Happy New Year 2019!

I know I’m like six days late on this but HAPPY NEW YEAR 2019! 😊😘

I’m working on some new projects for you all but at a loss as for where to begin!

Would you like to see something on the venerable Contax T? Even though I mentioned why the T2 is not a good buy these days, its predecessor the T is still one of my favorite shooters going back to 1996 or 1997 when I got my first copy.

Would you like an article or YouTube video on the Lomography ‘Instant Wide camera?

What happens to me is when I’m flustered by many different things, I just say f*** it and do nothing πŸ˜€

Part of the reason for the lack of postings here is I’ve been prioritizing building up the YouTube channel. I don’t have a lot of subscribers but the views are decent and the subscribers who are there are quite dedicated and so I’m thankful and grateful for that. But I do realize the “meat” of it all belongs on these pages.

Ah I’ll get it together this year! Could things get better? Sure they always could! Will things get better? As our commitment-phobic Trumpster might say “We’ll see!” 😊

I realize I say that every year! I must really be OCD! Happy Sunday camera lovers and have an awesome New Year good peeps! πŸ˜ŽπŸ“·πŸ˜˜

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Five Reasons Why You DON’T Need The CONTAX T2…Though You May Want It! πŸ˜€

The CONTAX T2 is one of the most famous cameras in the world, maybe more today than in its heyday in the 1990s.

It is arguably one of the greatest point and shoot cameras of all time. Heck, even I asked in my 2016 review of this camera “Is It The Greatest Point And Shoot camera of all time?”

Today I want to offer a counterpoint so you might consider this an addendum to our original review. My admiration for this little gem of a camera hasn’t changed but due to recent and dramatic increases in price things should be seen in that context.

The T2 has, if anything, become more popular, desired, and expensive on the used market since the last time I wrote about it here. Prices are reaching what I consider ridiculous levels!

The T2 is a great camera, no doubt. But just like a rock star who passes away, its reputation only gets bigger with age and mythology begins to cloud reality.

As part of my “community service” to my fellow camera lovers, I have decided to buck the trend in this article. Instead of continually glorifying a camera that doesn’t need any more glorifying, I’m going to give you FIVE REASONS why you DON’T need a CONTAX T2!

It might seem hypocritical that someone who owns the T2 is writing this but it actually makes more sense that you should hear this from someone who owns and uses the T2 don’t you think? 😊

WHY HAVE THE PRICES GONE NUTS ON THE T2?!

The CONTAX T2 prices are trending as of today at $700-1200 USD more or less, depending on model, condition, package, etc, etc. In comparison, when our review came out in the fall of 2016, it was around $500.

And in comparison to that, I picked up my current T2 in 2013 for around $300. Can’t remember exactly, but it was the low $300’s.

“Nice!” 2018. CONTAX T2, Kodak Gold 200. We can all agree that the CONTAX T2 is awesomely “nice” but at today’s prices, do you actually need it? πŸ™‚

The CONTAX T2 was already popular and “hip” for years with camera lovers and hipsters alike. It’s been said that the recent upsurge in prices of the past couple of years is perhaps due to celebrities like Kendall Jenner and Chris Hemsworth using and flaunting their possession of the T2 on social media.

Hemsworth has apparently declared he had gone “total hipster” with the T2 and shooting film.

I can’t blame the celebrities for wanting to shoot the T2. Don’t we all? And the more film shooters, the better it is for all of us who want to keep film alive.

However, the T2 was hip and cool long before Jenner or Helmsworth picked it up! In fact, it’s very likely that they picked up the T2Β becauseΒ they knew how cool, hip, and iconic it has become. And their social media presence may have caused a spike in interest in this camera and film photography. Not necessarily a bad thing.

What we didn’t need was a spike in prices because celebrities are shooting it! Come on now, really? Why is it that this society worships celebrities so much?

I also think it’s the crazy collectors stockpiling on this camera that’s raising its prices as well. And of course, the shysters on eBay trying to take advantage of the situation.

In any event, the prices on this camera are getting to the point where I don’t think it’s such a good value any more. Don’t forget, one of the main things I touted as a positive in my 2016 review was the fact that it was much easier to find and MUCH cheaper than the T3. But now it is approaching T3 prices, and that’s in only two years!!

YOUTUBE VIDEO

In my longest (15 minutes!) and most candid video yet, I talk about why you really DON’T need the CONTAX T2…though you may want one! πŸ™‚

There’s a lot of information in the video that did not make it here. I like the use of captions to help my viewers scan through parts if they need to, I know no one has 15 minutes to look at the whole video! πŸ™‚

I also offer a few good alternatives for your money and there’s actually many more alternatives that could’ve been talked about but no one has that much time to put in the video and YouTube has a time limit!

Frankly, if you listen to the reasons, it’s all pretty much matter of fact, common sense. No one really NEEDS the T2, not even I! We just want it! πŸ™‚

PERSONAL NOTE

I know there are a lot of “Crazy Passionate” people, as I always say, to whom anything sounding remotely negative will set them off so as a warning, I do say some things in this article (and related video) that might sound negative but understand this…

The things I am writing and saying are from a person who has used CONTAX and Yashica since the 1990s. I’ve used all the cameras in the T Series and currently still use a T2 and T3 for my personal family pictures. Needless to say I LOVE the CONTAX brand!

But that doesn’t mean these cameras can do no wrong. And I have no vested interest in selling cameras or anything so I’m just telling it as I see it. It’s just my own experience with these cameras, your experience may vary! And of course, it’s just my opinion and as an unnamed actor once said to me about himself “I ain’t nobody!” Ah, a lesson in humility that I’ve never forgotten πŸ™‚

So without further ado…

Reason #5: Everybody & Their Mother Wants The T2!

Since it seems everybody and their mother wants the T2, what could be more unhip and uncool than doing what everybody else is doing? πŸ˜€

Get yourself a cheap, lesser known camera and make it famous! Now if Kendall Jenner or Chris Hemsworth had done that, THAT would’ve been really cool!

Don’t do something or buy something just because everybody else wants the same. And don’t, in heaven’s name, get it just because some celebrity shoots it!

Reason #4: The Contax T2 Is Made By Yashica/Kyocera

This is the part that might bother some “crazy passionate” people but if you’re paying up to $1000 for this camera, you’re buying a Yashica not a Leica.

I’m no brand loyalist or camera elitist I’d probably take a Yashica over a Leica any day because I could get them cheaper but just like cars, just like watches, there’s such a thing as prestige and brand reputation in the camera world too. Sometimes it’s perceived and sometimes it’s real.

The Yashica Family Tree. From left is the Yashica 230-AF (1987), the CONTAX T2 (1990), and the Yashica 300 Autofocus (1993). Yashica could make awesome AND not so awesome cameras πŸ™‚

A CONTAX might be a better cut of Yashica, but it’s still made by Yashica. Please refer to the video for a better explanation of this.

Reason #3: It’s A Near Thirty Year Old Electronic Camera

All electronics are prone to failure as they age. The Contax T2 is no exception. The problem here is that the T2 is MUCH more expensive than your typical point and shoot film camera, even great ones like the Olympus Stylus Epic, the Konica Hexar, or the Ricoh GR-1. They’re all going up, but not so much as the T2 has.

There is only one place I know of that will officially repair them. It’s in Nippon Photo Clinic in New York City. Their contact information is:

Nippon Photo Clinic,Β 37 W 39th St #401, New York, NY 10018 (212) 982-3177

I spoke to them a few months back and they confirmed at that time that they work on Contax T series cameras.

Now here’s the thing. If it’s something simple, a competent repair shop can fix it, but if it’s something specific, ie, circuits, etc, you may be out of luck and have an expensive paper weight.

REASON #2: Not A Good Value At Current Prices

As the prices continue to go up, the T2 is really not a good value for money. But you didn’t need me to tell you that! You know it! You just want it! πŸ˜€

There are many options on how to get more camera for the same $700-1200 that you might pay for a T2.

Again, I am myself a CONTAX fan and I say you could possibly swing a CONTAX G2, maybe with a lens for the same money. I also give a few other options, please refer to the video for that.

REASON #1: It’s Too Damned Expensive These Days For What It Is!

And what is it? It’s a nearly 30 year old point and shoot film camera that relies on electronics. It has moving parts and could potentially fail on you at any time. It’s quite a gamble really!

PERSONAL ACCOUNT OF YASHICA/CONTAX ELECTRONIC ISSUES

Just for folks who may think my warnings/hesitation about Contax/Yashica electronics are baseless I have included this as a reference.

It may have been a quality control thing but some folks claim to never have had a problem with their Yashica and/or Contax cameras. And others report they are unreliable. I’ve experienced more than my fair share of Contax glitches and here are a few:

Contax AX: Two cameras. Focus problems. Shutter siezed right at the end of my CONTAX AX YouTube video review!

Contax T: Loose screws from prolonged use. Bad meter.

Contax T2: Lens won’t retract. Camera won’t fire. Loud motor. Focus issues. Batteries were new. Removing batteries remedy most problems but they happened again.

Contax T3: Camera freezing up when least expected. Lens wont retract. Batteries were new. Removing battery remedies the problems but they return unpredictably.

Contax TVS Original: Died in the middle of first roll! Fatal! Returned for refund.

Contax N Digital: Sensor died on camera I reviewed. Fatal! Friend reports it’s not repairable and now an expensive paperweight!

It’s not that the T2 is unreliable. It has been one of their more durable and reliable models, I give them credit for that. But I’ve had two T2’s at different times in my life and experienced glitches with both of them.

You have to understand an electronic glitch doesn’t always mean an electronic failure. But it could lead to that!

I find that I can use CONTAX cameras comfortably, within reason. Mindful that something could go awry when I least expect it, thus I’m gentler on them than I would be to say, my Canon or Nikons.

Thankfully nothing fatal has happened to my only T2 now but I always get the feeling something’s about to give. Knock on wood hope not! πŸ˜€

BOTTOM LINE

I hope this article (and video) help some of you who are on the fence about the T2. Maybe it has the side effect of making you want it more! Wouldn’t be surprised, such is human nature πŸ™‚

As I said at the end of my video…Hey it’s just my opinion so take it with a grain of salt and do as you wish! And I can’t blame you for wanting to shoot the T2, I really can’t! Whatever you do, I’d love to hear from you. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Photo Of The Day: β€œLazy Saturday” Leica CM 40mm f/2.4 Summarit

Here’s a shot from 2015 taken with the Leica CM point and shoot that I picked up in 2010 from the Man himself β€œMr. Leica” Ken Hansen! 😎✊🏻

The alternate title was going to be “Work & Sleep” What’s better? 😊😘

As of today, I haven’t reviewed it yet! I don’t think I even mentioned that I have it πŸ˜€ I don’t buy cameras with the thought of reviewing them. I buy them to take pictures. The reviews are usually an afterthought 😊 Film I think was Ilford FP4 developed in D76.

Awesome Camera Legend Camera! I’ve always suspected it was made by Panasonic but whatever the case, the great Erwin Puts raves the lens as a true Leica so I’m gonna go with him! Even if it’s a β€œLeica Designed” lens, it’s a sublime optic.

The camera is prone to an infamous ERR message that kills it but knock on wood it hasn’t happened to me yet 😬 Finally though, there are a couple of people who can repair it…for a price! I’ll have more on this in future postings 😊

Ah you guys don’t even know half of what I got in store to review and share with you guys!! At least you probably understand now why I created the Camera Legend blog. It would be a sin not sharing these experiences!! 😍

The only problem for me really is overcoming this man’s laziness haha πŸ˜€ There ain’t no glory in it! No real money to be made. Yet I do this out of love but listen man, there’s only so much love to go around in this world, know what I mean? Happy Saturday Camera Lovers!! πŸ˜ŽπŸ“·πŸ˜˜βœŒπŸ»

Photo Of The Day: Wat Phra Kaew 1995 Canon EOS 10s Ektachrome Film

The above photo was taken at Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok, Thailand in 1995. Just one of many beautiful structures in this complex regarded as the most sacred temple in Thailand due primarily to being the home of the Emerald Buddha.

But this post is not about the temple. Although that would make a nice long article I think! It is a look back at the “good old days” of one camera, two lenses.

The camera was a then fairly new to me Canon EOS 10s. Basically an Elan class enthusiast model. I shudder to think what I paid for this back then! Today, this camera would set you back $10 bucks or less! 😊

I may or may not write more about this camera in the future, we’ll see as our dear President always says 😊

It’s been so well superseded by other cameras that it seems not worth the bother of doing a review. Yet at the same time, I used it during a period between 1994-1999 in which I took some of my favorite images and did do using only this camera and two lenses…and cheap lenses at that! πŸ˜€

But more on that in future postings. The film I used was Ektachrome 100 I believe. Not the newly released emulsion, the original one!

Back then using slide film to me is like using a different camera sensor today. Well, all films can be thought of this way.

I look back now at photos like this and miss the vibrancy of slide film. Any of you guys remember how great it was projected huge onto a white wall? Awesome!

I used pretty much one camera and two lenses back then and you know what? I think I took better pics than I do now with a myriad of cameras! 😊

Ah those good old days of the mid 90s…Cheers!

The Best Camera I Never Knew: The Super Ricohflex

Hello everyone! Looking back on my writings, it seems we haven’t had one of these “Best Camera I Never Knew” postings in a while! Over a year in fact!

So today we’re back with a camera that may not be well known to the masses, but is quite popular on photo sharing sites like Flickr and elsewhere. And you guys, my dear readers, are NOT the masses! It is a cult favorite, the Super Ricohflex.

THE SUPER RICOHFLEX

The Super Ricohflex was introduced in 1956 by Ricoh of Japan. It is a Medium Format twin lens reflex camera that takes 6×6 images on 120 film.

At its heart is the taking lens which is an 80mm f/3.5 Ricoh Anastigmat. It uses a geared focusing system much like the Kodak Reflex of 1946.

The camera has a shutter speed range of 1/10-1/200 secs plus Bulb in a Riken shutter. I have read of other models with higher shutter speeds, but I have had three of them at different points in my life, from different random sellers and they all had up to 1/200. If you have a model with a higher shutter speed range, I’d love to hear about it!

114621440.1bR7aP9r.SuperRicohSam

“Super Ricoh Man” 2009. Super Ricohflex, Ilford HP5 Plus in T-Max Developer. More than a narcissistic selfie, I hope you can see that stopped down a little, the Super Ricohflex is capable of nicely sharp images πŸ™‚

WHAT I LIKE ABOUT THE SUPER RICOHFLEX

When in working condition, the Super Ricohflex is capable of giving images with “character” especially wide open at f/3.5. That is the best way I can describe it.

The 80mm f/3.5 Ricoh Anastigmat is one of those lenses capable of giving you that ever popular on Flickr “swirly bokeh” look.

114622435.nMtB6g55.RicohZoeForestPBa

“Escape To Reality” 2009. Super Ricohflex, Ilford HP5 Plus in T-Max Developer. An example of the swirly “dreamy” image that the Super Ricohflex can make.

In my opinion, this usually comes from a lens that is optically not at its technical best, and the swirly bokeh is somewhat overplayed by bokeh fanatics, but that said, if used judiciously it can produce “dreamy” memorable images.

Stopped down, the images can be very sharp at f/5.6-f/8 as are most decent lenses.

YOUTUBE VIDEO

For those of you who prefer to watch a video, here is my first “The Best Camera I Never Knew” episode on YouTube starring the Super Ricohflex! 😎

It may seem like a shameless plug, and it is, but I am trying to expand your experience here and I’ll be tying in videos as I can so get used to it! πŸ™‚

Think of it this way? Why would I want to do double work, blog and video, when I could just do one or the other? If it weren’t for you guys, my fellow Camera Lovers, I’d not bother with the videos!

And because I had received a critical comment from a reader who did not understand what Β this series is about, I address this in the video too. Plus trying out some new theme songs haha! πŸ™‚

WHY IT DIDN’T JIVE WITH ME?

Simple. I had three of these cameras! I got my first one in 2009. I sold one and I still have two. All three of them ended up having the infamous “Frozen Focus” issue. And what is that?

In the introduction, I mentioned that these cameras use a geared type of focusing mechanism. What that means is the viewing lens and taking lens are geared together and by moving one you move the other.

That in itself shouldn’t be an issue, but whatever grease Ricoh put into these lenses have been known to notoriously seize up with time.

Out of my three copies, only one was working, and even that one was already on the outs when I got it. It was not perfectly smooth. I left it on the shelf for about, I’m gonna guess cause it’s been years, but approximately 3-5 months. The next time I picked up the camera…stiff as a rock!!

So as of today, the two copies I have are pretty much worthless as shooters. Thankfully, they did not cost me much!

REPAIR?

A competent camera technician should be able to repair these cameras. From what I have heard, it’s not a simple matter of taking the lenses off and regreasing them yourself. It’s a bit of a delicate process. Therefore it’s better to leave it up to the experts if you have no experience with camera repair.

One person I remember offhand that might do the repair is Mark Hansen out of Wisconsin. He’s a great repairman with a solid reputation for working on Zeiss and Rolleis. I believe he is still in business though I do not know if he’s willing to repair the Super Ricohflex and if he is, how much it will cost. If you contact him, tell him Sam from CameraLegend.com sent you!

PRICES & WHERE TO BUY?

If seeking one of these cult classics, and I’m not sure that’s a good idea, prices are trending at $20-60. Keep in mind, due to the possibility of the camera needing a CLA, the low price you might pay belie the true cost after the camera has received a CLA.

However, once you get a CLA from a good repairman, I can attest that the Super Ricohflex is a good and fun budget shooter.

BOTTOM LINE

As I love all cameras, it is not my goal to pick on the Super Ricohflex. Ricoh is a Camera Legend whose cameras I have used and praised often. I do totally understand that a camera this old may need a CLA as most cameras of this vintage would benefit from also.

However, as I mentioned in the video…This is no Rolleiflex. And it was not intended to be. It cost much less than a Rolleiflex or even most Rolleicords, the budget Rollei TLRs.

A Rolleiflex could be sitting there for 30 years and I’d be willing to bet, most would still be functioning. Not so with the Super Ricohflex. If you have one, use it often, keep exercising those gears! Whatever grease Ricoh used in these cameras are infamous for freezing up.

That said, when it worked, this camera gave me some memorable images that left me curious for more. That’s why I ended up with three of them only to find out that the Super Ricohflex is indeed, one of the Best Cameras I Never Knew! πŸ™‚

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The Sony A7RIII Today’s Ultimate Camera?

Just Because: The Samoca 28x

The great singer Anita Baker once sang, “I love you just because…I do!” The late great Whitney Houston said in a song, “I don’t know why I like you…I just do!” πŸ˜€

When you love cameras as much as I do, you’re bound to collect some “just because” and this is one of them. Here’s one of the funkiest cameras you might ever see. Beautifully small and funky just how I like it! 😊

I believe this is a Samoca 28X or Samoca 28. Had this for a while, maybe more than a year. Tiny lovely looking camera from an obscure manufacturer.

I’m one of those people that want to shoot every camera I get but sometimes it takes me forever because I’ve always got film in other cameras that keep my interest. Still, this one seems worth taking for a spin…if I ever get around to it! 😊

I’m not sure what they go for nowadays but I got mine for $45 in 2017. I saw one recently on eBay for over $200 which I think is a ridiculous price for this camera even as awesome as it might look, it’s not worth that much!

Anyway, if and when I get a roll through it, you’ll be sure to see the photos here. Have yourselves a great day Camera Lovers and happy shooting! πŸ˜ŽπŸ“·βœŒπŸ»

Happy Turkey Day!! πŸ˜€

Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends here in the USA and Happy Holidays to my friends around the world!

My apologies for the inactivity here as well as on your blogs. I’ve been spending my free time trying to build up content for the YouTube channel such as my latest pre Black Friday special just posted tonight πŸ™‚

Still decidedly very low budget, but working on the production values haha 😊

I personally feel that for a kid, teen, or someone starting out just wanting to learn photography, you DO NOT have to pay an arm and a leg for the latest and greatest. The cameras I am recommending in this video are well suited to the beginning photography student. Truthfully, besides from their “low” megapixel count, they are actually very advanced cameras, well suited to enthusiasts as well. I know you guys remember these cameras!! πŸ™‚