You are currently browsing the quest tag archives.

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. 🙂

Read more »

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.

Read more »

Camera Quest – Intermission

Posted 2011.07.20 20.10 in Hobbies, Photography

After the first three parts of my  “Compact Camera Quest”, I have temporarily run out of words. I have three more parts outlined but the words stopped flowing for a while.

So in lieu of part four, we’ll break for a little light music, and you are all encouraged to stretch your legs, head on out to the lobby, and avail yourselves of some refreshments and light snacks.

In the meantime, here are a couple images I took over the past weekend. Cheers!

The pics are a bit grainy, but then it was ISO 800 film, and I suspect my chemistry is getting a bit tired. On the other hand, overall I’m pleased with the results.

Compact Camera Quest (Part 3)

Posted 2011.07.18 12.31 in Photography

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

Read more »

Compact Camera Quest (Part 2)

Posted 2011.07.16 10.21 in Pointless Blather

In Part 1 of my quest, I started to identify what I was looking for in a classic compact film camera: small, not-too-heavy, full-frame 35mm, classic (as in, not a point-and-shoot), but also convenient and easy to shoot (not 100% manual). Spelling that out, it does sound a bit like I’m looking for the impossible – or at least, that some of my requirements are at odds — not too manual but not too automatic? WTF?

Part 1 also looked at my first compact 35mm camera, the Rollei B35. A solid, well-built compact manual camera. But a little too heavy, a little too manual, and it didn’t have any built-in protection for the lens or viewfinder.

Before long, I came across another intriguing compact camera – coincidentally, another Rollei too. This time, it was the Rollei A26

Rollei A26

Read more »

Compact Camera Quest (Part 1)

Posted 2011.07.14 16.14 in Photography

“The best camera in your collection is the one you have with you when you need it.”

I don’t know who originally said that, but they were right. The fanciest gear and finest lenses in the world won’t do you any good if you’ve left them at home because they’re too big / heavy / bulky.

Granted, every cellphone now has a “camera” in it. Or the latest Canon or Nikon digital P&S is about the size and weight of a deck of cards… but that’s not what I like. I like film. I like old-school. I like classic cameras. I do like convenience though, and I don’t always want to have to stop to tinker with my camera before taking the shot.

At one point, I had thought my Canonet GIII QL17 was the perfect 35mm camera. And my Zeiss Ikon Nettar is a nearly-perfect medium-format. Problem is, I don’t carry them around everywhere. The Canonette isn’t all that bulky but it is a bit heavy, and doesn’t fit in a small purse or jacket pocket. And the Nettar is a fantastic folding camera, but it’s an antique in great condition, so just a bit too dear for me to lug around everywhere day after day.

Then I learned about the Rollei 35 – a full-frame 35mm camera that some referred to as “sub-compact”. Intrigued, I soon found one available online at a good price, and took the plunge…

Rollei B35

Read more »