Tag Archives: ottawa

CCR Review 34 – Minolta X-700

The Minolta X-700 was a game changer for Minolta it introduced to their shooters a camera that had a full program auto-exposure mode as well as semi-auto (aperture priority) mode and manual all in a lightweight body backed by some great optics. It also introduced a whole host of cousins in the X line of Minolta cameras. Actually my second Minolta SLR was an X-7a basically the same as the X700 but lacked the program mode. This is a great camera for a beginner photographer as it gives them a chance to experience every mode that is generally used and these cameras can be pretty cheap on the used market.

CCR - Review 34 - Minolta X-700

The Dirt
Make: Minolta
Model: X-700
Type: Single Lens Reflex
Format: 35mm, 24×35
Lens: Interchangeable, Minolta MD Mount
Year of Manufacture: 1981

CCR - Review 34 - Minolta X-700

CCR - Review 34 - Minolta X-700

The Good
The thing that really stands out about this camera is the fact it is so easy to use! Even if you’ve never used a manual focus camera or even a film camera you can use the X-700. Because it is fully automatic for exposure that’s right the camera will do all the thinking for you when it comes to exposure with a decently accurate center-weighted meter. Plus you have aperture priority (my default mode for shooting) and full manual with a clear easy to read meter in your viewfinder. Plus Minolta glass is pretty good as well to back it up. And probably the best thing about these cameras is that on the used market they’re pretty cheap. A quick search on EBay and you can have a camera and a lens for between 50 to 150 dollars. And since it takes normal batteries you’re in the clear. As for using the camera they’re pretty light and easy to carry all the controls are well within reach when you’re holding the camera and a nice short throw on the film advance. Plus if you want a little more weight you can add a motor drive that gives you a nice beefy grip.

CCR - Review 34 - Minolta X-700

CCR - Review 34 - Minolta X-700

The Bad
Despite being a great camera this isn’t really my cup of tea anymore, as I said before I have plenty of experience with Minolta’s X-Line but that was when I was first getting into photography. It is a camera that I found you can easily grow out of, brought into other systems that offer a lot more bang for your buck. But the main thing that really bugs me about the camera is what I experienced while shooting the roll for this review…if the battery is failing the camera will keep shooting fine but the meter will start to give bad reading. I ended up having to use Sunny-16 to shoot with as the camera was constantly over exposing through the program mode….which I think was the battery as it was working and metering perfectly until the end.

CCR - Review 34 - Minolta X-700

CCR - Review 34 - Minolta X-700

The Lowdown
Now I’m not knocking the camera it is really a good camera I just personally find it a little uninspiring since I have several other semi-auto/full auto SLRs in my working collection so the X-700 is pretty redundant and with only one lens it isn’t one that I go to right off the bat (that would be the F3). But they are OK cameras and as I mentioned earlier great for the beginner, especially since they are so cheap on the used market (a quick check on Ebay shows kits between 50 and 160 dollars (Canadian)). So if you’re interested in getting started and really have no existing lenses from digital cameras the X-700 is a great starting point for minimal investment.

All photos taken in Ottawa, Ontario Canada
Minolta X700 – Minolta MD 50mm 1:2 – Tasma NK-2 @ ASA-100 – Kodak Xtol (Stock) 7:15 @ 20C

Ottawa on Large Format

Back when I visited Ottawa for the first time in several years this past September I lugged along my 4×5 camera, and while I wasn’t too pleased with every shot, I made a point when I was there this past weekend to really focus, slow down, and work with the 4×5 primarily and put the smaller formats away. The results were a much stronger set of images that I am incredibly proud of and do plan on getting these into the darkroom to print.

The Centre Block
Centre Block

The East Block
East Block

Chateau Laurier
Chateau Laurier

Short Days Ago We Lived
Details of the National War Memorial

Connaught Building
The Connaught Building – National Headquarters

National Gallery
The National Gallery – as seen across Major Hill Park

Pacemaker Crown Graphic – Fuji Fujinon-W 1:5.6/125 & Schneider-Krueznack Symmar-S 1:5.6/210 – Kodak Plus-X Pan (PXP)
Kodak Microdol-X (Stock) 8:00 @ 20C

620 Madness!

I was always iffy about shooting 620 cameras, since when I first got into film photography finding 620 film was difficult, but the cameras were everywhere and many found their way into my collection. And to make matters worse the take up spool was missing. But let’s back up a bit and discuss, exactly what is 620 film? It was a film that was first introduced by Kodak in 1932 and continued being produced until 1995. But here’s a secret, it’s the exact same film stock as 120, same size and same backing paper, but it was the spool that was different. So if you have some 620 spools laying around you could re-roll the film from one spool to the other in a darkbox or bag. I tried, and failed. But then, recently something happened, the fine folks at the Film Photography Project managed to get new, that’s right, new 620 spools manufactured, mold injected plastic spools that works as good as the original metal ones. So naturally I went and found myself a 620 camera.

Kodak Hawkeye Flash Test - Ottawa, ON

Back in September on my way to Ottawa I took the scenic route along King’s Highway 7, stopping on the way in Peterborough at an antique store just outside the city, and found in mint condition, I seriously think this camera only had one roll of film run through it, Kodak Hawkeye Flash. The Hawkeye Flash was manufactured from 1950 to 1961, a basic Bakelite construction box camera with a single-element 81mm f/15 lens with a fixed shutter speed between 1/30″ and 1/60″. And it came with a take up spool, but that wouldn’t have matter as I had a stash of these spools in my camera gear. But the one neat thing about the Hawkeye Flash is that you can use a 120 spool (but just not on the take up side). The body being light-tight, I now had a camera I could use to re-roll 120 to 620. So when I returned to Ottawa, I checked the weather, and used the camera to roll some Ilford Pan F from 120 to 620, then back onto a 620 spool for use.

Kodak Hawkeye Flash Test - Ottawa, ON

These old Kodak cameras always surprise me, sure the images have a soft almost dreamy look about them, very 1950s. But still there’s some sharpness to them. It’s weird looking at the images with modern cars and flags and such in them, especially the Canadian Maple Leaf flag, I was half joking to myself saying, maybe it’ll change the flag to the red-ensign. But there’s something oddly drawing to these images.

Kodak Hawkeye Flash Test - Ottawa, ON

Maybe it’s just the photographer in me, wanting to get away from the sharp crisp images I get out of my 4×5 and other medium format cameras like my Pentax 645 and Rolleiflex 2.8F TLR. This is something different. I don’t have to think about shutter speed, aperture, depth of field. As the old slogan for Kodak says, You Push the Button, We do the rest. It’s simplistic, and that often is needed.

Kodak Hawkeye Flash Test - Ottawa, ON

But the best was when I was leaving my hotel, another guest noticed the camera and said “I had one of those! I still have it, shame you can’t get the film anymore” I smiled and replied “But you can, here.” I scribble down the FFP’s site, tore the page from my trusty notebook and gave it to him. Made his day. Have an old, working 620 camera? Want to get it out and about again, head on over to the FPP store for the world’s largest selection of fresh 620 film, need a take up spool? They got those to!

Kodak Hawkeye Flash – Kodak Meniscus Lens f:15 81mm – Ilford Pan F+ – PMK Pyro (1+2+100) 8:00 @ 20C

Long Live Film.

52:320TXP – Week 40 – The Bunker

52:320TXP - Week 40 - The Bunker

The Iron Curtain, The Red Scare, Nuclear War, Ruskies, Commies, Berlin Wall, Spies…Sounding Familiar? Even Canada was affected, so much so that our Prime Minister at the time, John Diefenbaker ordered the construction of a series of bunkers that would house the civilian government in the event of Nuclear War, they were collectively known as Diefenbunkers. Only one got completed, and in 1962 Canadian Forces Station Carp went online. The other 49 were either not finished or partially completed. When the cold war ended in 1994 with the collapse of the Soviet Union the station was decommissioned, it reopened in 1998 as a Museum and is open today for public tours to teach about Canada’s involvement in the Cold War. Pictured (sort of) is the entrance blast tunnel, the actual bunker entrance is several meters down. However the meter I selected is I think, on the way out so it’s really just the lights, but still gives a creepy look eh? The Bunker is well worth a visit if you’re in the area or passing through to and from Ottawa, check out their website: diefenbunker.ca/!

Pacemaker Crown Graphic – Schneider-Kruzenack Angulon 1:6,8/90 – Kodak Tri-X Pan (320TXP)
Meter: Gossen Pilot
1″ – f/32 – ASA-800
Kodak Xtol (1+1) 9:45 @ 20C

52:320TXP – Week 39 – Seats of Power

52:320TXP - Week 39 - Seats of Power

Parliament Hill standing tall above the rush of the Ottawa River. While many a photographer would choose to shoot this building head on from the front, it took me a bit to find a proper vantage point from my favourite angle, the one that faces the Ottawa River mostly so that you can get a glimpse of the Library of Parliament, that round conical structure. My first choice was from across the River in the park surrounding the Museum of Canadian History (Museum of Civilization), but that wasn’t it, okay well how about in the heights on Nepean Point…so I lugged the gear across the bridge, up the hill and no still wasn’t what I was looking for. Finally the little observation point just on the Ontario side of the Alexandria Point Bridge, and there it was. My camera actually ended up being a little bit of a tourist attraction with several people posing with it pretending to use it and the such. Now the Centre Block for the most part is not original! The original structure completed in 1876 (construction started in 1859) was slightly different, specifically the tower at the front. This building, save the Library, was destroyed in a fire in 1916. The new Building seen today was completed in 1919, and the Peace Tower was completed in 1927. The Library was saved by the swift actions of the librarian at the time in closing the metal doors protecting the Library. I’d also like to introduce the latest addition to my Large format kit the Schneider-Kreuznack Symmar-S 1:5.6/210! While I still have my wonderful Kodak Ektar 203mm lens this gives me a modern portrait lens with a PC sync socket to use off camera flash units.

Pacemaker Crown Graphic – Schneider-Kreuznack Symmar-S 1:5.6/210 – Kodak Tri-X Pan (320TXP)
Meter: Pentax Spotmeter V
1/4″ – f/45 – ASA-320
Kodak Xtol (1+1) 8:30 @ 20C