Richard’s Flickr Account

Although I write about my cameras on this blog I also have a growing Flickr account.

In about 3 years of collecting and using film cameras I have shot about 1500 – 2000 photos.  My best film photos, all 175 of them, are now arranged on Flickr at Richard’s Favorites.

This is what my Flickr sets look like if you care to visit them.  Thanks.

Flickr Cameras - 1

Flickr Cameras - 2

Flickr Cameras - 3

Visit me on Flickr and add me as a contact.  Thanks for visiting What is a Film Camera today.

Canon QL17 GIII – The Mt. Pulaski Rangefinder

Mt. Pulaski – Canon QL 17 Review

This Mt. Pulaski Canon QL 17 GIII has had its own journey.  I believe it was purchased in the Orient by a U.S. serviceman during the Viet Nam War in the early 1970’s and it returned to its owner’s home in Mt. Pulaski, IL.

Canon QL17 GIII - Mt. Pulaski

I know for sure that I purchased it on a hot summer’s day at a garage sale in Mt. Pulaski, IL, in the summer of 2011.  Coming back from the gas station my wife said “turn here” to find some nice brick homes with a few garage sales.

There were no cameras in the garage but I asked, “Do you have any cameras in the house?”.

Minutes later the elderly woman (just 20 years older than me) handed me a black camera case that was almost steaming from the heat in their attic.

I told the nice lady what her camera was worth fixed up on the Internet.  The shutter was frozen with oil, the seals were gummy, and I didn’t know if it would work with a battery.  I told her what it would cost to clean up her camera and I made an offer.  She said “yes”.

CLA’d by Lee’s Cameras in Des Plaines, IL

As usual, nice work by Mr. Lee of Lee’s Cameras in Des Plaines, IL.  They know me by now and keep asking where I’m getting all these cameras.

Mr. Lee gave it a CLA (clean, lubricate, and adjustments), new seals, and a new battery.  With a new battery, the light meter works perfectly and the battery check light works also.

I am grateful to have Mr. Lee as my camera repairman.  If you visit, tell him Richard said hello.

My Test Roll – Fuji Print ASA 200 Film

I was very pleased with my Canon QL17 GIII photos taken in Chicago, IL and Ann Arbor, MI.  Here are the photos from this re-conditioned, tested camera.

German Day Parade, September 2013 – Chicago, IL

Everyone loves a parade.

Canonet QL17, GIII, Mt. Pulaski - September 2013, Chicago - German Day Parade

Everyone loves to drink beer at the beer tent.

Canonet QL17, GIII, Mt. Pulaski - September 2013, Chicago German Day - Beer Tent

Ann Arbor, Michigan

We went to Ann Arbor for a wedding.  It’s a beautiful town.

Here’s some street performers on a summer Saturday.  I really took the photo because I wanted the homeless fellows on the bench in the background.  As I become a better photographer, I’ll have the courage to ask for their photo.

Canonet QL17, GIII, Mt. Pulaski - September 2013, Ann Arbor Street Musicians

An Artistic Favorite – Flowers Seen through a Loading Dock

I was at a garden store that sold shovels, fountains, sacks of grass seed, that kind of thing.  I noticed their loading entrance opened up into an alley with beautiful flowers on the wall.  I thought that was artistics (I’m not very artistic).  I love the way you see the Exit sign on the left side of the photo in the dark.

Canonet QL17, GIII, Mt. Pulaski - September 2013, Loading Dock and Flowers

I asked a manager in the store if I could take the photo, he said “yes”.  Always ask when taking photos on someone’s private property.

Lunch at Fleetwood Diner, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Fleetwood Diner was great.  It reminded me so much of the quirkier places I visited when I was single.  I ordered the Hippie Hash with a side of eggs.  Delightful.

And here’s my favorite photo of all, my wife at Fleetwood Diner.

Canonet QL17, GIII, Mt. Pulaski - September 2013, Sina at Fleetwood Diner, v2

Canon QL17 GIII – The Mt. Pulaski Rangefinder

It’s a wonderful rehabbed rangefinder looking for a new home.  I’ve tested it and now I’m selling the Mt. Pulaski Canon on Craigslist.  Thanks for reading my Canon QL17 GIII review on What is a Film Camera today.


Kyocera Samurai Z2 – A One Handed Camera

This is a terrific half-frame camera.  I was shocked when almost all of my photos came out so nicely.  If you have a chance to pick up a Kyocera Samurai Z2, do it.  (Click on any small photo in this blog post to make it larger.)

Kyocera Samurai Z2 Good Features

I almost forgot.  This Samurai’s best feature is that it cost me FIVE DOLLARS.  A recent Samurai Z2 sold on eBay for almost $100.  I purchased my Samurai Z2 on eBay for five dollars.

Samurai Z from Norway

Truly, it’s a one handed camera.  I found myself walking around Portage Park in Chicago, IL, and I was happily holding this camera at my side.  In less than two seconds I could bring it to eye level and take a shot (raise camera, look through viewfinder, depress the shutter button half-way for autofocus, see the green light for in-focus and then depress the shutter fully.  Clunk.  (It makes a pleasant clunk when the photo is taken.)

Very pleasant quiet clunk sound when you depress the red shutter button.

The mode control button was easy to understand.  Press it and read the display for understandable, simple symbols.

The date button was also easy to use.  Just keep pressing until you find a setting that you like.

Taking photos in Chicago’s subway system with ASA 400 speed film I realized the camera has a timed shutter capable of being open for one or two seconds.  I was glad it had that capability but then I realized my photos would have camera “shake”.  I can live with that.  Here’s a photo taken in a Chicago subway as I braced myself against a pillar.

Yashica Samurai Z, Chicago Subway, September 2012

I had to laugh when my wife said:

Are you still shooting that thing?

“Yes dear,” I said.  “It’s a half-frame camera.  48 shots for a roll of 24.”

48 photos for the price of 24?  I like the idea of getting “double my money” in photos.  It must be some frugal German-American tendency.  If Costco develops my half-frame film for the same price as full frames, I’ll be pleased.

Taking photos on a Chicago River bridge in downtown Chicago was fun.  It’s almost like the near limitless photos of a digital camera.  Kind of silly perhaps.  If I want to shoot lots of photos why not just shoot with digital?  Maybe because I’m an analog guy in a digital world.

Kyocera Samurai Z2 Bad Features – Just Bothersome

If you’re left handed you’re out of luck with this camera.  (But other than that, this camera is a “keeper”.)

Also, it’s made for right handed people.  Your thumb curls under the camera, and your 2nd, 3rd, and 4th fingers have a slot where they should rest.  I have average hands for a guy and I already realize I need to consciously hold my 5th (pinky) finger with the other three fingers in the slot.  If you’re not aware, your pinky finger might drift over the lens opening and obscure some shots.

The viewfinder has a diopter slider.  If things are blurry in the viewfinder, move the slider left or right until things looked clear.

I don’t think this camera has a timer delay.  What’s the advantage of having a tripod socket if I can’t use a timer delay?  That’s one of my favorite techniques for night photography:  use a tripod and shutter delay to eliminate camera shake.

Unexpected rewind?  The camera came with 24 exposures of ASA 400 film.  It said #1 when I began shooting exposures.  I was expecting 48 exposures on a 24 exposure roll.  I then popped in an expired roll of 24 exposures and tested the camera.  After 50 exposures it began its automatic rewind.  So the camera is taking half frames.

Kyocera Samurai Z2 Photos – Chicago, IL

Downtown Chicago was beautiful when I took my Samurai photos.

I love this photo of a water taxi next to a big Chicago River excursion boat.Yashica Samurai Z, Water Taxi and Big Boat, Chicago River, September 2012

First National Bank in downtown Chicago is always worth a photo.

Yashica Samurai Z, First National Bank - Chicago, September 2012

This isn’t fancy but it’s Chicago.  It’s the Irving stop on the O’Hare line, next to the Kennedy Expressway.

Yashica Samurai Z, Irving Stop on the Blue Line, September 2012

Also, there was a teacher strike in Chicago last September.

Yashica Samurai Z, Teachers on Strike at Scammon School, September 2012

Kyocera Samurai Z2 Indoor Photos

Here’s a rare photo of my elusive cats:  Molly and Olly, known as the “Mollivers”.

Yashica Samurai Z, The Mollivers, September 2012


And finally, a photo of my church taken indoors, with the flash turned off.

Yashica Samurai Z, Irving Park United Methodist Church, Chicago, September 2012

How much is a Kyocera Samurai Z2 worth?

Don’t buy the Kyocera Samurai Z2 to make money on it (you won’t).  Buy to shoot dazzling photographs easily, the German-American way, half-frame.

Buy on Craigslist, sell on eBay.  That’s normally your best plan for making a profit on buying/selling cameras.  But if you’re interested in just acquiring cameras, both Craigslist and eBay can serve you well.  I honestly recall paying just 5 dollars for this camera on eBay.  Another snipe in the last 3-5 seconds of an eBay auction.

(September 18 update:  Lucky again I guess.  The Samurai Z2 seems rare on eBay.  One sold in July 2013 with 9 bidders for $36.  And it sold as an untested camera.  My $5 Samurai is fully tested and works.)

Quick Summary

Even though I list more negatives than positives, I like the camera after an initial walk in my neighborhood.  Once again, the cameras has a pleasant clunking noise when you depress the shutter.  And, the camera feels solid.

The half frame photos were to me terrific.  Well exposed from Chicago subways downtown Chicago to my backyard.  It seemed like 90% of my Kyocera Samurai Z2 photos were worth keeping.

Thanks for visiting What is a Film Camera today.  If you want a dazzling half-frame camera at a great price, find a 5 dollar Kyocera Samurai Z2.

Photographers Unite: Boycott Walgreens

Yesterday, September 14, 2013, in Des Plaines, IL, I began my Walgreens boycott.

Will Walgreens New Film Development Policy Kill U.S. Photography?

I strolled into the Des Plaines, IL Walgreens on Northwest Highway hoping to get a 35mm roll of film developed in an hour.  I really wanted to see how much Walgreens had jacked up their film development prices since I last visited.

Walgreens Price Increases from 5-8-12 Dollars

Since I began collecting old cameras and shooting them (perhaps 3 years), I began visiting Walgreens regularly to get my film developed and burned to a CD.  Originally it cost 5 dollars and then 6 dollars.

Then I started visiting Costco to develop my film.

I returned to Walgreens to shop and hoped to drop off my film.  The price had jumped to 8 dollars to develop a roll of film and burn to a CD.  But I sometimes found cheap film at $2 a roll.  I kept coming back for film supplies.

Yesterday, visiting the Des Plaines, IL Walgreens store the photo clerk told me it would cost $11.99 to develop film, it would be processed in “days”, and I would receive digital images online.  I asked about getting my negatives and the nice store clerk (he was nice) said I wouldn’t get them.

I began telling the clerk this was an outrageous price increase for a decrease in service.  He looked pleasantly amused.  (A relatively old bald guy was lecturing him on photography and threatening a boycott).  I said:

Don’t take it personally.  This is about you, you don’t make Walgreens policy.  I’ll protest Walgreens on my camera blog and hope that Walgreens changes its film development policies.

8541 Walgreens Stores in U.S. – Just me to Boycott

I’ll take those odds.  As of June 30, 2013, Walgreens has 8541 stores in the U.S.  Walgreens price increases on film development and their most recent price increase with a service decrease (they raised prices 50% and won’t give you your negatives) made my decision:  PUBW (Photographers Unite, Boycott Walgreens).

I Grew up with Walgreens

Before I continue, just let me say I “grew up” with Walgreens.  In my mind it’s always been the top pharmacy/service store to visit.  Yes, it’s roots are firmly grounded in being a pharmacy beginning 1901.  But they rapidly figured out they could sell candy, paper supplies, food, and FILM PROCESSING.

Ask 100 adults over than 40 where they can get film developed in an hour and I bet over 60% of them say Walgreens.

So, dear Walgreens, when you change your camera killing film development policies, I will be glad to return, buy my Good and Plenty boxes of candy, occasional pens and paper supplies, and late night food supplies.

PUBW:  Photographers Unite, Boycott Walgreens

I admit, there are a lot more important things in life than boycotting Walgreens because of their film policies.  I go to church, buy cold water for homeless people on hot, humid Chicago days, write emails to lazy politicians, and I write editorials in newspapers that haven’t been published yet.

I understand if Walgreens is the only place in your town to get a prescription filled.  Then you need to go to Walgreens.  But you can get your prescriptions filled at Costco, Walmart, Osco, and other places.

Anytime Walgreens wants to contact me, I’m an easy guy to find on the Internet.  Just search for my name:  Richard Kraneis.

But for now PUBW:  Photographers Unite, Boycott Walgreens.

If you agree with this post, just comment with the words PUBW.  If you have a status update on Walgreen’s film development policies in your town, please also leave a comment.

Thanks for visiting What is a Film Camera today and leaving a comment.  I respect Walgreens right to conduct their business within the law as they see fit.  But as an amateur photographer, it’s PUBW for me.

9/17/2013:  COSTCO Update on Developing Film in Chicago, IL USA

I visited COSTCO’s Lincoln Park store on N. Clybourn today and was told there was a 2-3 day wait on film processing.  I held my breath, what was the reason?

A belt broke in the film developer machine and they’ve ordered the part.  As soon as they get the new part, they’ll be up and running.  Meanwhile, they were at 30 packets of film to be developed sitting on a shelf.  But, the film manager at this COSTCO loves film and wants to keep the machine going.

I believe that if the COSTCO film developing machine breaks down they will probably end film development at their store, I asked the manager if she could talk to someone about distributed film processing with Clybourn as a hub.  She immediately picked up on the idea and said a “hub and spoke” film developing center was worth considering.

I don’t know if COSTCO will end their film development.  I do know that Walgreens has advertised 1 hour film development services for decades only to quietly turn their backs on all of us who love film.  At least at one COSTCO, the film development manager loves film as much as I do.

Teaching Kids Film Photography

A Camera Walk with Charlie

Two months ago at church camp I talked about photography with some kids at our annual church camp.  Last week a friend from church asked if I could show her 10 year old daughter how to take photos.  Definitely.

Student Camera:  Ricoh KR-5

For practice I loaded some Fuji ASA 200 speed film into a Ricoh KR-5 that I had never tested.  It’s a manually controlled SLR from about 1980 that has an electronic shutter.  I’ve always liked the few Ricoh cameras I have owned and wanted my young photographer friend to test it.  Image below courtesy of Classic Cameras.

My student was testing the Ricoh KR-5 while I was testing an Olympus LT-1 (a pretty camera related to the Olympus Stylus Epic).  That’s my only regret on this walk.  I should have taken two tested cameras that would give us solid results.  Here’s hoping the untested Ricoh KR-5 worked fine.  (I am awaiting my student’s developed photos.  When I have them, I’ll insert a few into this blog post.)

Shooting Film at Portage Park in Chicago, IL

I chose Portage Park at 6 PM on a summer evening for our photography walk.  I estimated 60 minutes or so with the sun setting lower in the horizon would give us some better colors.  As I have learned, mid-day photos are more difficult and yield harsher lighting.

Teaching a 10 Year Old Film Photography

I wonder if I taught my young student or if she taught me.

Charlie had taken a film course with disposable cameras at some school but I thought I would give her my discussion on cameras.  Driving to Portage Park I talked to her in the car about types of film, aperture, and shutter speed.  I taught how we squint when it’s bright outside (small aperture) and we open our eyes wide in the dark (wide aperture, slow shutter speed).  My student listened politely.  Finally I said, we’ll just practice at the park.

My Camera Stroll with a 10 Year Old

We began from the SE corner of Portage Park (Chicago, IL).  By Chicago standards, the park is one square mile of nicely maintained amenities (baseball fields, huge swimming pool, gardens, and field house).  We discussed what direction to take for our walk.  We chose to walk NW onto the path directly into the park.  Good choice (more photo opportunities, no car traffic).

The First Photo – A Park Bench

I started my student with photographing a park bench.  We sat in the grass (to be steady and out of the way of pedestrians).  I taught her how to hold this camera, how to focus, how to use the aperture/shutter speed so that the light meter worked correctly.

She took her first photo with the Ricoh camera.

My Student Wanted to Photograph the Gardens

Charlie did exactly as my wife and I had done on a previous camera stroll.  There are gardens along Irving Avenue in Portage Park.  She took her 2nd photo near the entrance of the garden.

Ricoh KR-5, Portage Park Garden Entrance

I’m sure I mentioned focus, aperture, and shutter speed again to my student.

Third Photo – A Young Couple Sitting on a Park Bench

I saw two young people sitting on a bench on the edge of the garden.  I purposely thought this would be a great time to show Charlie how to engage people and ask them for a photo (I learned this from my Dad 5 decades ago, Nevada Wier the world-class photographer taught it to me for cameras last year.  Thanks Dad, thanks Nevada.)

Lukas and Anna were sitting on a bench.  Lukas had a Minolta SRT-102 camera with him.  Both Lukas and Anna were very kind in letting my student take their photograph.  I chatted for a minute or so while my student became comfortable standing in front of the young couple and took a photo or two.

Ricoh KR-5, Charlie - August 2013 - Portage Park - 3rd Photo, Lukas and Anna

My 10-year-old student took the photo, we said thank you to Lukas and Anna, and we continued our photographic stroll.

As we walked away from the couple, I reminded my student that since she’s a youngster, she should only ask for a stranger’s photo when accompanied by her parents (or perhaps me).  I don’t advise we encourage children to take photos of strangers without a parent or trusted adult.

A Child’s Photographic Advice:  “I Do 1-2-3”

Charlie simplified my focusing, aperture, and shutter speed advice into something incredibly simple.  After listening to my talk about aperture, shutter, and focus for perhaps the 3rd time she said.

I just do 1-2-3.  Focus, aperture, shutter speed.

Working from the outside to the inside, she chose to focus the camera first, set the aperture second, and then set the shutter speed if needed.  She didn’t mention the light meter, that was already part of her thinking.  Here’s a dazzling close-up photo of a wild flower in the Portage Park garden.  Give Charlie credit for seeing the beauty of this flower, perfect focus, and a great close-up macro lens on this Ricoh KR-5.  You wish your nature photos were this good.

Ricoh KR-5, Charlie - August 2013 - Portage Park, Wildflower

As I said, the student did some teaching on this photography walk.

Camera Shake and Taking a Better Stance

The Ricoh KR-5 is solid and perhaps a bit too heavy for a 10-year-old.  I saw my young friend swaying as she took a photo and I encouraged her to take a better stance when taking photographs.  Notice how she has a balanced stance while her left hand supports the camera and her right hand works the aperture settings.  She’s a natural photographer.

Olympus LT-1, August 2013, Charlie 4

The Student Preferred Nature, I Prefer People

Charlie likes photographing nature scenes.  But we kept walking through the park and I encouraged her to take photos of some boys in football uniforms.  I just wanted her to seek out photographic variety.

Ricoh KR-5 Charlie - August 2013 - Portage Park Tiny Football Players - Pixlr

Teach Kids to Engage and Ask for a Photograph

By the dog park, my student beat me to it.  She walked up to a lady with a big bulldog and asked to take her photo.  The lady smiled and said, “Yes.”

(Again, special thanks to my Dad for teaching me how to talk to strangers 50 years ago watching soccer players in Chicago’s Winnemac Park.  And thanks to Nevada Wier the photographer for teaching me how to photograph people in a straightforward manner with a few kind words and a smile.)

The student sat down on the sidewalk and took a close-up of a bulldog from 3 feet.  When’s the last time you sat 3 feet in front of a strange bulldog and took a photo?  I found myself wondering how good this young lady might become at photography.

Ricoh KR-5, Charlie - August 2013 - Portage Park, Bulldog

Summary – Teaching a Child Film Photography

Keep it simple as 1-2-3 (focus, aperture, and shutter).  Teach how to photograph nature, sports, and above all, people.

And if you’re very lucky, the student photographer will teach the teacher something about photography and photographic courage.  Teach a child photography today.  Thanks to Charlie and her parents for permission to publish her photos in this blog and on Flickr.

Finding Garage Sale Cameras in Park Ridge, IL

Once a year Park Ridge, IL has a city-wide garage sale of perhaps 100 homes (plus unlisted sales).

Park Ridge Garage Sale Map 2013

20 Garage Sales – 3 Cameras

In visiting about 20 garage sales I found just 3 cameras:

  1. Dirty 90’s Minolta – The owner went inside and brought a mostly plastic Minolta from the late 80’s or early 90’s.  It had a nice big fingerprint and possible scratching on its zoom lens.  I politely said “no thank you”.
  2. Clean Polaroid SX-70 – It was very clean, but I told the owner I still don’t collect Polaroids.  But it didn’t hurt to ask and we had a nice conversation.
  3. Rock Solid GAF L-ES/2 – This was worth 2 hours of driving around Park Ridge, IL with my friend Tom.

GAF L-ES/2 Sitting in the Garage

“Do you have any film cameras in the house?”, I asked.

Yes, just a moment.  My husband used this camera before we were married and doesn’t use it anymore.

Let that be a lesson to you husbands (or wives) out there, if you want to keep your camera, keep it in the house.  If your camera is stored in the garage, it’s almost gone to a collector like me.

The wife had absolutely no attachment to this camera.  I wonder what her husband said when he came home and his wife said she had sold it.

My 2nd GAF L-ES Camera

The camera in the case with shoulder strap was a GAF L-ES/2 .  It’s not a great camera but it’s a camera I know well.  I already own a GAF L-ES and it’s wonderful.  Here’s my GAF L-ES review.

The GAF L-ES/2 originally was known as the Chinon CE II Memotron.  It’s a quirky name I’ll admit.  You’ve probably heard of the shutter priority Canon AE-1 of the same period.  The GAF L-ES/2 was a minor competitor of the Canon camera.  I think I prefer the GAF camera myself.

The photo of a GAF L-ES/2 below is courtesy of MFlenses.

So why should I buy another GAF?

The Park Ridge GAF L-ES/2 came with its own case, shoulder strap, 1.4 55mm lens, and an 80-200 zoom lens.  I tested the light meter and it was still working.  Amazing.

I knew the GAF L-ES series of cameras were aperture preferred cameras for M42 lens that needed a working battery for the electronic shutter to work.  And this camera was working.  Again, hurray.

Bargaining for a Camera

If you need a camera and desperately want it, it shows.  I already owned a GAF L-ES, knew the camera I was holding was in good shape, but didn’t need to buy the camera.

I normally buy my cameras at 1/3 to 1/2 of eBay prices, normally 1/3.  My friend Tom was with me watching my every move.  I thought $10 was too insulting, I was willing to pay $20 for it.  That would be my maximum.

The wife wouldn’t make me an offer, I asked her 3 times.

I offered $15 for the camera and its 2 lenses and just waited.  Silence is golden.

She thought a moment and said “yes”.  If she had countered I would have gone to $20, but she never countered.

 20 Garage Sales, 3 Cameras, 1 Purchase

That sounds about right.  In retrospect I should have offered something on the Polaroid SX-70 with leather casing.  It’s sold for $60-$80 on eBay.

But as it stands, I have a nice GAF L-ES/2 to test and to probably sell on eBay.  Thanks for visiting What is a Film Camera today.

Canon Demi – A Stylish Half Frame Camera

She’s 50 years old and as pretty as the day she was made.  Here’s hoping she photographs as good as she looks.

Love at First Sight for the Canon Demi EE 28

When did I first see a Canon Demi?  I think it was in one of my camera collector books.

Plus, I’ve been thinking of a Petri Racer with its clean lines.

Then I saw what I thought was an under priced Canon Demi on an eBay auction from a Maine Goodwill store.  I kept my eyes on it.

Canon Demi 35mm Film Camera

This eBay advertisement stood out for a number of reasons.

  1. Pretty camera, nice photos.  The camera looked clean and the additional photos (not shown) proved it.
  2. Shutter “flies”.  It’s an odd way to say it, but they’re saying the shutter at least works.  Many cameras have “oil” on their lens which means the shutter freezes in mid-action which means you cannot rewind the camera.
  3. Inexpensive shipping.  $10.29 was a reasonable ship fee.  I’ve seen eBay sellers with $20 ship fees for $10 cameras (no thanks).
  4. Money back guarantee?  Amazing.
  5. Half-frame camera.  I like getting twice as many photos for the same price.  It’s just the German-American in me.

eBay Sniping with 3 Seconds Left

It’s a fun game.  Find a camera on eBay that has one bidder or no bidder at all.  Decide on your maximum price and make your bid.  If you win, you’re delighted.  If you lose, it’s OK.  Someone beat your max price.

Do You Like Half Frame Cameras?

A half frame 35mm camera gives you twice as many photos as normal.  If you have 24 exposures on your film, you get 48 exposures.  It’s kind of like a digital camera before there were digital cameras:  inexpensive photography.

Technical Specs

If you’d like the technical specs on this camera, visit Sub Club’s article on Canon Demi Half Frame cameras.  They do nice work, visit to learn about the Canon Demi cameras.

First Impressions on my Canon Demi EE 28

She’s a cutie.

She’s pretty, looks good, and will fit in my pocket.  The light meter on the top of the camera responds to light and then I adjust the aperture/shutter to bring it into alignment with the suggested setting.  Sadly, I can’t use the camera with independent aperture and shutter settings, they are married together.

The shutter does go from slow to high (1/30th to 1/250th) and the aperture does change in size from tiny to large.  So that’s good.

The inside of the camera looks OK, the seals seem alright.  I purchased the camera for $9.95 plus $9.95 shipping so I’ll just test it with expired film and hope for the best.

There was one tiny dent on the camera but it’s so small I can live with it.  It’s a slipper devil outside of its case, so I attached a strange hand strap from my Konica C35 EF.  It fits perfectly.

The viewfinder is a little yellowish but I can live with that bit of aging.  If you’re a 50 year old Canon camera you might have a bit of yellow in your viewfinder also.

Chicago, Naperville, and Central Illinois

I loaded the camera with some Fuji ASA 200 film.  Took a bunch of photos in Chicago, then on The Farm, and then at a Naperville block party.  I’ll finish on the farm, nice photos.

Chicago Photos – Canon Demi EE 2.8

There are hardly any from Chicago.  10 exposures (20 shots) were not developed by Costco.  Either the camera malfunctioned, I malfunctioned, or Costco had a bad day.  Take your pick.  Here are a few photos.

The exposure was fine on these two photos in one frame.  But I’m not happy with the zone focusing.  In both photos, I was focusing on the foreground object of a plant and some flowers.  They look blurry.

Canon Demi EE 28, August 2013, Chicago, Zone Focus Problem

This indoor photo without flash in my dark front room came out nicely.  This camera does well in low light, not so well on a bright day, decent with medium brightness.

Canon Demi EE 28, August 2013, Chicago, Paul's Remembrance

Naperville, IL Block Party – Canon Demi EE 2.8

It was mid-afternoon and most of the photos were over exposed.  The selenium meter that does automatic aperture/shutter metering apparently didn’t like a sunny block party in Naperville.  Here are a few photos.  The corn bag game seems out of focus (zone focusing) but the father-daughter pictures is focused well, perhaps over exposed. Canon Demi EE 28, August 2013, Naperville Block Party

Down on the Farm – Canon Demi EE 2.8

When I visit my in-law’s farm in central Illinois the photos always seem to come out nicely.  First I’ll show you a bad double-photo (remember, this is a half-frame camera) and how I used Pixlr to make it a good photo.

Canon Demi EE 28, August 2013,  central Illinois, Too Much Light, Overexposed

Magically, using Pixlr, I salvaged the photo of the cornfield.

Canon Demi EE 28, August 2013, Corn and Soybeans


There were some very nice photos on the farm, here are a few more.

Canon Demi EE 28, August 2013, Mindy's Tree at SunriseCanon Demi EE 28, August 2013, Morning Light on the Farm

Summary – Canon Demi EE 2.8 Test Roll

All in all I am pleased, but there some problems.

Canon Demi Processing Problem?  Only 14 Exposures out of 24

I should have 48 half frame photos.  That means 24 photos of side-by-side half frame photos.  Why did Costco only give me 14 exposures out of 24?  I’m not blaming Costco.  I just don’t know what happened to almost half of my photos.

Canon Demi Light Meter Problems

The Canon Demi did very well with exposures in the shade.  The selenium metering had trouble doing photos in direct sunlight.  Here’s a good example of a good exposure at daybreak and trouble at mid-day with an exposure.  Notice, it’s a side-by-side half frame exposure.

Canon Demi EE 28, August 2013, Light Meter Problems

Purchase a Canon Demi EE 28

You bet buy one.  It’s pretty and it’s a fun camera.  Too bad I couldn’t have purchased it 50 years ago when it was new.  But I had a lot of fun with this $10 special from Maine Goodwill on eBay.  Thanks for visiting my Canon Demi EE 2.8 review on What is a Film Camera today.

Konica C35 EF Review

Konica C35 EF – Happy Little Camera

The Konica C35 EF is a happy little zone focus camera from 1975.

When I first purchased this camera at the best camera deal ever I thought I had finally found the elusive Konica C35 AF from 1977.  That would have been the first auto focus camera, ever.

But what I had purchased for approximately one dollar (46 pounds of cameras for $100) was the Konica C35 EF zone focus camera.  Well, it was the first automatic 35mm camera with built in flash.  So I decided to give a test roll of expired B/W ASA 400 film on an untested camera, a double roll of the dice.  This time, the dice rolled in my favor.

Initial Thoughts on the Konica C35 EF

I don’t think I like zone focus cameras.  I like to know a camera is “really” in focus when I shoot.  And to see a focused image through the viewfinder.

If you turn on the flash and then don’t use it, I worry that there’s no way to discharge the camera.  The orange “flash” light keeps on burning and I couldn’t find a way to turn it off.  I took another flash photo and turned off the flash quickly.

The automatic exposure works within normal ranges of light but if it’s too dark it still lets you take a photo.  I prefer my other cameras that prevent you from taking an underexposed photo with shutter lock.

On a bright note, the owner said her Mom took some very nice photos with it, hope so.

It wasn’t that pleasurable a shooter for me.  I prefer my Son of Canonet or Mamiya 135 just on how it feels.  But perhaps this Konica C35 EF will surprise me with its results.  Hope so.

Konica C35 EF First Roll – Expired Film

My first impression is that many of the photos seem under exposed with the automatic light metering.  A few frames developed well with correct exposure.  I wonder if I didn’t shoot the photos properly.

But in this little Konica C35’s defense, I would have to admit that I used expired black/white film that’s perhaps 10 years old and has been through heat and cold.

But I think these were nice photos.  Let’s take a look at my black/white roll of shots from this little Konica.

I think another problem is that I’m using probably decade old film, so what did I expect.

Tight Ladies Pants on North Milwaukee Avenue

I live in Chicago, IL USA just off a major street named North Milwaukee Avenue.  It runs north and west through the heart of Chicago.  One afternoon driving on North Milwaukee just south of Diversey I saw different stores with dozens of half mannequins wearing tight women’s pants.  I just had to take a photo.

Konica C35 EF, June 2013 - Tight Ladies Pants on N. Milwaukee

After posting these North Milwaukee photos to my Flickr account, three of my friends said they remembered these mannequins and even knew the intersection where to find them.

Here’s another photo with shoppers looking at the mannequins.  You need to look twice, the shoppers are rather short.

Konica C35 EF, June 2013 - Tight Ladies Pants and Shoppers

Konica C35 EF Photos from my Back Porch

My friends are kind enough to let me take photos of them whenever they visit our home for dinner.  My wife or friend Michael probably took this photo.  Perhaps turning on the flash would have illuminated both our faces but then the entire image would be a whole lot different.

Konica C35 EF, June 2013 - Two Friends on Back Porch

I knew the tiny Konica C35 EF couldn’t do this photo without turning on the flash.  My wife took the photo.  Well, at least I’m smiling.

Konica C35 EF, June 2013 - Smiling Richard on Front Porch

My wife is amazing, that’s all I can say.  She always has a smile for me when I “test” my cameras.

Konica C35 EF, June 2013 - Smiling Wife

My Favorite C35 EF Photo

I think this photo from my back deck overlooking the alley onto some clouds is my favorite photo from this roll.  The power lines and telephone lines near the bottom of the photo just remind me that I live in Chicago, IL USA.

Konica C35 EF, June 2013 - Chicago Clouds and Power Lines

Final Thoughts on my Konica C35 EF

Initially I thought the photos were underexposed.  But maybe it’s just because I’m not accustomed to shooting with black and white film.

Also, this entire roll was shot with ASA 400 B/W film purchased 3 years ago at a yard sale.  The film is easily a decade old and was never stored properly in a refrigerator.  So my photos with an untested camera and expired film came out decently.

This camera cost me less than two dollars.  For a two dollar camera, it performed admirably.  Thanks for reading my Konica C35 EF review today on What is a Film Camera.




Who Owned My Camera?

My wife has encouraged me to write shorter blog posts…  This one’s for you honey.

Bob’s Cameras and Lenses

Recently I had my best camera sale ever where I purchased a large box of cameras and lenses for $100 from a lady named Barb.

Her dad purchased those cameras and his name was Bob.

High School Dropout Success Story

Bob never graduated from high school but he did find a factory job with a large war-time manufacturer during WWII in Chicago, IL USA.

Bob never went to war.  He invented some new device or procedure at the war-time plant that saved time or improved quality.  Most likely he found a way to improve quality on products manufactured by the U.S. for World War II.

Bob’s service was so valuable in the factory that the company asked for a war-time deferment for him.  Bob never went to war during World War II.  He was too valuable making products that supported our men and women during that war.

Bob’s Rise from Factory Line to Company Photographer

According to Barb, her father began helping the company photographer with high speed industrial photos that helped identify quality control problems.  If you photograph a high speed production process you can see how that process sometimes malfunctions and quality declines.

Sound boring?  It isn’t.  This company during post WWII appreciated Bob’s quality control efforts.

The company photographer retires and Bob becomes the company photographer.  He became a commercial photographer in manufacturing.

Bob the Sports Photographer

Now Barb’s story to me on a hot June day in 2013 on her front porch makes sense.

Her father started photographing the girl’s gymnastic team in high school during workouts and competitions.  The girl’s would say:

Oh no.  It’s Mr. B… with his camera.  More photos showing our mistakes.

The girl’s knew Bob would catch them with a high speed photograph showing their gymnastic mistakes during practice or competition.

Bob was a Quality Control Photographer

It sounds quirky, but Bob’s photographic career spanned decades and revolved around quality improvement, in the factory or with young gymnasts.  It makes sense.

Bob’s Cameras are Now Mine

So that’s how Bob’s cameras became mine.  Thanks for reading “Who owned my camera?”.  Leave a comment if you have time.

Nikon FE – Silky Smooth SLR

Favorite SLR – The Nikon FE

This may be my absolute favorite SLR camera.  I enjoy my Minolta SRT 100 and the Canon FTb is rock solid.  But as soon as I took some photos with the Nikon FE, I actually felt like I was a photographer with a real tool in my hands.  It balances well in my hands and the shutter release felt both silky smooth and dependable (if that’s possible).

There’s Another Nikon in the Box

As I sat on a sunny, front porch in the Forest Glen neighborhood in Chicago, Lennie kept saying:

There’s another Nikon in the box, another Nikon.

Since Nikon is on the front of the camera and the tiny letters FE are on the back of the camera, I guess it wasn’t obvious that I was purchasing a Nikon along with 10 other cameras and lenses that bright summer day in 2013.  It was my best camera deal ever.  But my surprise Nikon FE may be the best camera among my 42 pounds of cameras for $100.

Basketball Court Photos

This June day Kilbourn Park’s basketball court was full of players.  I think there were 4 games going on (one full court, two half court games).  Schurz High School had just ended and all the students were gravitating to the park.  There must have been over 25 people on the court with another 25 teenagers on the edge of the court watching.

I walked up to a corner of the basketball court, sat down, and readied myself for a fast break photo under the hoop.  Using ASA 400 speed film, I set the aperture to about F/8 and focused on the basketball rim.  I set the shutter speed to about 1/125.  My theory was even if the focus was a bit off, the F/8 aperture would be forgiving.  I remember purposely using portrait (vertical) in various photos.  I wanted to make sure I had the players and the hoop.

Graceful Basketball Layup

This player stood out from the rest.  He’d still the ball, race down the court, and enter my camera frame.  Click.

Graceful Basketball Layup

Graceful Basketball Layup

Quick Layup Under the Basketball Hoop

This player was quick to rebound and quick to score.

Nikon FE, June 2013, Basketball at Kilbourn Park, Quick Layup

Wesley Woods, Lake Geneva

Every year my wife and I travel to a church camp for a little fellowship, food, and some photos.  I normally bring along one of my cameras.  This year I brought along the Nikon FE.

Wesley Woods on Lake Geneva

This is what it looks like.  Trees, a pier, tiny beach, and a lot of Lake Geneva.

Nikon FE, June 2013, Wesley Woods

Nikon FE Exposure Problem

I still don’t know if this is a Nikon FE exposure problem.  Perhaps if I had bracketed the photo with different apertures it would have been better.

Nikon FE, June 2013, Wesley Woods Pier, Exposure Problem

Love my Nikon FE

I can’t think of any other SLR in my collection I’d rather have for a shoot than my Nikon FE.  And recently, I learned that it takes great night photos.  You can be sure I’ll take the Nikon FE for a Chicago night stroll in the near future.  Thanks for reading my Nikon FE review today on What is a Film Camera.