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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

Classic Camera Revival – Episode 27 – Return of the Samurai

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The Nikkormat line was a series of SLRs released by Nikon through the 1960s to 70s that were aimed at the consumer market. While there were some electronic Nikkormat cameras the ones we have on the table today are the mechanical ones of the FT line. These are great cameras that you can have for a cheap price and still using all your Non-AI, AI, and AI-S lenses. AI and AI-S providing they still have the claw, unless you have the FT3.

Cameras Featured on Today’s Episode

Nikon Nikkormat FTn – An improved version of the original Nikkormat FT and the oldest one we have on the table. The meter coupling pin on the camera still had to be aligned with the meter coupling shoe on the lens, but the lens maximum aperture no longer had to be manually preset on the FTn. It also improved the lens mounting technique that you could rock the aperture back and forth so that the claw would catch on the pin.

Classic Camera Revival - Episode 27 - Return of the Samurai

  • Make: Nikon
  • Model: Nikkormat FTn
  • Type: Single Lens Reflex
  • Format: 35mm, 36x24mm
  • Lens: Interchangable, Nikon F
  • Year of Manufacture: 1967-1975

Dead Mill
Nikon Nikkormat FTn – Nikkor-H 50mm 1:2 – ORWO UN54+ @ ASA-100 – Kodak Xtol (1+1) 8:00 @ 20C

Scan-130425-0002
Nikon Nikkormat FTn – Nikkor-H 28mm 1:3.5 – ORWO UN54+ @ ASA-100 – Kodak Xtol (1+1) 8:00 @ 20C

Now Entering Leslieville.
Nikon Nikkormat FTn – Nikkor-O 35mm 1:2 – Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ASA-400 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 5:00 @ 20C

Nikon Nikkormat FT2 – Released as an answer to customer suggestions for improvement of the FTn. The FT2 would have a silver-oxide battery and a fixed hot shoe to mount and external flash. The FT2 also has a +/- in the match needle metering readout.

Classic Camera Revival - Episode 27 - Return of the Samurai

  • Make: Nikon
  • Model: Nikkormat FT2
  • Type: Single Lens Reflex
  • Format: 35mm, 36x24mm
  • Lens: Interchangable, Nikon F
  • Year of Manufacture: 1975-1977

Cherry Blossoms
Nikkormat FT2 – Tamrom 17mm ƒ/3,5 – Fujichrome Velvia 50

Caffenol-C 2 Bath Test
Nikkormat FT2 – Nikon Nikkor 50mm 1:1.8 – Polypan F @ ASA-50 – Caffenol-C 2 Bath 5+5

Firewood (Nikon Version)
Nikkormat FT2 – Nikon Nikkor 50mm 1:1.8 – Polypan F @ ASA-50 – Ilford ID-11 (1+1) 9:00 @ 20C

Nikon Nikkormat FT3 – Released as more of a stop-gap measure, the FT3 is a rare model of Nikkormat that can mount AI-S without needing the claw/pin interface. They were short lived as Nikon released the FM/FE line in 1977 a few months after the FT3 hit shelves.

CCR Review 46 - Nikon Nikkormat FT3

  • Make: Nikon
  • Model: Nikkormat FT3
  • Type: Single Lens Reflex
  • Format: 35mm, 36x24mm
  • Lens: Interchangable, Nikon F
  • Year of Manufacture: 1977

CCR Review 46 - Nikon Nikkormat FT3
Nikon Nikkormat FT3 – AI-S Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4 – Ilford FP4+ @ ASA-100 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 6:00 @ 20C

CCR Review 46 - Nikon Nikkormat FT3
Nikon Nikkormat FT3 – AI-S Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4 – Ilford FP4+ @ ASA-100 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 6:00 @ 20C

CCR Review 46 - Nikon Nikkormat FT3
Nikon Nikkormat FT3 – AI-S Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4 – Ilford FP4+ @ ASA-100 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 6:00 @ 20C

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

CCR Review 59 – Canon FTb

While I have shot only a handful of Canon products during my reviews, they’ve all given positive results in my books. The Canon FTb is not bucking this trend as a solid match needle, mechanical SLR it is certainly a top pick for me as a student camera. Simple in its operation, and yet provides a good solid introduction to 35mm film photography. Special thanks to Bill Smith for loaning out this black beauty!

CCR Review 59 - Canon FTb

The Dirt

  • Make: Canon
  • Model: FTb
  • Type: Single Lens Reflex
  • Format: 135 (35mm), 36×24
  • Len: Interchangeable, Canon FD Mount
  • Year of Manufacture: 1971

CCR Review 59 - Canon FTb

CCR Review 59 - Canon FTb

The Good
The number one thing I love about this camera is the Quick Load function. Often with older cameras it takes a bit of fiddling to get the film loaded up, some cameras are easier than others, and then there’s the Canon Quick Load. It seriously makes it easy like my Nikon F5, lay down the film, close the door, advance fire, advance, fire and you’re ready to rock and roll. Everything else is fairly well laid out and in a normal place. A power switch to save on battery power, a short throw on the film advance and a pleasing weight in hand. And finally, it’s a match needle metering system very similar to my first SLR, the Minolta SRT-102, put the hole over the needle, nice and easy!

CCR Review 59 - Canon FTb

CCR Review 59 - Canon FTb

The Bad
By this point, reader, you will probably realize that there are some cameras that I try hard to find a fault in, and I normally will go for something petty, well the FTb is one such camera. And that fault is, of course, the battery. The camera does need a mercury cell to work, a power source that isn’t exactly easy to find these days. Now there are some alternatives such as an adapter to step down the power out of a current battery or an air-zinc battery. Then again as the FTb is a mechanical camera all the battery powers is the internal meter, so it isn’t that big of a deal.

CCR Review 59 - Canon FTb

The Lowdown
If you don’t want to spend a fortune to get a solid learner camera, then the FTb is certainly for you. With or without a working meter you get the most bang for your buck, and both the camera bodies and lenses are plentiful online and in reputable used camera shops. If I didn’t already have an extensive selection of Nikon cameras and lenses, an FTb would certainly be a welcome addition to my camera bag. So if you don’t like the idea of grabbing a cliche K1000 or FM, then give the FTb another look, it won’t let you down.

All Photos Taken in Guelph, Ontario
Canon FTb – Canon Lens FD 50mm 1:1.8 – ORWO UN54 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. A 7:30 @ 20C

CCR Review 57 – Zeiss Ikon Contaflex Super (Old)

If you think that you’ve seen this camera reviewed before, you’re right, in a certain way. I have written about the newer version of this camera, the Contaflex Super B before. Despite this, I figured it would be good to compare it to the battery-less version of the Contaflex. Despite the troubles I mentioned in the Super B review, the Super remains a strong camera and one I would take over the Super B any day. Special thanks to James Lee for loaning out this beauty for review.

CCR Review 57 - Zeiss Ikon Contaflex Super (Old)

The Dirt

  • Make: Zeiss Ikon
  • Model: Contaflex Super
  • Type: Single Lens Reflex
  • Format: 135 (35mm), 36x24mm
  • Len: Interchangeable, Breach lock
  • Year of Manufacture: 1958/li>

CCR Review 57 - Zeiss Ikon Contaflex Super (Old)

CCR Review 57 - Zeiss Ikon Contaflex Super (Old)

The Good
The Contaflex Super is a strong camera right out of the box. Like the Super B, the camera body is bulky and has a trapezoidal shape which makes it easy to hold for extended periods of time, as you’re not just carrying a box. Then there’s the meter, selenium based so if you have one in good shape you don’t need a battery to get a good exposure. And you have a wonderful easy to read match needle right in your viewfinder. But one thing that I feel sets the Super apart from its battery-powered counterpart is the aperture dial on the camera body. This dial made shooting the camera easy because you just have to spin the dial to make sure the needle is in the notch! Add this that all the controls from the aperture dial to the focusing and shutter speed are well laid out making it a very comfortable camera to use.

CCR Review 57 - Zeiss Ikon Contaflex Super (Old)

CCR Review 57 - Zeiss Ikon Contaflex Super (Old)

The Bad
Like the Super B, my biggest issue with this camera is that it lacks automatic mirror return. The result is a heavier than normal film advance as it both cocks the shutter, advances the film, and returns the mirror. The second issue is setting the film speed, you need to know DIN, thankfully most film boxes do have that number on it so that it won’t be much of an issue, but you still have to think a little different. And finally there’s the loading of the film, I never got the hang of loading up the film by removing the entire back, it does slow down the use of this camera. I have to remember that the Super came into being in the days when photography was still a luxury, so one-handed loading was not something manufacturers thought would be an issue.

CCR Review 57 - Zeiss Ikon Contaflex Super (Old)

CCR Review 57 - Zeiss Ikon Contaflex Super (Old)

The Lowdown
The Contaflex Super is certainly a better option than the Super B. Not needing a battery, full mechanical operations, and that wonderful aperture dial just makes it that much better. Of course being a selenium powered meter, you can run across the Super with a non-functioning meter, but you shouldn’t let that stop you as there’s plenty of options for checking your exposure.

CCR Review 57 - Zeiss Ikon Contaflex Super (Old)

A little side notes about the film. I’ve used Kentmere 100 on a couple of occasions before this and have never liked the results. However, this time I enjoyed my results, I guess the developer of choice for Kentmere 100 is now HC-110 Dilution B, but following a different agitation pattern than I normally do, first 30 seconds of constant agitation then 5 seconds every 30 seconds following.

All Photos Taken in Bellfountain, Ontario
Zeiss Ikon Contaflex Super – Carl Zeiss Tessar 50/2,8 – Kentmere @ ASA-100 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 5:45 @ 20C

CCR Review 56 – Leica R3

It’s the red dot special, but not the red dot you were probably expecting. While Leica is best known for their rangefinder cameras, both the older Barnack and the iconic M-Series Leica produces a line of single lens reflex cameras in response to the cameras coming out of Japan. While the early cameras were strictly manufactured by Leica, by the mid-1970s, they had teamed up with Minolta. The agreement produced the Leica CL/Minolta CLE both rangefinder cameras, and the Leica R3/Minolta XE! The first time I picked up this camera, having never used a Leica SLR before I was hoping for something special, but I soon found out there’s a reason these cameras aren’t that popular. Special thanks to James Lee for loaning out this beauty for review.

CCR Review 56 - Leica R3

The Dirt

  • Make: Leica Camera AG
  • Model: R3
  • Type: Single Lens Reflex
  • Format: 135 (35mm), 36x24mm
  • Len: Interchangeable, Leica R-Mount
  • Year of Manufacture: 1976-1979

CCR Review 56 - Leica R3

CCR Review 56 - Leica R3

The Good
There are two good points about the R3, first and foremost it’s a tank, but it’s a tank with balance, it just feels right to shoot, short throw on the film advance, and all the knobs and that thrice-damned stop down lever. The viewfinder is big and bright, and the needle-on-shutter-speed metering system is clear and visible. And of course, there’s the optical quality which is what we’ve come to expect from Leica. And this is despite the lenses being much larger than their M-Mount cousins.

CCR Review 56 - Leica R3

CCR Review 56 - Leica R3

The Bad
The R3 is not an easy camera to operate; it took me about three rolls of film to finally get the hang of it. And it all has to come down to how the camera meters. Despite having a decent TTL meter, you need to manually stop down the lens to get it to pick up on the correct shutter speed, then half-press the shutter button, release the lever then press the shutter release down the rest of the way. I gave up by the third roll and switched to metering with my Gossen Lunasix F and running the camera in full manual. And finally there’s the weight, this is a well-balanced camera, but heavy. It’s not one that I would enjoy carrying around all day and shooting with, especially with the 135mm lens on mounted, even the shorter 50mm is still a pain.

CCR Review 56 - Leica R3

CCR Review 56 - Leica R3

The Lowdown
The R3 is not a Minolta, it may be Minolta on the inside, but it certainly isn’t on the outside. And while you can purchase the bodies for a reasonable price, don’t expect the lenses to be on the inexpensive side. The R3 is not a camera for the beginner, or for someone who is unfamiliar with the operation of Leica SLRs, there’s a steep learning curve, and it takes away from the decent “feel” of the camera. Despite the image quality and certain cache that comes with shooting a Leica, my honest opinion, do yourself a favour and get a Minolta XE-7. You’ll get an easier camera to operate, with comparable optics and you won’t break the bank building a lens system.

All Photos Taken in Oakville, Ontario
Leica R3 Electronic – Leitz Canada Elmarit-R 1:2.8/135 – Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ASA-400 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 7:30 @ 20C

CCR Review 54 – Zenza Bronica ETRS

I have a love/hate relationship with Bronica cameras. If you listen to the Classic Camera Revival Podcast, I railed against the Bronica SQ-Am in episode 22, and I gave away my SQ-Ai because of ergonomic issues I had with the camera. But putting all that aside I went into shooting the ETRS with an open mind and discovered a rather fun camera. When it comes to 645 cameras, the ETRS is the real underdog while the Mamiya m645 and to a lesser extent the Pentax 645 get most of the glory. Which to people looking to crack into medium format the ETR line of cameras offers you the most bang for your buck if you’re just getting started. Big thanks to Mike Bitaxi for loaning out this beauty for review.

CCR Review 55 - Zenza Bronica ETRS

The Dirt

  • Make: Zenza Bronica
  • Model: ETRS
  • Type: Single Lens Reflex
  • Format: Multiple (Back Dependent), 6cm x 4.5cm
  • Lens: Interchangable, Bronica ETR Mount
  • Year of Manufacture: 1979

CCR Review 55 - Zenza Bronica ETRS

CCR Review 55 - Zenza Bronica ETRS

The Good
The strongest aspect of this camera is that it is a system camera, you can change, adapt, and modify the camera into whatever configuration is most comfortable for you and your shooting style. Another plus to it being a system camera if a part breaks, you just have to buy that one section and put all your parts back on it. The configuration I was shooting in was one that was most familiar to me, with an eye-level finder and grip. Of course, the camera operates just as well with no grip and a waist level finder if you’re used to shooting with the SQ-A or Hasselblad cameras. And for volume shooting the camera is great, you get 15 shots per roll, and interchangeable magazines allow you to load up a handful of magazines in the morning and go out shooting without needing to sit down and reload after each roll. And don’t sneeze at the optical quality either the ETR line of lenses are beautiful. Combine all these with being an often unnoticed camera line means you can build up a decent kit without having to break the bank.

CCR Review 55 - Zenza Bronica ETRS

CCR Review 55 - Zenza Bronica ETRS

The Bad
The trouble with being an underdog system is getting the system repaired. When Roger (may he rest in peace) was operating his storefront in Hamilton, you couldn’t even darken his doorstep with a Bronica. These cameras are hard to get fixed and do rely on electronics to operate and battery power. At least in the case of the ETRS the battery door is better designed that the SQ line of cameras, but the battery is not a common one. Best bet is to carry some spares if you’re out on a big trip in an area where there aren’t any specialty stores.

CCR Review 55 - Zenza Bronica ETRS

CCR Review 55 - Zenza Bronica ETRS

The Lowdown
While Bronica does not remain my first choice overall, I can see the draw of the ETR line of cameras. These are inexpensive cameras and if all you want is to shoot in the 6×4.5 format go for it. Just make sure like any electronic based vintage camera that you know it works before you pay for it. Just know that with the ETR line you will be stuck with the 6×4.5 format, if you want more image versatility, pick up an SQ-A body. You get the same quality of optics, and with appropriate backs, you can shoot 6×6 and 6×4.5 with ease. If you do go with the ETR line of cameras, make sure that you get a kit that is setup the way you like it. System cameras are unique creatures, they are amazing with no grip and a waist level finder or eye-level finder and a grip, but start swapping stuff out and you’ll run into ergonomic problems.

All Photos taken in Downtown Milton, Ontario, Canada
Zenza Bronica ETRS – Zenanon-PE 1:2.8 f=75mm – Kodak TMax 100 @ ASA-100 – Kodak D-23 (stock) 9:30 @ 20C

CCR Review 49 – Minolta Maxxum 700si

While I have reviewed many cameras over the course of the two years running this project, and there have been many satisfying cameras. The one sub-type of cameras I haven’t explored in much detail is the SLRs from the 1990s. That is the plastic consumer SLRs that dominated the market before the advent of digital SLRs. The only other one I’ve checked out was the Nikon F90, which is a fantastic camera! And after listening to Episode 152 of the Film Photography Podcast I decided to check another one out and landed on a sweet deal on the Maxxum 700si!

CCR Review 49 - Minolta Maxxum 700si

The Dirt
Make: Minolta
Model: Maxxum 700si
Type: Single Lens Reflex
Format: 135, 35×24
Lens: Interchangeable, Minolta A-Mount
Year of Manufacture: 1993

CCR Review 49 - Minolta Maxxum 700si

CCR Review 49 - Minolta Maxxum 700si

The Good
At first glance, you may just dismiss this camera. And after using top of the line manual and auto cameras, I was the same way. However, the 700si is incredibly satisfying to use. It’s plastic, but it’s a solid plastic. And it does this without being too heavy either. It sounds great when you press the shutter, and the whole camera operation has a very classic sound. It reminds me of the shutter sound my first digital camera made which was a recreation of the Maxxum 7. My favourite feature is the Eye-Start. Eye-Start is a series of sensors in the grip and on the viewfinder that if engaged (you can switch this function off and on) will set the exposure and focus the shot upon bringing the camera up. Eye-Start is great and if I had a prime lens on it means you can quickly shoot the camera one handed. While I have used Minolta cameras in the past, we’re talking the SRT and X-Series, but I found the camera controls very easy to use right off the bat. Finally, the meter on the camera is spot on, no need to worry about getting the wrong exposure with this one, even in full program mode.

CCR Review 49 - Minolta Maxxum 700si

CCR Review 49 - Minolta Maxxum 700si

The Bad
The biggest issue I have with any camera is the battery. And in this case, the camera takes a specific camera battery that you can only get at a camera store. Thankfully it does last a long time, so you don’t need to worry too much. But in cases if you’re using the camera in a city that doesn’t have a proper camera store or that store is closed, you better pack a couple of spares. In the previous paragraph, I praised the eye-start functionality; it can be a bit annoying if you’re holding the camera and it’s close enough to give the sensor on the viewfinder the shadow it needs. The camera will constant be focusing and checking the exposure. Thankfully you can turn it off. The final issue I have with the camera is more of a cosmetic problem. The grips like many cameras of the era do degrade over time and can crack and get tacky. The example I have is okay, but it’s not perfect either. I don’t really see this as a breaking point on the camera just mild unpleasantness when using it, but it can be cleaned.

CCR Review 49 - Minolta Maxxum 700si

CCR Review 49 - Minolta Maxxum 700si

The Lowdown
The Maxxum 700si is a solid and accessible choice for getting into film photography. It takes readily available 35mm film, it’s entirely automated, cheap, easy to use, and with the Minolta A-Mount if you use the Sony line of Alpha digital SLRs, your full-frame lenses couple perfectly with the camera. I don’t think I have to say anymore.

All Photos Taken in Baltimore, Maryland
Minolta Maxxum 700si – Maxxum AF Zoom 35-70mm 1:4 – Eastman Double-X (5222) @ ASA-200 – FA-1027 (1+19) 10:00 @ 20C

CCR Review 48 – Zeiss Ikon Contaflex Super B

There’s something to be said about the ergonomics of cameras, for the most part, they hadn’t moved beyond the box cameras that dominated the snapshot market. Even the single lens reflex cameras and rangefinder cameras were boxes. And while they weren’t too bad to hang onto for extended periods of time there had to be something better. Today we have cameras with excellent grips, but the first thing I realized when I picked up the Contaflex Super B was that it wasn’t a box, and the trapezoid shape of the body would make the camera an enjoyable one to shoot as I walked from the Junction to Koreatown. Special thanks to Mike Bitaxi for loaning out the camera for this review!

CCR Review 48 - Zeiss Ikon Contaflex Super B

The Dirt
Make: Zeiss Ikon
Model: Contaflex Super B
Type: Single Lens Reflex
Format: 135, 24×35
Lens: Interchangeable, Breach lock
Year of Manufacture: 1963

CCR Review 48 - Zeiss Ikon Contaflex Super B

CCR Review 48 - Zeiss Ikon Contaflex Super B

The Good
As I mentioned at the beginning this is a great camera to hold, and all the controls are right there, shutter, focus, and aperture. And the focus is easy to operate with the twin knob system. Even the safety catch on the aperture that I thought would be a bit of an issue for me turned out to be easy to operate with a push and twist while using the helper knob as well. The optics of this camera truly make it; they’re all produced by Carl Zeiss, Tessar design lenses for the most part. And the cool part is how you swap out the optics. We’re not talking about traditional lenses. All the controls for aperture, focus and shutter are right on the camera body; you are only swapping out the glass. Another interesting part of the camera is that it’s semi-automatic on the shutter priority, but the camera is also mechanical, so you don’t need the battery, but it is nice to have that as an option. While not essential for me in this test but worth mentioning is that it is a leaf shutter, so you can sync any flash at any shutter speed making it versatile when operating in low light environments. Finally, this is an easy camera to operate you can pick it up and get right to work. I only had to look up how to release the film advance to rewind the film after I finished the roll.

CCR Review 48 - Zeiss Ikon Contaflex Super B

CCR Review 48 - Zeiss Ikon Contaflex Super B

The Bad
The first thing I noticed with the camera is that there’s no automatic mirror return. The Contaflex Super B is not a camera designed for speed, as with the pull of the film advance it not only opens the shutter, but also cocks the shutter, advances the film, and returns the mirror. The result is a massive long pull on that lever. I felt like I was dragging back the cock for a flintlock musket that hadn’t been lubricated in some time. The Camera is not designed for professional jobs where you have to move quickly. The idea of only swapping out the glass is clever, the problem is that the actual mount is tiny, so it works well for the 50mm f/2.8 lens, but when you’re getting into the telephoto, it looks kind of weird. With the large front optics narrowing down to this tiny mount point. It makes the camera look like a trumpet and for me throws off the balance of the camera. I was provided with a pair of telephoto lenses, but I opted to stick with the 50mm as I found that with the longer glass I had a hard time holding the camera. While only a minor annoyance the camera’s meter relies on a Mercury battery to operate, while I was given one, I chose to leave the battery out as the door didn’t close properly and since the camera can function without it, I just stuck to Sunny-16 and the Gossen Lunasix F for metering.

CCR Review 48 - Zeiss Ikon Contaflex Super B

CCR Review 48 - Zeiss Ikon Contaflex Super B

The Lowdown
While not a bad camera, this really wouldn’t be my first choice for going out and shooting. Easy to hold, mechanical, great optics, there’s just too many other factors that would make it more of a shelf queen to me. But if you’re looking for a solid German made camera, the Contaflex Super B is a great choice, just not my first one.

All Photos in The Junction, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Zeiss Ikon Contaflex Super B – Carl Zeiss Tessar 2,8/50 – ORWO UN54 @ ASA-100 – Kodak Xtol (1+1) 8:00 @ 20C

Classic Camera Revival – Episode 21 – The Great Nikon Show

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It’s the great Nikon show, specifically talking about the Nikon F line of cameras and to narrow it down even more, the highly prized single digit F line, or Nikon’s professional line of cameras! Since we’re all about pre-2000 we’re leaving out the F6 (which isn’t really marketed as a professional camera) and focusing on the F, F2, F3, F4, and F5 cameras! On air for this episode is John Meadows, Alex Luyckx, and guest co-host Bill Smith!

All in the (F)amily
All in the F(amily)!

Cameras Featured on Today’s Show…

Nikon F – The one that started it all! The Nikon F was the camera that introduced the world to the professional SLR system camera, where the user could customize the camera to any configuration that they need to get the shot. It also cut its professional teeth in the damp jungles of Vietnam.

The Dirt:

  • Make: Nikon
  • Model: F
  • Type: Single Lens Reflex
  • Format: 35mm, 35x24mm
  • Lens: Interchangable, F-Mount
  • Year of Manufacture: 1959-1974

CCR - Review 28 - Nikon F Photomic FTn

Vintage Jag
Nikon F – Nikkor-S Auto 1:1.4 f=50mm – Ilford Delta 100

Columns
Nikon F – AI-S Nikkor 105mm 1:2.5 – Kodak Tri-X 400 – Kodak Xtol (1+1)

CCR - Review 28 - Nikon F Photomic FTn
Nikon F – AI-S Nikkor 105mm 1:2.5 – Ilford FP4+ @ ASA-125 – Kodak DK-50 (1+1) 5:00 @ 20C

Nikon F2 – The beauty that really carried on the tradition of the Nikon F but did so with style. It will also take you through the end of days and get fantastic photos as a result. Even today this is still a great camera to get your hands on, especially the later model units that would even have working meters still.

The Dirt:

  • Make: Nikon
  • Model: F2
  • Type: Single Lens Reflex
  • Format: 35mm, 35x24mm
  • Lens: Interchangable, F-Mount
  • Year of Manufacture: 1971-1980

Classic Camera Revival - Episode 15 - Mechanical Madness

Scan-141003-0014
Nikon F2a – AI-S Nikkor 200mm 1:4 – Kodak Ektar 100

Smile :D
Nikon F2 Photomic – AI-S Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4 – Holga 400 @ ASA-400 – Kodak Xtol (1+1) 9:30 @ 20C

Urban Desolation
Nikon F2 – Nikkor-N Auto 1:2.8 f=28mm – Rollei Retro 80s – Kodak D-23 (1+1) 13:00

Nikon F3 – The F3 was a radical departure for Nikon moving to an electronic semi-automatic (aperture priority) camera. While many photographers resisted this move, as the camera would not operate at all shutter speeds if it didn’t have battery power, it soon because one of the longest produced Nikon camera reaching all the way to the year 2000, outlasting both it’s successors in the F4 and F5.

The Dirt:

  • Make: Nikon
  • Model: F3
  • Type: Single Lens Reflex
  • Format: 35mm, 35x24mm
  • Lens: Interchangable, F-Mount
  • Year of Manufacture: 1980-2000

CCR - Review 24 - Nikon F3

Base of the Bloor Street Viaduct
Nikon F3 – AI-S Nikkor 28mm 1:2.8 – Adox CMS 20 II @ ASA-20 – Diafine 3+3

CCR - Review 24 - Nikon F3
Nikon F3 – AI-S Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4 – Ilford FP4+ @ ASA-125 – Ilford Microphen (1+1) 10:00 @ 20C

Lindsay 1
Nikon F3 – AI-S Nikkor 105mm 1:2.5 – Ilford Delta 400 – Kodak TMax Developer (1+9)

Nikon F4 – When it comes to camera meters, you really cannot beat the F4. This beast of a camera was the first Nikon professional camera to sport an autofocus system and a matrix metering system. The metering system was based on the earlier Nikon FA and even today Nikon digital cameras meters are based on the F4’s.

The Dirt:

  • Make: Nikon
  • Model: F4
  • Type: Single Lens Reflex
  • Format: 35mm, 35x24mm
  • Lens: Interchangable, F-Mount
  • Year of Manufacture: 1988-1997

CCR - Review 1 - Nikon F4

Svema Micrat-Orto - Test Roll 2 - Fifty Point Conservation Area
Nikon F4 – PC Nikkor 35mm 1:2.8 – Svema Micrat-Orto (FPP Super Postive Slide Film) @ ASA-0.75 – Kodak Xtol (1+1) 14:00 @ 20C

Man by the Beach: Colour version
Nikon F4 – Nikon Series E 75-150mm 1:3.5- Svema Colour 125

Plattsburg, New York - Eastman 5363
Nikon F4 – AF Nikkor 35mm 1:2D – Eastman 5363 @ ASA-25 – PMK Pyro (1+2+100) 11:00 @ 20C

Nikon F5 – The penultimate Nikon Professional SLR. The F5 was the final 35mm professional SLR and became the base for the D1, the first professional Digital SLR released by Nikon. It’s Alex’s personal favourite when it comes to Autofocus SLRs and is his choice with the AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1:2D for street photography.

The Dirt:

  • Make: Nikon
  • Model: F5
  • Type: Single Lens Reflex
  • Format: 35mm, 35x24mm
  • Lens: Interchangable, F-Mount
  • Year of Manufacture: 1996-2004

CCR - Review 22 - Nikon F5

Gettysburg - Spring 2016
Nikon F5 – AF Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4D – Kodak Vision3 250D @ ASA-250 – Unicolor Rapid C-41 Kit

TFSM Winter '16 - Muddy York
Nikon F5 – AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1:2D – Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ASA-200 – Pyrocat-HD (1+1+100) 10:00 @ 20C

Astrolab
Nikon F5 – AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1:2D – Ilford Delta 100 @ ASA-100 – FA-1027 (1+14) 9:00 @ 20C

If you’re wondering why we didn’t include the F6, well it’s because none of us own one so we really can’t speak to it also it was not really aimed at the professional market as by the time the F6 was released the pros had gone digital and the F6 was aimed at the advanced amateurs with deep pockets.

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. 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

CCR Review 28 – Nikon F

The one that started it all. The ultimate ansestor of all Nikon single lens reflex cameras, the mighty F. This big clunky beast grew out of post-occupation Japan and introduced the professional 35mm System camera. This is an endlessly modifiable camera (hence system) with drives, winders, prisms, and magazines to turn it into exactly what you needed in a camera. From the streets to the jungles, the Nikon F was the professional camera of the 1960s. The particular model in this review is the Nikon F Photomic FTn.

CCR - Review 28 - Nikon F Photomic FTn

The Dirt
Make: Nikon
Model: F (Featured in this review the F Photomic FTn)
Type: Single Lens Reflex
Format: 35mm, 35x24mm
Lens: Interchangable, F-Mount
Year of Manufacture: 1959

CCR - Review 28 - Nikon F Photomic FTn

CCR - Review 28 - Nikon F Photomic FTn

The Good
This is a beast of a camera. Seriously you could use it as a personal defense weapon then return to your photography without missing a beat. I mean these are the cameras that survived the hell of the Vietnam War, so what we can put them through pales. But despite the size and weight it’s a surprisingly easy camera to operate, with a short film advance throw and and really satisfying shutter sound and mirror slap. You know you’ve fired off this camera. As I mentioned before this is a system camera so once you have the base body, you can turn the camera into whatever you want. This means that you can remove a non-working Photomic prism and replace it with a plain non-metered prism, if you can find/afford one. Plus I really can’t complain about image quality because you have access to all Non-AI, AI, and AI-S lenses which are all really sharp and plentiful on the used market.

CCR - Review 28 - Nikon F Photomic FTn

CCR - Review 28 - Nikon F Photomic FTn

The Bad
Probably the number one bad thing about this camera is age and wear. The newest cameras you can find from this line are late 1960s and being a professional camera most have been rather beat up. And while many are still working the real question is for how long and could they be fixed. So if you got one use it! And even if the meter doesn’t work at least the camera still will. The second thing isn’t really a bad thing just really weird is the film loading, you remove the entire back of the camera, which makes it next to impossible to single hand load the camera, and requires a bit of juggling.

CCR - Review 28 - Nikon F Photomic FTn

CCR - Review 28 - Nikon F Photomic FTn

The Lowdown
Despite everything the Nikon F is a solid camera and if you got one, shoot it, you won’t be disappointed. And if you have the hankering for the grand-daddy of all Nikon SLRs or just want to complete your collection of Nikon pro bodies, then a Nikon F is certainly a solid camera. Another good application for getting one if you want to put a good authentic touch to your Vietnam War photographer historical reenactment impression or the finishing touches on your sweet Full Metal Jacket or Apocalypse Now costume. You smell that? That’s fixer son, I love the smell of fixer in the morning.

All photos taken in Toronto, Ontario
Nikon F – AI-S Nikkor 105mm 1:2.5 – Ilford FP4+ @ ASA-125 – Kodak DK-50 (1+1) 6:00 @ 20C