I like old film cameras and I often visit Island Thrift to see what they’ve got. Normally it’s just a few 35mm plastic film cameras from the 80s. Those aren’t very interesting, but this week they had some good selections behind the case.
Olympus SLR OM-1MD w/50mm f/1.8 lens in good condition.
Olympus SLR OM-2 w/50mm f/1.8 lens. The shutter was jammed solid.
Yashica Electro 35 G (1968 version, up to ASA 500) with a dented lens rim.
Yashica Electro 35 from 1966. The original non-G version that went to ASA 400.
Of course I got the last one. :-)
I did a check out of all 4 and gave the manager a lesson in old film cameras. I looked at the shutter settings from bulb to 1/1000 on the OM-1MD, checked the aperture changed when moved, the film advance, looked for fungus and scratches on the lens and made sure the shutter didn’t stick.
Except for the OM-2, the cameras worked. The manager removed the OM-2 which I thought was decent of him.
Without a battery the Electro 35 will default to 1/500 exposure. I thought the aperture blades were stuck (they’re not) but what this new camera needs is work on is the wiring. At home when I put a battery in I got the check battery light working but I also got a ZZZT! noise on the inside.
I took the battery out quickly. This camera is over 48 years old so I do expect some problems. The light seals disintegrate on touch and the whole thing can use a good cleaning. I’ll do some research, I think I know where I can get this one serviced.
Last week my latest eBay find arrived and I was in for a little surprise: it wasn’t quite what I thought it would be. The listing said I purchased an Olympus Pen EES-2 camera, instead I got an EE-2.
You’re forgiven for not having any idea about the difference. ;) Both models are half-frame cameras, the EES-2 is just like the Olympus Trip 35 and has a f/2.8 lens and zone focusing. The EE-2 I received has a lens that opens only as far as f/3.5 and is a fully automatic camera. You set the film ASA, frame anything past 1.5 meters and click. If the light is too dark then you’ll get a red flag in the viewfinder and no photo will be taken.
This worked out perfectly. The camera was one I bought for my daughter to use and reskin. She wanted to use one of mine and I didn’t want to mess with those. This one is 100% point and shoot and Friday I put in a roll of Kodak BW400CN film with 36 exposures. That meant I shot 72 photos because each frame gets 2 images.
I like the results. This may be the perfect street shooter camera. You see something, frame it in the viewfinder and you get an exposure at 1/200 of a second.
Here’s some shots from that first roll.
I cleaned up the camera with isopropyl alcohol and may change the leatherette. I also left a 5 star review for the seller. Not everyone is into old cameras the way I am and it all worked out for me.
Tonight there will probably be another snowfall so I don’t know if I’ll get any street shots tomorrow. I’ve put on the “never ready” case and replaced the camera strap on my Yashica Electro 35 GSN. The original strap worried me and I don’t want risk dropping a camera made after 1973.
It’s a rangefinder camera and takes great shots. I normally use my Olympus Trip 35 for street photography but the mood struck me to use a different camera. It will be dark when I get out of work and I want to shoot some 800 ISO film (the Trip 35 goes up to 400 ISO film). I’ve shot the Trip 35 in the dark and have gotten some good photos but they were strained. Or “retro” if you like those sort of images like this one. ;)
Wintertime is not the best for street photography (metal camera, cold fingers) but I’ve been itching to take more photos. Last year I fell out of the habit of packing a camera and taking lots of photos. I want to get back into that routine and I hope to start this week.
I like taking photos. I love old film cameras. With film you get approximately 26 shots per roll and that forces me to think and frame the shot. They’re not always keepers but with practice I’ve posted hundreds of film shots. It’s something I enjoy and I hope this week I go through at least a couple of rolls.
My Yashica Electro 35 GSN has a 45mm f/1.7 lens which makes for a comparison with my Nikon D300s with a 30mm f/1.4. My DSLR has an APC sensor which with the 1.5 crop factor makes the 30mm equivalent to 45mm.
It’s not often when I can compare a digital camera with a film camera like that and recently I took both cameras to a family event. In good light most cameras will perform well and that restaurant was well-lit.
I like shooting with film cameras and using a rangefinder is cool. The focusing is completely different from a DSLR. With the Nikon I look through the lens but with the Yashica I need to frame the image in the view finder and line up an overlaid image.
The experience also different because with the DSLR you get instant gratification. It took me over a week to get the roll of film developed and copied onto a DVD but with the digital camera I was able to upload the images the same day.
In the rangefinder I ran Fuji Superia XTRA 400 through it and shot the Nikon at 200 ISO. I also used a fill flash on the Nikon since the background was really bright.
The film images are good but if you have a good DSLR (and I do ;-) ) you can get just as good results without the wait.
Yes I know that’s obviously the case but I’ll continue to shoot with film and the DSLR. For me shooting with both is fun. I like taking photos and collecting old cameras and occasionally I capture some really good images.
When I get a new camera I usually pop in a roll of Fujifilm Superia X-TRA 400 and just quickly take photos. My recently acquired Yashica Electro 35 GSN is no exception.
My focusing needs work as I’m too used to working with a zone focus camera like the Olympus Trip 35. :-)
It’s not a big camera but oddly enough it feels like a real camera. It’s very well built and solid. One roll of film isn’t enough for me to describe the pros and cons but so far I like it. A full review will be in a later post.
Tonight I’ll take it to a family dinner and shoot some more with it. I get a kick out of taking photos in a Chinese restaurant, I hope they have a tank of live crab and fish.
I got my test roll back today from Costco for the Yashica ME 1 and I’m sharing the ones that I like below. I bought this camera at a thrift store last week for less than $5 so I can’t really be unhappy with any of the results.
The Yashica ME 1 camera was made in Brazil in the 70s and except for the fact that is has a built-in battery powered light meter and a 38mm f/2.8 lens I don’t know an awful lot about it. The Yashica Guy has some info on his page but the ME 1 is just not a popular model to collect.
It’s an all plastic model but it doesn’t feel cheap or poorly built. It’s light and sits in my coat pocket easily. Unlike my favorite Olympus Trip 35 it doesn’t weigh my coat down.
Like the Trip 35 this camera uses zone focusing and has a “Judas window” so you can see what the aperture setting is well as the focus distance are from the view finder.
The metering is different from what I’m used to. With the Trip 35 if the camera thought there was not enough light then you just set the aperture to f/2.8 manually and took a 1/40 second exposure. I did the same thing on this camera but some of the results were really underexposed.
This photo came out alright so I may just need to practice some more.
I don’t think this will replace my current walkabout camera but it’s not bad either. When spring arrives I’ll use up a lunch hour or two and walk around Union Square. There you can see some real interesting sights when the weather gets warmer and having a small black camera might be more inconspicuous.
It’s called “collecting” and I’ve got it under control and can stop at any time…
I had been looking at the Yashica Electro 35 GSN for a long time and on Saturday I purchased one from a seller on eBay. It arrived Tuesday and it’s in amazing condition.
I selected this seller because he’d described what he does to make sure it’s fully operational. Part of his routine is to clean out the viewfinder, check for the Pad of Death, replace the battery, etc.
The quick picture I took above (it’s the one on the right) does not do it justice. It looks like a brand new camera and not one that was made in the 70s. It’s gorgeous and the viewfinder is bright and sharp. I’ll take and post some more photos of it this weekend.
The black camera on the left is a Yashica ME1 all plastic camera made in Brazil after 1977. Monday Lily and I stopped in the thrift shop and I picked up that one for less than five dollars. It’s a zone focusing camera with a battery powered light meter.
The ME1 has a judas window just like the Olympus Trip 35 but does not have the solid feel that the Trip has. Like the Trip it has a fast f2.8 lens but I’m pretty sure the similarity ends there.
After I cleaned it up I put in a LR44 battery and have been shooting with it. I’m not expecting too much from it but I’ll see how the photos come out.