I have been in the habit of looking out for small pocketable 35mm film cameras. This is the latest one to add to my collection, the Rollei 35T. This is the one with a 40mm F3.5 Tessar lens and its made in Singapore where i live. Look out for a review soon.
Whao i though Rolleicord and Rolleiflexe’s were something of the past apparantly they are still coming out with new models but they are not cheap though, $5000USD onwards.
Recently i;ve got a nice Minox 35GL with the Flash. Always wanted to get one of these and try it out, since it all so small and tiny it would be easy to take it around.
It weighs about 200grams and comes with a nice 35mm F2.8 lens. Exposure is Aperture priority with shutter speeds from about 1/15s to 1/500s. With ISO 400 film you should be ok, with 800 there might be overexposure on a bright and sunny day. You can only scale focus it but no problem, the scale focusing aid starts from F4 and since the focal length is 35mm you do get a bit of range when scale focusing with it. Scale Focusing its not as hard as it seems and you will get better with time. My trick is to take my height and just so of imagine where i would be if i was lying down and then just estimtate from there.
Some problems you might have with the older Minox is that it uses an old 5.6v PX27 which can be replaced using 4LR44, 4SR44 or 2 CR 1/3N batteries. The problem with all those options are that the voltage is increased to 6volts which impacts the exposure meter.
I compared it with my light meter and found the exposure increased by about 1 to 2 stops . That is to say if you set the camera to ISO 100 you are getting readings for ISO400.
If you still see the meter stuck at the bottom (at the 1/30s) mark after giving it 2 strokes, maybe you did not wind the film properly. Give it another slight push on the film advance and the meter should kick in.
There are also some reports of the shutter becoming stuck or unresponsive. someone on flickr posted some pictures and how to fix it. http://www.flickr.com/groups/minox35/discuss/72157612937954151/
I had quite a bit of fun just bringing the camera around and just snapping away, the camera is so small and discrete that no one takes a look at you (besides they are all looking at their smart phones to notice you anyway). The shutter is so quiet that i couldn’t hear it sometimes when i pressed it. I have to confirm by trying to advance the film lever.
I got it together with the Minox FC35 auto flash which fits nicely on top of the camera but takes about 8-10 seconds to charge it up. The flash itself is almost as big as the camera and looks abit unbalance on top of it. But in practical use it actually feels ok, not too heavy topside. The above was a shot taken with the flash at lunch. You can see how shy my colleague is about having his picture taken.
Comparing it to the Olympus XA i find the XA more userfriendly with the rangefinder and you just need to slide to use, much easier than the Minox flip open design which looks fragile to me. But i have been bringing the Minox out everywhere I go, as somehow i find more “fun” in shooting with such a simple camera, compare with my Leica or the XA .
All the above was taken with the Minox 35GL, Delta 400 @ ISO 800 in Ilford DDX
Its pretty sad that Kodak announced that they are selling off their film business, the one thing that got them started in the first place.
I hoped that whoever is buying over the business will keep the film alive especially since there is a resurgence of people shooting film (like me).
Eversince i got my Leica, i have been going to Chinatown more to take pictures. Since the streets there are pretty tight, i have been using a 35mm and a 21mm. But i prefer the 35mm more since i sort of “see” in a 35mm focal length.
Chinatown in Singapore has transformed mostly to a touristy kind of place but there are areas it retains much of it’s local flavour, like there is a large area inside Chinatown where lots of old man gather to play chess almost everyday. I wonder how long this will last, I guess that as my grandfathers generation slowly leaves this will become a rare sight.
Old Kodak Documentary in German (I think) but with subtitles in English.
Amazing how much of the process is done in darkness and by feel and how much quality control goes into the process.
I can understand why companies would like to cut film production, its simply quite intensive and lots of specialized equipment needs to be used. But of course i do hope that they will be around for much much longer.
I’ve got my Olympus XA quite some time ago, but never used it. I think it must have sat in my dry cabinet for almost 3 years or more.
The Olympus XA has a 35mm F2.8 lens, shutter speeds from 1s to 1/500 in a small body that will fit in your jeans pocket. Yoshihisa Maitani the designer of the camera manage to squeeze a rangefinder, clam shell body and a 2.8 lens all in this small body. It’s simply amazing and the quality of lens is great.
Unfortunately you can only set up to ISO 800 on the camera, but only a maximum of 1/500 shutter speed that is reasonable. The leaf shutter on this thing is quiet, much quieter that that of my Leica M2, and the focal length of 35mm makes it quite suitable for street photography and of course home photography, which sometimes i find 50mm is a bit too long.
The rangefinder patch isn’t as great as a Leica but its good enough. For zone focusing there are only 4 distances marked 2.8ft, 4ft, 8ft and infinity, most of the time i use zone focusing anyway only when the light level is low then i will use the rangefinder.
I’ve got the A11 flash which is powered by one AA battery, the inital charing of the flash takes probably about 30s which means its not meant for spontaneous flash shots.
A nice pocketable camera with a great lens and best of all its not expensive on the used market, i saw a few for about 100-150 around the internet.
The images below are TriX shot at 800 iso and developed in DDX scanned using my old Epson Perfection 1660. Click on the images for high resolution pictures.
Shot the above using the A11 flash.
Seems like there are focus problems with my Zeiss Ikonta! Almost all my pictures are blur when shoot @ 1/100. There are certain sharp portions but they seem to be focused quite far in front. I think the focus is a bit off. Found this link on the web for adjusting the focus. Seems easy enough, maybe will try it over the week.
Remember i wrote about getting a medium format folder, this is the one i got. A Zeiss Ikonta 521/16 with a F3.5 Tessar lens. Quite simple camera with just zone focusing, nothing extra about, quite a light camera compared with something like a Mamiya 645 or a TLR. The unfolding is absolutely cool, You just point the camera downwards and press the release. Both the lens and the finder just pop open.
This model was produced from 1948 to 1953, comes in many variations of the shutter and the lens. The Tessar version was the high end one. Carl Zeiss now exits as mainly a optics company producting besides camera lenses, but also many other optical products.
Since its a zone focusing camera, i did up a little hyper focusing chart to help me.
Behind that i put a little rangefinder card so that i can judge distances with it. At the bottom in reverse wordings are the shutter timing test that i did, so that i can roughly know how much to compensate, seems like mine is abt 1 stop off in the slower shutter speeds up to 1/50. I did the test using a microphone and some sound processing software.
Lets see what this can do when i put a few rolls through it.
I was thinking of acquiring one of these medium format folders. I use to have a Mamiya 645, sold it off because of the weight, i have a Holga (sometimes quite impressed with the quality), i have a Seagull TLR which i use from time to time and totally blow away by the nice negative.
That’s what i like about Medium Format, you don’t get all these small negative/slides, you get nice big negatives and slides that you can see nicely without using a loupe.
Anyway I saw a Zeiss Ikonta 521/16 for sale about 200$, very tempted to get it since i am selling away quite abit of my gear to tone it down and have some cash on hand.
Tell you guys later how all that works out.
Some links to check out for Medium Format folders
Nice intro to medium format folders
Jurgen sells medium format folders that he restores.