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Olympus 35 SP review

At first glance, the Olympus 35 SP appears to be just another compact rangefinder camera from the early 1970s with a simple auto exposure system, full manual controls, and ghost image rangefinder focusing, just like all the rest in this price range.  Everything says 'boring' when you pick up the camera and do a hand-held inspection.  Yes, the build quality and mechanics are good, however, it's easy to miss the very best part of the camera; the lens. It's not just the F/1.7 maximum aperture, which was pretty fast back then for a mid-priced fixed lens rangefinder; or the nice 42mm focal length, or even the precise Seiko FLA shutter.  The brilliance and value of this camera is the G. Zuiko lens; it's comprised of seven elements in five groups in a double gauss configuration, and would be considered a good quality lens even by today's standards, almost fifty years after it's initial release!

Olympus brags in their owner's manual that the 35 SP is not only a 'masterpiece of camera crafting' but the finest rangefinder camera available today!  Well, was it, and is it?

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New Kodak Film update

Kodak announced it will begin manufacturing of TMAX P3200 B&W film and they say it will hit the market starting just a couple of weeks away in March...so we will see.  about a year ago Kodak said they would re-introduce Ektachrome by the end of the year, which obviously has come and gone, however, their is some hope that it will be ready soon.  Kodak has stated just yesterday that they are focusing on narrow coating work, to optimize curve shape.  Kodak now says to look for film in stores by mid-2018, and I'll be getting some as soon as it hits the shelves.

So, going back to the TMAX P3200: a lot of people are thinking this is ISO 3200 film, but it's not, that' the exposure index, not the ISO rating.  Ilford Delta 3200 is actually ISO 1000, and TMAX P3200 is ISO 1000-800 depending on the type of developer used.  The 'P' in the P3200 is 'push' which would be a two stop push for the EI.  If you have a lab develop this for you, make sure you tell them what you exposed it at.  The DX coding is 3200.

I haven't used TMAX for years, but it seems to me I get much better results in low light with Fuji Superia 1600, or even Kodak Portra 800, both are color films but you can convert them to B&W if you want after scanning.

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Color negative vs slide film

I took two shots of the scene above with two different cameras for some reason, so we’re able to directly compare the two types of film involved.  This unremarkable Green Pier composition was taken just before noon, and naturally the lighting is quite harsh, but I did manage to expose the film properly, which is pretty easy in this lighting …

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Kodak Moment #10, Sno-Sport

Let’s go for a ride on a Rupp!  In this fresh snowy scene we have my 10 year old brother at the helm of a 1968 Rupp Sno-Sport, and me being pulled along with a rope tied to my Sno-Flyer runner sled.  It was pretty fun until the snowmobile stopped quick, and you slammed into the back of the Rupp; …

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Minolta Autopak 460Tx review

Our review camera for this week is the Minolta Pocket Autopak 460Tx.  This small camera came out around 1979 and was manufactured through the early to mid 1980s. It was pretty expensive for a 110 camera, but it had a lot of features, including manual focusing and a choice of aperture settings, which were rare back then.

The little 110 cameras are still fun, and super cheap from places like eBay.  So put on your members only jacket, your reflecto sunglasses, and let's take a trip back to the 1980s! Don't forget to grab yourself a few 'cartridges' of 110 film, they're still available fresh from B&H, Amazon, eBay.  You can get B&W, reversed rolled 'red scale,' regular color print, and even E-6 slide film!

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Who is Tawny?

The great French writer Guy De Maupassant once said of a woman, "she fills you to the marrow with desire."  That's Tawny.  Maybe you've seen her walking down the street....sitting alone at the end of the bar....or maybe her eyes have met yours for a fleeting, tantalizing moment.  Maybe she's even the girl next door....but whoever she is, you know that the sight of her is an emotional experience.

Guy may be a great writer, but those words are only part of the emotional experience.  Why don't we fully immerse ourselves in the scene above and complete the mood by playing the album!

The subject for this sentimental journey through time is my great Uncle Al, who oddly, and maybe ironically, looked and acted a bit like Jackie Gleason, who produced the album he's looking at.  The photo was surreptitiously snapped by my dad in the late 1950s, and turned into a 5x7 print, which I've scanned for our viewing pleasure.

My Uncle Al was one tough dude, and spent some time Island hopping in the Pacific Ocean during the mid forties...

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Olympus XA film camera review

The shirt pocketable Olympus XA rangefinder is a popular favorite among the 'cool little film camera' crowd.  I was looking to purchase a small pocketable camera too; and I read the hype, then bought one.  I should have looked at all the pictures on Flickr and the likes, that would've saved me a lot of time and money.

It's not that I don't like the Olympus XA, it really does have a lot going for it, like coincidence coupled rangefinder focusing, excellent exposure metering, manual aperture control, illegal long exposure mode, user selectable ASA settings, exposure compensation, and a self timer.

The Olympus XA is feature rich for being so small, but it has one big flaw, so read below to find out what it is!  Be sure and scroll down to the full size test pictures to see it this camera will meet your printing or projection requirements.

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Kodak Moment #9, Boulder Manor

Here’s another addition to our Earl Young Storybook homes series from Charlevoix Michigan; this time we visit Boulder Manor, located on Lakeshore Drive, right across the street from Lake Michigan.  Earl Young, a Realtor who enjoyed photography and architecture, designed this, and many other nearby homes mainly during the 1920s through the 50s in the storybook style, using curved …

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