Film Cameras Archives - Page 3 of 7 - Photo Jottings

Film Cameras

Pilot Super 6×6 75mm F/2.9 Review

The unique (or goofy) Pilot 'Super' 6x6 SLR was only produced for a very short period of time, (between 1939-41), and is not widely known even among camera collectors.  I just happened to be perusing ebay's film camera category late one evening and came across this model in excellent condition.  One word of caution here; alcohol and ebay's 'buy it now' option don't mix well, and you might be surprised at what shows up in your parcel box or front door a few days later.

The Pilot 'Super' (not to be confused with the Michelin tire of the same name), was a big upgrade to the simple, (and earlier) Pilot '6' and was produced by KW or 'Kamera Werkstätten' out of Neidersedlitz, near Dresden Germany.  Neat features include: a cubic form, (preceding the Hassleblad design by quite a few years), single lens reflex design, a guillotine type four speed shutter, eye level finder, extinction meter and at least four lenses to choose from...

Read more »

Zeiss Ikon Ikonta 105mm Tessar F/3.5

Our review camera for today is the Zeiss Ikon Ikonta with Tessar 105mm F/3.5 lens and Compur Rapid shutter.  This late pre-war folder is quite slim, fits in your back pocket, and takes very sharp pictures with proper technique; whether or not they're good pictures is up to you.  This is a 521/2 model, and It takes eight 2¼ x 3¼ (6x9) photos on a roll of 120 film.

This particular model is somewhat odd in that it's a less expensive Ikonta body, but has a four element tessar lens and Compur Rapid shutter normally found on higher end models of the day such as the Super Ikonta.  Likely production date for this camera is probably around 1940.

I bought this well used copy from the famed Certo6 for a mere $95 complete with a CLA, and it works great.

With the brief summary out of the way...

Read more »

Ricoh FF-3D AF Super review

Today's review camera is the Ricoh FF-3D AF Super; did you instantly guess it's from the 1980s?  It has that quintessential 1980s point and shoot 35mm camera look, especially with a silver finish and Pontiac dashboard inspired rear LCD panel.

Although the Ricoh FF-3D AF Super is a rather typical fully automatic point and shoot camera of the day, there are a couple of nice features to point out; such as the very bright flash, a manual ISO dial, (which doubles as an exposure compensation option), and a super sharp five element lens.

For a higher end mid 1980s fixed lens camera, it has a couple of annoying quirks...

Read more »

Minolta Freedom III, AF-Z review

Our review camera for today is the compact Minolta Freedom III; featuring a quartz date back, AF, auto loading, advance and rewind; along with a nice 35mm F/2.8 lens.  The 'Freedom' line from Minolta were wildly popular during the 1980s, and competed with the similar Canon and Nikon offerings of the day.  This camera came out in 1986 along with three other 'Freedom' models; see a goofy wild west themed period ad here.

The fully automatic Minolta Freedom III (AF-Z) was at the top of the Freedom line, and fairly expensive back in the day.  So will it still take good pictures today?  Let's find out now...

Read more »

Argus argoflex ‘Forty’ review

The Argus argoflex Forty is one of the very best of the pseudo TLR 6x6 box cameras, and the best one I've used so far.  This little gem is from 1950, and the model production years for the "Forty" ranged from 1950-1954.  Oddly, Argus describes the camera in the owner's manual as a 'modified' twin lens type, with a 'built-in flash'---a big negatory on both claims.

The argoflex Forty has a lot of useful (and high-end) features such as; focusing lens, nine blade iris with six marked settings, four shutter speeds with bulb, tripod socket, and shutter cable release.  And the best part; it will work just fine with 120 film as long as you use a 620 take-up spool...

Read more »

Kodak Pony II review

Today we head back to late 1950s for a review of the Crapsey designed Kodak Pony II.  This rather mundane camera has a simple one speed shutter, zone focusing, multiple apertures to choose from, a good Kodak Anastar four element lens, (supposedly loaded with radioactive thorium dioxide), and uses commonly available 135 type film, so it should be an easy camera to get good pictures from, even in poor shape.

The little black plastic Pony II was produced from 1957-1962 and was one of the simplest and least expensive 'Pony' cameras in the series.  A couple of odd features on this version include a tripod socket, even though it has a single speed shutter and no bulb or long exposure modes; and of course the camera uses the dreaded 'Exposure Value' system, (popular back then), in which you set the aperture using information from an exposure card on the back of the camera that matches your film type.  It was a confusing way to figure out the proper exposure, but it did work if you followed the instructions.  A step up from the 'II' version is the 'IV,' which features a four speed shutter with bulb mode, traditional F/stop markings, and an accessory shoe.

The Kodak Pony II cameras are plentiful and relatively inexpensive on ebay, and also at garage sales and flea markets.  The review model here is in excellent condition and working order, so let's take some snaps and see what happens!

Read more »

Minolta Freedom Zoom 160 Date Review

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.  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...

Read more »

Agfa Record III 105mm F/4.5 Solinar review

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...

Read more »

Scroll to Top