Film Cameras Archives - Page 2 of 7 - Photo Jottings

Film Cameras

Ricoh FF-90 35mm F/2.8 Review

Apparently, Ricoh didn't have much confidence in the FF-90, so they designed a velvet lined casket for each camera, and when it stopped working, you simply put the camera back inside, closed the lid and unceremoniously tossed it in the trash can.  Fortunately, the cameras lasted longer than Ricoh thought, and here I am more than three decades later reviewing a good working model.

The Ricoh FF-90 came out soon after the Ricoh FF-3D AF Super, which featured a cool Pontiac checkered dashboard inspired gray exterior.  The differences are not huge, but noteworthy; the new updated camera now rewinds after the roll is done instead of just beeping.  Also new is DX coding, but you can't change the ISO unless you tape over the contact area of the film canister; however, it now offers a +2.0 exposure compensation button.  The top has a huge LCD panel...

Read more »

Bell & Howell Electric Eye 127 Review

The late 1950s brought us a lot of cool stuff, like flying cars, the integrated circuit, and the microwave oven, but few people remember it also brought us some fabulous cameras such as the Electric Eye from Bell & Howell!  This particular model is smartly dressed in tweed; it looks great, that's why I bought it.

The Bell & Howell Electric Eye 127 camera featured fully automatic exposure control, a wide view 'special' lens, (with a curved film gate---uh-oh), and a way to adjust the aperture in case you want to override the automatic system. (note; the lens on this camera has a very unusual characteristic, either you'll think it's cool, or you'll hate it and won't ever use the camera again...

Read more »

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...

Read more »

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...

Read more »

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...

Read more »

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...

Read more »

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.  …

Read more »

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...

Read more »

Scroll to Top