For some reason throughout my collecting of film cameras, I have been constantly intrigued by ridiculously lo-fi plastic cameras. These cameras range in form from the freebies that were given with magazine subscriptions and bank accounts to the purpose made Holga and Diana plastic beauties. The nice thing about the supremely crappy ones is that one can pick them up for a dollar or two at local thrift stores. I will run through my favorites of these plastic gems in somewhat chronological order as I obtained them.
The Time Magazine 35mm film camera. I picked this one up in the local Animal Aid thrift store. I believe it was 2 or 3 dollars. It was a cruddy and dirty mess, but I had seen some nice results so figured it would be worth cleaning up. Heck, it even had a hot shoe! It features the 50mm Kinetic Optical lens…sounds great, huh? Settings include the “Diana-ish” sunny, partly sunny, partly cloudy, and cloudy for aperture and one guy, multiple guys, or landscape for focus. I have enjoyed using this camera and have had fun with a flash on it.
I believe the second camera of this genre I picked up was the Ansco Pix Panorama. I had a very similar camera in the early 90s and really liked it, but I think I broke the rewind lever on it…go figure on an all plastic camera ;-) This one is panorama except you can remove the “mask” that goes over the film frame, which I did. I used it for a while this way and just guessed through the viewfinder until I hacked it up to resemble the full 35mm frame view. This is an uber basic camera with only a lens cover, shutter button, film winder, and film rewind. I truly love the simplicity in shooting this offers…no doo-dads to fiddle with…just pure composition to think about. I now have two of these, one with the mask removed and one intact…although I have yet to really use the intact one for panorama style images…think I prefer to just shoot “wide angle.” And on that topic…I did try a Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim and actually preferred this model…it’s not quite as wide, but also does not feel as though I am going to crush it in the pressure of my hands
The third camera I will mention is my latest addition, the “no name” blue and black “Sports” model 35-55 zoom 35mm camera! Just got this for $2 at a new Goodwill store I just found. Haven’t run film in it yet, but will soon. Its controls include a manual zoom ring on the lens that even zooms in the viewfinder…how high tech!
If you are dabbling in film at all, I highly recommend this type of camera. It’s great when you are feeling overwhelmed with f-stops and shutter speeds and all of the other decisions to make when shooting. It brings photography to its purest form of light/shadow and composition. And as I like to say, it’s not the camera that takes the photo, it’s the artist behind it!
Here I introduce you to one of my favorite rangefinders in my collection. This camera never ceases to amaze me with images it produces with little to no effort on my part
I had started this project about a year ago and never really completed it as I would have liked. I finally decided to quit sitting on the idea and pursue it. The concept is to have an image of an old camera printed on the front of a t-shirt with it appearing to be a real camera worn by the person. The camera straps could actually be extended up to look as though it is hanging on the front of them.
I started by shooting my beloved Pentax MX slr, Yashica Electro 35 GSN rangefinder, and Canon Canonet QL17 GIII rangefinder. I got them posted on my website that night. I decided the next day to do some more, so I shot my vintage Diana plastic camera, Kodak Brownie Chiquita, and WWII era Rolleiflex twin lens reflex (tlr).
I’ve got them on my website through RedBubble and I think they came out great. Had to tweak the sizes a bit to give them a realistic look. Thinking of ordering the Pentax one for myself because it’s my favorite camera and it’ll be cool to wear it even when I’m not
The hubby and I decided to go to a classic car show a couple of weeks ago at the Hard Rock Casino here in Hollywood, FL. I thought it was a great idea because I hadn’t been out shooting film in a while and needed some eye candy for inspiration. I checked the film drawer in the fridge just to realize I had only one roll of 120 film and no 35mm though! Oh, the conundrum! Out of film; is this even possible? I do need to place an order, but things have been tight, so I have yet to do so, so I’ve been getting by on rolls that I’ve received in swaps of camera gear, film, etc. from fellow flickr-ites.
Now I figure that there must be a roll in one of the 60+ cameras I have laying around, so I proceed to check. There it is, in the quirky old beast that is the Argus C-3…but I figure it’s an appropriate camera since it’s more than likely 1950s vintage and many of the cars I will see will be around the same age…perfect! I also loaded up the 1940s Rolleiflex with the one remaining roll of 120.
We get to the Hard Rock and once we finally figure out how to get to the show from the parking lot, it is amazing! There are beautiful concours worthy automobiles from every maker and every era. Oh, the eye candy, now I was truly inspired!
I shot many makes and models and came up with quite a few images from the old C-3 that I really like. I have yet to develop the roll out of the Rollei, but should be getting to that one soon.
All of the shots are in the Transportation section on my website here: Transportation Gallery on AnalogSoulPhoto.com
This is the second in my series introducing my collection of film cameras. This one features the lovely and talented original Diana plastic camera from the 1960s.
Over the last week hearing about the devastation and seeing the chilling imagery on television has made me think about these people and their suffering. I can not even conceive of what they must be going through…I live in South Florida and certainly saw some with Hurricane Wilma, but that pales in comparison. It was nothing compared to what happened in New Orleans with Katrina and now this tragedy in Japan.
I have adored Japan for so long for wonderful traditions, food, and culture. I even purchased an English to Japanese dictionary and a tour book for the day that I do get to go. From the Harajuku girls of Tokyo to the wonder of Mt. Fuji…it is a place I can only dream of visiting one day. For these reasons, I wondered what I, a person of little means, could do for Japan.
Upon thinking about it for the last few days, I remembered a time that I went with my husband and friends to the Japanese gardens in Delray Beach, Florida. I took many images that day with my trusty old Minolta Minoltina AL-s rangefinder and plastic Holga cameras. Being at this place is a small substitution for the real thing. I got images of beautiful blue tile roofs, zen gardens, and picturesque bridges.
I finally thought of what I could do…I will sell the Japanese themed images that I shot at the gardens and send a portion of the profits to a charity organization that is directly involved with helping those in need in Japan. The images here are just a sampling of what I will be offering. Click on any of these images to see more in my gallery on the website.
Also keep in mind that any items purchased through my website are not signed as they are shipped directly from the manufacturer. If you would like hand-signed and titled versions, contact me directly and I can get those to you. Direct from me prices are for an 8×10 (approx) print in an 11×14 mat one for $29, 2 for $50, or 3 for $60. Again, with any images sold from my “Japanese Inspiration” series will have a portion of the proceeds send for relief in Japan, whether from the website or me directly.
I just wanted to let you know. I have a website where most of the images shown on this blog are sold: My Photography Website and I usually upload images to my flickr account first here: My flickr Account . If you see images in my flickr that I don’t yet have on the website, just send me a message and I can see if I can get it up on the site.
I sell through RedBubble primarily and they offer a range of products from greeting cards to matted prints to framed images. So, no matter your budget or needs, they’ll be able to make my image into a piece of art you will cherish forever.
I also sell in person at art and music festivals. If you follow me on facebook here: Analog Soul Photography on facebook , I’ll give a heads up whenever I am doing an event. The images I sell at the festivals are ones prepared by me personally, so are a bit different than what is sold on my website. The prints I sell are usually close to an 8×10 image and an overall mat size (frame size) of 11×14. This size is standard so that you can either custom frame it or just pick up a ready-made frame from somewhere like Target or WalMart or Michaels. I hand sign and title all of the mats on these images also, so there is an added value to purchasing directly from me. You can also email me about any image you may be interested in from my website and I can send you a hand signed one…I accept PayPal for these transactions and can ship them safely and securely to you.
Thank you very much for your interest in my blog and I look forward to sharing much more of my photography with you!
Recently I have been going back through my photographic archives. I have brought up images that I thought were okay and converted them to black and white and I loved them. I was amazed that this simple conversion could make me go from “like” to “love” with a simple Ctrl/Alt/Shift/B stroke.
It started with my aforementioned images from New Orleans and more recently some that I had taken with my pseudo Rollei Pearl River twin lens reflex camera. I had some shots from our Fisheating Creek, Florida camping trip and some others from that camera.
And just the other day, I picked up a roll of film from the processors that I shot in my Olympus XA (c-41 that I don’t develop at home) that was color. I got home with it and didn’t even scan it as color, I went straight to black and white…and the images were great! I’m amazed at how much just doesn’t work as well in color and once it’s made black and white, it becomes “art.”
So, from now on, I am only going to be using black and white film (unless I get a crazy good deal somewhere) and process myself. That way, there’s no question…it’s black and white and that’s it. Also, the film itself is predominantly less expensive and home developing also is much more reasonable in the long run. I am the “starving artist,” after all
A couple of weeks ago, we decided to go on an adventure in Miami to the Gold Coast Train Museum. Little did we know what an adventure it would be…as my GPS in my Android phone took us all the way west …though I told the hubby it looked suspicious, he wanted to follow it. We just got to go through horrendous Miami traffic from west to east and finally found the correct location which was right by Miami MetroZoo (where he initially thought it was).
One of our reasons for visiting on this day was that it was free admission (as it is the first Saturday of every month) and there was a caravan of gourmet food trucks to be there. The hubby’s a foodie, so he really wanted to try the food trucks…and we really needed some inspiration for our photography which we knew the trains, our friends Robert, Michelle, and Bobby, and my step daughter Melissa and her daughter Aliza would give.
I took my post WWII Argus A2b and trusty Pentax MX with me. I needed to get the Argus out “just because” and I knew my MX wouldn’t let me down (since I’m still not well versed in the use of the A2b) so I’d get at least some decent shots.
We were starving after our driving adventure, so we headed straight for the food trucks. Luckily, they didn’t let us down. We scarfed a couple of fish tacos immediately, then the hubby and I went to separate trucks for the rest of our meal. I had a wonderful Mediterranean chicken wrap from a truck that only does wraps…super yummy!
Once we finished lunch, I realized there were a couple of old fire trucks and a Case steam powered farm tractor just outside the train building. I thought they would make excellent photographic subjects, so I proceeded to shoot away. Got some shots I really like of the tractor and especially the details of one truck (an American LaFrance). I just love rusty old historical vehicles like this. They have so much more meaning when they were used for saving lives or for producing food. As always, I thought about this history and wondered about the tales they would tell if they could.
We gathered up our crew and headed inside the train building. It was amazing, they had many different eras of passenger cars, engines, and cabooses. I loved the passenger cars most…imagining the lives of the people that rode in them. The most luxurious of these was the Ferdinand Magellan Railcar made by the Pullman Company. This railcar was used for the three presidents prior to Kennedy (Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and Dwight D. Eisenhower) to transport and do “whistlestop” campaigning. It was replaced with Air Force One for President Kennedy. The appointments in this car were amazing…it had an early version of air conditioning, two “suites” with adjoining washrooms…one of which even had what they called a “bath tub,” but it was more of a basin for the shower.
It was a great day checking out all the cool rail cars and I think we’ll go back soon. We had a good time, but with everyone in our group it was hard to shoot as much as I wanted to. I like to document the details and it takes me a while to do so…so the hubby and I will have to make a trip on our own to spend more time shooting. We highly recommend it and if you’re going to the Miami Metro Zoo any time soon, definitely add it to your agenda!
Still recovering from a long and fun weekend of food, fun, and great music at the Riverwalk Blues and Music Festival in Fort Lauderdale this past weekend. Our friend Vena Paylo (wonderful music portrait artist) asked me to share a booth with her to sell our wares and I thought it would be great fun and we might just make some money at the same time!
I had matted up many of my images that I thought would sell to a blues and other types of musical interests crowd. I selected some of my New Orleans ones that I had just added to the website, along with many musical instrument “portraits” I have taken over the years. I had two images relating to Joel DaSilva of the Hep Cat Boo Daddies (great hard rocking rockabilly style music) pedal board with voodoo doll and set list and one of his well-loved Fender Stratocaster guitar with a retro pinup style woman on it. I also had another favorite local musician represented; Graham Wood Drout of Iko Iko’s (great “swampadelic” style) white Fender Stratocaster along with his amp that has his design of the Iko Iko logo snake. I also had a handful of images of resonator guitars which are one of my favorites…they are just art in themselves! I also love the way they sound ;-) Lastly, I thought some of my images from Clarksdale, Mississippi last year when we went to the Blues Music Awards in May would be appropriate. I had one from Morgan Freeman’s club “Ground Zero” and a shot of “Red’s” famous juke joint.
It was a great festival and I sold WAY more work than I ever thought I would…including every music-related piece I brought. I don’t think I missed any sales by not having selection though, which is good considering I wasn’t as prepared as I would have liked to have been. Now I know more what to expect and think I’d love to do more blues related music festivals…they’re fun, the music is wonderful, and the crowd is generous and courteous…oh, and they have great taste in photography, of course
In recent months, I have been in a little “slump” in my photographic adventures. Luckily, in October when I took a driving trip to see my family in Virginia, my father gave me a Koni Omega Rapid (oddball medium format), Graflex Crown Graphic (large format), and a Rolleiflex Automat (twin lens reflex) to use! He’s always been good like that and I think that seeing me getting back into film photography made him want to hand these off to someone to use again…they were just sitting in drawers in their dank basement.
I got home with these new gems and was getting some great inspiration just by having these cameras in my hot little hands. Upon my return, I was on flickr catching up and someone had posted about a photographer by the name of Vivian Maier from Chicago that had just been “discovered” after her passing. He made mention of her use of a Rolleiflex and this really intrigued me. I found more information on the web about her shooting through many decades with her Rollei and that there were thousands of rolls of film found of hers. There were two major things that made me very interested in her; the fact that she was a woman photographer in a time when it was very male dominated, and that she used a Rolleiflex camera rather than a more “dainty” 35mm or other smaller camera that a typical woman of the era would.
I came to read about her, watch videos and see her story explode across the internet. What a find this John Maloof had come across! Thoughts of her falling into obscurity went through my mind and made me so thankful that John had the wisdom to see the great value of this woman’s images and the story of her life. There is now a display of her work and a couple of her cameras in Chicago…makes me really want to go there to see it and the place that she had called home for so much of her life.
Now this Rolleiflex that my father had entrusted me with had so much more meaning to me. It started with a fascination of the German engineering of a machine that was made around WWII and now the added interest of a mid century woman photographer having used a very similar camera. I can’t wait to use the camera more and watch the incredible story of this amazingly talented woman photographer unfold.
I was just going through my gallery on my website and realized how many images I have from cemeteries. I don’t know what exactly draws me to them…a sense of history, a mystery of a life I never knew, or simply showing respect to those that have left this world. I have been intrigued since I was very young and my brothers and I would sneak into graveyards to peek at the headstones.
Since my foray back into film photography, I have shot Key West Cemetery and Evergreen Cemetery in Fort Lauderdale fairly extensively. I think my favorite subjects would have to be the angels…beautiful heavenly beings watching over the souls that have passed on. Key West has some gorgeous hand carved marble angels that I adore. There’s even one there that had an eerie light flare no matter what camera or angle I took it from.
My favorite cameras for shooting in these environs have been my modern Diana F+ and vintage Diana, Ansco Pix plastic 35mm, and Minolta Minoltina AL-s 1960s rangefinder.
The Lomography Diana F+ was the one that led me back down this filmy path I am on. She was sitting on a shelf at the Urban Outfitters store where I saw her and fell immediately in love! She was a remake of a camera I had when I was a wee lass of only six years old. Dad had brought cameras back for all seven of us kids from overseas where he was stationed with the Air Force. I guess these little plastic Dianas fit the bill quite well since they were cheap for a military budget for their seven offspring and lightweight to carry back with him. Now there is this bright and shiny new model luring me back to the dreamy images of my youth!
I didn’t have the funds at the time to pick up this lovely lady, but the hubby knew how much I wanted her. He found a store locally (oddly, we didn’t have an Urban Outfitters nearby) that sold the camera. It was a clandestine trip for me to Bear & Bird Gallery at Tate’s Comics (http://www.tatescomics.com/bearandbird/) as I would later enter a Diana image in an exhibition there and continue to be a loyal customer.
One of the first outings with the Diana was Five Points in Jacksonville, Florida where I got this shot:
I loved the look of the heavy black vignetting and softness at the edges. That, combined with the sharp center on the image gave it a dreamlike, ethereal quality.
After using this modern Diana camera, I thought more and more of the one I had as a child and wondered how it would compare. I priced them out on internet auction sites, but they were a bit out of my range and with plastic cameras of that age, it was hard to tell what one would get. So after figuring that wouldn’t happen, a friend of mine said he had one in the original box around somewhere and I could have it for a great price. I jumped at the opportunity!
Too bad she came in the wrong box (mine is the non flash model and the box is for the flash model designated “Diana F”)
But she performed as I had remembered…although the mask on the film makes the image smaller than the new one. I find that since the image was smaller, it allowed for less of the edge qualities of vignetting and softness. I loved the images from her anyway…
I’ve acquired many other cameras since getting these two little ladies, but they both still hold special spots in my heart. Just reminds me I need to get them out again soon
It all started on Thursday night when a friend mentioned that a restaurant owner might be interested in some of my images for decor in his business. I knew I had a handful of good shots I got with my trusty Pentax ZX-5 in 2005 when we went for a friend’s 50th birthday celebration. I also have some from 1990 when I was there with my parents and was using Dad’s Olympus 35DC rangefinder, but that’s a different story for a different day.
I went to my flickr account where I have the majority of what I consider my “quality” work uploaded first. I was surprised to find that I had not uploaded many shots I had remembered from that trip and had to dig back into the backup drive to find them. I located the file and began the process of deciding which images were worthy of uploading to flickr. It certainly is a bittersweet task, as we had visited a short 4 months before the devastation of Hurricane Katrina hit this beautiful gem of a city.
The images I see are those of city rich with history, music, and culture. They are a reminder that this tragedy will not take away the spirit of New Orleans as it is far bigger than a hurricane. That spirit touches all who visit the city and is carried with them to far away locales the world around. My only hope is to be able to visit soon and once again get my fill of the intoxicating brew that is New Orleans.
Back in November for the hubby’s birthday, I decided to take him to the historic Bonnet House here on Fort Lauderdale Beach. They just happened to be having an orchid show, so I though it would be a great photo expedition for both of us. We’ve both needed a bit of inspiration so it was just what we needed.
I decided to bring my trusty old Pentax MX. I had one in high school and college, but it ended up with a faulty meter, so I sent it to my Dad to repair and never got it back. This camera is one I purchased in an online auction for a very reasonable price and it came to me with a dented prism. I got some money back due to the fact that it made the hot shoe malfunction. I then proceeded to repair the hot shoe based in instructions I found on the internet and now have a fully functioning gem of a camera (albeit a tad battered looking ;-).
When we went in, there were crazy Spider Monkeys jumping through the canopy of trees overhead. I was shooting with my 50mm lens, so I couldn’t get any good shots though. The orchid show was beautiful and we were able to get some wonderful afternoon light on them.
The house itself was just beautiful too. It was owned by an artistic and quirky family and it shows. There is everything from classically beautiful art and sculptural pieces to very primitive tropical style paintings. We weren’t allowed to photograph inside the house, but I got some decent images of outside and in the courtyard areas.
I have long had a passion for twin lens cameras. Dad let me use his Yashica Mat 124g when I was 13 or 14 years old. He even guided me in the darkroom for developing the 120 negatives. It was the beginning of my medium format shooting and darkroom experiences.
I used my Pentax MX 35mm through high school and college and picked up the Yashica Mat again in the late 80s. There was just something about the twin lens camera that inspired me…the classic ground glass viewing, the large size of the negatives, or maybe just the square format. It was always fun to get the twin lens out for a day of shooting.
“Dilapidated Barn” c. 1988 shot with Dad’s Yashica Mat 124g
Well, Dad had a habit of selling his gear at camera shows in exchange for other stuff, so the Yashica went to a new home. I expressed that I missed the tlr, so he said I could use his Chinese Pearl River version. I took it home and put a few rolls through it, then put it away as the appeal of electronic wizardry snuck into my brain. As the 90s went into the new millennium, I went to digital cameras…until last year (2009) when I dove right back into film photography again. I pulled that Pearl River out of the box of my stored camera collection. The magic was back in my hands…though this was a very lowly version of a tlr, it was a pleasure to use and produced lovely images. This was also the first time in my photographic history that I became comfortable not using a handheld meter and using “the meter in my head.”
Pearl River 4-s Twin Lens Reflex Camera
I made another trip to Virginia recently and Dad “loaned” me yet another tlr…this time a legendary Rolleiflex! I was thrilled to finally get my hands on such a renowned camera. It is one of the earlier Automat models from just after WWII with the Xenar f3.5 lens. Even though it’s not one of the uber expensive 50s or 60s versions, it’s still wonderful. I have shot a couple of rolls in it and the German engineering is truly awe inspiring…especially for its age! I am looking forward to many more years with this vintage beauty.
“Boca Grande Light III” shot with Rolleiflex Automat
I have recently realized that along with being a rangefinder maniac, I am Pentaxian. I came to this realization after acquiring a nice little Pentax MX to replace the one I had sent up to my Dad to be repaired about a decade ago. I had asked him about it recently and he seems to think it’s “his” MX, which it technically is, but it was mine for a very long time from high school through college and after.
The MX was my first Pentax and I used it for many high school yearbook projects. I continued to study photography into college and used it for my classes there also. It was my constant companion. Dad had an LX and I enjoyed using it too, but I still really enjoyed the MX more. I was lured into electronic wizardry in the late 90′s and picked up a ZX-5 (MZ-5) in my early online auction days. I loved throwing the old glass from my MX on this camera and also enjoyed the newfangled autofocus lenses I bought for use with it. By the early 2000′s I was lured by the digital age and began using various cruddy point and shoots. Dad was getting out of film photography, so he loaded me up with his old gear, which was pretty cool. He gave me an SF1n, a PZ-1p, and a load of cool old lenses. I finally picked up a digital slr around 2005…after much debate…and it was…wait for it…PENTAX!!! It was a k100d and using all the old glass and lenses from the ZX-5 was a God send. Oh, and let’s not forget about the flashes. Now the hubby has a k10d and we’re just one big happy Pentaxian family!
I decided recently I needed another MX…ten years was far too long to go without. I bid and won a nice one on the ‘bay. Well, I received it and it looked pretty good even with the mentioned dents in the prism. It was much better looking than my old beater was anyway I put it through its paces and found everything to be in reasonable working order…at least as far as I could tell without running film through it. I loaded a roll of film and found that the flash would not fire. After some investigation on flickr and the web, I found out how to take apart the hot shoe without taking the entire camera apart. There was one small part out of alignment, so I lined it up, reassembled it, and voila…flash!
My “new” MX:
I’ve been enjoying my time shooting black and white film photography and love that there are so many options for putting up a website and selling prints. I have most of my images for sale on my website <a href=”Analog Soul Photography”: in many formats including everything from greeting cards to matted and framed prints.
I am setting up my galleries with the material I have and organizing in a way that I feel would be pleasing to the browser’s eye and easy to find what they are looking for. I’ve especially enjoyed doing some shooting recently at our beautiful South Florida beaches and have added a few shots from these locations. I like to show how much I appreciate the place where I live and want to convey the beauty to others.
The world could use some more high quality black and white fine art photography, and this is just my small contribution I’m hoping to be able to spend more of my time dedicated to this venture as it has been my lifelong passion to do so.
I am a constant “thrifter” hitting up local thrift stores, antique stores, and the like for neat old vintage cameras. I have found a near mint condition Polaroid SX-70, a Franka Solida, Jr. w/ Voigtlander shutter (I call it “FrankenKamera”), and a cheesy Time Magazine camera, amongst others.
I have decided to make a local Veteran’s thrift store my favorite for donations (my father and all of my brothers are vets) and went to drop off some stuff one day. Guess it was good karma or something cause when I looked in the display case, there was a Minolta Hi-Matic 7sII staring back at me! I asked the gentleman how much and he said $2!!! I was stunned…this camera goes for over $150 or so when in good working order and I had my eye on them for a long time, but the prices were way out of my range.
I asked to see it and the shutter seemed good and it wound normally. It had a dent on a bottom corner, but not enough to interfere with the film door. When I opened it, the pressure plate was loose inside, but I had recently done a repair on my QL17, so knew it wasn’t a big deal to get back into place. I purchased the camera and saw a donation jar on the counter, so I put a few bucks into that since I got an amazing deal.
I decided to put this camera against my Canon Canonet QL17 in a “shootout,” as they are very similar cameras and routinely compared to one another. They are certainly very similar in many ways.
I have the two compared in my set of photos on flickr here:
“Shootout! Canon Canonet QL17 vs. Minolta Hi-Matic 7sII”:http://www.flickr.com/photos/framerkat/sets/72157623805455642/
Since I have multiple Analog Soul Photography sites, I will list them all here:
My Standard website:
My Facebook page:
My flickr page:
Feel free to check them out and “Like” my facebook page!
Finally getting around to scanning and uploading film images I shot in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Had a good bit of film that I shot with my Pentax ZX-5 and Canon Canonet QL17 GIII. We had a photo walk with our friends while we were there and found the cemetery and many urban decay spots. It’s an amazing town, but has a kind of “ghost town” feel to it with many empty buildings. There is an place right downtown where our friend Stan Street has his Hambone Gallery that is a nice little area. Would love to see this section of town come round and be a home to local musicians and artists alike.
I have uploaded many of these new images to my website here:
Some of my favorites:
In May we took a great trip through Birmingham, AL, Clarksdale, MS, and Memphis, TN and I took an assortment of film cameras with me. I chose my new favorite, Canon Canonet QL17 GIII,
the “old lady” original Diana,
and old favorite Olympus XA.
The odd thing was that when we got to Clarksdale, I pulled out each camera and every one had an “issue.”
Don’t know if there were anti-film spirits in the “shack” we were staying in or what. I first grabbed the Diana and the shutter button seemed to be sticking once triggered…I shot two frames before I realized this. It’s tough with 120 film in square format too because you only get 12 exposures, so each one is precious. I kept trying the shutter button on the second frame (luckily, the Diana “allows” for multiple exposures and at this point I knew I blew the first two anyway) and couldn’t get her to cooperate. So then, I’m a bit bummed cause I really thought that the place we were staying (Shack Up Inn in Clarksdale) would lend itself to Diana’s style…oh well. I placed that camera back into the bag.
The second one I pulled out was the XA…after the Diana problem, I decided I should check it before putting film in it. I opened it up and looked through the viewfinder to check that the meter was reading properly. I got nothing, nada…super bummed now. It seemed that the battery was dead in this one. Back in the bag.
So, the third and final film camera I brought was the Canonet…I had just used it (as I have continuously since I got it), so felt assured all was well. I loaded what I didn’t realize was a roll of 12 exp color film. Usually I use 24 or 36 exposure, but sometimes I purchase lots of expired film, so must have gotten the 12 exp in one of those lots. Once I loaded it, it didn’t seem to be resetting when I shot an image. The winder would not budge after each exposure. I had never had an issue with the winder on this camera, so was quite baffled. I figured it was the mechanism that resets the winder each time the shutter fires, so thought I could bypass it by hitting the rewind button to release it each time I took a shot. I did this for many frames on this roll, then wondered if the film was actually being transported when I was able to wind. Luckily, the Canonet has nice features like an indicator for film in the camera and also for film transport. I checked it as I wound the next time and it looked fine. I don’t know how many frames I ran off this way, but the method I was using would not really indicate when I was at the end of the roll…so I think I may have ended up with about 12 exp on the last frame 8-\ because when I decided to rewind and try another roll, I found that the roll was only a 12 exp. Oops! I did load another roll into the Canonet and the winder worked flawlessly, so I don’t quite know what happened there. Think I did get some good shots with it through our trip.
I have checked all the cameras and the Canonet hasn’t done the same thing again, the Diana is still being quirky, but I’m not sure how to work on a plastic camera :-\ (edit: with some tips from the web, I have lubed the shutter on the Diana and it seems to be working fine now), and when I checked the XA here at home the battery was fine…very strange indeed!
After the Hi-Matic 7s and Minoltina AL-s, I was certainly hooked on Minolta rangefinders, but wanted my next Minolta to be the 7sII…but it was out of my price range. I set my sights on another vintage beauty, the Canon Canonet QL17 GIII (a long name for a legendary camera).
I have certain tactics I use on eBay in order to get the best deal I can. The QL17s I had been watching there were going for about $50 and up and even more for CLA (Cleaned, Lubed, and Adjusted) models. This time, my tactic was to get on eBay during the Super Bowl (best times I’ve found are Super Bowl and World Series), as most people in the US are watching TV instead of prowling eBay. I found a QL17 that was ending during the game that was described as “not in very good shape” and “not sure about functioning.” It looked dirty in the pics, but I could see no damage, so figured it was worth the risk and won it for about $35 with shipping.
I dubbed it “The Ugly Duckling” because it was so grungy. I began cleaning it up and realized all the more what great shape it was in. I even managed to get the residue from masking tape off the top I popped a battery in it and it came to life…here is “The Swan!”
I thoroughly enjoy using this camera…it has very intuitive controls (which is my pet peeve…I’ve had some that make no sense to use!), shutter priority auto mode, and fully manual mode. One quirky thing is that the meter only works in the “A” mode, not in manual. It’s handy when using this mode since you can change the shutter speed to get the desired aperture. For manual, I meter in A, then decide how I want to change shutter speed and aperture accordingly. Once nice thing about the meter being off in manual is that it’s essentially “off” then…thus if one doesn’t have a lens cap or it falls of, you won’t drain your battery.
Here are a couple of shots I’ve taken with this little beauty:
These were shot handheld in “A” mode on Kodak T-Max 400 developed in Rodinal 1:50.
More shots of/taken with this camera here: Canonet QL17 GIII set on flickr
My foray back into film camera collecting began with the plastic Diana F+, but I got off onto a tangent with vintage rangefinders shortly thereafter. First, with the Argus C-3, Kodak 35 RF, and Minolta Minoltina AL-s. Once I started using that sweet little “Tina”…I was hooked once again.
The Minolta family grows…”Tina” is joined by the big & beautiful Hi-Matic 7s
My web searches on other desireable rangefinder models came up with the Minolta Hi-Matic line. The 7sII looked very appealing, but the prices were out of my range (I normally don’t spend more than $30-$40 on my new acquisitions), so I set my sights on the previous model, the 7s. It had appealing features with fully automatic, aperture priority, and fully manual modes. It’s amazing with a camera of this age to just have to point at your subject, focus, and shoot. I used it at an air show one day and had it on the “Auto” setting the entire time…here are some results from it:
“Patriot Wing” shot with Minolta Hi-Matic 7s 35mm rangefinder w/ Kodak bw400cn film
So, it was official, I am an addict. I began researching which one to purchase next See my full set of images of/taken with this camera here: Minolta Hi-Matic 7s set on flickr