Film Cameras Archives - Photo Jottings

Film Cameras

Fuji GA645Zi 55mm-90mm Review

Nothing says '1990s' better than a 'Champagne' colored electronics product, especially an expensive camera.  The Fuji GA645Zi 'Professional' is the last, and most sophisticated model from Fuji's 'GA...' medium format line.  There were two others, the first had a 60mm,lens, the second model a wide angle 45mm, both reviewed here.  The'Zi' introduced a few handy features other than the zoom lens, like an adjustable viewfinder diopter; (great for people with less than perfect eyesight), a lens cap warning signal, (no more blank frames!), a more ergonomic placement of the shutter button, a revamped top plate, and a quieter focusing motor.   

The new features were apparently pretty expensive; a February 1999 big mail-order house advertisement in Popular Photography magazine listed the price as $1849, which may have been discounted too!  I'm guessing the...

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Rheinmetall Weltax 75mm F/3.5 Tessar Review

This week our review camera is the Rheinmetall Weltax self erecting, dual format folder, taking 6x6 images, or 6x4.5 with the addition of a reduction mask placed over the film gate.  It looks like this one was 'top of the line' as it has the four element Tessar 75mm F/3.5 lens, but ironically is equipped with an eight speed Tempor shutter, maxing out at 1/250, which was a bit slow for the times.

I purchased this Rheinmetall Weltax complete with the original box and all the paperwork, carrying case, and reduction mask.  The date of manufacture appears to be late 1955 if I read the identification card correctly.

The Rheinmetall Weltax and Welta Weltax are the same camera, but VEB Welta-Kamera-Werk, according to online gossip, was overwhelmed with orders, and shifted some production to VEB Rheinmetall for a period of time.

The Weltax looks and feels like a quality camera, and has a good lens, so how does it perform...

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Olympus Wide S 35mm F/2

I’ve been trying to get a good copy of an Olympus Wide S camera for quite a while, so when this one showed up on ebay, I jumped on it.  I was pleasantly surprised when I received it and found it to be in excellent shape, even the shutter speeds were dead-on.  The lens was clean and all looked pretty …

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Agfa Reflex (Flexilette) review

This odd looking beast is known as an Agfa Reflex in the Americas, or Flexilette in Europe and surrounding areas.  It's quite large and heavy for a 135 (35mm) format camera, and one of the few TLR 'twin lens reflex' 35mm cameras made.  This was an impulse ebay purchase, and thankfully it showed up in good overall shape, and works correctly.

The gigantic circular front protrusion houses two lenses, one for taking the picture, and one for setting the composition and focus.   The taking lens is an Agfa Color Apotar 45mm F/2.8 three element type, and is surprisingly sharp with a smooth background blur, see pictures below.

The real oddity here is not just the two lenses in front, it's the viewfinder that springs up and allows you to see a bright ground glass reversed image, along with the split image rangefinder patch in the middle.  The viewfinder even comes with a handy swing-up focus magnifier, which makes precise focusing easy.  The owner's manual suggests different shooting situations where this type of viewfinder would come in handy; such as holding it over your head upside down to shoot over a crowd or fence, or at ground level while in a crouch position, or even sneaking shots around a corner so no one can see you...

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Agfa Silette-1 Review

The compact, inexpensive and easy to operate Agfa Silette-1 was introduced back in the early 1960s, when inexpensive and easy to operate cameras were a dime a dozen.  So why did I buy it, and what makes this camera any different than all the others?  Well, not too much to be honest, but it does have a few nice features that aren't all that common on cheap cameras, like a good quality lens, full manual controls, and a cable shutter release.

Speaking of 'easy to operate,' this camera is almost point and shoot simple; if you drop in a cartridge of ISO 200-400 negative film, set the aperture to...

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Kodak Retina IIIC Review

 

The German built Kodak Retina IIIC is a compact folding 35mm coupled rangefinder from the late 1950s.  This finely crafted camera features a selenium light meter, and uses an exposure value scale to make changes in equivalent settings quick and easy.  Also included, and probably the most notable feature on this camera is the 50mm F/2 Schneider Kreuznach Retina …

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Vest Pocket Kodak Series III Review

The 'Vest Pocket' Kodak models were produced for several decades between the teens and the thirties, and featured numerous lens and shutter combinations, along with some neat colors and coverings, like the 'Sea Gull' finish you see here.

Vest Pocket Kodak Series III models are very small as the name suggests, and they'll easily fit in a 'vest' pocket, or in the back pocket of your jeans.  Of course they're 'folders,' meaning they must be opened up and the lens extended before taking pictures, which makes them a bit larger and more cumbersome when you're actually taking pictures.

Our ca1932 review model has a good Kodak Anastigmat F/6.3 lens, along with a decent four speed Diomatic shutter, and thumb screw focusing.  Surprisingly...

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Kodak Breeze 35mm F/4.5 Review

Snapshots are a breeze, with the Kodak Breeze!

The Kodak Breeze, (S100EF or Euro-35) was a budget friendly camera that used bold color schemes and simplicity to attract customers, and probably sold by the millions at K-Mart or Walmart back in the very late 1980s into the early 1990s.  There are more color combinations for this particular camera than you can imagine; white black, blue, and red bodies, some with different colored buttons.  Our review model is white with pink accents, and is often referred to online as the 'Hello Kitty' camera.  Kodak wasn't satisfied with just a bunch of goofy colored cameras, so they tried to advance the status a bit from our cartoonish model, to evoking Parisian sophistication and grandeur in another model using the name 'Élysées,' with an elegant cursive font, and faux mother-of-pearl finish.

The picture quality, operating characteristics, and dimensions of the Kodak Breeze are similar to the Canon Snappy 30, except the Breeze has no winding motor, it's all manual, so you don't need any batteries unless you want to use the flash. The Kodak Breeze is a very inexpensive model, but it's capable of taking good pictures with the right film and settings.  I really appreciate the small size; it'll actually fit in a shirt pocket without sagging, (like a pack of smokes) as it's so light-weight, especially without batteries.

This popular snapshot camera from three decades ago set me back about $2, and it still works just fine.

If you're bored at work, and looking to goof off for a few minutes, scroll on down for the review; and pretend you're 'somewhere in time.'

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