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!

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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.

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“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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Camera Collecting Part I: Two Super CHEAP Camera Legends

Here’s a topic thats very near and dear to my heart! But first, a fair warning: Collecting cameras can be ADDICTIVE and EXPENSIVE!

The former (addictive) is incurable, the latter (expensive), well it doesn’t have to be. And you couldn’t do better or cheaper than these two cameras I am profiling today.

I specifically chose these two specific cameras based on their prices, availability and their importance as Camera Legends. Especially for the beginning collector, these two are the easiest to find and buy.

The two cameras profiled today are the Minolta Maxxum 7000 and the Canon EOS 650.

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MINOLTA MAXXUM 7000

The Minolta Maxxum 7000 is the camera that launched the autofocus revolution back in 1985. And it was revolutionary!

Before it, “autofocus” cameras were clunky things such as the Nikon F3AF of 1983 which attempted to autofocus the “easy way” by using an AF motor in the special lenses designed for these cameras while retaining the classic Nikon F mount.

Though I say the “easy way” maybe I should have said the “logical way.” After all, if you consider the technology at that time and the boxy, mechanical nature of cameras, it just seemed easier to put the autofocus motor in the lenses right?

Well, as is often the case, the idea was better than the execution. I don’t want to go full length into this topic right now, though I would agree it would make for a fascinating discussion!

YOUTUBE COMPANION VIDEO

For those of you who would prefer watching a video version of this topic, here’s our latest video:

MAXXUM 7000 CONTINUED

In many ways, they were on the right track because as you may or may not know, when the EOS system was released in 1987, one of the selling points was indeed lenses with AF motor in them! But Canon had to ditch their old FD mount and make a whole (then) new EOS mount to accommodate this.

Anyway, Minolta too had to create a new mount. A mount which we know today as the Alpha mount or more specifically in today’s world, the Sony Alpha mount. Not the Sony E mirrorless mount. Yes, folks your Sony Alpha cameras carry the rich legacy of the legendary Minolta Maxxum 7000! 😊

Anyway, today’s topic is camera collecting and the Minolta Maxxum 7000 is a true Camera Legend that can be had VERY cheaply these days.

As a camera the Maxxum 7000 has Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, and Manual mode. Basically all you need! AF is ok but first generation. It’s good enough to get the job done, if the subject/subjects are not moving much! The camera runs on four AAA batteries.

PRICES AND WHAT TO LOOK FOR

Although one of the most important cameras of the autofocus revolution of the 1980s, perhaps the most important, today the Maxxum 7000 is also one of the cheapest on the used market.

Prices are trending at $3.00 to $50 USD average seems to be around $25. I got mine for $3 bucks! It cost me a lot more than that in the 90s!

I believe the Maxxum 7000 prices are so low because they are plentiful and they do not age well.

The grips become white and sticky or powdery. The LCD goes bad or bleeds.

The good news is many are perfectly usable as it is. In my opinion, it is unrealistic to expect to find a Maxxum 7000 without any flaws today. If you do have one without flaws I’d love to hear from you!

THE CANON EOS 650

The Canon EOS 650 was released by Canon in 1987 and is the very first EOS camera.

Its claim to fame is the introduction of the EOS Mount. I believe the EOS 650 prices are so low simply because it’s just not the most exciting camera to look at or shoot πŸ™‚

No offense, it’s a nice looking and shooting camera. Just not super exciting compared to anything else EOS you could shoot with. But it has one very important thing on its side…It’s the first. The first EOS camera! And that has to count for something right? πŸ™‚

It has Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, and Manual mode just like the Maxxum 7000 so that means it has everything you need. It runs on one 2CR5 battery. AF is ok but first generation. Not good for running subjects but ok for static.

PRICES AND WHAT TO LOOK FOR

Just like the Maxxum 7000, the Canon EOS 650 is also dirt cheap on the used market.

Prices are trending from $10-50 with an average of $25 body only. I got my current copy for $10 bucks!

Generally these cameras have stood the test of time so your chances of a working model is pretty good.

Sometimes you’ll find one with no power, doesn’t turn on. Sometimes parts have come loose or the buttons and dials may be sticky.

Even at the highest average prices they’re cheap get the best one you can!

BOTTOM LINE

I hope with these two cameras I have shown you that collecting Camera Legends does not have to be expensive!

With these two, you have cameras with history and a story to tell about the evolution of autofocus.

And on the Used Market you can get them dirt cheap. And if that wasn’t enough, they’re actually pretty good shooters! Good luck on your journey to camera collecting nirvana!

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

If you are interested in these two Camera Legends, there are a ton of additional resources on the internet. To cut through the bunk and junk, I recommend these two reviews by my blogging buddy and a prolific blogger Mr. Jim Grey. I can’t speak for a lot of bloggers but I unquestionably trust Jim’s reviews and opinions.

His Maxxum 7000 review is HERE

And his Canon EOS 650 Review is HERE

Tell him Sam sent you! πŸ™‚

***MODERN EQUIVALENTS***

It’s been said that the new Canon EOS-R Mirrorless is the incarnate of the EOS 650. In a way, many things from its looks to its use for the introduction of the EOS-R mount, I’d say they might be right! Anyway, the EOS-R can do things the 650 could’ve only dreamed of in 1987! If you decide to buy one, please do so from our trusted affiliates simply by clicking on the photos or links. You will pay nothing extra other than what you’re buying, and help support Camera Legend at the same time. Putting these articles, reviews, and videos take time and work. We do appreciate all you support, thank you very much!

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Photo Of The Day: “Saturday In The Park” Mamiya 6 75mm 3.5 G Lens

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“Saturday In The Park” 2016. Mamiya 6, 75mm f/3.5 Mamiya G lens, Kodak T-Max 400 in D76 developer.

In my effort to be more active for you good people, here’s a shot and short article for today. Shot with a Mamiya 6 and 75mm f/3.5 Sekor. I actually shot this a couple of years ago before I sold the camera. It was in Central Park.

Speaking of “Saturday In The Park” I recently saw a CNN documentary which I think is a couple of years old, on one of America’s oldest and greatest pop/rock bands, Chicago. I loved their stuff from the 70s and 80s although admittedly they went into the “soft rock” category with the rise of (then) lead singer Peter Cetera, not that it’s a bad thing mind you.

I always thought the band broke up because of Cetera and his ever growing star in the 80s. But now I’m not so sure it was really a case of someone getting a big head or whether he and the band could just no longer get along.

Just like another great 80s band Journey, I’ll always associate Cetera’s voice with Chicago just as I associate Steve Perry with Journey.

Anyway, I’m drifting off course! Music just happens to be my other passion. I especially like rock and popular music from the 50s through the 90s. Not much for music after that πŸ˜€

The Mamiya 6 is a Camera Legend. I had a complete outfit in 2009 including the body, 75mm f/3.5, 50mm f/4, and 150mm f/4.5 telephoto. I started selling off the lenses first, then the camera and 75mm because I wasn’t using it enough and needed funds for other things. You know the deal 😊

I’ve always thought of giving the Mamiya 6 a formal write-up on these pages and I’m sure I’ll get to it one of these days, but I’m not sure I could write enough to do it justice. It’s a fantastic medium format rangefinder. In fact, if I had the funds I could easily talk myself into it again!

If you look at the photo, you’ll notice some blotches, most notably on the bottom right, a result of my imperfect developing. Not making any excuses, but many people actually do not mind, and some even “want” these imperfectons these days! Don’t believe me? You should see what people are liking on Instagram! I guess it’s part of what people today consider a part of that “film look.”

Back in the day, I don’t remember people loving imperfect pictures all that much, but since this shot is imperfect…ok, I’m cool with it! πŸ™‚

I’ve always said and it’s worth repeating that T-Max 400 is a beautiful film that develops best in T-Max Developer. As I did not have any T-Max Developer on hand, I decided to take my chances with D76.

I’ve noticed that when in D76, the T-Max will have a tendency to produce streaks and blotches. Sometimes I get lucky and get a clean set, but T-Max 400 seems more finicky than other films and results with T-Max Developer are consistently smooth.

Well, that’s it for this morning. Oh one more thing, these are not all my kids! πŸ˜€

The Nikon D700 Revisited…The Ten Years Later Review

The Nikon D700 is a 12.1 megapixel, full frame Digital SLR released by Nikon in July 2008. Today, we will look back on the D700. I will share with you my impressions on its image quality, performance and its impact on the world of photography.

AS A CAMERA

There’s a lot of pages with all the specs but I’ll just list a few key features. The camera has a 12.1 megapixel full frame sensor. The shutter speed range is 30 seconds to 1/8000 plus Bulb. Flash synch at 1/250. It has a native ISO range of 200-6400 plus 100-25600 via boost.

My war-torn 200K plus D700 still kickin’ it! πŸ™‚

The D700 also has Live View but it’s first generation and it shows. It looks a little jittery and if you move it around there’s an apparent lag, but once on target it works fine.

The camera is capable of 5fps on its own and 8fps with optional grip. The camera uses the Nikon EN-EL3e battery.

The D700 is a pro quality DSLR and for all practical purposes is a more compact Nikon D3. There are slight differences between the D700 and D3 to be sure, but image quality is exactly the same as they both use the same sensor.

The D700 arrived on the market at a lower price than the D3, increasing its appeal and affordability to both professionals and enthusiasts alike.

TIMELINE

In 2007, Nikon released the D3, a professional 12.1 megapixel DSLR, and its first full frame digital camera. Their previous kingpin was the D2X/D2Xs a with its 12.4 megapixel APS-C sensor.

After years of stating that they would not make a full frame DSLR, and getting their hardcore base to rally around that, Nikon surprised everyone with the release of the D3.

In my opinion, the Nikon D3 is the camera that saved Nikon and brought it back, alive and kicking butt into the second phase of the digital revolution. But that’s a topic for another review. Today, we are talking about the D700.

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“Time Out” 2008. Nikon D700, 50mm f/1.8 AF-D Nikkor. Baby gets into a hair pulling moment as a result of having to take “time out” πŸ™‚

MY EXPERIENCES WITH THE D700

I got my first D700 in July of 2008. Rarely do I get a camera in the same month it was released. So how did I come upon the D700? Simple, just like many of you, I climbed the ladder of camera ownership!

And what does that mean? Well, before the D700 I was using a 12.3mp Nikon D300 which was released with the D3 in 2007.

I was perfectly fine with the D300. In fact, I was impressed with its performance and the fact that it was APS-C didn’t bother me. I read about Nikon’s reasoning as to to why they were not going to make a full frame camera and even though I thought they were just in denial or just making excuses for why they wouldn’t make one, I accepted it.

Then the D3 came out and I was surprised and happy they made a full frame DSLR, but I just couldn’t afford the hefty $4999 price tag, even though the price was well in line with professional cameras of the time. So I was resigned and content to stay with the D300 as I already had a full frame Canon EOS 5D Classic.

IMG_3249

Gear Lustin’ in 2008! My two main digital cameras in 2008, the Canon EOS 5D Classic and the Nikon D700, seem to have come full circle in 2018!

In comes the photo forums…

As I’ve said here before, I was on the forums just like you guys! Photo.net, Rangefinderforum, Fredmiranda.com, etc.

I won’t say which one, but near the end of July of 2008, I saw a fellow forum member advertise a new D700 he had just gotten and wanted to sell for whatever reason. At over $2000, it was still a hard sell for me financially, but the fellow said he was willing to take a “D300 plus cash.” Hot dog! Bang! This might be my opportunity so I PM’d the guy and since he was local, all the better.

So I go and see the guy. We had some cool camera talk, checked out the cameras, and we had a deal. I handed over the D300 plus a little cash and I walked out with a near new D700! I hate to say it, but I said to myself…wow, Samster, somehow you managed to do it again! πŸ™‚

Anyway, the love was short lived as I used the same ladder to climb up to a D3 in 2009 when G.A.S. attacked! I sold my D700 and eventually the D3 too.

I got the D700 again in 2016 when I noticed an unusually low price online. And the prices continue to fall making this a great time to try one! If you’re interested I’ll list the trending prices down below.

IMAGE QUALITY

In my opinion, the Nikon D700 is capable of superb image quality, especially at lower ISOs.

What I liked…

“Apples” 2018. Nikon D700, 85mm f/1.4 AF-D Nikkor. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and by having the same 12.1mp sensor, the D700 offers the same excellent image quality as its big daddy D3.

Rich colors and tones. A certain depth to the images that might be attributed to the sensor, the processing, etc. I can’t say for sure what it is, but I call it theΒ Magic Sensor.

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“Red, Green & Gold” 2008. Nikon D700, 110mm f/2 Zeiss Planar via adapter.

There’s also a pleasing balance of sharpness and smoothness to the images which make it perfect for portraits and people photography, one of my favorite forms of photography.

Of course, if you’re a landscape shooter you’d probably be better off with a higher resolution camera but you didn’t need me to tell you that! πŸ™‚

THE MAGIC SENSOR

I call the D3/D700 sensor the “Magic Sensor” because it just seems to bring images to life. I used to think it was just the full frame sensor, but now ten years later I know it is not, or at least not exclusively a result of the sensor alone but I sure believe the full frame sensor is a factor.

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“Magic” 2016. Nikon D700, 60mm f/2.8 AF-D Nikkor. The D700’s “Magic Sensor” seem to bring everything to life. Well, a happy smiling baby helps I guess! πŸ™‚

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“Uh Oh It’s Magic!” 2008. Nikon D700, 50mm f/1.8 AF-D Nikkor. The 50mm f/1.8 Nikkor already offers decent bokeh but a full frame sensor takes it a step further making f/1.8 look even smoother.

There are cameras I have used in today’s world, such as the mirrorless Olympus OM-D EM-5 that also seem to provide similar, rich and colorful images despite the much smaller sensor.

So perhaps it’s a combination of sensor plus whatever processing the camera is doing to the images. Perhaps it’s just how far we have come in digital camera technology that some mirrorless cameras can achieve a full frame “look” that I have not seen in first generation mirrorless cameras.

I know what you’re thinking…it’s all in the lenses! That’s partially true, but in this case I’m not just talking about bokeh or shallow depth of field. Just the whole image, everything in it.

In these two cameras, the magic is comparable both in Jpeg and RAW.

PERFORMANCE

The D700 offers speedy and accurate AF as would be expected from what is essentially a D3 in smaller form. The Multi-CAM 3500FX autofocus module with 51 AF points is more than enough to handle almost anything even today, in my opinion.

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“Gimme A Break” 2008. Nikon D700, 70-210mm f/4-5.6 AF Nikkor.

The 12.1mp sensor might seem small in today’s world, but if you’re not shooting detailed landscapes or billboards for some ad campaign you’re going to be fine with the resolution. The sensor in my opinion is particularly well suited to portrait and people photography but is also well suited to street or any other kind of photography you might aspire to.

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“Shoot!” 2008. Nikon D700, 50mm f/1.8 AF-D Nikkor.

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“Thoth” 2008. Nikon D700, 50mm f/1.8 AF-D Nikkor. A NYC Central Park mythical figure named “Thoth.” Considering this tricky lighting, the D700 Matrix metering fared well giving a usable exposure that would look even better with a little work.

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The joy of taking pictures is contagious! Nikon D700, 85mm f/1.4 AF-D Nikkor. Just look at the woman’s hair and skin. The D700 offers just the right balance of sharp and smooth.

The D700 is fine with modern AF-S lenses but is also “old school” in the fact that it can drive those old AF lenses that need to be screw driven like, for example, the 85mm f/1.8 AF-D lens.

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“The Kid’s American” 2018. Nikon D700, 85mmf f/1.4 AF-D Nikkor. The D700’s fast AF caught this young man before he ran off, which was a split second later πŸ™‚

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“Toto” 2008. Nikon D700, 70-210mm f/4-5.6 AF-D Nikkor.

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“Granny Love” 2008. Nikon D700, 50mm f/1.8 AF-D Nikkor.

The large and clear 95% coverage viewfinder also make it a good choice for using those wonderful old AI Nikkors. Do NOT use it with Non AI lenses or you may damage the camera and/or the lenses.

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“Noon” 2017. Nikon D700, 50mm f/1.2 AIS Nikkor.

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“Night Buddy” 2017. Nikon D700, 50mm f/1.2 AIS, ISO 3200. The D700 does an excellent job at the “high” ISO of 3200.

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“Smile!” 2018. Nikon D700, 85mm f/1.4 AF-D Nikkor.

Because of the superb image quality and the ability to comfortably use manual focus lenses, I view this camera today as sort of a Poor Man’s DF but without the ability to use Non AI lenses.

BOTTOM LINE

The Nikon D700 took the legend of the Nikon D3 to the masses and became a Camera Legend in its own right.

The D700 gave more Nikon users a chance to see what full frame digital was all about and in doing so, hooked users in with excellent imaging capabilities in a strong, robust body.

Even today in 2018, with all the full frame cameras Nikon has put out since 2008, the D700 is still highly regarded and is considered a digital camera classic.

If your goal is to capture great pictures and you’re not interested in 4K video, focus peaking, and whatever else today’s cameras offer, then the Nikon D700 will still deliver the goods and is one of the two cheapest full frame bodies you can get today.

ALTERNATIVES

The main alternative for the Nikon D700 is the 12.8mp Canon EOS-5D Classic. As someone who has used both extensively, I can say with confidence that you can’t go wrong with either! But if you really want me to nitpick, here’s what I have experienced with these two Camera Legend cameras.

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“Brother 700” 2008. Nikon D700, 45mm f/2.8P Nikkor. The Nikon D700 does well with manual focus lenses such as the 45P seen here which is why the Brother calls it the “Poor Man’s DF” πŸ™‚

The 5D images appear somewhat sharper, but the D700 has richer tones and colors. The D700 body is much more refined, feeling like a more mature product, as it should be for a camera from 2008 versus a camera from 2005. Autofocus is faster on the D700 as should be expected.

The D700 does better at higher ISOs. Images hold up better though I don’t mind the grit and “grain” of the 5D Classic images at IS0 3200.

At low ISOs, both cameras still deliver superb results showing that back as far as 2005 digital cameras were already awesome!

Again, if you’re invested in the Nikon system or the Canon system, that should be your main consideration and not the cameras themselves. Both cameras rock!

AVAILABILITY AND WHERE TO BUY

If you’re looking for the Nikon D700 (or the 5D Classic) this is a great time to pick one up! The D700 is plentiful on the used market so you shouldn’t have a problem getting one.

Prices for the D700 are trending now at $400-700 depending on condition, package, etc.I say just get the cheapest one you can as long as you buy from a dealer you can trust.

I’ve heard about the below $300 D700 bodies, but as of today, they are rare and most likely beater bodies. Average seems to be $450-525 USD for ones in good to excellent condition. If you’re going above $600, I would seriously consider one of the newer bodies, ie, D600, D610, or even the D3 of which prices have come down significantly in the past couple of years.

I got my latest one in 2016 for under $400. It was in cosmetically Good condition. Little did I know it had over 200K shots on it! But, knock on wood, two years later and a few thousand shots later she’s still shooting unlike myΒ bought NEW in 2012Β Olympus OM-D EM-5 which kicked the bucket last year at approximately 5K
shots.

The cheapest D700 bodies would probably be found on eBay (Direct D700 Link)

Alternatively, here’s your Canon 5D Classic link on eBay (Direct 5D Classic Link)

Another good place to find both is our trusted affiliate Here.

Thanks for reading and I’d be glad to hear from any fellow D700 owners!

Photo Of The Day: “What A Rush!” Contax T3

Good morning everybody. It seems as if I closed my eyes only for a short time and we’re back here in yet another October once again! Man, I can’t shake off this feeling of getting older! And I have to remind myself that I’m not THAT old yet!

Well anyway, I just went through three rolls of new images to review and some were good and some not so good. Hmm, kinda like the good old film days! πŸ™‚

In this set, only the bottom image “What A Rush!” is from the Contax T3. The B&W set is from another “mystery” camera πŸ™‚

The Contax T3 was, in its time considered “The Best Point & Shoot Camera In The World” and it’s got a tremendous, and yes, even legendary cult following even today.

Does it still deliver the goods? It sure does! It always delivered the goods, but it’s not without its faults as I’ll explain in future postings. Can it still hold on to its “top dog” title? I’m not so sure just yet!

Please do not think I’m jumping on the T3 bandwagon! I certainly could NOT get one at today’s prices. However, I’ve had mine since 2006 when they were MUCH more affordable. Though I may not like getting older, there are some perks to be a “veteran” camera freak I guess πŸ™‚

Had it all these years, somehow I never rushed to do a review on it. So you see friends, I’m not in this for any kind of blogging glory πŸ™‚

I just want to get out good information for you. Sorry if it takes a little longer than most bloggers. I’m just SLOW haha πŸ™‚

I got my images back from the Darkroom out in California and they did a mighty fine job. There’s a reason why people recommend them!

Though I wished their prices would be lower, I will say they can be recommended for film developing yes.

Anyway, it looks to be a busy month with lots to look at. Let’s hope I don’t burn out by the end of the first new review lol. Have a great week folks!

Ah friends, nothing quite as thrilling as working through another dusty, blurry roll of film ain’t it? πŸ™‚

“What A Rush!” 2018. Contax T3, Kodak Gold 200. Tiaong, Quezon, Philippines.

Trends: Canon AE-1 & Fuji FP-100C

Just sharing with you guys a couple of postings I made to the YouTube channel but did not post them here till now.

These are segments I called “Tuesday Trends” where I look at topics that I feel are “trending” in the camera and photography world and even though they might not be mainstream news, I feel are interesting enough to put a spotlight on.

First up is the legendary Canon AE-1 from 1976, one of the most popular cameras of all time.

Just for you guys, I’ve cut to the chase in the above video. I came to the conclusion that the Canon AE-1 prices have been rising is because…YOU GUYS ARE BUYING THEM UP! πŸ™‚

Not you my camera savvy readers, most of you guys probably have or have had the AE-1 at some point in your lives, but hipsters (you know who you are!), newbies, and anyone just getting into film photography. Part of the problem is because the AE-1 was, and is still so very popular, it almost always shows up during a search for film cameras.

Now first off, let me say I love the AE-1 for what it is. It’s a great camera that introduced millions of people to the wonderful world of photography. Yet, especially today, its specs are hardly earth shattering. Keep in mind, I’m just talking about the AE-1 original, not the latter AE-1 Program though when it comes to rising prices we can count that camera in too.

Shutter priority, manual mode, and relies on batteries. If you’ve read my pages here, you could probably read between the lines. Especially that last part about the batteries.

Now I’ve never been an anti-battery camera person. On the contrary, I have always found most modern cameras that uses batteries to be reliable enough not to worry,

That said, if you have a choice, especially the choices we have in today’s used market then I would say I would much rather buy a purely manual camera that doesn’t need batteries to operate, other than the meter of course.

I was quite disturbed to find the AE-1’s prices rising, after not checking for a long time. I used to periodically buy this camera to give away to friends or kids who wanted to learn photography. They never cost any more than $25-50 for a whole package of body, lens, filters, etc. Not any more. Now prices for a body alone averages $70.

This is not right! This should be a CHEAP CAMERA in terms of used prices! Anyway, my reasoning is all in the video, please check it out if you’re interested. I repeat myself a lot in this video but the point is clear…The AE-1 should be a CHEAP CAMERA and the prices should still be CHEAP πŸ™‚

Second up is the Fuji FP-100C, the packfilm classic that Fujifilm discontinued in 2016.

I posted somewhere on social media a couple of weeks back that I was facing REALITY and giving up on packfilm. In fact, I already have a buyer for my Polaroid Land Cameras once I deplete my last few packs of FP-100C.

Even the honorable fellows at CATLABS of JP who declared two years ago: “WE WILL MAKE PACKFILM” have given up on the process as announced this week.

As I had made my decision and prepared this video before their announcement I thought it was very timely! That’s what I mean by trends!

Basically, to cut to the chase, and if you DON’T want or have time to watch the video, I’m stating that if you ever wanted to try this film this might be the time because after a period of relative stability last year, the prices for the FP-100C are rising back up which may or may not indicate that the remaining stocks are close to depletion.

A sign that it is nearly gone is that B&H and Adorama no longer show this film in stock. Even a couple of months ago, it was.

Anyway, I hope this is helpful to somebody out there. Oh please forgive me when I get into “character” lol. As I said, you kinda need “personality” when you’re doing this YouTube thing πŸ™‚

Catch you guys next time!

Sam