Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Spotlight: Olympus 35 RC

 A little over a week ago I went to a camera show and picked up an Olympus 35 RC. The 35 RC is a fantastic little camera that was made in 1970. It's a fixed lens, full frame 35mm rangefinder. Also, it's SMALL. The 35 RC, to my knowledge, is the smallest rangefinder camera with all manual controls in existence (The Olympus XA is smaller, but is aperture priority only).

Fits right in the palm of your hand...
The 35 RC runs just fine without batteries, but if you stick a mercury cell in it, you get a shutter priority mode. Woah! There's no metering in manual exposure mode, unfortunately. The lens is a 42mm Zuiko, with apertures ranging from f2.8 to f16. Shutter speeds range from 1/15th to 1/500th, plus Bulb. One really cool thing about the RC is that it has a full information viewfinder (both shutter speed and aperture settings are viewable with your eye to the finder). Not a lot of rangefinders from the time had this. In fact, Olympus's own flagship OM series cameras(At least through the OM-2) don't have full information viewfinders.

I found the 35 RC a lot of fun to use. The viewfinder is pretty bright, and the rangefinder is nice and contrasty for a camera in this price range. I really can't think of anything I dislike enough about this camera that's worth mentioning. Here are some shots that I took with my Olympus 35 RC:

Thanks very much for looking, and Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Roll: The Town of Good Hope

The town of "Good Hope" is located between the more major towns of "Monmouth" and "Macomb", in Western Illinois. It has a population of under 500 people, and is little more than a few square blocks large. I shot a roll of the town on the coldest day of the year (so far). It was around 10 degrees, not counting the wind chill. There was no one around. I used my Olympus OM-2n with a 50mm and a 35mm lens. I used "Kentmere 400" film.

Thanks for taking a peek!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Print: Dwelling (Part 2)

About one year ago, I took a doll house into the woods, with the intent to photograph it, and to see if anyone would notice it and interact with it. My original photo was a failure. The contrast was poor, and the house simply didn't look distressed enough. A couple months later,the house disappeared. I thought that that someone had seen it and simply thrown it out. 

Fast forward to a week ago. I was walking through the same woods, taking photos of some other stuff, when I found the house! It had been moved a few hundred yards deeper into the forest. I rushed home and picked up my Pentax 6x7 with a tripod and took some shots of it. The house is way cooler looking now than I ever could have imagined. And it's only going to get better with time. Hopefully it'll last for another year.

This shot was taken on my Pentax 6x7 with a 105mm lens, and Ilford Delta 400 film. The original print is 11x14. This digital representation was cropped to an 8x10 ratio.

Thanks for looking!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Spotlight: Pentax Spotmatic

The Pentax Spotmatic was made available in 1964 by Asahi Optical Company. It was a higher end consumer grade camera that was one of the first SLR's to feature a "through the lens" metering system. "Through the Lens" metering, or TTL for short, means the camera's light meter reads the light coming through the lens itself. The TTL meter gave much more accurate readings than meters that were mounted on the side, or top of the camera, because they read the exact amount of light that was entering the camera. Pretty high tech for the mid sixties!

The Spotmatic's other claim to fame is that it's the precursor to Pentax's wildly successful K-1000. The body and dials look pretty much the same, and are laid out the same way on the body. While the K-1000 has improved metering, the Spotmatic has more "pro" features, like a self timer and an aperture preview switch. Also, all of the dials on the Spotmatic are metal,  while the K-1000's dials are plastic. The Spotmatic feels more solid, overall.

Unlike the K-1000, which uses "K-Mount" bayonet lenses, The Pentax Spotmatic is a screw-mount camera. It accepts all of the awesome Asahi-made Takumar lenses, as well as any other lens with a 42mm thread. I have my 50mm 1.4 Super Takumar mounted on the Spotmatic as we speak. It's a wonderfully sharp lens, and has fantastic build quality.

There are two different versions of the Spotmatic. The one pictured above is the "Honeywell Pentax Spotmatic". The other version is the "Asahi Pentax Spotmatic". The difference is that Honeywell imported the "Honeywell" version, and Asahi imported the "Asahi" version. The only thing separating the two is the name on the front of the body, and the emblem on the prism. I actually own both versions... I've had the Asahi version for a while, which unfortunately has a sticky mirror and is unusable. BUT, my future father-in-law gave me the Honeywell version as a gift a couple days ago. He found it at an estate sale for $1.50 (!), body only. So, I slapped my Takumar on it and took it out for a day of shooting. It works pretty well, aside from having shutter issues at 1/1000th of a second. I used Fujicolor 200. Here are my results!

I would recommend the Pentax Spotmatic to a photography student, or anyone who wants to try out those awesome Takumar lenses. Thanks for looking!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Greenwood House

On the way home from my camera repair place in Glenview about a week ago, I spotted this house along Greenwood Road. It looked like it'd been abandoned for at least a few years, because there was a note taped to the window that said "KEEP OUT! WE CALL POLICE -2011." The house is along a busy street, and it was the middle of the day, so I didn't risk going inside. Here are a few exterior shots I got of the house. I used my Exakta VX with a new 50mm f2 Zeiss Pancolar lens that I picked up from the October camera show. I believe I used a roll of expired Ilford HP5+.

My Exakta with the Pancolar lens.

I found the 50mm Pancolar lens to be not quite as sharp as the 58mm Biotar that I usually use with the Exakta. However, it does have an automatic aperture diaphragm, as opposed to the Biotar's semi-auto diaphragm, which makes the Pancolar a bit more practical in use. There's a bit of fungus in this particular Pancolar, so I might get it cleaned and try it out once more. Thanks for looking!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Extra Frames: Trailer Park

Here are more shots from my trailer park roll; the ones that did not get printed. All were taken on my Exakta VX with a 58mm Biotar. Enjoy!

I plan on going back to this trailer park someday, and perhaps visiting new ones! Thanks for looking. :)