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! 🙂

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

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 🙂

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 🙂

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 🙂

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? 🙂

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

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Flashback Friday: Olympus OM-D EM5 Images

The Olympus OM-D EM5 (right) next to the Olympus M-1 (original OM-1).

The original 16mp Olympus OM-D EM5 was introduced by Olympus in 2012 and quickly became a favorite of mirrorless camera fans.

Its retro styling brought back memories of the classic Olympus OM cameras of yore such as the OM-1 film camera.

When I first saw it in the flesh, I knew I had to have one. So in late 2012 or early 2013, I did something I don’t normally do. I bought the camera new!

Right away I was impressed with the OM-D’s performance and image quality. It was the first mirrorless camera that I felt gave me images as good as what I was getting from my full frame DSLR cameras. And I’d used many of the highly rated mirrorless cameras before it, ie, Olympus E-P1, E-P2, Panasonic GF1, GH1, GH2 and a few others.

“Twins” 2013. Olympus OM-D EM5, 45mm f/1.8 Zuiko Digital lens. The EM5 captured these “twins” with beautiful color and depth of tones.

I loved the fast touch shutter, it was great for quick and rapid street work.

Indeed, the Olympus OM-D EM5 became one of my favorite cameras to use and you know that’s not easy considering all the cameras I’ve tried 😊

I had originally planned to do a review on this camera but it was not to be. Why?

Because last year the shutter started to conk out on me. It started taking blank images. Checking further it seems the shutter curtain is no longer opening.

A little research on the internet shows that many other people have the same issue with this first generation of the OM-D.

This is indeed disappointing as I bought the camera new, it has probably less than 5k on the shutter, and never been dropped or abused.

It’s out of warranty and I hear Olympus will charge around $175 to fix it. To me, that’s pretty unacceptable for a camera with such low shutter count. I have a Nikon D700 bought USED with over 200k that still takes great pictures!

Of course you can say that the D700 is a more pro oriented body. But 200k and still shooting vs 5k and dead? Come on now Olympus!

So Olympus, if you come across this and you want to do right please contact me! 😊

Sounds like I’m joking but I’m not. I’m seriously disappointed as I loved the camera. I know cameras can give out at any time but I think there must be more to these EM5 shutter issues. Just do a search.

Anyway sorry for my rant, here’s a few OM-D EM5 images during better days. Have a great weekend folks!

“The Mean Lady” 2013. Olympus OM-D EM5, 45mm f/1.8 Zuiko Digital lens. Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand. The kids called this lady “the mean lady” but to me she was always nice! The EM5 performed admirably on black and white images too.

“The Human Touch” 2013. Olympus OM-D EM5. Olympus OM-D EM5, 45mm f/1.8 Zuiko Digital. Samut Prakan, Thailand. As Rick Springfield once said, we all need the “human touch” 🙂

“Smoker” 2013. Olympus OM-D EM5. Olympus OM-D EM5, 45mm f/1.8 Zuiko Digital. Samut Prakan, Thailand. A charming fellow who enjoyed his smokes 🙂

“Thai Miyagi” 2013. Olympus OM-D EM5. Olympus OM-D EM5, 45mm f/1.8 Zuiko Digital. Samut Prakan, Thailand. Maybe I’m nuts, but this man reminded me a lot of “Miyagi-San” Pat Morita.

“Asiatique” 2013. Olympus OM-D EM5. Olympus OM-D EM5, 45mm f/1.8 Zuiko Digital. Bangkok, Thailand. The EM5 was superb at capturing night and low light images.

“Gator Riders” 2013. Olympus OM-D EM5. Olympus OM-D EM5, 45mm f/1.8 Zuiko Digital. Pattaya, Thailand.

“Big Hair” 2015. Olympus OM-D EM5. Olympus OM-D EM5, 45mm f/1.8 Zuiko Digital. Did Baby Zay have big hair or what?! 🙂

“Blue Pool” 2016. Olympus OM-D EM5. Olympus OM-D EM5, 45mm f/1.8 Zuiko Digital. Manila, Philippines. Kids in a portable “baby” pool. It works! 🙂

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Manila In B&W With The Ricoh GR-1 Film Camera

“Hotel City” 2018. Ricoh GR1, Kentmere 400 developed in D76 Developer. There are so many hotels in this city! And so many beautiful hotels at that. This one is the Rizal Hotel near Manila Bay. I was very close to the building and despite having the GR-1 with its 28mm lens, I wish I had a wider lens. Yes, there is such a thing as not wide enough! 🙂

Manila, the bustling capital of the Philippines, is a fascinating, lively, and colorful place that in my opinion is better suited to color photography than it is for black and white photography.

“Mall Town” 2018. Ricoh GR1, Kentmere 400 developed in D76 Developer. Mall culture is alive and well in the Philippines. They love their malls! I hate to admit it, but I frequented many malls during my visit and they were all great. They take their malls seriously in Manila! 😊[[[[[[[[[[[[

However, as a B&W fanatic, you and I both know that everything looks good in B&W anyway 😀

With that in mind, I couldn’t help but take my Ricoh GR1 along for this recent trip.

Now you may or may not recall, but in the last post I mentioned bringing along two of the greatest point and shoot film cameras along for this trip.

I used those cameras with color film so that means the GR-1 was NOT one of those two cameras, despite the fact that it could easily be in that same list of “greatest.” So what does this mean? It means I hope you’ll stay tuned as I have more goodies and surprises coming your way!

This article will show some photos taken with the GR-1 and Kentmere 400 B&W film. I developed this roll in D76.

Looking back on the photos, I wished I had shot more than one roll with the GR-1. That’s the problem with taking too many cameras 😊 In fact, I could’ve easily used it as my only film camera and I would’ve been happy with that.

Here are just some photos from the trip. Not meant to be an artistic showcase, just the things I saw in Manila and some thoughts on them. Where I can, I will try to give you some commentary.

“Intramuros” 2018. Ricoh GR1, Kentmere 400 developed in D76 Developer. This is the famous walled city at the heart of old historic Manila. I shot this through a dirty window using both the iPhone X and the Ricoh GR1. I was surprised at how much detail came through from both! The detail here is really limited mostly due to the film grain when compared to the iPhone photos.

“SALE” 2018. Ricoh GR1, Kentmere 400 developed in D76 Developer. I love fashion photography but mannequins are as close as I usually get to fashion models 🙂

“BGC” 2018. Ricoh GR1, Kentmere 400 developed in D76 Developer. A scene from Manila’s vibrant “BGC” district, a hip financial and social center.

“Manila Floods” 2018. Ricoh GR1, Kentmere 400 developed in D76 Developer. It rained nearly every day of the two and a half weeks I spent there. They don’t call it the “rainy season” for nothing.

“OOMA Sushi” 2018. Ricoh GR1, Kentmere 400 developed in D76 Developer. Had a good meal here. Not sure why the man is smiling, but I certainly don’t know him! I just took a quick grab shot 🙂

“Lucban Church” 2018. Ricoh GR1, Kentmere 400 developed in D76 Developer. Heading out a couple of hours southeast from Manila, I visited the small municipality of Lucban in the province of Quezon where I saw this beautiful and historic church that dates back hundreds of years. This is the San Luis Obispo de Tolosa Parish Church otherwise know as “Lucban Church.”

“Free Fall” 2018. Ricoh GR1, Kentmere 400 developed in D76. Youngsters having fun at this man made waterfall at the Vila Escudero, a resort about an hour away from Metro Manila.

“Night Lights” 2018. Ricoh GR1, Kentmere 400 developed in D76 developer. The lights on the open air rooftop at the SM Aura mall in Manila. Considering this is ISO 400 film, I think the Ricoh GR1 did pretty good with this shot.

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Photo Of The Day: “Evil Bugster” Canon G1X

"Evil Bugster" 2017. Canon G1X. Cape May, NJ.

“Evil Bugster” 2017. Canon G1X. Cape May, NJ. I added a photo filter to dramatize the image although the subject was strong enough that it probably didn’t need it.

I’m a big fan of the VW Beetle, especially the older ones although I think the New Beetle of 1998 and up were also superbly designed and beautiful to look at. Keep in mind, I’m just a fan of the car, I’ve never owned one!

Let’s face it, the most enduring appeal of the Volkswagen Beetle is the fact that it’s “cute.” Its iconic looks and appeal all boils down to that cute factor.

Being that I’m always looking for something a little different from the norm, I prefer Beetles which are harder edged, meaner, heck even “evil” and I found one recently while driving through Cape May, New Jersey.

Since this blog is about cameras, it may be best to turn away from the car aspect and focus on the gear. For this shot, I used a Canon G1X. Just got one shot out of the car window and prayed that it counted.

The G1X is a 14.3 megapixel point and shoot and a member of Canon’s highly regarded G series compact cameras. It was released in 2012. The G1X differentiates itself from it’s G series predecessors however due to the fact that it features a larger than normal 1.5″ CMOS sensor, which is nearly but not quite the size of the APS-C standard.

I’ve had this camera for a few months and have been shooting it regularly in the hopes of putting up a review for you. However, I have not been overwhelmingly impressed with it. Sometimes you listen to your instincts, but hope you’re wrong. The G1X is one of those cameras I was hoping to be wrong about.

The reviews have been generally positive for the G1X, and what pushed me over the edge was several postings on different web forums where the camera was praised with high enthusiasm. Also what sold me was the reduced prices these days on the G1X, since the G1X Mark II came out. I also generally prefer to weigh the opinions of real life shooters with the camera versus just a technical lab review. Power to the people! 🙂

Anyway, this isn’t my G1X review yet so I’ll keep it short. This was the first picture I truly liked out of many months of G1X shooting.

You guys know I work at a snail’s pace, but I always aim for fairness and accuracy over a highly emotive positive review. So just when I thought of chucking the G1X, I think I’m going to give her another chance!

As for the “Evil Bugster” I guess I don’t need to repeat that I love it! 🙂

Happy Hump Day good people and thanks for your visits and support as always, I do appreciate it!

The Return Of Kodak Ektachrome

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“Sunrise” Koh Pha Ngan, Thailand, 1995. Canon EOS 10s, Sigma 28-70 f/3.5-4.5 UC, Kodak Ektachrome. The return of Ektachrome. Perhaps the dawn of a new day for film lovers?

I’m sure many of you hardcore film fanatics have heard by now of Kodak’s decision to bring their Ektachrome slide film back from the dead.

That is the best thing I have heard out of Kodak in the past ten years!! A snippet from Kodak’s press release: “Sales of professional photographic films have been steadily rising over the last few years, with professionals and enthusiasts rediscovering the artistic control offered by manual processes and the creative satisfaction of a physical end product…”

I used Ektachrome film mostly in the 1990s and early 2000s. It was a great slide film, but also considered a lower cost alternative to Kodachrome which was Kodak’s gold standard for slide film.

If memory serves me correctly, I remember Ektachrome to produce neutral colors with perhaps a shift towards cool, strong on the blue and greens.

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“The Sun Never Sets” Krabi, Thailand, 1995. Canon EOS 10s, Sigma 28-70mm f/3.5-4.5 UC, Kodak Ektachrome. Colors shifting a bit, but this photo is almost as vibrant as that day I took it twenty-two years ago. The two beloved family members, on the far left and far right are gone. And so too did we think Ektachrome was gone. But Kodak is bringing it back from the dead. Unbelievable news in many ways.

The reasons I didn’t use Ektachrome more was because I was and am a negative shooter rather than a slide shooter. And when I did shoot slides, I always went with either Fuji Velvia or Kodachrome. I tried Ektachrome just because. Not because I wanted to, or didn’t want to, just because I had to try it.

But with Kodak’s announcement of the return of Ektachrome, I’m itching to try it again. It was an iconic film in its own right.

Again, this is the best news I’ve heard out of Kodak in ten years and it is awesome news for film in general. With the demise of Fuji’s FP-100C packfilm, this was certainly unexpected.

People, including myself, have been quite hard on Kodak in recent years. This time, let me say that they are doing something amazing. Now if they would concentrate in this direction, they might have a chance of not only reclaiming their legendary name but maybe even be the king of the hill for film again. Kodak is doing what they do best…make film. Kudos Kodak, wishing you the best of luck on this!

 

The Extended Trip

 

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“Sisters Sa Kaeo” 2016. iPhone 6s Plus. The girls found themselves on a lovely, but lonely local unpopulated, undeveloped beach in the tiny village of Ban Sa Kaeo in the province of Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand.

Where the heck in the world are we?! I’m not sure many out there care, but based on the stats there are at least some who do. And I do appreciate that. I know we have been away for long periods before, but this is by far the worst and I do apologize. Some of you have left comments and messages and I promise to get back to all of you.

I have been away vacationing as well as visiting elderly relatives in SE Asia. While the trip is primarily to pay homage to relatives who are not in the best of health, any trip to SE Asia is a potential gold mine for photography. Not to mention a chance to actually use the gear I review here 🙂

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“The Mean Lady” 2016. Olympus OM-D EM-5, Zuiko 45mm f/1.8 in Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand.

One thing while overseas is that I always get minimal use of my phone and the internet due to lack of good wifi access and the high roaming charges I incur from my provider. As such I was barely on the internet, but the good thing is I finally know what it feels like to get a good night’s sleep 🙂

On this trip, as opposed to previous trips, I kept my camera gear at a minimal. I kept it light. Two digital cameras, two film cameras and a phone camera. While it may still seem like a lot for some, it’s not for me as I’ve lugged medium format gear and large lenses on my overseas trips in the past. Not this time. A sign that I’m getting old? Perhaps. Or maybe I’ve just learned to maximize from minimal gear? Maybe a combination of both.

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“Cool Blue Pool” 2016. Kids enjoying a splash in a small but cool, blue pool. Olympus OM-D EM-5, Zuiko 45mm f/1.8 in Paranaque, Philippines.

Above are just a few shots from the trip. I haven’t developed the film yet so we’ll see how those came out, fingers crossed. Anyway, just saying Hi! and thanks to all who still visit this site, I appreciate you, I really do!

Best, Sam