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This section contains well over 100 still cameras from A to Z (Agfa to Zeiss Ikon) using 35mm film but not having single lens reflex viewing and focusing. There are four primary ways these cameras focus. First, some are fixed focus. There is no focus adjustment. The lenses are usually small aperture and will provide a clear depth of field from perhaps five feet to infinity. Second, some have zone focusing. The lens focuses, but the user has to estimate the distance. Often there are two, three or four distance zones often represented by icons to help the user. The third way is rangefinder focusing which provides precise focusing. Rangefinder cameras have at least two windows which produce two images. There is usually a yellow square or diamond seen in the viewfinder with two overlapping images. You rotate the focusing ring until the two images merge together. For further information see The Living Image and Olympus 35mm Rangefinder Cameras. Rangefinder focusing became common in the 1950s and remained popular until being largely replaced by the fourth focusing method, autofocus which begin with the Konica C35 AF in November 1977. With autofocus, you just point at the subject and the camera focuses automatically. See Wikipedia - Autofocus for more information. With all of these cameras the photographer views the image through a viewfinder which is not connected to the lens. The view through this viewfinder or window can hence be slightly different from the image that hits the film.
The cameras are arranged alphabetically by manufacturer and then generally by date for each manufacturer.
|Ansco Memar (aka Agfa Silette) (introduced 1953) bottom states: "Made for Ansco by Agfa Camera Werke AG Munchen Germany." Camerapedia.org - Silette indicates it is the same as the Agfa Silette. The Memar and Silette focus by estimation. The Super Silette has rangefinder focusing.Camerapedia.org - Silette has a lengthy discussion of the various designs over the years. This is the original and simplest model apparently produced from 1953 until the early 1960s. The "New Ansco 35mm Memar" sold in the 1955 Sears Camera Catalog (page 10) for $39.50. Astonishly, that's $311.50 in 2009 dollars. The leather eveready case was an additional $6.95 and the Ansco Flash (page 40) $7.95. Sears advertised the Memar as "simplicity and quality at a low cost." It is a simple, well built camera, with sufficient controls to take some serious photos. It has an Agfa Apotar 45mm f3.5 lens, a Pronto shutter with speeds from 1/25 to 1/200 plus B. Apertures go to f16. Focus is set by rotating the focus ring in front with focus from 3 feet to infinity. It is not a rangefinder - focus distance is set by estimation. Behind the focus ring is the shutter speed selection ring. The aperture ring is behind that, closest to the camera. There is no light meter. You set the shutter speed and aperture by estimation or a separate light meter. Film advance is with a lever, something fairly advanced for this level of camera at the time. The film advance cocks the shutter and also increases the exposure count. The shutter release has a cable release socket. There is also a cold flash shoe and a socket for a flash. The camera also has a self timer and a tripod socket. I purchased mine at a Fletcher Hills (El Cajon, CA) garage sale for $5 on 3-14-09. The camera and case are in good cosmetic and working condition. The focus is very stiff, however. The Kodak Pony 35mm selling for $29.75 and the Argus A-4 selling for $32.50, both made in the United States, were similar to this German made Ansco Memar. It is a nice, basic, yet serious, starter camera that is actually considerably better than many of the Instamatics of the 1960s and 1970s or the 35mm fixed focus cameras of the 1980s and beyond that were to follow. The manual is available at www.butkus.org.|
|Agfa Ambi Silette (1957-1961) According to Camera Quest this German interchangeable lens coupled rangefinder camera was introduced in Europe in 1957 and to the United States in 1959. It was discontinued in 1961. My camera is in excellent cosmetic and working condition but it is missing the front cover over the front viewfinder. That is where the Agfa Ambi Silette name is on the camera. The cover is not needed. Indeed, Camera Quest states: "The strangest thing about the Silette is the peculiar cover over the front viewfinder. I don't like it at all. If I shot a lot with the Silette, I would have it removed." Maybe the original owner of my camera felt the same way. In an edit to his review, Mike Eckman indicates some collectors point out the front flap does shade the viewfinder and rangefinder reducing glare. Shutter speeds from 1/500 to 1 second are set by a ring at the back of the lens assembly. The shutter works but the slowest speeds are slow to close. The camera has an Agfa Color-Solinar 50mm f2.8 lens. Close focus is one meter. The aperture ring with apertures from f2.8 to f16 is at the front of the lens assembly. A button at the bottom/front of the camera releases the interchangeable lens. The viewfinder has settings for the 35mm, 50mm and 90mm lenses. The coupled rangefinder is clear and bright. There is no light meter. A 1958 magazine advertisement on eBay states the price was $109. Adjusted for inflation, that's equals $1,150 in March 2023 dollars. The ad states that the camera is guaranteed for life! I apparently got this camera in June 2012 since the photograph of it was taken then. I don't recall where I got it or the purchase price. Camera Quest gives it a glowing recommendation and it is indeed a wonderful camera. Other sites having excellent information on the Agfa Ambi Silette include Mike Eckman, Casual Photophile, Camera-Wiki, Retina Rescue, macfilos.com, and DP Review. The manual is available at butkus.org.|
|Agfa Optima (1959) The original Agfa Optima, introduced in 1959, is the world's first camera with automatic exposure selecting both the aperture and shutter speed. It does this with no battery! The light meter is made of Selenium, an element which is sensitive to light. The Selenium meter activates a mechanical system that sets the aperture and shutter speed. There is a switch on the bottom - front that you switch to the A (automatic) or the flash setting. When set to the A setting, you have to slide down the big button on your left hand side before operating the shutter release on top. A comment by Marc Rochkind at Another 50th Anniversary - The Agfa Optima, photo.net indicates pushing the big button or lever on the side of the lens supplies the necessary force for the camera to select the aperture and shutter speed since the only other energy input is the very minimal voltage supplied from the Selinium meter.|
A follow up entilted Agfa Optima: Pop Photography 1959 Articles to the original photo.net discussion above has links to two November 1959 Popular Photography articles. The first What's New article describes the lens as a 39mm Apotar f3.9. The shutter is a Compur with continuously variable speeds from 1/30 to 1/250 second. The article describes the exposure system. "[A]s the photoelectric cell constantly monitors scene brightness, it feeds current to a mechanical system which alters the position of a cam. When the lever on the left side of the camera body . . . is depressed before each shot, it releases tension on a feller arm, thus allowing spring-loaded aperture and shutter-speed controls to move until halted by the cam, thus setting correct exposure and placing a green dot in view-finder to signify sufficient light." The shutter speed stays at 1/250 until the aperture goes to its maximum at f3.9. The shutter speeds then begin to go slower until they get to 1/30 second. It is therefore really the first programmed exposure mode camera! The other article, Electric Eye indicates the lever stops the lens down to the correct aperture.
Curiously, the Optima I and other models below do not have a separate lever you hold down while pushing the shutter. Rather, they have an identical looking button on the opposite side of the lens that serves as the shutter release. This shutter release does go down quite some distance compared to most shutter releases. I'm guessing that the lever action and shutter release were combined into one button on the Optima I and later models. The What's New article lists the price of the original Optima as $79.95 which is nearly equal to $600 in 2009 dollars. The original Optima has zone focusing consisting of only three zones shown by icons with two people, three people and a mountain. According to Agfa Optima - Wikipedia Commons the focusing icons use Wilhelm Busch's famous Max und Moritz cartoon heroes. As noted in the photo.net discussions above, 1959 was a landmark year for cameras with such notable cameras as the Nikon F, Canon Canoflex and the Minolta SR-2 single lens reflex cameras also coming out in that year.
My Agfa Optima was purchased on 10-25-09 for $15 plus $9.05 shipping on eBay from Pacific Rim Camera. They describe it as being in EX+ condition with the shutter working on bulb, but the meter not working. That's the disadvantage to a totally automatic system. When the Selenium meter is out, you are really out of luck. Selenium meters also tend to stop working over time. I bought it while doing the description for Agfa Optima I which I got about a month earlier. I thought I should have the very first model of the very first truly automatic exposure camera!
|Agfa Optima I (1961) The next successor to the original Optima above. Camerapedia has photographs comparing several of the Optima models. The Optima I sold for $69.90 (case included) in the 1961 Sears Camera Catalog. $69.90 in 1961 has the equivalent buying power of about $500 in 2009. Zone focusing with three indicators for closeups, groups and distant scenes. 45mm f2.8 lens. Shutter speeds from 1/60 to 1/500 second. Made in West Germany. Agfa, like Kodak and Fuji, was a large film manufacturer that also marketed cameras. More information at The Camera Site. The manual is available at butkus.org. I purchased my camera on September 10, 2009 on eBay for $6.03 plus $5.45 shipping from Oceanside, CA. It is in good working and cosmetic condition.|
|Agfa Optima II S (1960) similar to the Optima and Optima I above, in addition to the automatic exposure system, the Optima IIS has a coupled rangefinder for focusing. A vintage 1960 magazine ad describes it as "the only totally automatic 35mm with rangefinder for under $100." It is a Christmas oriented ad with a gift box with the camera inside and urging you to see it and try it before Christmas. The same ad refers to the new Optima I for $59.95 and the new Optima IIIS for $124.50. A January 1961 ad for the Optima IIS states: "totally automatic and still under $100 the new Optima IIS with rangefinder. The only totally automatic 35 (sets its own lens opening and shutter speed) priced at $99.95 that includes a coupled rangefinder for precision focusing! Magic Key operation. Fast precision Agfa Color Apotar f/2.8 lens. Simple flash system. Single-stroke lever advance." Agfa Color -Apotar f2.8 45mm lens. Prontormator shutter. I believe the Agfa Optima II S was also sold as the Agfamatic II S. An Optima II was also available with zone focusing instead of a rangefinder. (See Peter's Cameras.) The Optima II was also sold as the Agfamatic II through Mongomery Ward. The price of the Agfamatic II with flash and case was $89.94 in the 1963 Montgomery Ward Camera Book. (See also 1961 Montgomery Ward Camera Book.) The manual for the Optima II S is available at butkus.org. Excellent information is also at Peter's Cameras. I purchased mine on September 14, 2009 on eBay for $2.53 plus $4 shipping.|
|Agfa Optima III S (1961) similar to the Optima cameras above, in addition to the automatic exposure system, the Optima III S has a coupled rangefinder for focusing. (See, e.g., www.ukcamera.com.) I purchased my camera on September 12, 2009 for $20 at an estate sale in La Mesa, CA within a mile of my home. The camera belonged to the seller's dad. It is in good working condition and comes with the case. When I got it, I had forgotten I won the Optima I above a couple of days earlier. It arrived at my house on September 14. I also bought the Optima II S above on September 14, 2009.|
|Argus C3, an enduring American classic 35mm rangefinder, known as the "brick" due to it's boxy and solid design, millions of Argus C3 cameras were sold from 1938 to 1966. While basic, it is a serious camera with adjustable apertures from f3.5 to f16 with the standard 50mm lens, adjustable shutter speeds from 1/10 to 1/300 second plus bulb, and rangefinder focus with close focus of 3 feet. It has separate viewfinder and rangefinder windows with the rangefinder giving a magnified view. The windows are very small. A round knob on top advances the film and a separate lever on front cocks the shutter. Two holes on the side are used to mount a flash. This one was purchased on eBay on July 2, 2005 for $2.01 with $3.75 shipping. It is in nearly new cosmetic and working condition except that the viewfinder and rangefinder windows are foggy. While still usable, a close-up examination with a hand lens reveals likely mold. It comes with a brown leather case also in excellent condition. The camera has no exposure meter although an uncoupled meter could be mounted to the accessory clip on top of the camera. The camera can use interchangeable 100mm and 35mm lenses in addition to the 50mm lens. Numerous sites feature the C3. Manual, Favorite Classics, Argus C3 history, Dad Owned an Argus C-3, Photos with Argus cameras, Repairing viewfinder and rangefinder. Additional views of my C3. Front, Top, Back, Open, Bottom, Case.|
|Argus Matchmatic C3 (Large Image) (1958-1966) The Matchmatic C3 is essentially the same as the original C3 except it has a two-tone color scheme and what was advertised as a simplified exposure system that was combined with the LC3 exposure meter that fit on a cold shoe on top of the Matchmatic. The manual is available at butkus.org. As explained in the manual, first set the film's ASA (now ISO) on the light meter by turning the inner dial on the meter. Then select one of five numbered shutter speeds on the dial in front of the camera below the wind knob. Turn the outer dial on the meter to that shutter speed. While the actual shutter speeds are not given on the camera, the numbers and corresponding shutter speeds as given in the manual are as follows: 4 (1/10), 5 (1/30), 6 (1/60), 7 (1/125), 8 (1/300). Point the camera and meter toward the subject. The needle will point to the appropriate lens opening number. Turn the aperture ring to that number. You can then take the picture. The lens opening numbers and their corresponding f-stops are 3.5 (f3.5), 4 (f4), 5 (5.6), 6 (f8), 7 (f11), and 8 (16). The manual at page 12 states the "Match-Matic C3 uses an adaptation of the exposure-value system (EVS)." That page gives Exposure Values (EV) based on various light conditions and ASA (ISO) values. If you know the EV, and subtract the shutter speed value, you get the aperture value. Moving from one value changes the exposure by a factor of two, in other words halves or doubles it. In more common terms, it changes it by one "stop." The concept of exposure value, which was not developed until the 1950s, is explained in great detail at Exposure Value - Wikipedia. While the concept of Exposure Value is useful in some circumstances, I find the Match-Matic system to be unnecessary and more of a complication, than a simplification. Actual shutter speeds and apertures have meaning and are useful. (See generally Photography and Math.) The system doesn't seem any easier than reading the aperture and shutter speed settings off of any other light meter. It is further more complicated than coupled external light meters such as those used on Pentax SLR cameras in the early 1960s before through the lens light meters.|
The Match-Matic Outfit, including light meter, case and flash, was $59.97 at page 5 of the 1963 Montgomery Ward Camera Catalog. That's about $580 in December 2022 dollars. There was also an accessory Soligor 135mm f4.5 lens that coupled to the rangefinder for $29.94, or about $290 in December 2022 dollars. It included a viewfinder mask. This Mike Eckman video shows how to change lenses on a C3. It's a slow process. David Hancock also has a 27 minute video "Introduction to the Argus C3 Matchmatic."
I have two Matchmatic cameras. Both are in good cosmetic condition. The shutters work in both although I don't know if the speeds are accurate. One camera has a loose aperture ring so you can't select the aperture. That one has a very clear viewfinder, but a foggy rangefinder. The other has a dirty viewfinder and a somewhat foggy rangefinder. The rangefinder works in both. One comes with the case. Neither has the meter. I think I got both of them in a lot of many cameras over a decade ago.
|Argus A (Large Image) (1936-1941) This is the first of the A series cameras. "Possibly the most important 35mm American camera, the Argus A was largely responsible for popularizing the 135 format in the United States." (Argus A - Camera-Wiki.) "[T]he Argus A is undoubtedly the 2nd most important 35mm camera of all time-- second only to the Leica A." (CameraQuest.com.) High praise for a relatively simple camera. It was a decent, inexpensive camera, that sold well and popularized 35mm photography. It "was the first low-cost 35 mm camera in the United States." (Argus - Wikipedia.) Argus, located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, was originally a subsidiary of International Radio Corporation. "Sylvania acquired Argus in 1959 and sold it in 1969, by which time it had ceased camera production." (Id.) My Argus A has a 50mm lens with apertures from f4.5-11, and an Argus Ilex Precise shutter with speeds from 1/25 to 1/200 seconds plus B and T. It has a collapsible lens assembly that pops out for use. It is a fixed focus camera with a simple viewfinder. The original selling price was $12.50. (Argus A - Camera-Wiki, CameraQuest.com.) By 1939 it sold new for $10. (Argus Collectors Group.) That's $212 in December 2022 dollars. I purchased mine with many other cameras many years ago. It is in decent cosmetic condition with wear on the lettering on the lens assembly. The aperture works. The shutter usually doesn't close fully and would need to be serviced to use. Camera Collecting and Restoration has complete shutter disassembly instructions for the Argus Ilex Precise shutter. I have a second Argus A. I'm not sure where I acquirred it. The lens/shutter combination is an I.R.C. f4.5 Anastigmat, the same as the second insert photo for the Argus A at the Argus A/A2 Camera Page - Models and the same as that pictured at Argus A - Camera-Wiki. It has the same shutter speeds and apertures as my Argus A above. It is in good cosmetic condition although the the shutter speeds and apertures are very well worn and hard to read. The shutter blades will close down but then remain open. Like my other Argus A, it needs servicing before it could be used. It comes with the "Genuine Argus Deluxe Case" which does not cover the lens.|
|Argus AA (Large Image, Back) (1940-1942) According the excellent Argus Collectors Group site, this was the first Argus with flash contacts which can be seen on the film wind side of the camera. The model is not stated on the camera exterior, although the interior states AA followed by the serial number. According to Argus A/A2 Camera Page, the serial number range for the Argus AA was 500000 - 513250. I assume this means 13,250 Argus AA cameras were manufactured. This is confirmed at www.mu-43.com which states: "The AA was made for only one year in 1941. Production stopped due to WWII, and as a result there were about 13,500 of them made. Sounds like a lot, but it's paltry considering the millions of C3's they made." The Argus AA camera has one shutter speed and bulb. The single shutter speed is called "Inst." for instantaneous. The bulb setting is called Time. With a bulb setting the shutter remains open as long as the shutter release is held down. The camera has a 50mm Argus f6.6 Anastigmat Triplet lens made in the U.S.A. There are three aperture settings: Dull f6.6, Cloudy f9, and Sun Bright f12.7. Looking at Argus A/A2 Camera Page, most of the other Argus A series models had some choice of shutter speeds and often more aperture values. While the Argus AA is a fixed focus camera, some of the other Argus A series cameras also had adjustable focus. The Argus A/A2 Camera Page has a free 77 page pdf book on the Argus A series cameras. The 1941 Sears Camera Catalog does not have the Argus AA, but it does have the A2, A2F and A. The A sold for $10, or a rather astonishing $210 in 2023 dollars! The "eveready" case was $2.49. The same page also has the Argus M, which appears to have same lens and shutter combination as the Argus AA. The Argus M had a more rounded design, however, and took 828 film. 828 film was the same width as 35mm film but had a paper backing and no sprocket holes. The picture area could hence be slightly larger. The Argus M had an adjustable full frame or half frame feature. It could take eight 1-1/8 inch x 1-5/8 inch photos, or sixteen 7/8 inch x 1-1/8 inch. The Argus M sold for only $7.50. Like the Argus AA, the Argus M only sold for one year as a result of World War II. (See generally mikeeckman.com.) The 1941 Sears Camera Catalog on the opposite page also has similar American made Detrola cameras. Detrola primarily made radios and record players. For a short time around 1939-1940, however, they made cameras. (Detrola - Camera-Wiki.) Both Detrola and Argus were based in Michigan - Detrola in Detroit and Argus in Ann Arbor. I don't recall where I got my Argus AA camera. It is in good cosmetic and working condition.|
|Argus A-Four (1953-1956) (Large Image) 35mm viewfinder camera with adjustable shutter speeds from 1/25 to 1/200 plus B, a 44mm lens, apertures from f3.5 to f22, and adjustable focus by estimation from 2.5 feet to infinity. Focus is the frontmost ring, followed by the shutter ring, with the aperture dial closest to the body. Just behind the shutter ring is the shutter cocking lever. The camera has a depth of field scale to aid in focusing. The shutter release is the large button on the side of the lens assembly. The camera is made by Argus in the United States. Dates are from Camera-Wiki. The manual is at butkus.org. It reminds me a lot of the Kodak Pony IV. I like both cameras. They were significantly less expensive than rangefinders. Focus by estimation, especially with the help of the depth of field scale, gives you a lot more flexibility compared to a fixed focus camera. The range of shutter speeds and apertures allows for a broad range of lighting conditions, as well as effective use of shutter speeds and apertures for artistic effect. Exposure settings can be chosen using Sunny-16, the recommendations that come with the film, or a handheld light meter. Both cameras are very straight forward to use with a basic knowledge of photography and were a wonderful instrument for the beginning photographer. They were also reliable. This Argus A-Four works fine after nearly 70 years. The price in a 1954 Life Magazine ad was $32.50. That's equal to $365 in March 2023 dollars. My camera was made in April 1955 according to the date code (55 4) in the film compartment. (See Argusinfo.net/DatingGuide.) Several sites review the Argus A-Four including Film Advance, blog.jimgrey.net, blog.jimgrey.net - Operation Thin the Herd, and Photo.net (includes several old magazine ads).|
|Argus C4 (1956-1957) a classic American rangefinder with a 50mm f2.8 lens, adjustible aperture from f2.8 to f22, shutter speeds from 1/10 to 1/300 and Bulb, no meter. Manufactured from 1951 to 1957. The camera is in good working condtion. I have taken photos with it. Purchased at a neighborhood garage sale for $20 along with case, two instamatics, and a vintage working light meter. This was one of the cameras that got me interested in vintage collecting. Price in 1957 Sears Camera Catalog was $84.50 ($585 in 2005 dollars).|
|Argus C44R (Large Image, Back, With Lenses and Viewfinder, Case) (Circa 1958-62) The Argus C44 (1956-57) was an update on the classic Argus C4 American rangefinder above but now accepting Argus interchangeable lenses. The C44R was an additional upgrade adding "chromed rapid film advance and rewind levers, plus the option of coupling an external light meter to its shutter-speed dial." (Argus C44R - CameraWiki.) While the C44R has a rapid film advance, you have to wind it more than one full turn before you can take the next photo. The camera comes with a 50mm f2.8 lens with apertures from f2.8 to f22. I also have an Argus Cintagon Coated 100mm f3.5 lens and an Argus Cintagon Coated 35mm f4.5 lens. Both lenses are labeled Steinheil Munchen Germany. Therefore, while the camera is made in the United States in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the accessory lenses were made in Munich, West Germany. Both lenses are in good condition. The 100mm has some scratches on the body. Since the camera is not a single lens reflex with through the lens viewing, my outfit includes an accessory viewfinder that can be adjusted to 35mm, 50mm or 100mm. It even has a distance ring which I assume corrects for parallax. It clips onto the flash accessory shoe on top of the camera. Shutter speeds are from 1/8 to 1/300 and Bulb. I also have the Argus L44 Selenium exposure meter which clips onto the accessory shoe on top of the camera. It will fit on any standard flash accessory shoe. (Ollinger Light Meter Collection.) There was also a Argus CM2 meter which fit on front of the camera and coupled with the shutter speed dial. (Argus Collectors Group.) It had the additional advantage of not taking up the flash accessory shoe.|
|My Argus C44R is from 1958 according to the dating code guide at Arugsinfo.net - Dating Guide. There were two body styles for the C44R. My camera was the first body style with the rangefinder housing separate from the rewind knob. Starting in late 1959 the rewind knob became flush with the rangefinder housing. The C44R pictured at CameraQuest shows the second body style. A 1957 magazine advertisement on Pinterest gives the new price of an Argus C44 as $99.50 (or over $1,000 in December 2022 dollars). C-44 accessory prices were: 100mm lens $59.50, 35mm lens $56.50, 50mm f1.9 lens $89.50, variable power viewfinder $14.50, L-44 clip-on meter $17.50 with case, flash $8.25, leather case $10. (Pinterest - the "more ideas" have a lot of other great vintage camera ads!) For approximate inflation adjusted prices as I write this in February 2023 you can multiply each of those prices by ten. My entire outfit with the two extra lenses, viewfinder, clip-on meter and case would have come to $240 new or over $2,400 in December 2022 dollars. Many websites have extensive articles on the Argus C44 and/or C44R: Argus C44 - Camera-Wiki, CameraQuest (refers to "incredibly poor bayonet system"), Mike Eckman (In a very extensive review he did not care for shooting it finding everything stiff and images from the 35mm lens soft.), Camerashiz (extensive information about cleaning and repair), and Camerapedia. The manual is available at cameramanuals.org. There is also a separate manual on the lenses. I have that manual. Cameramanuals.org also has the manual for the L-44 exposure meter. YouTube has a Video Manual Overview for the C44. The One Joe Adventures video has a good explanation removing and mounting the lenses. My camera is in excellent cosmetic condition and seems to work well. The rangefinder is bright and still working. The camera viewfinder seems much better than on the C3. The meter initially seemed to be working, then it stopped responding to light. The fact that the camera is still working is an indication it is a well-built camera. Old rangefinder cameras often have faded rangefinders and sticky apertures and/or shutters. The "full grain saddle leather" case "made in the U.S.A." is one of the nicest cases I have seen. From all the reviews, the feeling I get is the camera is beautiful to look at, but clunky to operate with soft lenses by modern standards.||Argus Autronic I (1960-1962) Sort of a big '60s space age C3 with many strange features. The shutter release is in front surrounded by the focusing knob. The camera has rangefinder focusing that work well. It has a one turn film advance lever. The shutter speeds are disguised by using 500, action, scene, and flash descriptions. Using the manual, however, you find there are speeds of 1/500, 1/250, 1/125, 1/60, 1/30 and bulb. The aperture readings are also simply labeled from 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 although the manual indicates these are really f2.8, f4, f5.6, f8, f11, f16 and f22. As best I can tell, it has a match needle and automatic shutter preferred selenium (no battery) metering system, although mine does not appear to work. According to other Web sites, most of Autronic meters no longer work. It has an Argus f2.8 Cintar lens and Compur shutter. The camera back opens down instead of out. It has a nice folding flash which fits on the side. Price in 1962 Montgomery Ward Camera Catalog was $79.97 ($515 in 2005 dollars). Mine is in excellent cosmetic and working condition except for the meter. I purchased it on August 2, 2005 on eBay for $6 plus $7.70 shipping together with flash and case. Additional photos:camera with flash, case and folded flash.|
|Argus Autronic II (1962-1965) (Large Image, Back) Part of the Argus Autronic series which included the Autronic 35 introduced in 1960, the Autronic I with faster f2.8 lens introduced in 1962, and the Autronic II also introduced in 1962 with "a new and enlarged bright-frame viewfinder." (Argus Autronic I - camera-wiki.) Besides the enlarged viewfinder, the camera is apparently pretty much the same as the Argus Autronic I described above. The price of the Autronic II was $99.97 (id.), which is almost $1,000 in 2022 dollars! The Autronic II was made in the United States initially in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Shortly after introduction, however, Argus merged with Mansfield Industries and production moved to Spring Grove, Minnesota. (id.) The manual is available at cameramanuals.org. My Autronic II is in decent cosmetic condition. The camera has several problems, however. The shutter does not fire, the film advance does not return automatically, and the meter appears not to function. As I write this in January 2023, I assume from the color circle label on top that I got this a garage sale many years ago. This camera was advanced in having an automatic shutter preferred metering system. Many of the features, including not designating the actual shutter speeds or apertures, seem like gimmicks, however. It is also amazing how big and bulky this camera is weighing in at about 1.9 pounds and bigger than a single lens reflex body of the same era.|
|Balda Baldinette (circa 1951) (Large Image, Horizontal, Back) Balda was a German camera manufacturer dating back to 1908 in Laubegast, near Dresden. "After WWII, Balda was nationalized in East Germany in 1946, while its founder Max Baldeweg fled to West Germany to start Balda-Werk Bünde." Balda - camera-wiki. The Baldinette was made by the West German company in 1951. It sold for $40 in 1953 (id.), or about $450 in late 2022 dollars. Mine comes with a Schneider-Kreuznach Radionar 50mm f2.9 lens that appears to be in good condition. It has a Compur-Rapid shutter with speeds from 1/500 to 1 second plus B. You rotate the outer ring to select the shutter speed. The apertures are on the bottom holding the camera vertically. My apertures appear to work, although the paint under the aperture designations is deteriorating making it hard to read many of the apertures. You focus by turning the focusing ring to the distance you estimate. It is not a rangefinder camera, although there was a Super Baldinette with a built-in coupled rangefinder. My camera comes with a Prazisa accessory rangefinder, that clips onto the accessory shoe on top of the camera. There are two little lenses on one side and one on the other. You look through the single lens and turn the wheel until the images merge. You read the distance on rangefinder dial and then set the distance on the camera lens. It is nowhere as convenient as a coupled rangefinder camera, but it actually seems to work quite well after I cleaned the lenses with a cotton swab and isopropyl alcohol. Before cleaning the rangefinder lenses, I couldn't see much of anything. While I did not test the rangefinder by measuring, the distances given seem accurate. Using the accessory rangefinder avoids having to guess at the distance or measure it with a tape measure. You frame the picture by looking through the simple viewfinder on the camera top. It is very small and mine was very dirty inside. I loosened four screws on the top plate of the camera and then lifted and turned the top plate so I could see the inside of the two viewfinder elements. I cleaned them with cotton swabs and isopropyl alcohol. The difference was amazing and the view is now very clear. The shutter works but you have to trigger it on the shutter mechanism itself as opposed to the shutter release on the body. I think if it had film in it, the body shutter release would work. The shutter tends to hang up on longer shutter speeds. I'm sure it could use a good cleaning after 50+ years. The camera was not staying closed. I bent two little tabs on the door to keep it closed. It looks like one of the tabs subsequently broke off, however. The bellows look good. Mine comes with a leather every-ready case and a small case on the strap for the external rangefinder. Several sites discuss the Baldinette: Lomography, The Camera Site, This Old Camera and the Science Museum Group. I don't recall where I got this camera.|
|Bolsey B2, (1949-1956) U.S. rangefinder with viewing window and separate rangefinder window. Wollensak 44mm f3.2 to 22 lens. Bosley syncromatic shutter with speeds of 1/10 to 1/200 seconds. Double image prevention by lifting slightly on wind knob. Purchased at a Fletcher Hills (El Cajon, CA) garage sale on 3-24-07 for $3 with leather ever-ready case, flash, several bulbs, instruction booklet and vinyl case. Serial no. 302391. In very good working and cosmetic condition with some chrome loss. Price in 1953-54 Sears Camera Catalog was $73.50, or $560 in 2007 dollars, about the price of a 6.1 megapixel digital SLR in 2007. The B22 pictured in the catalog is the same as the B2 except for a flash exposure system automatically setting the aperture based on the rangefinder distance. Notice from the catalog the unique Bolsey C 35mm twin lens reflex. Twin Lens reflex focusing was typically only used with medium format cameras. A similar Bolsey B2 sold on eBay on 3-25-07 for $51 without manual or flash. Excellent information at several sites including: Photoethonography, butkus.org (full manual), pbase.com, The Living Image, camerapedia, photo.net, Bolsey Model B2, shutter repair. There was a US Air Force model which this might be since the owner who died 20 years ago or so was in the US Air Force. There was also a US Army model with green in place of the black covering and black paint instead of the chrome. Photos: Large, Top, Back, Back Open, Case, Flash, Manual Photo. I have another Bolsey B2. I don't recall where I got from. It comes with the case, is in decent cosmetic condition and seems to work.|
|Canon Dial 35 (November 1963) (large image) a very unique design featuring a ring (hence "dial") of CdS exposure cells surrounding the 28mm f2.8 lens and a handle with a spring film advance/rewind. The format is half frame 35mm using regular 35mm film, but with a frame area half that of the regular 35mm frame area as seen in this interior photo comparing a Dial 35 with a Minolta Hi-Matic E. Zone focusing. Shutter priority automatic exposure. More information at the Canon Camera Museum under film cameras - other. I have included the Dial 35 under both the 35mm non-SLR category and sub-miniature category. Canon also marketed the Dial Rapid in October 1965 and the Dial 35-2 in April 1968. Canon from February 1963 to April 1967 also marketed their half frame Demi cameras similar to the Olympus Pen half frame cameras begun in 1959. My Dial 35 was purchased on eBay on 8-10-06 for $29.80 plus $9.94 shipping. It included the original box, manual, leather case, and warranty cards. It was not known if it worked and it was noted that the film rewind button was missing. It is in good cosmetic condition. The 1.3 volt HM-N mercury battery (larger than a button battery) was heavily corroded. I cleaned out the battery compartment as best I could, but there remains some corrosion. I tried to get the meter working with a 1.5 volt LH-44 battery packed into the compartment with Aluminum foil, and also with a 1.5 volt AA battery with wires. Neither got the meter running. The shutter will also not fire. I wound the spring film advance/handle and loaded film. The shutter would still not fire. The spring film advance is now fully wound and will not do anything further. A cool camera (although a bit pricey) which will some day provide hours of fun trying to repair.|
Canon AS-6 Aqua Snappy with accessory base and finder (Large Image)
There were other point and shoot 35mm underwater cameras introduced around the same time. The Minolta Weathermatic Dual 35 had a dual focal length of 35mm with a maximum f3.5 and 55mm with a maximum aperture of f5.6. Unlike the Canon AS-6, it had auto focusing on land. I purchased a new Minolta Weathermatic Dual 35 in 1989. In general, I find it to be a more substantial camera than the Canon AS-6, although the Minolta Weathermatic Dual 35 could only be submerged to 5m and the Canon AS-6 could be submerged to 10m. Upon reflection, my favorite point and shoot 35mm underwater camera from the late 1980s is the Nikon Action Touch. It has a fast 35mm f2.8 lens. It also had autofocus. Underwater, you used manual focusing which could also be used on land. You simply estimated the distance at 2.3 feet, 3.6 feet, 5.3 feet or 12 feet. The Nikon Action Touch also feels the most substantial of the three cameras perhaps benefiting from Nikon's experience in making the famed Nikonos series of underwater cameras. The Nikon was only rated to a depth of 3 meters or about 10 feet, however. Then again, that is enough for most snorkeling. None of these three cameras were intended for SCUBA diving.
Sure Shot Supreme Canon Camera Museum states marketed June 1986. Known in Europe as the Top Shot and in Japan as the Autoboy 3. Automatic shutter speeds from 1/8 to 1/500 second and automatic apertures from a relatively fast f2.8 to f16. Automatic film advance and rewind. Built in flash. A decent, very simple to use, point and shoot camera. I think I got it at a rummage sale in the Fall of 2009 for a couple of dollars. It is in good mechanical condition. I haven't actually tried it, however, since it uses an expensive 6 volt 2CR5 battery. It is one of over 60 Sure Shot cameras in the Canon Camera Museum made from November 1979 to 2005. That large number in the span of 25 years may be driven by marketing decisions in addition to technical advances. By 2005 film cameras had been largely overtaken by the rapid rise in digital cameras.
|Sure Shot Max Date, Canon Camera Museum states marketed September 1991. Similar in concept to the original Sure Shot over ten years earlier but with a fully retractable lens and date back, but slightly slower lens (f3.5 instead of f2.8). Uses one CR123 3 volt battery. Date back uses one CR2025 3 volt button battery. Purchased at a garage sale on 4-22-06 for about $2.50 with case. In excellent cosmetic and working condition including date back. Made in Taiwan.|
|Canon Photura (Marketed June 1990) (Large Image) Date from Canon Camera Museum which states: "Fully automatic autofocus camera in an unusual cylindrical shape. The 35-105mm zoom lens has 10 elements in 9 groups. Power zooming is done with a lever. There is a direct viewfinder and a zoom lens cover which also has a built-in, powerful flash with Guide No. 12 to 25 (at ISO 100 in m). Drop-in film loading makes it easy. Film take-up is S shaped. The active AF system with 3-point Smart Autofocus prevents incorrect focusing. The close-up unit enables macro photography from 0.55 m to 0.8 m." While it looks similar to some bridge single lens reflex (SLR) cameras, it is a viewfinder camera, not SLR. In Japan it was known as Autoboy Jet, while in Europe it was known as EPOCA. It featured drop in film loading, automatic film advance, 3 point autofocus with near-infrared beam and automatic program exposure. Shutter speeds from 1.250 to 2 seconds. DX code ISO 25-3200. Powered by one 6 volt 2CR5 Lithium battery. It weighs 645 grames. (Camera-Wiki.) There was no adjustment of the aperture or shutter speed. It was a sophisticated point and shoot camera. My camera is in decent condition. I don't recall where I got it.|
|Canon Sure Shot TeleMax Date (Marketed September 1991) (Large Image, Back) Date from Canon Camera Museum which states: "Thin-profile and lightweight compact autofocus camera with two focal lengths. The autofocus system uses a near-infrared beam for 3-point Smart Autofocus. A switch is provided to switch between the 38mm f/3.5 and 70mm f/6 focal lengths." It is not a zoom lens. Rather, there are two distinct focal lengths. The simple viewfinder switches between the two focal lengths. According to the Canon Specifications the 38mm lens is three elements in three groups, while the 70mm lens is six elements in six groups. When looking at the back of the camera, you can see the 70mm lens is composed of the 38mm lens and a supplementary lens than rotates in behind the 38mm lens and the shutter. I made a short video showing the supplementary lens rotating in. The lens cover switch turns the camera on and off. .Focusing range is from .65m to infinity. The camera has a built-in flash. It appears shutter speeds are from 1/8 second to 1/250 second. The camera is powered by one 3 volt CR123A battery. It has automatic loading, film advance (1 fps) and rewind. A YouTube Video from Film Camera Now shows the operation of the camera. My camera appears to be working fine. It is in excellent cosmetic condition. I likely purchased this at a garage sale many years ago. The camera has a date back which takes a CR 2025 battery. I have not put in a new battery for the date back and have not tested it. The camera is very similar to the Canon Sure Shot 80 Tele below.|
|Canon Snappy TX (Marketed September 1992) (Large Image) This model name is not listed in the Canon Camera Museum. It appears to be the same as the CB35M (Japan), Snappy EL (Americas), and the Prima Junior (Europe). I don't know why different names were used. Cameras with the Snappy TX name are common. There are over a dozen with the Snappy TX name for sale on eBay as I write this in January 2023. There are more than three dozen with the Snappy EL name. To confuse things further, there are actually two Snappy EL models. The Snappy EL (1992) and the "new" Snappy EL (1995). With respect to the 1992 Snappy EL or Snappy TX Canon Camera Museum states: "Fully automatic compact camera with a behind-the-lens mechanical shutter, single shutter speed of 1/125 sec., and a single focal length. For exposure control, a program sets one of three aperture settings to suit the shutter speed and lighting conditions. At ISO 100/200 in ambient light, f/8 is set. When flash is used, f/3.8 is set. And for the macro shots, f/16 is set." The Canon Camera Museum also has the detailed specifications. Focus is fixed. The lens is "35mm f/3.8 (3 elements in 3 groups), macro enabled at 0.5 m." It has a single shutter speed of 1/125 second. There are three apertures possible. When set at ISO 100/200 (switch is on bottom of camera): (1) With flash without macro the aperture is f3.8. (2) Without flash and no macro the aperture is f8. (3) With macro the aperture is f16. To get macro mode, you hold the flash/macro switch all the way down. When the camera is set to ISO 400: (1) Without flash and no macro, the aperture is f16. (2) With flash and no macro, the aperture is f8. (3) With macro the aperture is f16, the same as with ISO 100/200. The "macro" is not a true macro since the lens is fixed focus. Rather, a smaller aperture (f16) is used for an increased depth of field. The sliding lens cap turns the camera on and off. It has some sort of CdS exposure meter although the exposure choices are limited as indicated above. Print film would have enough latitude to give correct exposure under a reasonable range of conditions, however.|
|The Snappy EL was sold for only $39.99 (about $82 in 2022 dollars) at B&H on page 77 of the September 1993 Popular Photography Magazine. The camera takes two AA 1.5 volt alkaline batteries. After opening the back door, the 35mm film is loaded by aligning the leader with a small arrow mark in the film chamber. You then close the back and press the shutter button. The film then automatically loads. It is thus as easy, or nearly as easy, as loading old "Instamatic" 126 cameras. Film is automatically advanced at rate of 1 frame per second. The camera was made in Malaysia. In many ways the camera is not more advanced than old "Instamatic" 126 cameras except for the electronic flash. Indeed, some Instamatic cameras were more sophistic with rangefinder or single lens reflex focusing. Some Instamatic cameras even had automatic film advance, although it was with a mechanical motor rather than an electric motor. My camera is in good cosmetic and working condition. As I write this in January 2023, I assume I got this at a garage sale many years ago.|
|Canon Sure Shot WP-1 (Circa 1994) (Large Image, Back, Open) There is debate on the Internet whether the Canon Sure Shot WP-1 is the same as the Canon Sure Shot A-1. For example, the Amazon description and comments for the WP-1 describes WP-1 as "weatherproof" while the Amazon description for the Sure Shot A-1 describe it as "waterproof." Some of the reviews make the same distinction. The two cameras look largely identical except the Sure Shot A-1 with a black grip while the Sure Shot WP-1 has an orange grip. Also, the Sure Shot A-1 has a little fish icon on the close-up setting while the WP-1 has the traditional flower close-up setting icon. The Canon Camera Museum under the Sure Shot listings just has the Sure Shot A-1 with an introduction date of April 1994 and not the Sure Shot WP-1. The Canon Support Web site has a single entry for the "Sure Shot A-1 / WP-1." The manual for the WP-1 is at butkus.org. On page 6 it states it is "waterproof" but then says: "This camera is designed to be waterproof and can be used in the rain or splashed with water with no ill effects. However, this is not an underwater camera." It indicates it is not to be immersed in water. The manual has a copyright date of 1996 and is printed in China. Butkus.org also has the manual for the Sure Shot A-1 with a copyright date of 1993 and printed in Taiwan. On page 2 the manual states the camera is "waterproof." "Take pictures up to 5m/16.4ft. underwater." On page 6 it has instructions for keeping the O rings for the camera housing and battery compartment clean. It also has instructions for the underwater close-up mode. It appears the Sure Shot A-1 was introduced first. My guess is that the Sure Shot WP-1 remained the same as the Sure Shot A-1 except for the slight cosmetic differences but the instructions changed so Canon would not be responsible for flooded cameras. If anyone has additional information, please let me know. The camera has a 32mm f1.35 lens. From the specifications discussing the flash, it appears the shutter speed range is from 1/60 second to 1/250. It has automatic film loading, automatic film advance and automatic DX ISO settings from IS0 25-3200. Shooting Distance Range is listed as "0.45/1.5ft. to infinity; close-up mode: 0.45m/1.5ft. to 1m/3.3ft." The focusing on land is autofocus. The close-up mode is a manual setting apparently originally designed for underwater use. The camera generally gets good reviews. I purchased mine on February 21, 2012 for $5 in the Normal Heights area of San Diego from an ad on Craigslist. It is in good cosmetic condition. I am awaiting a CR123A battery to try it out.|
|Canon Sure Shot Z85 (Large Image, Back) (Marketed March 1994) Specifications at Canon Camera Museum. It was known as the Autoboy J in Japan and the Prima Super 85 in Europe. It is a fully automatic 35mm viewfinder autofocus camera with a 38-85mm f3.8-8 zoom lens with 8 elements in 7 groups. It has 3-point autofocus with near-infrared beam. Close focus is 0.6m and 0.45m in close-up mode. Shutter speeds are from 1/45 second to 1/300 second. It has a built-in electronic flash as well as a date back. It is powered by two 3 volt CR123A lithium batteries. The dimensions are 128 x 70 x 64mm. It weighs 310 grams. I don't recall where I got mine. It is in good cosmetic condition. I need to find a battery to test it. The back doesn't snap shut. It looks like a piece may have broken off the latch on the door. The Z85 is featured in ads at page 56 and 57 of December 1994 Popular Photographer Magazine. A chart on page 105 indicates the list price was $360. It was $209.95 at Smile Photo at page 141 of the June 1995 Popular Photography Magazine. That's equal to about $418 in April 2023 dollars. The Z-115 was $254.95 in the same June 1995 ad.|
|Canon Sure Shot 60 Zoom Date (Large Image, Back) Marketed March 1995 according to Canon Camera Museum, this 35mm autofocus viewfinder camera, with five autofocus points, has a 38-60mm zoom lens f4.5-6.7 with six element in six groups. Close focus is 0.6 meters. In Japan it was known Autoboy Juno and the Prima Zoom Shoot in Europe. The Japanese version has a panorama mode. The specifications at Canon Camera Museum indicate apertures go down to f18 with shutter speeds ranging from 2 to 1/500 seconds. It has a built-in electronic flash and date back. It is powered by one 3 volt CR123A lithium battery. It has automatic loading, film advance and rewind. The manual is available at Flynn Marr Photography which has a nice write-up on the Canon Sure Shot 60 Zoom as well as a wonderful collection of Canon cameras. Gabe Writes About . . . also has a review. The camera was priced at $138.95 in a B&H ad in the January 1996 Popular Photography Magazine or about $273 in April 2023 dollars. I don't recall where I got my camera. It appears to be in good condition but has a lot of wear to the lettering. I need to find a battery to try it.|
|Canon Sure Shot 80 Tele (Large Image) Marketed August 1995 according to Canon Camera Museum, this 35mm autofocus viewfinder camera, with three autofocus points, is switchable between a 38mm f3.7 lens and a 80mm f7.3 lens. The button to switch the lenses is in the front of the camera. The 38mm lens has three elements in three groups according to the specifications at Canon Camera Museum. The 80mm lens has 6 elements in 6 groups. If you look in the back of camera, you can see where another lens swings down behind the main 38mm lens. This must be a three element lens which combined with the 38mm three element lens makes up the 80mm six element lens. It is not a zoom lens. Rather, there are two distinct focal lengths of 38mm and 80mm. It is similar to the Minolta Dual cameras below. It has a built-in flash. Shutter speeds appear to be between 1 second and 1/400 second. It has automatic loading, film advance and film rewind. It is powered by one CR123A 3volt Lithium battery. It is strictly a point and shoot camera with automatic exposure. A listing on eBay shows a May 7, 1997 Target receipt with a price of $119.99 or about $225 in February 2023 dollars. (There was an adjustment of a $20 decrease from the $119.99. I don't know why.) My camera is in good cosmetic condition with wear to the lettering. It appears to work well with the battery and a roll of film. It turns on but does not fire without film. I believe it is designed that way. I likely acquired the camera at a garage or estate sale many years ago.|
|Canon Sure Shot 105u (Marketed April 2003) (Large Image, Back, Open) Sold as Autoboy N105 in Japan and PRIMA SUPER 105u in Europe. Released at the same time as the Canon Sure Shot 115u which seems the same except its telephoto range went to 115mm. The Sure Shot 105u is a 35 mm film camera with 2.8X zoom lens, 38-105mm f/4.6-11.9. 3 point autofocus system. Focus 0.6m to infinity, close-up mode: 0.45m to infinity. Programmed auto exposure. Shutter speed: 1/440 - 2 sec. Manual exposure compensation +/- 1.5 stops. ISO 25-3200. Auto film advance at 1 frame per second. Built in flash. Further information is at Canon Camera Museum and Canon Support. Mine is in decent cosmetic condition. I don't have a CR-2 battery to test it. As I write this entry in December 2022, I think I likely purchased this camera at a garage sale for a $1 or $2 many years ago. The Sure Shot 115u sold for $84.95 at B & H according to an ad in the January 2005 Popular Photography Magazine. By this time film cameras were competing with digital cameras, although the digital cameras were generally still significantly more expensive. Soon compact film cameras like this would be largely obsolete.|
|Canon Sure Shot 80u (Marketed April 2003) (Large Image, Back) Sold as Autoboy N80 in Japan and Prima Zoom 80u, the Canon Sure Shot 80u was marketed the same month as the similar Sure Shot 105u above. The Sure Shot 80u has a shorter 2.1 zoom range going from 35mm-80mm instead of 105mm with an aperture range of f4.7-9.4. Other specifications are the same or similar. 3 point autofocus system. Focus 0.6m to infinity, close-up mode: 0.45m to infinity. Programmed auto exposure. Shutter speed: 1/480 - 2 sec. Manual exposure compensation +/- 1.5 stops. ISO 25-3200. Auto film advance at 1 frame per second. Built in flash. Detailed information at Canon Camera Museum. The camera was made in China. Like the Sure Shot 80u I likely purchased this a garage sale many years ago. My camera is in decent cosmetic condition. I don't have a CR-2 battery to test it. It likely has a problem, however, since the automatic lens cap is not fully closed and the front of the lens has a lot of dust. The Sure Shot 80u Date sold for $64.95 at B & H according to an ad in the January 2005 Popular Photography Magazine. That's about $102 in January 2023 dollars. My camera does not have the date back.|
|Canter Beauty (November 1963) (large image) Mine has a very stiff focus as does the camera described at APUG Forum. Complete disassembly instruction are provided at Camera Collection and Restoration. 45mm f2.8 lens. Shutter speeds from 1 to 1/500 second. Comes with leather case. Purchased in Lemon Grove, CA for $15 from an ad on Craigslist in November 2009. It is dirty but in decent cosmetic condition. It seems to work besides the very stiff focus.|
|Chinon 35 EE (1976) (Large Image) Japanese 35mm compact rangefinder with 38mm f2.7 lens and fully automatic programmed exposure. The aperture and shutter speed are shown in the needle display to the right in the viewfinder although the user cannot adjust either the aperture or shutter speed. It uses a CdS meter powered by a 1.35 volt PX-675 mercury battery which are no longer available. It came in both black and chrome versions. Several sites discuss the camera including Camera-Wiki, Matt's Classic Cameras, and 35mmc.com. The last two sites note that it is very similar to the Konica C35. The camera was also sold under other brands. Matt's Classic Cameras describes how he put in a new meter using a variable photo resistor. My camera is in well-used condition. It is missing the name plate. It is missing a frame around the viewfinder in the back. The filter ring is slightly bent. It works. I have not tried the meter, however. I couldn't find the original price, although the camera looks similar to the Vivitar 35CA in the 1976-77 Sears Camera Catalog at page 9. That camera sold for $104 with an included electronic flash. That's about $535 in March 2023 dollars. Classic Cameras states the Vivitar 35CA was the same as the Konica C35, both being made by Cosina. As can be seen in the Sears Camera Catalog there were a lot of similar compact 35mm rangefinder cameras at the time. There were even more compact 35mm rangefinder cameras on pages 18 and 19 of the 1978-79 Sears Camera Catalog. One, however, was different. It was the Konica C35AF autofocus camera. This marked the beginning of autofocus cameras taking over 35mm rangefinder camera market.|
|DeJur D-1 (1955) (Large Image) A 35mm viewfinder camera with interchangeable M39 screw mount lens. Camera-Wiki indicates the camera was made by Neidig Kamerwerk in West Germany and marketed by DeJur-Amsco company in 1955. It was the same as the Perlux II except for the DeJur name and a double-stroke lever wind instead of a knob wind. It has a Prontor leaf shutter with speeds of 1/25 to 1/200 second. My camera has an Isco-Gottingen Westar 50mm f2.8 lens. There were two optional accessory lenses - a 38mm f3.5 and an 85mm f5.6 lens. There was an accessory viewfinder for these lenses. There was also a similar DeJur D-3 with an uncoupled rangefinder instead of the simple viewfinder. The manuals for both cameras are available at butkus.org. Appeal to Emulsion has a review. Kris Bochenek has a video review. The bottom of the camera has "Made in Western Germany" marked on the leatherette and an imprinted serial number. I don't recall where I got mine. It is in good cosmetic condition although some of the covering is coming off. The shutter and aperture work. The focus does not go all the way down to the 1 meter close focus. When you turn the other way the lens element will unscrew all the way. There is a half-circle piece that I think needs to be in the correct position that I can't figure out. Finally, I can't get the back of the camera to open.|
|Fuji DL-200 (II) Date (released 1983) (Large Image, Back, Film Compartment, Interior) While appearing to be similar to many other 35mm compact autofocus point and shoot cameras of the era, the Fuji DL-200, known in Japan as the Cardia, is unique in having drop-in film loading and through the lens metering. Fuji claimed it to be the first drop-in loading compact autofocus camera. (Fuji DL-200 - Camera-Wiki.) Press the button to release the back and the back only partially opens. Slide the film in. Close the back. The camera then winds the entire roll onto the take-up spool. This is called "pre-winding." As you take photos, the exposed film goes back into the film canister. If you accidently open the back, the exposed film is not ruined. You can open the back fully by pressing down lightly on the chrome latch which kept the door from fully opening. Doing this reveals on the far right the battery compartment which takes one 223 (CR-P2) 6 volt Lithium battery. The wonderful article at Aperture Preview indicates that the earliest DL-200 cameras had this battery soldered in. It was good for about 1,000 photos. You had to return it to Fuji to have a new battery soldered in, or solder one in yourself. Luckily with my later camera, which Fuji DL-200 - Camera-Wiki calls the DL-200 II, the user can put in a new battery without soldering. (See also filmandsensor.com.) The user replaceable battery cameras have gold color lettering around the lens, while the earlier soldered battery cameras had white lettering around the lens. Shutter speeds are from 1/40 to 1/400 second. Apertures are from f2.8 to f25.6. The lens focal length is a rather wide 32mm. Automatic focusing is from 0.6m to infinity. Metering is through the lens which is impressive for a point and shoot camera. (Paul Moreira - flickr.) The November 1984 Popular Photography Magazine at page 95, states the "DL-200 is first fully automatic compact 35mm camera with through-lens meter." (That issue in another article also compares seven other compact 35-mm cameras starting at page 70.) The DL-200 has DX automatic film speed setting with ISO from 50-1600. If non-DX film is used, the ISO is set to 100. The flash fires automatically when needed. Unfortunately, you cannot shut this feature off. There is a button to force the flash to fire for fill-in flash. The Aperture Preview article says the camera is somewhat noisy and it is unfortunate you cannot shut off the automatic flash. Overall, it finds the DL-200 to be an impressive camera, however. The manual is available at cameramanuals.org. I could not find the original retail price of the camera. I assume I got mine at a garage sale many years ago. It is in like-new condition although I have not tested it since I'm too cheap to get the battery! My camera has the optional Date back.|
|Graflex Ciro 35 (Cira 1949-1954) (Large Image, Alternate View, Back, Flash) A 35mm rangefinder camera with a 50mm f3.5 Graflex Graftar lens and Wollensak Century Synchromatic Shutter with shutter speeds from 1/10 to 1/200 plus B and T. The Graftar lens was a rebranded Rodenstock lens. (Ciro 35 - CollectiBlend.) The camera has separate viewing and rangefinder windows. The rangefinder is rather small but works. Focusing is unique with a lever on one side of the lens moved with your left hand. That moves the lens assembly in and out. The distance is shown on the opposite side of the lens. Close focus is 3 feet. The focusing mechanism is very smooth although with this arrangement there is no depth of field scale. The instruction manual is at butkus.org. Markings on the camera hint at the rather complex company history for this camera. On the back it reads: "Graflex, Inc. Rochester, N.Y. Made in U.S.A." On the inside back of the camera, however, it reads: "Ciro Cameras, Inc., Delaware, Ohio, Made in U.S.A." Ciro - Wikipedia explains the connection. (See also Ollinger's Camera Collection; Camerashiz; Tumblr.com.) The camera originated as the Cee-ay 35 produced by the Candid Camera Corporation of Chicago. Only eight months later Candid Camera Corporation sold the design to Ciro. Ciro made the popular Ciroflex twin lens reflex camera in the 1940s and 1950s. (See 1952-53 Sears Camera Catalog p. 13.) Prior to World War II these cameras were made in Detroit. Sometime after the war production shifted to Delaware, Ohio, about 30 miles north of Columbus. Ciro called their camera based on the Cee-ay 35 the Ciro 35. Graflex, known for its large format cameras including press cameras and large format reflex cameras, bought Ciro's camera business in the early 1950s. The precise date is October 1, 1951 according to Ciro 35 - CollectiBlend and Ohio's Camera. Examples of Graflex large format cameras can be seen at page 26 of the 1952-53 Sears Camera Catalog. (See also Graflex.org.) Graflex continued with the Ciro name until they came out with their own Graphic 35 in 1955. The serial number on my camera begins with 52. I wonder if it was made in 1952. (See Graflex Ciro 35 Japanese site with many great disassembly photos. One photo shows the serial number beginning with 53. 1953 as a manufacturing date would make sense.)|
The Ciro 35 appeared in the Fall 1952 - Spring 1953 Sears Camera Catalog at page 19. "Now manufactured by famous Graflex Company, makers of professional cameras for newsmen and studios." There were two versions. One sold for $44.15 with an Alphax shutter with speeds from 1/25 to 1/150 and a 50mm f4.5 lens. The other, which sold for $49.05, was the same as my camera with an f3.5 lens and shutter speeds from 1/10 to 1/200 second. $49.05 is equivalent to about $550 adjusted for inflation as of December 2022. The flash unit was $6.30 and the leather eveready case was $6.50. My camera came with both of these. According to Ciro 35 - Camera-Wiki the camera with the f4.5 lens was version R and the camera with the f3.5 lens was version S. There was also a version T with a f2.8 lens. According to a 1951 magazine ad for sale on eBay, the T version with the f2.8 lens was $98.50, almost twice the price of the S version! (See also The Incomparable Graflex - also notes that the T version had a Rapax shutter.) The Ciro 35 was the least expensive 35mm rangefinder camera in the Sears catalog. For example, the Argus C-4 was $99.50, the Argus C-3 was $69.50, and the Kodak Signet 35 was $92.50. (1953 Sears Camera Catalog p. 18 and p. 19.) The only 35mm camera of any type in the catalog less expensive than the Ciro 35 was the Kodak Pony 135 viewfinder camera for $35.75 at p. 19. While I have not taken pictures with it, looking at the specifications the Ciro 35 seems like a pretty good deal. (See A few shots with my Graflex Ciro 35; Ciro 35 Photos - Rangefinder Forum.) The other take-away, however, was that 35mm cameras at the time were expensive. There were many medium format box cameras and folding cameras that were much less expensive than the 35mm cameras in the catalog. (Pages 6 and 7 of the 1952-53 Sears Camera Catalog give a good description of camera types and photography basics including a good discussion of what "f" numbers mean. See also Photography and Math.)
I think I purchased my Ciro 35 on Saturday November 1 or Sunday November 2 at a garage sale or estate sale. I know the date because in writing this entry, I discovered I took the original photos of the camera on November 2, 2008. It then took me over 14 years to actually write up the entry in February 2023! I have more time now since I'm retired. The camera came with the original box, case, flash, some literature, and a handwritten note. The undated note says "Bob . . . got this used camera for me. I bought it from him. He was an expert in everything he did. It was one of the best made at that time. Bill drove and I took most of the pictures. Much of the magnificent beauty is no more except in our minds. God bless you Bob. It was a wonderful birthday gift - a big deal in those days for us. It is still good." While in actuality it was not necessarily one of the best made at that time, it is apparent that the camera was important to this owner and brought pleasure and good memories. Even in 2023 the camera "is still good." Cosmetically, it is in good condition although the chrome around the lens assembly is flaking off. The aperture works. The shutter works although the slower speeds seem too slow. The lens is clear. The viewfinder is clear. The rangefinder is bright and works. There was a handwritten price tag with the camera. On one side it says Camera, Case, Flash $35. On the other side someone wrote $55 new. I think the $35 is probably what Bob bought the camera for. With the case and flash, the new price of $55 was probably accurate.
|Hanimex 35MF (Circa 1981-83) (Large Image) "Hanimex was an Australian distributor and manufacturer, primarily associated with photographic equipment." (Wikipedia, see also Camerapedia.) The Hanimex 35MF is a compact 35mm zone focus camera with 38mm f4 coated glass triplet lens, automatic exposure, automatic film advance and automatic film loading. It has a single shutter speed of 1/125 and apertures of f4 to f16 according to page 11 of the manual. The ISO (ASA) is set by a ring surrounding the lens. ASA values are 64, 100 and 400. It has a built-in flash which you have to pop up to use. It is not automatic. It takes two AA batteries. It has manual zone focusing with symbols of one person (3-4 ft), two people (5-7 ft), three people and mountains (infinity). As you move from mountains to one person you can see the front element of the lens move out slightly. The has a simple viewfinder. Underneath the viewfinder is a small window where you can see the focus symbols on the lens assembly. I remember my old Minolta 600-X 126 camera had similar zone focusing symbols with the symbols and a line showing what symbol you were on in the viewfinder itself. This camera shows the actual focus symbols on the outside of the camera below the viewfinder, however.|
|Collection-Appareils states Hanimex announced the camera at the Photkina in 1980. It was made by Haking and manufactured in Hong-Kong from 1981-1983. Camera-Wiki describes the history of Haking, a Hong Kong company, which sells many of its cameras under the brand name Halina as well as manufactures "private label" cameras for sale under other brands. The Hanimex 35MF looks to be largely the same as the Halina MW35E. (See Canny Cameras.) The specifications for the Halina MW35E at Camera-Wiki seem to be the same or largely the same as the Haminex 35MF. The Halina MW35E was also sold as the Revue 350 FM and the Edixa MW35E. (Jorg Kruger - Flickr.) I couldn't find the original price of the camera, although I assume is was relatively inexpensive. I don't recall where I got my camera. My camera works, although the flash isn't firing for me. I haven't seen the aperture closing down either. The camera had film in it. It is in very good cosmetic condition, although there is some corrosion in the battery compartment as well as on the corner of the film door. Some light sealing material on the inside of the door deteriorated and was sticky. I took off as much as I could. It came with a case and manual.|
|Hanimex 35RAS (Circa 1986) (Large Image, With Box) "Hanimex was an Australian distributor and manufacturer, primarily associated with photographic equipment." (Wikipedia, see also Camerapedia.) The Hanimex 35RAS was a compact 35mm autofocus camera with 34mm f3.8 lens, automatic exposure, automatic film advance and automatic film loading. Film speed is set automatically with DX film coding. It has a built-in flash. It is strictly a point and shoot camera. The only adjustment possible is a fill flash switch in front. It takes two AA batteries. Mine works, although the flash isn't firing for me, although the ready light comes on. (Maybe it needs film.) Mine is in like new condition and comes with a small case and the box. I do not have the manual and can't find any more detailed specification. I got the date and maximum aperture from an old Etsy ad. There is a sticker on it which I think says the original price was $79.95. I purchased mine at a garage sale many years ago. I had a handwritten sticker saying $5. I'm guessing I paid less than that although I don't recall the purchase as I write this in 2022.|
|Ikelite Auto35 Camera and Housing, a very simple, fixed focus, fixed exposure, camera with a 28mm glass lens inside a waterproof housing. The system is designed to be used for scuba diving. It comes with a electronic strobe which mounts on the arm shown in the photo. The electronic flash on the camera sets off the strobe so that cords are not needed. It is in good working condition and is capable of excellent results. Purchased new in 2000. Ikelite manufactures housings for a variety of cameras. I assume Ikelite did not make this generic camera.|
|Retina cameras were made in Stuttgart, Germany by Nagel Camerawerk which was acquired by the US film and camera giant, Kodak. The original Retina was the first camera to use standard 35mm cartridge film introduced by Kodak. The film is encased in a metal cartridge and can be loaded in daylight. It remains the most popular type of film to this day. While 35mm film existed prior to this, prior to the Retina each manufacturer had there own cartridge format. The early Retina cameras therefore represent an important piece of history. The Retina cameras were designed to be economical and compact, yet very high quality. They allowed fine German camera technology to be introduced to the masses since cameras like Leica rangefinders were too expensive for most including today. The Retina series was quite successful and they still have an active following today commanding relatively high prices on eBay, although nothing like Leica cameras. Dozens of models or versions were made over the course of 4 decades and up until the recent predominance of digital photography, Kodak sold a lot of 35mm film. The various models and numbers sold are listed at Kodak Retina. (See also Wikipdia, "Kodak Retina and Kodak Classics.) Photoethnography has an extensive discussion of Reina cameras. She points out that model I cameras were viewfinder cameras, model II were rangefinder cameras and model III cameras where rangefinder cameras with light meters. The Nagel factory was seized by the Nazis during World War II, but Kodak regained control after the war.|
Kodak Retina Ia, Type 015, (1951-1954) (Large Image) Synchro-Compur shutter with speeds from 1 to 1/500 second plus Bulb. Schneider-Kreuznach Retina-Xenar 50mm f2.8 lens. Viewfinder focusing. Accessory shoe. Winder lever instead of knob like the Retina I to the left. Close focus 1 meter. My 1953 Sears Camera Catalog does not have a Retina Ia, but does has a rangefinder Retina IIa at a price of $164.10, close to $1,300 in 2007 dollars. The Retina Ia is discussed at several sites including Kodak Classics, camerapedia.org, Matt's Classic Cameras, Classic Cameras, Photoethnograpy, Kodak Retina, Chris's Camera Pages, and marriottworld.com. My Retina Ia was purchased as one of seven cameras, lenses and accessories in the Hillcrest area of San Diego on 11-19-07 from an ad on Craigslist. It is in good operating condition. The lens is clear. It is dirty and had a large exposure chart taped to the back. All in all a cool post World War II Retina to complement my pre War Retina I to the left.
|Kodak Retinette (Type 017)) (Circa 1951-1954) (Large Image, Back) German folding 35mm camera with focus by estimation and simple viewfinder. The Retinette series was a less expensive alternative to the Retina series. The Retinette cameras had a three element lens while the Retina cameras had a four element lens. This Type 017 was the last of the folding Retinette cameras. Close focus was about 3 feet. My camera has a 50mm f4.5 Schneider-Kreuznach Reomar lens with a Prontor-SV shutter with speeds from 1/300 to 1 second plus B. While focus was by estimation or measuring the distance, the lens does have a nice depth of field scale. Kodak Classics states the original list price was $59.50. That's equal to about $675 in February 2023 dollars. Therefore, while less than a Retina, it was not an inexpensive camera. Kodak Classics also has the 1965 Focal Press Retinette Guide. The manual is available at Chris's Camera Pages which site also has a desciption and several photos of the Kodak Retinette (type 017). While retired now, the author of that site specialized in repair of Kodak Retina and Retinette cameras. The site has excellent repair information. I believe I purchased this camera on eBay in January 2008 for around $15 with shipping. It is in good cosmetic condition with paint loss on the black trim in the back. It works although the slow shutter speeds hang up. It came with a leather case in good condition. Overall, I think these are wonderful cameras. They are fully adjustable with a fairly wide range of shutter speeds and apertures, as well as adjustable focus. The camera is therefore useable in a much wider range of circumstances than a fixed focus, fixed exposure camera. While there is not exposure meter, one can get by using the suggestions in the film package and a little bit of knowledge. The camera is better than the vast majority of 126 and 110 format Instamatic cameras of the 1970s.|
|Kodak Retina IIa (Type 016) (1951-1954) (Large Image, Closed, Back) German folding, coupled rangefinder camera. Over 100,000 sold during the three years it was made according to www.cameraquest.com. Price in 1953-1954 Sears Camera Catalog was $164.10. Adjusted for inflation, that's equal to over $1,300 in 2009 dollars. The price did fall to $127.50 (just over $1,000 in 2009 dollars) in the 1955 Sears Camera Catalog, likely due to the Retina IIc (Type 020, 1954-1957) being introduced in 1954. The leather field case was an additional $10.50 both years, or about an astonishing $85 in 2009 dollars. The camera is quite compact at about 12cm wide, 8cm tall, and 4cm thick at the thickest point while closed. You open the lens compartment with a small button on the bottom. The door then sticks out about an additional 4cm. The lens is a highly praised wide aperture f2, 50mm Schneider-Kreuznach Retina-Xenon coated lens. Shutter speeds range from 1 to 1/500 second with Bulb. To close the lens compartment, the aperture must be on infinity. You then press two buttons on the top and bottom of the lens compartment to close it. Winding is done by the lever on the top. The Retina II had a knob instead. The film counter must be set. It also counts down. When it gets to 36 the shutter is locked. You then have to reset the counter to the diamond symbol and advance it three times. The shutter can then fire again. Next to the shutter release is a film release button. You can press this to advance the film advance even if the shutter is locked. There is no light meter. The Retina II series have a rangefinder but no light meter. The I series has no rangefinder or light meter. The III series have a rangefinder and a light meter. Unlike the folding retinas starting with the IIc and IIIc, the IIa also does not accept other lenses. The Kodak Retinas site has a nice list of the Retina series.|
I purchased mine on October 24, 2009 at an estate sale in the Fletcher Hills area of El Cajon, CA. The camera belonged to a physician who lived in a modest Fletcher Hills area house. The camera was under a pile of other things and sold for $5. I also purchased wooden slide cases that appear to be hand made and showing excellent workmanship. There were hundreds of mainly Kodachrome slides in the cases from the late 1940s to the early 1960s. The majority were from the early 1950s and I suspect were taken with this camera. The Kodachrome slides are in excellent condition with the colors remaining true and vibrant. In contrast, the few Ektachrome slides have turned larely monochrome. The slides are mainly of scenic, natural places in the Western United States including Death Valley, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, Crater Lake, Painted Desert, Anza Borrego and Colorado. The photographic quality is quite good, although it appears the photographer was limited to his single 50mm lens. Most of the photos could have been taken today. The few with cars or people, appear quite dated. My camera is in very good cosmetic condition. There is a slight amount of green oxidation on the metal trim in front. Optically it looks excellent with perhaps a slight amount of dust inside the lens. The lens is clear with no evidence of mold. The viewfinder is bright. The rangefinder works well. It seems to focus accurately, although the focus is very stiff. Unfortunately, the shutter will not fire. I'm aware the Retina IIa will not fire when the film counter gets to zero. I believe I have set things correctly and that it should fire. I may take it somewhere to see how much it would cost to get it fixed. It is a gorgeous camera, and once repaired, will capable of taking gorgeous photos of the beauty of nature today just as it did well over 50 years ago. Several sites discuss the Kodak Retina IIa including: Shutterbug.net, www.photoethnography.com, camerapedia.org, Classic Cameras, The Camera Collector (pictured with a rotary phone and an Olympia typewriter), Chris' Camera Pages (repair), butkus.org (owner's manual), photo.net, Dante Stella Retina II, IIa, IIc page.
I purchased another Retina IIa for $65 (advertised for $80) in El Cajon, CA on October 27, 2009 from an ad on Craigslist. Like the one above it is in excellent cosmetic condition. Further, the focus is smooth and the shutter works! Pretty rare to come across two Retina IIa cameras in great cosmetic condition three days apart in the same city! I bought it since I think a Retina IIa is a nice vintage user camera and paying $65 for a working one is probably cheaper than getting the one above fixed. This one belonged to the seller's uncle who had passed away.
|Kodak Retina IIIc (Large Image, Kit) German coupled rangefinder sold from 1954 to 1958 with an original list price of $185 according to Kodak History. $185 in 1954 is equal to $1,490 in 2008 dollars. The price in the 1956 Sears Camera Catalog was $190. The list price in my 1957 brochure fell to $175. The Retina IIIc was similar to the prior IIc but the IIIc added a non-coupled Selinium light meter. The Kodak IIIC (Capital C) was added in 1959 which showed the frame-lines in the built in viewfinder for the accessory lenses. (See cameraquest.com.) The naming of this successor with the only name difference being a capital or lower case "c" is, of course, a bit confusing. The title in the 1957 brochure refers to the IIC and "IIIC" (not yet in existence) although inside the brochure is about, and refers to, the "IIIc." The IIIc accepted a 35mm wide angle lens element and a 80mm telephoto lens element. You would remove the 50mm element and replace it with either the 35mm or 80mm element. The fixed base of the lens and the shutter were the same for all three focal lengths. The 50mm lens is a Schneider Xenon f2. The 35mm lens is a 35mm Curtar f5.6 priced at $62.50 in the 1956 Sears Camera Catalog. The 80mm lens is a 80mm Longar f4 priced at $82.50 in the 1956 Sears Camera Catalog. A $17.50 optical viewfinder fit on the accessory shoe and switched between the viewing angle of the 35mm and 80mm lenses. The leather "Eveready" case was $13.50 in the 1956 Sears Camera Catalog. Total price for the camera, three lenses, accessory viewfinder and case was hence $366 in the 1956 Sears Camera Catalog or over $2,900 in 2008 dollars.|
|Mine comes with all those pieces. I also have a stereo adapter that fits on the 50mm lens. The stereo adapter on a camera is shown at the German site www.stereoskopie.com along with a brochure in German. From the illustrations it looks like you would have two slightly different images on one frame. If taken with slide film, the single slide with the two images could be viewed through a Kodak stereo viewer that sort of looks like a GAF Viewmaster Viewer. I also have the manual but the front and back covers are missing. I also have a Retina IIa manual and a 1957 brochure for the Retina IIc and the Retina IIIc. Finally, I have a "Befestigungsbugel zum 'Kodablitz'" which is a bracket to attach a Kodak flash. (Great name!) I purchased my setup on June 28, 2008 for $100 from a physician in the University City area of San Diego from an ad on Craigslist. The camera and lenses are in working condition. The camera is in decent cosmetic condition but shows significant wear on the top I believe from taking the accessory viewfinder on and off. The 50mm and 35mm lenses look clear with perhaps a slight coating problem on the edge of the 35mm lens which I do not think would affect photos. The 80mm lens has a hazy and wispy appearance in the middle element and the internal side of the back element indicating the presence of mold. The stereo attachment also looks slightly hazy.|
|Kodak Retina IIIS (1958-1960) (Large Image The first of a series of non-folding Retina cameras. (See Kodak Retina - Wikipedia.) Like the Retina IIIc above, the Retina IIIS could be outfitted with interchangeable lenses. The Retina IIIS went a step further, however. Its lenses could also be used on the Kodak's 35mm single lens reflex cameras, called Retina Reflex (Models S, III and IV, but not the original Retina Reflex), and the Kodak 126 film format Instamatic Reflex camera. While Leica, Nikon and Canon also had interchangeable lens rangefinder cameras, with the exception of two Leica lenses, their lenses could not be used on their single lens reflex cameras. For the rangefinder to work the Kodak lenses must be the type with two cam slots on the back. Some of the lenses made for the reflex cameras only have one cam slot. They will mount to the IIIS, but the rangefinder will not work. You can still estimate the distance, however. (See the excellent article at Retina IIIS - Cameraquest.) As noted at Retina IIIS - Cameraquest, the IIIS while a fine camera, has a rather convoluted film counter system. The camera is also noted as being difficult to service. It has a great viewfinder, however, and automatically brings up the proper framelines when a new lens is mounted. While other Retina rangefinders followed the Retina IIIS, the Retina IIIS was the last Retina rangefinder with interchangeable lenses.|
|My Retina IIIS was appropriately sold as part of a "Retina trio" - the seller's words on the Craigslist listing. Along with the IIIs, I received a Retina Reflex IV and a Kodak Instamatic Reflex. While the Instamatic Reflex is not technically labeled a Retina, it is a German Kodak camera similar to the Retina Reflex cameras. All three cameas are in fantastic cosmetic and working condition. The IIIs and the Instamatic Reflex come with full cases. The Retina Reflex IV comes with the bottom case. The cameras were purchased in the Pt. Loma area of San Diego on October 18, 2009 for the very reasonable price of $100. I had purchased a Mamiya 23 medium format rangefinder camera from the seller several months earlier. The two reflex cameras have 45mm f2.8 Schneider-Kreuznach Xenar lenses. The IIIS has a 50mm f2.8 Schneider-Kreuznach Retina Xenar lens. In addition, I received two other lenses - a 35mm f2.8 Schneider-Kreuznach Retina-Curtagon lens and a 135mm f4 Schneider-Kreuznach Retina-Tele-Xenar lens. Both come in their original bubble cases. The 135 lens also has its original box. All lenses are in excellent condition. These cameras and lenses are truly fine additions to my Retina collection.|
|Kodak Retinette I (Type 30) (1958-1959) (Large Image) Made in Germany by Kodak A.G., the Retinette cameras were the budget version of the Kodak Retina cameras lacking a rangefinder. While identified simply as a Retinette on the camera itself, there were several versions. Looking at the photos and list on Kodak Retinette, Camerapedia mine appears to be a Kodak Retinette I, Type 30. It has a Schneider-Kreuznach Reomar 45mm f3.5 lens with a Compur-Rapid shutter with shutter speeds of 1 second to 1/500 second. There is no light meter. The shutter speeds and apertures are coupled so that shutter speed ring and aperture ring will move together. Therefore, for example, if 1/125, f16 is a correct exposure combination, turning the shutter speed ring will bring up the equivalent exposure combinations of 1/250, f11 or 1/500, f8. You can press the aperture ring inward by pressing down on the little tab on the aperture ring. You can then independently set the shutter speed and aperture. The film advance is on the bottom. To open the camera you turn the knob on the bottom in the direction of the arrow and hold down the little button under the arrow. Focusing is done by estimation. The camera has a very nice depth of field scale to aid in focusing. The smallest aperture is f22. I bought my Retinette at an El Cajon, CA estate sale on June 30, 2012 for $5 together with several other cameras for $5 each. It is in good cosmetic and working condition and comes with a leather case. A slightly later Retinette IA was $39.95 in the 1962 Montgomery Ward Camera Catalog. The case was $7.94. $39.95 in 1962 has the same buying power as $304 in 2012.|
|Kodak 35 Rangefinder (1940-1951) (Large Image) The history of this model is presented at Wikipedia. It has a rangefinder window separate from the central viewing window. The large protrusion in front is part of the rangefinder mechanism. My camera has a Flash Kodamatic Shutter with shutter speeds of 1/10 to 1/200 seconds plus B and T. The shutter is set by a ring surrounding the lens assembly with the shutter speeds on top. The lens is a Kodak Anastigmat Special 50mm f3.5. The apertures are set by a lever on the bottom of the lens assembly. The shutter release is a lever operated by the right index finger on the side of the lens assembly. To advance the film I believe you press down the button next to the winding knob and wind the knob until it stops. This also cocks the shutter. Without film I only was able to get the shutter to fire once. The shutter was very slow to close. The apertures appear to work fine. The rangefinder is not working. The lens looks reasonably clean. I think I acquired this camera from an ad on Craigslist in 2008. I don't recall what I paid for it. The price for the Kodak 35 Rangefinder was $80.81 in the 1947 Montgomery Ward Photographic Catalog at page 19. That's about $1,100 in February 2023 dollars. The original Kodak 35 without the rangefinder was almost half the price at $43.87, although a Kardon 35mm rangefinder on the same page was almost 5 times the price at $393.75. The Kodak 35 Rangefinder is discussed at many sites including Matt's Classic Cameras, Camerashiz, Camera-Wiki, Mike Eckman, Everything Vintage, and Contraptions In Photo (showing how the rangefinder works). The manual is at butkus.org.|
|Kodak Signet 35, U.S. rangefinder manufactured from 1951 to 1958. 44mm f3.5 lens, adjustable apertures and shutter speeds. In good condition except the rangefinder does not seem to work anymore. This camera belonged to my grandfather. Kodak History states the list price was $95. The 1953-1954 Sears Camera Catalog lists the price as $92.50. $92.50 in 1953 has the same buying power as about $750 in 2009. The case was an additional $6.50 (over $50 in 2009 dollars!). The camera was sold from 1951 to 1958. There is an excellent discussion of it at David Photographic.|
|Kodak Signet 50, (August 1957 to October 1960) (Large Image, With Flash) Zone focus, non-rangefinder, camera with Kodak Ektanar 44mm f2.8 lens and Selenium photocell with original list price of $82.50 according to the detailed discussion at Camerapedia. ($82.50 is about $850 in December 2022 dollars.) It was introduced with the Signet 30 which was essentially the same camera without the Selenium photocell. The manual is available at butkus.org. Shutter speeds from 1/4 to 1/250 seconds. Apertures from f2.8 to f22. The meter is read at the top in exposure values (EV). You set the shutter speed on the shutter speed ring. Then set the EV/aperture ring by pressing it on it and rotating to the EV shown on the meter. (EV values are on the bottom of the ring. Apertures are on the top of the ring.) The aperture will be correct for the shutter speed selected. Release the shutter/EV ring. The shutter ring and EV/aperture ring are then coupled. You can turn the now connected rings to select the aperture/shutter combinations that all have the same EV. You can, of course, select any aperture and shutter speed combination you want by pushing in on the aperture/EV ring. It's an interesting system and I believe better than the Argus C3 Matchmatic system which does not designate the actual shutter speeds and apertures on the camera. To focus you turn the focus ring to the measured or approximate distance. To make this easier, the focus ring has zones of "close-ups" from 3 to 5 feet, "groups" from about 5.5 feet to 12 feet, and "scenes" from about 12 feet to infinity. The clear and bright viewfinder does not assist in the focusing. It does have two parallax markers in the viewfinder to show the portion at the top of the frame that will be chopped off at 3 feet and 5 feet. My camera comes with the Kodalite Super M4 flashholder. I don't recall where I got my camera. It is in fair cosmetic conditions with scratches on the top. The focusing ring was only held in by one screw. The other screw is missing. I don't know if the camera is working. The shutter doesn't fire but the Camerapedia article indicates the shutter doesn't fire if film is not loaded. Daniel J. Schneider in his extensive review points out that the lens glass is made "with a high concentration of thorium oxide, a low-activity radioactive molecule - [with] a high refractive index. This allows lens elements made with thoriated glass to be thinner, and helps make them very sharp."|
|Kodak Pony IV, (1957-1961) (Large Image, Back) Zone focus, non-rangefinder, camera with Kodak Anastar 44mm f3.5 lens with an original list price of $40. (Film Photography, Kodak Classics.) The 1960-1961 Sears Camera Catalog at page 5 sold the Pony IV for $37.95 or $44.44 for the three piece outfit including the eveready leather case and flash holder. The Pony II in the catalog at page 4, with only one shutter speed and an f3.9 lens, sold for $24.50 or $33.50 for the three piece kit. The Pony line was less expensive and less sophisticated than the Signet line. Nevertheless, this Pony IV shares many features with the Signet 50 above. The Pony IV was the sixth and last in the Pony line. (Kodak Pony - Wikipedia.) The manual is available at butkus.org. The Kodak Flash 250 Shutter has speeds from 1/30 to 1/250 second plus B. Apertures are from f3.5 to f22. To focus you turn the focus ring to the measured or approximate distance. To make this easier, the focus ring, like that on the Signet 50 above. has zones of "close-ups" from 3 to 5 feet, "groups" from about 5.5 feet to 12 feet, and "scenes" from about 12 feet to infinity. There is also a depth of field scale to assist in getting subjects in focus. Close focus actually goes down to less than 2.5 feet. The simple viewfinder does not assist in the focusing.|
Like the Signet 50 above exposure values are used on the top of the shutter and aperture rings, although unlike the Signet 50 the two are not coupled. The actual shutter speeds and apertures are on the bottom of the rings. There is no exposure meter. You could instead use a handheld light meter, sunny-16 rule, or recommendations included with the film. Additionally, a set of eight 1 inch x 1.75 inch exposure value (EV) cards were included for eight different Kodak film types. A card fit into the holder on the back of the camera. The entire set of cards also fit into a holder that fits into the inner top of the leather camera case. Similar to the recommendations included with Kodak film, these cards had recommendations for bright sun with sand or snow, bright sun, hazy sun, cloudy bright and open shade. Instead of a shutter speed and different aperture values, however, these cards give recommended exposure values for the different conditions. For a given exposure value, you can use any shutter value and aperture value that add up the recommended EV. For example, the recommended EV using Plus-X Film (ASA 80) for "hazy sun" was 14. I could use a shutter number of 7 and aperture number of 7 for a total of 14. If you look at the bottom of the shutter and aperture rings, that's 1/125 second f11. I could instead use a shutter number of 5 and an aperture of 9, again adding up 14. If you look at the bottom of the shutter and aperture rings, that's 1/30 second f22. Both lead to the same exposure although the two settings will have different effects on depth of field and motion. The reverse side of each card had exposure information for flash photos.
I vaguely recall getting my camera at a La Mesa/San Carlos garage sale many years ago. My camera is in very good cosmetic and working condition. The shutter works and sounds approximately right. The shutter does not automatically cock when you advance the film. Rather, you have to push the cocking lever on the lens assembly down. To fire the shutter without film you have slide the reset lever on the top of the back to the right. The apertures work. My camera came with a leather "Kodak Pony II and IV Field Case" in very good condition. While I have not tested the camera with film, my initial verdict is the Pony is a good economy camera with a variety of shutter speeds and apertures and with zone focusing. It allows photos under a variety of lighting conditions and at reasonably close distances compared to a fixed focus, one shutter speed, one aperture box camera. Economy is relative, however, since the $40 list price is equal to about $420 in December 2022 dollars. It would have been an excellent camera for a teen to learn photography back in the late 1950s. Mike Eckman has a nice article on the camera including suggestions on disassembly. Camera Collecting also has excellent information on the Pony product line and detailed shutter cleaning instructions. Photo.net has a discussion about the lens. The Film Photography Project also has excellent information about the Pony cameras.
|Kodak S-Series S350, (circa 1986-1993) (Large Image) 35mm fixed focus viewfinder camera with automatic exposure. According to Kodak Classics this camera is very similar to the Kodak VR35 K40 which is also very similar to the Kodak 35 MD which was apparently made for non-US markets. With respect to the Kodak 35 MD, Kodak Classics states the lens is an Ektanar 35mm f4 and shutter speeds are 1/145 to 1/400. I assume these are the same for the S350. I could not find the aperture range. The 1986-1993 dates are from the Kodak Classics entry for the VR35 K40, which states: "This Japanese made fixed focus camera, features motorized film wind and rewind, automatic exposure, DX film sensing and a pop-up electronic flashgun. Apparently sold in non-US markets as the 35 MD. A similar camera was also sold as the S-Series S350." That entry states the original list price of the Kodak VR35 K40 was $83. That's equal to almost $230 in March 2023 dollars. Down the Road has a review of the Kodak VR35K40. Kodak stopped making 35mm cameras for many years focusing on 126 and 110 Instamatic cameras. Compact 35mm cameras were becoming more popular in the 1980s, however. Cameras like the S350 represent Kodak's return to the 35mm camera market although the cameras were no longer made in the United States. My camera is in good cosmetic condition. The batteries leaked badly and I have not gotten it to work.|
|Kodak K400, (circa 1987-1990) (Large Image) The Kodak K400 is a fixed focus viewfinder camera with a 38mm f5.6 lens. It is part of the VR35 series and is sometimes referred to as the Kodak VR35 K400. It looks identical to Kodak K300 and Kodak K500 cameras on eBay and is apparently the same camera except for the name change. (Kodak Classics.) The instruction booklet shown in an eBay ad is the same for all three models. There is one unspecified shutter speed. There is no light meter, although the camera does have an ISO setting. It turns out the ISO setting is really an adjustable aperture, although I doubt many people used it that way. There are three apertures which are adjusted by the slider for the ISO. (Filmphotography.eu.) The ISO 100 setting sets the aperture to 5.6. I assume that the ISO 200 sets the aperture to f8 and the ISO 400 sets the aperture to f11.|
Intrigued, I partially disassembled the camera to explore further. Warning! A camera electronic flash has a large capacitor which creates a high voltage/electrocution hazard even in a small camera. The charge can be maintained for a long time even if the batteries are removed. Indeed, there is a label inside the camera stating "HIGH VOLT DANGER." Don't disassemble a camera with a flash unless you have experience with electronics and know what you are doing. The lens unscrews. With the lens unscrewed, you can slide the "ISO" lever and see the three apertures. The different apertures are formed from a simple plate with three different holes in it. It is similar to Waterhouse stops used in the early history of photography. (See Wikipedia - Waterhouse Stop.) Most cameras form the aperture with an iris diaphragm. Digging deeper, and having decided to sacrifice the camera, you can see the simple mechanical shutter. (Longer video of shutter.) The lens itself is about a 1/4 inch deep. I assume it has more than one element. I don't know if it is glass or plastic. The electronics in the camera are entirely for the electronic flash. Otherwise, the camera is mechanical. There was a large chunk of metal underneath the capacitor which I'm guessing is a heat sink. Film is advanced by a thumbwheel on the back of the camera. The rewind lever is on top. To open the back, you lift up on the rewind lever knob.
Like the S350 above, the Kodak K400 is part of the Kodak VR35 series of cameras introduced in 1986 after a 17-year gap by Kodak in making 35mm cameras. (Camerapedia - Kodak VR35.) Kodak had abandoned 35mm cameras like the Retina, Pony and Signet series in favor of the 126 (introduced 1963) and 110 (1972) Instamatic series and the Kodak Disc (1982) cameras. (Kodak, of course, continued to sell a lot of 35mm film.) Kodak also introduced the Advanced Photo System (APS) format in 1996. That's four film formats smaller than 35mm film introduced in 33 years. Different film formats may have been a way to hook people on new cameras and film. By the 1980s compact 35mm point and shoot cameras from other manufacturers were common, often with autofocus and auto film loading, advance and rewind. With these cameras selling well Kodak got back into the 35mm camera market. Unlike the prior Kodak 35mm cameras made in Germany or the United States my camera was made in Thailand. "Manufacturing sites included [t]he United States (some VR35 K12 units), Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand and Taiwan." (Camerapedia - Kodak VR35.)
Perhaps the prime advantage of the Instamatic, Disc and APS formats was easy cartridge film loading. Other manufacturers simplified loading of 35mm film. For example, as early as the 1960s Canon had its "'quick load' system, a spring-hinged device inside the rear door to make film loading easy and simple." (ImagingPixel discussing the Canon FTb.) With automatic film loading and advance in many cameras by the 1980s you just laid the film leader down past a certain point, closed the camera back and the film advanced to the first frame. With the Kodak K400, however, you still have to carefully thread the film leader into the film take-up spool and manually wind to the first frame. It's not hard once you learn, but its why many people avoided 35mm cameras.
Kodak Classics and Brownie-Camera.com under "original price" list the K300, K400 and/or K500 as "premium." Kodak Classics describes what "premium" means. "Some of the cameras are described as 'premium'. These are cameras that were not normal retail items, but used for promotional purposes, often by third-party companies, to encourage customers to take advantage of their goods or services. Inevitably, they are usually of fairly basic specification." There are a few K400 cameras with the original boxes on eBay. They all are in plain looking boxes some with K400 printed in big blue letters. There is no mention of Kodak on the boxes. Curiously, I saw one with a printed price tag of $59.95. Maybe someone had been trying to resell them.
It is interesting to note that in 1987, the same year Kodak introduced the K400, Kodak also introduced a new line of 35mm disposable cameras, some with electronic flash, preloaded with film. Fujifilm had introduced similar cameras a year earlier. (Wikipedia - Disposable Camera.) These cameras were really quite similar to the K400 except the K400 had three apertures and perhaps a better lens. You didn't need to load or rewind the disposable cameras, however. You simply sent the entire camera in for processing and got your photos and negatives back. The cameras were recycled with new film and sold again. The original Kodak box camera introduced in 1888 had a similar marketing model. The camera came preloaded with a roll of film with 100 exposures. When you were done taking the pictures, you sent the camera back to Kodak and Kodak mailed the photos back to you. In many ways not a lot changed in 99 years! While primarily a film and chemical company, Kodak made an incredible number of cameras over the years. Kodak Classics lists about 150 Kodak 35mm cameras alone. Cheap cameras, disposable cameras, promotional cameras and frequent minor changes to models and names of cameras for marketing purposes, may also be symptomatic of our disposable society, a problem that has existed for some time. (See, generally, Vance Packard, The Waste Makers (1960).)
I don't recall where I got my camera. It was many years ago. The flash did not work even with new batteries. The camera film advance worked and the shutter fired. I have not bothered to try and reassemble it.
|Konica I (Large Image) (1951-52) Dates from Konica Collector for Konica with 50mm Konishiroku Hexar f2.8 lens like mine. There were several early variations and the camera is simply labeled Konica. That site lists the original list price as $69.75, equal to over $580 in 2008 dollars. An interesting feature is a collapsible lens - sort of compromise between a folding camera like an early Retina and a fixed lens like later Retinas. Konirapide-S shutter with speeds from 1/500 to 1 second plus Bulb. Excellent discussion about use and history at photo.net although they did not have any current sources for the manual. Mediajoy.com, however, has detailed instructions for use. Be sure to click next to go through the various pages. Camerapedia.org also has an excellent discussion. Butkus.org has the manual for the later Konica III rangefinder. Rangefinderforum.com has a discussion with a photo of one in fantastic condition with the original box.|
|Cosmetically mine looks terrible because it is missing the leatherette covering. Since it is missing entirely (except for the small portion around the tripod mount) I assume someone took it off. Many of the coverings said "Made in Occupied Japan" and some had the Konsishiroku name written on the back. I have ordered some plain, self-stick leatherette from www.miro-tools.com. Otherwise it is in pretty good cosmetic condition. The viewfinder is exceptionally clean and the rangefinder works perfectly. The shutter speeds appear to work correctly. The aperture is stuck on a single setting unfortunately. This, of course, is not surprising for a camera approaching 60 years old. I took off the front lens element and squirted some Rosonal lighter fluid on the aperture blades without any success in freeing up the blades. (Of course, do this at your own risk and observe all precautions when using lighter fluid or other solvents which are flammable and poisonous.) This is similar to the problem with the aperture blades with the Wards AM 550 below. The camera comes with a well worn eveready case. Purchased at a Fletcher Hills (El Cajon, CA) yard sale on 7-12-08 for $10 with some other photo accessories. Unfortunately, the seller had just sold several other cameras - mainly Minolta SLRs. Bummer! I should not have slept in! Still, a very nice find on a vintage Konica I. Mine came with a Navy "Camera Pass and Possession Permit" issued "27 February 1954" and expiring "3 March 1954" allowing the camera to be used at the U.S. Naval Receiving Station at Pearl Harbor. The licensee is probably the original owner with the camera being two or three years old at the time. This was right after the Korean War.||
|Wards AM 550 aka Konica 35 Auto S (1962-1965) Wards branded Konica 35 Auto S, the first CdS automatic exposure 35mm camera. See Photoethnography. Shutter preferred automatic exposure. Light meter with high/low switch is the small circle on the front of the camera below the film advance lever. 47mm f1.9 lens. Shutter speeds from 1 second to 1/500 second. Uses 1.35 volt PX 625 mercury battery which is not longer available. The meter worked for me with a 1.5 volt PX625AB silver battery. I did not test the exposure with precision. The camera is in excellent cosmetic and working condition except the aperture becomes stuck. If set at a smaller aperture (e.g. f16), it will not change to a larger aperture (e.g. f2.8). If you remove the front lens element by twisting the round area of the lens with the name with a latex glove, you can see the shutter. Setting the camera to B you can leave the shutter open to reveal the aperture blades. If you lightly touch the blades, the blades will open up to a larger aperture setting. I cleaned the blades from the front with solvent as discussed at several sites. See photo-net and Favorite Classics. It worked somewhat when I had the solvent on, but after letting it dry overnight it still had the original problem. Of course, do this at your own risk and observe all precautions when using lighter fluid or other solvents which are flammable and poisonous. Another photo-net message refers to replacing the spring which opens up the aperture blades. Mick Feuerbacher Photography shows in detail the overhaul of the Auto S including complete removal of the rear lens group to clean the aperture blades from the front and the back. I purchased my camera on eBay on 8-5-06 for $9.99 with $7.60 shipping and $1.35 shipping insurance. It came with an ever-ready case, manual and original box.||
|Konica Auto S2 (Large Image - Second Camera) (1965-1969) The Konica Auto S2 is the successor to the Konica Auto S above and succeeded by the Konica Auto S1.6 (had a f1.6 lens) in 1969 and the much smaller Konica Auto S3 in 1973. (See Guest Review - The Konica Auto S2, japancamerahunter.com.) The Konica Auto S2 also had a version sold by Montgomery Ward, the Wards AM 551. (Konica Auto S2 - Camerapedia.) The camera generally gets good reviews with Matt Denton - mattsclasiccameras.com praising the "fast, sharp, and contrasty 1.8 Hexanon lens with a built-in popup hood for flare reduction (very handy)." (See also Rangefinder Forum - Konica Auto S2 - First Impressions; Konica Auto S2 Rangefinder Photos and Review, Daniel J. Schneider Photography ("The Konica Auto S2 is a large and slightly fiddly 35mm rangefinder camera with a nice feature set and a really stellar lens. I love it!").) Shutter speeds vary from 1/500 to 1 second. Apertures range from f1.8 to f16. The lens is a 45mm f1.8 Konica Hexanon. The shutter is a Copal-SVA. ASA (ISO) settings range from 25 to 400. The camera is made in Japan. The camera has shutter preferred automatic exposure. To do this you set the aperture ring to A and select the desired shutter speed. The camera selects the aperture which shows up by a needle on an aperture scale on the top of the viewfinder image. You can also select the aperture and shutter speed manually. The meter will still show you the suggested aperture for the given shutter speed. You have to then set that aperture. You have to take you eye off of the viewfinder to do this since it is not match needle metering. The shutter speeds and apertures work even if the battery is not working. The CdS meter operates on a 625 1.3 volt mercury battery. These batteries are no longer available for environmental reasons. 1.5 volt 625A Alkaline batteries are available although the metering may be a bit off due to the different voltages. I don't think there is a switch to shut the meter off. Rather, the lens cap also covers the photocell window. With no light, the meter is effectively shut off. The manual is available at www.cameramanuals.org. I purchased my Konica Auto S2 35mm rangefinder camera and a Voigtlander Vito II for a total of $25 at a garage/estate sale about a block from my house on February 14, 2015. The camera appears to be in very good cosmetic and operating condition. There is a driver's license number engraved on the bottom plate of the camera. The shutter and aperture appear to work well. The meter is active and varies depending on the amount of light. It seems to be about 1 to 2 stops overexposed, however, and seems to have trouble moving up to f16. It came with 625A battery which is measuring at just under 1.5 volts. I have a second Konica Auto S2 that has a small round "New Loading System" tag on the front. It is in good cosmetic condition. The shutter is not firing, however, and the film advance will not move. Someone wrote on the back in pencil - "lens shutter - try to get working - after removing nothing works - tear up." The rangefinder is not visible. I think I got it with a box assorted photographic items many years ago.|
|Konica C35 EF (circa 1974) (large image) the first 35mm camera with a built-in electronic flash according to a 1976 advertisement in Popular Science for sale on eBay. Date is from Konica C35 in Japanese. Mine is the first model. A later model with a self-timer switch on front is referred to as the new Konica C35 EF. 38mm f2.8 lens with shutter speeds of 1/60 and 1/125. See C35 EF (in Japanese). Zone focusing instead of rangefinder found on C35 A. Price in 1976-77 Sears Camera Catalog was $119, actually $5 more than a C35 A rangefinder with external electronic flash. $119 in 1976 is approximately equal to $425 in 2006 dollars. Disassembly is shown at Konica C35 EF (in Japanese). Mine was purchased on eBay on 8-4-06 for $5.99 plus $7.20 shipping and $1.35 shipping insurance. In good cosmetic condition. Shutter worked. Takes two AA batteries for flash. The batteries were left in and were badly corroded. It had a note on it saying batteries new 5-96. Apparently ten years is too long to leave them in! I scrapped away the corrosion and was eventually able to free the two AA batteries. Also, the button battery (originally a 1.3 volt mercury battery) for the meter was corroded. I cleaned that battery compartment up and put in a 1.5 volt LH-44 battery. Now meter and flash both work with the meter appearing to be reasonably accurate.|
|Konica C35 AF, introduced in November 1977, this was the first production model autofocus camera as detailed in several sites. George Eastman House, David Photographic, Digicam History. It has a 38mm, f2.8 autofocus lens, elctronic flash and automatic exposure. This camera was a donation from an OLG alumnus who spoted this historically significant camera at a garage sale. Good eye!! While I have not shot film with it yet, with the addition of two new AA batteries, it appears to operate well and is in good cosmetic condition. It was expensive new; $189.50 in the 1977-78 Sears Camera Catalog, about $975 in March 2023 dollars. I purchased another one at a garage sale in the Rancho San Diego area on February 7, 2015. Two or three dollars was allocated to this camera. It appears to be in good working condition.|
|Konica MG, (1984) followed the release of the Konica MG/D in 1983 which was identical except it had a date imprint function. Auto loading, auto focusing, autorewinding and auto exposure. ISO set above the lens with a range of ISO 50 to 1000. Konica Hexanon 35mm f3.5 lens made in Japan. Uses two 1.5 volt AA batteries. Purchased at the annual Rolando area, south of University, neighborhood garage sale in San Diego on 8-4-07 for $2. The seller had purchased it aboard ship when he was overseas in the Navy. I have not gotten it fully working. It comes on, but the shutter and flash do not fire. There were corroded batteries in the battery compartment and I will work more on the terminials to see if I can get it working. It opens similar to the Olympus XA2 but is larger than that camera. The following Japanese site has further information: Konica MG and Konica MG/D.|
Leica started the 35mm film format for still cameras in 1925. (See us.leica-camera.com - history, Leica Camera - Wikipedia.) Leica is one of the most historic and respected names in cameras and optics. Leica cameras are known for their impeccable engineering and fine German craftmanship. Leica 35mm rangefinder cameras with interchangeable screw mount lenses became a standard in the 1930s through 1950s. By the early 1960s, however, 35mm single lens reflex cameras began to predominate.
Japanese manufacturers like Nikon and Canon had similar 35mm rangefinder models patterned after the Leica. These Japanese cameras are also highly respected and collectable. Russian manufacturers also made similar models which were functional, although generally less highly regarded. As indicated below, besides other manufacturers producing similar cameras, there are also counterfeit cameras. These are cameras with the Leica name, but which are not made by Leica or true Leica cameras. For example, some counterfeit cameras are Russian models modified to include the Leica name.
Leica cameras were very pricey when new. They remain very collectible and pricey today. Common models typically go for hundreds, rarer models can approach and exceed a thousand, and the rarest can go for thousands. They are usually not in my league, but I saw the one below on Craigslist and decided to get it. I figured the Camera Museum had reached the point that it should have one Leica. Don't expect many more, however. Donations are, of course, accepted!
|Leica IIIc (1950) Date and model from the serial no. 496829 and the extensive table at cameraquest.com. Includes strap, Summitar 50mm (5cm) f2 lens, Summitar barn door shade, lens cap, 135mm f4.5 Hektor lens with metal shade and rear cap, Nooky accessory viewfinder with box, Leica 35-135 accessory viewfinder, and Gossen Scout 2 light meter. Purchased on 8-6-09 for $300 from an ad on Craigslist.
Genuine. There are many fake Leica cameras so I have compared it extensively with photos of other Leica IIIc cameras on the Internet. (See How to Identify a Fake Leica, Fake Russian Leicas - Cameraquest.) It appears to be genuine. Mine looks identical to several other IIIc samples on the Internet from around the same time including Leica IIIc manual at www.cameramanuals.org, flickr.com - Leica IIIc (from the same year according to the serial no. in the photo), Camerapedia - Leica IIIc, 35mm-compact.com - Leica IIIc (in French), and La collection d'appareils photo anciens par Sylvain Halgand (in French), eBay Listing ( ten very detailed photos all of which are like my camera). The "Optishes Naheinstellgerat Nooky/Nookyhesum" accessory viewfinder, including box, also looks identical to those at Leica Assessories and Photo Bucket. Similarly, the Leitz Shade for Summicron, Barn Door Type, looks identical to that at Pacific Rim Camera. It sells used for $45 at Pacific Rim Camera. The "Leica 35-135 Imarect/VIOOH accessory viewfinder" at Photoethnography also looks like mine. Finally, the seller is the son of the original owner who indicates he bought it new in Germany in the early 1950s. It has therefore only had one owner.
Value. While my camera and accessories appear to be geniune, the IIIc also appears to be one of the more common Leicas. In my year of production alone, 25,000 were produced according to the table at cameraquest.com. This makes them relatively inexpensive on eBay. For example, when I purchased it there was a buy it now for $348 for a body in very good condition, $299 for a body in good condition, and $188 for a body in fair condition. One very similar to mine with the Summitar 5cm 1:2 lens and a case was sold the same day I bought mine for $250 plus $8 shipping. Another one in good condition with Leitz Elmar 5cm 3,5 Lens went for $349.99. A body only in okay condition went for only $124.72. Another with a normal lens like mine went for $224.72 plus $18 shipping. Mine was originally advertised as IIIg which is much more rare and goes for hundreds more. Mine appears to be for a decent price, however, given the extra lens and accessories.
Lenses. The normal lens the camera generally came with was the 50mm f3.5 Leitz Elmar (1931-1959) made for almost thirty years (1931-1959) which cameraquest calls "the lens that initially made Leica famous." Mine instead comes with the upgraded Ernst Leitz Wetzlar "Summitar" 5cm (50mm) f2 (1:2) No. 738934 lens with Leica lens cap. Cameraquest states: "50/2 Leitz Summitar (1939-1955) Much improved sharpness over the Summar, chrome collapsible lenses only, post war lenses coated. Watch out for fogging and cleaning scratches." The extra lens is a 13.5cm (135mm) Ernst Leitz Wetzlar Hektor f4.5 (1:4.5) No. 715358. It comes with a metal hood. One sold recently on eBay with the finder for $89.65 plus $10.35 shipping. There was no comment on its condition, however. Cameraquest.com states: "135/4.5 Leitz Hektor (1933-1960): Leica's best LTM 135. Uncoated Black pre-war or Coated post-war chrome. Lens head removable for Visoflex reflex housing. Watch out for fogging and cleaning scratches." Mine is mostly black with distance ring being chrome. It appears to have a coated lens, however. When I look at the glass, for example, there is a definite blue/purple tint to the reflection of my ceiling light on the lens glass. Was mine pre-war? In discussing another lens, the 50/2 Leitz Summar (1933-1940), cameraquest indicates while all left the factory uncoated, some were sent back to the factory after the war for coating.
Price When New. I don't have information on the price of a IIIc when new. The 1956 Montgomery Ward Photographic Catalog, p. 5 gives the price of a IIIf (and IIf) with Summicron 50mm f2.0 lens as $336. $336 in 1956 is equal to $2,664.44 in 2009 dollars! The "Imarect" 35-135mm finder was $39 or $309.27 in 2009 dollars. A 90mm Elmar f4 lens was $90. The Leica IIIf body only was $177. The body with the 50mm f3.5 Elmar lens was $237. By 1956 Leica had was also selling the bayonet lens mount Leica M# which as $447 with a Summicron f2 lens. The IIIf was followed by the IIIg in 1957 which was the last model of the Leica screw mount cameras.
Condition. Cosmetically the camera has some areas of brassing and small pitting. Covering is very good. Glass in lenses looks good with some dust in the 135mm lens. Shutter fires and shutter speeds vary appropriately. Aperture works. Viewfinder and rangefinder reasonably clean. Rangefinder works but is very faint. Accessories in good condition. As I look at it in the enlarged photo above, I can tell I also need to take a Q-tip to it to clean many of the nooks and crannies.
|Leica Standard Model E (1936) (Large Image) This is the fourth version of the original Leica 35mm camera. The Standard was introduced in 1932. It followed the Leica 1 Model C with the only difference being the E's smaller extendable rewind knob. (Wikipedia - Leica Standard.) The Standard Model E has the standardized Leica lens mount to allow for different lenses. That feature was first added in later Leica 1 Model C cameras. (Wikipedia - Leica Standard.) Like the earliest Leica 35mm cameras the Standard Model E does not have rangefinder focusing. Rather, you estimate the distance and adjust the focus distance ring accordingly. The Standard Model E could be fitted with a rangefinder. Also, the Model II and III cameras with a coupled rangefinder were sold at the same time as the Leica Standard Model E. My Standard Model E has serial no. 205514 and is from 1936. (Leica Wiki - Leica Standard (model E)). Mine is a chrome model. Early models were all black. Mine has a Leitz Elmar 5cm f3.5 collapsible lens. There is a nice discussion of the Leica Standard Model E at leicaphotography.org. (See also Leica Purity: The Leica Standard 1934, photo.net.) The focusing mechanism on mine appears to be frozen. The aperture works. The camera appears to wind and fire correctly. It hard to see whether the shutter is opening, however, since the back is not designed to open up. I do not know how to take the lens off yet and have ordered some books from the library. My cost? $5 at a La Mesa, CA garage sale on Sunday May 18, 2014. I was coming back from Costco and followed the signs. I stopped. They said they just closed. I asked if they had any cameras. They had a couple of Kodak digital cameras. I asked if they had any older cameras. Out came the Leica for $5. I've always dreamed of finding a $5 Leica at a garage sale! The current value for a Leica Standard Model E camera with lens on CollectibBlend in average condition is about $480 to $500. Mine may not fully function, however, and has some corrosion. Mine comes with the case with the top missing.|
|Leica AF-C1 (Circa 1989-91) (Large Image, Back) Dates from collecion-appareils.fr.. The Leica AF-C1 is a 35mm compact point and shoot camera with a dual lens - 40mm f2.8 and 80mm f5.6. It is based on the Minolta Freedom Tele (America) also known as the Minolta AF-Tele Super (Europe). The bottom of the camera states: "Manufactured in Japan for Leica GBMH." To go from 40mm to 80mm, a lens element rotates in place behind the 40mm lens. The process is the same in the Minolta Dual cameras in the Minolta Section below. An article in the August 6, 1989 New York Times Pastimes quoted at a Flickr Group on the AF-C1 states: "With some urging from the marketing folks at Leica U.S.A., the West German company has introduced a point-and-shoot style model ..... the AF-C1 is made in Japan for Leica by Minolta, which sells a virtually identical camera called the Freedom Dual. (The link-up isn't news: Minolta also made Leica's now-discontinued CL model.) What's the price of prestige for Leica's knockoff? I've seen it selling for around $400, which is about twice the selling price of a Freedom Dual." Specifications are at lomography. Shutter speeds are 1/8 to 1/400 seconds. DX ISO coding ISO 500 to 3200, set to ISO 100 for non-DX film. Close focus is .7m for 40mm lens and 2.3m for 80mm lens. Autofocus. Takes one 2CR5 6V battery. Built in flash. The manual is available at butkus.org. A March 1990 Popular Photography ad for Camera One of Sarasota had the price as $349. That's equal to just over $800 in January 2023 dollars. I think I got my camera at a garage sale many years ago. It is in like new condition. I have not tested it since I don't have the battery. These cameras sell on eBay in good working condition for $250 and up while the Minolta Tele Freedom cameras sell for maybe a tenth that amount. I guess the name matters!|
|Sears 18B (early 1960s) appears to be very similar to the f1.9 version of Mamiya Ruby which Collecting Mamiya 35mm states was released in May 1960. The f1.9 Ruby appears to be identical to a Tower 18A. Unlike the f1.9 Ruby (Tower 18A), the Tower 18B has a f2.0 lens and a slightly different film counter. (The Mamiya M3 also has an f2.0 lens, but the Tower 18B looks like a Ruby and not the M3). The Tower 18b has a 48mm Mamiya-Kominar lens. Shutter speeds are from 1 second to 1/500 second. Rangefinder focusing. Coupled Selenium meter. ASA from about 10 to 800. Tripod socket. Accessory or flash shoe (not "hot") on top. Similar Tower 18A sold in 1961 Sears Camera Catalog for $74.50, over $500 today adjusted for inflation. Good cosmetic conditon. Lens is scratch and mold free. The shutter, aperture and focus rings are all loose and do not work. I suspect someone took it apart. I purchased my Sears 18B on eBay on July 28, 2006 in a lot of 4 cameras and one meter for $10 plus about $20 shipping. This camera was described as not working.|
Other images: Large, Front, Top, Open, Door, Lens, Front Detail
|Minolta 35 (1947) Minolta's first 35mm camera model. It has an interchangeable Leica mount lens. Leica rangefinder cameras are highly prized by collectors, as are the Japanese imitations made by Canon and Nikon including some sold under the Sears Tower brand. Minolta is less known for its Leica mount rangefinders, but produced several fine models of Minolta 35 Leica mount cameras designated as models A through F and models II and IIB, as delineated at Camerapedia, Minolta 35. I am fairly confident that this is a Model A. On the top it states "Minolta-35, Chiyoda-Kogaku, Osaka, No. 0614" and looks identical to the Model A at Minolta Interchangable Lens Rangefinder Cameras, www.huffman.tk. This designation was only used on the model A in the A through F series. In the Models B through F, the abbreviation C.K.S. was used and Osaka was omitted. Chiyoda-Kogaku was used in the Model 35II and IIB, but not the city name of Osaka. Those cameras also have a film plane mark on the top plate which the Model 35A does not. The serial no. of 0614 is also consistent with only about 1,000 Model A cameras being made. In other words, mine is the 614th camera. It has slow shutter speeds of 1, 2, 5, 10, 25 as the first 800 or so of the Minolta 35A cameras had according to Camerapedia, Minolta 35. The lens is a Chiyoko Super Rokkor 45mm f2.8 with a little window for the aperture indicating it is an early lens. (See Minolta Rokkor Rangefinder Lenses at www.www.huffman.tk.)|
The only discrepancy is the frame size. Model A had a frame size of 24mm x 32mm instead of what later became the standard frame size of 24mm x 36mm. The only Leica mount Minolta with a 24mm x 36mm frame size was the last one - the Model II B. That model was clearly labeled II B on the front, however. Curiously, however, when I measure the film gate on my camera, it is 24mm x 36mm. I'm wondering if mine might have been modified or have a replacement film gate.
My camera has been obviously worked on. It appears to be largely complete with several exceptions. It is missing a piece that screws on at the base of the shutter release. The hinge pin on the camera back is missing. The screws on the bottom plate are missing. The screws that hold in the film gate (for lack of a better phrase) are missing and the entire film gate area can be lifted out. There is piece of tape over the pressure plate. A small piece of the covering is removed on the bottom front near the self timer, revealing a threaded hole. The depth of field guide ring on the lens is loose. Finally, The base of the lens has three sections carved out. That obviously took someone some time, although I have no idea what the purpose is. The lens aperture works. The focus is frozen. It is serial no. 8087. The camera will wind and the shutter release clicks. The shutter controls will not move, however, and the shutter is not working at all. I can't fully test the rangefinder since the focus is frozen, but it does show the typical rangefinder double image. All of this sounds pretty bad, but actually it looks pretty good and many of the things like missing screws might be remedied fairly easily.
The camera with a leather every-ready case in decent condition was purchased at an estate/garage sale in the San Carlos area of San Diego (Spruce Lake Street) on 1-17-09 for $5. (I also purchased an Argus C3 in great condition for $15, an old movie projector for $15, an old picture viewer for $15, a box of old camera "stuff" for $15 and a slide rule for $2.) I consider the Minolta 35A a very cool camera being the first Minolta 35mm camera model and a Leica clone - my first. I also have the first Minolta 35mm single lens reflex camera, the Minolta SR2, released in 1958 the same year the last Minolta Leica copy rangefinder, the Model II B, was released. The SR2 marked the change in direction from rangefinders to single lens reflex cameras. I purchased the SR-2 also at a neighborhood (San Carlos - Budlong Lake) garage sale about a year prior to the Minolta 35 rangefinder.
I would welcome any comments about my Minolta 35. In particular, I'm interested confirmation that it is the original Model A, why the film gate seems to be 24mm x 36mm, what the modifications to the base of the lens might have been for, ideas as to its rarity and value, and any thoughts as to whether it would be worth getting repaired, and if so recommendations for a repair person.
Other images: Large, With Box, Case
|Minolta A-2 (Circa 1955-1957) "The Minolta A was launched by Chiyoda Kogaku Seiko in April 1955." (Minolta A - Camera-Wiki.) "It was sold alongside the Minolta A-2 which had a more advanced shutter and faster lenses." (Minolta A - Mike Eckman.) My Minolta A-2 is the version launched in 1957 with the faster 45mm f2.8 Rokkor lens. (Minolta A-2 - Camerapedia.) The A and A-2 had a unique shutter control as a vertical ring on top of the camera. Shutter speeds are from 1 second to 1/400 second plus B. The aperture ring is the front most ring on the lens. The focus ring has a large knob on it to aid in turning the ring. Focusing is with a coupled rangefinder. The 1957 Montgomery Ward Camera Shop at page 6 has the Minolta A listed for $49.95 with the every-ready leather case for $7.50. They did not list the more expensive A-2. The Minolta A was one of the lower priced rangefinder cameras in the catalog. $49.95 adjusted for inflation as I write this in January 2023 equals about $530. I don't recall where I got this camera. It has printed price label on the bottom with 12 09 $45 on it. Perhaps I purchased it at an estate sale in 2009 for that price or less. It includes the box, case and manual. The camera and the included case are in excellent cosmetic condition. The one exception is it is missing the cover over the film advance lever. The lens is clear and the apertures work. Unfortunately, the camera has two major problems. The shutter does not fire. The film advance lever turns and the shutter release clicks. The shutter does not move, however. Additionally, the rangefinder is not visible. Minolta A - Mike Eckman discusses the shutter and Camera Collecting and Restoration has an extensive article with detailed photos of shutter repair on the Minolta A. It looks complicated! Camerashiz also has an excellent article on the Minolta A-2.|
|Minolta Hi-Matic 7 (1963) The Minolta Hi-Matic 7 is the second in the series of Minolta Hi-Matic 35mm automatic exposure rangefinder cameras. It differed from the original Hi-Matic of 1962 in having a faster f1.8 lens 45mm lens, a CdS exposure meter just above the lens and within the filter ring instead of a Selenium meter, and the option of manually setting the exposure. (Minolta Hi-Matic - Wikipedia.) The Hi-Matic 7 was followed by the Hi-Matic 7s below in 1966. The 7s featured Minolta's Contrast Light Compensator (CLC) metering system which had two CdS cells. The 7s also had a hot shoe instead of a cold shoe. The manual for the Minolta Hi-Matic 7 is at butkus.org. In automatic mode the camera selects both the shutter speed and aperture. In more modern terminology it is programmed automatic exposure. The meter needle on the right side of the viewfinder will show you the EV value. That alone will not tell you what the shutter speed or aperture is. You can use that EV value to manually set the aperture and shutter speed. Note the EV value in the viewfinder and then set any aperture and shutter speed that gives you that EV value. The EV value is in a little box on the aperture ring. The EV varies as you move the aperture or shutter speed rings which are next to each other. Reviews of the Hi-Matic 7 or 7s include Seb Copley on 35mmc.com, ilottvintage.com, Matt's Classic Cameras, and rangefinder-cameras.com. An ad on flickr.com states the new price was $119.90 with the case. Sounds pretty reasonable, although that translates to $1,184.80 in April 2023 dollars.|
|I purchased my Minolta Hi-Matic 7 camera on February 6, 2010 along with aCine-Kodak Magazine 16 movie camera on eBay for $0.99 plus $10.49 shipping for a total of $11.48. The movie camera runs. The Minolta Hi-Matic 7 is in good cosmetic although the top plate has some sort of corrosion. The rangefinder works. The lens looks in good condition. Looking from the back of the camera, the aperture works well. The shutter release goes down but does not fire. The film advance lever will not advance. I took off the bottom plate. By moving a lever I could get film advance to move, but then it is immediately stuck again. I put a drop of light oil on some of the parts in the bottom. I then cleaned the shutter blades as shown in the video at Japan Vintage Camera to no avail. (See also Minolta Hi-Matic 9 Repairing Report.) The self-timer switch labeled with a V seems to be in the on position and will not move back. This could be part of the problem. As a general matter I usually leave self-timers alone on old cameras. I also notice that the shutter ring will not move to the A position. I wonder if this has anything to do with the self-timer since according to the manual the self-timer works only with exposure in manual mode. Bummer that it doesn't work, but then again, I didn't pay much.|
|Minolta Hi-Matic F (1972) (Large Image) Chrome version of the Hi-Matic FP above. This one is in very good cosmetic and working condition. I purchased it on eBay on 7-7-09 as part of a package which also included a Canon T50 with 50mm f1.8 lens, a small Acme electronic flash, and a Minolta Maxuum Autofocus 24mm lens with shade, front cap and UV filter. The total was $63.99 plus $9 shipping. By far the most valuable part of the the package is the 24mm lens which can be used on my Sony Alpha 350 DSLR with an angle of view the same as a 36mm lens on a 35mm camera. The Hi-Matic F and Canon T50 were both nice bonuses. The Hi-Matic F with a flash sold for $94.50 in the 1977-1978 Sears Camera and Photographic Supplies Catalog. They list the "specs" as 38mm f2.7 lens with minimum focus of 2.6 feet, shutter speeds from 4 seconds to 1/724 second, and fully automatic exposure using a CdS cell. $94.50 in 1978 has the same buying power as $312.62 in 2009.|
|Minolta Hi-Matic AF (1979) (Large Image, Top View, Back) A compact autofocus viewfinder camera with "active infrared autofocus combined with automatic exposure with speed/aperture-settings between f2.8 + 1/8 sec. to f17 + 1/430 sec." (Camera-Wiki - Minolta Hi-Matic AF.) Film loading, advance and rewind were still manual, however. It takes two AA batteries. It has a 38mm f2.8 lens. I apparently acquired my Minolta Hi-Matic AF around Sunday August 13, 2006 since I took a photo of the camera on that date. As I write this on May 15, 2023, it looks like I delayed a bit in doing the write-up! It is in good cosmetic condition. Unfortunately, the film advance won't turn and the shutter won't fire. I'll put it in the repair pile and research further. The manual is at manualslib.com. The price at Executive Photo in the February 1981 Popular Photography Magazine at page 142 was $109. At Best Products at page 151 was $124.97. In an eBay listing an original box has a Target sticker with the price at $99.99 which equals about $345 in April 2023 dollars.|
|Minolta Hi-Matic AF2 (1981) (Large Image, Back) According to Camera-Wiki, the Hi-Matic AF2 may be "the first viewfinder camera for 35mm film with active infrared autofocus." It was one of the last of the Hi-Matic series of automatic exposure viewfinder and rangefinder cameras. It has a buzzer which alerts the user when they are too close to achieve focus or when there is not enough light. A 1982 variant of the Hi-Matic AF2, designated as the AF2-M, had motorized film transport. My camera has a manual film advance lever like all other Hi-Matic cameras. The owner's manual is at butkus.org. The camera has a 38mm f2.8 lens. ASA/ISO is from 25 to 400 and set by the dial surrounding the lens. The camera takes 46mm filters. The meter window is just above the lens and is behind any filter to achieve correct exposure with filters. Exposure is fully automatic. Apertures from f2.8 to f17. Shutter speeds from 1/8 to 1/430 second. The camera is made in Japan. It takes two 1.5 volt AA batteries. My camera had film in it. I don't know if it was exposed. I likely purchased my camera at a garage sale many years ago. It is in good cosmetic condition. The shutter fires. The apertures vary appropriately. The largest aperture and smallest apertures are round. The intermediate apertures have a odd sort of triangular shape. I'm don't know if this is normal. The flash works. A surprisingly large number of sites discuss the camera including casualphotophile.com, 35mmc.com, Down the Road, and Shoot with Personality. Pacific Rim Camera has what is perhaps dealer information pages on Hi-Matic cameras from 1981 including the Minolta Hi-Matic AF2. The AF2 pages states: "The world's most foolproof automatic focusing, 35mm camera offers automatic exposure, built-in electronic flash and an exclusive audible/visible warning system." Learn Camera Repair has an eight page repair article on the AF2-M.|
|Leitz Minolta CL (Large Image)|
|Minolta Talker aka Minolta AF-Sv (1984) (Large Image, With Lens/viewfinder Cover, Back) A compact 35mm active autofocus viewfinder camera with automatic film advance and automatic film rewind. My camera is labeled Talker Auto Focus. The camera also came labeled as the Minolta AF-Sv. The Talker is identical to the Minolta AF-S except the Minolta "talks" and the AF-S doesn't. The talking consists of a few warnings such as "load film" or "check distance." I likely purchased my camera at a garage or estate sale on July 22 or July 23, 2006. I think this is the date because I took a photo of the camera on July 23, 2006 for inclusion in this website. As I write this in May 2023, I apparently was somewhat delayed in doing the write-up! My camera is in good cosmetic condition. It comes with the piece that covers the lens and viewfinder. The batteries leaked but I got the battery compartment cleaned up and the camera is working now. The voice is inconsistent, but I have heard it say "load film" and "check distance." I ran a dummy roll of film through it and it works fine. Without the film I could see it shoot at several different apertures. It has a four element 35mm f2.8 lens. Film speed is set by a ring surrounding the lens from ISO 25 to 1000. The light meter window is below the lens. It has a built-in electronic flash which pops up with the flash on switch in the back. The flash works. It is a point and shoot camera with automatic programmed exposure. You cannot control the aperture or shutter speed. The aperture and shutter speed are also not displayed. You can adjust the exposure, however, by manipulating the ISO dial as an exposure compensation device. The camera takes two 1.5 volt AA batteries. Mike Eckman has a complete review with specifications. Close focus is 0.8 meters. It has a Seiko electronic two blade shutter with speeds from 1/8 to 1/625 second. Flash synch is 1/40 second. Mike Eckman indicates the camera sold for $129.50 in 1984. That equals about $385 in April 2023 dollars. As Eckman indicates the voice feature is really a marketing gimmick. Otherwise, the camera is similar to many other compact 35mm autofocus cameras at the time. That's not a bad thing.|
|Minolta Freedom Zoom 90 (1989) (Large Image) The manual is at manuall.co.uk. The Minolta Freedom Zoom 90 is a compact autofocus viewfinder camera with a 38-90mm f3.5-7.5 power zoom. It has an "infrared active-type multi-beam autofocus with cancelable focus hold and coupled autoexposure lock, range 2.3ft. (0.7m) to infinity." It has programmed auto exposure. Shutter speeds are from 1/8 to 1/400 second. Apertures go down to f23 on the wide end and f/49 at 90mm. It has a program zoom apparently like the Minolta Riva Zoom 105i, aka Freedom Zoom 105i, and the Chinon Genesis III SLR. The manual states: "For subjects within approx. 2 to 5m (7 to 17ft) range, Program Zoom automatically adjust focal length to give subject magnification of approximately 1/60X at the film plan." As I indicated with the Chinon Genesis III SLR, this seems to be taking automatic decision making a step too far. The camera has automatic DX film speed setting ISO 50-3200. Film without DX coding is set to ISO 100. Film loading, advance and rewind are automatic. It uses a 6 volt 2CR5 lithium battery. It's not particularly small with dimensions of 145mm W x 80mm H x 62mm D and a weight of 440 grams without battery. The May 1989 Popular Photography Magazine has an article on the Freedom Zoom 90 and three other 35 compact zoom cameras. It indicates the Program Zoom is designed to simplify portrait photography by giving you the ideal magnification for portraiture. The camera was new at the time and the camera retailers in the back of the magazine stated "call" for the price. The December 1989 Popular Photography Magazine at pages 46 and 47 has an ad for the Freedom Zoom 90. It mentions the zoom can be extended to 120mm with an optional zoom extender. At page 50 the price for Freedom Zoom 90 is listed as $428, although it was only $246.95 at B&H at page 179 of the magazine. $246.95 in December 1989 equals about $595 in April 2023 dollars. I bought my Minolta Freedom Zoom 90 on eBay on July 18, 2006 for $5 plus $9 shipping which included shipping for a another camera also. It appears to be in good working and cosmetic condition. While I have not tried it with film, it seems to be a reasonably nice point and shoot camera.|
|Minolta Freedom Zoom 90EX (1992-1993) (Large Image) A 35mm viewfinder camera with active infrared autofocus with a 38-90mm f3.5-f7.7 power zoom lens with four elements in four groups. Longest shutter speed is 1 second. The manual at UserManual.wiki does not specify the other shutter speeds. The manual has a 1992 date and it was referred to a new model in the June 1993 Popular Photography Magazine below. It was also sold as the Minolta Riva Zoom 90EX. ISO range from 25-3000. CdS meter with automatic exposure. Built-in electronic flash. Uses on CR-P2 lithium battery. Close focus at wide end is 75cm and 90cm at telephoto end. My camera is made in Malaysia. Basic information is a filmphotography.eu and Camera-Wiki. DP Review has a 2020 review. The camera is discussed briefly at page 54 of the June 1993 Popular Photography Magazine which gives the list price as $359, although it was sold for substantially less at three camera stores in the same issue - Focus Camera $204.90 (page 85), Abe's of Maine $174.00 (page 90) and 47th Street Photo $209.95 (page 93). For reference, $200 in June 1993 equals about $418 in March 2023 dollars. I don't recall where I got my camera. It is in good cosmetic condition but has a broken hinge on the back door. I do not have a fresh battery handy to test it. It does turn on briefly with the old battery and shows the icon for a depleted battery.|
|Minolta Freedom Action Zoom (Circa 1993) (Large Image, Back) The date is from a Pinterest entry. That date is consistent with the December 1993 Minolta ad referred to below. The manual is at massimoscottinelweb.com (pdf with long download) or manualslib.com. The Freedom Action Zoom has a very limited 38-60mm f4.3-6.4 power zoom lens, with 4 elements in 4 groups. Close focus 0.6m at 60mm telephoto setting. Shutter speeds from 1/500 to 1 second as stated in an ad for Minolta compact cameras in the December 1993 Popular Photography Magazine at page 33. The price at Focus Camera at page 173 of the same issue was $138 or about $285 in February 2023 dollars. The basic functions are reviewed in a Oldenguy YouTube Video and Film Gazing YouTube Video. I assume I got this at a garage sale many years ago. It is in good cosmetic and working condition. I have not tried the date back. The window for the date back is clouded. The Oldenguy YouTube Video also indicates the date back does not go into the 2020s.|
|Minolta AF101R (1994) (Large Image) A 35mm viewfinder camera with active infrared autofocus with a 28mm f5.6 lens with close focus at 1.2m. The f5.6 appears to be a single aperture. The basic description and specifications are at Camera-Wiki. The manual is available at butkus.org. It has a single shutter speed at 1/125 second. DX coded films at ISO 100-400. Automatic film loading and advance. Motorized rewind manually activated. It is powered by two 1.5 volt AA alkaline batteries. Weight without batteries is 175 grams. It has a built-in electronic flash with a separate lamp to reduce red eye. While this was a true infrared autofocus camera, there was also a fixed-focus model, the Minolta F 20R. There is a review and sample photos at 35mmc.com. The camera sold for $49.95 in a B&H ad on page 118 of the August 1995 Popular Photography Magazine. That's equal to about $99 in March 2023 dollars. The camera is made in China. As far as actual picture quality, I doubt it is any better than a 1972 Minolta 600-X Instamatic camera. I don't recall where I got this camera. It is in very good cosmetic and working condition.|
|Minolta Freedom Zoom 115 Date (Circa 2001) (Large Image, Back) Specifications at Camera-Wiki. Also sold as the Riva Zoom 115. It has a zoom range of 37.5mm to 115mm (approximately 3X) with an aperture range of f5.4 to f10.9. Close focus at 0.6m at 37.5mm and 0.55m at 115mm. DX film speeds from 25-3200. Shutter speeds 1/390 to 10 seconds. Motorized film advance and rewind. Uses one CR123A battery. The camera was made in China. The manual is available at manualslib.com. The parts diagram is at LearnCameraRepair. The 2001 date is from Broken Camera Club. I don't have a fresh CR123A battery and hence have not tested my camera. I was surprised to see I had a photo of the Freedom 115 from December 2005. I hence purchased a Freedom 115 in 2005 or so. I think I have two of them.|
|Minolta Freedom Zoom 160 Date (2001) (Large Image, Back) 4.3X Zoom, 37.5-160mm f4.5-12.4 lens. The aperture is rather small especially on the long end. As shown in PhotoJottings the lens is very long when extended to 160mm. Shutter speeds 1/500 to 10 seconds. Auto load, auto advance, auto rewind. Uses one CR123A 3v Lithium battery. DX film coding ISO 25-3200. ISO set to 100 for non DX film. According to PhotoJottings the initial retail price was around $250 in 2001 with street prices perhaps at $200. The camera is noted for its "area-AF" which recognizes the subject of the photo and focuses on that. The camera shows what it has choosen to focus on. (See, e.g., shutterbug.com.) The camera is discussed at numerous websites and generally gets favorable reviews. (See, e.g., 35mmc.com, urbanadventureleage, earthsunfilm.com.) I got my camera many years ago. It is in good cosmetic condition. I don't have a CR123A battery and have not tested it. The manual is available at cameramanuals.org.|
|Nikon has made numerous 35mm viewfinder and rangefinder cameras from simple fixed focus point and shoot cameras to sophisticated rangefinder cameras dating back to the late 1940s and which rival the legendary Leica rangefinder cameras. In addition, Nikon was unique among mainline camera companies in producing a very successful line of 35mm underwater cameras called Nikonos. Since the Nikonos cameras are quite unique, I have grouped them together and will discuss them first.|
|According to Wikipedia, the first camera was based on a prototype developed by the famous French oceanographer, Jacques-Yves Cousteau, and a Belgium engineer and inventor, Jean de Wouters. Their "Calypso-Phot" was subsequently licensed to Nikon. Cousteau also co-developed the "Aqua-Lung," the first SCUBA (self contained underwater breathing apparatus) diving system, in 1943. When I was a kid in the 1960s Cousteau had a series of underwater television specials on the ABC network. He was noted for his commitment to protecting the ocean environment. All of the Nikonos cameras were rugged, compact, and submersible to 50m or about 165 feet, well within the limits of most recreational SCUBA divers. Introduction dates were Calypso (1961), Nikonos I (1963), Nikonos II (1968), Nikonos III (1975), Nikonos IV-A (1980) and Nikonos V (1984). In 1992 Nikon also introduced the Nikonos RS AF, the world's first underwater autofocus single lens reflex camera. While a technological marvel, it was very expensive and was discontinued in 1996. Excellent resources on the Nikonos include the Nikon site and Cameras Underwater (detailed practical information).|
Nikonos I Shell, Camera Mechanism and Lens
The Calypso through Nikonos III were all of a similar design. There are three parts: the camera mechanism, the housing or outer shell, and the lens. The camera mechanism had the focal plane shutter, the film advance, the pressure plate, the film spool and the rewind. All of this was inserted into the housing or outer shell. The lens is then inserted in front. To load the film you have to take the lens off (see lenses below) and then pry the camera mechanism out of the shell using the little levers that also hold the camera strap. This is extremely clever. When I first saw an early Nikonos at a garage sale I had no idea how to open it. As a result, unfortunately I did not buy it! The shutter speeds on all of these models are B, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250 and 1/500. The film advance and shutter release are one lever. When not advanced, the lever sticks out toward the front of the camera. You press it in to wind and cock it. The lever is then flush with the body. You press it again to release the shutter and the lever pops out again to the open position. Very ingenious! The Nikonos II added a retractable rewind crank, a hinged pressure plate (on the Nikonos I you slid the film under the plate), and added the II logo. The Nikonos I did not have a "I" logo, but with the introduction of the Nikonos II, the Nikonos I name stuck. The Nikonos III added a sprocket for film wind-up, improved viewfinder brightness, and changed the the film counter to the top of the camera (on the Nikonos I and II it was on the bottom observed through a glass window in the bottom of the housing). To accomplish these changes the Nikonos III shell became somewhat bigger and boxier. Some other minor changes were made also. All of the Nikonos cameras through the Nikonos III were entirely mechanical. There was no internal exposure meter. Nikon did sell an external, underwater meter. My Nikonos I was purchased for $30 from an ad on Craigslist in Valley Center, CA around August 2011. It is in good working condition and decent cosmetic condition. It came with the original Nikonos case in fair condition.
|The Nikonos IV-A and Nikonos V had a different design. There was no longer an outer shell and inner camera mechanism. The back of the camera was hinged and opened fully for film loading. There was a separate film advance and shutter release. Both cameras also had internal exposure meters and had aperture preferred automatic exposure. Shutter speeds were electronically controlled and stepless from 1/30 to 1/1000 second. There were also mechanical 1/90 second and Bulb shutter speeds which could be used if the batteries failed. Flash synch was at the mechanical 1/90 second speed. The cameras require two 1.5 volt S-76 silver oxide batteries which are still readily available. With the Nikonos IV-A (A for automatic exposure) you could not manually select the shutter speed except to choose the 1/90 setting. Also, there was no indication in the viewfinder or elsewhere what the shutter speed was. The Nikonos V in addition to the aperture preferred automatic exposure had metered manual exposure where you could select the shutter speed (1/30, 1/60, 1/90, 1/125, 1/250, 1/500, 1/1000 and Bulb). Additionally, the shutter speed under either automatic or manual mode was displayed in the viewfinder. These were very significant improvements. Additionally, the Nikonos V had through the lens, off the film plane flash metering discussed more below. The Nikonos V was indeed the pinnacle of the non-reflex Nikonos cameras. It continued to be sold until October 2001 and is still prevalent in the used market. There remains a following for the Nikonos I through III, however. Being all mechanical they are very rugged and more likely to be repairable if flooded.|
|Nikonos IV-A Underwater Camera (Large Image) I purchased my Nikonos IV-A for $41 (that's what I had in my wallet) at a La Mesa, CA garage sale on 9-24-11. It appears to be in good cosmetic and working condition with the following exceptions. The lens has a dent on the filter ring which likely prevents the direct use of filters. It had a plastic ring on it. The plastic ring is flexible enough to mount onto the filter ring. You can then mount filters onto the plastic ring. Otherwise the lens looks great and operates perfectly. The OC (open - close) lock on the camera back could not be turned initially. I put a drop of oil on it and turned it with pliers. It works fine now. There is a slight bit of scratching on the latch. Under the latch there is one screw with rust. To get the electronics working, I had to add a small piece of aluminum foil before adding the two S-76 batteries to the battery holder. Sufficient contact was not being made without this. The meter and shutter work fine. I have no way to verify shutter speeds, but I can hear a difference in shutter speed when pointing the camera to a bright area (faster speed) versus a dim area (slower speed). I was excited about the purchase since it had the 28mm f3.5 underwater lens instead of the standard 35mm f2.5 lens.||Nikonos V Underwater Camera (Large Image) Price in the Summer of 2007 for the body only is $299.95 at B & H Photo. Mine has the 80mm f4 lens which is described at photo.net as the least used of the several lenses made for the camera. I purchased my Nikonos V at a garage sale advertised on Craig's List on 7-8-07 for roughly $90. (I bought it, 4 Canon FD lenses, 3 vintage Honeywell electronic studio strobes, 4 studio umbrellas, a flash meter and various other things for a total of $225. The seller and her late father were photographers. Most of the equipment had belonged to the dad.) The camera and lens look to be in near new condition. The shutter works but I have not yet tested the camera fully. I purchased another Nikonos V camera with 35mm f2.5 lens and a Nikonos 103 strobe both in an attache style case on 9-6-08 for $50 (as I recall) at a San Carlos area of San Diego garage sale. It is in good working and cosmetic condition.|
Lenses. What remained consistent from the Nikonos I through V were the simple, yet innovative lenses. To take off a lens, pull out slightly and turn clockwise a quarter turn. Remarkably simple. You have to take off the lens in the Nikonos I through III in order to load the film. The lenses always remained entirely mechanical. There are no electronic connections between the lens and the camera. You have to focus by measuring or estimation. (Obviously, most of the time you will use estimation.) The top of the lens has the distance with a silver background. The bottom of the lens has the aperture with a black background. On my newer lenses the black (left while facing the lens) knob sets the aperture and the silver (right while facing the lens) knob sets the distance. (The lenses can be mounted rotated 180 degrees in which case the left-right directions above would need to be reversed. Also, the lens on my Nikonos I has the color of the knobs reversed.) The newer lenses actually have curved lines going from the knob to the setting to make things clear. What is wonderful about the lenses is the very clear depth of field scale. On the distance scale there are two red marks. Looking at the lens with the distance scale on top, the left red mark shows the distance of the closest things that will be in focus. The right red mark shows the distance of the furthest things that will be in focus. At the smallest aperture (largest f number) these two marks will be furthest apart indicating the greatest depth of field. At the largest aperture (smallest f number), the two marks will be closest indicating the shallowest depth of field. As a practical matter, you zone focus underwater. Let's say you want to use f8 with the 28mm f3.5 lens. You move the aperture knob until the arrow is f8 in the aperture scale. If I set the focus to about 4 feet, the depth of field scale shows that everything from about 3 feet to 7 feet will be in reasonable focus. If I am taking a photo of a fish, I wait until it looks like the fish is with 3 to 7 feet of the camera and press the shutter button. If I am taking a picture of coral, I swim about 3 to 7 feet in front of the coral and press the shutter button. The smaller the aperture (larger f number), the more leeway I have. Of course, I also need a sufficiently fast shutter speed to stop the action. I can of course modify the settings under water, but its hard to do that too much with gloves on, a mask that may be fogging up, and air and depth gauges that need to be monitored.
Lenses Offered. The standard lens that generally came with the Nikonos cameras was a 35mm f2.5. It was designed for use underwater or on land. There was also an 80mm lens also designed for use underwater or on land. There were also a 28mm f3.5 lens, a 20mm lens an a 15mm lens. All of these lenses were specifically designed only for underwater use and corrected to avoid any distortions under water. They have the designation UW-Nikkor. Additionally, there is a distinct preference for wide angle lenses underwater. Even in clear water there is significant particulate matter. Also, the water itself absorbs light. You generally want to be as close as possible to the subject to decrease the amount of water between you and your subject. A 28mm lens is better than a 35mm lens usually. The 15mm and 20mm lenses are highly prized but expensive. Finally, there was another 28mm lens for above water use only. It was only water resistant and could not be submerged. The viewfinder of the Nikonos is designed to give the field of view for the 35mm lens. The viewfinder is also large so that you can hold it up to 40cm away from your mask underwater. There are optical viewfinders available that mount to the accessory shoe on top of the camera for the 15mm, 20mm and 28mm lenses. There is also a plastic frame finder available for the 28mm and 35mm lenses. Other manufacturers such as Sea & Sea also made lenses and finders for the Nikonos.
Flash. The Nikonos instruction manual indicates that deeper than 16 feet a flash should usually be used. Not only does the water absorb light requiring more exposure, it absorbs some colors of the spectum faster than others starting with red. Therefore, as you go deeper, the colors tend to be bluer. As you add flash, the other colors reflected from your subject once again show up. There are three basic flash metering systems for film cameras. In all three the shutter speed usually remains the same. With the Nikonos IV-A and V, the fastest shutter speed for flash is 1/90 second. For the earlier Nikonos cameras the fastest shutter speed for flash was 1/60 second. The first method is manual flash. A flash unit has a guide number. To determine the proper exposure, you divide the guide number by the distance from the flash to the subject. This gives you the aperture number to set. Often, the flash unit will have a table or circular dial indicating the correct aperture depending on the flash to subject distance so you don't have to do the math. The second method is automatic flash. With most automatic flashes, you can set the flash to one of two or three aperture settings. You then select that aperture on the camera. Automatic flashes have a sensor on the flash. You fire the shutter. The flash goes off. The light bounces off the subject and returns to the camera as well as the sensor on the flash. The sensor calculates the flash output to produce the correct exposure. You do not need to know the distance. I had a manual flash with my first camera and remember how happy I was when I got an automatic flash. The third method is through the lens (TTL) - off the film flash (OTF) metering which came out in the 1980s. It is similar to an automatic flash, except the camera and not the flash has the sensor. The light bounces off the subject, enters the lens and hits the film. Some of the light is reflected from the film onto a sensor in the camera. The camera's computer calculates the amount of light based on the data from the sensor. A fourth method is used with digital cameras. The camera can't measure the light reflected from the sensor since, unlike film, the sensor does not reflect enough light. A brief flash is therefore set off before the actual flash used to illuminate the scene. The reflected light from this initial flash is measured by the light meter in the camera and the camera appropriately adjusts the output of the final flash. All of this can only happen because light travels really fast and the microprocessors used today in flashes and cameras are really sophisticated. While third parties also made underwater strobes, Nikon offered the Nikonos 101 automatic strobe for the Nikonos IV-A. The sensor was attached to the flash but was mounted on top of the camera. The Nikonos 103 and 105 strobes were designed for the Nikonos V camera. They were through the lens (TTL) - off the film plane (OTF) flashes. The 105 replaced the 103 because the 103 could malfunction. Nikon had a trade in program. I have a 103 flash. Unfortunately, since neither is being made today, I assume I am out of luck in getting it replaced.
|Nikon One-Touch (1985) (Large Image, With Flash Closed, Back) Also known as the Nikon L35AF2, this was Nikon's second compact viewfinder autofocus camera. It was an update to the Nikon's first compact autofocus camera, the Nikon L35AF/AD. (Camera-Wiki - Nikon L35AF2, Camera-Wiki - Nikon One-Touch Series.) The manual is available at manualslib.com. It describes it as a "35mm compact camera with autofocus, auto exposure, auto pop-up flash, auto flash exposure, auto shutter lock, auto film loading, auto film speed setting, auto film advance, auto film rewind, auto film rewind stop and auto ready lens cover." In other words, it's a really automatic point and shoot camera. It has a 35mm f2.8 lens with four elements in three groups. Opening the sliding lever under the lens opens the built-in lens cap and closing the cover locks the shutter release. It takes DX coded film with ISO 50 to 1600. Non-DX coded film is set to ISO 100. The built-in lens cap which turns on the camera and the DX coding were the primary differences between the L35AF2 and the prior L35AF. (Braxzko, The Complete Nikon System (2000) at page 293.) Shutter speeds are 1/8 to 1/430 second. It has an automatic pop-up flash. It takes two 1.5 volt AA batteries. In the January-March 1988 Popular Photography Magazine Ogden has the Nikon One-Touch (I believe my model) for $118 and the "New" Nikon One-Touch for $154. $118 in 1988 equals about $310 in April 2023 dollars. I apparently purchased my camera likely at a garage sale on Saturday September 8, 2007 since I have a photo of it with that date. As I write this in May 2023, I delayed a bit in doing the write up! My camera is in good cosmetic condition with some scratches to the body. The batteries leaked badly. (Yes, I apparently left the batteries in!) I got it cleaned up and working. The flash stays up now, however. You can hold it down to prevent it from firing, however. I ran a dummy roll of film through it. The counter is staying at 36 and the shutter release won't fire. (Actually, it did once.) I'm not sure what's going on, but it was working. These cameras and the original L35AF have somewhat of a cult following and can go for more than one might think on eBay. Dan Finnen has an extensive review where he praises the camera.|
|Nikon Action-Touch. According to the Underwater Photography Primer, the Action-Touch sold for about $150 in the late 1980s. Described in the manual, which is available at cameramanuals.org, as "35mm water resistant compact camera (durable in the depth of 3m/approx. 9.9 ft) with autofocus, auto exposure, auto shutter lock, auto film loading, auto film speed setting, auto film advance, auto film rewind and auto film rewind stop." I.e., it's automatic! "Nikon lens 35mm f/2.8; four elements in three groups plus one waterproof glass." "Exposure metering: Using CdS programmed automatic exposure control from EV6 (f/2.8 at 1/8 sec.) [to EV] 17 (f/17.5 at 1/430 sec.) with ISO 100 film." This implies shutter speeds from 1/8 second to 1/430 second and a smallest aperture of f/17.5. "Active infrared autofocus system (0.7m (2.3 ft.)~infinity) and manual focusing of 0.7, 1.1, 1.6, 3.5m (1.3, 3.6, 5.3, 12ft) (under water or in situations where autofocus is not available). In other words, underwater you use the zone focusing knob on top instead of autofocus. Powered by two 1.5 volt alkaline batteries. Mine came with the optional "wide strap with float pad AN-9." Weighs 485 grams or about 17 oz. Mine was purchased for $15 at a garage sale in the Mt. Helix area of La Mesa, CA on 1-10-09. It is in good cosmetic and working condition. I purchased a second one on 7-23-11 for $2 at a garage sale on Lemon Avenue in La Mesa, CA. It is also in good cosmetic and working condition. Construction appears to be very solid likely owing to its Nikonos heritage. It's a good alternative even today to buying an underwater digital camera or a housing for a compact digital camera if you are just going to use it for a single snorkeling trip, for example. Another alternative, however, is to use a compact digital camera with a flexible vinyl housing such as those made by Ewa Marine. I did this on my last trip to Hawaii with pretty good results.|
|Nikon Zoom-Touch 400 (1990) (Large Image) 35mm compact autofocus viewfinder camera with 35mm f4-f22 to 70mm f7.6-43.3 power zoom lens with six elements in five groups. It is also known as the Nikon TW Zoom 35-70. The manual is posted by Nikon. Close focus is 0.65m. DX coded film ISO 64, 100, 200, 400, 1000 or 1600. "Programmed electronic shutter; also serves as diaphragm blades." "Three focus modes provided - Carefree Autofocus, Spot Autofocus and Infinity Focus." Automatic film loading, advance and rewind. Built-in electronic flash. Powered by Duracel DL223A or Panasonic CR-P2 6 volt Lithium battery. The December 1990 Popular Photography magazine at page 46 has an ad for the Nikon "Touch" series including the Nikon One-Touch 100, Tele-Touch 300, the new Zoom-Touch 400 and Zoom-Touch 500. On page 62 the price is listed as $291.50 or about $660 in April 2023 dollars. The Zoom-Touch 500 was listed at $388. The street prices may have been considerably less, however. For example, the Zoom-Touch 500 was $179.50 at Tri-State Camera on page 178 of the magazine. The prices were not listed for the Zoom-Touch 400 since it was a new model. Down the Road has a 2014 review of camera which was less than favorable saying the "Nikon Zoom Touch 400 sucks." The review found the lens soft, the focus poor and the battery expensive. I don't recall where I got my camera. It was many years ago. It is in excellent cosmetic condition. I don't have a battery for it and therefore have not tried it.|
I have another Olympus 35-S (f1.8) just like this except it has a self-timer in front. It is in very good cosmetic condition with an everyready case also in very good condition. It has some issues. First, the rangefinder is not working. I can barely ever see a double image and changing the focus does not change anything in the viewfinder. There is a crack in the middle rangefinder window in front which may be causing a problem. The aperture works well. The shutter works, but likely could use some cleaning. At first, it was closing rapidly at 1 second. After using the shutter many times it is much better. The speeds still sound off, however. Finally, the self-timer does not appear to work. It will count down, but not trigger the shutter. As I write this in December 2022, I don't recall where I got this camera.
|Olympus Pen EE-2 (1968-1977) (Large Image, Back) A half frame 35mm, fixed focus, viewfinder camera with shutter speeds of 1/200 and 1/40 seconds and apertures of f3.5 to f22. With the fixed focus lens everything from about 1.5 feet will be in focus. The 28mm lens has a similar angle of view to a 42mm lens on a full frame 35mm camera. A full 35mm frame is 24x36mm. With this half frame camera, a frame is 24X18mm. When you hold the camera horizontally, the picture is vertical. When you hold the camera in the vertical position, the picture is horizontal. From a regular 36 exposure film cartridge you get 72 photos. I put this camera in the 35mm rangefinder and viewfinder camera section of the museum. Since the frame size is smaller than a normal 35mm frame size, the camera could also be in the subminiature section of the museum. A Selenium light meter surrounds the lens. This is also called an electric-eye, hence EE. The camera automatically selects the proper shutter speed and aperture. ImagingPixel describes the specific process the camera goes through. "In bright ambient light, the shutter speed will be set to 1/200 and the aperture range is regulated from f/22 down to about f/8. When the light is lower than that the camera will switch to the 1/40 second exposure and the lens aperture regulated from f/11 down to its widest. Keeping the aperture from being too small is to avoid diffraction."|
|In effect it is sort of an early program metering system. When there is insufficient light, a red flag appears in the viewfinder. For flash there is an aperture ring to set the aperture. I believe the shutter speed is set at 1/40 second when you do this. It looks like you can also use this to just manually set the camera if the meter is not working or you do not want to use the meter. The other half of the aperture ring is the ASA setting (from ASA 25 to 400) which you would use when the camera is in automatic mode. I thought my meter may have been working, but now all I get is the red flag in automatic mode even in bright sunlight. Selenium meters unfortunately give out over time. It is not working even though my camera is stored with its lens cap. The shutter and apertures seem to work fine in using the flash/aperture settings. Thus, using an external meter, I assume I could shoot anything with a proper exposure from 1/40, f3.5 to 1/40, f22. The instruction manual is at butkus.org. I could not find the original price of the Olympus Pen EE-2. A May 1963 ad at MikeEckman.com states the price of the predecessor Pen EE was under $50 or nearly $500 in February 2023 dollars. Pacific Rim Camera has a pdf of Olympus Compact cameras including the successor Pen EE-3. My camera is in excellent cosmetic and working condition except for the bad meter. I have a specific recollection of purchasing this camera at a garage sale many years ago. I forget what I paid for it, however. I think the Olympus EE-2 is a very nice-looking camera and quite sophisticated for a point and shoot, fixed focus camera. The half frame idea is also nice if you don't plan on enlarging your photos very often. When you go this far with a camera with a nice lens, variable apertures and sophisticated metering system, however, it would be nice to have zone focus, more shutter speeds and some manual control. The Olympus 35 RC below, indeed has rangefinder focusing and is fully adjustable. Then again, for those who just want a point and shoot camera the EE-2 is perhaps all you need or want. (See also photothinking.com, "Olympus Pen EE-2 - An 11 Year Old's Perspective.")||
I purchased a second working XA2 for $5 at an estate sale in the Mt. Helix area of San Diego on 6-28-08. The cosmetic condition is good except for a large spot on the camera back below the rewind knob with no paint. The spot looks to be caused by resting one's thumb there while taking a photo and an indication of a well used, although well cared for, camera. It comes with an A11 flash in good cosmetic and working condition. The flash, which takes a 1.5 volt AA battery, turns on using a switch on the camera just below the ASA setting under the lens.
|Olympus XA 3 (Large Image) A minor update to the Olympus XA 2 adding automatic DX ISO setting. Like the XA 2, it is a 35mm viewfinder camera with 35mm f3.5 lens, 3 zone focusing, and fully automatic exposure with electronic shutter speeds from 10 seconds to 1/750 second. I don't recall where I got this camera. It is in good cosmetic and working condition. Several sites discuss the Olympus XA 3 including 35mmc,|
Olympus Infinity Jr, (circa 1987) compact 35mm autofocus camera with 35mm, f3.5 lens. Built in flash with settings on slide switch below lens of auto, off and fill in. Has clamshell lens cover design like the XA and XA 2. Takes two 1.5 volt AAA batteries or one CR or DL 123A battery. Auto film advance and self timer. Date from Captain Kodak at Flicker.com. Called Infinity Jr in USA, but called AF-10 elsewhere in the world. (Olympus Camera History.) Focus range .7m to infinity and flash range 4.5m with 100-ASA film and 9m with 400-ASA film according to Jesse's Hunting and Outdoors which also explains how to modify the Infinity Jr to capture animal images with the shutter being automatically tripped when the animal passes. (See also Assorted Circuits for Home-Made Trail Cameras.) I could not find information on the shutter speeds. Mine was purchased at a garage sale in La Mesa, CA on 5-12-07 for 10 cents! It is in good cosmetic and operating condition.
|Olympus Quick Shooter Tele (Introduced 1986) (Large Image) Called the Olympus Quick Shooter Tele in the United States and the Olympus AFL-T elsewhere.|
|Olympus Infinity AF-1 (Introduced 1986) (Large Image) Called the Olympus Infinity in the United States and the Olympus AF-1 elsewhere. It sold for $138.95 in a B&H Photo ad at page 111 in the August 1988 Popular Photography Magazine on Google Books. That's about $346 in December 2022 dollars. Imaging Pixel states: "The camera came fitted with the Zuiko 35mm F2.8 lens, a continuum of the same that was found on the highly accoladed Olympus Olympus XA, in 1979, and later, the much-acclaimed all-weather Olympus Mju II (Olympus Stylus Epic), in 1997." The manual is available at butkus.org. The Zuiko 35mm f2.8 lens has 4 elements in 4 groups. ISO is set with DX coding ISO 50-3200. Non-DX film is set at 100. Shutter speeds from 1/30 to 1/750 second. Apertures from f2.8 to f13.5. It weighs 225 grams (7.9 oz.) without the battery. It takes a 6 volt 223 lithium battery. According to Camerapedia it was the first camera in the Olympus AF series, and the world's first weatherproof fully automatic 35mm compact camera. It has autofocus with one central focus point and a focus lock on the left side of the back. You can press and hold that button. Focus on a point by pressing the shutter button down. Recompose. Release focus lock and the shutter will fire. Close focus was 2.46 feet. Automatic electronic flash. Auto-load and film advance. Pushing Film has a 27 minute video review comparing it to other Olympus AF compacts with the 35mm f2.8 lens. There was also an AF-1 Super with more controls including the ability to shut the automatic flash off. All of these Olympus cameras with the 35mm f2.8 lens are popular and relatively pricey especially the Olympus Stylus Epic (Mju II). I believe I got mine at a garage sale in La Mesa. I doubt I paid much. It is in good cosmetic condition although the Infinity name and "passed" label are well worn. It seems to work fine. Amazingly, the battery with a 2011 expiration date still works as I write this in February 2023! I came across another one in my collection in better cosmetic condition which I also likely bought many years ago. It works although likely the original battery is near dead.|
|Olympus Trip AF Super (1990) (Large Image) An inexpensive 35mm compact autofocus camera with a 35mm f4.5 lens, automatic film advance, automatic rewind, DX film coding, a fixed shutter at 1/125 second, and a built-in electronic flash with on/off switch. It is made Malaysia. (Camera-Wiki.) The camera borrows from the name of the famous Olympus Trip camera, but is a totally different camera. (See Wikipedia - Olympus Trip 35.) It does not have a tripod socket. It is powered by two AA batteries. I don't recall where I got my camera. It seems to work fine. With the flash on it fires at full aperture. Without flash it fires at a smaller aperture. I have only seen two apertures.|
|Olympus Infinity SuperZoom 330 (Introduced 1990) (Large Image, Back) An autofocus 35mm camera with non-interchangeable 38-105mm f4.5-6 zoom lens. It is a viewfinder camera, not a single lens reflex. The viewfinder zooms with the lens. Close focus is 0.8m. Automatic film advance, loading and rewind. Takes two CR123A batteries. The camera is similar to the Infinity SuperZoom 300 released two years earlier. The lens cap also serves as a remote control. More information is at Camera-Wiki. The manual is at manualslib.com. The pdf manual for the Olympus Infinity SuperZoom 300 is at butkus.org. I probably got this at a garage sale many years ago. It was at some time owned by the Army Corps of Engineers according to a sticker on the bottom. It is in good cosmetic condition. I assume it works although I have not tried it. I always thought if you were going to get something this bulky, you should just get a true single lens reflex camera.|
|Olympus Stylus (Introduced 1991) (Large Image) Called the Olympus Sytlus in the United States and the Olympus µ[mju:] elsewhere, this is the first camera in the hugely successful Stylus series, with over 5 million of the original Stylus alone sold. (Camera-Wiki.) It was designed by Maitani Yoshihisa evolving from his Olympus XA design. (Id..) It has a 35mm, f3.5 lens with three elements in three groups. Shutter speeds from 1/15 to 1/500 seconds. Active multi-beam autofocus with 100 steps. DX coded ISO 50-3200. Autowind and rewind. Built-in flash can be disabled. Powered by one 3V Lithium CR123A battery. The new price at Cambridge Camera in the January 1992 Popular Photography at page 66 was $109.95 ($236 in December 2022 dollars). The prime lens Stylus line, including the original Sytlus, are viewed as highly capable cameras with somewhat of a cult following. Prices are relatively high on eBay. As I check this at the beginning of February 2023, working original Stylus cameras can go for over $100 and much more for the Olympus Stylus Epic below. I find that somewhat surprising. If you want a small point and shot camera it would seem a digital camera or smart phone would make more sense. If you want to experiment with film, why not get a much more capable SLR for less money? Casualphotophile has an extensive review. The instruction manual is at manuallib.com. I think I got my camera at a garage sale many years ago for probably not much more than a few bucks. It is in decent shape but you can tell it was likely heavily used, but not abused. I haven't tested it yet since I don't have a battery handy. As I'm going through my collection in April 2023, I came across another one that I again likely got at a garage sale. It turns on and fires once you put film in it.|
|Olympus Stylus Epic Zoom 80 (1999) (Large Image) Specifications at camera-wiki. 38-80mm, f4.5-8.9 lens. Close focus 60cm. Shutter speeds 2 seconds to 1/1600 second. Autofocus. DX film coding - ISO 50-3200. CR123A lithium battery. Compact at 115x59x39mm and 185 grams. Amazon.com says date first available November 1, 1999. Manual is at cameramanuals.org. As I write this in January 2023 I think I probably got this at a garage sale many years ago. It is in good cosmetic condition. I have not tested it.|
|Pax M3 (Circa 1957) (Large Image) 35mm rangefinder camera made in Japan by Yamato Koki Kogyo (Yamato Camera Industry Company). (Pax M3 - camera-wiki, Yamato - camera-wiki) Leaf shutter with 1/10 - 1/300 second plus B. 45mm f2.8 lens. It is an entirely manual camera with no light meter. The entire back comes off to load film. It is very small for a 35mm rangefinder with dimensions of 110 x 65 x 64 mm according to Pax M3 - camera-wiki. The price for the earlier Pax M2 in an ad on page 137 of the May 1957 Popular Photography magazine was $37.40 which as the same buying power as nearly $400 in November 2022. As I write this in December 2022, I likely got this at a garage sale or on Craigslist many years ago. My camera is in excellent cosmetic condition. It has several mechanical problems, however. The film advance does not return correctly. The shutter fires only occasionally. When it does fire, it seems slow to close. It looks like there may be oil on the blades. The focus is completely frozen. The rangefinder seems to work although I can't thoroughly test it since the focus is frozen. Pacific Rim Camera states: "The fixed lens 45/2.8 Luminor (or Lycon) is prone to failure of the lubricant, and is most often found where the focus has frozen." The owner's manual is available at cameramanuals.org. There are some interior views at photo.net. Floggingenglish has an extensive discussion of the later, but similar, Pax M4. Mikeeckman.com has a discussion of the earlier Pax 35 and the frozen focus problem.|
|Pentax IQZoom 160 (1996) (Large Image, Back, Closed) 35mm viewfinder camera with autofocus and a wide range power zoom lens of 38mm to 160mm, f4.5 at 35mm and f12 at 160mm, close focus 0.8m at 38mm and 1.2m at 160mm. The viewfinder adjusts as you zoom in and out. It also has a diopter adjustment. Automatic exposure. As can be seen in the photo of the camera, the lens is exceptionally long at the 160mm focal length and has a very small aperture. The camera was made in Japan. It takes one 3 volt CR123A battery. Auto wind and rewind with simple film loading. Electronic shutter with speeds of 1/400 to 2 seconds. DX film coding from ISO 25-3200. It is one of dozens of IQZoom models, also known as Espio, that were first introduced in 1986, with the IQZoom 160 being introduced in 1996 according to Camera-Wiki. It is a sophisticated point and shoot camera, but lacks manual control. It has a panorama setting. This crops out portions of the top and bottom of the frame effectively wasting some of the negative. The frame is the same width as a regular photo. The manual, available at usermanual.wiki, at page 43 cautions to let the film processor know if you have taken panorama photos and warns that the processing costs may be higher. There was also a version with a data back which my camera does not have. I don't recall where I got my camera. It is in excellent cosmetic condition. Everything appears to work fine although I have not tested it with film.|
In the December 1996 Popular Photography Magazine at page 231, Tri-State Camera was selling the IQZoom 160 for $299.95 after applying a $30 rebate. That's about $570 in February 2023 dollars. While the IQZoom is a sophisticated point and shoot camera, for not much more you could get a 35mm single lens reflex camera. For example on page 232 of the same magazine you could buy a Pentax PZ-70 with 35 to 80mm kit lens for $349.95 after rebate. While a shorter zoom range, it could fit a huge variety of Pentax lenses. It could be set in program mode and operate as a point and shoot camera just like the IQZoom, but also had aperture preferred, shutter preferred and manual exposure modes allowing for much more control by the photographer. After I wrote this, I came across a full article on the Pentax IQZoom 160 in the September 1996 Popular Photography Magazine starting at page 26. Their conclusion at page 186 was exactly the same as mine although stated a bit more eloquently.
"Typical Pentax IQZoom operation - straightforward, with excellent handing, plus a smattering of features for the experimenter - and a wide zoom ratio for dramatic scene variation. The slowness of the lens at tele, and limitations on close focusing, are our only real quibbles. But we still have some hesitancy recommending this camera when Pentax itself has another model, costing a little bit more, that offers superb finder accuracy, excellent viewing, failsafe confirmation of focus, extreme closeup capability, a far faster lens, better metering, and the ability to be equipped with even longer lenses. It's called the PZ-70. Oh, yes, it just happens to be an SLR."
|Pentax EZY-R, (1999) Description and reviews still available at epinions.com. 38-70 mm zoom lens with f4.8-8.5 aperture. Purchased at a garage sale on 4-22-06 for about $2.50 with case and manual. Unfortunately, I can't get it to work. When I insert a CR123 battery the lens cover starts to open, but then the motor for the rewind just spins. This happens even if I put a roll of film in. In good cosmetic condition. Made in China.|
|Pentax IQZoom 105G Date (circa 1999) (Large Image, Back) Basic information at Camera-Wiki. Autofocus 38-105mm f4.5-f11 lens. Shutter speeds 1/360 to 1 second. Autoexposure. Finder only shows 83% of the view. DX film speed. Non-DX film set at only ISO 25. Uses CR123A 3 volt battery which lasts about 15 rolls of film. My camera has the optional date back. The camera is assembled in China. Two reviews at photographyreview.com complain of overexposure. The manual is available at cameramanual.org. I likely purchased at a garage sale many years ago. I don't have a battery handy and have not tested it.|
|Petri 7s, Japanese rangefinder. Photoethnography has a good discussion. Manufactured from 1963 to 1977. Original price $59.50. Selenium meter encircles lens with the read-out on the top. Shutter speeds from 1/500 to 1 second and bulb. 52mm skylight filter is stuck on. 45mm f1.8 lens. Completely manual. Accessory clip on top. Purchased on 10-6-05 on ebay for $7.53 with $4.55 shipping. In very good working and cosmetic condition although I have not tried it with film. Comes with black leather like Petri case in good condition.|
|Petri Color 35 (Released 1968) (Large Image, Back) A small 35mm viewfinder camera with a 40mm f2.8 lens. The dials for shutter speed and aperture are on top, the shutter speed dial in front and the aperture dial in the rear. The shutter speed dial can be turned by your right index finger and the aperture dial can be turned by you right thumb. Shutter speeds are from 1/15 to 1/250 seconds. Aperture setting are from f2.8 to f22. Focusing is by a third dial on the rear of the camera. It has index focusing where you estimate the distance. The distance scale is conveniently shown in the viewfinder. Unfortunately, there is no depth of field scale. Close focus is 3.5 feet. The ASA/ISO setting is on a lens ring. It has a built in CdS exposure meter with a match needle indicator in the viewfinder. The meter is not through the lens although the meter window is just above the lens and is covered by any filters. All of the controls are very well thought out. The lens retracts by continuing to turn the focusing dial. (See generally Camera-Wiki.) Mike Eckman has an extensive review including copies of several magazine ads and articles. The original price was $99.50 which translates to about $850 in January 2023 dollars. Cameraquest.com calls the camera "a design masterpiece." (See also Paulo Moreira - Flickr.) The camera is often compared to the Rollei 35. I may have purchased mine as part of a Craigslist deal for multiple cameras in 2007. The shutter works but hangs up on the lower speeds. The aperture works. The meter is not working. I'm trying to figure out the problem. While I was working on the meter issue, the distance scale in the viewfinder came loose and is crooked now. Cosmetically the camera is in good shape although there is some corrosion.|
|Ricoh Five One Nine (519) (1958) Date from Camerapedia - Ricoh 519. See also La collection d'appareils photo par Sylvain Halgand. A 1958 magazine ad lists the price as $99.95. That apparently included a detachable light meter which fits on the accessory shoe on top of the camera. $99.95 in 1958 has the same buying power as $748.17 in 2009. It has a 45mm f1.9 lens. Seikosha-MXL shutter with speeds from 1/500 to 1 second plus bulb. The film advance is on the bottom and is designed to allow quick advancement. The back and bottom come off for film loading. Mine is in very good cosmetic condition with the exception that the covering on front is coming off. A little glue would fix that. The shutter and aperture appear to work. The focusing has issues. The rangefinder will not come into focus. The front lens element also seems to be loose. The flash selector for M F or X also seems to be loose as is the ring where that is located. Perhaps if everything were tightened up the focus might work. My camera came with a Ricoh Aux. Telephoto Lens for 1:1.9 4.5cm. It screws on the front of the lens. It has no supplemental finder, however, so I don't know how you frame accurately. The auxiliary lens is shown attached to the main lens in the photo. I purchased my Ricoh Five One Nine for $39.44 plus $11.95 shipping on eBay on 12-14-09. I probably paid too much with the focus problem. It was being sold for parts or to fix.|
|Ricoh Auto Half (1960-1963) (Large Image) Half-frame 35mm simple viewfinder camera with automatic exposure using Selenium cell meter. Instead of the usual 35mm frame of 36mm x 24mm, each frame is 18mm x 24mm. This changes the aspect ratio. The aspect ratio on a usual 36mm x 24mm is 3:2. (Reducing 36/24 by dividing both numerator and denominator by 12 equals 3/2.) The 24mm x 18mm frame has an aspect ratio of 4:3. (Reducing 24/18 by dividing both numerator and denominator by 6 equals 4/3.) On a 36 exposure roll of 35mm film, the half frame camera will take 72 photos. Holding the camera in the normal horizontal mode yields vertical photos. Holding it in the usual vertical mode yields horizontal photos. Since the frame area is smaller than normal 35mm film photos I could put this in the subminiature category. However, since it takes 35mm film I put it in this category. The 18mm x 24mm frame size happens to be slightly larger to the 15.6mm x 23.5mm APS-C frame size used in digital cameras produced by Nikon, Sony and Pentax. The lens is a 23mm f2.8 lens in 3 groups with 4 elements. Due to the smaller frame size the angle of view will be narrower than a 23mm lens in a full frame camera. In other words, there will be a "crop factor." A way to determine crop factor is to take the ratio of the diagonal of the two frames. (Adorama. See generally Wikipedia - Crop Factor.) Using the Pythagorean Theorem, the diagonal of the full frame is the square root of (362 + 242) = 12√13. The diagonal of the half frame is the square root of (182 + 242) = 30. Dividing 12√13 by 30 equals approximately 1.44. (See also reddit.com.) Multiply 1.44 x 23 equals approximately 33. Therefore, the 23mm lens on the half frame camera has approximately the same angle of view as a 33mm lens on a full frame camera.|
|The manual describes the lens is a "specially designed" "Uni-Focus" "that eliminates focusing troubles," which is a fancy marketing way to described a fixed focus lens generally found on cheaper cameras! "Any subject within the distance from 1.5m (5 ft) to infinity will be photographed sharply and clearly." ASA values are from 12 to 200. It normally has a single shutter speed of 1/125 second. For flash it uses a shutter speed of 1/30 second. For automatic use you set the aperture ring on top to A. The camera then selects the correct aperture using the Selenium meter. You can also manually set the aperture. The window with the aperture values is very small and difficult to see. The camera has automatic film advance driven by a spring motor. According to filmwasters the spring drive will allow about 25-30 frames before requiring winding again.
I don't recall where I got my camera. The shutter fires. I don't think the meter is working. In automatic mode it seems to always fire at the widest aperture. In manual mode the aperture does not appear to be working properly. Often the opening appears to be off to the side. The seals are deteriorated and need to be replaced. The lever to open the back is broken off. You can still open it with a pen or some other pointed object, however. The camera has a dent in one corner.
|Ricoh Auto Half E (1964) (Large Image, Back) Half-frame 35mm simple viewfinder camera with automatic exposure using Selenium cell meter that updates the Ricoh Auto Half above with a better finder, a shutter release on top, a hinged film door, an increase in the top ASA to 400, a larger rewind, and an updated cosmetic design. Otherwise, the camera has the same fixed focus 28mm f2.8 lens, 1/125 second shutter speed (1/30 for flash), and automatically adjustable aperture with the Selenium meter as well as manual aperture control. I don't recall where I got this camera. It is in much better condition than the Ricoh Auto Half above. It is in very good cosmetic condition. It seems to work fine. The shutter fires. (To get it to fire without film I have to turn the sprocket wheel in the film compartment to the left.) The apertures work. The meter is active although I have not thoroughly tested its accuracy. The seals are deteriorated and need to be replaced. It comes with the original case. Like the Ricoh Auto Half above, the window displaying the apertures is very small and hard to read.|
|Ricoh 500 G (1972) (Large Image) Date from Camera-Wiki which also includes basic information. 35mm compact coupled rangefinder with automatic shutter priority exposure or fully manual exposure. Needle in viewfinder shows the aperture. 40mm f2.8 lens. Shutter speeds from 1/8 to 1/500 second plus B. ISO range 64-800. Unfortunately, it uses a 1.35 Volt PX 675 Mercury battery which are no longer available. It was also sold as the Sears 35RF. The Sears 35RF sold for $79.50 at page 19 of the 1977-78 Sears Camera Catalog. That's about $410 in March 2023 dollars. It was one of eighteen 35mm compact viewfinder and rangefinder cameras in the catalog ranging in price from $69.50 to $189.50 for the Konica 35AF, the first autofocus camera. The instruction manual is available at butkus.org. There are several sites reviewing the Ricoh 500 G including casualphotophile.com, 35mmc, Matt's Classic Cameras, lomography, 50mmf2.com, rangefiner-cameras.com, and Aly's Vintage Camera Alley. Aly's Vintage Camera Alley has a YouTube Video also. Generally, the reviews are quite favorable finding the camera to be a bargain. I don't recall where I got my camera. It was many years ago. Cosmetically it is in good shape except for some paint loss on the sides. The shutter and apertures appear to work fine. The rangefinder works. As many reviews note, the inside of the back has an extraordinary amount of light seals all of which are severely deteriorated. This is apparently common. Aly's Vintage Camera Alley describes the problem and has a video about changing the light seals. I have not tried the meter on my camera.|
|Ricoh AF-2, (1981) date from Amateur Photographer test report date. This is consistent with manual that came with the camera that has a code of 1181-2 which I presume is for 1981. Manual is also available on-line at butkus.org. AF-2 at Japanese sites Ricoh, Plastic Camera Paradise and Rangefinder. Similar AF-2D at Japanese site minolook. Autofocus 38mm, f2.8, 4 element lens. Accepts 46mm filters. Close focus 1m. ISO manually set from ISO 25 to 800. Self timer. Pop up flash. Shutter automatically set from 1/8 to 1/500 second. Tripod socket. Auto film loading and auto winding. Uses two AA batteries. Approximately 13.5 cm x 8cm x 5.5 cm. Made in Japan. Purchased at a garage sale on 4-22-06 for about $2.50 with case, manual, lens cap and brochure. In excellent operating and cosmetic condition. Serial No. 65332929.|
|Ricoh Q-Super 90Z (Circa 1993) (Large Image) . This 35mm compact zoom autofocus viewfinder camera is a variant of the Ricoh Myport Zoom 90 that was released June 1992. That camera is also known as the RZ-900 or Shotmaster Tru-Zoom. The Myport Zoom 90 P and the identical Myport Zoom 90PS, as well as the "Q-Super 90Z are the variant models released about a year later with the addition of 'Switchable Panorama' feature." (Ricoh Myport Zoom 90 - Camera-Wiki.) My camera also comes with a date back. From looking at Popular Photography and browsing the Internet, it seems the most common name is the "Ricoh Shotmaster Tru-Zoom." (See Camera-Wiki - Ricoh Shotmaster Tru-Zoom.) The manual for the "Ricoh Shotmaster Tru-Zoom" is available at butkus.org with the major specifications at page 23. It has a 38 mm f4.5 to 90 mm f7.2 zoom lens with seven elements in seven groups with multi-beam autofocus with close focus at 0.5m in normal mode and 0.25m in macro mode. It has programmed automatic exposure with automatic backlight control. The shutter speed range is 1/400 to 1 second. DX film speed setting from ISO 64 to 3200 with non-DX film set to ISO 100. Automatic film loading, advance and rewind. Built-in electronic flash. It takes a 6 volt DL223A battery. I don't know if it is just me, but the battery compartment is hard to open. It's pretty bulky for a "compact" 35mm camera with dimensions of 142 mm (w) x 73.5 mm (h) x 57 mm (d) and weighing 355 grams.|
The Q-Super 90Z had an additional panorama feature activated by a switch on the bottom. There is a label stating: "When you intend to take stretch pictures, place the Panorama Sticker on the film cassette as shown before loading." Looking inside the camera, it appears there are two bars which I assume masks the frame for panorama mode.
The December 1993 Popular Photography Magazine at page 52 in a chart entitled "Top Autofocus Point-and-Shoot Compared" with almost 50 cameras lists the Ricoh Shotmaster Tru-Zoom with a suggested retail price of $329. That's about $685 in April 2023 dollars. At page 117 of the same magazine, however, Bi-Rite sells the "Shotmaster True Zoom" for only $164.40, or $342 in April 2023 dollars.
I apparently purchased my camera from a garage or estate sale on Saturday May 19, 2007 since I have a photo of it from that date. It has taken another sixteen years to do the write-up on the camera! My camera is in excellent, near new, cosmetic condition. The only flaw I see is that it is missing one of two tiny screws that hold down the film guide/roller on the inside of the film door. I haven't actually tried the camera since I don't have a battery handy. I'm guessing it works fine, however.
Overall, it seems pretty typical of point and shoot 35mm cameras in the 1990s. That's not a bad thing for people who didn't want to fuss with cameras. By the 1990s virtually every function in mid-range 35mm point and shoot cameras had become automated. Personally, I find the Ricoh 500G above from twenty years earlier to be a more flexible camera with greater control. Frank Lehnen in a review on 35mmc.com didn't like Ricoh Shotmaster Tru-Zoom Date finding it noisy, bulky, with a poor layout of buttons, and with no way to tell what it is focusing on. Anthony Pearson found the picture quality to be "really not at all bad." There is a four minute video on how to operate the camera at 8storeytree.
|Ricoh Shotmaster Zoom 105 (1993) (Large Image, Back) A December 9, 1993 Chicago Tribune article states: "The Ricoh Shotmaster Zoom 105 Plus ($449) is an advanced model that offers unusual features." (Chicagotribune.com (the link no longer takes you to the full article, just the Chicago Tribune homepage).) $449 equals about $920 in January 2023 dollars. I assume the $449 was a list price and the street price may have been lower. In any event, it was an expensive 35mm compact camera. The manual is available at butkus.org. It has a "38-105 mm zoom lens with One Point 28 mm Super Wide Angle." In other words, it has a 38-105mm [power] zoom lens, plus an additional setting for 28mm. To get to the 28mm, you zoom to the wide end, then press down on the zoom switch for at least one second. The maximum aperture is f3.6 at 38mm and f5.5 at 105mm. It has automatic film loading, film advance and film rewind. DX coded film speeds from ISO 64 to 3200 (set to ISO 100 if non-DX film). The camera has multi-point autofocus and can also be set for single point autofocus. Close focus is 65cm at 105mm focal length and 100cm at 38mm focal length. Automatic flash can be shut off. The super night mode allows flash and a long shutter speed to take pictures of people in the foreground with detail still visible in the background. The lens will take 40.5mm filters. The camera is rather big for a compact 35mm camera at 137 mm (W) x 77.5 mm (H) x 60 mm (D) and weighing 402g without battery. The camera takes a 2CR5 6volt Lithium battery. I assume I purchased my camera at a garage sale or estate sale many years ago. It is very good cosmetic condition. I have not tried using it since I don't have a battery. I think it likely works, however. 35mmc.com has a review of the Ricoh RZ-105 Zoom Date, which is the name of the Ricoh Shotmaster Zoom 105 Plus outside of America.|
|Samsung Maxima Zoom 130 GLM, autofocus 35mm with 38-130mm, f4.2 to f11.7 Samsung Aspherical Lens. (With Lens Extended.) Quartz Date Back. Made in China by Korean Company. Serial no. 90604451. Except for silver instead of gold color, it appears to be largely identical to the Maxima Zoom 130GLQD Date advertised at amazon.com. That camera as of March 2007 sells for $129 and had an original list price of $189.99. Shutter speeds from 1/3 to 1/400 second. 40 zone active infrared autofocus with focus lock. 5.29 x 2.95 x 2.2 inches. 11.5 ounces. Uses 1 CR123A 3 volt battery which fits in the right (as viewed from the back) side. Includes portrait and continuous shooting modes. Automatic flash with red eye reduction. Diopter adjustment on eyepiece. First available at Amazon on 9-4-99. Typical of long zoom compact cameras of the 1990s it has a very small aperture at the maximum zoom. I purchased mine at a Fletcher Hills (El Cajon, CA) garage sale on 3-11-07 for $1. It appears to be in very good cosmetic and working condition with a fresh battery included. Shutterbug has a pdf article and chart on compact autofocus cameras from 2003. As can be seen this was a popular category of camera. I assume few are sold today, however, with the digital camera revolution.||Samsung ECX 170 Quartz Date Panorama (circa early 2000s) (Large, Back) The Samsung ECX 170 is similar to the Samsung Vega 170 and the Samsung Evoca 170SE although those cameras do not appear to have the panorama mode or usually the quartz date function. There are Vega 170 QD cameras mentioned on the Internet. Looking through Internet photos of the cameras, the Samsung ECX 170 lenses are labeled "Samsung SHD" while the Vega 170 and Evoca 170SE lenses are labeled "Schneiger-Kreuznach." All of the lenses are "Varioplan 38-170mm Auto Macro," however. The maximum aperture on the wide end is f4.7 and f13.5 on the telephoto end. The cameras have multi-zone autofocus with a powered zoom control. Shutter speeds are 1/400 to 1/3 seconds. My camera is made in Korea. There is an extensive 2016 review for the ECX 170 Panorama at 35mmc.com, a U.K. site. (See also filmphotography.eu (Vega 170), flickr.com, photographyreview (Evoca 170SE).) The manual for the Vega 170 Veoca 170SE is at cameramanuals.org. The camera takes one CR123A 3volt lithium battery. I likely got this at a garage sale many years ago. It is in decent cosmetic condition with some scratches to the body. I have not tested it.|
|Voigtlander Vitessa A (Version 4) (Large Image) (1950-1954) German 35mm rangefinder with Voigtlander Ultron 50mm f2 lens and Compur Rapid shutter with speeds from 1 to 1/500 seconds. There is no light meter. Voigtlander Vitessa goes through the four different models and 18 model versions of the Vitessa in the ten years they were made from 1950 to 1960. The first model, Model A, was made from 1950-1954. My is version 4 of Model A, with a removable accessory shoe that slides over the top where the rangefinder window is. The name is under that accessory shoe. Voigtlander Vitessa calls it "an extraordinary rangefinder." Camera Quest calls the Vitessa L model with light meter "the most beautifully made, most elegant, and most innovative 1950's 35mm folder. The fit and finish is exquisite, approaching Leica M3 standards." The manual is available at www.butkus.org. I needed to look at it to close the camera. (There are two red pressure points on the shutter cover which you press down simultaneously.) Price in a 1952 ad on eBay was $159.50, over $1,250 in 2007 dollars! Rangefinder repair/adjustment is difficult according to photo.net and links there. It is a unique camera in several ways. Press the large plunger on top and the film is advanced. The back, bottom and part of the front are one piece that comes off by lifting and turing the lever on the bottom to reveal the film chamber. The focus is a rotating knob on the top of the back of the camera. The distance indicator and depth of field scale is on the top just above the focus knob. Shutter speed and aperture controls are rings on the lens. Purchased at a garage sale in the San Carlos area of San Diego three blocks from my house for $10 on 11-17-07. In good working and cosmetic condition. Some left over adhesive from a label on the top. A very cool camera!|
|Voigtlander Prominent 35mm Rangefinder (Large Image) (1950-1958) German 35mm rangefinder with Voigtlander Ultron 50mm f2 lens and Compur Rapid shutter with speeds from 1 to 1/500 seconds. There is no light meter. It was an expensive camera designed to compete with Leica and Contax. Camerapedia. Many criticize it as having very poor ergonomics. See, e.g., cameraquest.com, Classic Cameras. Extensive information at www.novacon.com.br including information about a single lens reflex housing that could be attached. Used interchangeable Voightlander lenses. Originally had winding knob to advance film. In 1956 a film advance lever was added. In 1958 an improved Prominent II was introduced. It lasted until 1960. The Prominent name had previously been used for a 1932 Voigtlander 6x9cm rangefinder. Mine is in rough shape. It is pretty dirty and has some corrosion on the metal. The glass of the lens looks good and the rangefinder works. The camera is missing the film advance lever or knob. I have not been able to test the shutter. Purchased in Vista, CA from an ad on Craigslist on 7-30-08 with about a dozen other cameras and assorted lenses and accessories for $125. The equipment had belonged to seller's grandfather and other family members from Michigan.||Voigtlander Vito II (Large Image) (1949-1954) A folding, zone focusing 35mm camera with a Prontor-S shutter with speeds from 1/300 to 1 second and a Voigtlander Color-Skopar 50mm f3.5 lens. The manual is available at www.cameramanuals.org. There is a depth of field scale to aid in setting the focus. There is also a triangle mark at 11 feet and a circle mark at 33 feet on the focus ring. These are "snapshot" settings with the triangle setting giving acceptable focus from 8 feet to 16 feet and the circle giving acceptable focus from 16 feet to infinity if the aperture is stopped down to at least f5.6. To open the front of the camera you press the release on the bottom of the camera. To close the camera you press the two black levers on the inside of the door. The camera takes modern standard 35mm film cassettes. There was an accessory shoe available for the top of the camera. Later versions of the Vito II had an accessory shoe built in. The camera is entirely mechanical. There is no light meter. A July 1954 magazine advertisement for Willoughbys, New York states the price as $54.50 with the Prontor-S lens and $61.25 with the Compur Synchro shutter. $54.50 in 1954 has the same buying power as $480 in 2014. There are many sources of information about the Vito II including: Mike Connealy - Voigtl�nder Vito II, John's Old Cameras, Camerapedia - Voigtl�nder Vito II, and Matt's Classic Cameras. While it is a very simple and compact camera, it generally gets good reviews with a sharp lens with good contrast. My camera was purchased at a neighborhood garage sale a block from my home in La Mesa, California on February 14, 2015. I purchased it and a Konica Auto S2 35mm rangefinder camera for a total of $25. My Voigtlander Vito II seems to be in very good cosmetic and working condition. The shutter release on these cameras does not work without film. You can trigger the shutter with a pencil tip striking the lever that the shutter release hits, however. You have to cock the shutter prior to firing the shutter. My shutter and aperture seem to work well. Mine comes with a leather every-ready case in good condition except the top has come off since the stitching on top has completely deteriorated. This is a fine addition to the museum and may be fun to run a roll of film through.|
|Yashica Lynx 1000 (Large Image) (Introduced 1960) I purchased this camera at a La Mesa, California garage sale on December 2, 2012 for about $10. It appears to be in good working condition including an active meter. As a likely rare addition, this camera came with its original box and Styrofoam packing in excellent condition. It also comes with the leather case although the part of the top half of the case that hooks onto the camera is missing. This is the first camera in the Lynx series. This camera is similar to the Lynx 5000e below except this camera has a Selenium meter with no battery while the 5000e has a Cds meter that requires batteries. The Lynx 1000 a great rangefinder capable of high quality photos. It has a top shutter speed of 1/1000 second. It has a 45mm f1.8 lens. Excellent information is at www.yashica-guy.com. The owner's manual is at www.butkus.org. This YouTube video describes its operation. There is also a discussion of it at apug.org.|
|Yashica Minimatic C (Large Image) (Circa 1961-66) Rangefinder with 45mm f2.8 Yashinon lens surrounded by Selenium meter. Dates are from Photo.net which says it was manufactured from 1961-1963 and neighborhoodvalues.com which says from March 1961 to March 1966 and shows one that was purchased new on 1/17/1966. It had automatic exposure. You place the aperture ring to auto. I couldn't find specifications, but I think the camera may have a fixed shutter speed in automatic mode and selects the aperture based on the meter. I can see the aperture is wider in dim light and more narrow in bright light. My Selenium meter therefore seems to be functioning, although I have no idea if it is accurate. There is suppose to be a needle on top of the viewfinder to tell whether there is sufficient light. I don't see the needle in my camera, however. You can also select the aperture manually with a fixed shutter speed of 1/30 second. This is basically for the use of a flash. There is also a B setting with the aperture set at f2.8. Other than the B, Auto and 1/30 second shutter setting when the aperture is manually set, there is no other way to control the shutter speed. The lack of a range of manual shutter speeds is a disappointment in this camera since old Selenium meters can easily stop working or be inaccurate. My camera appears to work since the shutter fires, the aperture varies in automatic mode, and the aperture changes appropriately in manual mode. The rangefinder on mine also works well. The focusing spot is still bright and distinct. I purchased mine at a La Mesa, CA garage sale on July 14, 2012 with several other photographic items as described further under the entry for the Yashica Lynx 5000E below.|
|Yashica IC Lynx 14E (Large Image) (1968) Date from cdegroot.com and averyandphotography.blogspot.com. It followed the Yashica Lynx that was introduced in 1965. (See www.photoethnography.com.) The two cameras are similar with the Lynx 14E IC having an LED meter instead of a match needle meter. The E stands for electronic and the IC stands for integrated circuit. Despite the "electronic" "integrated circuit," happily this camera has a fully manual aperture and shutter speed. Therefore, if the battery dies out or the meter kicks the bucket, you are still in great shape. By contrast, the Yashica Electro 35 cameras are fully automatic with an electronic shutter. The really big deal about the Lynx 14E, however, is the huge aperture 45mm f1.4 lens, the largest or one of the largest apertures on a fixed lens 35mm rangefinder camera. The 7element lens in 5 groups gets high marks. (See, e.g., www.rangefinderforum.com and photo.net.) Shutter speeds are from 1 to 1/500 second. Apertures are from f1.4 to f16 with no click stops. The meter is not through the lens. I purchased mine at a La Mesa, CA garage sale on 4-24-10 for about $17.50 (this and a Pentax ME Super with 2x teleconverter for $35). The shutter fires and the speeds seem to be reasonably accurate. Lens is clear. Aperture works fine. I have not put batteries in it yet so I don't know if the meter works. It takes two PX640 batteries. It comes with the leather case.|
|Yashica IC Lynx 5000E (Large Image) (1966-71) Dates are from Camerapedia - Yashica Lynx 5000E. The Yashica IC Lynx 5000E is basically the same as the Lynx 14E above except it has a slower f1.8 lens instead of the 14's f1.4 lens. The focal length of both lenses is 45mm. The Lynx 5000E has a faster top shutter speed of 1/1000 second, however, compared to the 14E's 1/500 second. The meter is operated by the switch on front. I purchased mine at a La Mesa, CA garage sale on 7-14-12 less than .5 miles from my house. I paid $40 for it, a new looking Quantary 28-200mm f3.5-5.6 lens with Minolta (Sony) AF mount, a Yashica Minimatic C, a Soligor 135mm f2.8 lens with Minolta manual focus mount, a Sekonic CdS meter (needs battery), a 2X teleconverter for Pentax manual mount, a broken Canon 35-70mm f3.5-4.5 lens (won't focus and aperture doesn't change), a Sekonic Selinium meter (does not appear to function correctly), a 49mm skylight filter and a Minolta AF rear lens cap and body cap. The primary value was in Quantary lens and this camera, and to a lesser extent the Yashica Minimatic C. The shutter and aperture seem to work well. The two 640 1.3 volt mercury batteries were heavily corroded. I cleaned the compartment. Some of the residue got into the upper part of the camera so I removed the top to the camera. To do this you remove the two screws on the sides. Then remove the film advance lever by rotating the part with two small holes in it. I used a paperclip. Two other pieces come out when you remove the film advance. Then pull out the film rewind knob and the film spool cylinder. The cylinder pulls all the way out. When I took the top off two other small pieces fell out - a small plastic cylinder and a washer. I concluded these go back into the bottom of the shutter release when I was reassembling things. I cleaned further corrosion from around the wires. A wire had broken off the contact with the battery compartment. I soldered it back on. While I had the top off I also cleaned all of the glass surfaces of the rangefinder with isopropyl alcohol. I then reassembled everything. The viewfinder was much clearer, although I cleaned too much removing most of the blue tint on one of the surfaces that helps you see the rangefinder double image. Bummer! I should have read the advice in Camera Collecting and Restoration not to clean that portion or perhaps used Windex to clean as suggested in Yashica Lynx 5000 - Matt's Classic Cameras. The rangefinder still works, but it is dim. I put in two 1.5 volt A640 batteries to replace the original mercury batteries. I have not been able to get the meter working. That's not surprising since things were so heavily corroded. The camera functions without the meter or batteries, however, and both the shutter and aperture can be adjusted. You just have to use a hand-held meter, the sunny 16 rule or the table that comes with film.|
|Yashica Electro 35 G (Large Image), (With Tele-Wide Adapters) (1968-1970) Second generation Yashica Electro G. Mostly cosmetic changes from the original Yashica Electro 35 released in 1966. The G model introduced a recessed area on the bottom plate to ease opening of the rear door. The information relating to the GSN below also generally applies to the G model. Excellent information on the series is at Yashica Guy. I bought the tele-wide adapters. These screw onto the front. They also require a focus adjustment which is stated on the adapters. They are missing the viewfinder adapter which is really necessary to use them as Yashica Guy points out (near end of page). Others criticize that the tele-wide adapters are a hassle to use and do not change the field of view significantly. They were relatively expensive with the Yashica Guy showing a receipt from 1983 for about $60. That's nearly $130 in 2009 dollars. Further, the camera itself in a Sears Camera Catalog from the late 1970s was only $116.50. I purchased my Yashica Electro 35G for $0.99 on eBay on June 3, 2009. I paid another $0.99 for the supplementary lenses. Total shipping was $9.60. The camera is in good cosmetic condition and comes with the leather case and a lens cap. The viewfinder is clean and the rangefinder focusing works. The glass looks good. Unfortunately, the shutter is stuck open. You can see where a shutter or aperture blade is stuck. (The shutter should fire at 1/500 without a battery.) The supplementary lenses look to be in good condition.||Yashica Electro 35 GSN (Large Image) (1973-1980) 35mm rangefinder with Color-Yashinon DX 45mm f1.7 lens. Camera made in Hong Kong. Lens made in Japan. Aperture preferred automatic exposure with stepless shutter speeds from 1/500 to 30 seconds. Originally used a 5.6 volt PX 32 mercury battery. I substituted a 6 volt PX28A (4LH44) as recommended in photoethnography.com and Matt Denton Photo. That battery is smaller so I filled the gap with aluminum foil. Meter works and appears to be right on using the Sunny 16 rule. Matt Denton shows the internal construction of the camera also. Yashica-guy also has great information including internal photos. Generally, people say the lens is very high quality. It seems to work well. I'm looking forward to trying it out with film. Purchased at a garage sale in the San Carlos area (on Golfcrest) of San Diego on 9-8-07 for about $25. (Purchased this and a Pentax ME Super for $55).|
|Yashica AF-J (circa 1987) autofocus, fixed focal length of 32mm, f3.5. Serial No. 5032199. Assembled in Hong Kong. In good cosmetic and working condition. Purchased at an estate sale on 5-20-06 in the Fletcher Hills area of El Cajon, CA for about $5. Initially it was not working but I rubbed contacts in battery compartment with an eraser and then it worked. Perhaps some slight corrosion on one of the battery contacts.|
|Yashica T4 Super (circa 1993) (Large Image) A popular and highly sought after compact Japanese autofocus 35mm camera due its sharp Carl Zeiss Tessar T* f3.5/35mm single focal length lens and compact, rugged weather-proof design. The release date is from filphotography.eu. Backpacker Magazine in August 2001 stated: "This slender camera lets you take professional-quality pictures without lugging heavy photo gear." Photo.net indicates that thousands of pros carried a T4 Super (or prior T4 without super scope and weather proofing) as a compact backup camera. Photo.net also indicates the T4 was top rated by Consumer Reports with quality meeting or exceeding cameras costing hundreds of dollars more. Film speed from ISO 50 to 3200. Shutter speeds from 1 to 1/700 second. Price when new was about $160. Has a unique "super scope" viewfinder on top of the camera for framing looking down. Great for low or quick shots when you can't put the regular viewfinder up to your eye. The super scope basically gives you mini twin lens reflex viewing. My T4 Super is in good cosmetic and working condition. Purchased at garage sale on my street on 5-19-07 for about $1 - a super deal! Takes one 3 volt CR123A Lithium battery.|
|Yashica EZS Zoom 70 (1995) (Large Image) A 35mm autofocus viewfinder camera with automatic exposure, loading, advance, and rewind with a 38mm f5.3 to 70mm f9.1 zoom lens, shutter speeds from 1/250 to 2.8 seconds, DX ISO from 100 to 800, and electronic flash that can be turned off. The lens has five elements in five groups. My camera came with the box and manual. The manual was one large sheet of paper printed on both sides in several languages. I cut out and scanned most of the English portion of the manual. The camera is powered by two 1.5 alkaline batteries. My camera worked once I put film in it. The shutter will apparently not fire without film. I don't recall where I got my camera but it was likely at a garage or estate sale many years ago. There is a detailed review at 35mmc.com which gives the introduction date as 1995 and finds the camera produces sharp and well exposed photos. The major cons of the camera are a short zoom range of less than 2X and a slow lens. It has a close focus of only 1.1 meters. With such a short zoom range I think it would have made sense to just have a faster prime lens of one focal length. The review at 35mmc.com notes the camera was sold under many different names including "Yashica Elite 70, . . . Yashica Elite 70 Zoom, Yashica EZS Zoom 70, Yashica Zoomate 70, and finally Kyocera Campus 70." Some versions were sold with a data back. Mine does not have the data back. The bottom camera states the camera is "assembled in China, parts made in Japan." At the time this camera was made Yashica had been acquired by Kyocera, a large Japanese high tech ceramics company. In 2005 Kyocera stopped production of all cameras. In 2008 Kyocera sold its trademark rights to Yashica to a Hong Kong based firm. Wikipedia - Yashica. The price for the Yashica EZS Zoom 70 at Beach Camera at page 136 of the December 1996 Popular Photography Magazine was $129.99 or about $247 in March 2023 dollars. The much more collectible Yashica T4 Super above was only $10 more at $139.99.|
Large, Top, Closed, Case, 1953 Sears Catalog Page
|Zeiss Ikon Contessa 35 (circa 1953-1955) According to cameraquest this folding 35mm rangefinder was made from 1950 to 1955, with two versions - the first from 1950 to 1953 with a Compur Rapid shutter and the second (mine) from 1953 to 1955 with a Compur Synchro shutter. Made in Stuttgart, Germany. Zeiss -Opton Tessar 45mm f2.8-22 lens. Compur Synchro shutter 1/500 to 1 second and bulb. Coupled rangefinder focusing. Close focus less than 3 feet. Flash contact with settings for flash bulb and electronic flash. Selenium, non-coupled, metering system. The metering door stays shut for bright light. You open it for dim light. There are two scales and a match needle on the top. Price in Fall 1953 Sears Camera Catalog was $214, equal to an astonishing $1,736 in 2008 dollars! The case was an additional $12. A similar Retina IIa with a faster f2 lens was only $164.10 and a Tower 35 Type 3 Japanese rangefinder, similar to a Leica, with 50mm, f2 Nikkor lens was only $175. Purchased on June 15, 2008 at an estate sale in the Rancho Bernardo area of San Diego for $45. (Listed at $120, although the tag looked like $20. It was the last day of a three day sale so everything was half price. I thought I could get it for $10. We finally negotiated to $45.) The same day one sold on eBay for $165 (14 day return policy) and another for $57.50 (meter not working correctly).|
|Excellent working and cosmetic condition. There is some tiny corrosion between the light meter and flash shoe. (The red coloring above the viewing window I believe is from the red felt of the inside of the case. It came right off.) Everything seems to work well including the meter. I am testing it with film now. The case is in good condition except some stitching is coming apart and the strap is broke near where it attaches to the camera. While it has a socket for a cable shutter release, it curiously does not have a tripod socket. The lens cover folds down, however, providing a stable platform to set the camera on a table or other flat surface. The manual is available in jpg format at R & R Photo and in pdf format at butkus.org. It is a relatively complicated process to use the camera compared to a modern camera. You must advance the film with the winder knob at the bottom. You must also cock the shutter. The shutter will not release until you do these two steps. The shutter release is locked unless there is film in the camera. (You can force the shutter to release without film, however, by pressing a small lever on the bottom of the lens.) The light meter dial, with very small print, shows applicable aperture and shutter speed combinations. You set the aperture using the innermost ring on the lens and the shutter speed using the next ring on the lens. You focus using the outermost ring and the rangefinder image in the viewfinder. All of the rings and the numbers seem quite small compared with a 35mm single lens reflex camera or a rangefinder from the 60s or 70s. When loading film, you must reset the film counter by rotating a button on the bottom. It is all pretty straight forward, but definately slows you down - which can be a good thing! All in all, a beautiful camera capable of taking beautiful photos. A wonderful find!||Zeiss Ikon Contina II (circa 1956), made in Stuttgart, Germany, Novicar-Anastigmat 45mm f2.8-22 lens, Prontor-SVS shutter 1/300 top shutter speed, focusing by estimation 3 feet to infinity. Flash contact with settings for flash bulb and electronic flash (self timer on same button). It has a unique selenium metering system. A door opens on front to activate it, with a match needle on top to find the exposure value (EV). You push a button on the f stop ring to set the EV. When that button is released, combinations of f stops and shutter speeds for that EV are fixed. For example, you can change the aperture and the shutter speed will still be correct for the set exposure value. Price in 1957 Sears Camera Catalog was $75 ($520 in 2005 dollars) with $9 for the case. Purchased on August 13, 2005 at a La Mesa, CA garage sale for $20 with case, instruction booklet (see sample pages), Honeywell flash, and shutter release cable. It is in very good working and cosmetic condition with film still in it. The seller, a retired middle school math teacher, was the original owner who received it as a gift in the 1950s. I also bought math books from him. Additional views: Large, Front, Top, Back. Several sites discuss this camera generally finding it to have a sharp lens capable of excellent results. See, e.g., photoethnography.com, Camera Works, and Zeiss Contina. I purchased a second one around 2007 from an ad on Craigslist with several other cameras. It is in very nice cosmetic condition with a working light meter. The shutter neither cocks nor fires, however. It comes with the bottom half of the case.|