Today's review camera is the Kodak Duaflex IV, with the Kodar F/8 lens, it was the last iteration of the Duaflex line that started in 1947, and ended about 1960. There are two basic versions of this camera, one with a standard 'miniscus' lens (called 'Kodet'), and the other with a more expensive 'Kodar' F/8 lens with front cell focusing.
These fake twin lens reflex cameras sold like hotcakes back in the day when super expensive Rolleiflexes were all the rage for pro photographers, and everybody wanted one so they could take better pictures...sound familiar? Instead of paying close to a grand for a Rollei, you paid 25 bucks for the Duaflex with F/8 Kodar lens. Well, you didn't get the image quality of the Rollei, but the Duaflex Kodar was actually pretty good, especially if you didn't print large photos.
So let's step back to ca1957 and take some snapshots with a cool fake TLR camera. A time when cigarettes were actually good for you, flying cars and personal helicopters were right around the corner, and you could walk in a showroom and pick out a nice turquoise '57 Chevy Bel Air with fuel injection!!
Here’s a snap presumably along (what US servicemen called) US highway 1 in 1952/53, likely near Cheonan, South Korea; unfortunately the exact location has been lost forever. My Dad took a quick picture after he came across this accident, and said it was being driven by ROK soldiers, who were really pouring the coals to the old deuce and a half. It looks like they had a little difficulty in navigating the bend in the road. No word on injuries, but looking at the marks, and the way it rolled over, I would be surprised if they came out with all there extremities still attached. The US soldier on the left walking with his back to us was named Victor; name of the little photo bomber in the right lower corner is unknown.
Ever wonder what it's like to take pictures with a really awful 35mm camera from the early 1990s? Well wonder no more, and even better, I'll save you the $5 you would've spent finding out!
The Kodak Star 535 was a budget friendly camera, one that you would normally find at K-Mart or Walmart. Most of the time it came in a blister pack with a roll of film and some batteries. Unbelievably, the retail price for this thing was $75 back in 1992! That seems way too high for the image quality of this camera, however it did have some nice automatic features.
If you're bored at work, and looking to blow five minutes, head over to the review...
First off, I've replaced the awful test pictures at the bottom of the Fuji GSW690III review with some decent ones.
And now a quick note about upcoming camera reviews and posts. For visitors from the legacy site: I'm not currently reviewing any Sony lenses, or any other lenses for that matter. I've decided to concentrate my efforts (at least for now) on reviewing film cameras, accessories and new film products, plus posting information on film shooting in general and developing techniques; all of that is based on my personal failures, (and successes) from the 1970s to the present, so I have a lot of material to draw from.
Unbelievably, I've been shooting digital since the late 1990s. My first digital camera was an Agfa blisterpack 640x480 model, then going up the ladder to a Olympus 750UZ, and a Konica Minolta 5D around 2005. After Sony bought Konica Minolta's camera division in 2006, I've had about a dozen of their DSLR's and mirrorless, including my latest one, the A7R, which is now over 4 years old with around 300k clicks on it. I plan on one more upgrade, and that's it. I'm still shooting interiors with digital, but I've been trying to sell the idea of film to clients for all other work...yes, of course it's tough.
Before digital, I remember how exciting it was to get my pictures back from the lab, especially after waiting a couple of weeks; or even the one hour photo at Walgreens!! I still get excited, even when I shoot some film, and develop it right away myself! After careful composing, exposure, developing and printing, I enjoy seeing the end product, especially when the picture turns out just as I envisioned. I don't get excited from digital imaging anymore.
Well, have you had enough rambling about the good ole days of film? hopefully not, because in the coming weeks look for the following camera reviews, but not necessarily in this order: Kodak Duoflex IV with Kodar F/8 lens, Contax Tix, Kodak Star 535, Canon 110ED, Fuji GA645W 45/4, and the Fuji GA645 60/4 version---both are medium format cameras. Also look for some comparisons along the way as to what the differences are in medium format film, from 6x4.5, 6x6 to 6x9 etc. Additionally, I have a whole bunch of folders from Zeiss Ikon, Kodak, Agfa, Voightlander and more, some north of 100 years old that I'll be reviewing too!
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?
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.
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 …
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; …