Film Cameras Archives - Photo Jottings

Film Cameras

Century Petite No.1 4×5 Camera Review

The Petite No.1 was Century's low cost option for people looking at 4x5 cameras.  This particular specimen was made around 1906 (give or take a year), and came equipped with everything one would need for taking basic pictures; a ground glass back for precise focusing, or snap shot style using the focusing scale on the bed and the viewfinder.  Also included was a good Century (Bausch and Lomb) 6½" Rapid Rectilinear lens with instant, bulb or time modes, and a simple rise and fall adjustment.  As a beginners model, and as the name suggests, the 4x5 Petite was very small and lightweight, in fact, Century used the terms 'snap shot' and 'hand camera' in their catalogs of the day. 

How about taking a break from work for a moment and step inside the Photojottings time machine, during the 'good ole days,' and before lithium batteries and electronic contraptions made our lives more cluttered and boring...

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Kodak No. 1a Review

Our review camera for this week is the Kodak No. 1A Series III with Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar F/6.3 lens.  I purchased this 'high end' folding Kodak a few years ago, and have used it on several occasions.  Recently I ran a couple rolls of 120 film using some adapters for 6x11 images, but more on that farther down in the review.  Apart from the nice lens, the 1A has a focusing scale in both feet and meters, and uses a thumbscrew to move the lens and shutter assembly back and forth to get the correct focus.  Another neat feature is what Kodak calls rise and slide; it's used for correcting keystoning when you point the camera up, as in a picture of a tall building; however, the correction doesn't show up in the viewfinder, so you have to guess what's happening, and hope you have the subject in the frame; so maybe it's not so 'neat' or 'useful.'  I've used this feature on a larger camera, (Kodak 3A), and it works quite well, but only if you check it with a ground glass back, which is not an option on the 1A.

Our fully working review camera was manufactured around 1932, at the very end of the 'Autographic' film era...

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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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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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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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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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Canon Snappy Q Review

Introducing the Canon Snappy 'Q,' it's 'Quirky and Queer,' it's Quintessential 1980s Qool!

The Canon Snappy Q (or Sketchbook) is sort of a ho-hum fixed lens camera, except that Canon made the lens cover double as a 'foggy corner filter' for those goofy 1980s Cokin moments that we all fondly remember.  BTW, I had a bunch of Cokin filters, including one similar to our foggy filter, except it was green!  The Snappy Q's filter doesn't really give you foggy corners, rather, it's a center spot filter with a clean central area, and will totally ruin your images if you use it for normal snaps; that's why Canon made it so you have to hold a button on the front with one finger, while pressing the shutter button with the other when the filter is in place.

Even though it's a run-of-the-mill focus free camera, there are a few surprises worth mentioning; for starters...

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