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Film Cameras

Die Klassische Evolution, Contax Tix review

The Contax Tix was a super expensive "boutique" APS film camera that came out around 1997.  I doubt there were many, (or any other) APS cameras that were more expensive than this one.   Based on the hang tag of 120,000; street cost would have probably been about $999.   A premium 35mm camera would've cost about the same amount, like this one.

The presentation case for the Contax Tix is so nice you would think it contained the Hope diamond.  Rich people bought this camera for vacation snaps when it first came out.  Starting around 2000 and later, digital cameras started taking a serious bite out of the film business , and the price dropped enough so middle class folks could afford a very nice sub-compact film camera.  Unfortunately, a few years later, the film would no longer be made, and you wound up with a nice paper weight for your desk.  It's too bad because the Contax Tix is very small and convenient, with a lot of premium features and a really sharp Carl Zeiss Sonnar lens.

The Contax Tix is a sub-compact film camera, and uses APS film which has not been manufactured since around 2010-11...

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Kodak Duaflex IV camera review

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!!

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Kodak Star 535 Review

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...

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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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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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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 No. 1 Green Pocket Camera review

Check out the little No.1 Pocket Kodak, this model is triple green; metal trim, bellows, and outer cover.  Not only is the camera green, so is the box and carrying case!  If you don't fancy this John Deere green hue, you could also choose brown, blue or gray.   This camera was marketed towards people that wanted a bit more than the mundane black on black camera that millions of others already had, but didn't want to spend a lot of money, and had little experience in taking pictures.

Our colorful review camera for today was manufactured around 1930, give or take a year, during the waning period of the 'Autographic' Kodak film era that ended about 1934.  It's a small camera, but not really lightweight, and certainly not something that you would but in your shirt pocket.  Kodak made 'pocket' cameras that were quite a bit smaller than this one, and others that were huge, and would not fit in any clothing pocket that I've ever seen!

The old No. 1 Kodak takes 120 film, which is still widely available today.  Other features include adjustable aperture and shutter speeds, thumb screw focusing and 'time' and 'bulb' mode.

Due to the bad bellows on this camera, I only was able to take a couple of shots by bagging it, (see picture below); so I'm short on actual test shots. I could replace the bellows, but it would destroy the look of the camera, and lower the value too.  BTW, if you see one of these colored cameras with a black bellows, it means it has been replaced.

Would you like to see what's possible with a camera manufactured during the era of prohibition?  Read on!

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Nikon 35Ti review

The diminutive Nikon 35Ti was one of the very best pocket cameras that came out in the 1990s, and continues to be impressive even in the age of digital; with their massive megapixels that use complex and very expensive lens designs to work well with a sensor instead of film.  Ironically, the now 25+ year old Nikon 35Ti has one of the sharpest lenses I've ever come across; it just seems much sharper with more contrast along the sides than the newer lenses designed for digital cameras; which oddly are much larger and heavier, see the image with the Sony A7R and Sony FE Zeiss 35mm F/2.8 lens inside.

I've had this camera since about 2014 and use it quite often when traveling; it's small and never gets in the way, plus I know all the pics will come out good, and I won't need to waste time checking out my pictures when I get back to the hotel room at night like we all do with digital, right?

For those of you that want a pocket point and shoot camera capable of taking razor sharp pictures, and getting properly exposed slide film; this is your dream come true!!

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