Beauty And The Beast

taken with Mamiya RB67 Pro-S, Mamiya-Sekor C 90mm/3.8, Ilford XP2 400 Super

My last post contained a clue hidden within the negative I was examining: I received two additions to my camera collection for a recent birthday and both were involved in that shot.

One new camera was in the picture, and the other was used to take the picture.  Despite both being vintage film cameras, these two could not be any more different.

The "Beauty" is the above Rollei 35 S, one of the most compact 35mm film cameras ever.  There are others that may be a hair smaller, but none with the same kind of classic styling.

The "Beast" is a Mamiya RB67 Pro-S 6x7cm medium format camera.  This is about as large and heavy as a medium format camera gets, clocking in at over 5 lbs for a standard lens setup.

To put them more into perspective, the Mamiya weighs about 8 times as much as the Rollei, and you can virtually fit the whole Rollei inside of the Mamiya.

I have put several rolls of film through both cameras and they are in good shape.  I think the Mamiya needs some new light seals and perhaps a cleaning, but both cameras have taken up positions in my "active lineup" of shooting cameras.

A big thanks to both my DSW and my Father for the Rollei and Mamiya respectively.  Most of my cameras (whether in use or mothballed) have come from one of you!

Down the Slide

Rollei B 35, Ilford XP2 Super

I have now put a few rolls of 35mm film through my latest two new cameras.  My initial impressions shooting with them are 100% positive.

The Nikon F6 is an absolute dream to use.  In theory it is just an evolutionary step up from my F100 (mixed heartily with plenty of DNA from the F5), but it is noticeably nicer to shoot with in almost every single way.

However, I don’t have much film from it developed just yet so impressions on its metering, autofocus, etc. will have to wait.

The Rollei B 35 is an entirely different kind of camera, but has thrilled me just the same.  I have found myself carrying it around with my nearly all the time at night and on the weekends when I am sporting my off-work cargo shorts.

I thoroughly enjoy setting the aperture, shutter speed, and focus distance completely manually.  The Rollei doesn’t even have a rangefinder so I am honing my jedi mind tricks by thinking “Is that four or five feet away from me?” all the time.

The above shot is one of many that I like (most of which are in focus!) that came out of a roll of Ilford XP2 Super film.  This is a 400 speed B&W film which is developed in color print film chemistry, so you can take it into your corner drug store to get it processed.

Stacked Cameras

Nikon D300, AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8

Well, I have updated the design of my blog to include a genuine banner.  The above shot is part of it, but those of you following the feed should check the home page out.

Thanks to my DSW for some Photoshop help to tweak the lighting, color, and shadows.  She wanted to be sure the glory of our jalapeño pepper green kitchen wall came through in force.

You may recognize some of the cameras from a number of my previous posts. The complete rundown front to back is:

  1. Rollei B 35 – I carry this almost everywhere these days
  2. Canon IV-S – sadly the shutter is still full of leaks
  3. Petri 7S – also sadly, its film advance is stuck again
  4. Kine Exakta – I haven’t even tried this yet, its shutter controls are a bit daunting
  5. Nikomat FTN – my workhorse SLR for shooting B&W
  6. Nikon FA – The most advanced manual Nikon ever made
  7. Nikon F100 – My main film camera until recently
  8. Nikon F6 – My new king of the hill

How did I order them?  Not by age, nor purely by size.

They are arguably ordered by technical features as you start with the viewfinder Rollei and proceed to add a rangefinder, average metering, single-lens reflex, center-weighted metering, matrix metering, autofocus, and finally color matrix metering.

I might have ordered a few of them differently, but in the end I think this made for the best looking shot.

San Jose Photo Fair

Nikon D300, Micro Nikkor AF-D 105mm f/2.8

I did manage to make it to the San Jose Photo Fair this past Saturday.  This was my first time and I had a blast.

I haven’t been to a camera swap meet since I was a kid.  I recall going to at least one with my dad back when he was busy getting accessories for his Canon AE-1.  (I seem to recall attending more model train shows with him than camera shows… not sure if that is accurate or not.)

I was expecting to encounter a long hall full of people selling gear from tables stuffed to the gills and that is basically what I found.  I would guess there were around 50 vendors selling almost any manner of photographic item including cameras, lenses, filters, tripods, lighting, film… you name it!

I think it was about 80% classic/vintage/film oriented, although there were some offering digital cameras and accessories as well.  I went there looking for a few specific things and while I didn’t find them, I came away quite satisfied.

I was looking for a few particular Nikkor lenses or one of Nikon’s older camera system cases (the leather kind which have lens mounts inside of them).  I didn’t have any luck there, but I did manage to find a few filters, eyepiece cups, tools, and other accessories that were on my to-buy list.

I couldn’t resist a few items which I was most certainly not looking for but which caught my eye.  I found two very nice table-top tripods; one vintage by Kodak which will make for a nice prop, the other a more modern Polaroid with nice rubber feet and a mount which rotates to avoid scuffing your camera (nice touch!).

And yes, I bought a Rollei B 35 on an impulse. I heard these were among the smallest 35mm film cameras ever produced and I couldn’t resist picking one up after some very helpful show goers walked me through their history and usage.

Ahem… I do seem to be swimming in newly acquired film cameras these days.  I think I need to re-focus my efforts (har har) on some lenses next as well as getting down to taking some photographs!