The Stylus Infinity is a pocket 35mm camera from the late 1990’s. It features auto focus, auto flash, power winding, and a nice 35mm f3.5 lens. It has a cult following among film photographers.
I’m not so sure I am a fan, though. I’ve been carrying it intermittently for a while, but I just haven’t bonded with it. When I developed the film I discovered images from last January. I think it’s too automated for me. The images are great, but the experience is not much different than my cell phone. Aim, click, done.
Beth and I took the Auto-Eye to Cape Ann on a photowalk with the Greater Boston Film Photographers meet up group. We shot HP5 and color, but the color is still at the lab.
The Auto-Eye is the only rangefinder I’ve ever used which also has zone focus. Brackets on the focusing scale and notches in the mechanism indicate CLOSE, GROUP, or SCENE. With the automatic exposure it becomes possible to shoot from the hip if you wish.
The camera is lighter than my Uniomat, but it feels heavier than my Leicas. The aperture indicator in the viewfinder features arrows at either end of the scale showing which way to rotate the shutter speed dial to properly expose. It is, however, possible to ignore them and take an over- or underexposed image.
I find I am more comfortable with aperture priority exposure, but I really enjoyed working with the Auto-Eye. I think it’s a keeper.
Introduced in 1960, the Olympus Auto Eye is a fixed – lens rangefinder with shutter priority auto exposure. It features a 45 mm f2.8 lens. Shutter speed is selected on the lens barrel, and metered aperture is shown on a rotating dial inside the viewfinder.
Mine was a last minute steal on a ShopGoodwill.com auction. I paid less than $10. I’ve loaded a roll of HP5 and have an excursion planned for Saturday.
The K1000 is a good camera, but I’ve failed to bond with it. Everything is manual and straightforward, and I can see why it has a reputation as a student camera. I just didn’t find it interesting to use.
As mentioned back in August, I carried the K1000 on vacation. I’ve finally sent the film to the lab, and I do love the results.
The Internet has decreed the third Saturday in October to be World Toy Camera Day (#WTCD2014.) I have had this one in process for a few months, so this week seemed like a good time to finish the roll.
At first glance the SnapSights is not very interesting. It’s a plain blue rectangle with one shutter speed, one aperture, and a plastic 30mm lens. What makes it fun is this:
It has a diving bell! The finished product is waterproof to 25 feet. It has a flip-up sport finder on top. The knob on top both advances the film and triggers the shutter.
I picked it up 2 years ago on vacation. It cost $6 in the camp store and came with its first roll of film. I didn’t expect much, but it took amazingly good photos in and around the pool. For the current roll, I took it canoeing with Beth and kayaking on the Rowley River on two different occasions.
Das Auto und Das Boot
There is something attractive about a house in the middle of the marsh. I’d miss modern conveniences like electricity and running water though.
This week’s images were shot on expired Rite Aid film which was further abused by riding around in my hot car all summer and then developed in my kitchen with my Unicolor kit. Scanned on the Epson V700 and slightly color corrected in Corel AfterShot Pro.
Introduced in 1978, the Pentax K1000 is a manual focus, manual exposure SLR. It has through the lens metering with a match needle. In the course of its 20 year production run the K1000 earned a reputation as a photography student’s camera.
I have two examples. One came from a yard sale for $10; the original owner stated she bought it for a class but never used it again. The other was an $8 thriftscore which came with a partially exposed roll of film. Both have 50mm prime lenses.
The K1000 has one pesky quirk. The meter cannot be turned off. If it is stored without a lens cap the battery will die. Fortunately the shutter is mechanically actuated.
I took mine on vacation last week. I just need to find the time to develop the results.
The 52 Cameras project will begin to slow after this. I have two competing forces fighting against it. I have reached a point where I find myself wishing to go back and work with my favorite cameras instead of moving forward.
I have also reached the realization that we havetoo much stuff. Everything is on the chopping block including my cameras. Over the coming weeks and months I will be trimming and thinning the collection to a manageable size. As much as I enjoy them, I no longer want to devote a whole room to them.
Rest assured I will continue shooting, and I may rotate guest cameras through the collection. Watch this space.
Manufactured circa 1964, the Voigtlander Vitoret L is a viewfinder camera for 35mm. It features a 50mm f2.8 Color Lanthar lens with a Prontor 1/300 shutter. A coupled Selenium meter reads on the top plate of the camera; adjusting shutter speed or aperture moves another needle to match it.
Focus is via distance markings on the lens. There is no RF or other mechanism to assist.
I’ve loaded a roll of Ilford PanF+ 50ASA for the week. As I’m notoriously bad at estimating distances, I will be using my BLIK rangefinder a lot.
As I’ve journeyed through my camera collection, some stand out as icons of their class. For rangefinders, it’s my M3 and M6. In SLR, the Nikon FM2 & FG, Minolta SRT200 & XG9, and strangely my Chinon CM7. Box cameras? Brownie Hawkeye. TLRs would be a Yashica, probably the D. Polaroid? Spectra and 250. In viewfinders it’s the Vito B.
Then there’s the QL17. I have an Olympus 35RC and a Konica C35, but I find myself drawn to the Canonet for a pocket rangefinder. My example has a bright viewfinder and focus patch. Everything seems to work fine, although I have never tried it with a flash. As a lefty, I like the focusing lever on the left side of the lens barrel. Shutter speed is manually set on the lens barrel, and a pointer inside the viewfinder indicates the metered aperture on a scale along the right edge of the frame. Red areas at the top and bottom indicate under- or over-exposure conditions. As with all (most?) rangefinders, the shutter fires with a soft click.
The meter uses an obsolete battery, but I have had decent results with a modern alkaline replacement. The CdS cell takes an average of the scene, which did cause the highlights to blow in a pair of shots where there was a large difference between skin tones and a dark background. A more sophisticated meter might have handled those shots better.
This week’s post contains more photos than usual because I enjoyed the subject immensely. As mentioned previously, Beth and I visited Andy Leider’s facility in Circleville, NY. It’s a mecca for fire apparatus enthusiasts and a home for wayward fire engines. There are reported to be over 400 retired trucks on, in, and around the property. Most are difficult to photograph as they are crammed tightly into a dim warehouse, but it’s a place where we could wander and explore for hours. In fact we did, and we took advantage of the chance to catch up with an old friend as well.
The Canonet QL17 GIII was the last of Canon’s fixed lens rangefinders. Manufactured sometime in the 1970’s, it has a 40mm lens and aperture priority automatic exposure. The QL designation indicates a quick-loading film system, while the 17 indicates a maximum aperture of f1.7. The Canonet range also included a QL19, QL25, and a Canonet 28 (f2.8) which was not quick loading.
Shutter speeds range from B to 1/500 set with a ring on the lens barrel. When in automatic mode a needle in the viewfinder indicates the selected aperture. Manual exposure is also possible without the meter, and the shutter will fire without a battery. Focus is via a lever on the left side of the lens barrel.
My example is a thrift score of which I’m particularly proud. I found it in the display case of a newly opened store for $4. It has a small dent on the filter ring but is otherwise fully functional.
It had however gone missing for a while. When I finally located it (in my daughter’s camera bag!) it had a partially exposed roll of 400ASA color in it. We took it along on last week’s Fairchester Hose Haulers excursion.
REFERENCES: Camera Wiki Manual
All Canonets at eBay. Prices are all over the map, so shop carefully.
Results may be delayed as my schedule is crazy this week.