Nikon Pronea S

With my new found liking of APS films and Nikons, the perfect fit seemed to be the Pronea S. Released in 1998 it was the last APS SLR Nikon made. I managed to get one with a 30-60mm lens.

I thought, even if I didn’t like the camera, the lens would be useful. Unfortunately, the  IX-Nikkor lenses are not compatible with any other camera. Oh well, at least I can play with this camera.

I took it to Leeds, but straight away I was having issues. The camera was shutting down or locking up. I thought it was a battery issue so went to Dragon Photos and got a new one. If you want film or developing in Leeds this is the best place to go.  When I got home I sent the film off to Hippo Photos, if you have more specific needs and are not in Leeds then this company is awesome. They develop anything and will even do sprocket scans. You can receive a cd or a download link. If I could post film to them from Japan I would. In no time at all, I got these photos back.

 

The camera was a bit of a disappointment. It was slow to focus and had that weird battery issue. I thought I would give it another chance, especially as I seemed to have gone nuts buying aps film over the summer. So I popped in an expired Konica  Centuria 200 and went to Scammonden Reservoir.

..all the same issues continued. The camera locked up, the new battery died before the end of the film, and was slower than a snail having a lazy day when focusing…if it could decide what to focus on that is. It really is a crappy camera. Here is the second test roll that I eventually managed to get the camera to rewind and release.

Keeps or sell: Dumped in the bin with lens and some of my Nikon love.

Pentax ME Super

While I was in England for the summer I bought a few cameras on eBay. I did not get a chance to try all of them. Not this one though. I tried this one the day after it arrived. There are a few reasons for this. Here is the long story behind the camera.

Firstly, I had no intentions of buying another camera this summer, but a gift box arrived with a few unexpected items inside. One was a Tamron 2 Adaptall mount for a Canon camera. To be honest I had no idea what this mount was used for, internet to the rescue. Hmm, a lens that would fit many cameras, hence the “adapt-all”. Unfortunately, I did not have one of these lenses, internet to the rescue again, or eBay to be precise.

The cheapest one I could find came with a Pentax K mount. Perfect, a different adapter ….you might see where this is going.

The lens arrives and I try to swap the mounts, but try as I might I could not get the Canon one on my AE1 or A1. I wish I had found that website before I gave up, but no. So now I have a lens and no camera. Hello again eBay. I won a bid on a great package. A Pentax ME Super with a 50mm lens, with a case and all the manuals. Awesome, the Tamron lens I had was a 28mm. The whole lot arrived within a few days…but…

It didn’t work 😦

I will not repeat the words I said at the time. The issue was the battery compartment, surprise surprise. It was completely stuck and probably had some corroded batteries inside. There was no evidence on the outside. I contacted the seller and he offered me a refund, but I said I would work on it first if he accepted there might be some scratches on it. He said, “Go for it.”

Thinking of the gentleman who gave me the original adapter, who once wrote..soak the whole thing in vinegar, I decided to JUST take off the bottom plate and soak that in vinegar overnight.

The plate came off easily and there were no attached wires, the batteries dropped right out.

IMG_3085

There was very little damage inside the camera, but still, the compartment was stuck. Being in the UK, suffering from jetlag, and no Konbinis around, I opted for the malt kind of vinegar…good for chips, good for corrosion??
So I left it sitting overnight and tried it again in the morning.

Yatta!!!!IMG_3086

But would the camera work after suffering from corroded batteries.

Yatta!!!!!!

I was so proud of myself. Persistence is the key to success. So said Winston Churchill and Ray Kroc, plus a few million others.

And now finally, for the camera review.

The ME Super was produced from 1979-84 and it is tiny. I added a shot of it next to a Yashica for comparison, I thought that was more appropriate than a banana. As you can see from the photos, it has everything you might need, auto, manual, shutter lock, Bulb, ASA control, exposure compensation, a film advance window, and a battery override of 1/125th. To set the manual speeds you use the two black buttons next to the shutter. The film winder action is smooth and fairly short. Inside the viewfinder is a scale which lets you know the intended shooting speed with a green light, or orange for an issue. There is an over and under red warning light, but it will still fire. Here are some more technical details.

I loaded it up and went for a walk around my home town/village.

I love this camera! I also love the deer sign…you have as much chance of seeing a unicorn around there. Anyway, the camera is so light and easy to use. I love the Tamron Lens, it is a perfect addition to the 50mm. I loved it so much I brought it back to Japan with me, which was actually a bit dumb as I have a few here already. When I have it in the same country as the Canons I own I will try the adapter again.

Did you notice the two similar shots of the building? I tried seeing what would happen if I left the camera on the wrong setting, in this case over exposing by forgetting to adjust from being inside the Hepworth Museum….on purpose honest. It coped well.

Keep or Sell: The whole package is mine. When I put it with my other cameras here I realised I had a couple of other Pentaxes, the Spotmatic which I just fixed 🙂 And another, as yet untested one. Maybe I am switching my allegiance from Olympus or Yashica??

Plus a big thank you to my friend who sent the original adapter. Unfortunately, I don’t think he has a blog I can link to…he should get on that 😉

 

Ilford Envoy

I am almost at the end of my trip back to Yorkshire for the summer. I had some cameras waiting to play with and some destinations I wanted to visit. One destination was the Science and Media Museum in Bradford. There was a great collection of cameras from many eras, there were many bakelite cameras. I had many of the cameras on display and some similar ones, but I realised I didn’t have anything like the bakelites or box brownies. So I decided to go on eBay and find one. There were plenty to choose from, I just chose the cheapest.

As I was playing around with the camera my father said, “oh, that is like the cameras we had when I was little.” That isn’t surprising as my father was born in 1943, a war baby, and the Envoy was produced from 1953 to 1960.

There is absolutely nothing to the Envoy. The shutter always fires, no cocking it. There is one speed…no idea what it is, probably 1/100th or 1/50th. The inside of the camera comes out when unlocked, you can see steps on the sides that stopped internal reflections. There is a red window to let you read the film numbers when winding. There is no cover for this window. On the front of the lens is the phrase, “For faces pull out, for places push in.”

There was also mention in the advert of “some” used film. There turned out to be 4 rolls of expired 120mm from around 2000. I loaded in a Kodak T400 CN, which is a C41 process black and white film, cool. As it was expired I thought the 400asa would be perfect as I suspected this camera was built to take 100asa or less due to what was available at the time.

After taking a few shots in my house,  I went on a trip to Saltaire. It seemed like a perfect location to try this old camera. Here are the images I got from the film.

It is definitely not an inside camera, but surprisingly good for outside. As there is no focusing all you have to do is frame.

Keep or sell: Keep, but it is a sit on the shelf camera.

I also took my Bronica with me. I noticed a few of my other shots showed a slow light leak on this camera. As I was in the same country as the camera I changed the seals. Here are the shots from that camera.

Pentax Auto 110

After I got a pack of three 110mm films for another camera I was on the lookout for other 110 cameras to buy or find, and test. I did a search online and decided on this camera so I bought one on eBay. Once I put in some batteries and loaded the film, it didn’t seem quite right. The film would not advance smoothly. It usually takes two movements of the film advance to cock the shutter, but it just kept moving and the numbers rarely changed. As the numbers are built into the film I knew there was an issue.

The camera I had a 24mm lens. So I looked for another with a different lens. I ended up finding another one with an 18mm lens attached. Plus, I also found a 50mm lens from another seller. If the second camera worked I would have the full setup…excluding the later lenses that were released.

BUT, wait…a 110mm camera with interchangeable lenses? WOW. It was originally produced in 1978, this site has a great history and review. This site has some technical details. It is the one and only sub-miniature SLR ever made. It is awesome. It feels great to use and surprisingly sturdy. The viewfinder is bright and easy to focus with. An orange light appears when the shutter is depressed half way and there is insufficient light, it turns green if everything is ok.

I took the second camera to Leeds and it worked perfectly. Here is my test roll using all of the lenses at some point.

I was especially pleased and impressed with the shot of the market ceiling. I have tried that shot with other cameras and they never cope with the backlighting, yet here is a 110 camera capturing it perfectly.

Keep or sell: keeping!!

Yashica FR II

I have been exchanging emails with the owner of a great website about Yashicas. As I live in Japan I sometimes see hard to find models and have sent him a few. He wanted to do something in return, so I suggested he send me a camera in return. He did, and this is the camera. Just to be clear, I don’t suggest you inundate either of us with requests for swaps,  the postage could get out of hand. BUT it is awesome receiving surprise cameras.

This is the Yashica FR II which was first introduced in 1977, an awesome year…and a sad year in music terms.

In my excitement and haste to try it, along with the 12 exposure film he sent, I completely forgot that he wrote about cleaning off the old seals. So this is the test roll:

Oops. But they are sharp and the colours, apart from the light leaks, were vivid. So of course then I got to replacing the seals. As I am not in my usual Japanese home for the summer, I don’t have my regular equipment. I just had off-cuts to work with, but I figured as long as the door hinge was done it should be ok.

I really need to get better at this. My thought is, it doesn’t have to be tidy, just functional. I was so confident in my friend’s choice and the seals that I took it on holiday to the Isle of Mull.

Ok, a bit more about the camera. It takes a 4LR44 battery, which is easy to get. On auto mode, the camera has aperture priority. There is no manual control. Inside the viewfinder is a needle display that lets you know the speed chosen, but it does not work unless activated. You can activate the needle in two ways. There is a black button on the top, near the rewind lever, and a slider on the back. I found it difficult to press the button and preferred the slider. The slider is situated where your thumb sits, it was much more efficient and comfortable for me. The only issue I could see with the camera was that the film counter didn’t work. I have read this is a common problem caused by a broken gear. This site has a repair, but I don’t feel the need to fix it.

I put a few different films through the camera. Here are some of the shots. I chose a selection to let Yashica Sailor have a good view of Mull. I would highly recommend the west side of Scotland to anyone. Edinburgh is great, but I love the hills, mountains, and moorland of the west.

Now, here is where the coincidence comes in. On Mull there is a charity shop by the ferry port. I went in and asked if they had any film cameras. They had one camera and one lens. Amazingly, the lens was a Yashica 75-200mm and there was me with a Yashica film camera in my bag. I snapped it up.

I used it at various times on the trip, but not too much as I didn’t know if it worked or what condition it was in. It was fine.

So, a great camera, a great lens coincidence and a super surprise.

Keep or sell: mine and thanks 🙂

Konica Pop Super

I have tried a POP before and had seen the different coloured ones on various sites and thought if I saw one I would try and get it..so here is the red version.

Konica has released many different point and shoot cameras and I have been impressed by all the ones I have tried. This version was released in 1988 and came in three colours. There is nothing to explain that isn’t said on the front of the camera.

  • Focus Free
  • Auto Flash

That’s it. This site has all the technical information you might need.

I am always nervous when I don’t have any control of the flash. I prefer to keep the flash turned off at all times and use natural light. I do not really enjoy street photography and a flash seems extra intrusive.

Anyway, I took this one to Leeds, West Yorkshire on a dreary day, but that certainly was not how I was feeling. Here are the test shots.

I think the camera performed well in difficult circumstances, but it is much more suited to a brighter day.

Keep or sell: I think I will sell or give away. I doubt I will use it again and I am running out of space 🙂

TEC Olempia Big Royal View

While on holiday on the Isle of Mull I saw a charity shop. So of course I stopped and checked out any cameras. They had one. So for fun and charity I bought it.


Once I got it back to the hotel I did some research….there is a storm brewing so there is no travelling today. Anyway, I couldn’t find anything in the net apart from it has a few names and is a toy camera of the Lomography and Holga fashion. Super. I can play with this around the hotel while the rain falls. It takes 2 AA battlers in the camera and in the flash. I have those. Double super.


Bugger. Oh well, money to charity at least.

Minolta Vectis 3000 aps

It took a while to find, but eventually, I found a source to say this camera was produced in 1999. I saw it in a Facebook group for APS film users and wanted it straight away. It is just so cool looking. So I looked on eBay and there was this example. Mine.

I love how it snaps open and closed, which also turns it on. It is well built and the metal material is lovely to hold. The flash is the only thing I don’t like. It turns on in auto red-eye mode, no matter what you set it to before you turn it off. It is tiny when closed and will easily fit in a pocket.

There are so many technical details here that I won’t even bother to try and match it. There are even more details here, including a description of the super focusing system.

Walking around my local area, it worked perfectly. But the truth is in the tasting…or in the photos. Of course, I used an expired film, a colorama. Finally, it was processed and scanned perfectly.

I used this film on a walk/buggy with my father. This is the second aps film where I noticed the camera strap in the shots. I have been careless recently, but now I know I will correct the issue in the future.

Sell or Keep: This will be the aps camera I use in the future and the last one I buy….unless it breaks.

Minolta Hi-Matic AF2 MD

This camera is from 1982. There is a lot of information about the AF2 online, but not too much on the MD version so I am struggling to link to anything. Anyway here is the camera.

I took a few pictures of things that I had issues with to remind me to write about it at this stage. I don’t have the camera in my hands so I am working on memory. I did find this tiny entry on the web, you will have to use google translate to read it in English. It does state the shutter speeds and apertures are from EV 6 (F 2.8 1/8 sec) ~ EV 17 (F 17 1/430 sec). I think the MD means motor drive, but I can’t confirm that. I did try the AF-D and that had a film advance lever so I am confident with my guess.

Using the camera is easy, just point and shoot. There is a red light and audible beep if there is not enough light. The flash on this version did not work, so I decided to set a limit – I would only take shots of buildings. So off I trundled to Odaiba and got to shooting.

As I had recently found a few expired films in a junk bin I loaded one of those into this funky camera. I had a couple of issues with the camera. The date imprint would randomly turn back on, I think the cover was pressing on the button. Plus the rewind did not work. That meant I had to put the camera in a dark bag and rewind it manually. This was another film I brought back to the UK for developing at Picture Lizard.

Here are the test shots.

For an expired film, the shots are great. The sky is especially impressive, with the highlights showing good detail. This is why I love film. There aren’t many digitals that would capture this amount of detail and sharpness.

Keep or Sell: Actually I threw it away. With the flash issue combined with the rewind fault, I didn’t see the point in keeping it…but now I have seen the photos?? Would I buy another? No, I have the Nikon I tried recently and a plethora of others. BUT, I would recommend it to others. Any of the other Minolta AF versions would be great if you happen upon one.

Canon IXY aps (or IXUS, or ELPH)

This camera is TINY, pocket and palm small. Plus it is an aps. Plus I actually owned one of these back in the day when the film was readily available. So when I saw it for a $1 I snapped it up. What I didn’t know was…there was a partly used film inside. So there I am trying to prise the film door open not knowing the camera was desperately trying to save the film inside. Eventually, I did have a lightbulb moment and retrieved the film. I wrote about the film here.

This is another one of those cameras with many names as you can see in the title of the blog entry. You can see all the different incarnations here and that this is the very first one from 1996. For more technical details look here. I really loved the feel of the camera, metal and cool in the hand. It functioned well. I won’t say worked perfectly because I had issues. The flash on this example never quite closed, but it worked when needed.

I ended up trying this camera a number of times. I had such bad luck with this camera. I tried two completely different films due to the nature of expired aps films, neither would be scanned by Yodobashi Camera. Eventually, I decided to break the cassette open and try scanning them myself. Both of the films were very dark and purple, which to me indicates poor chemicals. I think there are just not enough people using this type of film in Japan. I then cut the strip into 2 neg strips and used the 120mm scanner plate. It was a real pain and in the future, I will try this method and make my own plate.

Here are some of the shots from those films.

But, I didn’t give up and tried another film. This time I brought the film and the camera back to the UK. I sent the film I took in Japan to Picture Lizard, who I found on eBay. This time the film was scanned even though the film was less than perfect. I was very pleased with the scanning. Here are the photos from that film.

I noticed something on this film and another one I got developed..there is a camera strap dangling in front of the lens. I think the trouble I have been having with developing has made me a little careless when it comes to aps cameras. I will correct that from now on.

As for the photos, the camera was ok apart from the odd light leak..maybe due to my prising. But again the film was less than ok.

Keep or sell: I have already sent it and a film to a new friend…maybe old friend after he has tried aps.