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...
First off, I've replaced the awful test pictures at the bottom of the Fuji GSW690III review with some decent ones.
And now a quick note about upcoming camera reviews and posts. For visitors from the legacy site: I'm not currently reviewing any Sony lenses, or any other lenses for that matter. I've decided to concentrate my efforts (at least for now) on reviewing film cameras, accessories and new film products, plus posting information on film shooting in general and developing techniques; all of that is based on my personal failures, (and successes) from the 1970s to the present, so I have a lot of material to draw from.
Unbelievably, I've been shooting digital since the late 1990s. My first digital camera was an Agfa blisterpack 640x480 model, then going up the ladder to a Olympus 750UZ, and a Konica Minolta 5D around 2005. After Sony bought Konica Minolta's camera division in 2006, I've had about a dozen of their DSLR's and mirrorless, including my latest one, the A7R, which is now over 4 years old with around 300k clicks on it. I plan on one more upgrade, and that's it. I'm still shooting interiors with digital, but I've been trying to sell the idea of film to clients for all other work...yes, of course it's tough.
Before digital, I remember how exciting it was to get my pictures back from the lab, especially after waiting a couple of weeks; or even the one hour photo at Walgreens!! I still get excited, even when I shoot some film, and develop it right away myself! After careful composing, exposure, developing and printing, I enjoy seeing the end product, especially when the picture turns out just as I envisioned. I don't get excited from digital imaging anymore.
Well, have you had enough rambling about the good ole days of film? hopefully not, because in the coming weeks look for the following camera reviews, but not necessarily in this order: Kodak Duoflex IV with Kodar F/8 lens, Contax Tix, Kodak Star 535, Canon 110ED, Fuji GA645W 45/4, and the Fuji GA645 60/4 version---both are medium format cameras. Also look for some comparisons along the way as to what the differences are in medium format film, from 6x4.5, 6x6 to 6x9 etc. Additionally, I have a whole bunch of folders from Zeiss Ikon, Kodak, Agfa, Voightlander and more, some north of 100 years old that I'll be reviewing too!
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?
Kodak announced it will begin manufacturing of TMAX P3200 B&W film and they say it will hit the market starting just a couple of weeks away in March...so we will see. about a year ago Kodak said they would re-introduce Ektachrome by the end of the year, which obviously has come and gone, however, their is some hope that it will be ready soon. Kodak has stated just yesterday that they are focusing on narrow coating work, to optimize curve shape. Kodak now says to look for film in stores by mid-2018, and I'll be getting some as soon as it hits the shelves.
So, going back to the TMAX P3200: a lot of people are thinking this is ISO 3200 film, but it's not, that' the exposure index, not the ISO rating. Ilford Delta 3200 is actually ISO 1000, and TMAX P3200 is ISO 1000-800 depending on the type of developer used. The 'P' in the P3200 is 'push' which would be a two stop push for the EI. If you have a lab develop this for you, make sure you tell them what you exposed it at. The DX coding is 3200.
I haven't used TMAX for years, but it seems to me I get much better results in low light with Fuji Superia 1600, or even Kodak Portra 800, both are color films but you can convert them to B&W if you want after scanning.
I took two shots of the scene above with two different cameras for some reason, so we’re able to directly compare the two types of film involved. This unremarkable Green Pier composition was taken just before noon, and naturally the lighting is quite harsh, but I did manage to expose the film properly, which is pretty easy in this lighting …
Let’s go for a ride on a Rupp! In this fresh snowy scene we have my 10 year old brother at the helm of a 1968 Rupp Sno-Sport, and me being pulled along with a rope tied to my Sno-Flyer runner sled. It was pretty fun until the snowmobile stopped quick, and you slammed into the back of the Rupp; …
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!
The great French writer Guy De Maupassant once said of a woman, "she fills you to the marrow with desire." That's Tawny. Maybe you've seen her walking down the street....sitting alone at the end of the bar....or maybe her eyes have met yours for a fleeting, tantalizing moment. Maybe she's even the girl next door....but whoever she is, you know that the sight of her is an emotional experience.
Guy may be a great writer, but those words are only part of the emotional experience. Why don't we fully immerse ourselves in the scene above and complete the mood by playing the album!
The subject for this sentimental journey through time is my great Uncle Al, who oddly, and maybe ironically, looked and acted a bit like Jackie Gleason, who produced the album he's looking at. The photo was surreptitiously snapped by my dad in the late 1950s, and turned into a 5x7 print, which I've scanned for our viewing pleasure.
My Uncle Al was one tough dude, and spent some time Island hopping in the Pacific Ocean during the mid forties...