Blog Archives - Page 5 of 98 - Photo Jottings


Virginia Slims

You've come a long way, baby; now you can get cancer and die, just like us men folk!

This week we review a Virginia Slims promotional camera from 1995.  When you purchased a carton of cigarettes, you received a free disposable camera!  And even better, you could get a free Beach Chair after you finished smoking 60 packs, (1200 cigarettes minimum), and then sent in the UPC labels!!

I purchased this camera as a collector's item from ebay, but guess what, I'm going to use it!  Being pre-loaded with color film from 1995, I wasn't so sure I'd get any useable images after development, but as luck would have it, I did get a few grainy keepers, which I've posted below.  Surprisingly, the color shifts are...

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Kodak Velox Prints Sample Album

When you walked into your local camera shop in the late teens or early 1920s and wanted to get some ideas for printing your pictures, the dealer might show you this sample album from Kodak.  The Kodak Velox Print Album has seven pages, and includes samples of not only different types of Kodak's own Velox paper, but the actual size of the negatives from some of Kodak's cameras, like the Vest pocket, No. 1, 1a, 2c, 3a, and the 'Panoram' camera.

The printing papers in the sample album were marketed towards amateur photographers, and showed the size and quality one could get using a selection of Kodak's less expensive cameras.  I've scanned the whole album for a page-by-page presentation.  Unfortunately, over the years, the prints have suffered some degradation, mostly visible in 'silver mirroring' which is described here.

The colors of the pages and prints in this post are pretty accurate compared to directly viewed images; so with that said, let's step back in time for a moment, and see how our pictures might've looked nearly a hundred years ago...

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Olympus IS-5 Review

The Olympus IS-5 Deluxe is an all in one SLR zoom, or more commonly known as a 'bridge' camera.  At first glance it seems like a slightly upgraded version of the IS-30 DLX, reviewed here, the main differences seemingly being the longer zoom and the full manual controls you get with the IS-5.  However, both cameras are quite different when compared closely; the bodies, controls, lenses and even the shutter mechanisms are different.  With that said, there are some similarities too, but mostly internal like exposure times, shooting modes and flash use.

The Olympus IS-5 is the perfect camera for the hobbyist or advanced amateur that wants complete control over their camera, but without having to bother with changing lenses.  This relatively small SLR...

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Don Lee Cadillac Celebration Glass Plate Negative, 1922.

Check out this nearly one hundred year old 8x10 glass plate negative with absolutely stunning detail!  This 1922 image may have been taken to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the 1902 Cadillac, and the fact that it was still running!  Looks like they need some air in the tires though if they want to continue 'running' it.  Also included is a 1904 Cadillac, and it too is still running!  Click for a larger version at 9000 pixels wide. Mobile devices will probably not show the full resolution.

This 8x10" glass plate negative was taken in c.1922, at 1000 Van Ness ave, San Francisco, California.  The image derives from the Wyland Stanley collection of San Francisco historical memorabilia; the entire collection was later purchased by Marilyn Blaisdell in the late 1970s.  I purchased this item via ebay, and scanned it with an Epson V700.  

I can hear the Photographer setting things up, and yelling out "Office Ladies to the right please, Managers take the driver's seats, and all others, (lead paint stained workers) in the middle."  Oddly, I see many of the employees in overalls are wearing neckties; maybe Don Lee had a high standard of dress for all employees to make sure and impress the customers. Incidentally, I have a picture of Don Lee, but I don't believe he's in this photo.  Other interesting details include painters hats advertising "Pioneer" White Lead Paint; how'd you like to work with that all day for years on end; and by the looks of some of the employees, they might already be having problems...

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Aires 35-III L 45mm F/1.9 Review

Today's review camera, the Aires 35-III L, was purchased brand new by my Father in late 1957.   Dad actually wanted a kodak Retina, but it was quite a bit more expensive than the Aires, and the upcoming month long vacation in Arizona with my Mom was going to eat up most of their finances, so he settled with the Aires.  However, 'settled' may be a bit too harsh; the Aires 35-III L was highly rated in all the magazines at the time, where the writers gushed about the great lens, single stoke rapid film advance, and rangefinder focusing down to 20 inches (0.5m).

The Aires 35-III L has a six element (H) 'Coral' lens of 45mm, and a F/1.9 Seikosha shutter mechanism.  The camera feels very solid in the hands, and is quite heavy at over 800g bare.  Aires incorporated the much dreaded 'light value' system into this model, and in actual use causes too much fiddling with the lens ring to change it; you could easily miss a good shot by screwing with this feature, I don't like it.

My Dad used this camera exclusively for almost 30 years, running only Kodachrome or Ektachrome through it, and rarely printing anything as he liked to project the images with a Three Dimension Company set-up on a sparkly Da-lite screen...

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Konica Pop 10 Review

The Konica Pop-10, (or Tomato, and Dynamite! in some markets) is a high-end, (relatively speaking) fixed focus, manually operated camera with a multi-coated four element lens and a whopping five apertures to choose from!!  Also a big plus at least as far as I'm concerned; it has manual film loading, advance and rewind, and needs no batteries at all for picture taking!  However, if you want to pop the flash, you'll need a single AA, which also runs the low light warning lamp.

I have a certain affinity for fixed focus simple cameras like the Pop-10, they're small and lightweight, and always ready to go; plus, you never have to worry about an out of focus shot or dead batteries!  During my research for the 'perfect' entry level compact camera, I found out this Konica model had a 35mm F/4, four element lens and several apertures ('ISO's') to choose from, so I bought it with high hopes.

Back in the day, the Konica Pop-10 was a mid, to high-priced compact camera in the 'entry level' (fixed focus) category, originally selling at discount stores for about $39.95 in late 1985; however, these little suckers are now super expensive...

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More samples from the Fuji GA645Zi

Here are a few E-6 (slide film) samples from the Fuji GA645Zi, reviewed here.  The Fuji medium format zoom correctly exposes slide film as well as the other versions, so no surprise there.  I've added the photos inside to the review, but you can check them out here if you've already seen the review.

Also, I've slightly revised my assessment of the Olympus XA.  I was pretty hard on it at the time because I was reviewing the Olympus 35 SP, and Nikon 35Ti at the same time, and the little XA just didn't have the same image qualities as the other two much more expensive cameras.

The list of 135 film keeps growing, the newest is Lomography Potsdam 100 B&W; judging by the samples, it doesn't look like anything special for $8 a roll.  Go here for a complete list of B&W film, or color here.

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Nikon 28Ti review

The Nikon 28Ti is a handsome, and high quality compact 35mm point and shoot camera, and the younger sister to the excellent Nikon 35Ti.  As the name would suggest, the Nikon 28Ti has a 28mm F/2.8 wide angle lens, with the 'Ti' indicating it's made out of titanium, and as far as I know, all are finished in matte black.  This wide angle version came out in 1994, and just like the 35Ti, was very expensive for back in the mid 1990s.  In a 1995 Popular Photography magazine ad, the suggested list price was a whopping $1220, or almost $2000 today!

The Nikon Ti's, along with Minolta's TC-1, the Contax T range, Leica Minilux and to a lesser extent the Fuji Klasse and Ricoh's were 'boutique' type cameras marketed towards the affluent novice and traveler.  Common features included...

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