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. For all my Minolta and Sony lens reviews, go here. Use the search box for past homepage posts and product reviews that may not show up in the pages above.
Beware invading armies; the Kodak is more to be dreaded than a dynamite gun!!
Check out the Kodak advertising supplement that appeared in Harper's November 1891 magazine edition. It's six pages long, and filled with quaint descriptions of scenes from a bygone era. The timing of the ad in November suggests it was targeting the upcoming Christmas season, but I don't think gift giving was all the rage back then as it has become in more recent decades, so maybe it's just a coincidence.
Anyhow, it's a good read and a neat peek into the dawn of amateur photography; back when there were no automobiles or airplanes. Kodak was able to claim that during war, 'a view of the countryside can be had for many miles around, and the movements of the army can be detected long before the action begins. In this direction, the Kodak may become an instrument 'more to be dreaded than a dynamite gun.'
Minolta produced some really nice film cameras back in the day, and the Freedom Zoom 160 is no exception. This camera is surprisingly small and lightweight for having such a large zoom range, which makes is very pocketable, and close to being as tiny as the Olympus XA! Main features include a zoom range of 37.5-160mm, earth shattering high tech auto focus, (really, read the next paragraph!), auto loading, film advance, rewind, self timer, flash, auto parallax correction, and even a +1.5 exposure compensation setting!
The Minolta Freedom Zoom 160 came out near the end of the film camera era, (around 2001), so it had a lot of sophisticated features that we take for granted today, such as predictive AF, eyepiece sensor metering/AF activation, and flash distance integration to name a few. In fact, Minolta claimed in a 2001 business ad the camera had: the world's largest AF area in a film camera -- the world's first film camera with subject detection -- the world's first compact camera with matrix AF indication and automatic LED brightness control -- advanced subject-weighted multi-segment metering -- eye start, a 32-bit RISC processor, and a high-speed AF drive creating the world's fastest focusing compact camera in its class.
All that sounds pretty cool, but how well does the camera actually work in real life? let's find out now!
Hop aboard the time travel train and let's head to Palm City California for a brief visit---in 1938! Will you join us in Cocktails at our home?
Our review camera for this week is the Agfa Record III; a classic 1950s 6x9 self erecting folder featuring an uncoupled rangefinder, and a four element lens. This is my favorite camera, and I've taken more pictures with it than any other camera except maybe my old Canon A-1 I used back in the 1980s.
I really like the fact that it's very compact when folded; it'll fit in the back pocket of your jeans, or in a jacket pocket. These old folders take no batteries, they're fully manual; you advance the film, focus, set the aperture and shutter speed; then cock and press the shutter! Thankfully, the camera uses widely available 120 film, and any good photo shop should charge you about the same amount as your 135 film for processing, scanning and printing.
Believe it or not; this Agfa Record III with Solinar lens will come close to the resolution of the...
You don’t see to many of these unique ‘tricycles’ around anymore, even at the old toy shows. I received this Mattel Batmobile X-15 for my birthday I think in 1966. My Dad paid about $20 for it, and seemed more excited than I was at the reveal in the basement. My brother is right behind me on the stairs, and …
Fuji BIG View-Finder----Fuji BIG dis-appointment!
As the name suggests, the Fuji has a big, and delightfully bright viewfinder, which also happens to be very sharp. It's also very light-weight and easy to use.
Apparently, Fuji wanted to offer something different to the masses at the time, so they made a camera with a big bright view-finder, along with a wide angle Carl Zeiss 29mm lens, that's right, a 29mm lens, instead of the industry standard of 28mm. Well, the lens is not really made by Carl Zeiss, I just made that up for fun. I'm guessing it's a glass two element lens based on the poor side performance.
I purchased this Fuji along with 9 other cameras for $45 on ebay, so less than $5 bucks apiece. The Big View-Finder really isn't worth that much, since you can get a smaller single use camera that works just as well, and has the film already inside!
If you're bored at work and want to blow 5 minutes, by all means check out the review. If you value your off-duty time, go here for better offerings.
I've been playing with my new Kodak Medalist II the last couple of months, and suddenly realized I have a direct comparison image from the Kodak and Fuji GW690III taken during my mountain scene test shots. I still haven't had the chance to do a proper test sequence with the Kodak, but I will once I get a few spare minutes, and of course take some other sample shots too.
Fun fact; the Kodak Medalist 100mm lens is so sharp, you have to be very careful about focusing, you can't just crank it out to infinity at long distances like you do with other cameras, like the Fuji GW690III. Crazy, but I screwed up most of the Kodak mountain test shots because I focused on the ridgeline behind the houses in the center, instead of the center house, oh well, $20 in film and processing down the drain...
The Canon Sure Shot 85 Zoom is very impressive considering you can get them really cheap via ebay or garage sales. For the price of a pack of cigarettes, you can have a nice quality vacation or snap shot camera that will give you excellent prints up to 8"x10."
This late 90s black beauty is actually a swell camera; the lens quality is better than what I would've guessed, especially for a zoom; it has a 6/6 design with one aspherical element. Other nice features include excellent AF accuracy and exposure metering, a good zoom range, and a 'real time' shutter setting for super quick snaps!
Is this the camera we've all been dreaming of, or is it just another uninspiring cheap camera for the masses? Either way, let's take a closer look at the Canon Sure Shot Zoom 85...