An eBay purchase that worked out

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.

Getting back into the photography routine

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. ;)

Late night February 2013 in midtown Manhattan shot with an Olympus Trip 35
Late night February 2013 in midtown Manhattan shot with an Olympus Trip 35

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.

Yashica vs Nikon

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.

First roll from the Yashica Electro 35 GSN

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.

Yashica ME 1 Camera: Not bad for $4.88


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.

Latest camera additions

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.

Android or iPhone 4?

Do I get an Android phone or an iPhone 4? I’m in no rush to get a new phone but I do periodically suffer from phone envy.

I am a fan of easy-to-use technology. I currently own an iPhone 3G with iOS 4.0.1 installed. My phone has been jailbroken not because I have a “SOFTWARE MUST BE FREE!!!1!” itch, but because I wanted to tweek my phone in ways that Apple doesn’t support for my hardware.

Cool Applications, not so cool app store

One of my favorite apps on my iPhone is Camera+. It lets me take photos, make adjustments, and share those photos online. All within the app and very easily.

The Camera+ developers came up with the idea of modifying the volume up button to be used as a shutter button. This re-mapping of the button would only be done while the user is in the app. It’s a great idea and makes using Camera+ easier.  But the idea was rejected by the app store, so the developers created a back door to enable that setting.

That’s a sensible work around because the app store was apparently afraid that re-mapping the volume up key while in the Camera+ app would create confusion. Since the end-user would have to access a specific application URL, they would have to know what they were doing.

But as expected the Camera+ app has been removed from the app store. Rules are rules, especially when they are arbitrary, imaginary, mostly made up, and not published.

Do I really want to continue using a product that fosters an environment like this? I know that the Android Market Place has it’s pitfalls too but the Apple App store is driven by incompetence.

Android is becoming more cool

I know two people who have Android phones from Verizon.  The first phone I’ve seen is the HTC Incredible.  The UI is easy to use and makes the experience fun.

The other phone is the Droid X.  The display portion alone feels like it’s bigger than my iPhone 3G.  It’s not a small phone in comparison but the display is fantastic. It’s not as slick as an HTC phone but it is close.

How would a Gorilla design a better Gorilla?

I’ve also seen the iPhone 4.  The display is phenomenal but it’s essentially a better iPhone 3GS. It’s more resolution, more memory, faster CPU.  But it’s still an iPhone and I already have an inferior version right now.

Why just get a better version of the iPhone 3G? Why not get a new phone and try out the other guys? If Camera+ existed for the Android phone, that would go a long way to hastening my decision.