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Compact Camera Quest (Part 5)

Posted 2011.07.25 23.13 in Hobbies, Photography

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

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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New Old Camera

Posted 2009.09.09 17.39 in Hobbies

1972_netg3-17My photographicalogical interests continue to spread out, having gone from a shiney new DSLR to my old manual Minolta, and are stretching further back in time. Today I got a nifty ‘new’ Canonet GIII QL17 35mm Rangefinder! The very best compact photographic technology that 1972 had to offer!

It really is a ‘compact’ camera, yet has all the bells and whistles of a serious / pro rangefinder. This website compares the QL17 to a Leica M6 – and I do believe the very economical QL17 stands up pretty well to the rather expensive Leica.

For a camera that’s pushing 37 years old, it’s in reasonably good shape. As soon as I verified that the shutter, aperture and winding mechanism were working, I threw in a roll of B&W film and when I’ve worked through the 36 shots I’ll develop it and post the results.

The camera is ‘almost’ entirely manual – the only non-manual thing it can do is it has an Electric Eye sensor that can be used to run the camera in Shutter Priority mode. That is, you pick a shutter speed and the camera can select the correct aperture. This is actually opposite of my prefered mode (Aperture Priority) on my DSLR and my Minolta X370. The QL17 uses a (banned) mercury battery to power the Electric Eye, but there are non-toxic replacements now. Without a battery, the camera works just fine in manual mode.

Camerapedia has an entry for the Canonet GIII QL17 which has some good info and links. Canon even has a page for the camera in their Camera Museum site.