX 25 - Roll 2 (D-76)CCR:FRB - Review 16 - Rollei RPX 25 - Roll 2 (D-76)

Technical Details:
Contax G2 – Carl Zeiss Biogon 2,8/28 T* – Rollei RPX 25 @ ASA-25
Kodak D-76 (1+1) 8:00 @ 20C

Roll 03 – Kodak HC-110
When you have a film stock this fine, you really don’t need to be concerned about the developer, and honestly, think HC-110 works well on the film. While I used the B dilution, looking back I think the film would look even better with E or even H. You do get a crank up on the contrast you don’t lose the fine-grain or sharpness with the film and as an everyday developer for the film, you cannot beat HC-110.

52:500c - Week 41 - Battle Ground52:500c - Week 41 - Battle Ground52:500c - Week 41 - Battle Ground52:500c - Week 41 - Battle Ground

Techincal Details:
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Rollei RPX 25 @ ASA-25
Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 5:00 @ 20C

Roll 04 – Pyrocat-HD
So when working with slow, fine-grained films, there are some developers that you just know are going to make the film sing, and with RPX 25 the one developer I knew I had to try with the large format version of the film, Pyrocat-HD remained developer number one. And the wait was well worth it. Any grain that even showed up earlier is gone, I mean I don’t even want to try and print this film as I don’t know how well I could get it in focus. You have insanely sharp images that will blow you away. Not to mention a tonal range to die for.

Mill Water FallsThe Leftovers7.7 cm Feldkanone 96 neuer ArtThe Prison Yard

Technical Details:
Graflex Pacemaker Crown Graphic – Multiple Lenses – Rollei RPX 25 @ ASA-25
Pyrocat-HD (1+1+100) 12:00 @ 20C

Final Thoughts
I honestly say, having RPX 25 available these days is wonderful, as I never got to shoot APX 25 in anything other than 35mm, and now that I can shoot it in 120 and 4×5 if I need that slow speed in the summer or to get that rich velvet of running water I can. While the film’s latitude isn’t the best, you don’t really expect much from a slow film. If I want latitude I’ll shoot 100 or even 400 films before a slow film. And the best part is that the RPX line is available through most brick-and-mortar photography stores and online through Maco Direct or Argentix.

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

CCR:FRB – Review 15 – Fomapan 400

CCR:FRB – Review 15 – Fomapan 400

Fomapan 400, the big mystery, at least to me. I’ve never once shot this film, mostly because I had heard some terrible things about it. Now I am set in my ways when it comes to the faster films, sticking to the ones I know and enjoy. Tri-X, HP5+, and JCH StreetPan. Yet, through shooting and developing the film and seeing the work Bill Smith has been doing with the stock in 35mm I am plesently surprised. There’s a certain classic look and feel well before the days when films were touted as “Finest Grain” or “Sharpest 400-Speed Film” the days where you wanted fine grain you shot Panatomic-X and if you wanted speed you shot Tri-X. Grain is good.

CCR:FRB - Review 14 - Fomapan 400

Film Specs
Type: Panchromatic B&W
Film Base: Polyester
Film Speed: ASA-400, Latitude: 100-3200
Formats Avaliable: 35mm, 120, Sheets

Roll 01 – Kodak D-23
Surprisingly this was exactly how I was expecting to see my Fomapan 400 images, contrasty, grainy, sharp, but not overly so. A very classic look, like the Kodak films of the middle of the 20th century. Films that don’t claim to be super sharp and fine-grained, but produce amazing images! It’s almost as if these were shot in the 1960s or 1970s. Yet the grain is not that bad to be honest. Sure you see it in the skies, but honestly, you still have a sharp clear image with some decent tonal range to work with. So maybe, Fomapan 400 isn’t as bad as people think.

CCR:FRB - Review 14 - Fomapan 400 - Roll 01 (Kodak D-23)CCR:FRB - Review 14 - Fomapan 400 - Roll 01 (Kodak D-23)CCR:FRB - Review 14 - Fomapan 400 - Roll 01 (Kodak D-23)CCR:FRB - Review 14 - Fomapan 400 - Roll 01 (Kodak D-23)

Technical Details:
Mamiya m645 – Mamiya-Sekor C 45mm 1:2.8 N – Fomapan 400 @ ASA-250
Kodak D-23 (Stock) 7:30 @ 20C

Roll 02 – Rodinal
So I guess this is where Fomapan 400 get’s it’s ill reputation. Usually, I don’t mind even the faster films souped in Rodinal, Pancro 400, Tri-X, StreetPan. But with Fomapan 400, even giving it every possible chance, pulling it one stop, using a dilute developer. It’s doesn’t look bad, it’s just it could look better. While you have the tone, contrast, and sharpness in the images the grain gets all muddied up! It reminds me of what Fomapan 200 looked like in Xtol. Well I mean, I had a feeling it could happen, while not a bad developer, it wouldn’t be my first choice with Foma 400.

CCR:FRB - Review 14 - Fomapan 400 - Roll 02 (Rodinal)CCR:FRB - Review 14 - Fomapan 400 - Roll 02 (Rodinal)CCR:FRB - Review 14 - Fomapan 400 - Roll 02 (Rodinal)CCR:FRB - Review 14 - Fomapan 400 - Roll 02 (Rodinal)

Technical Details:
Rolleiflex 2.8F – Carl Ziess Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Fomapan 400 @ ASA-200
Blazinal (1+50) 11:00 @ 20C

Roll 03 – Kodak HC-110
Out of all the developers, I didn’t expect the worst to come out of HC-110, I actually expected it out of Rodinal. Yet here we are, a solid performer yes and there is actually less grain on these images that I was originally expecting for shooting it at full box speed. Am I disappointed, not really, actually I feel fairly vindicated that I could get some heavy grained images out of the film. But just because they’re grainy, doesn’t make them bad. I actually like the shots, the tones and contrast are rich and the images clean and Fomapan 400 doesn’t claim to be a fine-grained film. There’s almost a classic pushed look to these, which in the right situation would work wonderfully!

CCR:FRB - Review 14 - Fomapan 400 - Roll 03 (Kodak HC-110)CCR:FRB - Review 14 - Fomapan 400 - Roll 03 (Kodak HC-110)CCR:FRB - Review 14 - Fomapan 400 - Roll 03 (Kodak HC-110)CCR:FRB - Review 14 - Fomapan 400 - Roll 03 (Kodak HC-110)

Techincal Details:
Mamiya m645 – Mamiya-Sekor C 35mm 1:3.5 N – Fomapan 400 @ ASA-400
Kodak HC-110 Dil. H 13:00 @ 20C

Roll 04 – Kodak Tmax Developer
Now, this is a pleasant surprise. Maybe it’s the compensating nature of the developer, or maybe the film isn’t that bad at box speed. But no matter what it is, TMax Developer and Fomapan 400 is a wonderful combination. Is there grain, sure, but no more or less than from Bergger Pancro 400. Not to mention, you have a pretty sharp image, amazing tonal range. And nothing of what I would have expected from Fomapan 400.

CCR:FRB - Review 14 - Fomapan 400 - Roll 04 (Kodak TMax Developer)CCR:FRB - Review 14 - Fomapan 400 - Roll 04 (Kodak TMax Developer)CCR:FRB - Review 14 - Fomapan 400 - Roll 04 (Kodak TMax Developer)CCR:FRB - Review 14 - Fomapan 400 - Roll 04 (Kodak TMax Developer)

Technical Details:
Rolleiflex 2.8F – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Fomapan 400 @ ASA-400
Kodak TMax Developer (1+4) 8:00 @ 20C

Final Thoughts
So, maybe I was wrong about Fomapan 400. The film itself has surprised me, with how good it is. It actually reminds me of old school Tri-X in its tonality and contrast. Is there grain, of course, but nothing that looks terrible. I mean, the grain patterns that I see remind me of what I saw with Pancro 400, and I rather liked that film when it was developed right. Is Fomapan 400 a film for every day, of course not, but if you are shooting at a Korea or Vietnam era reenactment camp, the images could look like they were taken during the war if you shoot the right camera and develop it right. For me, the developers of choice would be Kodak D-23 and I’m sure D-76 does just as fine a job, also TMax Developer and HC-110. And don’t be afraid to shoot the film at full box speed, I just wouldn’t push it too far past.

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:FRB – Review 12 – Kodak Tri-X 400

CCR:FRB – Review 12 – Kodak Tri-X 400

Kodak Tri-X, the mention of the film stock is usually met with awe or aversion. But for me, Tri-X is my film of choice no matter what situation I’m going into. I know that with the film I can get consistent results no matter what situation I throw myself into from abandoned buildings to a wedding, and will get amazing results no matter what chemical I toss the film into. With a classic look and feel, you can torture this film to your heart’s content and will always get the results you need.

CCR:FRB - Review 12 - Kodak Tri-X 400

Film Specs
Type: Panchromatic B&W
Film Base: Acetate
Film Speed: ASA-400, Latitude: 100-6400
Formats Available: 35mm, 120, Sheets (Note: Sheet films of Tri-X are known as 320TXP)

Roll 01 – Rodinal
Like my aversion to using Rodinal with Bergger Pancro 400, I thought the exact same thing with Tri-X, putting a sharp developer on a fast film will result in a grain fest. Yet, I wanted to give it a go anyways and the results astounded me. The grain, while more present than normal, is reasonable, it is a little more noticeable in 35mm, it also shows off exactly what Tri-X can do. With sharpness, tonality, and contrast that show you exactly how the world is supposed to look in black & white. If you want something a little smoother, bump the dilution to 1+50 for even better results. Just remember to use a chemical stop bath, I forgot one time and overdeveloped the sheets.

Amy & Jeremy - 12th August 2017Amy & Jeremy - 12th August 2017Amy & Jeremy - 12th August 2017Amy & Jeremy - 12th August 2017

Technical Details:
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ASA-200
Blazinal (1+25) 7:00 @ 20C

Roll 02 – Kodak HC-110
The first roll of Tri-X I developed on my own was with HC-110, back in 2012. Now you’re probably screaming that I developed for less than five minutes, which is a big no-no apparently. And even now that I use longer developing times (), the results are the same! But it works for me. It seems that, at least to me, HC-110 and Tri-X are made for each other. The tones are there, the sharpness is there, and the contrast is through the roof. And it also shows off how well Tri-X can handle even the worst lighting conditions like a rainy day in Arras under heavy clouds.

Rainy Day in ArrasRainy Day in ArrasRainy Day in ArrasRainy Day in Arras

Technical Details:
Contax G2 – Carl Zeiss Biogon 2,8/28 T* – Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ASA-400
Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 4:30 @ 20C

Roll 03 – Kodak TMax Developer
While not my favourite choice for Tri-X, that doesn’t mean TMax Developer does a good job, it does, it just doesn’t make Tri-X look like the Tri-X I know and enjoy. But thankfully, Tri-X looks good, no matter what you develop it in. The grain is far more chunky as if it’s trying to make classic grain look like modern grain. It may even look close to a classic Tri-X with big grain and lower than normal contrast. But if it’s all you got, it does its job. Though I personally would knock the developing time back 15-30 seconds next time, or pull the film further back to 200.

CCR:FRB - Review 12 - Kodak Tri-X 400 - Roll 03 (Kodak TMax Developer)CCR:FRB - Review 12 - Kodak Tri-X 400 - Roll 03 (Kodak TMax Developer)CCR:FRB - Review 12 - Kodak Tri-X 400 - Roll 03 (Kodak TMax Developer)CCR:FRB - Review 12 - Kodak Tri-X 400 - Roll 03 (Kodak TMax Developer)

Techincal Details:
Nikon F5 – AF Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4D – Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ASA-320
Kodak TMax Developer (1+4) 7:15 @ 20C

Roll 04 – Kodak D-23
While D-76 is a good choice of developer for Tri-X, I personally prefer the slower working D-23 as it really helps show off the range for Tri-X, and actually gives the film a far more classic look than newer developers. You get the same tone and sharpness that I have come to expect from the film but it does knock back the contrast but not by much if you prefer more contrast D-76 would be a better choice.

Project:1812 - Fortress HalifaxProject:1812 - Fortress HalifaxProject:1812 - Fortress HalifaxProject:1812 - Fortress Halifax

Technical Details:
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ASA-400
Kodak D-23 (Stock) 7:30 @ 20C

Final Thoughts
Kodak Tri-X will remain, one of my favourite films, I can push and pull the film no matter what and can always pull good images out of it. And though you don’t get the clean modern look as you would with TMax 400, it’s that classic grain and contrast that I desire when I’m out on the street or in portraiture. It’s the classic in the yellow box and one that you can get pretty much anywhere you can buy film. While I wouldn’t develop in TMax developer, it sings in Rodinal, D-23 or D-76, HC-110 and so many other developers.

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:FRB – Review 10 – Rollei Ortho 25 Plus

CCR:FRB – Review 10 – Rollei Ortho 25 Plus

In the early days of Photography, most photographic stocks were Orthochromatic, which means they didn’t see a certain colour on the spectrum, mostly this meant the film stock could not see red light, other times it meant the film didn’t see blue light. And while today Panchromatic stocks are the norm, there is still a need for technical films. While shooting Ortho 25, I worked under the assumption that it didn’t see red light. However, I’m not sure of which colour the film is not sensitive to. But it doesn’t matter now; Ortho 25 is an amazing slow black & white film that is deadly sharp and so fine-grained I don’t think it has any.

CCR:FRB - Review 10 - Rollei Ortho 25 Plus

Film Specs
Type: Orthochromatic B&W, Spectral Sensitivity to 380 – 610nm
Film Base: Polyester
Film Speed: ASA-25, Latitude: 12-50
Formats Avaliable: 35mm, 120, Sheets

Roll 01 – Kodak D-76
When you have a film that’s rated to ASA-25, I think it is impossible to get any heavy grain pattern. And while D-76 is a fairly common developer, it still produces amazing images with Ortho 25. You do see a bit more of darkening of the reds in the images, mainly brickwork in the buildings. But nothing seriously heavy. Sadly there’s no 1+1 time available at the moment, but I would love to see what a more dilute image would look like.

CCR:FRB - Review 10 - Rollei Ortho 25 Plus - Roll 01 (Kodak D-76)CCR:FRB - Review 10 - Rollei Ortho 25 Plus - Roll 01 (Kodak D-76)CCR:FRB - Review 10 - Rollei Ortho 25 Plus - Roll 01 (Kodak D-76)CCR:FRB - Review 10 - Rollei Ortho 25 Plus - Roll 01 (Kodak D-76)

Technical Details:
Rolleiflex 2.8F – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Rollei Ortho 25 Plus @ ASA-25
Kodak D-76 (Stock) 6:00 @ 20C

Roll 02 – Rodinal
I was expecting a little more drama, reds that were coming out black, something exciting. And it pains me to say it, but these images look normal, sure you get next to no grain, images sharp enough to cut yourself on. But still, I was expecting something a little bit more out of this film, to be honest. Now, it’s not to say Rodinal is a poor choice for this film; it works well you get a full panchromatic image which is unexpected, but still a pleasing look all the same. Very low on the contrast however in many of the shots. I only really noticed the darker rendering of the reds in the brick detail shot.

CCR:FRB - Review 10 - Rollei Ortho 25 Plus - Roll 02 (Rodinal)CCR:FRB - Review 10 - Rollei Ortho 25 Plus - Roll 02 (Rodinal)CCR:FRB - Review 10 - Rollei Ortho 25 Plus - Roll 02 (Rodinal)CCR:FRB - Review 10 - Rollei Ortho 25 Plus - Roll 02 (Rodinal)

Technical Details:
Nikon F5 – AF Nikkor 35mm 1:2D – Rollei Ortho 25 Plus @ ASA-25
Blazinal (1+50) 6:00 @ 20C

Roll 03 – TMax Developer
I wasn’t too sure about TMax Developer, but I think Ortho 25 responded well to it. While the Massive Developer Chart calls for a 6 minute time in 24C water, I didn’t realise that until after I had prepared the developer in 20C, thankfully I was able to calculate the time and just gave it about three fewer seconds to make it a common time. I continued to be amazed here at the quality of the images, and you even see a greater darkening of the reds here than with D-76. But you do lose some of that razor sharp images that you get with Rodinal, while no surprise, even in D-76 Ortho 25 is super-sharp, but in TMax Developer, they’re a little softer, not by much but enough to make them rather pleasing.

CCR:FRB - Review 10 - Rollei Ortho 25 Plus - Roll 03 (Kodak TMax Developer)CCR:FRB - Review 10 - Rollei Ortho 25 Plus - Roll 03 (Kodak TMax Developer)CCR:FRB - Review 10 - Rollei Ortho 25 Plus - Roll 03 (Kodak TMax Developer)CCR:FRB - Review 10 - Rollei Ortho 25 Plus - Roll 03 (Kodak TMax Developer)

Techincal Details:
Mamiya m645 – Mamiya-Sekor C 45mm 1:2.8 N – Rollei Ortho 25 Plus @ ASA-25
Kodak TMax Developer (1+4) 8:15 @ 20C

Final Thoughts
While it’s impossible to get any grain with a film this slow, I still think your best bet for developing to show off the sharpness and fine-grain nature you want to use Rodinal. I also enjoy the fact that many of the developing times for Ortho 25 are in the six-minute range which isn’t something you see in many films this slow. I’m mostly thinking RPX 25 here. While I can’t see much use for the film myself, it does give another slow film option other than RPX 25 or Ilford Pan F+ something we don’t see that often these days with most companies producing films rated at ASA-100. Ortho 25 is readily available, but only in online shops, Argentix, FreeStyle and Maco Direct.

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