Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Polaroid I-Zone

I had no idea what these cameras were when I started occasionally seeing them at garage sales. I found out they were an instant camera introduced by Polaroid in 1999.  The I-Zone was simple to operate and made instant images the size of a 35mm negative.

Actually the I-Zone doesn't seem like a bad idea.  I imagine that it would especially appeal to kids.  The fixed focus is said to work best at 2 to 8 feet. So it would be good for taking pictures of your friends or pets.  I think that with some decent marketing and reasonably priced film that this might even appeal to kids in the digital age. The camera was simple to use with only three aperature settings for indoors, suuny, and cloudy. The flash always fired and there was no way to turn it off. It used two AA batteries.

I admit this camera isn't much to look at and I am not tempted in any way to use one myself.  I actually bought it because it had two packages of film with it.  Polaroid stopped making film for these in 2006.  The packages I got expired in 2004.  My guess would be that a person would be lucky to get any pictures from them.  However they sell for a decent price on Ebay. So that is probably where they will end up.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Polaroid 320

Made: 1969 to 1971
Lens: 114mm f/8.8 2-element plastic
Viewfinder: separate rangefinder focus and parallax-corrected viewfinder lens
Shutter speeds: 10 sec to 1/1200
Battery: No. 532
Price: $59.95

I am not sure where this camera came from.  I was looking through some old shelf-drawers yesterday and found it.  It was still in a box and doesn't look like it was used much.  I believe that I do have the battery that it needs around here somewhere. So if I find that battery I will try it out.  The Polaroid 320 is all plastic which makes it pretty light. From what I have read about it it yields decent images.  I like that it has a rangefinder for focusing.  Although I have to admit that I was fooled by it using a separate window for the rangefinder.  I was looking in the main window for the rangefinder patch and thought there must be something wrong with the camera.

Anyway I was pleased to come across a possibly interesting camera that I didn't know I had.  And while I wasn't so thrilled that I tore the house apart looking for the battery I need, still I am looking forward to trying this one out.  

Friday, September 21, 2012

Soligor 135mm f/2.8

Didn't want to let the week pass without making at least two posts.  So here are a few images from the Soligor 135mm f/2.8. This one is at f/2.8

This one came along with the Pentax H1a that I got a couple of weeks ago.  Like the H1a the lens is very clean and well-cared for.  I haven't had a chance to do any research on the lens.  I would guess it is from the same era as the H1a.  Another at f/2.8

On my digital camera with a 1.6 crop factor this lens is 216mm.

So far I think the results are pretty good.  I should have more on this lens in a future post.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Polaroid One Step Rainbow and Vivitar PN2011

  • 1 element plastic lens with fixed aperture (103mm, f14.6)
  • 4ft minimum focus distance.
  • Exposure compensation dial around electric eye.
  • Uses SX-70 integral film.

There must have been a lot of the One Step Rainbows made since I see them at garage sales all the time.  I got this one over the weekend at a church sale where they were giving things away.  So I couldn't pass on a free camera.  This one came in a bag with the manual.  It is very clean and I think it would be a good bet to still work if I wanted to spend the money to get film for it.  I have to admit that I kinda like the way it looks. So right now it is just a looking at camera.

  • Fixed focus.
  • Manual film advance.
  • Aperture: f/8 .
  • Wide angle 28mm lens.
  • Shutter speed fixed at 1/125s.
  • Lens cover opens and closes via sliding switch.
  • Tripod socket.
  • No batteries required.

This one is a bit of a "cult camera".  Do a search and you'll find a fair amount of discussion.  The PN2011 reminds me some of the Vivitar UWS although its 28mm lens is not as wide as the 22mm that the UWS has. The PN2011 does beat the UWS in having the familiar fake panorama mode.

The Vivitar PN2011 has a useful wide-angle.  It is very light and easily fits in a shirt pocket. 

Sharpness is mostly a quality that you may often have to do without in the PN2011.  It doesn't seem to have the vignetting that frequently happens with the UWS.

This Vivitar EZ35 was in the box with the Vivitar PN2011.  It has a fairly normal 35mm lens.  I imagine it will be a while till I get around to seeing what kind of pictures it takes. 

So this week it was back to the cheap plastic cameras.  This entire haul cost $1.50.  It would have been only 50 cents, however I made a $1 donation to the church sale.  

Friday, September 14, 2012

Pentax H1a Super Takumar 55mm f/2

Took some images with the camera and lens from the title.  I used 100 developed in the one-shot Arista developer.

Here is the Super Takumar f/2 wide-open.

Another one at f/2.

I used the M42 adapter to take some color images in digital.

With the 1.6 crop factor on my Canon digital the 55mm lens becomes 88mm.

It is amazing how green it has gotten around here after  few inches of rain gave a break from the drought.

A crop from the image above.

Seems like a decent lens to me.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Honeywell Pentax H1a

Introduced: 1961 or 1962
Shutter speeds: T, B, 1 - 1/500
Lens: Super Takumar 55mm f/2.0
Metering: Optional clip-on exposure meter.

I got this camera at an estate sale Friday. It is the rare camera where I was able to find some info about its previous owner.  I saw the name M. S. Helm on an airline sticker which was on the case where this camera was stored.  I goggled the name and found a past professor in electrical engineering at the local university.  He died in 2003 at the age of 92.  He had two children, both of whom appear to have had no children.  His son died in 2007 and his daughter had died recently.  So I would guess that this sale was to settle up her estate and that she likely had a lot of her father processions.

The reported interests of  Professor Helm were reflected in the sale.  It was said that he loved trains and there was a train set and much railroad memorabilia. The Honeywell Pentax H1a also is the kind of intelligent choice in a camera that I would expect Professor Helm to make.  The Pentax H1a is a great combination of economy and quality.

Honeywell was the US distributor for Asahi until the late 1970's.  Outside of the US the H1a was the Asahi Pentax S1a.  The Pentax S1a was an economy model and the last in the S series that preceded the more famous Spotmatic series. The H1a had a top shutter speed of 1/500 instead of 1/1000 and it the came with the f/2 55mm Super Takumar instead of the f/1.8.  The strange thing is that the H1a still has an unmarked setting past 1/500.  Some say it is a 1/1000 setting.  Also the Super Takumar 55mm f/2 appears to be the same lens as the f/1.8, just lacking the wider f stop. If you are interested you can do a search and read more about the debate on this camera and lens, however it appears to me that for less money a buyer of a Pentax H1a was still getting top of the line quality.  Just the kind of camera that an astute buyer might seek out in those days.

The attachment over the camera prism is a optional clip-on light meter that Asahi sold in the days before it introduced TTL metering.  I don't now if this one works since it uses a no longer made mercury battery.  Curiosity may lead me to eventually test it with some substitute, however not yet.

Professor Helm's H1a is the cleanest camera of its age that I have ever come across.  Other than a few light marks on the bottom where the camera likely had sat on a tripod the camera seems like new.  The viewfinder and lens is very clean.  Obviously this camera was well cared for.  All the camera functions seem to work like they should.  Although I will find out more when I run some film through it.  Still I would be surprised if there are any problems with it.  

I already have a Super Takumar f/2 and have found it to be a excellent lens.  Probably the biggest bargain in all the Super Takumars.  I would guess I will get the same fine results from it that I have gotten from the one I already have.  So I am grateful to Professor Helm that he took good care of his camera.  Hopefully it will remain in use for a long time.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Photos from Miranda Fv

This corn crib, built in the early 1960's, was probably one of the last to be built in this area. It was used to store whole ears of corn. Shortly after it was built farmers began to shell corn in the field and store it in grain bins like the one to the left of the corn crib.

I now have some results from the Miranda Fv that I wrote about on Tuesday. I developed the Kentmere 400 that I took with the Miranda Fv in Xtol 1+1 for 9.5 minutes.  The results were a little more grainy than prior results with this combination.  I also found that the shutter occasionally sticks with this camera and the mirror doesn't always return.  These failures knocked out a few shots.  Looks like I will need to do a little work on this camera.  Still it doesn't seem like anything major is wrong with it.

Overall I thought the results with the Auto Miranda f/1.9 lens were okay.  I was in a hurry to finish this roll so many of the images were shot in poor light and at shutter speeds too low to prevent camera shake.  After being used to having image stabilization it sometimes is easy to forget how difficult it can be to achieve a steady shot handheld at slower shutter speeds.  The image of the mail box is one of the few slow shutter speed images that came out okay.

 Here is one with the lens wide open.

Aside from what seem to be fairly easily correctable problems, I am satisfied with the results from the Miranda Fv.  I can't say that I was so impressed that it is likely to become one of my regularly used film cameras, however it certainly is a very usable camera, capable of decent results.  Although maybe once I get it back to a fully functioning condition it may rise in my esteem.  One thing I especially like about this camera is having the shutter release on the front.  At least on this camera it seems like a natural fit. 

Mostly it looks like the main value that the Miranda Fv has to me now is its looks.  For me at least it is a camera that doesn't have to work well for me to take pleasure in it.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Miranda Fv

Introduced: 1966
Shutter: Mechanically-controlled, horizontal-travel focal plane. Speeds 1/60 to 1/1000th of a second, plus B.
Lens: Auto Miranda 50mm f/1.9
Interchangeable viewfinder: Optional Waist-level finder, and two types of critical finders. 

I have thought for a while that Miranda made some nice looking cameras.  So when I saw this one in a antique store last Sunday for $10 I couldn't pass it up.  It is not in mint condition, however it does seem to function okay.  Some of the covering is coming off, although it appears that it can easily be reattached.  The shutter speeds seem accurate.  So at least I feel like I got my money's worth.

From what I can figure out the Miranda Fv is the Miranda F with the option added of a removable shutter speed dial which can be replaced by a cds meter.  There was a later version of this camera, the Miranda FvT, which offered an optional prism with a TTL meter. From what I have read neither of these meters were all that great.  The main problem being that they were very hard to read.  So it doesn't sound like one would be worth seeking out.  And every if I found one it uses a battery type that is no longer made.  Still I am perfectly happy using a hand-held meter with these cameras.

One of the most interesting things about the Miranda Fv is the interchangeable viewfinders. That's an option that usually isn't available on economically priced cameras.  There was a waist-level finder, a finder used for copying, and one used for microscopic work. Being able to remove the viewfinder should also make the camera easier to clean.

I just finished my first roll of film with the Miranda Fv and may have some results later in the week. With all the rain and tropical air of the past few days it hasn't been the best picture taking weather here. Still the cooler crisper days of fall can't be far away.