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Film Cameras

FujiFilm Big View-Finder Auto 10 review

Fuji BIG View-Finder----Fuji BIG dis-appointment!

As the name suggests, the Fuji has a big, and delightfully bright viewfinder, which also happens to be very sharp.  It's also very light-weight and easy to use.

Apparently, Fuji wanted to offer something different to the masses at the time, so they made a camera with a big bright view-finder, along with a wide angle Carl Zeiss 29mm lens, that's right, a 29mm lens, instead of the industry standard of 28mm.  Well, the lens is not really made by Carl Zeiss, I just made that up for fun.  I'm guessing it's a glass two element lens based on the poor side performance.

I purchased this Fuji along with 9 other cameras for $45 on ebay, so less than $5 bucks apiece.  The Big View-Finder really isn't worth that much, since you can get a smaller single use camera that works just as well, and has the film already inside!

If you're bored at work and want to blow 5 minutes, by all means check out the review.  If you value your off-duty time, go here for better offerings.

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Canon Sure Shot Zoom 85 review

The Canon Sure Shot 85 Zoom is very impressive considering you can get them really cheap via ebay or garage sales.  For the price of a pack of cigarettes, you can have a nice quality vacation or snap shot camera that will give you excellent prints up to 8"x10."

This late 90s black beauty is actually a swell camera; the lens quality is better than what I would've guessed, especially for a zoom; it has a 6/6 design with one aspherical element.  Other nice features include excellent AF accuracy and exposure metering, a good zoom range, and a 'real time' shutter setting for super quick snaps!

Is this the camera we've all been dreaming of, or is it just another uninspiring cheap camera for the masses?  Either way, let's take a closer look at the Canon Sure Shot Zoom 85...

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Canon 110 ED review, Perfection in Miniature!

The Canon 110 ED was one of the very best 110 cameras of the day.  It had the fastest lens for a while (F/2), until Michael Landon of little house on the prairie started hawking the Kodak Ektramax a couple of years later with a F/1.9 design.  The camera outfit you see above was expensive, and cost about as much as a good 35mm camera, but it did have some advanced features that were missing on most of the 110's, like a tripod socket, a shutter cable release, flash hotshoe, rangefinder focusing, manual aperture adjustments, and an excellent five element lens!

We're going to take a mid 1970s trip down memory lane for this review, so head to the closet or basement and dust off your old 110; it's probably under your bell bottoms and peace sign jewelry.  But before your sentimental photo outing...

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Canon Snappy 30 review

I bought this weeks review camera brand new in 1989; it was a K-Mart blue light special blister-pack model and I think I paid about $45 for it.  I wanted to take some pictures of a house I was renovating, and did not have any other camera available.  At the time I thought I'd take a few rolls of what I needed, toss it in the drawer, and eventually it'd head to a garage sale or dumpster.  When I bought it way back then I didn't think I'd be using it almost 30 years later.  I still get a kick out of running a roll through it every once in a while; the technical image quality is pretty good, about the same as a top line $900 cell phone camera, but much quicker and easier to operate, and a whole lot less expensive; pick up a nice copy on ebay for less than $10, or even less at a garage sale.

Oddly, I can't seem to find a single page of information...

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Spartus Spartaflex review

Our next camera up for review is the Spartus Spartaflex, where their famous marketing line is "you see the picture before you take it."  Of course all cameras have some sort of way to view the picture before you take it, but Jack Galter of the Spartus Camera Corporation was not shy about questionable marketing, and he even tried to register the name "Kodak" for his new line of cigarette lighters with the US Trademark association.

This item was yet another ebay impulse buy, and fortunately I got lucky and ended up with a nice working copy.  The Spartus Spartaflex was made in Chicago Ill, around the late 1940s to early 1950s and priced at $27.50 with flash in 1949.  When looking online for more info, I noticed it looks like there are at least three different iterations of this model through the years; the differences are mostly in the face plate and lens shapes and finishes.

The Spartaflex is a relatively well build plastic "box" type camera, with a waist level viewfinder and a coupled taking and viewing lens, which, by the way, means this is a real twin lens camera, not a pseudo type like this one.   You can actually see the focus change in the finder as you move the lens in and out, but getting perfect focus is another story since there is no magnifier to use on the unusually dim ground glass.  It uses readily available 120 film, and takes 12 6x6 pictures per roll.

Spartus made some pretty dubious claims...

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Fuji GA645W Review

The Fuji GA645W was a very modern and expensive camera for the professional photographer, or rich amateur back in the mid to late 1990s. This particular model has a wide angle lens, and covers about the same as a 28mm lens in 135 format.  There are two versions in this series, a wide angle as we have here, and a slightly longer version of 60mm, which covers about the same as 37mm in 135 format.  Both are very high quality fixed lens medium format cameras that are feature rich, including full manual operation, and fully automated controls for quick point and shoot snap shots.  And a side note here before I forget; with all the advanced features, I expected a lens cap warning device; but no, if you leave the lens cap on, the camera works fine, but you get no pictures(!)  A couple years later, Fuji introduced a new model (GA645Zi) with a 55-90mm zoom lens, which does have a cap detector.

People looking to step up to medium format from an automated 35mm camera like the Nikon 35Ti will love the simplicities of the Fuji GA645 models, they both function basically the same, of course size being another matter.  So you don't know how to meter light, no problem, the camera does that for you.  And you don't know how to focus rangefinder cameras, no problem, its auto focus system is very accurate, and there's no rangefinder to fiddle with.  Do you like to write down your exposure settings for future use; well, you can keep your pencil in your pocket, the camera records the date and exposure settings along the film margins, not in the picture area...

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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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