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Tuesday, 10 March 2020


Canon EOS3 with eye controlled Auto Focus was very good. Some it worked well for, others not so much. Either way it was a very good camera. if you were one the Eye Controlled Auto Focus worked for (like Art Wolfe) you had a fast focus camera and all those excellent lenses.

So, what do you still need, to remove all mechanical barriers. And, will you be setting up some sort of temporary darkroom?

Good luck with the project Mike but as a longtime visitor here my money says you've bitten off more than most people can chew, I hope you prove me wrong.

I run a lab here in Maine called Northeast Photographic. Glad to see you're giving film a try again. In my personal photography and my experience with my clients, photography isn't zero sum-best IQ wins. Cameras are fun, film is fun, editing photos on your phone is less so. Editing photos on your computer is further still less fun, especially if your day job is computer based.

Use that LX. I had mine serviced by 'the guy' here in the US, and have managed to acquire all three amigos of Limited FA lenses. This has cured me of any fancy Leica lust. But I would say I'm having the most fun shooting large format, and scanning with a Panasonic S1R in pixel shift mode, or printing in my darkroom with a Heiland LED cold light and an RH Analyser Pro. I got my 8x10 and 5x7 cameras new, my LED head new (for an LPL 4550XL very much not new), my CPP3 new, and my Analyser new. My point being that film as they say, is not dead. (I process paper in a Nova 3 slot which I got 2nd hand, but you can buy a new Optima12 right now from the same folks!).

Between all this and Ektachrome, good time to stop using film emulations.

No Canons? Ah, I'd forgotten - you're not fond of them..... But there are a lot of older Canons, from various eras, that would be perfectly good. (After all, they did sell a lot of them...) If you want to stay with manual focus, just off the top of my head there would be the T90, surely a landmark camera; or something from the A1 era - there were a lot of AE-1 Program cameras sold - or going further back, how about an FTQL?

Of course, if you want to come further forward into the AF world, how about the early EOS cameras? Best of all, the lenses are still current, so there's no problem finding a s/hand lens. You can wonder at the awesome AF speed of the EOS 650 - well, it seemed fast in 1987!

Well good luck with that, Mike.

My own current waste-of-time-and-money project is to strap the soon-to-be-released Hasselblad CFV II 50C back onto my lovely old 503CX and shoot like it's 1988 again! It's pretty ridiculous, actually, especially since I have the same sensor is a much better camera system. (shrug)

I know this isn't really relevant, but I've long thought that the 6008 is one of the most beautiful cameras ever made.

Ooh, that OM2-n still looks really nice and small. Coupled with that range of similarly sized small Zuiko primes 24mm f2.8, --> 85mm f2 all with 49mm filter thread..... luvverly...

So is this all an excuse to go SLR shopping? :~)
And what about lenses?

"...several people have bet that I'll never get it done, which is quite possible, so "don't hold your breath or you'll turn blue.""

Cough - Bakers Dozen: In The Museum
It'll be a year next month.

We had a steampunk convention here(Tucson) a few days ago and I was prepared to use color film at the outdoor venue. But at the last minute got cold feet and chose a digital set up. Still, the mixing of film and digital is proving to be fun and a way to keep from getting bored with one or the other.

Is that the 60mm Makro-Planar on the RTS?

[Yes. I had that one too, in the much-depleted camera closet. Can't recall why or when I bought it. --Mike]

It looks like a fun project, Mike!

FWIW I have a Nikon 8008s that I know still works if you want to use it. 🙂

How about an SRT-201 or an XG-7? Both great film cameras...

Mike, I am perplexed. When I learned via some earlier posts that you have a Contax RTS II and a Rollei 6008 system, I wonder, why you want any other cameras for 135 and 120? You can do almost any photography with these. Just load film and get started on your project. The 6008 is fantastic! (OK, it's a bit big and heavy....)

Too many cameras! Pick one of those and put the others away. Far away. It will be fine.

I am going to enjoy this. I have a good selection of M42 and Pentax K-mount lenses, and there is a guide to Rollei-6000 series gear on my bookshelf.
I have used Zeiss lens on Contaflex and Contarex bodies, but never on Contax SLRs. I am eager to follow your upcoming experience with the OM lenses too.

I shoot two or three rolls of 135 film a week here in Phoenix (color and b&w), and some 120. I record everything which pleases my eye or looks like it may not last much longer: billionaire mansions, 19th century barrios, and people when I can find them on the streets, my "Phoenix Pompei Project." I hope the negatives will survive into a future which will not know what to do with data on SD cards.

My favorite lenses so far are the Hexanon 50mm f1.7, and the Pentax-M Macro 50mm f4. Tomorrow I am expected delivery of a Pentax-A Zoom 35-105mm f3.5 -- it has a dented filter thread which I can fix with a special tool.

I am so happy to have you back in our club!

Back in the 80s when money first became “kimg” I worked for a while in hospitals in Saudi Arabia. I thought it was about money but I really enjoyed the work there. I also learned lessons .... crazy ones I know. I had used a Spotmatic followed by a little MESuper .
A photographer friend dissuaded me from the LX saying “ get a Nikon F3 ...you can afford it. Its what all the pros are using ...etc” . Well I did. It was clearly a great camera. Somehow though I missed so much about Pentax. On return to England I went into LCE store and couldnt resist trying the Pentax LX. Well it may have been a lesser camera for many but it just seemed SO right for me. The F3 sold well and I returned to the Pentax fold for another ... right through 1st DS, K200, K5.

I still have the K5 but the K1 was too brutish for me. It is clearly like an F3 built for pros ...not for me. So with sadness but much pleasure I jumped ship again this time to Fuji ... X100 ...X100 F and an XT1. This time with pleasure.

Ah but the LX1 .... that was and still is a thing of besuty .... and somehow these numbers keep ringing in my head ....31 .....43 .....77. I think you will love it.

Soooo.....my question is...how much can you possibly learn shooting just one roll with all of these cameras? I know that you have shot with a jillion cameras in your long career as a photographer, editor, and reviewer, but you have long advocated the view that you cannot possibly come to grips with a camera in such a short time--and I agree with you. So, what's up with this?

Too much gear talk. Go shoot and share the nice results.

Dude! That’s a nice bandolier of cameras to work with. I (sadly?) found an eight element super Takumar and bought it. Of course, I didn’t have a body to put it on. I splurged on a newer Bessaflex. Gotta say that I am pretty excited.

For those who shot B/W or color negative film (as most did), those old 135 format film cameras exhibited few important distinctions. But for those committed to ’chrome film (like me, for ~ 60 years), there were some very vital distinctions that came about in the early 1980s, chiefly with the release of the Nikon F3 body (late 1979). The typical 60/40 averaging light meters of that time were poorly suited to managing ’chrome exposure, but the F3 metering offered significant advantage. Indeed, the 80/20 weighted metering of the F3 was effectively the first "in body" meter to provide pseudo spot capability, and that asset materially improved my ability to control and manage my ’chrome exposures. The subsequent F4 of 1989 then offered true spot capability, as did most of the other 135 bodies by that time. Metering advantages, plus frame advance rate and AF accuracy, defined what mattered most if you shot ’chrome film. Most of the film era competitors found it tough to keep pace with Nikon and Canon; some simply stopped trying.

Bryan Geyer

Might I suggest for something seriously fun, high-quality, and different to your current bevy of SLRs - one of the high-quality AF compacts from the 90s.

Something like the Olympus mju-II (or Stylus Epic, as it's also known).

I wish you success and look forward to seeing your updates on this. And if I may, I'd like to make a suggestion to encourage your success. Don't tie this project to any darkroom work. Don't even develop your film. Send it away and have it developed and scanned. (MPIX is a good lab but they only do C41. So, XP2 Super? You probably wouldn't mind that.) If you try to do your own lab work, I think that would take your focus away. Just enjoy shooting. (Sorry, the unintentional pun could not be avoided.)

Spring is coming, and your eye is sharp now. You got this Mike. I look forward to reading how much fun you had shooting those 20 rolls.

The Yashica Mat 124G is a nice Rolleiflex copy, a fine camera. But you must develope the film and print in your own darkroom!

Be happy to provide a Nikon F100 for the duration if it fits the bill.

LX is a fantastic camera. I still have mine back at home. I have a special wood grip on her. She looks like a baby 6x7…

Honestly. Pick one and stick with it. Each of those is sufficiently different to drive anyone swapping between them nuts - just for staters you’ve got three different shutter speed dial locations, two aperture locations and lenses which focus and mount in different directions!

When I have film urges, I look for something that no digital currently offers -- extreme wide ratio, e.g. the X-Pan. I like the challenge of finding a story which develops across that wide frame. Two of my permanently posted pics around the house are scanned from X-Pan negatives. I understand that Koudelka has a Leica S with a stripped down sensor to do this, but that's above my pay grade. And I like Carl Weese's 10x17 Korona work, but that's above my skill level. So the X-Pan rules!

Mike, here is a gallery on Flickr that I have been admiring. Please read the description below this particular image. Seems appropriate..


Good luck with this fun project. There are more cameras I want to try than I'll ever have time and money for. I was just recently given something that had been completely off my radar, a Yashica FX-3 Super.

It gave me back the sort of full manual control I lost when I stupidly sold a Canon FTb Ql back in the '90s. But perhaps more importantly I now have a sense of what Pentax M and Olympus OM owners enjoy regarding smaller size and weight.

Back in the '90s a used Elan II was the first camera I really enjoyed handling and using. For me, it still possesses a remarkable balance of sophistication and simplicity, even if it must err on the side of a certain anodyne experience. I just replaced the film door latch on it, as all owners eventually must do.

An Elan 7e joined it last year. These are more reliable than the Elan II and yes the eye focus essentially works, even though the 7 lost some soul of the earlier model. Makes no sense; maybe I just prefer the silver color on the earlier model more. I keep these (and just bought a mint 50D) to share some lenses between both worlds.

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