Polaroid Sun 600 vs Instax mini 8

So I found some expired Instax film in a junk bin so I decided to compare it to Polaroid Originals. I don’t think it is a fair comparison, but it gave me a chance to use both types of film again. I was unimpressed by the last Polaroid film I used and was by the Instax. I ordered a pack of colour and a pack of monochrome. It is quite expensive considering you only get 8 shots in each cassette. I found 3 packs of expired Instax in a junk bin which I got for $10, considerably less.

I tried the Polaroid in a Sun 600 camera.

This camera from 1983 has a built-in tongue, which is important as detailed in this super blog. But I found the original tongue was just not long enough and whipped back scratching the polaroid and exposing it in the first few seconds of development. This was an issue as it damaged the sensitive photos and overexposed them, as you can see in the scans below.

You can clearly see the scratches and overexposure in these crappy photos. The black and white film was much more resistant to the scratching, but it is still there as is the exposure issue.

I did try and combat the exposure issue by placing the film box over the photo exit slot. That way the photo slid straight into the box and received less light. Awkward and impractical, plus ultimately it didn’t work.

I have decided to try one more time with this camera and film type, but first I will install an impossible frog tongue.

I have reloaded the photos into the cassette as I noticed the flash still charged once all the shots were taken. The cassette has the camera power source. That means I can use these exposed polaroids to check my success with the installation of the frog tongue and that it stays in place without ruining another cassette. I am still unimpressed by Polaroid, I can’t believe I am willing to try again, but I don’t like giving up.

So how was the expired Instax film, was it better than fresh Polaroid Originals? I loaded it into a new Instax Mini 8.

Each cassette was at least five years old and I had no idea how it was stored. Here are some of the 30.

Ignore the writing, I was making notes for something, but due to the state of the results, I gave up on that project. Yeap, these suck too. So the moral of the story is…Originals film is very, very sensitive and expired instax sucks. I will buy more fresh instax for sure as I love that stuff, the only problem is people steal the photos. As for the Originals, I will try one more time, watch this space.

Advertisements

Konica IIIA

I found this camera in a camera junk shop in Tokyo. There is a chain of shops in Nakano and one only sells junk or near junk film cameras. Their junk is better quality than most junk shops. Over the road on the second floor is their film camera shop where they have an amazing display of Leicas. This camera was there, all shiny and the lens looked really clear.

The viewfinder of this 1958 camera is one of the brightest I have used, big and clear. It makes aligning the two images of the rangefinder much easier than other cameras I have used. The film crank has to be used twice, once to advance the film and once to cock the shutter. It works on an EV system which changes the speed and aperture together. The EV value can be set by pressing down the EV scale on the lens barrel towards the body. I actually found it a little annoying and much prefer the ability just to change the aperture on its own as this coupling means you have to take a light reading more often. The viewfinder is on the far left so you can focus with your right eye and keep looking at your subject with the left. And that is it, no light meter, no fancy buttons, just a solid, well-built camera.

But did this camera work? I put in an expired Kodak Super 400 and set off for a quiet part of Tokyo.

I lost a few shots as the shutter release was so quiet I didn’t realise I had pressed it. The EV system meant that the exposure was sometimes a little off as I didn’t change the value. The expired film and the EV system meant that the colours were a little wild at times. BUT the camera worked and the lens was sharp. The weight of the camera and EV value system means that this is not my favourite camera. I probably won’t use it again.

Keep or Sell: Sell…in a bit.

 

 

Foca Sport I

I tried a few cameras over the summer and made draft posts as I did. Work starts again next week so I will have less time to test and post, so over the next few days I might have a few posts to get through.

As I was in the UK the number of ‘junk’ finds was considerably less. So I opted for searching on eBay for charity posts. Charity shops often sell cameras on eBay now and you can sometimes find a bargain as they do not test them. That means the prices are reduced if you are willing to take a risk. At the end of the day, you have given money to a worthy cause.

This was one such buy, a Foca Sport I. It was originally produced in 1956 and was the first and most popular of a short lived series. It is a French camera for which there is very little on the net as it lacked popularity elsewhere.

Even for the time, it is a very basic camera. There is no rangefinder and focusing is achieved by guessing the distance. The film winder also houses the counter, which goes down as you shoot. So you have to set the number before you start shooting. The winder is also used to rewind, which was a little tricky to figure out without instructions. You have to lift the winder and then turn the other knob in direction of arrow. It has a top speed of 1/300th and apertures between f3.5 and f16. I took mine on a walk along the coast near Craigure, Isle of Mull. I used an expired 400 film which I thought would be suited to the low speed by rating it at 100 asa.

The camera was easy to use, even with guessing the distances as I mainly kept it at infinity. Mine seems to have a hazy lens, but the shutter worked fine. I also seemed to have a little trouble getting a straight horizon. It was a windy day and I did get stuck in a bog, but they are not good excuses. I almost got stuck by the tide at one point and I was glad I decided to wear waterproof boots so I could make a quick dash to more stable land. It was one of the reasons I chose this camera for the walk…I didn’t mind it getting damaged if I did fall over in the mud.

Keep or Sell: The hazy lens means I won’t sell it. It will stay in a cupboard until I run out of space or decide to make a display.

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.

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: Keeping as it was a bit tricky to find for the price.

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.

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.

Minolta Vectis S-1 APS

I loved the look of this camera. When I saw it I felt compelled to buy it, great ergonomics. It felt great to hold, great design, rounded, efficient. BUT it is an APS, with the ever dwindling supply of film. As I had a few rolls in my fridge and this camera was only $8, I thought why not.

It was originally released in 1996 and I thought even if I couldn’t use the body, I could make use of the lens as it was in very good condition. Unfortunately, lenses from this series do not fit any other camera 😦

The other lenses seem hard to find so I was lucky to find this set together. It was eventually discontinued around 2006, well before the demise of APS film. I used to dislike APS film, mainly for its price. But every camera I have tried has worked really well. So what about this one?

Here is my test roll, which of course is an out of date film – there is no fresh stock.

These were taken around my current home…plus I have a new toy, the scooter. It’s great for stopping and taking a quick shot.

Keep or sell: I am going to keep this camera until I run out of APS film in Japan. I have another camera here, but I prefer this one much more. So I will sell that and keep this.

I tried another film in this camera, read about it here.

Nikon FT2

I was offered a camera to test by a workmate, “I have a film camera” he said, “You can try it” he said. And he brought it in the next day. It did not have a lens or a battery cover.  Apart from that, it was quite clean.

The camera turned out to be a Nikon FT2, so I borrowed the lens from my Nikon FE. BUT what to do about the battery cover, I didn’t have anything to scavenge that from. So I did a little bit of research online and found that a replacement would probably cost $20, I didn’t want to pay that and I was sure my friend wouldn’t either. So I inspected the other cameras I had and saw they were basically just a metal screw to keep the battery in place. As I knew I would only ever shoot one film on this camera I fashioned a piece of cardboard to fit on top of the battery and covered it in tinfoil. This camera uses the banned mercury PX625, I used a zinc-air hearing aid battery and made a hole in my new cover to let the air in. Then I strapped the whole thing on with tape…with another small hole.

dsc_2787

My head said, “it will never work.” It worked! To a fashion, the meter needle moved a bit sharply, but it did move.

For a Nikon, this camera can be found fairly cheaply on eBay. It is originally from 1975. What I should have done was read the manual first as the metering system needs setting, which may be why the needle on this one was a bit jittery. Do you see that pin on the body and fork thingy on the lens barrel? Apparently, each time you remove a lens from this camera you have to recalibrate the metering system with these. I always wondered what that fork was for on my lens as the FE does not have the pin on the body. The fork is supposed to have the pin sitting inside it, clearly on the photos it is not.

Anyway, I put in a very outdated film and went off to my local mountain with a few cameras. The film I chose was a 400asa, so I set the camera to 200asa.

One thing I really like about this camera was the metering window on the top of the body. That meant you could set the exposure without putting the camera to your eye. Pity I didn’t know about the calibrating.

Here are two websites that detail how to do that and give great reviews of this and other cameras. Apart from that quirk it worked much like most center the needle metering systems, though the + and – seemed to be reversed on this one.

Here is my test film.

As you can see the metering was a little off at times, but it was a dull day. It could also have been the old film, the poor developing (constant issue), or the lack of calibration. I suspect it was the film.

So keep or sell? Neither it was not mine so I gave it back, minus the lens. Would I get another if I saw one? No, I like the FE. There is nothing so great about this camera that I would need this as well. Though, if you did not have an FE and someone gave you this camera with a battery cover and a lens then lucky you.