Kyocera 210-AF

After the bother I had with the 230-AF, I was left with a lens and no body at my house in Japan. I waited and waited and finally, I saw this 210-AF. Eureka I now had a full set again and maybe I could sell or give it away…providing all worked well.

There is very little about this version on the net, just a few Japanese sites. This one says it was released in Japan only in 1987. It worked a lot like the aforementioned 230AF, so I am not going to go into detail here…especially as this was my test roll.

Two shots only. After a few shots it became very clear there was an issue. It only worked efficiently in manual. In auto mode, an exposure of 8 seconds was always chosen no matter what settings the camera was on. I just could not see any way to change it. If it had worked I think it would be an awesome camera. I really liked the 230. I think I will play with it a little longer before giving up on it completely.

Olympus Trip AF

I love the Olympus Trip, so when I saw this one for $3 I didn’t even think about it, mine. This trip was released in 1984.

This one needs two AAA batteries to run the flash and the light meter. If there is enough light a green indicator shows in the viewfinder and the shutter works. The camera selects one of two speeds, either 1/85 or 1/120, which is not much of a choice really. There are also two choices of film speed which can be set on the side of the lens. It really is a camera of TWO.

The lens has a cover, which was really stiff on this example. I tended to leave it open while I was walking around with it as it was a pain to move the position. The film wind and rewind is manual.

Here is my test roll.

Well, the exposure is spot on even with the difficult backlighting of the windows. I took this camera on a location walk for the movie “Your Name“. Luckily I took another camera because this one has obvious haze…though not obvious when I loaded the film. Would I buy another version of this camera? No, I much prefer the original, it is far superior, though I only have this hazy version for comparison.

Keep or Sell: I put it in the bin.

Konica Pocket 400 – 110mm

When I was little I thought 110 cameras were really cool, so small. They were like a spy camera. Then I started to work in a photo lab and realised the negatives were so small that all the movies were fake, small neg = crap photo. The 110 film cartridge was introduced in 1972 by Kodak. It stopped being produced in 2009…and amazingly was reintroduced by Lomography in 2012. So when I saw one in a junk bin for $1, I thought ok I will buy a pack of 3 films and try only 3 cameras. This is the first.

 

This camera was released in 1975 and as it suggests it was made to be kept in your pocket. So that is was I did, I walked around with it in my pocket for a day. It is so small that I sometimes forgot it was there. It was very simple to use, basically point and shoot. There is a distance selector on the top, but I left it on the further distance choice.

This example had fungus or dirt in the viewfinder and I suspected there was the same on the lens, but the lens was so small I I found it difficult to check.

I put in the required 4LR44 battery, then the cartridge, and got to shooting. The battery powered the light meter. If there was not enough light a red light could be seen in the viewfinder and the shutter would not fire. There was a green light if all was ok. There were two flash options, the old cube type or you could add something to the hotshoe. I did neither as I only used the camera outside.

The film was wound on by a push slider on the bottom, two pushes for one shot advance.

So did it work?

 

Yes, quite well considering. I do think there is some haze on the lens, but it is difficult to tell due to the natural quality of the 110 film. I enjoyed using the camera and carrying it around, but I will not be using it again.

Keep or Sell: Neither, I might throw it away, but for now I will just add it to the box of cameras I don’t want to keep.

As an aside, I really didn’t like the Nikon AW130 I bought, so I am giving that to my sister and I found a junk bin Ricoh GXR. The flash catch is broken, which is a common issue – nothing a bit of tape won’t fix, but apart from that, it seems fine. The camera shots on here were taken by it. When I saw it I was reminded of the GR1v I tried recently. Of course, it is not waterproof, but I only go diving once a year so that is not an issue.

Minolta alpha 3xi Panorama

I was unsure whether to buy this junk bin camera given the obvious damage to the side. It was also covered in stickers with a variety of prices. The lowest was $3 and that is what I paid for it. The lens was a bit more, but it looked in better condition though still was covered in masses of price stickers. I hate that. It took ages to clean them all off before I could even begin to think about whether they worked.

This camera is was originally produced in 1991. You can get some more technical data here. When I walked around with it I noticed that when it was turned on and next to my body, it was trying to focus on stuff.  It turns out the two bars on the front of the camera operate the auto eye focusing system. If you cover the dot on the right of the eyepiece, preferably with your eye, and hold the camera covering these two bars with your hand, the camera will automatically focus on the subject. You do not need to press the shutter. You can press the shutter half way to achieve the same results, so it is a bit fancy and superfluous. Pressing the shutter halfway also locks the automatic focusing. The button on the back saying ASZ is for an automatic zoom system, but it only works with certain lenses. I did not have that lens, so have no idea if it would be useful.

I loaded the camera with fresh Fuji 100 film and went for a walk along the Tachikawa river. I find it funny to write that as ‘kawa’ means river, so really I am writing Tachi river river. Anyway, I made a map of the walk. which you can find on my other blog here. This was walk 7 and here are the test shots.

Wow, not bad for $3, every shot is perfectly exposed. The walk was lovely too. The last place is a sake brewery. I bought 3 bottles and had to carry them for the rest of my journey, stupid thing to do given I was also carrying 3 cameras. I was supposed to go to a firefly festival, but with the heat, the walk, and the weight of my bag I decided to give up and go home. BUT, the camera was great. It worked perfectly and was easy to use. It didn’t have many functions, so not much better than a point and shoot. The olympus mju would have served just as well, but not have been as much fun to use. I also tried a very similar camera here, I gave that camera to a friend and always kind of regretted it. Anyway, it seems Minolta do indeed make great cheap SLRs.

Keep or sell: Given the damage to the body I think I will give this one away. Plus along the walk, I saw many cyclists and realised I really missed my bike. I might finish the cameras testing the cameras I have then return to cycling. I think I have about 10 in various places.

Found Film and Lomochrome Purple

This is a different kind of post, a film post as opposed to a camera post. I got two films back today and both have a tale to tell, so tell it I will.

Firstly, I bought a junk APS camera for $1, which I haven’t written about yet, and I could not get the film door open. I tried yanking it, sweet-talking it, but nope. Then I put a battery in it and low, there was a film inside. So, the camera did a very good job of protecting it. BUT, did the camera work? I hadn’t tested it yet. Was the film ok? maybe not as I tried to yank open the door. In the end, there were too many unknowns so I pressed the rewind button and put in another film. The film I retrieved was a Fuji Nexia 800, quite rare these days with the ever dwindling supply of APS.

I decided to use the found film in a known camera. Now, here lies the problem…all APS film is unknown so to speak, as it is all expired. So, why not use this film in the unknown camera. Because I would not know it if was the camera or the film. Minolta Vectis to the rescue. I knew this camera worked very well and it accepted film that had been rewound midroll. When I put the film in though, it did not accept it. The junk camera I found the film in had set the code on the film to 3, ready to process. Here are the cassette codes.

  1. Full circle: Unexposed
  2. Half circle: Partly exposed
  3. Cross sign: Fully exposed but not processed
  4. Rectangle: Processed

Then I remembered the old, use a pencil in a tape cassette to rewind it, trick. Maybe not a pencil, but a screwdriver?? I rewound the cassette so the code showed a 2, and put it back in the Minolta. Goodness me, if it didn’t go and load 🙂 I never thought that would work.

So off I go on a walk around a river in Tokyo. And finally, I got a cd back with viable images. The film was great, perfect even…an absolute steal for $1.

 

The second film I got back was a Lomochrome Purple. The last time I used a lomochrome film, I forgot to ask for a cd and my scanner could not handle it at all. I was very disappointed with the results. This time I put the purple in the Olympus Mju I had just tried and remembered the CD. Holy crap, there was a huge difference in quality. I have changed my mind about the film and I am so in love with the camera. This week I had the pleasure to try a very expensive camera and I was impressed. This Olympus was $3 in a junk bin, and I think it is better. Sure it doesn’t have some of the fancy settings, but wowee, it is sharp. Here is the test roll I took around Akihabara.

The result from the Olympus makes me think that I will probably sell all the other point and shoots I have…apart from the one other Olympus Mju I have.

Ricoh GR1v

This is the second of the cameras lent to me by an associate. The first being the Russian one here, which I was not impressed by. However, when I saw this camera from 2001 I almost snatched it out of his hand. Really a GR1…not only that a GR1v. Holy Guacamole, and I can use it?

Apparently, it had been stuck in a cupboard for a while…with…shock horror…the battery still inside. Luckily it hadn’t leaked so that was not a worry. So I put in a new battery and turned it on. The lens came out, but the LCD was completely blank. Apparently this is such a common problem that there are many blogs written about it. This one gives a way to fix it and so does this one. This blog gives you instructions on how to use it even if the LCD does not work. I wish I had read that first.

As it was not my camera and by far the most expensive camera I have held, I was not even tempted try to fix it. The Ricoh GR1v is worth over $200 broken…if it is working then double or even triple that.

When a couple of other friends saw this camera, they could not understand why…why is it so expensive? It is not big, it is a point and shoot, why?

I gave a few reasons. Firstly, the lens. It should be super sharp and with f2.8 it is great for low light situations. You also have control over which aperture is chosen, see the dial on the top. Secondly, and a great feature for those who know how to use it, you can override the ISO coding. That means you can push films, a 400asa can be used as 1600asa if you so wish. In P-mode the camera does all the choosing for you. There is also manual focusing, bracketing and a wide 28mm lens. There are a few other features, but most of these and those features were inaccessible to me due to the LCD issue. Basically for me, this really would be a point and shoot.

This great blog shows you what the inside viewfinder looks like, but this one was also not working…was the camera actually working? I put in a Kentmere 400 and got to shooting. Here is my test roll.

Wow, I love this camera. It is light, thin and easy to carry. It works in low light, just check out the forest and shrine photo. I was disappointed with the minimum focus length, but if the LCD worked it would not have been an issue.

Keep or Sell: It is not mine, I have to give it back. Would I buy one if I could…hmm tough question…It has many weaknesses, the LCD and the motor are both prone to breaking. So maybe not for the price. BUT if I was given one I might use it constantly until it broke.

 

Ricoh SE2

I thought this was such a funky looking camera, coupled with the fact it still had the lens cover…I had to try it. Then I found out it was a half frame. Did I still want it? Yeah, ok.

The seals on this 1976 camera were completely shot and disintegrated on touch. So I changed them before I even thought about trying it. The selenium cell seemed to be working fine, but what was that weird dial on the bottom? It turned out to be a spring loaded film winder. It worked intermittently, I was never sure when and how to charge the spring. If it didn’t cock the shutter you could also wind it manually.

There is a great blog post here in Chinese, (use Google Translate), that really explains how to use the camera, plus there are example shots of some pimped up versions. It almost made me want to do that to my camera. The review explained the red dot in the middle of the viewfinder. If there is not enough light a red dot will appear, it there is enough light the dot will be yellow. Mine camera’s dot was a little light and I didn’t really think about it too much. If you leave the camera on auto the speed is 1/125th, if you use it on manual aperture then it is 1/30th. That is way too slow for me so I left it on auto most of the time, but really…one film speed?

I took the film to a festival and then around and about. This camera got more attention and comments than any other I have walked around with, but did it work?

Yeap it worked. But as a half frame, it took forever to finish the film and there were a lot of shots. There are so many shots that this time I could not be bothered to remove all the hairs from scanning. I didn’t think the quality of the shots was worth the effort.

Keep or sell: Definitely sell. I still do not like half frames and I think I will only try another by accident…though this camera is one of the coolest I have tried.

 

 

Kiev 35A

A most of my friends and acquaintances know about this blog and my love of cameras, how could they not? I always have a camera with me and I talk about cameras all the time. A few people have started to lend me their cameras to add to the blog or have asked me about their camera. This camera falls into the former category. Someone I knew gave me two cameras to try. The Kiev 35A, the other I will write about later.

This camera was boxed, with the original Russian manual, and taken care of. Unfortunately, it is not the sturdiest of cameras, so it was still in a bit of a state.

I added the brown tape to try and hold the batteries in place, but there was some silver tape there that had lost its stickiness. If you have been following this blog for any length of time you know I love old Russian cameras. They are rough and temperamental, but fun to work with. This one was produced between 1985-1991 and based on the Minox 35EL. You pull the front cover down and the lens pops out. That is where you find the battery compartment too. This one’s battery cover had a thread issue and would not stay on, hence the tape. I have read this camera needs a PX27 5.6V battery, but when I opened this version I saw two 3V batteries that were dead. I put in four LR44 and hoped for the best. You can read some technical details here. You can set the aperture and distance on the lens barrel and the meter works out the speed. The meter did seem to work if I keep pressing the cover with my finger. I then put my eye behind the lens the check the shutter was firing….it kind of was…sometimes. Then other times it would open and slooooooowly close. There was obviously an issue. Also it was very tricky to even cock the shutter. After reading all the terrible reviews, I decided not to try a film in it. The decision was due to the expense of film and the camera’s obvious issues.

Keep or sell….returned to owner – but would I try to get another, working one – No it felt very plasticky and seemed a lot like the LC-A, but not as cool OR the Makinon with no flash. It just has too many bad reviews of light leaks, and I hate those.

Yashica Half 17

When I saw this camera, I thought…REALLY??? A Yashica half frame? I hate half-frames, but I love Yashicas. Should I buy it? It isn’t cheap for a junk bin chance, but it is clean and a Yashica…OK, I will do it.

According to this reviewer it was produced in 1964. As you can see it has a selenium cell light meter and a f1.7 lens. It has zone focusing with an image scale inside the viewfinder that has the regular mountain, people, person symbols. On the right side of the view finder is a needle scale that tells you the speed. So you can choose the aperture and check what speed will be selected by the camera. Or everything can be automatic. When you press the shutter button half way, the needle moves…and this one did, which let me know the selenium cell was working 🙂 A good sign. Here are a few more details.

So I plonked in a film and went for a wander…

…and out of 72 photos these are the ones with an image 😦

On a closer inspection, the shutter blades moved very, very slowly. They seem clean, but must be sticky. I do not have the skills to take this apart and clean the blades. Plus as it seems quite a rare camera I don’t want to spoil such a good example. Therefore I am going to send it to a Yashica expert and hope he can bring new life into it…or at least love it.

To be honest I didn’t mind so much. I still do not like half-frame cameras.

Canon AE-1

So, I was at a festival and someone I know in passing had a film camera around her neck. A film camera I did not have and had not tried. I struck up a conversation and it turned out I may have influenced her even trying it, a camera once belonging to her grandfather or father. We had a chat about the beauty of film and the awesome sounds they make and I decided then and there I must have that camera. So on my way home, I stopped at a second-hand store and there one was, without a lens, in the junk bin. A Canon AE-1.

2017-05-27 12.31.03

As I already have a Canon A1, I decided to invest in a wide angle lens. I even made a camera strap to add to the coolness. If the AE did not work, then I could use the lens on the A1. This camera is one of the most popular cameras for students, those wanting to learn about f-stops and depth of field, film…anything really. You can read all the technical details you like here. It was produced between 1976-1984. This guy says it is one of the best cameras ever made! Bold. But once I put a battery in this one and added the lens, wow, it makes the most satisfying noise when the shutter is press. The best shutter noise I have ever heard. It feels solid, yet comfortable. I loved it.  This site has an excellent review, going as far to say this was/is a cultural icon. But did this junk bin find work?

NO 😦

It was one of those too good to be true moments. Yeap, these days you can’t get a Canon AE-1 for $10 in a junk bin and expect it to work. On the plus side, the lens seems fine. The camera body had an intermittent mirror lock up issue. I thought the shutter curtain might stop light hitting the film, but no. I did some research and this site said it might have been an issue with the mirror magnet that needed to be cleaned. So I took off the bottom plate, but it was as clean as a whistle and perfectly intact. I followed this video for instructions.

The same site said it might be some plastic under the film advance lever, so I took the top part off too…then I just got carried away and started to take the whole thing apart.

2017-05-29 18.35.27

I wish I could take apart a camera and put it back together again, I wish I had the knowledge to fix issues like this. But I don’t….but I do enjoy ripping things apart.

So keep or sell….erm..it’s in pieces. BUT I will get another one day because I am a bit obsessive about these things.

Addendum: I did get another body to go with the lens. This time a fully black AE-1 for about $60 which I think is a great price. Here are the test shots from that camera.

I love this camera. On the day out you can see here I also took the Nikon F2, the canon is much lighter and I feel just as great. I think it will be one I choose to use more often than most.