Tag Archives: filmisnotdead

CCR Review 63 – Ricoh 500 G

I have and always will have a soft spot for compact fixed lens rangefinders since my first camera was one such camera. The Minolta Hi-Matic 7s. But the Ricoh 500 G is not a Hi-Matic, released at the end of the craze of that style of camera; it is an underdog for its time going up against the cult classic Canon QL17 GIII. And while the 500 G does not share the same spotlight at its Canon counterpart, the 500 G is a strong camera that fills the role of compact rangefinder that packs a punch but won’t break the bank. Special thanks to Mike Bitaxi for loaning this beauty out.

CCR Review 63 - Ricoh 500 G

The Dirt

  • Make: Ricoh
  • Model: 500 G
  • Type: Rangefinder
  • Format: 135 (35mm), 36×24
  • Len: Fixed, Rikenon Lens f=40mm 1:2.8
  • Year of Manufacture: 1972

CCR Review 63 - Ricoh 500 G

CCR Review 63 - Ricoh 500 G

The Good
If you’re into compact rangefinders, this camera is certainly worth a second glance. This camera is small; I mean tiny. Easily fits in your pocket but I wouldn’t recommend it. When it comes to using the camera, it’s a natural fit for anyone with any experience with Minolta, Olympus, or Canon cameras of the same style. Good layout, short throw on the film advance, and an aperture priority meter to boot. But you don’t need to power this camera to get it to work and runs well as a mechanical camera, but I would still stick to aperture priority, set your aperture and run the shutter speed around it. I’ll go into that more in the next section. Optically the camera stands well on its own with the Rikenon Lens pulling off sharp images that suit the focal length perfectly. Add to this the compact size of the camera you have very little in the way of parallax error when composing your images, out of my whole roll shot I only missed the composition on one image and it was out of focus also so it was not a big deal.

CCR Review 63 - Ricoh 500 G

CCR Review 63 - Ricoh 500 G

The Bad
The main issue I had with this camera is that all the controls along the lens barrel are too close together! The aperture control is narrow and tight to the body, and you need two hands to control it. The shutter speed dial is a little better but feels too much like the focus control with the extra grips. The focusing is smooth, but again you’d think it was the shutter speed control at first as it lacks the usual grip pieces. As an automatic aperture priority camera, it wouldn’t be so bad, but I did not have the proper battery for the camera, so I was running it full manual, as you guessed it the camera uses a mercury cell to operate. And finally, there’s the issue of light seals. The entire back door of the camera is one big light seal, every square centimeter of it is covered. Thankfully it’s easy to replace with craft foam, but it makes for a very messy job.

CCR Review 63 - Ricoh 500 G

CCR Review 63 - Ricoh 500 G

The Lowdown
If you’re looking for a camera to work as a compact low-profile street photography camera but don’t want to spend the cash on a camera give the 500 G a solid look. If you find one in good condition, you’ll be laughing. While I’m one to stick with cult cameras, it seems odd that this camera didn’t acquire one. It’s a real sleeper like the Minolta Hi-Matics, and they often don’t command a higher price like Canon or Olympus but quickly give you the same performance of the well known shooters.

All Photos taken in New York, New York
Ricoh 500 G – Rikenon Lens f=40mm 1:2.8 – Ilford FP4+ @ ASA-100 – SPUR HRX (1+20) 9:30 @ 20C

CCR Review 62 – Canon T90

The Canon T90 is a camera since I first laid eyes on it during the first season of the Classic Camera Revival Podcast, I think it was even at the first recording session we did. While the T-Series of cameras are not well viewed, many of them cheap and looking more like that 1980s VCR look you find with the early Minolta Maxxums, the T90 is the odd-man out in the series. Big thanks to Mike Bitaxi for the loan!

CCR Review 62 - Canon T90

The Dirt

  • Make: Canon
  • Model: T90
  • Type: Single Lens Reflex
  • Format: 135 (35mm), 36×24
  • Len: Interchangeable, Canon FD Mount
  • Year of Manufacture: 1986-1987

CCR Review 62 - Canon T90

CCR Review 62 - Canon T90

The Good
If you’ve read through many of these reviews, and if you’re still around, thank you, but the biggest thing I can be overly critical about is the physical feel of a camera. The T90 is no slouch, while the majority of the T-Series are boxes, the T90 is a sleek killing machine. Boxy angles are replaced with smooth lines, something you would see in a modern SLR. This makes the camera comfortable to handle and use even for an extended period. And despite the added weight from the larger size and the six AA batteries that power it, the camera is well balanced. Speaking of the AA batteries, the camera can be powered no matter where you find yourself. General use is spot on, with automatic film loading that seems to come out of the Quick Load system. Then there is the meter, even in the appalling weather I was shooting the camera in, and rain spotted lens the meter was spot on with the exposure, and that was running it in full auto-exposure. I’m sure the same power would be brought for semi-automatic and manual modes. And finally, you can get one relatively cheap on the used market not to mention a broad range of inexpensive glass in the FD mount.

CCR Review 62 - Canon T90

CCR Review 62 - Canon T90

The Bad
Just don’t forget that we’re talking about a thirty-year-old camera, and the biggest issue that the T90 suffers is the electronic failure. If you’re a shooter of the T90, you have heard of the dreaded EEE error. Of course, that means that you’ll need to either get a repair done on it or simply replace the unit. At least there’s still a camera shop out there that can do a full refurbishment on the camera. Despite how well the camera handles it suffers from the one big issue that I have with all Canon cameras, the lack of a second command dial. Now most later EOS cameras have a second thumb dial on the camera back; the T90 lacks this. I guess I’m just used to that on Nikons, but it does pose an issue when shooting outside of semi and fully automatic exposure modes. And finally the buttons are difficult to understand what they’re for without a manual, it took the help of Mike to figure out how to put the camera in Auto-Exposure and Matrix/Average metering mode.

CCR Review 62 - Canon T90

CCR Review 62 - Canon T90

The Lowdown
The T90 is an odd-duck of a camera, and I’m surprised it was never marketed to the Professional market, like the T-1 to bring a sleeker camera to the market with all new features than keeping the old F-1 line going. I mean the camera itself has your favourite parts of the Nikon F3 and the best parts of the F4, and you have something close to the T90. It’s a camera that is perfect for anyone who has a large selection of FD mount lenses. The trouble is that shortly after the T90 came out, Minolta released the autofocus system with the Maxxum line of cameras and Canon was quick on the take and released the EOS system shortly after the T90 rendering the camera and the entire manual focus line of cameras and lenses obsolete.

All Photos taken in Acton, Ontario, Canada
Canon T90 – Vivitar Auto Wide-Angle f=28mm 1:2.5 – JCH Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Blazinal (1+50) 22:00 @ 20C

Classic Camera Revival – Episode 28 – The K-Team

ccr-logo-leaf

Pentax, the name that is always linked with the student special K1000, however, Pentax had a broad range of fantastic cameras, and for this episode, the gang takes a look at their shelves to discover the hidden gems that they have from the Pentax line.

Cameras Featured on Today’s Episode

Pentax Spotmatic SP F – While not the original Pentax SLR, it certain is a big step forward with automatic lenses and TTL metering. A worthy camera for any manual shooter plue the Super-Takumar lenses have a fantastic repuation not to mention a plethora of M42 lenses will let this camera sing.

Classic Camera Revival - Episode 28 - The K-Team

  • Make: Pentax
  • Model: Spotmatic SP F
  • Type: Single Lens Reflex
  • Format: 135/35mm, 36x24mm
  • Lens: Interchangable, M42 Mount
  • Year of Manufacture: 1973

Classic Camera Revival Spotmatic F
Pentax Spotmatic F – SMC Takumar 50mm ƒ/1.4 – Tri-X400 @ ASA-1600 – HC-110 Dil. B – 11:00 @ 20C @ 20C

Classic Camera Revival Spotmatic F
Pentax Spotmatic F – SMC Takumar 50mm ƒ/1.4 – Tri-X400 @ ASA-1600 – HC-110 Dil. B – 11:00 @ 20C @ 20C

Classic Camera Revival Spotmatic F
Pentax Spotmatic F – SMC Takumar 50mm ƒ/1.4 – Tri-X400 @ ASA-1600 – HC-110 Dil. B – 11:00 @ 20C @ 20C

Pentax KX – While it doesn’t get the same level of press as the K1000, the KX is still a solid choice when it comes to K-Mount cameras and as Bill says it won’t let you down and won’t break the bank!

Classic Camera Revival - Episode 28 - The K-Team

  • Make: Pentax
  • Model: KX
  • Type: Single Lens Reflex
  • Format: 135/35mm, 36x24mm
  • Lens: Interchangable, Pentax K-Mount
  • Year of Manufacture: 1975–1977

The Outside Glen Morris Ruins_
Pentax KX – SMC Pentax 28mm 1:3.5 – Rollei RPX 400 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 6:00 @ 20C

VW Van_
Pentax KX – SMC Pentax 28mm 1:3.5 – Rollei RPX 400 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 6:00 @ 20C

The Iron Metcalfe St. Bridge_
Pentax KX – SMC Pentax 28mm 1:3.5 – Rollei RPX 400 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 6:00 @ 20C

Pentax ME – Don’t let this camera’s small size fool you, a solid addition to the Pentax line of cameras if semi-automatic and fully automatic functionality is something you look for in a camera.

Classic Camera Revival - Episode 28 - The K-Team

  • Make: Pentax
  • Model: ME
  • Type: Single Lens Reflex
  • Format: 135/35mm, 36x24mm
  • Lens: Interchangable, Pentax K-Mount
  • Year of Manufacture: 1977-1979


Pentax ME – SMC Pentax 50mm 1:1.7 – Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ASA-400 – Kodak TMax Developer (1+4) 6:00 @ 20C

Toronto Film Shooters Meet - October 2013
Pentax ME Super – SMC Pentax M 50mm 1:2 (Yellow Filter) – ORWO NP55 @ ASA-50 – HC-110 Dil. B 6:00 @ 20C

Toronto Film Shooters Meet - October 2013
Pentax ME Super – SMC Pentax M 50mm 1:2 (Yellow Filter) – ORWO NP55 @ ASA-50 – HC-110 Dil. B 6:00 @ 20C

Pentax 645 – A strong workhorse camera and the main medium format kit in Alex’s bag. It’s almost a point-and-shoot medium format camera and being an underdog doesn’t command as high a price point as its cousins from Mamyia and Contax do. If you do get one, go for the original and be sure to add the 35mm wide angle lens to your kit and watch out that you get the 120 insert.

CCR - Review 11 - Pentax 645

  • Make: Pentax
  • Model: 645
  • Type: Single Lens Reflex
  • Format: Medium Format, 120/220, 6×4.5cm
  • Lens: Interchangable, Pentax K645-Mount
  • Year of Manufacture: 1984-1997

City Methodist - Gary, IN
Pentax 645 – SMC Pentax 645 35mm 1:3.5 – Kodak Tri-X Pan (TXP) @ ASA-250 – PMK Pyro (1+2+100) 10:30 @ 24C

2013 Christmas Cards - Roll 3 Finalists
Pentax 645 – SMC Pentax 645 35mm 1:3.5 – Rollei Infrared @ ISO-25 – Blazinal 1+50 12:00 @ 20C

MCC - Classic Car Shoot
Pentax 645 – SMC Pentax A 645 75mm 1:2.8 – Kodak Tmax 100 (100TMX) – Kodak Tmax Developer (1+4) 7:30 @ 20C

Pentax 67II – This camera will pump you up! The Pentax 67II is the final entry in a long line of 6×7 medium format cameras from Pentax. For James it is better suited for studio work as you do feel it after a long day of shooting it in the field.

Classic Camera Revival - Episode 28 - The K-Team

  • Make: Pentax
  • Model: 67II
  • Type: Single Lens Reflex
  • Format: Medium Format, 120/220, 6x7cm
  • Lens: Interchangeable, Pentax K67-Mount
  • Year of Manufacture: 1998

Wagon Wheel 1
Pentax 67 – Super-Takumar 6×7 105mm 1:2.4 – Kodak TMax 400

By Lake Ontario
Pentax 67 – Super-Takumar 6×7 200mm 1:4 – Kodak Tri-X 400 – Kodak Xtol (1+1) 9:00 @ 20C

Guildwood in February
Pentax 67 – Super-Takumar 6×7 55mm 1:3.5 – Fuji Neopan Acros 100 @ ASA-80 – Rodinal (1+50) 13:30 @ 20C

New Film: Cinestill 800T in 120
Bill Smith recently had the chance to take a test run with the latest offering from Cinestill, their 800T film in 120. For those who don’t know Cinestill releases a line of film that is Kodak Vision3 motion picture film but during their rolling process removes the Remjet layer leaving a regular C-41 film. Now you can easily remove the Remjet layer in home processing or send it away to a couple of labs around the USA that do the ECN-2 process. You can even do a home ECN-2 process, but with Cinestill film, you don’t have to worry about all that.

Bru
Mamiya C220F – Mamiya-Sekor 80mm 1:2.8 – Cinestill 800T Alpha

000055090007
Mamiya C220F – Mamiya-Sekor 80mm 1:2.8 – Cinestill 800T Alpha

000055090002
Mamiya C220F – Mamiya-Sekor 80mm 1:2.8 – Cinestill 800T Alpha

Looking for a good spot to get your gear and material fix…check out Burlington Camera, Downtown Camera, Film Plus, Belle Arte Camera and Camtech, if you’re in the GTA region of Ontario. In Guelph there’s Pond’s FotoSource For those further north you can visit Foto Art Camera in Owen Sound. On the West Coast (British Columbia) check out Beau Photo Supply. Additionally you can order online at Argentix (Quebec), the Film Photography Project or Freestyle Photographic.

Also you can connect with us through email: classiccamerarevivial[at]gmail[dot]com or by Facebook, we’re at Classic Camera Revival or even Twitter @ccamerarevival

It’s a TMAX Party – Part II

The April TMax party happened to fall right into the perfect schedule with the Spring 2017 Toronto Film Shooters Meetup falling right into the shoot week! After careful consideration and having moved many of my cameras over the condo where I’ll be living before the month is up (actually next week once Heather and I get back from the honeymoon). I settled on my trusty Hasselblad 500c; it has been seeing a little less use this year after getting a lot of love with the 52:500c project.

TFSM - Spring '17
Downtown Camera where the meet started and the best spot in downtown Toronto to pickup anything film releated!

TFSM - Spring '17
A slightly sad wall, needs something more than just grey and white paint.

All through downtown Toronto, we went, taking in the various sites and sounds of the city’s core with a solid group of photographers from the little group I gathered together. This meet was the brainchild of James McFarlane. A long-time friend and the man who is going to be the photographer at the wedding in a couple of days!

TFSM - Spring '17
The man himself!

TFSM - Spring '17
St. Lawrence Hall from the park. Back in 2016 I tried to get a night shot from this angle, but failed.

Despite being a day of mixed lighting conditions with the bright cloud cover, it was great to get out with a 400-speed film so that no matter what happened I could shoot handheld which is important on a photo walk. Tracing along Queen Street and into St. James Park there were plenty of things to shoot, and because I wasn’t leading the walk, I could settle back and enjoy just shooting. And for a TFS meetup, it’s an oddity.

TFSM - Spring '17
One of the side doors of the St. James Cathedral. I would have gone inside but I wasn’t equipped for indoor shooting on the day

TFSM - Spring '17
But there’s still lots of shoot on the outside of St. James

As always big thank you to Emulsive for organizing this little party (and I look forward to the next film party, maybe a Tri-X Shindig?) and to Downtown Camera for being a big supporter of the TFS group!

Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak TMax 400 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 5:30 @ 20C

CCR Review 61 – Exakta VX IIa

You don’t have to break a leg to get a kick out of using the Exakta VX IIa, but if you’re not careful if you drop it on your leg, it just may break the bone. I was a little wary of this camera at first. All the controls are on the left side. Thankfully it didn’t take much to get used to the odd layout, and luckily it didn’t take me 39 steps to get used to the machine. And I found it fairly intuitive after a while; there was no throwing this camera out the rear window, I’d by a psycho for doing such a thing.

CCR Review 61 - Exakta VX IIa

The Dirt

  • Make: Exakta
  • Model: VX IIa
  • Type: Single Lens Reflex
  • Format: 135 (35mm), 36×24
  • Len: Interchangeable, Exakta Bayonet
  • Year of Manufacture: 1956-1963

CCR Review 61 - Exakta VX IIa

CCR Review 61 - Exakta VX IIa

The Good
There are a few things that the genuinely awkward Exakta has going for it. The first item is the optics, beautiful sharp Carl Zeiss lenses, like the iconic Biotar makes this a camera worthwhile for the simple reason of image quality. Along the same line as the lens is the aperture opening lever. On the bottom of the lens barrel, there’s a pull lever that will open up the aperture as the camera doesn’t have an automatic aperture or TTL metering. So having the ability to set the aperture, open it up for focusing, then with a half push on the shutter release the lens stops down before tripping the shutter, gives the VX IIa somewhat of an easier operation. Then there’s the wonderful option of using a waist-level finder. Yes, you read that correctly, you can put a waist-level finder onto the Exakta. It does make for a different shooting experience with the camera and certainly makes using the left-handed controls a bit easier in the long run.

CCR Review 61 - Exakta VX IIa

CCR Review 61 - Exakta VX IIa

The Bad
Throw out everything you know about shooting SLRs; when you pick up an Exakta. I’m not sure of the reason behind this radical departure from the norm, but it certainly makes for a unique shooting experience. And it doesn’t stop there, nothing on this camera is quick and easy. You have to cut down the film leader to load the camera, and there’s little to no feedback on if you’ve loaded the film correctly. The film advance pulls down the meter and cocks the shutter, so it has the longest pull in any camera I’ve reviewed, it’s almost a full 180 degrees. Even rewinding the film, what should be the easiest task of them all is awkward, I lost about five or six frames because when I though I had rewound the film, I hadn’t and opened the back…twice. And finally, the shutter release takes a bit of an effort to push down. All these points combine to a rather awkward shooting experience, even more so than the Leica R3.

CCR Review 61 - Exakta VX IIa

CCR Review 61 - Exakta VX IIa

The Lowdown
If you want a serious challenge, with some great results, the Exakta VX IIa is the camera for you. Everything is mirrored, everything takes a lot more of an effort to operate and use. This isn’t a camera for quick and dirty operation. So I can see why a wheelchair-bound photographer would use the camera for spying on his neighbors in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window. But if you do run with the camera, you won’t be disappointed in the images you get out of it.

All Photos Taken at Westfield Heritage Village, Rockton, Ontario
Exakta VX IIa – Carl Zeiss Jena Biotar 2/58 – Kodak TMax 100 @ ASA-100 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 9:30 @ 20C

Film Review – Fomapan 100

With my film photography, I have had limited experience with the Fomapan products. I’ve shot Fomapan 200 with okay results and the surveillance variant of Fomapan 200 available through the Film Photography Project with much better results. I’ve tried Fomapan 400 in sheet film and got no results. But after seeing some amazing work with Fomapan 100, I decided to pick up four rolls in 120 from Argentix.ca to give it a try. I certainly found the film pleasing to work with, a classic response with the four different developers I worked with over the course of shooting the film in several different situations.

Product Highlights

  • Type: Panchromatic Black & White Film
  • Base: Format Dependent (120/4×5 – Clear Polyester (PE), 135 – Cellilous Triacetate)
  • Film Speed: ASA-100, with a latitude between ASA-50 to ASA-400
  • Formats Avaliable: 135, 120, and Large Format

Rusted Out
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Distagon 50mm 1:4 – Fomapan 100 @ ASA-100 – Blazinal (1+50) 9:00 @ 20C

Opposing Doors
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Distagon 50mm 1:4 – Fomapan 100 @ ASA-100 – Blazinal (1+50) 9:00 @ 20C

The number one good thing about Fomapan films is the cost; these are very inexpensive films to shoot which makes them a great film to start with if you’re learning to develop your own black & white film. But if you want the best bang for your buck, Fomapan 100 is the film of choice. And don’t think you’re getting a cheap film, Foma 100 is one of the nicest mid-speed films I’ve ever used. It has almost a classic look and film, like the films of the mid-twentieth century, great if you want to shoot World War Two reenactments on film.

Summit
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Fomapan 100 @ ASA-100 – Pyrocat-HD (1+1+100) 12:00 @ 20C

Grab a Pint?
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Fomapan 100 @ ASA-100 – Pyrocat-HD (1+1+100) 12:00 @ 20C

The developers I used for the review are as follows, Rodinal, Kodak D-23, Pyrocat-HD, and Kodak HC-110. It was Rodinal that brought out that classic look and feel, while slightly more grain than you’d expect in an ASA-100 film, but nothing too serious. I saw a reduction in grain using Pyrocat-HD, but I felt that the film came out of the tank slightly under-developed, so it either needs about thirty seconds more in the developer or slightly warmer water, maybe 1-2 degrees hotter. Kodak D-23 is another winner, a bit grainer but brought out the tonality of the film and continues that same classic look that you get with Rodinal. I was also fairly pleased with the results of HC-110 Dilution H, kept the contrast on mark, and surprisingly the grain was hardly noticeable. My final say is that Rodinal is the best developer for this film as it gives you the shortest standard developing times with the best results and can easily be done in the field as you can just use water for your stop bath. I say standard developing times as Dilution B and A of HC-110 has shorter developing times but requires constant agitation.

TFSM - Spring '17
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Fomapan 100 @ ASA-100 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 10:00 @ 20C

TFSM - Spring '17
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Fomapan 100 @ ASA-100 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 10:00 @ 20C

Of course, no film is without fault. While many may target the film’s polyester base, it is not much of an issue. In Medium format, the PE base handles well and easily mounted onto the plastic reels of the Patterson system and will probably handle just as well on steel. No the biggest issue I have with Foma 100 is the long developing time. Most times are around the 10-minute mark, while not much of a slight against the product just a minor annoyance. Thankfully the Rodinal time is under the 10-minute mark. I mostly say this because often we do marathon developing sessions and working late into the night is tough because as you get tired, you’re more likely to make a mistake.

A Walk In the Park
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Fomapan 100 @ ASA-100 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. H 10:00 @ 20C

A Walk In the Park
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Fomapan 100 @ ASA-100 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. H 10:00 @ 20C

My final word on the film, it’s certainly worth a shot if you’re on a budget or just learning. You can pick this up for under six dollars a roll (Canadian). And if you’re shooting the film in 4×5, you’re looking at a buck a sheet, only Arista.EDU and X-Ray film is cheaper. It’s also good if you want that classic look-and-feel that you often saw with Adox and Efke films, it works well in daylight and shadow and just sings in the right developer. I hope to pick up some of the 35mm version and see if there’s any difference between the two formats.

CCR Review 60 – KMZ Zenit E

Soviet cameras and I have had a rocky relationship. There’s only a handful out there that I like, and then there’s the Zenit E. This is a beautiful camera that is probably the pick of the litter from the Zenit line. One of my first SLRs was a Zenit B, the non-metered version of the E. And despite never getting a single frame from the camera. Because I had no clue what I was doing at the time, finding myself instantly familiar with the workings of the Zenit E and it certainly makes for a much better Soviet SLR than the other’s I’ve worked with in the past. Special thanks to James Lee for loaning out this camera for a review.

CCR Review 60 - KMZ Zenit E

The Dirt

  • Make: KMZ
  • Model: Zenit E
  • Type: Single Lens Reflex
  • Format: 135 (35mm), 36×24
  • Len: Interchangeable, M42 Screw Mount
  • Year of Manufacture: 1965-1968

CCR Review 60 - KMZ Zenit E

CCR Review 60 - KMZ Zenit E

The Good
There is nothing complicated about this camera. The operation, layout and general use of the camera make it easy for anyone to pickup and use. The only feature that this camera has is the uncoupled light meter, but more on that later. Despite the weight of the camera, it doesn’t detract from its use, although a nice heavy duty padded strap would be a good idea. A carbine style cross strap would be best. The M42 mount gives you a wide range of lenses to use on the camera both German and Soviet optics can easily mount on the camera. And as a bonus, most Soviet optics are direct copies of their German counterparts and often have their unique features that you don’t find in other lenses. Even though there is no automatic aperture on the camera that doesn’t detract from the operation, as you can easily set the aperture then open and close it with a simple twist ring that will stop at the correct aperture. The one thing to watch out for is the shutter speed dial; you can only set your shutter speed once the film has been advanced and shutter cocked, much like the rangefinders from the FED and Zorki line. Finally, there’s the sound of the camera, the noise the shutter and mirror make when in operation is substantial and pleasing, there’s no mistaking when you’ve fired a shot.

CCR Review 60 - KMZ Zenit E

CCR Review 60 - KMZ Zenit E

The Bad
Usually, if a camera has a selenium meter that tends to be a positive feature to a camera, no batteries needed, and usually still operates. In this case, however, the meter isn’t a handy thing to have on this camera. First, off the meter is uncoupled, this means that no matter how you adjust the camera settings the meter doesn’t react, there’s a second dial that you set to give you the camera settings based on the meter reading. Add to that the meter read out is on the top of the camera body only. It would be better to stick with Sunny-16 or an external meter. In addition to this, you’ll have a hard time ensure the correct film speed setting as the camera is calibrated more towards the old GOST scale with corresponding DIN numbers. Sadly these film speeds do not line up with most modern films, you do have options like GOST-130, but I’ve never seen that sort of film. There is also the matter of the long film advance crank, while a minor nuisance does make it difficult to fire off several shots in succession. And finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the Soviet Bloc did not have the best quality control so there is a chance that these cameras can break easily or purchased in a broken state. At least there’s a high chance with the right tools and manual you can do the repair yourself.

CCR Review 60 - KMZ Zenit E

CCR Review 60 - KMZ Zenit E

The Lowdown
Out of all the Soviet cameras I’ve reviewed to date, the Zenit E is only one of two that I would recommend picking up, but I would lean someone more towards a Zenit B, the non-metered version. Both are strong mechanical cameras that have a nice look and feel to take out on International Communist Camera day and are better than most of the later model Zenit cameras. But there is one thing that you should look for if you are thinking of getting one and that’s the lens. Most of these cameras shipped with and still come with a Helios 44-2 lens, this 58mm f/2 is a copy of the Carl Zeiss Biotar. It has also become somewhat of a cult lens in the portrait market even I have one that I use with my Sony a6000. The reason is that when you shoot a subject at about 5 feet away with the lens opened to f/2 you get a classic Petzval style swirl. So even if you get a broken Zenit, you still get an amazing lens to add to your collection.

All Photos Taken in Hamilton, Ontario
KMZ Zenit E – KMZ Helios 44-2 2/58 – Kodak TMax 100 @ ASA-100 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 9:30 @ 20C

In the Flavour of Maple

A sure sign that spring is just around the corner is the start of the maple season here in Ontario, where the sugar bushes come alive with the sound of sap dripping into buckets and the sweet smoke pouring out of the many sugar shacks across the province.

Mountsburg Maple Festival 2017

Mountsburg Maple Festival 2017

For Heather and I that thankfully does not mean long hours working out in the bush, but rather a drive out to Mountsburg Conservation Area for their Maple Town event. You get all the sweet rewards but without any of the hard work attached to it. Despite the cold weather, which worked a bit in our favour, we headed out all bundled up. While the weather was cold, the sun was out and high in the sky.

Mountsburg Maple Festival 2017

Mountsburg Maple Festival 2017

The Maple industry is closely tied to the history and growth of this part of Canada. The sap once reduced down could be turned into a sweet syrup or reduced down further to sugar that could be eaten as a treat or a replacement for the refined white and brown sugar that isn’t grown in the area. So when supply ships could not get through, the early settlers learned of maple sugar from the first nations that had been gathering the sweet stuff for many years.

Mountsburg Maple Festival 2017

Mountsburg Maple Festival 2017

Of course for Heather and I, we just had to join the queue and had pancakes the size of dinner plates served up to us with the syrup made right there in Maple Town which we then enjoyed in the brisk winter air. The event is great fun for the family and is open through all of March and into April when the season ends. You can find out more at: www.conservationhalton.ca/maple-town.

Contax G2 – Carl Zeiss Planar 2/45 T* – Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ASA-250 – SPUR HRX (1+17) 11:00 @ 20C

It’s a TMAX Party – Part I

The fine folks behind the film photography promotion website Emulsive have done it again! In the footsteps of last year’s FP4Party, they have started to run a couple of different monthly participation events for film photographers around the globe through the use of Twitter. Sadly I didn’t participate much in the FP4Party mostly because of time conflicts; I decided to make a point to join in on this year’s film parties. Being free of most projects it freed my hand to keep up this time around. This year’s first party is a celebration of Kodak TMax. Tmax a modern film emulsion that was released in the late 20th-Century and use a tabular grain rather than a traditional grain like Tri-X or Plus-X.

While I figured the easiest way to jump into the TMaxParty was to dig into my box of 4×5 TMax 100. While TMax isn’t always my first choice, I’m more of a classic grain shooter. But hey sometimes it’s good to jump a little bit outside of your comfort zone. So into Hamilton, I went, and while I had planned to shoot all eight loaded sheets that day but the cold weather told me otherwise.

HMCS Haida
Pacemaker Crown Graphic – Fuji Fujinon-W 1:5.6/125 – Kodak TMax 100 @ ASA-100 – Blazinal (1+50) 12:00 @ 20C

Craft Beers
Pacemaker Crown Graphic – Schneider-Kreuznach Symmar-S 1:5.6/210 – Kodak TMax 100 @ ASA-100 – Blazinal (1+50) 12:00 @ 20C

Whitehern
Pacemaker Crown Graphic – Fuji Fujinon-W 1:5.6/125 – Kodak TMax 100 @ ASA-100 – Blazinal (1+50) 12:00 @ 20C

Well in Canada, March can be a bit of a hit and miss, and while the weather kept me from shooting outside, my shutters tend to get laggy in sub-zero weather I again had to dive outside of my comfort zone. Usually, when I’m shooting large format I stick to deep depth-of-field, we’re talking f/32 and up on my aperture. Sure it makes for longer shutter times, but it gives the images incredible sharpness. Well, the temperatures stuck below zero so open up the lens I did.

Retention
Pacemaker Crown Graphic – Schneider-Kreuznach Symmar-S 1:5.6/210 – Kodak TMax 100 @ ASA-100 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 9:30 @ 20C

Take Flight
Pacemaker Crown Graphic – Schneider-Kreuznach Symmar-S 1:5.6/210 – Kodak TMax 100 @ ASA-100 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 9:30 @ 20C

The Lights Above
Pacemaker Crown Graphic – Schneider-Kreuznach Symmar-S 1:5.6/210 – Kodak TMax 100 @ ASA-100 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 9:30 @ 20C

While I’m pretty happy with my results for this month, I hope next month’s TMax Party I’ll have some more outdoor shots. Of course, the big question is what format will I shoot, and in what camera! Current runners are my Contax IIIa, Rolleiflex 2.8F, or Hasselblad 500c. So we’ll see next month!

Expired Film Day – 2017

Two Stops Over and Straight On ‘Til Morning.

Expired Film Day 2017

Ah yes, the mantra of Expired Film Day. EFD is the brainchild of fellow film photographer Daniel J. Schneider. The day is a celebration of shooting and enjoying the wacky results you get from shooting expired film. I tend to shy away from colour films mostly because of having to send them away for processing. So this year I had a pile of the mid-1990s expired TMax 100 floating around to shoot. Most Kodak B&W films are fairly stable, and you could shoot them at box speed if you wanted and get good results. I know because I’ve been using the film to try out cameras for the Classic Camera Revival Review blogs.

Expired Film Day 2017

Expired Film Day 2017

To make matters a little more interesting, we recently got hit with a big winter storm which turned our near Spring area into a winter wonderland, and a cold snap forced me to make some different choices when it came to going out and shooting. Ditching the idea of taking out any camera or meter with a battery because I figured it would be at least an hour to walk and shoot in the awful weather I settled on an old war standby. The Contax IIIa and mounting a 1942 era Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 50mm lens, as for a meter it was the Gossen Pilot.

Expired Film Day 2017

Expired Film Day 2017

There was a plus to all this, the overcast sky and bright sun behind the clouds made the light bright but even making metering fairly consistent no matter what I was shooting. As for the subject, I decided to take to my old stomping grounds, the campus of my former High School. This was where I started with serious photography, often taking time between classes to figure out my newest camera. I was pretty frozen by the time I made it back, but the camera had survived. The older lens gave everything a bit of a hazy look about it which only added to the strangeness of EFD. Maybe next year I’ll plan it out better to have a batch of colour negative waiting for developing and then shoot some expired slide film and Xpro it!

Expired Film Day 2017

Expired Film Day 2017

Contax IIIa – Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 1:3,5 f=5cm – Kodak TMax 100 @ ASA-64 (TMX)
SPUR HRX (1+17) 11:30 @ 20C
Meter: Gossen Pilot
Scanner: Epson V700
Editor: Adobe Photoshop CC (2017)