Home - Photo Jottings

Welcome to Photo Jottings! Feel free to browse the site; there’s a lot of stuff here, so starting with the site guide may be a good idea.  Film lovers can start with my film camera reviews and scanned negatives here and here.  For all my Minolta and Sony lens reviews, go here.

New!  film buying pages; one for color, and one for B&W.  This covers all film (110, 35mm, 120 roll, and sheet), currently available fresh dated by the manufacturer.

Voigtlander Bessa 105mm F/3.5 Heliar Review

This week our review camera is the folding and pocketable pre-war Voightländer rangefinder Bessa, featuring the top of the line, five element Heliar lens.  Another nice feature for this Bessa is the magnified (zoomed in view) rangefinder window for more easily seeing, and setting the focusing distance, with the other window used for composing the image.  Additionally, the camera focuses by moving the entire lens and shutter assembly back and forth like a view camera, not simply with a turning front focusing lens element as most folders have.  

I've had three of the Bessa 6x9 cameras with Heliar lenses through the years, but I only have the review copy now.  All are a little different as far as optical characteristics, (especially resolution) are concerned when looking really closely at high quality scans.  One was super sharp almost wide open in the centers, but had very soft sides; my other two had...

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Argus Super Seventy Five 65mm F/8 Review

The Argus Super Seventy-Five (should've been named 'Super Sixty-Five' for obvious reasons) is a big step up from the 'Seventy-Five' and other fixed focus, fixed aperture fake 'TLR' type cameras.  The 'Super' model includes a rare semi-wide angle 65mm three element lens with three waterhouse punched disk type stops to choose from, and the design is reminiscent of the Kodak Duaflex with 72mm F/8 Kodar.  However, the Kodar has an achromatic doublet type with focusing front element, and the Argus Super 75 has a better anastigmat lens that's quite sharp across the frame...

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New pages for Color and B&W film.

I've completed the film buying resource pages, and have included all 110, 35mm, 120 roll film and sheet film.  There are over 123 B&W film types and sizes, and over 50 color types and sizes listed.  Everything here is fresh from the manufacturer, there is no outdated or re-spooled stuff.  Color page, and B&W page.

The most popular brand in B&W is Illford, especially when it comes to sheet film.  Kodak has a nice selection of color sheet film, and did you know you can still buy fresh 11x14" Portra 160 film; it's expensive though!

At the moment, Fuji is the only one selling traditional color reversal film, not counting Rollei's odd CR200 or Crossbird emulsion, and Lomography's awful 110 Peacock film, see sample here.

Anyhow, I think I have most films listed that are carried by one of the stores in the links.   Let me know if I've missed anything...

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Minolta 110 Zoom SLR MKII Review

This week we take a close look at the miniature Minolta 110 Zoom SLR MKII; a real 'SLR' type camera with auto exposure, an excellent fixed parfocal zoom lens, aperture priority mode, exposure compensation and a lot of other other features normally found on SLR's of the day.

The great thing about this camera is; you can use it today; fresh 110 film is still available; the bad thing about this camera is; it uses 110 film.  For serious picture taking, I'd stick with a 135 format (35mm) film camera at the least, and save this 110 toy for goofing off.  It's not that the camera is bad, it's just the film.

The only decent film offering for 110 right now that mimics the old Kodacolor and Gold stuff we all used and loved back in the 70s and 80s is called...

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Agfa Ansco Readyset Traveler review

Are you ready for traveling?  If so, be sure you take along your Agfa Ansco Readyset Traveler; it'll make you look really cool, and match your luggage!  And let's not stop there; the 'Traveler' is not only a 'certified picture taker,' it's finished in distinctive, specially-woven repp covering with colorful striping that will make you smart and proud to own one, or give as a gift!

I don't know about you, but I'm ready for traveling-that is; back to the late 1920s and 1930s when these kind of cameras were all the rage.  You could get our 'luggage' model in four different color stripings, or a Kodak Vanity ensemble complete with a mirror, rouge and a tube of lipstick, or how about an Agfa 'Silver Fox' covering that looks just like fox fur.

Here's a sales pitch from Agfa Ansco from a 1930 magazine ad...

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Mercury II 35mm F/2.7 review

 

This weeks review camera is a neat little garage sale find costing a mere $5 back when my dad picked it up in the late 1980s! The camera is a Mercury II made by the Universal Camera Corporation.  It’s an odd, but not unattractive looking mechanical contraption that was sold back in the late 1940s to very early 1950s.  …

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Olympus IS-30 DLX review

I've probably owned north of 100 film cameras just in the last ten years, and the Olympus IS-30 DLX is one of, if not thee best 35mm film camera bargain out there. This camera goes for an astonishingly low price on ebay, and picking up a decent working model will set you back about the same as a burger and fries at McDonald's.

The Olympus IS-30 has an excellent 28-110mm fixed zoom lens, along with all the conveniences and necessities that we demand today for our expensive digital cameras; such as predictive AF, TTL phase-difference detection system; TTL light metering and fuzzy logic ESP metering for back-lit scenes and ±2ev exposure compensation.  Also included are; auto advance, rewind and loading; powerful flash with high speed sync; aperture priority mode and a whole lot more.

The exposure system is first rate, and it nails slide film just as good as the Nikon 35Ti with its fancy matrix metering.  This super zoom bridge type camera focuses exceptionally fast...

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Pilot Super 6×6 75mm F/2.9 Review

The unique (or goofy) Pilot 'Super' 6x6 SLR was only produced for a very short period of time, (between 1939-41), and is not widely known even among camera collectors.  I just happened to be perusing ebay's film camera category late one evening and came across this model in excellent condition.  One word of caution here; alcohol and ebay's 'buy it now' option don't mix well, and you might be surprised at what shows up in your parcel box or front door a few days later.

The Pilot 'Super' (not to be confused with the Michelin tire of the same name), was a big upgrade to the simple, (and earlier) Pilot '6' and was produced by KW or 'Kamera Werkstätten' out of Neidersedlitz, near Dresden Germany.  Neat features include: a cubic form, (preceding the Hassleblad design by quite a few years), single lens reflex design, a guillotine type four speed shutter, eye level finder, extinction meter and at least four lenses to choose from...

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