Tag: Toronto

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

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

Delta Def Jam – Part I

Delta Def Jam – Part I

Oh Emulsive, I think through your little contests you’re going to keep film alive ensuring that everyone goes out and buys the stuff to join in these fun little games. After joining in on the Summer Film Parties, the next step is the Delta Def Jam. Wait What? Like the TMax Party, Delta Def Jam celebrates Ilford’s tabular grained film, known as Delta. Also of note, the Delta series of film comes in 100, 400, and 3200.

The Delta Def Jam - Part I

The Delta Def Jam - Part I

Now when it comes to the Delta series I really only like one of the film stocks, Delta 100, although I may play with Delta 400 see if I can’t get it bent to my will. Thankfully I had a single roll of Delta 100 in 35mm left in my stock of film to load up and roll with for September. Recently through a review of the Bronica GS-1, I realized that Delta 100 also looks amazing when pulled just slightly to ASA-80 and then developed in SPUR HRX. If you haven’t heard of SPUR HRX that’s fine, it is a rare developer that I only just heard about also.

The Delta Def Jam - Part I

The Delta Def Jam - Part I

Having a beautiful holiday long weekend right at the start my wife and I headed into Toronto for the Art Fest in the Distillery District. A wiser choice as it was the final day for the CNE, and the trains into the city became packed the further east we travelled. Thankfully they all disembarked before Union Station. The city always makes for a good solid walk and the Distillery District is not that far for us.

The Delta Def Jam - Part I

The Delta Def Jam - Part I

In Medium Format, Delta 100 in HRX has amazing results, but in 35mm with a bit of filtering, sure a deep yellow, it just sings! Looking forward to next month’s Jam! The film is being purchased this week, the camera and location are already chosen. Stay tuned October!

All Photos taken in the Distillery District – Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Nikon F90 – AF Nikkor 35mm 1:2D (Yellow-15) – Ilford Delta 100 @ ASA-80
SPUR HRX (1+) @ 20C

Large Format in the Park

Large Format in the Park

The trouble with photo walks is that you’re walking, this pretty much takes the idea of bringing large format cameras and tripods along. I mean, I love LF and have a press camera which allows me to shoot the Crown Graphic Handheld as I did back at the Summer Toronto Film Shooters Meetup. But again, when making a meet up especially for large format, you can’t call it a photo walk because it’s hard to walk with an LF camera and I know that many members don’t shoot press, technical, or field cameras they use monorails. You don’t walk around with a monorail, while you can, just not quickly. Thus was born, the Large Format Lugabout.

Remains of a Face

A Lovely Day

The Toronto Film Shooters have been to High Park many times before, so it made sense to use this urban park in Toronto as the base of operations for the walk, moving from the Southern Entrance at Colbourne Lodge to the northern terminus at Bloor Street. At about two kilometres it’s an easy enough walk even when you have an 8×10 on a monorail to lug with you.

The Howard Tomb

The Chimney

As I loaned out my Crown Graphic out to a good friend, I made a point to shoot the eight sheets of 4×5 while I wanted down through the park towards the meeting point before the main event. Even my lovely wife put up with the constant stopping. It proved to be a perfect day to shoot large format and there turned out to be a decent attendance. The highlight for me is finally seeing Colbourne Lodge. The lodge is another one of those hidden museums in Toronto, and one I certainly will be checking out again. But with the meeting starting, I turned over my Crown Graphic to Wu and switched to my Nikon F5 to take photos of the various people in attendance.

Nancy!

It's, it's...taller than me!

Another Big One

Trio of Tripods

A Common Sight

The trouble with such a meet is that everything spreads out in a long thin line, Heather and I along with Wu and Joe formed the front of the line while the long trail of photographers lugging every type of camera came up behind, even some folks carried medium format beasts. But since it was tripod friendly, it gave folks a chance to slow down.

The event turned out much better than I expected and I certainly plan on running with the idea again as people took to the idea of a limited area shoot and allowing us to bring out the big guns.

Techinal Details:
Pacemaker Crown Graphic – Schneider-Kreuznach Symmar-S 1:5.6/210, Schneider-Kreuznach Xenar 1:4,7/135, Fuji Fujinon-W 1:5.6/125
Rollei RPX 25 @ ASA-25 – Blazinal (1+25) 6:00 @ 20C
Nikon F5 – AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1:2D – Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ASA-200
Blazinal (1+25) 7:00 @ 20C

CCR Review 70 – Voigtländer Bessa

CCR Review 70 – Voigtländer Bessa

When it comes to folding cameras, not all cameras are created equal. Many are simply box cameras dressed up with some bellows, while others have full on rangefinders and exposure control. While the Voigtländer Bessa is not top dog, it certainly is a little more usable than a simple box. The Bessa is a step up from a simple box but lacks a rangefinder to couple the manual focus. Couple this with a solid lens, with a full range of aperture and shutter speeds, makes this a solid choice if you’re looking for a folder. The Bessa is a long line of folding cameras that began in 1929 and lasted until 1949 with several changes over the course of product manufacture. This particular model dates between 1935 and 1937. It came into my collection through my Uncle Harvey, brother-in-law to my mother, it belonged to his father who used it well into the 1950s before switching to motion picture film to capture family memories. Special thanks to Uncle Harvey for trusting me with a family camera.

CCR Review 70 - Voigtlander Bessa

  • Make: Voigtländer
  • Model: Bessa
  • Type: Folder
  • Format: Medium, 120/620, 6×4.5/6×9
  • Lens: Fixed, Voigtländer Anastigmat Voigtar 1:4,5 F=11cm
  • Year of Manufacture: 1935-1937

CCR Review 70 - Voigtlander Bessa

CCR Review 70 - Voigtlander Bessa

The Good
If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past reviews is that age doesn’t always mean poor performance. In fact, I’ve had successfully quality images from cameras far older than the Bessa. And the Bessa certainly delivers, the Voigtar lens, based on the Anastigmat design, provides quality sharp images at any aperture, I mostly shot these at f/11 or f/8, the reason will come in the next paragraph. While not exactly the fastest lens on the block at only f/4.5 I only found this to be a problem once and only because I was shooting the film at ASA-50. When it comes to handling, the Bessa is a decent shooter. Probably top on my list is that there’s a shutter release on the lens door, makes it nice and easy to shoot either landscape or portrait. By default the camera shoots in the big and beautiful 6×9 format and produces fantastic images as such, the 11cm (110mm) lens is perfect for the format with no vignetting or fall-off in any corner. But you will only get eight frames per roll. However, you can add a mask to the camera and use the second frame counter window and produce 6×4.5 format images that double the number of exposures per roll to 16. Of course, you need to add a mask to the camera, a mask I don’t have but can be produced I have yet to create such a mask. And finally, the camera is designed to accept both 120 and 620 film rolls, while less of an issue today such compatibility between Kodak Films and everyone else certainly helped the average photographer.

CCR Review 70 - Voigtlander Bessa

CCR Review 70 - Voigtlander Bessa

The Bad
The Bessas are old cameras, with the earliest models being 88 years old and the youngest dating to 68, not exactly spring chickens. I was lucky that this particular camera is in great working shape. The first thing is that the bellows can get damaged. While some might let in just a bit of light and give a distressed look to the images, others might leak like a sieve and ruin any film run through the camera. Lenses haze over, shutter stick, so if you are looking at one, try and sort out the general shooting capacity of the camera before purchase. Let’s move on, there are two serious issues and two minor issues I have with this particular camera. The first and most severe in my mind is the film winder. Being a dual 120/620, it’s a pretty substantial piece of metal, and I found that it chewed through the plastic take up reel. Thankfully I was able to run through the eight frames before it stopped advancing and I was able to extract the film with a change bag. But for future use, I’ll probably want to stick to either a 120 or 620 spool that is metal. The second issue I have with the camera I eluded to in the previous paragraph, and that has to do with focus. The camera is a manual focus lens without a rangefinder, so you have to give a rough guess on the focus or use an external rangefinder, realising this I made a point to shoot mostly to infinity and stop it down to at least f/11 to get a decent depth of field. The only shot I made at f/8, I missed focus by a touch. If I take this camera out again, I’ll be sure to pack the external rangefinder; it worked great with the Pony 135. The two remaining issues are minor, first is that the lens is uncoated, so you only want to shoot black & white film through the camera to get decent results. And secondly, the shutter speed maxes out at 1/125 of a second. So you don’t want to go shooting Kodak Tri-X or Ilford HP5+ through the camera unless you plan on seriously pulling the film in development and exposure.

CCR Review 70 - Voigtlander Bessa

CCR Review 70 - Voigtlander Bessa

The Lowdown
When it comes to folding cameras this one, despite the issue with focusing, is a real winner. Certainly would be a good choice if you frequent World War II reenactments, even if it’s just a prop but kudos if you use it to shoot. And if you do find a camera in good working order, it certainly won’t let you down. If you do shoot with the camera, remember when this camera came out Ilford had just released HP (the great-grand daddy of HP5+) and rated at ASA-160. You’ll mostly want to stick to Ilford FP4+, Kodak TMax 100, Ilford Pan F+, Fomapan 100, Ultrafine Xtreme 100, or Rollei RPX 25 to get the best results out of this camera. And the best part is shutter speeds are perfect for Sunny-16 style metering (1/125 to 1/25) and if you’re lucky enough you might even find one with an original metal reel inside. Just remember to save the reel or simply remind you lab to return it.

All Photos Taken In The Distillery District, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Voigtländer Bessa – Voigtländer Anastigmat Voigtar 1:4,5 F=11cm – Ultrafine Xtreme 100 @ ASA-50
Blazinal (1+50) 9:00 @ 20C

Toronto Film Shooters @ The Beach

Toronto Film Shooters @ The Beach

The Beach neighbourhood in Toronto is not one that I have explored much. Sure I’ve done a wedding there, the 2015 spring Toronto Film Shooters Meetup happened here, had a week of my latest 52-Roll project there, and even recorded an episode of Classic Camera Revival out there. Okay, so maybe I have spent more time in the Beaches than I thought I had. But, it’s always fun to go and check out a part of the city I don’t often have a chance to visit. Bill Smith, while an Oakville resident often finds himself in the area, and offered to host a little photo walk in the area.

Wrong Stop

Bank Turned Retail

The Beach

The trouble was that I ended up taking the subway one stop further than I should have, also not realising that Main Street does not run all the way down to Queen Street. With a bit of jogging about I finally was on the right path to get to my first destination, the RC Harris Water Treatment Plant.

RC Harris

If you have a keen eye and a love of 1990/2000s Sci-Fi television you’ll probably recognise this place as the shadowy think-tank “The Centre” from The Pretender or the headquarters of the hacker Augur from Earth: Final Conflict. From there it was a short nine-minute walk to the meetup point, The Remarkable Bean, a lovely coffee shop nearly at the furthest stop on Queen Street.

Jumping Off Point

Wondering The Source

It turned out I hadn’t needed to visit RC Harris earlier in the day, as we headed back out to the iconic treatment plant, after sticking around there, it was off along the shores of Lake Ontario where the neighbourhood gets it the name, The Beach. While the chance of rain stayed small, we had to dodge the weather several times as we moved west along the beach, taking shelter mostly under the trees along the boardwalk.

Resovior Dogs

Cold Day for a Dip

Alone on the Rock

This ain't no Baywatch

At the historic Leuty Lifeguard Station, we drove north through Kew Gardens back to Queen Street returning to the urban environment. Our final destination on Eastern Avenue is a new craft-brewery in the city, Rorschach Brewing Co. You’ll need a keen eye, it’s easy to walk or drive right past this small historic home, and while it may look small from the outside, like a TARDIS, it is much bigger than it appears. Try their Black IPA; it’s my favourite.

Kew

In Memorial

No. 15

End of Line

If you’re in Toronto and have a love of film photography, we run these meets at minimum four times a year with a handful of specialised events scattered in between. You can find the Toronto Film Shooters on Facebook! It’s a closed group, but if your profile looks like you’re a fellow film nut, we’ll let you in!

All Photos Taken in Toronto, Ontario
Nikon FA – AI-S Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4 (Yellow-15) – Efke KB100 @ ASA-100
Pyrocat-HD (2+2+100) 8:00 @ 20C

CCR Review 68 – Zenza Bronica GS-1

CCR Review 68 – Zenza Bronica GS-1

If you’ve used any of the modern Bronica cameras, you’ve mostly used them all. And that is the beauty of them because of they all act, behave and feel the same in both operation and general, cosmetic details. The only difference is the size of the negative. And while I’ve reviewed the smaller of the three, the ETRS earlier this year, I now switch up to the largest of the three the GS-1. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a fan of Bronica cameras, but I like the GS-1 and would easily rate it higher than the Mamiya as it stands up easier on field work when comparing similar bodies, the Pentax 67 out strips both for ease of use in the field. Sadly the camera is a rare beast to find these days even on the used market, but if you can find a full setup, you have a keeper. Special thanks to Mike Bitaxi for loaning out the beast.

CCR Review 68 - Bronica GS-1
The Dirt

  • Make: Zenza
  • Model: Bronica GS-1
  • Type: Single Lens Reflex
  • Format: Medium, 120/220, 6×7
  • Lens: Interchangeable, PG-Mount
  • Year of Manufacture: 1983-2002

CCR Review 68 - Bronica GS-1

CCR Review 68 - Bronica GS-1

The Good
Despite being a 6×7 camera the GS-1 if properly equipped with a good neck strap and action grip is designed for use in the field, when compared to a camera like the RB/RZ67, even with a waist level finder the action grip makes the camera easy to use. While this is no Mamiya 7 or Pentax 67 I found that even the weight is acceptable for walking around, it actually would be a difficult camera to use in the studio. If you’ve used other Bronica cameras of the same period you’ll instantly know how to operate the GS-1 with all the same controls; even the accessories mount in the same fashion as the smaller cameras. And the camera is designed for speed, a familiar crank or double-stroke will advance the film and cock the shutter, and return the mirror. The GS-1 is also a fully modular system so you can customise it to however you need it from finders, backs, grips, and lenses. It also impressed me how quiet it was, of its size and weight I expected a mirror slap that would wake the dead and rattle even the steadiest photographer at 1/60 of a second. And finally, having the large 6×7 negative makes the camera ideal for wedding, travel, landscape, and other situations where the print is king, and you don’t want to lug along a 4×5 large format camera. But my favourite part, the camera has a functioning built in, on/off switch, helps to save that battery, and that battery is pretty standard and can easily be purchased online or at a camera/electronics shop.

CCR Review 68 - Bronica GS-1

CCR Review 68 - Bronica GS-1

The Bad
The camera does have the trouble with weight, while less than an RB/RZ, and with a good strap it is not much of an issue, but if you have back troubles this might not want to be a camera of choice. Now I’ve handled cameras with hair triggers before, the Olympus XA comes to mind, and so does the GS-1. I had barely laid my finger on the action grip shutter release and bam; I had taken the shot. I was just glad I hadn’t changed the frame composition. Then when it comes to changing the camera to portrait orentation, you have to hall the whole thing 90 degrees, with the action grip and eye-level finder it’s not too bad, but if you have the waist-level finder, good luck buttercup. However, the biggest trouble with this camera is the rarity of it. I had not even heard of the system until Mike first mentioned he was collecting the parts to make one up. And I find that odd given the near twenty-year life of the GS-1. So why is this a bad thing, well the trouble is that if something breaks or goes wrong, it makes it hard to find replacement parts or accessories and being an electronic camera from the 1980s something will break eventually? And given this rarity and lack of gear on the used market, anything you do find will be relatively costly.

CCR Review 68 - Bronica GS-1

CCR Review 68 - Bronica GS-1

The Lowdown
Like any other 6×7 camera I’ve reviewed, the GS-1 is certainly a winner, but as a 4×5 shooter, it just doesn’t fill a need in my toolkit. Also, two frames into my second roll, it stopped working for me, it must know of my loathing of Bronicas. When it went back to its owner, Mike, started working again. If I ever stopped shooting the 4×5 format, I would probably go for a 6×7 camera, but given the rarity and cost attached to a GS-1 and my general distrust of Bronica cameras, my two 6×7 cameras of choice would be a Pentax 67 or Mamiya 7. While I would hazzard reccomending the GS-1, it’s not a bad camera, it’s just there are better options for 6×7 shooting out there. Heck, I’d even run with an RB/RZ67 over a GS-1. Worth the massive back damage if it provides a little more reliablity.

All Photos Taken in The Beach, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Bronica GS-1 – Zenzanon-PG 1:3.5 f=100mm – Delta 100 @ ASA-80
SPUR HRX (1+20) 9:00 @ 20C

Toronto Film Shooters – Summer 2017

Toronto Film Shooters – Summer 2017

Ah the dog days of summer, and yet there’s still the draw to get out, no matter the weather, and just enjoy shooting. This summer meeting saw me visit two areas of the city for some shooting. The first part of the meet was in a part of the city that I don’t often explore, the Riverside neighbourhood on the eastern side of the Don Valley. Fellow film shooter, Bill Smith, did the heavy lifting in planning out the meet. The day started with coffee at the lovely Rooster Coffee Shop. The whole area is a hidden gem in the city with lots to see and photograph. I decided that I would shoot with something a little different than I normally do at these meets, an 85mm lens, look for detail rather than the big picture.

Who the ... Uses a Payphone

Lost Shoe

The Riverdale Cannon

The Jupiter-9 lens is one that I had meant to shoot a little more often, but just never mounted it because it’s somewhat tricky with the double bayonet mount, unlike the standard 50mm lenses (Jupiter-8 and CZ Sonnar). But man it certainly is fun to get away from my usual fare of shooting wide, allowing me a little extra reach and being able to exploit creamy out of focus elements that the lens is known to produce and focus in on details rather than the big picture. Sadly the trouble with the Jupiter-9 is that it suffers from a bit of a focus issue and some shots that I was looking forward to were out. But such is life.

Meet at the Sign of the Rooster

Justice

PVBLIC

We made a point to stop by the Old Don Jail, now part of Bridgepoint Health and then it was east along Gerard Street. A visit, of course, was in order as we walked south on Carlaw to another shop that is close to a few folks in the group, WonderPens! WonderPens is a lovely mum & pop shop that specialises in fine writing. Ink, Pens, and Paper. With a trip to Disney and a historical photography project in the works for next year, it gave me a chance to pick up a couple of new notebooks. Because as you know, every new project needs a new notebook, right?

Wheeled Transport

Film & Fountain Pens

Finally Lunch

Back west we headed along Queen Street almost to where we started at Broadview, sadly the initial stop; Eastbound Brewery opens at 4 pm, so we were a little early to stop in for a taste of some of their beers. But Prohibition Gastro Pub provides a fantastic selection of beers from around Ontario and the world, even some of my favourite from Europe. After lunch, it was a change of pace.

Hot Dog Vendor

Resistance is Futile

But I had swapped out my Contax IIIa that I had been shooting with earlier in the day with the Crown Graphic. However, I was shooting it a little differently than I normally do. I decided to use the Crown as it historically been shot, handheld. Armed with eight sheets of Rollei RPX 400 film, I headed back out into the downtown core with the aim to make it out to the Distillery District.

The First Post Office

Always Watching

I never made it that far as I had shot all eight sheets when I hit the end of King Street where it merges onto Queen. My legs tired I hit up Eastbound Brewing to pick up their two offerings that are for sale before going back to the 3 Brewers for Dinner at Yonge/Dundas Square. A long day? Absolutely, worth it? Totally.

Eastbound

Technical Details:
Contax IIIa – ЮПИТЕР-9 85mm f/2 – ORWO UN54+ @ ASA-100 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. H 7:30 @ 20C
Crown Graphic – Schneider-Kruzenak Xenar 135mm f/4,7 – Rollei RPX 400 @ ASA-320 – Pyrocat-HD (1+1+100) 18:00 @ 20C

Black Creek – Party like it’s 1867!

Black Creek – Party like it’s 1867!

Without a doubt, there’s plenty to do in Toronto. And while many prefer to stay in the downtown core, there’s a particular draw to see what the city is like on the outskirts. One such location is right on city’s north line with Vaughn, and that’s Black Creek Pioneer Village. Black Creek is a living history museum, and a ‘false’ village in the sense that it is an amalgamation of many historical buildings from around Ontario gathered into one spot and dressed to look like a small settlement of the 1860s. If you’re a frequent reader of this blog, you may remember seeing this place as the backdrop for my review on the Mamiya Universal. After shooting at the village, I had wanted to return with a bigger camera. So having a week off with my wife, we decided to head over to the village for a morning.

BCPV - Broom maker Shop

The Province of Ontario, formerly known as Upper Canada before the Canadian Confederation of 1867 has a rich and long history. And I’m thankful that we have several museums around the province that make a point to preserve and teach about this history. I’ve been lucky to visit three such locations, Black Creek Pioneer Village, Westfield Heritage Village, and Upper Canada Village. A Fourth, the Lost Villages Museum remains on my hit list. But this post is about Black Creek Pioneer Village.

BCPV - Laskay Emporium

The village, formerly the property of Daniel Strong; you can visit his barn and other farm buildings. His original log cabin and larger home where he and his wife, Elizabeth, raised their eight children. The Strong Family continued to work the land well into the 20th-Century with the family farm forming the core of the museum in 1960. Over the next decade, the museum increased their inventory of historic buildings from around the Greater Toronto Area.

BCPV - Roblin's Mill

These are the types of museums that make history fun because they make it come alive. Heather and I had a chance to listen in on how one employee came up with her historic impression. Based on an actual person, she researched through the massive archives of historical data in the Provincial and City Archives to build her character. As a reenactor myself, I find this dedication amazing. She brought this one woman back to life here in the 21st-Century. Plus the commitment to ensure that many of these buildings are saved from demolition by the slow march of progress ensuring that our pioneer history isn’t lost.

BCPV - Half Way House

And of course, the highlight of the village is the historic brewery located in the basement of the Half Way House, a pre-confederation inn, and tavern from Scarborough. Where dedicated brew masters continue to use traditional techniques to create some of unique beers I’ve ever tasted. And yes, I brought a growler of their fantastic India Pale Ale back home with me.

All Photos Taken At: Black Creek Pioneer Village, Toronto, Ontario
Pacemaker Crown Graphic – Schneider-Kreuznach Xenar 1:4,7/135 – Kodak TMax 100 @ ASA-100
Pryocat-HD (1+1+100) 16:00 @ 20C