Film Cameras Archives - Page 4 of 9 - Photo Jottings

Film Cameras

Agfa Reflex (Flexilette) review

This odd looking beast is known as an Agfa Reflex in the Americas, or Flexilette in Europe and surrounding areas.  It's quite large and heavy for a 135 (35mm) format camera, and one of the few TLR 'twin lens reflex' 35mm cameras made.  This was an impulse ebay purchase, and thankfully it showed up in good overall shape, and works correctly.

The gigantic circular front protrusion houses two lenses, one for taking the picture, and one for setting the composition and focus.   The taking lens is an Agfa Color Apotar 45mm F/2.8 three element type, and is surprisingly sharp with a smooth background blur, see pictures below.

The real oddity here is not just the two lenses in front, it's the viewfinder that springs up and allows you to see a bright ground glass reversed image, along with the split image rangefinder patch in the middle.  The viewfinder even comes with a handy swing-up focus magnifier, which makes precise focusing easy.  The owner's manual suggests different shooting situations where this type of viewfinder would come in handy; such as holding it over your head upside down to shoot over a crowd or fence, or at ground level while in a crouch position, or even sneaking shots around a corner so no one can see you...

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Agfa Silette-1 Review

The compact, inexpensive and easy to operate Agfa Silette-1 was introduced back in the early 1960s, when inexpensive and easy to operate cameras were a dime a dozen.  So why did I buy it, and what makes this camera any different than all the others?  Well, not too much to be honest, but it does have a few nice features that aren't all that common on cheap cameras, like a good quality lens, full manual controls, and a cable shutter release.

Speaking of 'easy to operate,' this camera is almost point and shoot simple; if you drop in a cartridge of ISO 200-400 negative film, set the aperture to...

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Kodak Retina IIIC Review

 

The German built Kodak Retina IIIC is a compact folding 35mm coupled rangefinder from the late 1950s.  This finely crafted camera features a selenium light meter, and uses an exposure value scale to make changes in equivalent settings quick and easy.  Also included, and probably the most notable feature on this camera is the 50mm F/2 Schneider Kreuznach Retina …

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Vest Pocket Kodak Series III Review

The 'Vest Pocket' Kodak models were produced for several decades between the teens and the thirties, and featured numerous lens and shutter combinations, along with some neat colors and coverings, like the 'Sea Gull' finish you see here.

Vest Pocket Kodak Series III models are very small as the name suggests, and they'll easily fit in a 'vest' pocket, or in the back pocket of your jeans.  Of course they're 'folders,' meaning they must be opened up and the lens extended before taking pictures, which makes them a bit larger and more cumbersome when you're actually taking pictures.

Our ca1932 review model has a good Kodak Anastigmat F/6.3 lens, along with a decent four speed Diomatic shutter, and thumb screw focusing.  Surprisingly...

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Kodak Breeze 35mm F/4.5 Review

Snapshots are a breeze, with the Kodak Breeze!

The Kodak Breeze, (S100EF or Euro-35) was a budget friendly camera that used bold color schemes and simplicity to attract customers, and probably sold by the millions at K-Mart or Walmart back in the very late 1980s into the early 1990s.  There are more color combinations for this particular camera than you can imagine; white black, blue, and red bodies, some with different colored buttons.  Our review model is white with pink accents, and is often referred to online as the 'Hello Kitty' camera.  Kodak wasn't satisfied with just a bunch of goofy colored cameras, so they tried to advance the status a bit from our cartoonish model, to evoking Parisian sophistication and grandeur in another model using the name 'Élysées,' with an elegant cursive font, and faux mother-of-pearl finish.

The picture quality, operating characteristics, and dimensions of the Kodak Breeze are similar to the Canon Snappy 30, except the Breeze has no winding motor, it's all manual, so you don't need any batteries unless you want to use the flash. The Kodak Breeze is a very inexpensive model, but it's capable of taking good pictures with the right film and settings.  I really appreciate the small size; it'll actually fit in a shirt pocket without sagging, (like a pack of smokes) as it's so light-weight, especially without batteries.

This popular snapshot camera from three decades ago set me back about $2, and it still works just fine.

If you're bored at work, and looking to goof off for a few minutes, scroll on down for the review; and pretend you're 'somewhere in time.'

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Ricoh FF-90 35mm F/2.8 Review

Apparently, Ricoh didn't have much confidence in the FF-90, so they designed a velvet lined casket for each camera, and when it stopped working, you simply put the camera back inside, closed the lid and unceremoniously tossed it in the trash can.  Fortunately, the cameras lasted longer than Ricoh thought, and here I am more than three decades later reviewing a good working model.

The Ricoh FF-90 came out soon after the Ricoh FF-3D AF Super, which featured a cool Pontiac checkered dashboard inspired gray exterior.  The differences are not huge, but noteworthy; the new updated camera now rewinds after the roll is done instead of just beeping.  Also new is DX coding, but you can't change the ISO unless you tape over the contact area of the film canister; however, it now offers a +2.0 exposure compensation button.  The top has a huge LCD panel...

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Bell & Howell Electric Eye 127 Review

The late 1950s brought us a lot of cool stuff, like flying cars, the integrated circuit, and the microwave oven, but few people remember it also brought us some fabulous cameras such as the Electric Eye from Bell & Howell!  This particular model is smartly dressed in tweed; it looks great, that's why I bought it.

The Bell & Howell Electric Eye 127 camera featured fully automatic exposure control, a wide view 'special' lens, (with a curved film gate---uh-oh), and a way to adjust the aperture in case you want to override the automatic system. (note; the lens on this camera has a very unusual characteristic, either you'll think it's cool, or you'll hate it and won't ever use the camera again...

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Voigtlander Bessa 105mm F/3.5 Heliar Review

This week our review camera is the folding and pocketable pre-war Voightländer rangefinder Bessa, featuring the top of the line, five element Heliar lens.  Another nice feature for this Bessa is the magnified (zoomed in view) rangefinder window for more easily seeing, and setting the focusing distance, with the other window used for composing the image.  Additionally, the camera focuses by moving the entire lens and shutter assembly back and forth like a view camera, not simply with a turning front focusing lens element as most folders have.  

I've had three of the Bessa 6x9 cameras with Heliar lenses through the years, but I only have the review copy now.  All are a little different as far as optical characteristics, (especially resolution) are concerned when looking really closely at high quality scans.  One was super sharp almost wide open in the centers, but had very soft sides; my other two had...

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