The Contax T2 Revisited

Good day you camera lovers! Today’s special episode was brought to you by YOU the people! πŸ™‚

For while I have tried to move on, to bring new cameras to review for you, it would seem you good camera loving folks want more on the Contax T2. And I’m going to give it to you!

THE CONTAX T2 REVISITED

In my latest video, I address some things that may not have been clear on my first Contax T2 video from 2018. Also on this video, I develop one roll of film, and then we look at the results!

A WORD ON YOUTUBE AND BLOGGING TOGETHER

I kind of put myself in a hole when I dedicated myself to making YouTube videos to accompany my articles. That’s why my blogging has slowed down quite a bit. It’s just a lot of extra work to make these YouTube videos and if you have a decent blog, and you’re in the same predicament, wondering whether or not you should make a YouTube channel, my advice is…DON’T DO IT!!

But hopefully I have enough written articles on enough cameras to keep people reading for some time.

But in this game, just as with almost anything, you’re only as good as your last post it seems so I’m not resting on my laurels πŸ˜ŽπŸ‘πŸ»

THE “INFAMOUS” YOUTUBE VIDEO

Now the funny thing is that while the subscriber count is low, the views on certain videos are decently high. Now “high” is subjective. For a guy with a million subscribers, a thousand views is nothing. So I see it in that perspective. The video below on the Contax T2 has at this moment 8K views and counting, which for a guy with 198 subscribers I’d say is decent. It’s really all about the topic, in this case the T2.

In this video posted nearly a year ago, I had the “balls” or as some may say, the GALL to say things that sounded negative about the almighty Contax T2 point and shoot camera! And some people really don’t like that! πŸ™‚

I’m proud to say that I was among the first to buck the trend of glorifying this already highly praised camera, and maybe over-hyped camera to give people “Five Reasons Why You DON’T Need The Contax T2.”

In this video, I stated that the prices for this camera has gone too high and came to the conclusion that a nearly 30 year old electronic camera with a high potential for failure or reliability problems is too much a gamble at its current inflated prices.

While I received some flack for that, it seems the majority of the folks agree with my reasoning because there’s a much higher percentage of “likes” vs “dislikes” on that video. I’ve always said my audience are the most educated people on YouTube! But I don’t mind if you disagree with me. We live in a democracy and I like it that way! However, I do find it a little funny when people are “disgusted” enough to click that dislike symbol!

I used to be sensitive to “dislikes” but now I realize the more views you get the more dislikes you will get so it’s a necessary evil I guess πŸ™‚

A CONTAX SUPER-FAN

For folks to understand where I was coming from in that video and am coming from today, I think it would be good for the audience to know my Contax past.

I consider myself a Contax “Super-Fan.” After years of using Minolta, then Canon and Nikon, I discovered Contax.

I started with the Contax T original, the tiny manual focus rangefinder around 1996 or 1997 and I’ve worked my way to all of the T series cameras. In addition, I’ve also used the G1 and G2 and a myriad of other Contax cameras and lenses. I speak from 20 plus years of experience with Contax equipment. If you want to talk about Contax SLRs, I love to talk about them too! But one thing at a time, today we are talking about the Contax T2 πŸ™‚

PERSPECTIVE IS EVERYTHING

A lot of the folks who want this camera today, and arguably the ones who helped raise its prices are young people, twenty somethings, millennials. Since I started using the Contax brand in my twenties, I totally understand the feeling of awe and amazement when using a camera like the T2.

But today, and after more than twenty years of using Contax, I still love the brand but am now much more aware of what it is and what its potential shortcomings are. What is it? It’s a rebranded Yashica!! You may know this, but you won’t know where I’m coming from until you feel it.

I humbly say I’m a Contax “O.G.” which is a word the kids like using these days for someone older or an “Original Gangsta!” Basically, what that means is I’m one of the few “original” folks you’ll find on YouTube who actually used the gear in its heyday of the 1990s. There are quite a lot of us actually, happily shooting Contax still, but just not many of us on YouTube.

Now I’m NOT saying, oh be impressed cause I’ve using Contax gear for twenty plus years. What I am saying is, those twenty plus years and the experience count for something and what it counts for is perspective.

I was in my twenties when I started using Contax or shall I say Contax/Yashica. It was an amazing feeling when I got my first Contax, the Contax T. So I know how you youngsters might feel when holding or dreaming of the Contax T2.

I’m repeating myself but today, more than twenty years later, while I still get a kick out of using my T2 or any Contax gear, I see things in a different perspective. I see it as a glorified Yashica camera, which in and of itself is not a bad thing. Yashica was a great camera manufacturer and if they were still making the T2 it would totally be worth the $1000 or whatever they might be asking for it.

But the reality is Yashica of the Contax/Yashica era is out of business of making cameras and the T2 is a nearly thirty year old point and shoot camera with no more support should something go wrong with it. And only one place I know will even attempt to repair them.

Thirty years is risky for any electronic camera, but the main problem is that the T2’s prices have inflated to where it is MUCH costlier than other electronic point and shoots of its era, thus making it much more of a gamble these days.

THE CONTAX T2 REVISITED YOUTUBE VIDEO

So today in this article and on our latest video, we will look at my latest batch of photos from the Contax T2. I took extra care to pay very close attention to making sure I got the best photos I could out of it. For example, paying attention to the focusing, the settings, etc, and even how steady I was holding the camera.

The video may actually profile the images better because as many of you know, I can no longer post full sized photos here on WordPress. Perhaps I should post the set of larger pics on Flickr?

MY LATEST ROLL OF FILM SHOT WITH THE T2

Below are photos from my last roll of film with the Contax T2. All of these photos are from my vacation to Thailand and the Philippines in August. The film was Kentmere 400 developed in Ilford ID-11 which is pretty much the same as Kodak D76. Extra information is included in the captions, where applicable.

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“Buddha Brain” 2019. Bangkok, Thailand. Contax T2, Kentmere 400 in Ilford ID-11 Developer.

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“Wat Phra Kaew” 2019. Bangkok, Thailand. You probably can’t see it at this resolution, but the image is very crisp and speaks well of the T2.

Resolution Test: This was one of the frames damaged during the development process but it is a crop of a wider image and is still able to show the crisp detail captured by the T2’s 38mm Zeiss Sonnar lens. When the lens is on, it’s on!

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The giant reclining Buddha at Wat Pho, Bangkok, Thailand. I focused on the Buddha’s face and the T2 did a superb job achieving focus on this shot.

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“Sitting Buddha” at Wat Phra Kaew, Bangkok, Thailand. The statues and architecture at Wat Phra Kaew were amazing and the Contax T2 did a great job capturing the intricate details.

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“Yaks” are “giants” that guard this structure at Bangkok’s Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn.

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“The Float Man” Bangkok, Thailand. I’m always looking for charactersand this man at one of Bangkok’s famous floating markets had character written all over his face!

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Marinduque Island in the Philippines is a beautiful and still rather undeveloped destination.

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This looks like Santorini or somewhere in Greece, but it is in fact a spot in the resort town of Batangas, Philippines.

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The kiddies enjoying the pool in Laguna, Philippines. The Contax T2 is a great companion for life’s special moments.

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The kiddies finally get to chill out at the end of another long Contax T2 debate! πŸ™‚

AND SOME COLOR PHOTOS…

“Jesus On A Hill” 2018. Lucban, Philippines.

“Sweet Sugar” 2018. Contax T2, Kodak Gold 200. The T2 excels as a point and shoot, some people forget that! By the way, in today’s overly sensitive world, people may frown if you call someone by nicknames, etc, but if I know you and I know you well, would it be ok if I called you “Sweet Sugar?” πŸ™‚

“Nice!” 2018. Contax T2, Kodak Gold 200. The Contax T2 is a very nice camera, very nice. But at a price! πŸ™‚

CONCLUSION

What do you think? For me this was one of my most satisfying rolls with the Contax T2 in recent memory, even with some of my errors in film development. There are still lots of photos that I haven’t posted but I can say that the T2 performed nicely on this trip. I don’t know why but when I shoot b&w film, I always feel inspired to get better results.

Did I still have the focus issues that I have mentioned in the past? Yes, yes I did but by and large, the images were in focus. But that’s not to say that my particular T2 doesn’t have focus issues. If you’ll notice, the vast majority of my sharp shots are shots where the subject or subjects are far off in the distance. So infinity focus is not a problem. That, I’ve always known. My problem has always been achieving critical focus when the subjects are closer, ie, anywhere from 5 to 50 feet let’s say. Anyway, that’s a subject I will explore in future postings!

Needless to say, the Contax T2 is an awesome camera that takes great pictures. But it’s pictures aren’t great enough to justify the three-fold increase in price in only two or three years. Thus, my conclusion is the same today as it was last year when I posted my “Five Reasons…” video: The Contax T2 is a great camera with a great lens, but its prices have climbed too high and it is too much of a gamble due to its nearly 30 year old electronics that only one place will repair. I guess my opinion hasn’t changed much!

But if you have $700-1200 to blow on a T2 by all means get it! It’s the Contax T2 baby, gotta have it! πŸ™‚

If you have the T2 or an opinion on it, feel free to leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

STILL LOOKING FOR THE CONTAX T2? TRY THESE LINKS!

WANT A DIGITAL T2 EQUIVALENT?

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HOW ABOUT NEW CANON GEAR?

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G Series – $129

Cult Camera Collection: A Look Back At The Nimslo & Nishika 3D Cameras

Today, in a world of virtual reality, it can be argued that 3D or stereoscopic photography is a thing of the past. And it is! The first documented stereoscopic “3D” photo can be traced as far back as 1839.

3D photography, in its best intentions, blends two or more photos together in an attempt to emulate the way we see dimensions in the real world, giving the viewer a sense or illusion of depth and movement.

That sounds so amazingly awesome you would think that 3D photography would have caught on having been around since 1839 but it hasn’t. It never did.

Yet every few years, now maybe every decade or so, someone, somebody, some company attempts to reignite the 3D flame by reintroducing it to the public. This has happened not only in photography but in the movies as well. Hollywood knows it!

The results are usually the same: initial excitement which then fades quickly into oblivion.

A WORD OR TWO ABOUT THIS ARTICLE

I just wanted to note that this article is NOT about how to make 3D photos using these two cameras. That would take a whole other article! Plus while I have done a few 3D photos, I still do not feel that I am all that proficient at it.

Below is a quick shot I did with the Nishika N8000, Kodak Gold 200, and flash. Just to show how a 3D image can transform an everyday picture into something different πŸ™‚

This was from last year and looking back now, I’m not even sure how I did it! I don’t think I remember all the steps needed in Photoshop and when I think of putting in that work for just a few seconds of fun, well, I’m glad I did it once or twice and I’m glad I bought this camera basically for my collection!

I did process the image with a retro VHS effect and added some music to give it that extra funk πŸ™‚

 

 

Making the GIF files from these cameras require some savvy Photoshop skills. In 2004 or 2005, as a younger man who enjoyed Photoshopping all my photos, I would’ve been all over this! But in 2019, as a family man, I neither have the time nor the inclination to do it.

Ok maybe in all fairness, it’s not all that hard if you are Photoshop savvy and have a lot of time on your hands. I may give it another try should I be bored or looking for something different one weekend!

If a tutorial on how to make 3D GIFs from your negatives is what you’re looking for, you are better served seeking out the fine articles already on the web or on YouTube.

This article is strictly about the cameras themselves, some history, and my impressions of them, from the viewpoint of a camera fanatic, collector, and sometimes historian.

A lot of this stuff is available on the internet, if you scour and search. I’m putting the information all in one page for you guys!

YOUTUBE VIDEO

For those of you who prefer a more dynamic video experience, here’s our video review on the Nimslo and Nishika 3D cameras. In this video, I get you guys as close as possible to these cameras without actually touching them. Basically, “camera porn” πŸ™‚

Also in this video, we go around the world for an exclusive preview of upcoming videos and then by the end of the video I became “unhinged” lol which is my favorite part of the video! But I don’t know, you tell me!

I didn’t think I’d make another video, but you guys inspired me to do it so thanks!

THE NIMSLO 3D CAMERA

The Nimslo is a quadrascopic stereo camera introduced in 1982 by Nimstec, which was a part of the Nimslo Corporation of Atlanta, which was a subsidiary of Nimslo which was based in Bermuda. The origins of the company goes back to Hong Kong! Confusing right? It’s all business folks. You know how businesses and corporations work!

The Nimslo 3D camera with box. What a flashback to the 1980s!

The exact year of introduction is a little vague online. Wikipedia says the camera was “introduced in the 1980s” which is technically correct but not specific.

My research and my own memory points me to 1982 as the year the Nimslo 3D camera became available to the public, at least here in the USA. In fact, a quote from an NY Times article that I’ve included below pretty much confirms it. The actual camera may have been around since 1980 and the concept before that. I may even have a magazine with the early ads…if I can find it!

I still can recall seeing this camera in the magazines and being excited by it back then, even as a kid. 1982 was also the year my favorite game console, the ColecoVision became available to the public.

The Nimslo is a quadrascopic camera. It has four lenses and takes four half-frame images at once. That is, on a single frame of 35mm film, the Nimslo takes two half frame images and with each shot it does so on two 35mm frames for a total of four half frame images. Sounds a little confusing right?

In actuality it’s not, it’s just mathematics! Just remember: two 35mm frames, four half frame images. Anyway you would get 18 photos on a 36 exposure roll or 12 on a 24 exposure roll.

The Nimslo a is a fixed focus camera with an automatic exposure system. It uses glass for its four triplet type lenses. The aperture range is f/5.6-f/22 and shutter speeds range from 1/30-1/500. The camera uses three Eveready 386 1.5 volt batteries.

“Nimslo” is not just a cool nonsensical name they thought of out of thin air. It’s the name of the cameras two creators, Jerry Nims and Allen Lo.

Although the two men are often cited as the camera’s co-creators, multiple sources point to Mr. Lo as the actual inventor. Mr. Nims appeared to have been the salesman, pitchman, “marketing genius” behind the camera.

In fact, I remember reading somewhere that Mr. Lo was quoted as saying Mr. Nims “insisted” he should also have his name (Nims) on the camera too. Whatever the case, the camera will link these two forever.

Another interesting tidbit is that the actual cameras were originally manufactured for Nimslo by Timex Corporation in Dundee, Scotland. But a workers strike there caused Nimslo to miss their delivery dates during the crucial first batch of deliveries. Talk about bad timing!

This caused Nimslo to cancel their contract with Timex and they contracted Sunpak in Japan to produce the cameras thereafter. That’s why you may have read that there’s two versions of the camera. Mine is the built in Japan version.

Despite the build up and the hype, the Nimslo never really caught on. Looking back now it’s easy to see why, but maybe back then it wasn’t, as I’ll explain later. Here’s a quote from the NY Times:

Demand for its unusual camera system, which produces the illusion of a three-dimensional image on flat paper, has never lived up to expectations. The product was first offered to consumers last fall, with the company anticipating sales of 500,000 units for the last quarter of 1982. In reality, however, only 50,000 units were sold.” Source: NY Times, September 1, 1983.

At the time, Nimslo was touted as perhaps the next Polaroid in the photography business. Looking back now, it’s easy to see that their target audience was a small, niche market at best. And in my opinion, I believe it’s been proven that the 3D photography market will always be a small niche market.

But back then, in a world without digital photography, it’s also easy to see how one could dream big! So I give the company and its creators credit for having the vision, will, and guts to put their camera on the market. It was really something unique and different. But unique and different usually means it’s not for everybody, which means once again, a limited market.

Both the Nimslo and Nishika were originally intended to be used in conjunction with lenticular printing, which produces prints with the “illusion of depth” (as quoted from Wiki; I couldn’t have said it better!). At that time in the 1980s, only Nimslo could and would develop and print your images through their “secret” process. It seemed like a sure fire money maker!

But waiting for the prints, which could take weeks and by some accounts, months to return to the consumer was a red flag. People may not have been living in the “I want it now” era that we live in today, but even back then waiting that long for prints is a sure fire way for one to lose interest.

Today, these cameras are sought by people who will primarily want to turn their images into 3D GIF files. You have to understand, these cameras were introduced before we knew anything about GIFs or JPEG files!

As far as I can tell, no one out there today has either the machinery or the will to do the traditional lenticular prints for you. That is not to say you couldn’t find a company thatΒ mightΒ do it, but probably at a price that’s not worth it.

THE NISHIKA N8000

The Nishika N8000 is also a quadroscopic stereo camera aka 3D camera introduced in 1989 by Nishika Corporation of Nevada. The actual cameras were made in Hong Kong by Nishika Optical Systems. A little confusing? It’s a business thing remember!

The Nishika N8000 in all its glory. The icons next to the lenses are your three aperture control settings.

Though they appear quite different in many ways, they are in fact “blood relatives” if you will. Nishika Corporation acquired part ofΒ  the Nimslo company, as well as their parts and patents, and the N8000 was in many ways a continuation of the Nimslo experiment.

As a camera, the Nishika uses four plastic lenses (vs the glass lenses on the Nimslo) and has a fixed mechanical shutter speed of 1/60. The aperture range is f/8, f11, and f/19 which can be selected by the user via a dedicated aperture lever. The camera runs on two AA batteries which is used for the light meter.

The Nishika may not seem to have the same interesting background as the Nimslo but as a family member, the story of Nimslo is the story of Nishika and the Nishika is seen by many as the continuation of the Nimslo project.

“Nishika” sounds Japanese but the Nevada company apparently was not Japanese at all, just named to sound like it! Which probably to this day makes some people think it’s a Japanese camera when it’s actually made in China for a company based in the USA -)

I won’t get deep into this, but there was apparently some kind of scam involving the company marketing the Nishika, where people were duped into sending hundreds of dollars only to receive this camera as their “prize.” Look it up!

Needless to say, both the Nimslo and Nishika companies folded and went out of business.

IMPRESSIONS OF THE NIMSLO AND NISHIKAΒ 

The Nimslo is the smaller of the two cameras but appears to be better built. Not much better, but better. A disclaimer should be made right now:

I bought my Nimslo, new old stock from a seller who made it clear that it was for parts and “not working” and indeed it’s not working so I’ve never shot it. That is fine with me because I only wanted it for my collection and for $30 dollars, it’s perfect for that!

The Nishika N8000 and Nimslo 3D camera side by side.

The Nishika is much larger and its build quality is placticky but once you hold it in your hands, it feels decent at first. By “at first” I mean, first impressions. But after you use if for a while, you begin to feel like this thing could fall apart after extended use.

Certain parts feel fragile to me. The film advance lever, for example, feels like it should be handled with care, like it might break off if I advance too vigorously. The film advance started feeling “rough” not smooth after using it for a couple of rolls.

On the other hand, in a sort of complementary way, the Nishika build reminds me a little of the Minolta Maxxum 7000. If any of you have both cameras on hand, put them together to see what I mean!

Some of you might remember that I did mention this on my Maxxum YouTube video. But Minolta lovers take heart, the Maxxum is much better built and needless to say, a much better camera! They’re not even comparable actually.

The Nishika is cheaper looking and more plasticky. Yet it’s also heftier and heavier than it looks and doesn’t feel so bad in the hands. Apparently, there’s a lead or metal bar inside the camera which gives it the added weight! Some people think this makes the camera unnecessarily heavy while others think this helps stabilize the camera. And some even think this was done to give the impression of “quality” to the camera. Talk about deception!

The Nishika to me looks a lot like those horrible “fake” cameras that I saw selling in those shady electronics shop near 34th street in the late 1980s or early 1990s. The picture below illustrates what I am talking about.

The Nishika reminds me a lot of the faux “pro” cameras that were selling in shady electronic stores in NYC back in the late 80s and 1990s. Note that the “LCD” is not an LCD at all but some kind of sticker or something printed to look like an LCD. Go Nishika! πŸ™‚

GLASS VS PLASTIC OPTICS

The Nimslo uses glass for its lenses, the Nishika uses plastic.

Now some of you may remember me talking about telescopes and how very high tolerances are needed to make a quality telescope. And of course I’ve used many camera lenses, good and not so good, over the years in pursuit of optical perfection (I haven’t found it!). I’m an optics guy.

But you don’t have to be an “optics guy” to know that, lens for lens, a glass lens is going to be better than a plastic lens!

So it might surprise some when I say that I see very little difference between the Nishika N8000 and the Nimslo based on my own results with the Nishika N8000 and the Nimslo samples that I have seen online. In fact, I read a Popular Photography article which came to pretty much the same conclusion.

Now why is this the case if a glass lens is usually always better than an equivalent plastic lens?

There are three possible reasons I can think of; One, the lenses on both the Nimslo and Nishika are slow to begin with. The Nimslo start at f/5.6, the Nishika start at f/8. Because these cameras are fixed focus this maximizes the chances of a sharper image from the get go. And because of the slow lenses you often have to resort to using flash with these cameras, again maximizing chances of getting sharp images.

Two, these lenses are creating four half frame images in any one shot. That is smaller than an already smallish 35mm image. And three to see any difference the glass elements on the Nimslo might make, you’d have to enlarge the images to a certain degree.

The problem is that nobody is going to be enlarging the GIF files people make with these cameras. A GIF file is basically a short animated video. And I’ve never seen a large 3D print from these cameras. Nothing larger than 4×6 or 5×7.

Now if you have HUGE prints, 8×10 or larger from these cameras I’d love to hear from you!

ISSUES

It’s easier to find a working Nishika than a working Nimslo. That’s because the Nishika has a mechanical shutter that works without batteries. The battery is only needed for the light meter. The Nimslo relies on the batteries for its shutter.

If you have a working model of either camera, it’s possible that it may serve you well but both the Nimslo and Nishika are prone to possible failure.

The Nimslo is well known for not working after extended periods of non-use. The culprit is usually (but not always) an issue with a lever or levers that controls the shutter. Apparently, it’s an easy fix but it does require taking the camera apart. I may try to repair mine myself, and if I do, I’ll be sure to let you guys know.

The Nishika’s most common problem seem to be shutter failure or the film advance getting stuck. While it’s cool that it has a mechanical shutter, you have to remember it’s probably not the world’s most high quality shutter!

These are not Nikon or Leica folks. They were not intended to be. These cameras should be handled with care. And if so, they can be fun to use.

PRICES & AVAILABILITY

The Nimslo & Nishika 3D cameras can be easily found, especially on your favorite auction site. but their prices vary greatly.

The Nimslo is trending at $30 for a parts/repair camera to $250 for a working model. The average prices people seem to be paying are between $150-225.

The Nishika is trending at $80-200 with an average of over $100.

I bought my Nimslo as mentioned before, for $30 as a parts/repair camera. I got my Nishika for $50.

Personally, I wouldn’t pay more than $100 for any of these cameras (and I didn’t!). In some ways, I feel like I paid too much! I mean, if you really think 3D photography is your thing, and you don’t mind paying over $100 for a working sample, by all means do it!

But once you have it, and the initial excitement is over, you’ll know what I mean. That plus the work required to make these GIF files is enough to kill your enthusiasm. Don’t pay a lot for these cameras guys!

As someone who is holding both of them as we speak, I just don’t think it’s worth it. But what do I know? I’m just a peon so take whatever I say with a grain of salt and do as you wish! πŸ™‚

If you have one of these cameras, I’d love to hear from you so feel free to leave a comment with your experiences.

BOTTOM LINE

Stereo cameras have been around for a long time, and while there are much higher quality stereo cameras, for example the David White Stereo Realist, it can be argued that none has left the lasting impression that the Nimslo 3D and Nishika N8000 from the 1980s have done.

Certainly, few have the interesting and somewhat controversial history of the Nimslo and Nishika cameras.

They brought the promise and excitement of 3D photography to a whole new generation and continue to do so, based on the popularity of these cameras with people seeking 3D film cameras today.

In my opinion, these two are crap cameras at worst and decent cameras at best. Why do I call them crap cameras? Think about it; when was the last time you got excited by a 35mm camera that starts with an aperture of f/5.6 (Nimslo) or f/8 (Nishika)? When was the last time you thought a camera with plastic lenses (Nishika) and a fake lcd was a great camera? When was the last time you thought cameras with spotty reliability were awesome?

Probably never! But these are specialty cameras without a lot of competition. That’s why their prices stay relatively high compared to their low quality. Their calling card is 3D photography.

And despite the fact that 3D photography has never caught the general public’s adoration nor has it been able to live up to that promise of being the next big thing in photography, it can be argued that while not the highest quality cameras, the Nimslo and Nishika can be considered Camera Legends (though maybe not true Camera Legends) in their own right because they continue to bring that 3D fascination to a segment of the population, however small that segment may be.

If you can find them at a good price, and in working condition, then you may end up with some mighty fun cameras and certainly something different from anything you’re using today. Heck, they may even savvy up your Photoshop skills!

 

Photo Of The Day: Wat Arun β€œTemple Of Dawn” Bangkok

Good day folks! A strange thing happened when I got back from vacation a couple of weeks ago.

I expected the jet lag and it did last about a week or so. What I didn’t expect was to feel worse than before I went on the trip!

All of a sudden I was unable to sleep again but this time it was worse than my usual few hours. Sometimes I couldn’t sleep at all. Taking sleeping aids got me all groggy and depressed during the work day.

What does this have to do with the above picture? Nothing! Just being transparent with you guys for my lack of activity. I only feel like I’m coming out of it now. For the past two weeks I didn’t even want to pick up a camera let alone look at the pictures I took during my trip. That’s how bad it was. Safe to say, I got issues man πŸ˜€

Anyway the above photo is from Wat Arun, aka the “Temple Of Dawn” in Bangkok.

If you’ll forgive me, I took this shot with my trusty and now old iPhone 6s Plus. I also shot it with my film cameras but those photos have yet to be developed.

I started thinking however…what would those cameras give me that I didn’t capture with the phone?! πŸ˜€

I’m an old school fool as you know but I’m also realistic. It doesn’t matter if it’s your phone, DSLR or film camera. Just use the best tool you have at the moment. Catch y’all soon! πŸ˜ŽπŸ“ΈπŸ˜˜πŸ‘πŸ»

Hello from…

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? πŸ˜€πŸ‘πŸ»

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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! πŸ˜ŽπŸ“ΈπŸ‘πŸ»

Hasselblad X-Pan Video Review

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!

Reflecting On The 50th Anniversary Of The Apollo 11 Moon Landing

Fifty years ago today, July 20th, 1969, NASA achieved what many still consider mankind’s greatest achievement; landing a man on the moon.

Now, trying not to give away my age, all I can say is I don’t remember the actual lunar landing πŸ™‚

However, as a geeky kid growing up in the 70s and 80s, astronomy was always a passion even as a child. And it remains so today.

So if you grew up in the same era as I did, I’m sure you can agree with me that almost nothing makes you feel as old as knowing it’s been fifty years since that first moon landing! I still remember watching the nightly news when it was the twentieth anniversary! Damn man 😦

CAMERAS USED ON APOLLO 11

The above photo was taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II at prime focus on a Meade 90mm f/11 ETX Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope. But what were the cameras used on that first historic lunar landing?

According to NASA itself, the cameras used were three Hasselblad 500EL cameras. One was used in the command module Columbia, and the other two were taken to the moon on the Eagle lunar module.

These had special modifications to minimize what the astronauts had to do. Basically, they made it as “point and shoot” as possible. The lenses from what I have read were the 80mm f/2.8 Planar and the 60mm f/5.6 Zeiss Biogon. A Kodak Stereo Camera was also used for close ups of the lunar surface.

The film was a specially formulated Kodak 70mm film. I’ve often wondered what the ISO rating was for the film, and it seems like there are a lot of educated guesses but nothing official. I guess only us geeky photo nuts would be interested in knowing this πŸ˜€

At any rate, many skeptics over the years have mentioned how could the astronauts have possibly taken such fine photographs in their bulky cumbersome spacesuits.

The only thing I can say is…hey, in addition to the cameras being modified for ease of use, don’t you think they worked all that out? Practiced countless times?

This was not just a trip of a lifetime, it was a trip for the ages!

HOW FIFTY YEARS CAN CHANGE YOUR VIEWS

Can you believe that something so technologically astounding and complex as landing a man on the moon was something that was done fifty years ago? Are you kidding me?!

And can you believe that after that series of Apollo moon landings that I believe ended in 1972 with astronaut Eugene Cernan as the last man on the moon, we’ve done nothing ever since!

Of course, I’m speaking tongue in cheek but you know what I’m trying to say. When Neil Armstrong  said “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” as he became the first man to step foot on the moon, I think we all can relate to that statement even today.

Yes, I know that out of space technology we have so many things that have helped humanity. Lasers, GPS, microwaves, and many more things we probably don’t even know about.

But what I’m talking about when I say we’ve done “nothing” since, is this; where are the colonies on the moon? Where is the promised man on Mars?

Yes, I know putting a man on Mars has been gaining a lot of momentum in recent years. The way they’re talking, it seems it will happen in the next decade. But the older I get the more skeptical I’ve become. Sadly, I now feel I won’t see a man on Mars in my lifetime.

But even more than that, I now wonder why would we even bother getting a man to Mars? Let me explain further. As a child with endless fascination, and all throughout my young adult years I would have been all for a manned Mars mission.

But now, with all the probes that NASA and other space agencies have sent to Mars, I think it’s very clear that there is no significant life there. Note, I didn’t say there is no life on Mars. I wouldn’t rule that out. But based on all I have seen, Mars is as barren a world as you can imagine.

There is no hint of an ancient civilization. No buildings. No drawings. No artifacts. No animals. No vegetation. No nothing. Just a cold, barren world with a very thin atmosphere not suitable for human beings.

I am a man of science at heart so I marvel at all the discoveries they have made on Mars. Yet at the same time, I believe all the Mars missions have done is to finally take away the romanticism of Mars.

The Martian “canals” of Giovanni Schiaparelli and Percival Lowell, the notion of desperate Martians building a canal system to save their planet, all just imagination. The invading Martians of H.G. Wells, just imagination.

They talk about terraforming Mars. To terraform the planet would take centuries, and would humans be able to survive even with all our best laid plans?

A trip to Mars will be a one way trip and most people who want to go there know this. They may know it, but how many would actually be able to deal with this frightening reality once the spacecraft heads off to Mars?

Anyway, I’m drifting too far off! What I say is, if they plan to go to Mars, they probably should start first with the Lunar colonies. The Moon is a lot closer than Mars. If an issue or emergency arises, it’s possible with our technology today to do something about it.

If an emergency arises on Mars, or on the way to Mars, forget about it!

THE LUNAR LEGACY

All my skepticism about Mars aside, I just want to say that it still amazes me to this day, whenever I look up at the moon and get lost in deep thought. I say to myself, wow, people actually walked up there!

Now even though neither I nor anyone I know personally has walked the moon, the fact that those brave men walked the moon, I think it makes us all united. They didn’t just walk the moon for themselves. It really was an achievement for all mankind.

And it helps to make an otherwise totally alien world seem a little more friendly. More than just a moon that happens to be locked in orbit with our home planet the Earth.

In a time today when celebrities are paid millions for just looking good, the brave men and women (in Mission Control) of the Apollo missions are to be admired.

Can you imagine dealing with the discomforts of doing in outer space, even the simple things such as eating, going to the bathroom (in their spacesuits I think!) and facing such unknowns, not knowing if you’ll ever make it home?

These astronauts and the people who worked behind the scenes are heroes for making one of mankind’s oldest dreams come true. As I said, they are to be admired, respected, remembered. Not just then, but now, and for always.

If you lived through that first historic Apollo 11 mission, I’d love to hear from you!

 

Photo Of The Day: β€œFreedom” Contax T3

Good morning Brothers & Sisters. Here’s a recent photo I took of the Freedom Tower. Gear used was the Contax T3 and Kodak Gold 200.

I never paid the Freedom Tower much attention probably because I grew up with the legendary and tragic Twin Towers. I used to wonder why they bothered to build this building since many businesses were lost after 9/11 and most of the businesses have probably moved on elsewhere.

But then I realized that’s not of the point of it. The Freedom Tower represents the resiliency of America and the American people. To rise from the ashes of the Twin Towers and become America’s symbol of freedom against all who hate the American way of life. God Bless America! πŸ˜ŽπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‘πŸ»