Thursday, November 29, 2012

Spotlight: Rollei 35

When most people hear the name "Rollei", they usually think of the superbly crafted Rolleiflex TLR's. While I don't yet own a Rolleiflex, I do own a Rollei 35. After Rollei's success with  professional medium format cameras, they decided to delve into the 35mm market. The first 35mm camera they developed was the Rollei 35 in 1966, which retained many features of a professional camera, but in a much smaller size. I think it may in fact be the smallest full frame 35mm camera ever produced (The Olympus XA might actually be smaller, but whatever).

Such features included a Carl Zeiss Tessar Lens. Now, the Rollei 35 is a viewfinder camera, which requires guess focusing. However, if you hit the focus dead on, the images this lens produces are incredibly sharp. I tend to keep the aperture at f11 or narrower, to avoid missing the focus. I don't think I've shot any wider than f5.6.

A match-needle CDS light meter is also part of the camera; it's located on the top of the body. The meter on my particular camera is perfectly accurate, matching the readings on both of my stand-alone meters. One gripe I have is that my hand can easily block the sensor while gripping the camera.
Other great features include a wide range of apertures(f3.5-f22) and shutter speeds(2-500). A hotshoe is located (oddly) on the bottom of the camera for dimly lit situations. Lastly, the lens is retractable, making it super compact for when you need to store it in a bag or pocket.

Overall, I love this little camera. I plan on keeping it on me at times when it's not appropriate to carry a larger SLR or TLR with me. Here are some photos from my first roll with the Rollei 35. Enjoy, and thanks for reading. :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Spotlight: Mamiya C330

The Mamiya C330, my main camera, is a thing of pure beauty. In my opinion, it's the best twin lens reflex camera ever built. There are many reasons for this claim. Firstly, it is one of the only TLR with interchangeable lenses. All of them are super sharp. I mainly use the 105mm DS lens, since it has a depth of field preview feature that other Mamiya TLR lenses don't have. It's slightly telephoto, but still considered to be a "normal" focal length lens. When my 105mm can't handle my subject, I have a variety of other great lenses to choose from. I own the 55mm, 65mm, 80mm, 105mm, 135mm, and 180mm lenses. The only lens I'm missing is the 250mm lens. Someday I'll buy it... someday.

Another great feature of the C330 is the parallax correction bar in the viewfinder. As you focus closer, a small bar on the left-hand side of the finder moves down, showing you where the top of the image will cut off. You then simply move the camera upwards the necessary distance, and you're good to go. This awesome feature makes close-ups much less of a pain in the ass.

This leads me to explain why I choose to use a Twin Lens Reflex, when there are so many great medium format SLR's out there. Here are my 3 main reasons for using TLR's, specifically my C330.

1. It's simpler. A TLR has less that can go wrong. There is no moving mirror, and no focal plane shutter. The shutter is in each individual lens, so if something goes wrong with the shutter, you can get the lens repaired and still have your camera to work with.

2. No mirror slap. I do a lot of long exposures, and not having a giant mirror (look at the Pentax 6x7) slapping up and down makes sure the camera stays perfectly still during exposure.

3. Filters. I often use yellow, red, and sometimes green filters in my photography. It's great to have a filter attached to the taking lens and not have to compose the image while having everything look red. It makes framing and focusing so much easier with filters.

So, now that I've bored you, take a look at a few photos I have taken with my Mamiya C330.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Spotlight: Argus C4

A little over a year ago, I stumbled over an Argus C4 in an antique shop in Michigan. It was pretty dinged up, so the shopkeeper sold it to me for just $7. At that time I had already owned and used an Argus C3, so I was eager to see what the differences were. The main difference between the C3 and the C4 is how on the C4 you focus with the rangefinder and compose your image through the same finder. On the C3, there's a separate finder for focusing and viewing. The viewfinder on the C4 is surprisingly bright, allowing for quick and simple focusing. 

I let the camera sit on my shelf for a few weeks before I decided to test it out while visiting my friend, Collin, in Macomb, where he goes to school. Here's one of Collin taking a picture of me with his digital camera:

 Here's the photo he was taking: 

Look at that sexy guy

 The lens proved to be quite sharp. Overall, it's really just an improved C3, which isn't really a bad thing. If there's one thing I dislike about the C4, it's the placement of the aperture selection dial. It's on the barrel of the lens, which, of course, is also twisted to focus the lens. I found myself accidentally adjusting the aperture while focusing.

Here's some more photos I took during my day in Macomb:

That's it on the Argus C4. Thanks for reading!

Spotlight: Asahi Pentax MX

My Pentax MX is my main 35mm camera. It's a fantastic piece of equipment. I bought it from my former boss because he thought it was defective. I always use it with my green and yellow hippy strap, along with my SMC Pentax 1:1.4 50mm prime lens.

What I like about it is how it is completely manual. It relies on batteries only for the light meter. The camera itself is quite small for a "pro" slr. It's very easy to carry around with me on trips... Like the Renaissance Faire! Here's a shot I took of my girlfriend Katie at the faire:

The camera has just about anything you could want from an all manual SLR. It has a horizontal moving focal plane shutter with speeds between 1 and 1/1000th of a second, plus B. There's a self timer, and a depth of field preview feature. I really love the full information viewfinder. It shows you your shutterspeed, as well as your aperture! Pretty cool. The light meter is pretty sweet too. The meter is made up of green, yellow, and red lights that show if you are a full stop over/under exposed (red), a half a stop off (yellow), or right on the money (green).  It's a great tool, and very accurate as well, when it works... My particular camera seems to have connector issues, as the meter occasionally likes to skip all over the place. But when it works, perfect exposures are guaranteed!

Like I said before, I take this camera with me in the car whenever I go on a trip. Wait... did I say car? I meant to say "shitbox". At least, that's what my friends call it. A photo of my van with my MX:

But yeah, that's about all I have to say about this great little SLR. Thanks, Tom Foley, for selling it to me! Here's a few more photo's I've taken with it within the past few months.

 Thanks for reading. See you next post!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Hello, welcome!

My name's Brennan Probst, and I'm a photographer. Well... sort of. I'm a recent graduate of Monmouth College, where I studied studio art with a concentration in photography. Film photography. No digital crap. After graduation, I built myself a darkroom in my basement where I can process film and make prints. It's here were I spend the majority of my scarce free time.

I already have a website at, but it's kind of a pain in the ass to update, and it only lets me post 35 images at a time. So I've started this blog to keep a log of all the photos I take on my various different cameras. Did I mention I have a lot of cameras? Cause I do. I have a collection of around 60 film cameras, with 5 or 6 that I use on a regular basis. My main camera, the one that got me through college, is my Mamiya C330.

Me with my C330

The Mamiya C330 is such an amazing camera. It looks sexy, and performs beautifully every time. I love twin lens reflex cameras, and the C330 is probably as good as they get; with its rugged design, and many interchangable lenses, of which I own all but the ludacrisly expensive 250mm. It's extremely reliable, and when I want to make a serious artistic print, this is camera I use. Mainly I use my 105mm lens, which is still a "normal" lens, which just a touch of telephoto. Super sharp. It's great for portraits.

 One of my favorite photos I took during my senior year at Monmouth (using my C330)

I also like using many different 35mm cameras. These photos are usually taken just for fun, as 35mm negatives just don't stack up to 120 negatives. Like I said before, if I want to make a serious photograph, I'm using a medium format camera.

I have three favorite 35mm cameras. I love my Pentax MX, Exakta VX, and my Retina iiic. More on those later.

So with this blog I am going to post my latest art photographs, as well as photographs I take for fun. I would also like to have posts that just feature different cameras in my collection, whether I've used them or not. So I hope you enjoy the (hopefully) many posts to come.