Are You Camera Spoiled?

Good morning you voracious and gracious camera geeks! A little cheap camera porn just because I haven’t posted here in a while. Here’s a camera I gave away to a friend…but I have a photo of it 😍👍

It’s the Canon EOS Rebel 2000 aka EOS 300 aka EOS Kiss III. It is a 35mm film slr introduced by Canon in the year 2000. Now here’s a great example of what happens when you’ve become “camera spoiled” as I call it 😂
Ok so it’s a decent camera and my friend is getting great results with it! I’m glad it’s in good hands 😍😎👍


Me personally, I never used it and never intended to. I got it in a box with other cameras and stuff. It’s a perfectly capable camera, but I’d be worried using heavy lenses on it due to the plastic lens mount. Besides that, to me it just looks real cheesy and it just wouldn’t inspire me to shoot. Somehow though it looks pretty nice now when I look at this pic 😂


At the start of my photographic journey, I’d probably drool to have a camera like this. Today, no. Even though the camera is technologically more advanced than my EOS 10s that I started shooting Canon with, the 10s would inspire me more with its better build quality.

I’d put up with the 10s’ three point AF over the Rebel 2000’s seven point AF just because the former would inspire me more, despite the fact that the latter would probably make getting good shots easier.

As I said, the experience of using “better” or better built cameras can spoil you! But it’s not just better build quality. It’s cameras I find “interesting.” They could be old or quirky. Or it could be a new camera. Just has to be interesting. I don’t find the Rebel 2000 all that interesting 😢 I’m sure many of you can relate. Don’t be like me folks, be content with what you’ve got whatever it is! 😎📸👍


That’s it for tonight! Hope to start posting more soon! Have yourselves an incredible week guys! 😎📸❤️👍

Can This $30 Camera And Lens Rock Your World?!: Vivitar V3800n Review!

Good morning you awesome camera geeks! A couple of years ago I posted a video on YouTube called “Benefits Of A Cheap Camera.”

Now in that light hearted and cringe worthy video, which was filmed very badly on an old iPad, I went on to jokingly point out why using a cheap camera could be beneficial.

Before YouTube began hiding dislikes, I recalled that video get quite a fair number of dislikes although there were, fortunately, more likes than dislikes.

I chalked it up to people not “getting” my light hearted, comedic style of camera reviews. I truly think some of my best ad lib camera jokes are on that video! 😍😂

This video was one of the reasons why, for a long time, I viewed the audience on YouTube as “stiffs.” Meaning, I felt they couldn’t take a joke, they couldn’t read between the lines because if they did, they would see that I was actually offering some solid advice!

Seriously, in that review, I mentioned that the Vivitar V3800n (which was the featured camera), was a very affordable, all manual film camera that uses the very popular and iconic Pentax K mount which opened the doors to an abundance of great and affordable lenses.

The Vivitar V3800n and 50mm f/1.7 which I got as a combo for $30. Today, this outfit can still easily found for under $100 dollars.

All this started because a friend had asked about getting into film photography and was asking if he should get a Leica, Contax, or Nikon? Which led me to the thought…why does a film beginner need to spend a lot of bucks?!

Now I’m not here to tell anyone how to spend their money but having been down this path before I felt it wouldn’t hurt to try and help someone save some money!

Another factor is the real likelihood of someone like my friend, who has been shooting digital exclusively, will end up giving up on film and be stuck with a bunch of expensive gear that he’d have to try to eventually sell. And guess who he’d come to, to help him sell it? 😂

THE CHEAP CAMERA CHALLENGE

I’ve seen a bunch of “cheap camera challenges” and although entertaining, I never thought of doing a video on it until now.

Part of the reason is that, as someone who has admittedly been spoiled by using Leica, Contax, Nikon, etc, it was very hard for me to contemplate “wasting” a roll of film on a cheap camera. Now I know that sounds elitist but honestly with the rising prices of film these days, I really only want to use this precious commodity on something I’m interested in.

So with that kind of thinking, I realized I had lost my roots. I started photography with a Minolta X-700 and a cheap Vivitar point and shoot in the 1980s. I have documented this fact many times here.

So considering that I had only used the Vivitar V3800n once or twice in all the years that I’ve had it, I figured this would be a good time to use it again and document the results with you guys here and on YouTube!

So I put in a roll in early January and just finished the roll near the end of last month and here are the results.

SAMPLE PICS

All photos in this set were taken with the Vivitar V3800n, 50mm f/1.7 Vivitar lens and shot on Ilford HP5 Plus and developed in Xtol.

PRICE & AVAILABILITY

The Vivitar V3800n is cheap and still easily found on the used market. Prices can range anywhere from $10-40 USD for the body only and same for the Vivitar 50mm f/1.7 MC lens. Sometimes you might even be able to find them for free! 😍

If you can’t find the V3800n, any of the V series bodies will do for basic shooting.

The V3800n was made by Cosina and uses a Pentax K mount so lenses are plentiful and can be very cheap. You don’t need to use a Vivitar branded lens if you do not want to.

CONCLUSION

The Vivitar V3800n and 50mm f/1.7 Vivitar lens were the most fun I’ve had with a film slr in a while!

It’s not perfect, I’m not going to lie. It feels cheap and there are some issues that might be detrimental to beginners. I explain all that in the video.

But once you learn how to use the camera you will see that it’s capable of taking good pictures. And there’s just a “cheap thrill” (pun intended) to getting satisfying results on cheap equipment, like you got more than your money’s worth!

I’ll even go out of my way to say that it’s perfectly capable of taking pictures as good as any equivalent combo. By that I mean, for example, a Pentax K1000 with 50mm f/1.8 or Canon AE-1 with 50mm f/1.8 FD lens or Minolta X-700 with 50mm f/1.7 MD lens. These are just some examples but you could add your own and as long as you’re being fair, I can say the Vivitar will match up to it! No it will not beat a $5000 Leica or Zeiss 😀

In conclusion, my main point of doing this cheap camera challenge is to show, especially beginners, intermediates, or anyone wanting to get into film photography that it doesn’t have to be expensive. You can have a lot of fun with film photography without paying a lot!

Olympus Camera Legends Salute The New OM-1 Digital!!

Good morning you awesome camera geeks! Usually I create a post and link a video but due to lack of time, I’m just giving you guys the link! 😍

In today’s video, you will see Olympus legends such as the Pen F film camera, the E-1 Digital, as well as the rare M-1, progenitor of the OM-1, a camera many of you read about right here in my 2015 review.

I’ve been working very hard creating content for the Camera Legend YouTube channel but I haven’t forgotten my home base here ❤️

Once the YouTube channel goals are accomplished, I hope to be back here writing full time! Thanks always for your support! 😍🙏👍

Flashback Friday: The Lomo LCA And A Question For You!

Good morning you awesome war torn camera geeks! For your Flashback Friday here is a camera I was surprised to find out recently that some people consider “one of the most important cameras in film camera history.” It’s the Lomo LCA from 1984.


I’ve had this camera for about five years and you guys know I do my research before buying any camera. I’ve never heard anyone call it one of the “most important cameras” until recently when I came across this in Dpreview and from reading the forums there, it seems that other people were surprised too!

Now it’s a cool, funky little Soviet era camera that takes decent pics, at best, but one of the most important cameras? Am I missing something guys? I respect the people who wrote the original article and as I’ve said, I don’t claim to know everything so I’m looking to you guys to fill in the blanks! 🙏🙏


This camera is based off the Cosina CX-1 which I don’t think is considered one of the most important cameras in history. I’m guessing maybe it’s because the LCA might have started the Lomography thing? This is really a curiosity for me! You tell me guys!! I’d be very grateful to learn what made this camera so important! Thanks! 😎🙏🏻👍🏻

PS: For you hardcore camera geeks, I got the wide angle adapter on it! 😍👍🏻

BONUS

For Flashback Friday, Travis is back! And today he gives you the dish on government cheese and GE digital cameras! 😂👍🏻

The Bronica RF645 Review: The Last Bronica

Good day awesome war torn camera geeks and if I haven’t said so already Happy New Year 2022!! I hope your New Year is going to be the best so far.

Note: This post was obviously started earlier in the month but just posted yesterday! I should have said Happy Belated New Year! 😍

As many of you readers know, I’m quite a nostalgic fellow. Even as a younger man I had always thought fondly of good times and memories in my past. Now as I grow older the nostalgia has gotten more intense, if anything.

Where is this leading to? Well, it’s leading to today’s Camera Legend, the Bronica RF645.

THE BRONICA RF645

The Bronica RF645 is an interchangeable lens, medium format rangefinder camera manufactured by Bronica of Japan. It came to market in the year 2000 and was discontinued in 2005.

The amazing Bronica RF645 and 65mm f/4 Zenzanon. The last Bronica Camera Legend.

At the time of the Bronica RF645’s production, Tamron had already taken over Bronica since 1998.

Tamron is a Japanese manufacturer known mostly for their production of 35mm lenses which they made for a multitude of camera mounts, including Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Minolta, and more. They were and are known as a third party manufacturer and supplier of lenses and accessories.

The RF645 shoots 6×4.5 images on 120 film. The lenses available for the camera were the 45mm f/4, the 65mm f/4, the 100mm f/4.5, and the 135mm f/4.5 lenses.

YOUTUBE VIDEO

For a more dynamic experience check out my Bronica RF645 YouTube review. To spice it up, there are some sample photos on the video that are not here and vice versa. If nothing else, check out the “Image Analysis” segment. It will show you what you cannot see, or might miss when viewing sample images straight on 😎📸👍🏻

SAMPLES

Most of the samples here are from my early days with the RF645, circa 2010-2015. The latter images are from last month, December 2021. All images taken with the Bronica RF645 and 65mm f/4 Zenzanon RF. Due to a mix up, some scans may be lower in quality than they should be and due to the time constraints of trying to post the video and publish the article at the same time, I haven’t been able to update it.

Please check my YouTube video for a couple of color samples, a double exposure, and most importantly the geeky “Image Analysis” segment. That, you don’t want to miss! 😍

BRONICA RF645 ESSENTIALS

The Bronica RF645 is a manual focus rangefinder medium format camera that takes 6×4.5cm images on 120 film.

The Bronica RF645 is at its heart an electronic camera and it runs on two CR2 batteries.

There are four lenses made for the camera. The 45mm f/4, the 65mm f/4, the 100mm f/4.5, and the 135mm f/4.5 Zenzanon RF lenses.

The RF645 has a dedicated flash unit, the RF20 flash.

MY EXPERIENCE WITH THE RF645

I first came across the Bronica RF645 in 2010. It was not actually a camera on my radar of cameras to get but I had seen some great photos from a photographer friend who spoke highly of it.

I had also read many great threads on this camera on rangefinderforum.com a very nice and close knit community for rangefinder photography enthusiasts.

As always, I was more of a lurker than a contributor. I love looking at the photos and soaking in the knowledge of the great photographers there!

I was too shy really to contribute. I may have once or twice, I can’t remember but I was not a prolific poster. Some of the folks there are prolific! I could mention a bunch of names but I don’t want to out anyone 😍

They must be shy too though. I’ve never had an rangefinder forum member comment here or on my videos, at least not that I know of. Don’t be shy guys and girls! You cats on RFF are da bomb! You own this genre. Open up and say hi! 😎📸👍🏻

Anyway I ended up buying a Bronica RF645 body and 65mm lens kit used for $700 in 2010.

I DID NOT EXPECT TO LIKE IT BUT…

Although I first bought the RF645 in 2010, I didn’t expect to like it. Why wouldn’t I like it? Well I was not too keen on the vertical format although I figured I’d get used to it. It’s not that I don’t like vertical shots, I mean portraits are mostly vertical. It’s that as someone used to 35mm where horizontal framing is the norm, it may take some getting used to.

I was also concerned about the slowish f/4 to f/4.5 lenses. Also knowing the 6×4.5 is not all that much larger than 35mm, relatively speaking, well that also gave me reason to pause.

In 2010, I was really into the bokeh phase of my photography. I had been a bokeh whore for years already with lenses like the Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 AIS, the Canon 85mm f/1.2L, but the Canon 50mm f/0.95 “Dream Lens” that I got in 2009 really set me off!

But isn’t the Bronica RF a medium format camera? Shouldn’t it give better bokeh effect because of the larger film format you might ask?

Well, yes the Bronica is a medium format camera but not all medium format cameras were created equal or for the same purpose.

For one thing, remember the slowish f/4 and f/4.5 lenses which on 6×4.5 would translate to roughly f/2.5 and f/2.8 respectively as far as what you might get in shallow depth of field or its bokeh “look.” However you must remember that f/4 and f/4.5 is still f/4 and f/4.5 in its light gathering abilities.

Secondly, rangefinder cameras, whether 35mm or medium format never focus as closely as their SLR counterparts so you can’t recreate or enhance the bokeh effect by just getting closer like you can with many SLR lenses.

So why buy it in the first place? As I said, I saw some great images and my photographer friend, who I met on Rangefinder Forum, kind of pushed me over on it although I didn’t buy it from him. His wasn’t for sale!

As with most of my photographic purchases, I figured I could sell it if I didn’t like it.

So why did I end up liking the camera, or more correctly, loving the camera so much?

Well it’s the combination of really quite impeccable sharpness, contrast, and at times, even bokeh from the 65mm f/4 Zenzanon RF lens that won me over. And these virtues worked well for me, especially for portraits where the vertical orientation of the framing works perfectly.

WHAT THE BRONICA RF645 TAUGHT ME

The Bronica RF645 and especially its 65mm f/4 lens taught me how to better appreciate subtle bokeh.

2010. Bronica RF645 and 65mm f/4 Zenzanon RF on T-Max 400 developed in T-Max developer. Note the beautiful subtle bokeh and how the sand melts in the background.

Yes I’ve seen subtle bokeh from other lenses many times before but they always got overlooked especially if I’m using a camera where I can swap out the lens and use a fast 85-90mm portrait lens. But since I’ve only used the 65mm f/4 on the RF645, I don’t have any of its other lenses to swap out so I’m stuck analyzing every frame. That’s how I came to appreciate the qualities of the 65mm Zenzanon RF more.

2021. Note the uniform blur on the Christmas lights. The 65mm f/4 Zenzanon is not a character lens such as the Canon 50mm f/0.95 “Dream Lens.” Instead it has just enough of a beautiful soft background blur that allows the subject to shine through.

My two favorite forms of photography are portrait and street. The RF645 is an excellent camera for both! Just as long as you understand, the 65mm is not going to give you the classic head and shoulders portrait. The best you can get is a half or full body. It’s great for environmental portraits of people in their surroundings, which in turn makes it a great lens for street portraits.

When you’ve used lenses like the Canon 50mm f/0.95, the 85mm f/1.2L, the Leica Summilux 80mm f/1.4, or the Hasselblad 110mm f/2, you get really spoiled with that “in your face” bokeh look.

You’re not going to get that with the 65mm f/4 Zenzanon. What you get is subtle bokeh that accentuates and complements the subject rather than overtake the subject.

For a lot of the bokeh lenses I mentioned, ie, the Canon 50mm f/0.95, many times the “look” created by the unique characteristic of the lens becomes the subject. In other words, people are drawn to the look created by the Dream Lens first, then to the actual subject second.

The Bronica 65mm with its much more subtle bokeh helps to draw the viewers to the main subject first.

Sometimes people worry that this means the lens itself has no character but that really depends on the viewer and how one sees it.

For me, the Bronica 65mm f/4 Zenzanon RF, especially with a film like Tmax 400 gives me images with the kind of character I like!

It mixes excellent “modern” sharpness from a lens built in the late 90s or early 2000s with just the right amount of contrast that gives me a kind of look I like. Images can look vintage and modern at the same time.

I can’t pinpoint it but black and white images from the 65mm Zenzanon reminds me of black and whites from the Twilight Zone tv series but at the same time, not! Confusing ain’t it? 😂

Don’t be confused, it’s all in the eye of the beholder 😍👍🏻

BRONICA RF645 PROS

1. Portability. The biggest pro for the Bronica RF645 would probably be portability. It’s not a small camera by today’s standards but it is portable for a medium format camera. It will fit nicely into most camera bags that could hold a DSLR and lens.

It is hefty but light enough to carry around all day without feeling its weight too much.

2. More Shots Per Roll. Another pro is the fact that 6×4.5 gives you more shots per roll. What the RF645 loses in negative size, it makes up for in shots per roll and you’ll get about 16 shots

3. Handling & Ergonomics

I find the RF645 to have excellent handling and ergonomics. The viewfinder is nice and bright and the viewfinder lcd display is green and easy to read.

The controls are well placed. The shutter speed dial has nice, distinctive clicks and doesn’t move out of place too easily. The shutter speed range is 1/500 to Bulb.

The camera has a very competent set of controls on its back door, which includes the ISO settings, a self timer, and multiple exposure capabilities. Please check my YouTube video for a closer look.

Before I get to the Cons, here’s a quick look at the lenses…

BRONICA RF645 LENSES

Although I can only speak to the 65mm f/4 because it’s the only lens I’ve used on the RF645, I can say that if the other three lenses are consistent with the 65mm, then you can be assured of top notch optical performance.

The 65mm f/4 has a field of view equivalent to 39 or 40mm on 35mm film cameras.

The 45mm f/4 is a wide angle that has a field of view equivalent to roughly a 28mm (27.9 to be exact) on 35mm film. There is no frame lines for it on the RF645 so you either have to use the optional external finder or do without the finder.

The 100mm f/4.5 is usually seen as a telephoto but it corresponds to roughly 60mm on 35mm film making it more like a longer “normal” rather than a telephoto lens.

The 135mm f/4.5 is roughly 80mm on 35mm film which puts it in the classic portrait category.

As far as I know, the 135mm is very hard to achieve precise critical focus due to the RF645’s short rangefinder base.

Early RF645 cameras came with the viewfinder mask in the finder for the 135mm but apparently Bronica offered a free upgrade to anyone wanting to send the camera in for the 100mm viewfinder mask “upgrade.” Apparently they had heard complaints of focusing difficulty with the 135mm and tried to shift customers towards the 100mm.

CONS

1. Repairability. The main con of the Bronica RF645 is the possibility of expensive or hard to find repair service should your camera need servicing.

The film winder is a potential weak point. I have heard of people breaking the winders when used over enthusiastically. Mine has never broken in the five years that I had it but I always wind the film gently because the winder always had a bit of a fragile feel to it.

Another commonly reported problem is an out of alignment rangefinder window.

Now both of these problems could probably be fixed by a competent camera repair man but the problem really comes from availability of parts, or lack thereof.

Also one must remember that at its heart, the RF645 relies on electronics and as with all things electronic things are bound to fail as age and time takes its toll.

2. Increasing Prices. Another con for the RF645 is the increasing prices on this beautiful camera and its lenses.

Just like all the great Camera Legend cameras of yesteryear, prices have been increasing steadily over the past few years.

It’s still not as bad as the price increases on other legends such as the Mamiya 6 or 7, or the Leica film cameras but it’s getting there!

Keeping all these cons in mind, should you still decide to get one I can say that it is a great camera system that will produce exceptional results!

PRICES & AVAILABILITY

The Bronica RF645 and its lenses can still be easily found especially on eBay. The bodies come and go on sites like Keh or UsedPhotoPro.

If you are looking for the RF645, prices are trending at $1000-1500 USD for the body in good to excellent condition.

The 45mm and 65mm Zenzanon are easiest to find and trending at $500-750 for the 45mm and $450-650 for the 65mm.

The 100mm and 135mm are harder to find and prices are trending at $900-1400 for the 100mm and $1600-2000 plus for the elusive 135mm.

Some people think the 135mm is a unicorn because they have never seen it for sale but I have seen it on eBay and more recently on Keh where they were asking $1700 plus for it in Excellent condition. It was on their site for a couple of weeks.

I’d love to try one but the price for the 135mm was way too much for something I know I’d use once or twice.

I nearly bit the bullet on the 100mm many times but didn’t. Only a year ago I saw the 100mm in the $600-800 range. Now it’s probably too late for me to buy one because I’m not willing to spend over $1000 for it. Remember my favorite quote that I borrowed (stole!) from Steve Windwood? “While you see a chance, take it!” Well sometimes I don’t take my own advice and now it’s too late for me 😢

Everyone has different needs but for me, honestly, the 65mm is probably the only lens I need for the RF645. It’s a very sharp, high resolution lens that’s perfect for environmental portraits and street work. Check the “Image Analysis” segment of my YouTube video for a clear demonstration of its resolving power.

CONCLUSION

The Bronica RF645 is an amazingly brilliant camera that puts great handling and sharp optics into a highly portable package.

Brought to market in the year 2000, it represents the best of what can happen when a lens legend like Tamron and a Camera Legend like Bronica work together.

It also represents the climatic end of Bronica. A great camera manufacturer that started out trying to compete against medium format giants like Hasselblad and Rollei only to find themselves always underrated and underestimated.

Pros and enthusiasts always knew how great Bronica cameras and lenses were but it’s hard to compete when you’re up against not only Hasselblad and Rollei, but also Mamiya Fujifilm and Pentax, all of which have greater name recognition from the general public.

The RF645 was their last medium format camera and in terms of ease of usability, perhaps their best.

It also didn’t help that the RF645 was introduced during the dawn of the digital era. Had it been introduced a decade earlier, say around 1990, perhaps it would have stayed on the market longer than five years, which in all honesty is already longer than you might have expected!

Anyway that’s all pure conjecture now. The Bronica RF645’s story is history but this Camera Legend lives on in the hearts, minds, and eyes of photographers like myself and many others. In my opinion, it’s the most fun 645 camera I’ve ever used and more importantly, it produces consistent results that I love!

IS IT WORTH IT? IS IT FOR YOU?

Due to increasing prices and possible repairability issues, I would say NO for most people.

But for you HARDCORE camera geeks, I’d say YES!! Get it now before prices go beyond its worth!

What is a HARDCORE camera geek? Camera Legend definition: A camera geek who knows the risks but is willing to take it 😍👍🏻

“My Rolleiflex Life” A Short Film 😍

Good morning you awesome camera geeks! Happy New Year 2022!

No article today. I’m just sharing our latest YouTube video which is my attempted “cinematic” lol video which is actually a tribute to the Rolleiflex cameras 😍📸👍🏻

Some people had asked me for video samples from my EOS RP and vintage 50mm f/0.95 Canon Dream Lens and so this was shot with a combination of the Dream Lens and the RF 24-105mm kit lens.

Please note, I do not endorse or advocate smoking or vaping. My Dad died of lung cancer eleven years ago and I quit “analog” cigarettes then. I switched to vaping and I haven’t been able to quit that.

I only put the smoking/vaping in there to recreate the old Hollywood movies that I’m a big fan of! Smoking in black and white always looked cinematic somehow, at least to me!

Thanks for checking it out! I wish each and every one of you good health and happiness and continued success this year. Thanks for your support as always!! 😍📸👍🏻

The Yashica 35CC Review

Good day you awesome war torn camera geeks!

Over the past few months, and indeed over the years some of you have reached out to me here, on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube asking me basically something that sounds like this:

“Sam I really want a Contax T2, or a Konica Hexar, or a Nikon 35ti, or a Ricoh GR1 but the prices on those cameras are insanely high. Can you recommend a low cost alternative that delivers the goods?”

Now if you’re one of those people who asked, or if you echo those same sentiments then I would ask you…why do you want those cameras?

For some, it’s most likely because those premium cameras are among the most wanted on the YouTube playlist. In fact, the YouTube reviews by young millennials might be the driving force to why these cameras have skyrocketed in price. Kendall Jenner was just a catalyst with the T2 but the YouTube reviews thereafter took the prices into the atmosphere!

Now for you guys who are really into photography, you may have wanted one of those premium cameras for street photography. By and large, the premiums like the T2, Hexar, 35ti and of course the Ricoh GR1 have a deservedly good reputation as street cameras.

But the insanity of the high prices on those cameras keeps the thinking man from jumping in. Can you really get comparable quality from cheaper cameras?

Today I have an alternative for you that I believe is an excellent choice, and at perhaps at 1/10th the price of most premiums.

And that camera is the Yashica 35CC. It is a camera I believe to be Yashica’s hidden gem.

INTRODUCTION

The Yashica 35CC/CCN is a compact, 35mm rangefinder with a 35mm f/1.8 Color-Yashinon fixed lens.

The camera has a shutter speed range of 8 seconds to 1/250 and a flash synch of 1/30th of a second. The camera runs on one 6 volt 544 or equivalent battery.

YOUTUBE VIDEO

For those who are interested in this camera, this video review may have the answers to your questions. It’s a pretty deep dive into this camera!

IMPRESSIONS OF THE ELECTRO 35CC AND IN USE

While I’ve used several Yashica Electro models over the years, the 35CC was a late addition to my collection and I got it around 2018-2019.

My first impression is that the camera is much smaller than more well known models like the Yashica Electro GS/GSN.

According to the Camera-Wiki, the Yashica Electro 35CC is “wrongly” thought by some to be part of the Yashica Electro family. However as I show on my YouTube video, you can’t blame people for “wrongly” thinking that when it actually says “Electro 35CC” on the top of the camera! 😀

But the thing that stands out right away and the thing that is indeed the star feature of the Electro 35CC/CCN. It is that bright 35mm f/1.8 lens!

Traditionally, rangefinders from this era have fixed lenses in the 40-45mm range. Think the Olympus SP, the Canonets, or even the aforementioned Yashica Electro GSN.

And even premium compacts like the Contax T2 has a 38mm f/2.8 lens. So the lens on the Electro 35CC at f/1.8 is a stop faster than the 2.8 on the Contax T2, Nikon 35ti, Leica Minilux, and marginally faster than the Konica Hexar’s 35mm f/2.

What does that extra speed buy you? The ability to shoot in lower light conditions and hopefully getting a good shot. And even though the 35mm focal length has never been known as a bokeh monster, the extra fast f/1.8 might help coax out that extra bit of bokeh.

What doesn’t it have that the premium compacts mentioned above does? It doesn’t have autofocus for one thing. It doesn’t have a Carl Zeiss lens or a Ricoh GR lens but without those brand labels, the prices can be kept low. That’s a positive thing!

IN USE

The Yashica Electro 35CC is small and compact and feels good in the hand. It’s a little on the thick side so it’s not exactly pocketable for the usual pant pockets.

The rangefinder patch on my copy is nice and contrasty making it easy to focus. There are dual focus tabs on the lens which is a nice touch.

The controls are sparse. The camera is basically aperture priority. You select the aperture via the markings on the lens and the camera selects the shutter speed. The shutter speed range is a whopping 8 seconds to 1/250th for the top speed.

The camera gives no indication of what speed it chooses. The only indication is a + or – for over or underexposure.

On my particular camera that indicator no longer works. I can’t see anything indicating over or underexposure. The battery check on my camera is also not working. However, that did not stop the camera from producing mostly well exposed images.

If you run out of batteries there is a default mechanical speed. Some sites say it’s 1/250th but others say it’s 1/30th. In my opinion, based on usage, it seems the default shutter speed without a battery is 1/30th.

SAMPLE PICS

All images below were taken with the Yashica Electro 35CC and Kentmere 400 film developed in Xtol.

Based on my own tests, I believe the 35mm f/1.8 Color-Yashinon DX lens to be excellent.

In the above images, I can see that the lens is really only held back by the film (Kentmere 400) and/or my developer Xtol.

At f/1.8 there is a touch of softness (as are most lenses wide open) but it’s actually sharper at f/1.8 than I expected so I’m perfectly fine with its performance.

From f/4 to f/11 you can expect excellent sharpness and good contrast, assuming the camera chooses a fast enough shutter speed.

PRICES, AVAILABILITY & WHERE TO BUY

The prices for the Yashica Electro 35CC are trending from $80-130 USD.

I’ve read that this camera is hard to find but I don’t think it’s that hard to find. I got mine from KEH in 2018 or 2019 for around $100.

In fact, while working on this article I saw one last week, again at KEH for $133 in EX condition.

It is true that you don’t see them too often from USA dealers. However they are plentiful on eBay, from sellers in Japan.

As mentioned before, I have bought many times from Japan without issues. However, you must do your research on the seller, as always, no matter what country it comes from.

BOTTOM LINE

The Yashica Electro 35CC is a hidden gem! It may not be as well known or as desirable as say a Contax T2 or Nikon 35ti, but especially for street photography I find the images it produces just as satisfying.

And the fact that you can find these cameras for about $100 USD on average, well, that adds incredible value and enjoyment to using this camera!

The Yashica Electro 35CC/CCN may never go down on its own as a true Camera Legend (but it might!), but there is no doubt that the Yashica Electro series as a whole are Camera Legends that have made memories for people for decades.

In my opinion, the Yashica Electro 35CC is one of the best that you can get from this series, even if Camera-Wiki doesn’t consider it part of the Electro family 😀

If you see one at the prices I mentioned, buy it! And tell ‘em Sam sent you 😎📸👍🏻

Photo Of The Day: “Fourteen” 😍 Rolleiflex 2.8F

Good morning you awesome war torn camera geeks! Recently I found this photo and it’s quite timely because this week, the little baby in the photo is turning fourteen! I can hardly believe it!

This image was a self portrait taken in 2007 with a Rolleiflex 2.8F with the 80mm f/2.8 Planar lens. Film unrecorded but I’d bet it’s either Tri-X or T-Max. When it comes to film choices, I’m nothing if predictable 😍

I don’t think I’ve used a self timer before or since on a TLR!! Have you?

Friend, as you know there’s always a healthy dose of nostalgia on my pages and it’s not without reason. This weekend the twentieth anniversary of the September 11th 2001 attacks came to pass. Twenty years in the blink of an eye.

Same here with this photo. 2007 was a year that changed my life and yet every year it is seemingly passing by ever faster, becoming a fading memory. I’m not sure how other people deal with the passage of time but I’m just a sentimental fool I guess. My Dad was like that, I guess it runs in the family!

I cannot stop time but I can record it through photographs. I suggest you do the same because in the end memories are all we’ve got. Have a beautiful week good peeps! And thanks😍🙏🏻👍🏻

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Photo Of The Day: “Hello Sunday” 😍

Just a quick photo to start your Sunday. This was shot with a Yashica 35CC. Film was Kentmere 400 and developed with Kodak Xtol.

The Yashica 35CC is a 35mm rangefinder from the 1970s and has an impressively fast 35mm f/1.8 lens as opposed to the 45mm f/1.7 lens on many Yashicas from that era.

A review is likely to follow yes but here’s the funny (and maybe sad) thing. This photo was shot two years ago in 2019 and I’m only posting it now! That’s how behind I am with everything 😩

Work, family, the 2020 and beyond COVID 19 pandemic, my scanner dying, concentrating on building the YouTube channel…all these factors contributed to me being behind.

Recently I heard an old song by Don Henley called “The Last Worthless Evening” and there’s a line in which he sang “There’s just so many summers babe and just so many springs” 😀

I said Samster you war torn sumbitch you ain’t getting no younger so you better get moving! Hopefully I’ll be here more frequently. Happy Sunday good peeps! 😍📸👍🏻

The 1985 Method For 35mm Film Beginners 😎

Good morning you awesome camera geeks! Over the years, I’ve catered to camera and photography lovers of every kind.

Perhaps because I’m a collector myself, I’ve written a lot for camera collectors. I’ve tried to do both film and digital reviews because I love both but there’s one group I’ve not done a lot for. That group are the humble beginners.

I actually did a video on YouTube a couple of years ago called “The Benefits Of A Cheap Camera” in which I talked about the Vivitar V3800n, a cheap and affordable 35mm slr and although I tried to give some useful advice in the video, I don’t think a lot of people liked or understood my lighthearted approach and humor 😀

So today I will try to be more gentle and serious (if that’s possible!) in my approach

YouTube Video

The bulk of my advice today will be on my YouTube video. The young film beginner today is more likely to watch a video rather than read an article. For the rest of this article I will concentrate more on things I didn’t touch on in the video.

People can be funny sometimes. I’m sure a some people might say “Ah he’s just pushing his video!”

And the funny thing is, if the video is on Camera Legend YouTube and this is the Camera Legend blog, shouldn’t I be doing that?! It would be unwise of me not to 😍

But as you’ll see, this article touches on a lot that’s not on the video so consider it an addendum to the video.

Big Beginner Mistake

As beginners we all make mistakes. Heck even when not a beginner we make mistakes! At least I do still today 😀

To me though one of the biggest mistakes I see the beginner in 35mm film photography make is the notion that they have to be an expert camera operator first.

It’s not the beginners fault really. It’s perhaps all the “super photographers” they read about or see on YouTube but it seems to me they feel the need to learn aperture, shutter speeds, lighting, flash, everything all at once!

And yes it IS important to learn those fundamentals of photography but the truth of the matter is mastering these things take time and lots of practice.

Obsessing about learning camera function so much can make you overlook perhaps the most important aspect of photography: the actual picture. Taking the picture. Learning to focus the lens. Learning to compose. Developing an eye for a good picture.

So you say Sam, if I don’t know how to operate the aperture and shutter speeds then how am I going to take good pictures?!

Fear not! Let me introduce to something I call “The 1985 Method” 😀

The 1985 Method

No this isn’t actually a “method” I came up with but it’s how I developed a love for photography.

Back in the 80s as a youngster starting out, I usually shot sight unseen. Before I really got into photography, the camera was just a way of capturing my family, my friends, my world.

All I did was shoot and shoot. I knew nothing about aperture or shutter speeds. I knew nothing about composition or the rules of photography. I learned by discovery. And that still shapes a lot of how I approach things today.

Circa 1986. A selfie of two wannabe rockstars 😂 Shot with a Minolta X-700 and 50mm f/1.7 MD lens. I knew nothing about aperture and shutter speeds but those early days of photography experimentation are the ones I cherish most.

The knowledge of light, aperture, shutter speeds, composition, that came later as I started buying books and magazines. You could say I started out photography the wrong way! Yet, some of those early photographs are the ones I cherish most.

It was photography in its purest form in my opinion before it became the “game.” A game of “you should do it this way or that way.” You should use this camera, buy this lens, etc, etc. I guess you could liken the experience to the innocence of a child before the realities of the world corrupts them.

As mentioned on these pages before, I dabbled in photography in the early 80s with my parents cameras with mixed results. It wasn’t until 1985 when Mom bought us a Minolta X-700 that I started getting (to me) great results, certainly better than I was getting previously. I’ve always considered the Minolta X-700 that I got in 1985 my first “serious” camera.

The Minolta X-700 was my first “serious” camera and served me well as my only SLR from 1985-1994 by giving me consistently well exposed images.

Even as a teen, I was getting roll after roll of consistently good results. As I got older, many of the photographers I met encouraged me to go back to all manual camera like the Pentax K1000, Nikon FM or Olympus OM-1. They told me I should do more “serious” photography. I did try those cameras and I loved them but I didn’t always get consistently good results like I got with my old Minolta.

This photo from 2009 is probably my last shot taken on my original X-700. The lens used is the 50mm f/1.7 Minolta MD lens and the film was Kodak T-Max 400 developed in T-Max Developer. Twelve years already?! My how time flies.

With time and a lot of practice, I started getting results as good or better than the Minolta. I found out why…

It was because I often used the X-700 in the green P or Program mode. In this mode, the camera figured out the exposures for me and it mostly got it right most of the time! The Minolta was doing most of the hard work for me!

I was getting good pictures consistently and that inspired me to continue doing photography. And I have the Minolta X-700 and its great Program mode to thank for it!

Doing It The “WrongWay!

You see it all the time. Many photographers recommending a beginner start out with an all manual camera such as the Pentax K1000 or Olympus OM-1. Heck I’m a big pusher of that “hardcore” method 😂

So it may be a surprise to hear me say that for the beginning 35mm film photographer today I am not recommending they start out with an all manual camera any more. Even though in this YouTube generation things are easier than ever, I now advocate the beginner to start with a little bit of automation.

If you’re a beginner at 35mm film photography, I recommend you get a camera with a Program mode like the Minolta X-700 and I want you to use it! In addition, your first camera should also have an aperture priority or manual mode. I’ll explain more later.

My dusty and war torn Minolta X-700 from 1985 with its legendary Program mode.

I’m not the first person to advocate using the Program mode and I won’t be the last. And although the old “hardcore” method of having the beginner start out with an all manual camera is still near and dear to my heart, I realize it is actually a little bit of a “cruel” thing to do to a beginner 😍

A True Story

As a good example, back in the late 1970s my parents had a good friend who was really into photography. He had the great cameras like the Canon F-1 and A-1.

He was especially fond of his multimode A-1 and always got these great shots. He was always showing us slides and projections of his work.

I think I’ve mentioned before that this family friend was probably more responsible than anyone else for my interest in photography, cameras and lenses!

Anyway seeing all his great work, my parents asked his advice on getting a camera. He helped them choose the Canon AT-1. That’s right folks. Not the AE-1 or AE-1 Program but the no frills, manual mode only AT-1.

Guess what? My parents knowing nothing about aperture and shutter speeds, never bothered to shoot with the camera. It was never used until it was stolen from our apartment in 1982.

To this day, I wonder why our dear family friend, God Bless his soul, I wonder why he would recommend this camera to them and not proactively try to help them use it?

But as I said that was then. Today, young beginners can find everything they need to know online!

And since I’m in a kinder “ask what I can do for you” mood I am not going to be cruel and have them start on an all manual camera the way our friend did to my parents 😍

That may change though! 😂 And yes, it will change once we get into medium and large format cameras where automation is much less available.

The World Has Changed For 35mm Film Beginners

The main reason though why I no longer recommended the all manual camera “hardcore” method is because many different dynamics have changed. But one factor above all is a game changer. I’ll explain…

Back in the late 80s and all throughout the 1990s until perhaps the mid 2000s, I had one distinct advantage that film photography beginners today don’t. And that is something we took for granted called the “One Hour Photo.”

One Hour Photo?

What is a one hour photo? There was a movie starring Robin Williams called “One Hour Photo” but that’s not what I’m talking about 😀

A few of my “one hour photo” packets. The one hour photo developers have all but disappeared in today’s world. I still have a ton of old photos that I haven’t scanned but I know it’s a treasure trove of memories.

I’m talking about the places that develop your film in about an hour. At its climax, they were everywhere in nearly every country. You remember, don’t you? Well old school photographers will remember it well but kids born after the year 2000 may have no clue.

Basically, before digital came around and shattered everything, film photography had developed to its highest point of convenience where in the USA stores like Costco, CVS, Walgreens, and even local camera shops and pharmacies offered to develop your color print films in about an hour or so. Many times it took longer than the advertised “hour” but you’d still get your prints back rather quickly.

Companies like Fujifilm and Konica often supplied the machines necessary to do this.

So if I were trying out a manual camera, I could theoretically finish the roll and get the results back the same day and I did so, often!

But as digital began to put a stranglehold on film in the mid 2000s, these one hour photo labs began to fold. Many were gone years earlier when they saw the writing on the wall.

Today, you would have to send your film to a dedicated lab. The usual time for you to get your results back is around two to three weeks for most labs. Costco stopped developing or sending out film for most of their stores but CVS and Walgreens will still send your film out for development. Sadly, a few years ago they began this bizarre policy of not returning your negatives so if you have them send out your film, the negatives are gone forever.

The disappearance of the one hour photo labs is perhaps the main reason I relearned to do my own black and white development. I couldn’t stand the wait!

For the budding beginner in 35mm film photography, it is unlikely that they would be developing their own photos and so they must wait.

Why Great Results Fast?

We live in a world where we want and usually get everything fast. I can’t just blame today’s kids for being impatient because I myself have been spoiled by the convenience of it all.

Before the internet, and even as recently as the late 1990s when there was some internet, you’d sometimes have to wait weeks for an order to arrive. Today, I get most of my online orders in two days! That’s a game changer and no one wants to go back.

But in the world of film photography, sadly 35mm film development (as far as the wait goes) has gone back to something worse than it was when it was at its best in the late 90s and early 2000s.

It is my feeling that waiting two to three weeks just to get back lousy results from that first roll of film will do nothing but curb the enthusiasm of all but the most determined beginner photographers.

So I recommend the beginner start out with the much maligned Program mode, get some good maybe even great results right away and get excited about 35mm film photography.

Yes you should know the Program mode is not foolproof. Most old cameras have center weighted metering that can be easily fooled by bright light sources. However I’m willing to bet that the Program mode is going to yield a better percentage of results than if one were going in blind or trying to remember what they read or saw in a tutorial.

Shoot in Program mode. At the same time watch some good YouTube tutorials, read a book and take notes. After a few rolls in Program mode, then start experimenting by gently going out of the Program mode.

Recommendations

In my video I recommend and do a mini review on three cameras; the Nikon FG, the Ricoh XRX 3PF, and the Minolta X-700.

All three I have used and they all have a Program mode as well as manual mode.

I went into a lot of detail in the video so for the sake of time, I’ll just leave the details there for those interested. I also make recommendations on what to get for your first lens and also recommendations for film.

The photos below are extra samples from the humble 50mm lenses that I recommend a beginner start with.

By “humble” I’m talking about the 50mm f/1.8 or f/2 from any manufacturer and 50mm f/1.7 from some manufacturers.

The first shot was scanned with an Epson flatbed in 2010. The other two were crude iPhone X scans so they may not show the true nature of the images.

My Epson flatbed has gone caput and I’m trying to decide whether to go with a mid level scanner or a high end one. In addition to devoting time to YouTube, this one of the reasons you haven’t seen my work here. I’d really hate to continue giving you guys low quality scans! Y’all deserve the best 😍

This shot from 2010 was taken with a Nikon F3HP and 50mm f/1.8 Series E Nikkor. I am a big advocate for the good old and cheap nifty fifty. Scanned with Epson flatbed scanner in 2010.
“Dark Horse” 😀 Circa 2010. Nikon FG, 50mm f/1.8 Series E Nikkor. Film unrecorded. Scanned using iPhone X.
This image was shot with the Ricoh XRX 3PF and 50mm f/2 Rikenon stopped down to roughly f/4-5.6 With the humble 50mm you could shoot wide open to blur the background or stop down mid aperture for more subtle bokeh such as this. Scanned with an iPhone X.

As mentioned this article is an addendum to the YouTube video. Most of what’s on the video is not here and most of what’s here is not on the video. I’m not pushing you to the video for the sake of views. If that were the case I’d be making videos like crazy but I’m not. Note how long this article already is! 😀👍🏻

I figure those interested will check it out and those who don’t won’t.

Another point I didn’t touch on enough in the video is that it doesn’t have to be Nikon, Ricoh, or Minolta. You could get a Pentax Super Program if you like Pentax or Canon AE-1 Program if you like Canon. Any camera with a Program mode and a manual mode will do!

The main point is to get a camera with a good Program mode to start getting good results right away.

No Autofocus!

I however am NOT recommending that the beginner gets an autofocus film slr for their first film camera at this time. If you start with an autofocus camera and autofocus lenses then in my opinion you’re probably better off shooting with a DSLR.

I want you to have the Program mode for automatic exposures because exposures are probably the trickiest part for a beginner to understand, but I’d still want you to learn the “art” or the craft by learning to focus and compose. Get great results, get excited, and the rest will come to you with time, practice, and experience!

Conclusion

I can’t believe it took me all that space and time to basically say: Start out in the Program mode, get good to great results, get pumped about photography and work your way through the rest! You’ll be more interested in learning the camera when you start getting good results! 😀

Anyway this was the most I could put in one article but in future articles and videos we’ll work our way out of the Program mode so that you can work the camera and feel like a “real” photographer even though the Program mode will deliver 80-90 percent of the time! 😎

What is your opinion? Do you agree? Disagree? How did you learn 35mm photography? Leave a comment I’d love to hear it! In the end though, it’s just one man’s view so take it with a grain of salt and have a great day folks! 😍📸👍🏻