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Rainbow No 2 Hawk-Eye Model C

Posted 2011.09.06 20.07 in Hobbies, Photography by Stephanie

It’s quite a mouthful – that’s the name of my newest oldest camera! The Kodak No. 2 Hawk-Eye Model C was a “box” camera made in or around 1930. It was actually a re-issue of a camera design that was introduced in 1913, but Kodak re-released them to celebrate the company’s 50th anniversary.

In fact, to celebrate its 50th birthday, Kodak gave away a half-million cameras like this one, to 12-year-old children. Mine is not one of the 50th anniversary specials – just a standard rainbow No 2 Model C. Mind you, it’s better than your average box camera – mine is Red!

My Red Camera!

Kodak No.2 Hawk-Eye Model C

Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to see how it worked. I loaded it up and shot through a roll of film in a few minutes, outside around the house.

One of the things I needed to figure out, was exposures. Box cameras tend not to have any settings. Well ok some do, but this one sure doesn’t. One shutter speed. No aperture settings. Certainly no focusing. Without knowing the technical info, it’s very hard to know what to expect from the camera. And I know they weren’t running ISO 800 colour film through these things, back in the 1930’s.

I’ve read that the shutter speed is probably about 1/30th. I measured the focal length (about 105mm) and estimated the aperture at f/6.3. So using ISO 100 film, I calculated that would work at EV+10 — say, indoors under bright light, or outdoors under heavy overcast.

In actuality it looks like the aperture is probably more like f/8 or even f/11 which means it’s better off at EV+11 or EV+12 – I’d guesstimate that the Church image was a 12 and that came out properly exposed. So now I know what sort of conditions to look for next time!

Incidentally, if you’re wondering where one might find a camera like this… I actually scored this beautiful example from an Etsy store. If you’re looking for an antique or classic camera, follow the link and have a look – I found Rebecca a real pleasure to deal with.

p.s. Technical details – film was Shanghai GP-3, ISO 100 B&W processed 7 1/2 minutes in Kodak T-Max developer, 1:4 mix.

Minolta Autopak 700

Posted 2011.09.03 10.34 in Hobbies, Photography by Stephanie

I think one of the reasons I enjoy shooting the 126 format is because I like shooting squares. Rectangular shots are so ubiquitous that the square format on its own is something novel and different. I don’t know if I like it only for its difference, or if it’s truly aesthetically better to my eyes.

Either way, I’m still enjoying the 126 format, and to help enjoy it even more, I recently acquired another camera in this format. Unlike all my other 126 kits, this one allows full manual control of exposure, and even has a perfect focus aid – a coupled rangefinder.

Minolta Autopak 700

Minolta Autopak 700

The Minolta Autopak 700 looks more like Minolta’s Hi-Matic line than it does other 126 cameras. It’s larger and heavier than my other 126 cameras, being made entirely of metal and designed like a ‘real’ camera.

Unfortunately, the camera had some problems when I received it: the front element of the lens was loose and wobbly, the rangefinder was completely non-functional, and the mechanism to wind the film & cock the shutter siezed up after a single crank.

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The Littlest SLR Camera!

Posted 2011.08.19 22.30 in Hobbies, Photography by Stephanie

During some recent internet roaming, I stumbled across some information about this camera and it was an instant had-to-have response. The smallest SLR camera system ever? Who could resist that?

Back in 1978/1979 when the Pocket Instamatic format was already losing popularity, Pentax came out with their first (and only) 110-format camera. They only made one, but they made it count! This is no simple one-speed one-aperture point-and-click plastic job. No way. This is a complete camera system.

Single Lens Reflex body, interchangable lenses, filters, dedicated electronic flash units, and motorized power winders… the Pentax Auto 110 was a full-fledged system camera, for a sub-miniature plastic cartridge format.

How small is it? In the image above, you can see the camera along with two spare lenses, a film cartridge, and for a sense of scale, a quarter. The camera and a couple lenses can fit in a jacket pocket. The camera and a couple lenses are smaller than most 35mm SLR bodies. Amazing.

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Why No 126 Film?

Posted 2011.07.30 19.45 in Photography, Pointless Blather by Stephanie

The other night I was looking at my Rollei A26 and the half dozen 126 cartridges I’ve managed to hoard. After that handful of film…nothing. Since the last manufacturer ceased production in 2007, it’s become extremely rare and when you do find it, very expensive.

126 Film

Then I got thinking of The Impossible Project – IMHO a truly remarkable story. When Polaroid went away and stopped making film, millions of perfectly good instant cameras became useless. (You can see them all over eBay!) But this collection of people determined to resurrect Polaroid instant film, and they’ve actually done it!

So back to the 126 film cartridges. The Impossible Project really was impossible – they had to make not just film, but instant self-processing film. On the other hand, 126 film is basically just 35mm film in a special plastic case. It’s somewhat common practice now to respool 35mm film into 126 cartridges. I’ve done it myself.

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Compact Camera Quest (Part 5)

Posted 2011.07.25 23.13 in Hobbies, Photography by Stephanie

In the last installment, I mentioned that my search had led me into two different directions. Today it’s all about the other direction my quest has led me.

One of the cameras that kept popping up on lists of good compact film cameras was the Olympus XA. I had heard of these cameras before but hadn’t seen one in person and didn’t realize just how small they are.

They are one of the few cameras in this size that incorporate an actual coupled rangefinder, and even after 30 years they are still in demand – meaning they tend to still demand a high price. So I looked about and managed to get my hands on a cheap one – it had a flaw but I thought I could fix that. I thought wrong. It turns out that the XA series use an early IC and when these chips die, there is really no way to salvage the camera.

After that disappointment, I continued looking around, and instead of another XA, I came across a later model that I had to have – the Olympus XA-3.

The XA-3 is almost identical to the XA-2, in that both are zone focus and fully automatic AE. The XA-3 employs the DX system for reading film speed directly off the 35mm film can (for non-DX film you can still set the speed manually), and also has a +1.5EV switch for backlit subjects.

The real reason that I had to get this XA-3 though, was the colour…

Olympus XA-3

About two decades ago, a red Fuji DL-7 was my constant companion for many years, and since then I have had a soft spot for red cameras. 🙂

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Compact Camera Quest (Part 4)

Posted 2011.07.22 19.04 in Hobbies, Photography by Stephanie

Some time after acquiring the Minox, my interest in photography waned for a while. (Actually my interest in everything waned, it’s part of the deal with depression.) Then a couple months ago, it all started back up again.

I looked at my little cameras, but I knew none of them was just right. I did some more research, checked with teh interwebz, to see what else was out there in the same class as the Rolleis and the Minoxes. It was about this time that I realized this was an actual quest-shaped thing.

Anyhow, my searching led me in two different directions. One of them, the one that this entry is about, was the Compact-Automat. Yeah, the Lomo LC-A. (I’ve recently expressed my opinion about that Lomography thing, so I won’t get into that again here.)

Lomo LC-A+ RL

I’d first heard about this camera a couple years ago, but it was overpriced back then. (It’s more overpriced now.) I knew I was getting fleeced but after a recent frustration with another acquisition, I was impatient to get something else to play with, so I figured what the heck.

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Compact Camera Quest (Part 3)

Posted 2011.07.18 12.31 in Photography by Stephanie

In Part 1 of my quest, I started to identify what I was looking for in a classic compact film camera. In Part 2, I found a camera that was very easy to love – except that you can’t get film for it any more and the batteries it uses have been banned.

The third camera I came across on this journey was the Minox 35GT. Minox is mostly known for their sub-miniature ‘spy’ cameras – tiny little things you’d expect to see in a James Bond movie. Their 35mm line is not as well-known, but seem to be quite popular among the sub-compact enthusiast crowd.

Unlike the two Rolleis I looked at earlier, the Minox is a real lightweight – it’s made of a dense plastic, possibly ABS. Like the Rollei 35B, the Minox lens collapses into the camera body when not in use. Unlike the 35B, the Minox has a fold-up door which covers and protects the lens (and the front of the viewfinder) while the camera is closed.

One of the features that attracted me to the Minox 35 series was that they use aperture-priority AE. This was the mode with which I first learned about automatic exposure, and it remains my favorite kind of AE. With aperture priority, you select your desired aperture and the camera sets the appropriate shutter speed. This allows you to control the depth-of-field of your shot.

Minox 35GT

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