Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Agfa Plenax PB20 using Kodak Ektar

I wrote about the Agfa Plenax PB20 last year. Last week I got back a roll of Kodak Ektar that was in the camera since last Spring.  I think the results are pretty nice for an economy folding camera from the 1930's.  Probably if this camera didn't use 620 film I would use it more often. 

It took a while to finish off this role as evidenced by the last photo taken at Christmas time. 

I have been changing this blog some today to allow larger images and hopefully to make the appearance more personal.  So far I am hoping just to find a different template and background image.  I am feeling too lazy to change the html at the moment. So this post is the start of a new look. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

First Found Film of the Year.

I have been catching up with some film scanning.  The first roll I got to was one that was in a Minolta Maxxum 7000 when I bought it last summer.  The film was Kodak Gold 800. Looks like someone started the roll with some kind of graduation thing and then put the camera aside permanently.

I did a little correction on the color shifts.  I would guess this film had set in the camera for at least ten years.

This is from a roll of Kodak Max 400 that I bought as expired last summer.  Since the leader was out and it was still in a canister I figured it had not been shot.  So I ran it though another camera and was surprised to see this image when I got the negatives back. It looks like someone didn't finish the roll and put it back into the cannister.  There are about ten frames that were exposed.  I wonder if anyone knows where this waterfall is?

Looks like another from a visit to the falls.  The film here had an expiration date of May/2000. I have used some other rolls from this batch, however this is the first that already had images on it. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Images from a Kodak Bullet Camera

Made: 1936 to 1942
Film Type: 127
Shutter speeds: B and 1/50
Original price: $3.00

I wrote some about this camera when I first got it last year. I liked it mostly for it looks and wasn't in a hurry to take pictures with it. Taking pictures only came to mind when I noticed that I had a couple of rolls of 127 film which I had made by re-spooling some 46mm Kodak Porta 160 to 127 backing paper. I just got the roll developed and am pleased with the images.  Probably not so much that I am in a hurry to re-spool more 127 for the Bullet camera, however as far as these experiments with cheap old cameras this one went better than most.  Here are a few of the images.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Argus Dual 35

There isn't much information out about this camera. It was made in China for whoever owned the Argus name at the time. I would guess it was made sometime in the mid to late 1980's.  The lens is 38mm f/3.5.  It is fixed focused.

With the Argus Dual 35 you could take half frame or full frame images.  You made your choice by setting a dial on the top of the camera.  Most everything else about this camera you can probably figure out just by looking at the picture.  It is a typical 1980's point and shoot made somewhat unique by the half frame option.  There was at least one other half frame made during the time by Argus.  That is the Argus HFM II that I wrote about last year. I think the the Argus HFM II is a better picture taker.  Either camera won't cost you much if you can find one.  They don't appear to be much sought after and can often be had for less than $10.   Below are a few photos from the Argus Dual 35.

If you have an interest in half frame cameras here is one of the most complete listings that I have found.
Innovative Cameras

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Argus V-100

Produced: 1957-58
Type: 35mm rangefinder
Lens: 52mm f/2.8 Argus Cintar II
Shutter: Synchro-Compur leaf type
Shutter speeds: 1 to 1/500 plus B
Flash: M-X synchronization at all shutter speeds.
Exposure: Built-in uncoupled selenium meter

The Argus V-100 was made in Germany for Argus by Iloca.  It is pretty much the same camera as the Iloca Rapid IIL. The combination of the Argus name and it being a 1950's rangefinder made this a camera that I wanted since I first heard about it.  The one I got is in very good condition other than one fairly easily fixed problem.

 So far I have only done one roll of HP5 with the Argus V-100.  I do agree with the reports that I have seen about the Cintar II lens being reasonably sharp and contrasty.  The camera also handles well.

My version of the Argus V-100 does appear to need the light seals replaced.  Most of the images I got showed signs of light leaking. Fortunately that is not a difficult fix.

I do think that once I get the light seals replaced that I will have a good picture taker in the Argus V-100. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Aires Viscount

Made: 1959
Shutter: Seikosha-SLV leaf 
Shutter speeds: 1 sec to 1/500 sec plus B
Lens: Six element 45mm f1.9 H Coral

I think this is one of the most beautiful cameras that I have.  Surprisingly to me at least it may have been a fairly inexpensive camera in its day.  I have seen some info in various forums that indicate that the Aires Viscount sold for around $60 back in the 1950's.  The one that I have works well with the exception of one critical flaw.  The focusing ring appears loose.  So far I haven't been able to find any info on how to fix it.  Someday I plan to make some time to spend on the camera repair forum to see if I can get headed in the right direction.

So right now the Aires Viscount is mostly just to look at.  I did notice that the rangefinder spot comes into focus on objects that are around 15 feet.  So I figured I could take some pictures using f/16 and get a reasonable focus.  I loaded about ten exposures of bulk HP5 and things worked out well enough.  At least it did let me have a taste of what the camera would be like to use.  And I would say that the actual use was enjoyable enough to give me some motivation to get the Aires Viscount working.  It is a very smooth camera with a quiet shutter.  So hopefully 2013 will be the year when this camera is restored.  Below are a couple of the photos from my experiment.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Argus/Cosina STL 1000

Introduced: 1971
Type: 35mm
Shutter: Copal Square metal focal plane.
Shutter speeds: B, 1 to 1/1000 sec.
Viewfinder: Reflex viewfinder with fresnel screen, micro split-image focusing spot.
Exposure Meter:      Matching-needle Thru-the-Lens CdS meter. ASA range 25-1600.

I remember back in the 1970's that all-black cameras had a little more status than the chrome ones.  The all-black camera was considered to be the less conspicuous type of camera that a professional would prefer. It may seem silly now, however I remember back then many took it seriously, and were willing to pay a premium for an all-black version of their favorite camera. Now I don't think that no matter what the color, that the Argus/Cosina STL 1000 was ever popular among professionals.  It lacked features like interchangeable viewing screens and a provision for a motor drive that most professionals at the time probably valued more than color.   Still the Argus/Cosina STL 1000 is a very fine camera.  It has all the basic features you need in a very solidly made reliable camera.  It was even one of the first cameras with the excellent Copal Square shutter.

By 1971 Argus was no longer making their own cameras. However the Argus name still had value and was applied to many cameras made by others.  Quite often it is a mystery as to who the manufacturer of some of these Argus cameras was.  With this camera the name Argus/Cosina STL 1000 makes it clear that  this camera was made by Cosina.  Cosina made a lot of camera equipment under other names from the 1960's up to the 1990's.  I think that "it was made by Cosina" is the first guess that many make when they come upon a mystery camera or lens. 

I got this camera off Ebay a while back mostly because I thought it looked good and because of the Argus name.  Also of course the price was right. My actual experience with the Argus/Cosina STL 1000 leads me to include it among one of the best of the 1970's classic all-metal mechanical cameras. There isn't anything fancy about it, however it is always ready for almost any picture taking need that I have.

I like the M42 mount 50mm Cosinon f1.8 that comes with this camera. I even made a Cosinon f1.8 gallery a while back.

The Argus/Cosina STL 1000 is another of the underrated cameras that often show up for a good price on Ebay.  Although I do think that because some people are using the standard lens for the Argus/Cosina STL 1000 on their digital cameras that the price has gone up in the last year or so.  Still if you do find one for an agreeable price I don't think that you will be disappointed.

Friday, January 4, 2013

VistaQuest 1005

I came across this camera when I was looking for some batteries.  I hadn't used it in a while.  The VistaQuest 1005 is a key chain camera that enjoyed some popularity a few years ago for being able to produce  lomo-type images while being a digital camera.

The VistaQuest 1005 is about as simple as a digital camera gets.  There are no choices to be made.  It is just point and shoot. The images are small at just 1.3 megapixels.  The viewfinder is fairly useless especially at closer distances. The images are often soft, almost painterly.  Sometimes there is vignetting. It gets the closest in look to some of the toy plastic cameras that I have gotten using digital.

I did find the VistaQuest fun to play with back in the days when I was only doing digital. Upon becoming reacquainted with the VistaQuest I can say it is still fun for a change. Sometimes I like being surprised by the results I get and the VistaQuest  does well in surprising me.

With its vibrant colors and softness the VistaQuest can make some lovely images.

Anyway I thought I'd record a little about the VistaQuest before it goes back into the battery drawer.  Here is a VistaQuest 1005 Gallery.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Fodor 35

Made: 1955-57 by Nihon Kosokki Kogyo Co.,LTD.
Type: 35mm Rangefinder
Shutter: NKS-Mx leaf
Shutter Speeds: 1,1/2,1/5,1/10,1/25,1/50,1/100,1/300
Lens: Lausar 1:2.8 f=4.5 cm made by Tomioka Opt. Co.
Flash: MFX synchronized at all speeds. 

The Fodor 35 is a Taron 35 which was re-branded by the Dutch company Fodor.  It had some pretty modern features for its time like a single stroke winding lever. I think it is a handsome example of the solidly made all mechanical rangefinders that flourished in the 1950's. I couldn't find much info about this camera, however I was guess it was aimed at the serious amateur probably selling in the $80 to $100 range. My example is in good shape except for the rangefinder spot is very faded.  Which obviously is a serious shortcoming. At some point I plan on opening the top and seeing if there is anything I can do to improve things.  Otherwise the camera is pleasant to use.  I imagine that when it was new the Fodor 35 was a very satisfying camera.

 The Lausar lens while not outstanding seems like a competent lens.  I don't think that I will be the first to say that Lausar seems like an unfortunate choice of names for a lens.

Mostly my reaction when I was able to get an image in reasonable focus with this camera was "that's okay".

The Lausar lens does render color very accurately.  I was impressed by that in all the color photos that I used it for. Overall I think the Fodor/Taron 35 gets an "A" for its ease of use and handling.  Film loading is easy, the camera feels good in the hands, and while we take it for granted now the wind lever is nice for a camera of this era. The lens seems capable of good results.  The Taron 35 is much more commonly found on Ebay than the Fodor 35.  They usually sell between $10 and $30.  At that price I think it makes a nice addition to a collection.