September 5, 2012

With the Nikon L135AF, the L35AF's poor cousin

From the Pier in Sechelt, BC with my St. Mary's Hospital Thrift Store find. Using expired Kodak 160 NC. A cropped image. Shot with the L135AF point and shoot (below). It was Nikon's second AF camera.

Of course, I did have my Nikon L35AF handy on my trip. And I took the photo below with the L35AF with 400 ASA Ilford XP, set at 160 ASA with a force flash and yellow K2 filter, my standard shooting mode with the Nikon L35AF. And as ever, I love how it turns out.

If you're wondering why I love the L35AF so much, please read this earlier post on the camera.

September 4, 2012

More about the Hanimex 35 Micro Flash

Hanimex 35 Micro Flash

It's long gone from my collection but here are notes I made of it on Flickr in 2009:

Hanimex 35 Micro Flash
In form it is reminiscent of the Minox, the Cosina CX-2, and the Lomo LC-A.I found it with battery leak crud. I was able to open the bottom plate/battery storage area and clean it up.
It takes two AAA batteries and guess what? The flash works.It is now loaded with Kodak BW400CN.ISO settings are 64, 100 and 400. (Rightly so. Why does any company make 200 ASA film?)
For aperture setting, you can make set it at sunny, cloudy, overcast and flash (interior/low light).At the flash aperture setting, the camera opens fully to F2.8. I would have preferred it if it went to f8 in flash mode as I don't trust my zone focusing abilities and often revert to using flashes and smaller apertures even on sunny days.
It sounds like it has only one shutter speed but a French site says it shoots at either 1/60 or 1/200. There is a CDS light sensor beside the viewfinder. It may only control the amount of light from the flash.
Another Italian site says it has an electronic shutter but I was able to make it fire without batteries -- that's why I bought it.On the back is toggle for no flash or flash. Note, the front flash setting only controls the aperture. The flash won't fire without the front and back controls set on flash.

August 29, 2012

Nice Andy Warhol shot with Chinon Infrafocus 35F-MA

Warhol was well known for his use of the Minox and Polaroid Big Shot camera. I've always been fascinated by his wide use of autofocus point and shoots.

Here are two posts on this blog all concerning Andy Warhol and his diverse use of P&S cameras. They are:

August 26, 2012

Braun Paxette II M

The Braun Paxette II M is a decoupled rangefinder camera. The rangefinder is controlled by a small thumb wheel next to the film counter on the top plate.

The user adjust the focus independently as on a viewfinder camera.

There is good information on the Braun series at The Living Image and UK Camera.

If you come across this camera, as I did yesterday, here are a few buyer's tips:
  1. Advancing the film and cocking the shutter requires one and a half strokes. If you don't know this you may think the shutter has seized. You may find the camera part way through its cycle so try the shutter after cocking. If it doesn't release, try to advance the lever again. It should advance a half stroke.
  2. The shutter release is on the right side of the lens (from the shooter's perspective). It can be confused with a self-timer lever.
  3. The self-timer lever is actually on the right side of the lens. It is a switch labelled VMX. V is for timer. M is for triggering a non-electric flash. X are for electronic flashes. When testing the shutter, keep the switch on X and I prefer this as my default setting.
  4. Also note to load film, remove the bottom plate.
That should get you started.

As a general rule, test the shutter at all speeds. Make sure the aperture works.

Also I almost always open the camera and set the shutter on bulb and look through the lens, but note this camera is an EXCHANGEABLE lens camera. The aperture and lens component can be removed and other lenses can be put in its place.

Here are the lenses available for the camera:
  • Staeble Kata 2,8/45 
  • Steinheil Cassarit 2,8/45 
  • Roeschlein Luxon 2/50 
  • Staeble Choroplast 4,5/35 
  • Staeble Neoplast 5,6/85 
  • Telenar 3,8/90 
  • Telenar 5,6/135

The shutter is the Prontor SVS.

     With older cameras like the Braun Paxette or the Voigtlander Vito B, you need to ready to puzzle through unique operating procedures to determine if they are in working condition. For example, the Vito B shutter WON'T cock unless film is loaded. That camera uses the strip of film as a transmission to the film sprocket which then resets the shutter.

    In the case of the Vito B, to test while shopping, simply work the sprocket. Note it can be hard on the fingers. Another way to test is to bring a role of film.

    The other camera I bought was a Zeiss Ikon Contina IIa with a 45mm f3.5 Novar-Anastigmat.

    Novar is another triplet from Zeiss Stuggart. There's lots of information on the Contina: here and here should get you started.

    August 21, 2012

    Nikon L135AF

    I nearly always snatch up cameras bearing Nikon's L35 badge.

    The original and first Nikon point and shoot was the Nikon L35AF. It came out in 1983. It is one of my favourite cameras (above image, top). It has the amazing Sonnar-type 35mm f2.8 formula.

    But on my most recent trip to Sechelt I came across this odd model, the Nikon L135AF (above image, bottom). It came out in 1984 and may be Nikon's second point and shoot model. One add from Popular photography says it sold for $94.50 US in 1984. The solid, metal body Nikon L35AF sold for $123.50.

    The L135AF was also called the Nice-Touch. If you want to see how it shot, you can visit my one best frame from the camera.

    Nikon only as a few terse notes on this camera. Also, visit this nice collection of Nikon compact cameras in chronological order to see it in the overall Nikon chronology.

    The tech specs:

    ASA ISO: 100, 200, 1000
    Shutter Speed: possible 1/37 to 1/700
    Lens: 4 lenses in 3 groups
    Minimum focusing distance: 1.2 metres
    Aperture range: f3.5 to f13.7 (which I find very odd)

    June 17, 2012

    A happier Father's Day: Pics and Video on fathers, sons, photographs and cameras

    Since the publication of The Measure of a Man, I've had the opportunity to see my brother and sisters more.

    When in Calgary attending Wordfest in October, I visited my brother, Len. I found out my father had given a camera to each of his children years before his death. I had assumed I was the only one to have received one. My father gave me a Konica T3 which I mentioned in the book.

    But during a visit with Lenny and his family at their wonderful farmhouse in Balzac Lenny told me he had my father's first REAL camera. My father bought it in his early twenties and it, a Nikon F, would have cost him a pretty penny (below).

    During my visit, I had a chance to see some of Len's photography. He has a good eye. I also shot a roll on the Nikon and took a picture of a beautiful horse (well, I was in Alberta).

    "We pet her. Then said good bye. She followed us until she could no longer. She spun. Then to show off, she galloped fast and then turned back to check to see if we were watching. Very beautiful and spirited animal. She disappeared over the horizon. Stunning."

    Len let me take home the Nikon as he no longer used it, mind you, on loan.

    A month later I visited my big sister, Tammyr. She lives in Montreal. During my stay, I found out Tammy had tucked in the closet a black Pentax SP with a brilliant lens Takumar lens.

    Another gift from my father. Tammy used the SLR back in college.

    She too has a good eye. It's something we inherited from our father.

    Then earlier this year, in March, Tammy surprised me. She pulled from the top shelf a bag of white envelopes. In them were colour slides of all of the kids and my mum taken on luscious Kodak Kodachrome and Ektachrome. Quite a shock. I thought these photographs had disappeared in the breakup of our family back in 1991.

    While I did post one image recently from the baby pictures (of me holding a camera), I hadn't taken a close look at all of them until today...

    And, well, you may know my book paints a bleak picture of my childhood. And the dark moments are what I remember most now, when I dare to remember anything at all.

    But when I see the images my father took of me, it brings back the father I loved as a young boy. And that's a mighty fine gift for Father's Day. Happy Father's Day.


    Below, you'll also find some of my father's pictures of me and a video of my own son Jack contemplating the family penchant for photography and cameras.

    April 18, 2012

    Um, awesome, the Vancouver Camera Show is next weekend

    "VANCOUVER CAMERA SHOW The next WCPHA sponsored swap meet will be at the Cameron Recreation Centre, Burnaby, BC, on Sunday April 29th, 2012 Book your table ($50) —604 941-0300 Admission $5 10am – 4pm, Earlybird $15 at 9am."

    April 17, 2012

    My Grandfather's Farm

    He's not well so my entire family, siblings, their spouses and their children converged on the family homestead so we could be together.

    While there I was desperate to photodocument a man and a place that I love dearly. It was a grey day but nevertheless it was a beautiful sight to see my twin boys rolling in the flattened, gold grass on the fallow fields.

    They visited the pond as I once did as a boy and pondered where the river would take them if they strung a raft together and packed a lunch.

    The images are roughly scanned and crudely edited but I think they are good irregardless. Taken on a Konica Autoreflext T4 with a 40mm f1.8 Hexanon. The film was Ilford XP2 400 ASA shot as 160 ASA, as is my habit.

    The bottom image is of my mother.

    April 16, 2012

    Tessar lenses and their clones like the Industar 50-2

    I'm going to hazard a guess that I am not alone among collectors to have become fascinated, at some point, with Tessar formula lenses and its reputation for sharpness.

    The interest in the lens goes beyond obtaining a piece of equipment with a high level of technical performance.

    Indeed, if you are like me, you may have wanted to try real Tessars - that is, a lens made by Carl Zeiss in Germany as opposed to licensed versions made in Japan - not because it is sharp but because it is authentic.

    One of the great attractions of camera collecting and photography is the constant search for authenticity - regardless of whether it is an uncropped, full-framed masterpiece of street shooting or gear that has the seal of approval/use of a well-admired photographer. I am certain I will never be able to find for an affordable price a Konica Omega 6x9 because it was featured in a documentary film about William Eggleston by Gus Van Zant.

    Similarly, it's hard to find cheap Tessars. Instead, as a bottom-feeder collector who gathers the underappreciated or insanely obscure, I have kept my eyes out of Soviet copies of the Tessar design. And I found one, the Industar 50-2 50mm f3.5 (above) threaded to be used on Pentax M42 or Praktica mount SLR bodies. It should not be confused with the Industar 22-2 50mm f3.5 which is a Leica thread mount lens for Leica rangefinder-styled bodies. That lens has an Elmar formula.

    Early this month, I finally had a chance to use the lens on a digital body, a Nikon D40, making do with the unorthodox use of a M42-Konica AR adapter (no infinity focus).

    Wide open, which is my preferred way to shoot, the Industar showed a lot of glare and chroma. But once I started to stop down to f8, the lens looked great to my non-technical eyes.
    At f16 to photograph the Voigtlander Vito B (below), the ersatz-Tessar did very well. The noise can be blamed on the ISO setting of 800.

    All of this suggests that the little pancake Industar would be best used in sunny conditions. However, because of coatings, I suspect is is susceptible to flaring.

    Note: the top image of the Industar was taken with a Vivitar 50mm 6 element enlarger lens at f2.8.

    So you see, the experiments continue.

    January 30, 2012

    Mamiya M 35mm point and shoot

    The manual from Butkus.

    The Mamiya M has a shutter speed range of 1/8 to 1/500. And an ASA range of 25 to 800. Apertures go from f2.8 to f16.

    I really like the early 1980s cameras like this 1982 Mamiya. They all have threads for filters and manual ISO control. What really make this camera excellent is the pre-focus, much like the Nikon L35AF. I often use force flash in daylight so the Mamiya M is good one to use. With the Nikon L35AF, you have to trick the camera into popping up the flash unit.

    Maybe this will be my beach camera for 2012.

    I dislike the P&S camera that DOESN'T show what distance it has decided to focus on. The Canon MC unfortunately did just that. Certain cameras, like the Minolta Hi-Matic AF with the manual film advance, only let you know the focusing distance during exposure which is a bit too late in my opinion.

    However, manual advance is always nice as it is quiet and allows the user to decide when to advance the frame - always appreciated for the street shooter.

    I sold my Mamiya C33 a few years back and have regretted it. This little p&s will be my stand-in until I find a nice Mamiya TLR with a prism finder. One day.

    January 12, 2012

    It's been a while... but hey look, a clean Nikon FM and an E Series Lens

    I am beginning to see a pattern.

    Yesterday, I was short-listed for a Canadian literary award, the Charles Taylor Prize for Non-fiction, for my book, The Measure of a Man, and, indeed, I bought a camera.

    As I did the last time for the Governor-General's Literary Awards.

    This time I came across this nearly untouched Nikon FM. The lens had been put incorrectly and never used. After I cajoled the lens off both were in perfect working order. Probably my best camera find ever. I feel like I already won a prize.

    I used to own a Nikon FM2N. Black. But, as I've mentioned before, I traded it for Konica gear. The camera played a prop in one of my favourite photographs of one of my sons. I miss his pudgy little fingers. He's getting lanky now.