Good morning you guys! I know I have been away far too long this time even by my standards but I was gone for about a month and took the opportunity to not only take photos but also to take a digital detox. Didn’t sign on to WordPress once during my trip, sorry to say!
I went to Thailand and the Philippines. Two very colorful countries that appear similar on the surface but couldn’t be more different culturally. The one thing that ties them together really are the wonderful, friendly people.
I was almost always on the move. But on the positive side, I got a lot of rest at night. More sleep than I’ve had in months! On the negative side, I now have bad jet lag and my whole system is all messed up.
On this trip, I brought with me the Hasselblad X-Pan that you saw on the most recent video review. Just because I reviewed a camera doesn’t mean I stop using it! I also brought a couple other film cameras, including an Olympus Stylus Epic and Contax cameras. But which Contax? 😀👍🏻
On the digital side I brought my Ricoh GR 16mp. I’ve never really warmed up to this camera simply because I’ve always been partial to my beloved original GRD 8.1mp but I took the GR to “break it in” even though I’ve had it for a few years.
A crab found on the beach in Marinduque Island, Philippines. Of course, it was set free afterwards 🙂
Well, I don’t have any of the film developed yet so it will take some time. All of these photos are either from my iPhone or Ricoh. I just haven’t had the time to sort them out.
Guardians at one of the many spectacular temples in Thailand’s Wat Phra Kaew, the most sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand.
The amazingly funky Mahanakhon building in Bangkok.
I searched for film cameras and film and found them in the Quiapo section of Manila, one of the very few places where you can find film or film cameras in the Philippines!
A simple and undeveloped, unspoiled beach on Marinduque Island, Philippines.
No need for a title, but if I were to give this photo a title, I guess you could figure out what it would be 🙂
Surely there’s a lot of work left to do but I hope these photos give you a glimpse of where I’ve been and hopefully there’s more to come. And definitely, there’s a lot of catching up to do!
Hope you all are doing well, and catch you guys again soon! 😎📸👍🏻
Good day guys! Here’s our latest YouTube video review on the Hasselblad X-Pan and 45mm f/4 lens. I had an article almost finished but since I’m taking a little trip, I couldn’t put the finishing touches so that will have to wait a little. Of course, it will have a lot more information than the video but the video is probably more entertaining.
I wasn’t happy with all of the aspects of the video, despite trying new techniques but it’s a work in progress.
Anyway, the Hassleblad X-Pan is an amazing camera that will make you rethink the way you compose your pictures. See you guys on the road, and thanks for your support!
Continuing on my “cheap cameras” theme for this week…
If some of your best photographic memories come from the 80s, 90s and early 2000s, then you’ve probably followed the same photographic path that I have.
This is the story of the days when your host and author here used nothing more than one camera and two lenses. I know it’s hard to believe after all the cameras profiled here, but yes there was a time when that was all I needed 🙂
Perhaps you too have gone through that period. Do you ever wish you could go back to a simpler set of gear and just focus on photography?
THE CANON EOS-10s
My original Canon EOS-10s in black with my consumer grade Sigma 28-70mm f/3.5-4.5 zoom lens. On the left is my most recent “60th Anniversary” EOS-10QD which I got for $17 dollars!
The camera for today’s subject is the Canon EOS-10s.
The EOS-10s is a 35mm autofocus SLR film camera introduced by Canon in 1990. It is also known as the EOS-10 or 10QD elsewhere around the world.
Quick specs include your standard P/S/A/M modes, flash synch at 1/125 and a shutter speed range from 1/30 to 1/4000 which puts it in the amateur/enthusiast category. It also had a unique and gimmicky bar code reader thing. Not worth mentioning, just Google it if you’re interested in that!
This story is NOT about the Canon 10D digital camera! If you came here by accident because of the 10D, I’m telling you now so you won’t waste your time. And yes, I’ve used the 10D too but it’s a topic for another day 🙂
While a humble looking camera, the EOS-10s included a major innovation at that time which Canon called Multi-Basis AF which was a fancy way of saying that the camera had more than just one AF point 😊
It had three in fact! Apparently the three AF points could “pass off” the subject it tracked from one AF point to another. This was major back in 1990! And just one of the many things that made Canon so respected as an innovator in the camera world.
CANON EOS-10s IMPRESSIONS
I got this camera in 1994. I was a poor student and while waiting for friends at a college library, I spent an afternoon reading almost all of the library’s Popular Photography magazine! Big mistake because that’s how the second wave of my camera obsession came about 🙂
I had just about given up on my Minolta X-700 which I had used since 1985. It had developed a battery drain problem and even though I sent it in for Minolta to repair, the problem came back within a few months.
I was basically without a camera, except for my crappy Vivitar PS-20 point and shoot. I came across a review about the Canon EOS-10s and was fascinated by the (then) new Multi-Basis AF.
My friends showed up hours later, but I was quite content to read all that photography stuff! I was also several hundred dollars poorer because I knew I had to have that EOS-10s that I did not yet have the money for 🙂
Anyway, a few months and several paychecks later, the EOS-10s arrived and I held in my hands my very first Canon EOS camera. What a feeling it was back then!
Obviously a camera is useless without a lens, so I went around to several local camera shops (and there were more local shops around back then) and I came back with what today may be seen as a very cheap lens: the Sigma 28-70mm f/3.5-4.5 UC. I think I spent around $70 for it. I also eventually got a telephoto, and I settled for a cheap Canon 75-300mm f/4-5.6 USM first version.
As you can see folks, I started out with a humble two lens kit like everyone else! I cut my teeth learning the craft on cheap lenses. I should’ve just learned from my X-700 days and gotten a 50mm f/1.8 lens from the start but I wanted something different.
The EOS-10s felt good in my hands. I knew nothing of pro bodies at the time. I mean I read about them but didn’t think of getting one, nor could I afford one till much later.
While this is not a full out review, I can tell you that I never had a problem with the autofocus. It almost always delivered the goods. The fact that they AF points lit up in RED was a revelation at that time! Exposures were almost always spot on.
Below are some photos from circa 1995. Most of the photos are from a trip to Thailand in 1995. It is a beautiful and fascinating place to photograph! If you have the opportunity, do so. You will never run out of photo ops! I was quite content with my cheap camera and two lenses. All I wanted to do then was to take photos!
Here are some photos from the Canon EOS-10s and my two “cheap” lenses. Where ever possible, I will state in the captions what I observed and what I may have done differently now that I can look back 24 years later.
“Working Monkeys” 1995. Canon EOS-10s, EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 lens, film unrecorded. I’m an advocate for developing your eye for interesting sites, but this one was easy! I caught these working moneys riding the back of a Toyota in Thailand. The monkeys are used to climb coconut trees and have been taught to get the best picks.
“Ten Buddhas” 1995. Canon EOS-10s, Sigma 28-70mm f/3.5-4.5 UC lens, film unrecorded. Here’s an example of how I might have shot this different today. Looking back I probably should have used a large aperture lens, angle it differently and get one Buddha in focus while the rest are out of focus. Hmm, or is that perhaps too trite, to cliched a shot? 🙂
“Sleeping Beauty” 1995. Canon EOS-10s, Sigma 28-70mm UC lens. Not sure who this “Pretty Boy” is but he sure loved a good nap 🙂
“Float On” 1995. Canon EOS-10s, Sigma 28-70mm UC lens, Fujichrome Velvia. The joy of floral photography in upstate New York, and yes I do shoot flowers sometimes 🙂
“Big Mouth” 1995. Canon EOS-10s, Sigma 28-70mm UC lens, Kodak Ektar 25. The hippo opens his big mouth at the Bangkok Zoo. At that time the now long discontinued Kodak Ektar 25 was touted as the “sharpest print film in the world” and my 13×19 prints confirmed this. What I learned is that even consumer grade lenses can be very sharp when stopped down, something we all know but kind of downplay today so we can keep buying expensive lenses right? 🙂 Of course, the the Ektar 25 no doubt film helped the sharpness!
“Wat Phra Keo” 1995. Canon EOS-10s, Sigma 28-70mm UC lens, Kodak Ektachrome. One of the many magnificent structures at Wat Phra Keo in Bangkok, the most famous of Thailand’s many temples.
“Bangkok Traffic” 1995. Canon EOS-10s, Sigma 28-70mm UC lens, Kodak Ektar 25. The traffic in Bangkok was famous for being ridiculous and based on what I saw the last time I was there in 2016, it still is! But maybe not as bad as this:-)
“Koh Samui” 1995. Canon EOS-10s, EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6, film unrecorded. Just one of many beautiful views on the island of Koh Samui, Thailand. The trees and the hill may give a sense of scale. I used a telephoto because this was actually farther out than it looks.
It’s the 1990s again with my old Canon EOS-10s from 1994 and the “Fubu” shirt! 🙂
The Canon EOS-10s doesn’t get a lot of love in today’s world. It seems to be viewed as an evolutionary camera, as far as Canon’s camera order goes, but it could and should also be considered revolutionary considering the advanced technology that was implemented into the camera.
The three MULTI-BASIS autofocus points that light up in red may seem like nothing today, but it was an amazing and useful feature that pushed forward the complexity and accuracy of autofocus cameras.
In today’s world of cameras with hundreds of tiny and precise AF points, using a camera like the EOS-10s with its three “large” AF points, right in the middle of the viewfinder , is a refreshing experience.
In fact, to this day, I’m so old school I still prefer using the center point AF in every autofocus camera I own!
The Canon EOS-10s may never be considered a true Camera Legend as it is overshadowed by so many other cameras, Canon and non Canon. However, when you consider how it helped push autofocus cameras forward, you can’t help but have a little respect for its place in camera history. That plus the fact that it was my first EOS camera! 🙂
PRICE & AVAILABILITY
The Canon EOS-10s is dirt cheap and under-appreciated in today’s used camera market making it a great buy for the budding film photographer, or a seasoned pro wanting a cheap entry back into film.
Main problem or weak point might be the mode dial. They may wear out over time, but mine never did and I used it a lot back in the 1990s. The A2E that I also used later on has the same problem and I can attest that the dial on mine broke after a few years.
If seeking one of these, prices are trending at $10-40 USD. I wouldn’t pay more than $15-25 dollars. If it’s working you have a nice, if unassuming camera, that will deliver the goods!
The lenses, ah, probably not worth mentioning but you can find both of them anywhere from $5 to $35 or even better, FREE! Just keep looking! But any similar budget lenses will do, don’t knock yourself out over these lenses!
Good morning you guys! A friend recently asked me to recommend him a good film camera but before I could give any recommendations, he asked me “Should I get a Leica? Contax? Nikon?”
That got me thinking. In all honestly, especially for the beginner in film photography, I really don’t think you need an expensive camera!
So that’s how today’s article came about! Keep in mind, this is a lighthearted article. Part humor and part reality 😊
THE VIVITAR V3800N
The Vivitar V3800N is a 35mm single lens reflex (SLR) film camera. The lens mount is Pentax K. The actual year of its release is uncertain, but based on my research it appears to have been introduced and marketed by Vivitar in 2009.
The camera itself was apparently made by Cosina of Japan. To me, Cosina is the Yashica of today in that they can produce cameras and lenses of any type for any budget. From the very high end modern Zeiss Ikon (not to be confused with the original Zeiss Ikon of Germany) cameras to the Vivitar V3800N!
I am unsure however if Cosina made the 50mm f/1.7 Vivitar lens or if it was produced by a Chinese manufacturer. Cosina makes some very high quality Voigtlander branded lenses which are popular with the Leica community.
While the Vivitar V3800N is the star of today’s article, it is really NOT about the Vivitar specifically. It could be about any cheap camera!
For you folks who prefer videos, here’s my YouTube video on the subject. It’s about 6 minutes, much easier to view and much better for my sanity!
I’m doing it today on my new happy place, a place I call the “Lazy Couch” 🙂
Got tired of that old backdrop, so while waiting for a new backdrop I’m on the Lazy Couch! Somewhere in this video I accidentally dropped the F… Bomb 😂 Sorry about that!
OK, THE BENEFITS OF A CHEAP CAMERA!
It’s Cheap! The Vivitar V3800N cost me $30 for both camera and lens! But again, it doesn’t have to be a Vivitar
It’s a good conversation starter! Let’s say at a photo meetup your friends pull out their Leicas, Contaxes, Nikons, etc, etc, and you pull this out? Conversation starter!
You can say you’re a student! The Vivitar V3800N is a camera that was used by many photography students in high schools and colleges.
The V3800N doesn’t rely on batteries, except for the meter.
If you use a 50mm lens, which I heartily recommend, and you stop the lens down a couple of stops, you may be quite surprised with your results. And your friends might be surprised too!
And if you lose or damage the camera/lens or get it stolen, you will be out a bit of change but your Leica, Contax, or Hasselblad shooting friends will be out thousands!
PRICE, AVAILABILITY & OPTIONS
As I mentioned, I got the Vivitar V3800N plus 50mm f/1.7 lens for $30. You could find it for that price if you’re lucky or patient. More likely it will cost you $50-60 for both, still not bad.
The “ultimate” cheap camera to me, used to be the Pentax K1000. It was the original 35mm students camera but now prices have gone up quite a bit. Still, if you want higher quality than the Vivitar and all the benefits of the Pentax K mount, try to find one for under $100 with lens. Old Chinon cameras that use the Pentax K mount are also a good option.
As a fan of the Olympus OM series, the Olympus OM-1 can still sometimes be found for under $60. Get the 50mm f/1.8 Zuiko and you’ll get excellent results! That was one of my my favorite carry around combos when I shot OM exclusively for a while in the mid 90s.
A Nikon EM with old Nikon lenses are also a good bet! You know, the more I write this, the more I realize I could write a whole book with the options I could recommend so to cut this short I’ll say this…
It doesn’t matter what manufacturer you choose. Just try to choose these factors: 1) Purely manual camera, no need for batteries 2) Get a 50mm f/1.7 f/1.8 or f/2 lens 3) Make sure all this will not cost over $100 USD! Often, it should be far lower than that!
I hope this helps, especially for beginners or those wanting to try film. You DO NOT need to spend a lot of money to get started with film photography!
Feel free to leave a comment should you have an opinion on this! Thanks for reading and happy shooting folks!
“Quiet Town” 2018. Incheon, Seoul, South Korea. Contax T3, Kodak Gold 200
The businesses and buildings of Incheon are amazingly colorful. Yet, for some reason this part of town was very quiet even during midday. I believe this was a Saturday, though I’m not 100 percent on it. All I know is that most restaurants were closed and it was already past noon. Very few people were out. I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone! 🙂
If any of you guys out there know exactly where this area and why it was so quiet here, feel free to drop a comment. I’d love to hear about it!
This was shot last July as I wandered through this outskirt of Seoul, South Korea, on an unplanned layover due to airline delays. The camera in my hand was the Contax T3, loaded with Kodak Gold 200.
It’s funny, whenever I’m here in the States my preferred film stock is usually at ISO 400 or above but whenever I’m on an overseas trip, I prefer a film like Kodak Gold 200. The main reason is that I anticipate doing a lot of outdoor shooting in hot and sunny weather whenever I’m in Asia. In New York, I prefer shooting indoors or when the Sun goes down. It all makes sense!
I’d love to explore Seoul again, this time for an extended period. I want to try more of the food and photograph more of the sites, especially at night.
On the camera side of this article, which I know you guys have come to expect… 🙂
You guys know how I feel about the Contax T2 especially in light of the dramatic price increases. I used to recommend the T2 over the T3 because only three years ago you could find the T2 for $300-500 but today, the prices for the T2 have gone so sky high that it is approaching T3 prices which is anywhere from $1500-1900.
At these prices I no longer recommend either. That’s mostly due to the potential electronic issues these cameras have demonstrated, both personally on my copies and from other accounts. The prices are too high now for such a risky buy!
But, if you have your heart set on a T2 or T3, today I will say that if you could find a T3 for not much more than a T2, get the T3! Why? Much sharper optics. Less finicky focusing.
Sure, I remember in my 2016 review, I stated that I liked the T2 better because even though the lens is softer than the T3, it was sharp enough and has “character.” Yes, I said that but it was more charming when the camera was like $300-500! 🙂
At the prices the T2 commands these days, you might as well go for broke and get the T3 if you must have one of these Contax cult cameras.
Today for your Throwback Thursday we will take a ride on the Time Machine and go back to the 1970s & 1980s to retrieve a mysterious camera from the Forbidden Kingdom Of China 😊
In a world where almost every other camera is “Made In China” it’s still relatively uncommon to find a camera from China here in the States, especially a film camera that was actually manufactured in China and made by a Chinese company, for the Chinese homeland market.
Behind the vast Chinese Empire and behind the Great Wall originated a camera they actually called the “Great Wall” or more officially the Great Wall DF camera! 😊
Today, we will try to unlock the mystery of this intriguing Chinese Medium Format camera.
I feel like Leonard Nimoy on “In Search Of” haha! And even though I’m getting older, I’m not that old! So how come it seems like nobody else remembers “In Search Of?” Did the show even exist? 😀😎👍🏻
The Great Wall DF is a 6×6 medium format film camera produced by the Beijing Camera Factory. Although no information I could find list the exact years, they are stated to have been made during the 1970s and through the 1980s. It was marketed as a low budget camera for the masses.
WHAT IS THE GREAT WALL DF?
What is the Great Wall DF specifically? As mentioned it is a medium format camera that shoots 6x6cm images on 120 roll film. But it was also marketed as being able to shoot 6×4.5 via the insertion of a mask.
The camera is a Single Lens Reflex (SLR) in that it uses a reflex mirror for viewing. The difference between this and most SLR’s is that the mirror is part of the shutter mechanism and thus it uses what is called a guillotine shutter.
This is a similar shutter mechanism to the one used in the German Pilot cameras of which the Great Wall DF is based.
The lens mount is also interesting in that it is said to be a Leica M39 screwmount. Now this sounds good on paper but apparently due to technical issues, you cannot use the lenses the way you might think you could.
First of all those lenses are made for 35mm and this is a 6×6 Medium Format camera. If you could use it as a medium format lens, there would probably be vignetting, an image circle, etc. Secondly you probably won’t get infinity focus.
I can tell you that the few Leica screwmount lenses I have do not actually screw into the threaded mount of the DF. In other words, to use these lenses you’d have to use a technique called “freelensing” in which you hold the lens to the mount and just take the shot while holding the lens.
I have done this, especially in the good old days when adapters were not readily available. But trying this with a pricey lens, I’m not inclined to do! Don’t want to drop the lens or the camera!
I can also attest that with a lens such as the 28mm f/1.9 “freelensed” in front of the camera, it appears I could get some nice macro shots but it would have to be really close!
As part of my attempt to integrate video into your experience, here’s my YouTube video for the Great Wall DF. It is close to 15 minutes which it really shouldn’t be! This is a cheap camera that not many know and my “Mystery Camera” segments are usually five minutes tops. But I’m trying to give you guys my all so this might be my new norm. Sorry I haven’t gotten back to some of you guys like I usually do but the edits and reedits kill me! I just want to make sure all my information is correct.
Besides, as a huge Bruce Lee and Martial Arts fan, I’ve always wanted to star in a “Chop Socky” Kung-Fu flick and the intro to this video shows my MMA skills or lack thereof haha 🙂
MY EXPERIENCES WITH THE GREAT WALL DF
As someone who has stated over and over again that I love all cameras, I’ve always been fascinated with the very few Chinese film cameras that pop up on the used market here in the USA.
My very first China based camera is the Seagull medium format TLR that is much more common on the used market.
It’s strange that even though Communist China has been trading goods with us for decades, especially since President Nixon opened China’s doors in 1972, we still have seen precious little of their photography gear market, or shall I say their film photography market.
The few companies that stand out in my head for film cameras are Seagull, Pearl River, Great Wall and perhaps a couple more that I can’t recall at this time.
Today, we may have a lot more Chinese companies like Yongnuo, 7Artisans, for example, selling digital gear (mostly lenses) but the film stuff from even decades ago, it is harder to come by.
Perhaps it’s because they were intended for the home market? Perhaps the Chinese knew that most of these cameras were not high quality items? Who knows. That’s why it’s a mystery!
IS IT A CULT CAMERA?
It might possibly be, but if it is a cult camera, the “cult” must be very small because there is just so little on this camera. In fact, my YouTube video posted today seems to be the only video I can find on YouTube as of this writing.
There is actually another video of this camera that has been on the internet for a while. It’s a short clip showing how to work the camera, but it is very short and only hosted on the author’s webpage not on YouTube.
The very little that’s on this camera is scattered through blogs and forum postings. But I give credit where credit is due and those guys who have used this camera before me, their information is GREAT! I’ve tried to put all I’ve learned here and on my video.
PRELIMINARY SAMPLE IMAGES
Here are just a few quick and dirty samples from my first roll. They are not intended to be artistic masterpieces. I was just testing the camera and was actually just happy and relieved that the camera was working properly.
“Saturday Morning” 2019. Great Wall DF, 90mm f/3.5, Ilford FP4 in D76.
“Zen Camera” 2019. Great Wall DF, 90mm f/3.5, Ilford FP4 in D76.
“Sunday Star” 2019. Great Wall DF, 90mm f/3.5, Ilford FP4 in D76. This might have been my best shot in the roll had it not been soft and off focus! Note the tiny bit of overlap from the next frame.
Please do not judge the technical merits of this camera based on these photos. There are in fact much sharper samples from this camera on the internet to look at.
This was a test roll from a first time user of the camera. The photos were every day photos taken around the house just to see if the camera was working and I’m happy to report it works!
I made some mistakes and encountered some issues with this camera. First mistake was using Ilford FP4 which is rated at ISO 125. This was disadvantageous when using a camera with a slowish f/3.5 lens but the reason I used the FP4 was because I had a problem getting film into the film chamber of this camera! This is addressed below in the “Issues” section.
Overall, I’m encouraged enough to try another roll in this camera!
From all accounts on the internet, there may be as many as five or six different versions. Here’s my observations, not just from the scattered information I’ve read but from observing photos of the camera and comparing them to my copy. Feel free to correct me if any of this is wrong:
DF: Earliest model. No self timer, flash shoe, or PC socket.
DF2: “DF-2” imprinted on front name plate. No self timer, flash shoe, or PC socket.
DF3: Has self-timer, cable release socket, but no flash shoe, no PC socket.
DF4: Has self timer, cable release socket, flash shoe and PC socket.
Based on what I can tell, my model might be the DF4! In fact, I took the plunge on it because it was advertised as a DF-2 “Parts” camera and upon looking at the photos and the low price I said why not?! 🙂
Now if you can’t find a DF-3 or DF-4 don’t sweat it, they’re all basically the same cameras. Unless you really need to use a cable release or need a flash socket, I wouldn’t worry about it.
This camera has all the FUNK you’d want! It starts with getting a roll of film into the film chamber. The main reason I used the Ilford FP4 in it, despite it being a slower film for indoor use, is the fact that it was the only roll of film I could get to fit in it! Even then, I had to slightly bend the edges to get it in.
From what I’ve read, some films fit in there better, easier, like perhaps Fuji films vs Kodak. But the Fuji roll I tried was also stiff to get in.
Next issue is I could not see any of the frame numbers through the window for the “frame counter” so I had to guesstimate the spacing.
Next issue is sometimes when pressing the shutter release, the mirror flips up but I felt as if the shutter was not coming down. Since they are both a part of that guillotine shutter, I felt the shutter should’ve come down. Hard for me to explain but when you’re holding the camera and shooting it, you can tell when the shutter has come down by the feel and the “clunk” and when it is not coming down.
Next issue was frame overlaps. I had expected some of this based on the reviews I had read and to be honest, it was not too bad for most of the shots but on one shot it seemed like I had three exposures on one frame! Perhaps it was me, but I can’t imagine shooting and not advancing the film three times.
Part of the reason I did not take the camera outside for prolonged shooting was I got the impression that I might be wasting my time, fearing nothing was getting exposed but I’m glad I was wrong!
PRICE & AVAILABILITY
The Great Wall DF is somewhat rare on the used market but that doesn’t not mean it should be pricey.
First of all, not many people are looking for this camera. Only someone “special” or weirdos like me haha 🙂
Secondly, the build quality is not high. It feels solid enough but does not feel like it would take a lot of abuse. The seller even stressed to me it was on the flimsy side.
That said, it feels better in my hands than you would think based on people’s descriptions. Plus it’s one of the smallest and lightest 6×6 SLR’s you could buy.
I got mine for $75 but if you’re seeking one of these, do so carefully. Prices are trending at $60-160 USD. They usually come with the 90mm f/3.5 Great Wall lens. I wouldn’t pay over $150 for one of these.
The shutters have been known to fail so use gently. I’m not trying to scare you. It’s possibly that yours could last years, but it’s also possible it could fail tomorrow. That’s one great thing about cheap cameras. If they fail, you’re not out for much. But if this was a $1000 plus camera, I’d worry about it!
The Great Wall DF may never be a Camera Legend. Perhaps it is in China, I don’t know, but in the overall annals of history I don’t think it is or ever will be.
That said, it’s one of the more interesting cameras I have tried in a long time! There’s something addictive about “Cheap Plus Results” as I say. If it’s a cheap camera that gives me decent results, and it seems like it could do even better than the results I got? I’m in!
In closing, I know there’s just a small group of people fanatic enough about cameras to be interested in this camera but I hope that I have helped to demystify the Great Wall DF a bit for you if you are one of those uncommon people!
Thanks for reading and feel free to drop me a line if you have this camera!
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“Two For Two” 2015. Pentax 6×7, 105mm f/2.4 Pentax lens on Fuji FP-3000B.
From 2015, your Brother here with a Pentax 6×7 and my eldest Zoe with her CVS camera…we start ’em young in this family! 😊😘
My elder daughter today enjoys shooting with her iPhone but for some reason both my girls have grown to hate me taking their photos. Actually “hate” might be too strong of a word.
What they really don’t like is if I take too long playing around with the camera settings or focusing etc, which is to be expected when shooting with older manual focus gear, ie, rangefinders, TLRs, medium format, large format etc.
And when they complain my response is usually something like…you gotta have patience!!
And if I want to make a stronger point, I might say…you’re a photographer’s kid and you can’t sit still for a photo?! 😀
How about you folks with kids or even significant others like wives, girlfriends, boyfriends? Are they into photography? Are they willing to sit or stand still as you test your new gear on them? I’d love to know how you deal with it!
My philosophy has always been, if I can get a good shot of the kids using whatever gear I’m using, I can get a good shot of anything!
Happy Friday and have a great weekend folks! 😎🙏🏻👍🏻
“Two For Two” 2016. Playing around with the Fuji Insax Mini 90 Neo Classic while trying to give Baby Zay her milk. Cameras and kids can be fun until they start hating it! 🙂
I was going to title this photo “Ships” like two ships that pass in the night. However, as there is only one ship I gave it another title 🙂
This was shot back in the summer of 2018 with a Ricoh GR1 and Kentmere 400 film. The place was Manila Bay. A beautiful area in Manila with some of the most beautiful sunsets in the Philippines. Though I should have had color film in here, I’m a black and white fan and I like how all the lines are nicely resolved. I feel the GR1’s lens is really only limited by the film I’m using.
It’s best viewed large and by setting this as the featured (and only) image, I hope you can see that.
I really should update this site, pay the piper to WordPress so that I can start posting large photos again but my feeling is…Hey if CBS, Page Six, and other big time players are still using the free WordPress platform, who am I to want to pay for it 🙂
Just like many of you, I scan my film as a labor of love. It started as something I enjoyed to something that became more like work. Just natural when you have time constraints due to family and job. It can be time consuming but when the results are good, they’re definitely worth it. And sometimes when I get a really good scan I’m reminded of just good film can still be in terms of resolution and detail.
However those of us familiar with using a flatbed scanner for scanning negatives know that sometimes it really can take a lot of time going through even one roll of film if you want or need to make the necessary corrections to get the best out of the images.
Over the years, I’ve experimented with “alternative” scanning methods, primarily as a way of saving time. I’ve tried all the things people try, from DSLR to Mirrorless to Phone camera.
“Big Buddha” 2005. Contax G1, 28mm f/2.8 Zeiss Biogon. The image was “scanned” with an Olympus E-1 and 90mm f/2 Zuiko Macro lens via adapter.
Above is an early attempt at “alternative” scanning. The original photo was taken with a Contax G1, and 28mm f/2.8 Biogon taken on Fuji Velvia film in 2005. I “scanned” this image in 2005 using an Olympus E-1 5mp camera with 90mm f/2 Zuiko Macro lens via adapter. The vibrancy and detail were amazing but setting up the tripod and getting the light right was somewhat cumbersome so I didn’t use this method much.
It’s funny that back in 2005, DSLR “scanning” didn’t really catch on but it’s very popular today, especially with today’s high resolution cameras. But in my opinion, 5mp was perfectly acceptable and I made a nice 8×10 print from the above photo!
“Time Out” 2009. Leica CL, 40mm f/2 Leitz Summicron. Also “scanned” using the Olympus E-1 5mp and 90mm f/2 Zuiko Macro Lens.
Recently I tried a low budget scanning method using my iPad as a light box and using my iPhone to “scan” the images. You can find a few tutorials on YouTube on how to do this. It seems everyone does it a little differently.
Here’s what I did:
1) Use white background on iPad as a lightbox.
2) Use one roll of tape as a spacer so the film is not too close to the iPad. Too close and the brightness of the iPad or tablet may wash out details or show its pixels.
3) Put film on top of the first tape roll. I use the negative holder from my Epson scanner to keep the film flat. If you don’t have a holder you should find another way of keeping the film flat. Thin glass might help.
4) Put other roll of tape on top of the film and position the image you want to scan. This might require some moving around as most of the cameras on our phones are not placed in the center of the phone itself. The tape roll also acts as support to keep the phone steady.
5) Tap the image on your phone to focus and take a few shots to ensure that at least one is sharp
5) Import into editing program on your phone.
Below is a step by step photo show and comparison. The original image was taken with a Mamiya AF-D and 80mm f/2.8 Mamiya AF lens on Tri-X 400 in 2016! Yet another camera I’ve used but never profiled. It was a great camera system if you need to know!
My flatbed scanner is a now very old Epson V500. I reckon it must be at least eight or nine years old!
My low budget iPad/iPhone scanner! See details in the article on how to do it.
A closer view of a possible Medium Format scan.
An image scanned using the iPad/iPhone method then opened in the Adobe Photoshop Express app.
The final image using the iPad/iPhone scanner. The negative needs to be inverted to reveal the positive image. I then processed the image using the sliders and controls in PS Express.
A close up of the above image. This might be fine for a lot of people, and certainly for a quick preview. But as you’ll see below, it’s no comparison to a flatbed scanner.
Same image scanned using an Epson V500 Flatbed Scanner.
Close up of the Epson V500 scan. Note the details in the fabric of the ski hat, the eyes, the teeth. There’s really no comparison!
WHY DO THIS?
Why use your phone to scan you might ask? I can think of a few reasons but probably most important is that it’s incredibly faster. If you just want to get an idea if the image is worth scanning on your flatbed scanner this will do it. It takes literally seconds to scan using the phone camera vs minutes using the flatbed. If you’re pressed for time this adds up!
Also using this method and a photo editing app such as Adobe’s Photoshop Express or Lightroom, you can do it all on your phone and not need to turn on your computer.
Well, based on my initial testing the iPhone scans are surprisingly usable as a quick preview. Heck some might even be able to use these scans for posting to social media etc.
However, as expected, the scans from a “real” scanner such as my old Epson V500 are still infinity better. I’ve included crops from both the phone scan and the Epson for you to see.
Check for details in the fabric of the ski hat, and in the face and teeth. There’s no comparison really! But if you want to see images in a pinch, this works!
Now some of you might say, oh well, an optical scanner is even better than the flatbed and yes, I agree cause I had that covered too! Had an optical scanner in 2003 or 2004 and the scans were superior to the flatbed. To this day, I regrettably sold it but the flatbed is a good compromise. For the record, I’ve never used a drum scan so I leave it up to YOU to tell me about it! 🙂
Next step is for me to do a comparison with the Epson flatbed scanner vs using a modern high resolution DSLR or Mirrorless with a macro lens. This should be closer!
Till next time happy Sunday good peeps!
“Happy Sunday!” 2016. Mamiya AF-D, 80mm f/2.8 AF, Tri-X in D76. Zayda doesn’t want to be left out! She wishes everyone a happy Sunday morning good peeps! 🙂
This photo was shot about two, almost three years ago in 2016. I said to Zay, give me your best smile and this is what she gave me! Ah the baby’s already a natural in my biased opinion 🙂
Sure yes I know it’s not a real “flashback” but hey when you’re a 3 year old toddler, yeah it’s a flashback! 😀
I wonder though, could anyone figure out the camera setup being used in the picture? Hint, it’s not something I ever alluded to on these pages before lol but perhaps this is the year for it! This is the year we go BIG…or is it not? Haha