Ricoh XR 500

As you can see from the label, I got the body of this camera for $10 in a junk shop. I already had a lens that fit it due to another purchase. It was clean but needed the seals replaced and for once I did a pretty good job.

It takes 2 regular LR44 batteries for the light meter, but it does work without them in a manual mode which a huge bonus. The light meter consists of a circle on the inside right of the viewfinder. Just match the needle to the circle by changing the speed or aperture. To turn the meter on, move the film advance lever to uncover the red dot. The film advance has one of the shortest movements I have come across. And that is it, all you need to know. Manual focusing of course.

The XR 500 was produced in 1978. There is also an auto version but it seems to be lacking features too and this great blog does not recommend it. However, how many features do you really need?

I did find it a little heavy and a touch big considering the lack of features. BUT you can pick them up very cheap on eBay so it is a perfect camera to start with if you want to learn the basics. PLUS the Pentax-K fit means finding a lens is also a breeze.

I put in some Fuji 1600 natura which I had had lying around for ages as I was going to a festival. I wanted to try it without a flash. In retrospect it wasn’t the best camera to try it with as I do have another camera with an f1.4 lens, this lens only had f2.5. Plus it was untested at this point. I also tried it on a very bright day, which was tough for the film too.

I have another roll of the film which apparently can only be bought in Japan, but really I wasn’t impressed. It might be the processing or scanning, so worth another try.

Keep or sell: I am going to keep the lens. The body is not worth selling from Japan due to the postage rates, so I think I will put it in my-not-sure-what-to-do-with box and lend it to people who want to try film. I would recommend the camera if you are short of cash, but there are funkier, better cameras out there if you can spend a little more.

Advertisements

Olympus Trip MD

I think I found this in the junk bin, but it has been in my cupboard a while so I am not sure. The reason it took me a while to get to it…it was covered in gunk from the bag. The edging on the bag just melted and ended up all over the outside of the camera. Yuck. Once I cleaned it off the camera I washed the bag too. Then replaced the seals as they had also turned to mush.

For a popular camera line, there is surprisingly little about this version on the net. This German site has the most technical information. From that site I gathered the shutter speed is fixed at 1/100th and changing the film speed changes the aperture. Apart from changing the film speed, there is nothing to this camera, a simple point and shoot. There is a red light in the viewfinder if the conditions are too dark. I used a 400asa film and it nearly always lit up.

The test roll below confirms its issue…they seem underexposed. There is no metering at all, the red light just acts as a warning to use the flash. You really have to judge the conditions by light experience and knowledge. Remember the speed is 1/100th and use the sunny 16 rule. The camera is fine in bright light, but then move the film speed up or down if the conditions change.

I took the camera around Ghibli Museum..not inside as no cameras are allowed…and then to the giant Godzilla head at Hotel Gracery. Despite the exposure issue, the images do see quite sharp. I didn’t know about the lack of metering and I am tempted to try it again with my own film speed advice. But really, I didn’t love the camera and it seems a bit of a waste of film. I much prefer the original trip or even the AF.

Keep or sell: Neither, I have a box of cameras I am not sure what to do with. I think it will go in there as a loaner.

 

 

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.

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.

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 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.

Two Nikon TW Point and Shoots

I looked through my list of cameras tested and realised there are surprisingly few Nikons on there. So, this post goes some way towards addressing that. I was recently hunting through some junk bins and came across two versions of the same series. The total price for both was $3.

Yipee! Of course, I bought both, then I went further and put the same kind of film in each, Fuji Acros 100. AND to go further I took both cameras out on the same kind of day…unfortunately dull, humid and rainy.

So the first film I finished was from the Nikon TW2D.

This camera came into production in 1987 and was Nikon’s first autofocus point and shoot. There is a button on top to switch between 35mm and 70mm. There is a slider on the front which turns on the camera and opens the shutter cover. As you can see there are also buttons to control the flash, continuous shooting and midroll rewind. On the side of the lens barrel is a slider for soft focus too. Unfortunately, the zoom motor for this example was faulty and struggled to control the lens barrel extension or retraction. The camera seemed to work fine in the 35mm position, but struggled to do anything if you tried to set it to 70mm. Anyway, here is my test roll.

Hmm, there are a couple of nice shots, but on the whole, these are seriously underexposed. Bless this little camera, it really tried hard, but it just didn’t work. BUT, if the exposure had worked it would be a great camera. I would recommend it if you can find a good example.

And on to the next, the Nikon TW20 AF.

This one was a bargain, $1 for the camera and case. This one was produced a couple of years after the TW2D from 1989. It also has a button to switch focal lengths, 35mm and 55mm. The former camera had the first autofocus, this one has the first red-eye reduction. For a point and shoot it isn’t the smallest camera I have ever tried, even a little ugly on which I agree with this great blog. But I love sliding lens covers so that redeems it in my book. The lens cover also protects a few other buttons such as the self-timer and flash suppression. But was it a bust like the $2 camera?

This camera is AWESOME! All the more for costing $1. Remember it was a very dull day and I was using 100ASA film. For the most part, the exposure is great, plus the focal length button worked well. I really enjoyed using it and would recommend it if you can get a good example.

Keep or Sell: The TW2D is in the bin, but the TW20 is a keeper, though as always I have too many. I just can’t get rid of this one though, how would I ever find such a good example for $1.

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.