Consolation prize

I bought this camera as a present to myself for getting nominated for a Governor General's Literary Award in Non-fiction - a humble banged-up Zenit-B with a very desirable Industar 50-2 50mm f3.5 lens with a M-42 mount.

I suppose if I had won the prize, though Charlie Foran is exceedingly deserving of the honour for his biography of Mordecai Richler, I would have purchased a Mamiya Press camera or a Mamiya C330 with a prism finder. I'm not quite enjoying my waist-level Yashica 635 TLR lately and I have kept my out for other medium format cameras of late.

But there is a big difference between being a nominee and a winner.

Yet I'm happy to have this little Tessar formula knock-off from Kiev. I took a few pictures with it in Montreal and Toronto during my book tour. Will develop the film soon.

I shot with it mostly wide open on a Konica Autoreflex T4 body and a real-life Konica M42 to AR adapter ring (AR stands for Konica's Autoreflex lens mount).

That lens mount and my favourite lens, a Konica Hexanon 40mm f1.8, were what I received in a trade for a Nikon FM2N and a Nikkor 50mm. Yes, I am Konica crazy.

With the trusty Nikon L35AF

A rugby squad mucking about on the beach. They play rather rough but seemed to be enjoying themselves. If they kicked up some sand, no one bothered to complain.

Shot with a forced flash on expired Kodak Portra 160, I suspect VC.

Expired film for expired subject matter

Untitled by *jj*
Untitled, a photo by *jj* on Flickr.
I don't usually shoot with expired film but a colleague at the CBC had a bag of film he no longer needed and tossed me a frozen bag of the stuff. I thought it would be blocky but this particular roll of Kodak Portra 160 NC held up nicely.

Shot with: Olympus Stylus (mju)

Hex-addiction - new site dedicated to Konica's Hexanon lenses

Got to love it.

A new site dedicated to shooting with Konica Hexanon lenses.

Rather than a technical/specs site (who needs anymore than Buhla's incredible database?), our blogger here at the Konica Hexanon Project wishes to shoot with them and reveal the loveliness that is Hexanon (of course I am biased, see below).

The blogger writes:
Welcome to Konica Hexanon Project! This project is dedicated to Konica Hexanon lenses. My goal is not to do a thorough survey on technical information about these lenses, but rather, I would like to build up a collection of pictures taken with them. It is unlikely I can acquire all Konica lenses due to my budget and the rarity of certain lenses. But I’ll do my best.

I'm always a sucker for a theme like this. 52 cameras in 52 weeks and Rollei 35 and Polypan F are good examples of a particular photographic obsession bearing fruit online.

Of course, these types of projects work best when the photography is excellent like Tony's and Zeno's stuff.

I look forward to following the Project. Good luck. I hope you are able to get your hands on all the Hexanon AR lenses! Perhaps kind souls will send you theirs.

Why didn't I think of it?

Konica Autoreflex

How technology changes how we hold our cameras

This image was posted by a friend on Facebook. It is of Emmanuel Jal, musician and former child soldier in the Sudan.

Of course, the grip is brutal. Classical technique says one cradles the lens and body with the left hand (see right). Jal looks like his is holding a trombone or a rocket launcher or knocking back a can of Coke.

But wait a second, with the advent of auto focus, Jal's grip makes sense. It is stable. Firm. Ergonomic. It just isn't pretty.

The classical grip was really a balance between supporting the bottom plate as well as possible whilst leaving fingers available to delicately manipulate aperture and focus (and on the old Olympus SLR's even the shutter speed).

All of which is now unnecessary.

Still, it is better than holding the camera like on the left. I wrote about this grip on an earlier post. Its main flaws is the fingers do not engage the lens barrel where indeed a few camera controls do reside. But more importantly, it is unstable. There is very little positive grip on the expensive and desirable Fuji X-100. A nice camera like that deserves to be handled properly.

Taken with a Nikon L35AF on Kodak Ektar 100

If it weren't for the boy in the centre sitting and facing where he is, I don't think there would have been a picture at all.

So many of the subjects are looking to the right, I really needed the boys knees to bring the eye back to the receding row of pilings.

Also the focus is very soft - have yet to determine why.

Fixed! Resetting the frame counter in your Nikon One Touch aka L35AF2

The camera - Nikon One Touch L35AF2

"Hi JJ,
Thanks for the quick reply. After pressing down pin #2 like you instructed, I hit the rewind button and the counter magically went back to number 1 frame. Thanks so much for the help!

You are welcome! And remember to enjoy all 11 Fully Automatic Features!

Trying to reset the film counter on a Nikon L35AF2 aka Nikon One Touch

Nina said:

I have some problems with my Nikon L35AF2. I recently tried using it and am not able to set the counter back at 1. What has happened is that it is stucked at about 22/24 and then I would take shots even after 36, hoping I'll have enough shots before rewinding. Everything is fine, except for the counter. Is it possible to self-fix this? Or else, I'd have to keep reminding myself the amount of shots I've taken.

Take care. Regards.

JJ said:

Nina, there is a return spring in the film counter that MAY be misaligned or snapped. Let's see if we can find out.

You will need a small piece of tape big enough to hold down the button identified as 1 in the picture above.

You will need another piece of tape to hold down the flash.

You will also need a small toothpick or a screwdriver to push the metal pin identified as 2 in the picture above.

1. Make sure your camera is off. (Too many people have destroyed Nikon One Touches by loading batteries and film with the lens cover open).

2. Load batteries.

3. Open the film door.

4. At this point, the film counter should reset back to zero.

5. Obviously, your camera doesn't. Take the toothpick or screw driver and try to push and move the pin identified as number 2 in the image above. What you want to do is get the pin to come back up and to move to the left of the opening. That's the reset position. You want to work the pin so it releases a catch.

If this doesn't work:

6. Tape down number 1. And tape down the flash so it can't pop up. Turn on and fire the camera. See if the camera will advance three frames.

7. If it doesn't,  with the small screw driver or toothpick, push down the silver pin identified as 2 in the image above.

8. Press the shutter release. Based on your note the camera should advance three frames. Does the counter move at all? Some sort of catch should be engaged at this point. Work the pin around and fire the shutter with the hope of catching it.

9. There is also a pin under number 1 but I don't think it effects the counter reset function. You'll need another set of hands to push that pin down as well.

The most important thing is to get pin 2 to reset the counter.

It's not a sure fire fix but if you're lucky it will catch and reset. Let me know,  JJ

Olympus Infinity Stylus Epic µ[mju:]

Best advice of the day because it's true:

Consider your Olympus Infitnity Stylus Epic the little 35mm point and shoot that wants to be a portrait camera.

Type:Full-automatic 35 mm autofocus lens-shutter camera.
Film:35 mm standard DX-coded film (24 x 36 mm).
Lens:Olympus lens 35 mm. F2.8 (4 elements in 4 groups).
Shutter:Programmed electronic shutter.
Viewfinder:Real-image viewfinder (with autofocus mark, close-up correction marks, autofocus indicator and flash indicator).
Focusing:Active-type multi-beam autofocus with focus lock.
Focusing range: 0.35 m ~ infinity.
Exposure control:Programmed automatic exposure control, 2-zone light metering, switchable to spot metering.
Auto exposure range:
EV 1.0 (F2.8, 4 sec.) ~ EV 17 (F11, 1/1000 sec.).
Exposure counter:Progressive type with automatic reset, displayed on LCD panel.
Film speed range:Automatic setting with DX-coded film with ISO 50, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200. For non-DX-coded film and film with less than ISO 50, film is automatically set to ISO 100.
Film loading:Automatic loading. Automatically advances to the first frame when camera back is closed.
Film advance:Automatic film advance.
Film rewind:Automatic film rewind (automatic rewind at end of film, automatic rewind stop).
Rewind possible at any point with rewind button.
Flash:Built-in flash. Recycling time approx. 0.2 ~ 3.5 sec. (at normal temperature with new battery).
Flash working range:With ISO 100 colour negative film: 0.35 ~ 4.1 m.
face=Helvetica> With ISO 400 colour negative film: 0.35 ~ 8.2 m.
Flash modes:Auto (automatic flash in low light, in backlight and in fluorescent/artificial light), Red-Eye Reducing (red-eye reduction, same as Auto otherwise), Fill-In (forced activation), Night Scene (for night scenes with slowest shutter speed of 4 sec., otherwise same as Auto), Red-Eye Reducing Night Scene (red-eye reduction, same as Night Scene otherwise) and Off (no flash).
Weatherproofing:IEC Standard publication 529.
Classification of degrees of protection provided by enclosures. Degrees of protection indicated by second characteristic numeral 4.
  • Short description: Protected against splashing water
  • Definition: Water splashed against enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effect.
  • Test for second numeral 4: Equipment is sprayed from all practical directions.
Self-timer:Electronic self-timer with 12 sec. delay.
Remote control (optional):Infrared remote control unit with 3 sec. delay.
Battery check:Displayed on LCD panel.
Power source:3 V lithium battery (CR 123A or DL 123A).
Dimensions:108 (W) x 59 (H) x 37 (D) mm (without protrusions and grip).
Weight:135 g (without batteries).

Specifications and design are subject to change without notice.

Consider your Olympus Infitnity Stylus Epic the little 35mm point and shoot that wants to be a portrait camera

Today I received a comment/query regarding the Olympus Infinity Stylus Epic. Huzaifa recently shot with the mju-ii and found it less sharp than the Nikon L35AF.

I've personally found the Infinity Stylus Epic plenty sharp in the past so I thought I'd share my comment/conversation with you.

The above is my favourite family photograph taken with the camera. Up close one can see the herringbone weave in the cotton fedora that the brat on the left is wearing. So, it is very sharp. However, when using a P&S camera, it's always good to remember how that camera's program AE works. Some favour sharpness. Others favour shutter speed to reduce camera shake.

Also, it's always good to use film that doesn't have a reputation for being grainy if you are trying to evaluate a lens for sharpness (I just can't stand it when people try to evaluate lens performance with high grain films like Kodak Gold or Fuji Superia, it just doesn't work as they have twice the grain of Kodak's C41 black and white or Ilford's XP2).

Huzaifa used Kodak 100 Ektar, which is a fine print film, that's I've discovered but it can be grainy as a digital file. Not sure why, it just does.

Here was our conversation:

Huzaifa Yamin said...

hi, i just finished my 1st roll on olympus stylus epic but unfortunately i found its images not as sharp as nikon. is this true or my stylus epic got some problem?

JJ Lee said...

Hi Huzaifa, I would say normally the Olympus Infinity Stylus Epic should offer sharper pictures or equally so. And only if you mean by Nikon you mean the L35AF. I'd have to see the photographs.

One thing to note is these cameras don't have intelligent AF. You have to keep the principal subject in the middle or prefocus by half-depressing the shutter lease to lock the AF and then re-composing. Of course, if you know all this, there could be other factors at play before consider your Infinity Stylus Epic (mju-II, right?) a dud.

JJ Lee said...

Hi Huzaifa: I had a look at some of your flickr images:

1. Kodak 100 Ektar comes across as grainy in digital. Apparently they make very smooth optical prints but just scan grainy - not sure why.

2. Because you don't have any principal subjects in your images if is hard to evaluate sharpness of the lens. Graininess is never caused by a lense. Softness of focus and aberrations like ghosting or chroma are characteristic of lens flaws. I see nothing like that in your images.

3. Consider taking pictures of subjects within ten feet of you to really give the Olympus Infinity Stylus Epic a chance. The program autoexposure was optimized for taking pictures of PEOPLE [by this I mean it favours wide apertures and faster shutter speeds]. The lens nearly always want to go wide in aperture, so that's something to consider. The mju-ii is a tiny little camera that wants to be a portrait camera. Really, that's how the program AE works.

Tulips eventually die

What I hope a Voigtlander Color Skopar lens on a Vito B can do

This little tyke here was taken on a Werra II camera. It has a Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar (50mm F2.8) lens.

The one reason I don't shoot with this camera more is it belongs to my wife's departed and well-missed father, Cyril.

It also has a selenium meter which will one day run out. I hate that.

So, when I bought the Voigtlander Vito B viewfinder with a Color Skopar lens at 50mm F3.5 this weekend, my big hope to have a viewfinder that could take low natural light shots like the one above. There's something very creamy and delicious about the image (is the milk bottle making me hungry) which I'd like to make with the Vito B.

Notes on the new Voigtlander Vito B

I believe the new (old) camera I bought today is a 1955 version of the Vito B.

It has the Prontor SVS shutter with the same matching shutter speeds: 300. 100, 50, 25, 10, 5, 2, 1, and B. Other Vito B's will have 125 instead of 100.

However a very nice website cataloging versions of the Vito B's suggests that because my Vito B has lugs with concentric circles on the camera's strap lugs, it may be from 1956.

Perhaps it is a transition camera.

I would like to warn the Vito B-curious that a wikiHow post says never set the synchronizing lever (the thing that says "V, X, M" - labeled as 5 in yellow at the left) on "V".

Apparently it's the self-timer with a weak spring. If it breaks the shutter won't fire.

Other good pointers are at Matt's Classic Cameras.

*****The best tip I have found online regarding the Vito B is often potential buyers will think the camera doesn't work because the shutter won't cock.

What they don't know is the Vito B needs film in the camera to reset the shutter. The lever moves the film uptake, the film advances against the sprocket, the sprocket cocks the shutter.  To find out if a Vito B has a working shutter, open the camera chamber and advance the sprocket with your thumb.

From the Vancouver Camera Show

There are three important days for my photography and camera collecting calendar.

One is the Hyack Parade, New Westminster's spring rite and festival. I've been photographing the participants for my social documentary project for the last five years.

The other red letter day is actually every weekend during the summer where I play with the boys at the beach AND continue my At The Beach (ever-changing working title) series.

The third big day is the Vancouver Camera Show. I had a long list of things I wanted to get if I could afford it but, alas, I couldn't.

I did however find another Nikon L35AF. I have three now. I bought it for $2. Which is a great price for one. Though I am willing to buy rather beat up shooter versions.

The other find is above: the Voigtlander Vito B with a 50mm, f3.5 Color Skopar.

I am very excited about this camera as I've been hankering for a Color Skopar or Tessar viewfinder camera for the last few months. What makes this a terrific camera is it has no selenium meter.

For a user, it is hard for a compulsive guy like me to carry a selenium camera with the nagging feeling (it's not an unfounded feeling, it is indeed a fact) that the irreplaceable meter is being drained.

That's why you haven't seen many shots from my three Olympus Trip 35, Olympus XA1, Werra II or Agfa Optima. All of them use selenium.

This camera, which I bought for $45, is guilt free. No draining light meter. No batteries to worry about. And as you may know about me, I don't mind the Vito B is the next camera to load with film.

I have discussed some interesting pointers for how to shop for one and I will compile them together and post soon.

I hope you either took great pictures or found great cameras today.

Back when a film camera sensor dream was still alive

The RE-35 | Digital cartridges for analog 35-mm cameras prank from a few weeks ago was annoying.

While no camera maker would ever try to develop such a product, it would be great if an Impossible Project-styled digital sensor effort for film cameras would emerge.

Back in 1998 (above), there were dreams of bringing such a product to market by a company called Imagek. It later became Silicon Film.

I really think Kodak should try to build a black and white sensor emulating Tri-X. It's innovative and would elevate the brand. The miniaturization and power issues would be fascinating. Selling digital Tri-X might not make good product engineering but it would be great branding. I think it would sell.

There are actual reason to make a dedicated b&w sensor but I won't get into it here.

Okay. I'll stop day dreaming.

Left is a sample of the EFS-1 in action a decade ago.

Here is part of the technology's sad history.

Vancouver Camera Show is coming!


"Vancouver Camera Show and Swap Meet
Sponsored by the Western Canada Photographic Historical Association
Vancouver's original and Canada’s largest camera show withTables available at $40 each
More stuff, more people, better prices
Next showSunday, April 17, 2011!Location: CAMERON RECREATION CENTER, 9523 Cameron Street, Burnaby (next to Lougheed Mall. Click for directions and maps)"

Details here!

University of Delaware exhibits wide spectrum of Andy Warhol's photography

Andy Warhol Polaroid image of Dolly Parton, 1985
On until June 5, at the Old College Gallery at the University of Delaware is a survey of Andy Warhol's photography.

While many would be familiar with Warhol's use of photography in his screen prints and paint works, and how he used serial images to reflect consumer culture and the media, his photography is relatively overlooked.

The current University of Delaware show includes 60 photographs which, one hopes, will expand our knowledge of this aspect of artist's production.

Of course, this blog has always been fascinated by the promiscuity of his camera usage: here, here & here.

If a camera made the job of taking photographs easier, Warhol, it would seem, would give it a try.

His free use of many different camera makes and models parallels his consumptive pattern when it came to auctions and antiques.

For those who can't make it to Newark, Delaware, there is the exhibition catalogue with an essay by Stephen Petersen.

Konica EE Matic Rangefinder 40mm F2.8 Konishiroku Hexanon

This is the first of the EE Matic series and was produced in 1963. The run may have gone until 1965 when the EE Matic Deluxe was introduced.

Apparently, this camera has a shutter speed range of 1/30 to 1/250. The lens is a 40mm f2.8 Hexanon with a Konishiruko tag, my first camera to have it.

The focus range is 3 feet to infinity.

ISO range is 10 ASA! to 200 ASA.

The filter thread is 49mm.

The camera is auto exposure or aperture priority  (I am wrong: the aperture setting is for use with a flash. According to one Japanese camera blogger, the shutter speed in flash mode is 1/60).

In auto mode, the shutter will lock under low light. A red flag will appear in the viewfinder window.

Unlike later EE Matic's this 1963 version does not indicate shutter speed in the viewfinder.

In auto exposure mode, one should press the shutter release half down before firing. This allows the aperture to stop down before the shutter fires. 

Pressing the release too quickly may cause the auto exposure shot to be taken at f2.8 as the shutter may open and close before the aperture stops down.

That said, the selenium meter works which is happiness.

April 6 - I did find a Japanese blogger who documented a visit through the innards of the camera. The Google translator works nicely but I wish I could read it in Japanese.

If you are looking for an overall semi-official history of Konica, check out Kenko's timeline of both Konica and Minolta.

Spring Tulip

Spring Tulip, originally uploaded by *jj*.
Shot on a Nikon D40 with a M42, screw-mount Carl Zeiss Jena 58mm Biotar type lens at aperture F2.

The lens was adapted with a Konica M42 to K/AR ring.

The K/AR fits loosely on the Nikon F lens mount.

Photoblogger shows destruction in Japan

The photoblog I've been looking for - someone able to convey what's going on in Japan. Good work, Sei Fukaya.

What's wrong with this picture - look at how he's holding the camera

I have no problem with the highly anticipated Fuji X100 camera. In fact, I lust after it (though I will write a piece soon about why I should be happy sticking with my Nikon D40).

And I have no problem with PhotoRadar.

However, the photograph accompanying the article is driving me nuts.

Digital cameras have ruined people.

That's not the way a person holds a viewfinder/af rangefinder camera. This is what happens when people are used to holding camera 18 inches from their face.

Please. always, cradle a camera, a la Bresson (right).

Even if you're camera is very small, it's always good to have part of your right hand underneath the baseplate AND to have both hands interlocked or touching each other for stability.

Intense lens camera combo of the week

As a Nikon D40 user, I find this lense and viewfinder combination on Tokyo Camera Style very flash!

I'm supposing the D40 needs to be in mirror lock up to accommodate the Voigtlander SL 15mm f4.5 (Sypal has incorrectly identified the lens as 12mm but, no matter, still love his stuff).

The lense has a huge back end.

My D40's mirror does go up in mirror lock up but the shutter stays open as well. The specs say the MLU is for sensor cleaning only.

Hmmmm. Mystery. I've read elsewhere about users placing a foam bumper on top of the rear element so the mirror hits this instead of the lens. The lens must come awfully close to the shutter!!!

My combo is less exotic but more safe plus I like using the Nikon E Series lens.

UPDATE: Pentax Espio Mini (I found the manual)

UPDATE:  I found the on-line manual!

There are a number of cameras on my always-buy list.

If I see a Konica Autoreflex T3 in black, I'll most likely buy it. A Hexanon 40mm f1.8, yup. The autocompact Konica Big Mini BM-301 (what do you expect, I'm a Konica guy), definitely.

A Color-Skopar or Tessar 35mm on a viewfinder hardbody is always a good idea. And a clean lens in f1.2 or f1.4, regardless of make, is always worth spending a few shekels.

And then there's the Pentax Espio Mini, aka Pentax UC-1.

While it only has a triplet lens it does very well. It fits in nicely with an Olympus Infinity Stylus Epic and a Nikon AF600 in a collection and equals them in performance. The Nikon AF600 is wider at 28mm but they came in around the same time and have the same generation of accurate auto-focusing, compact design and sharp lenses.

Similarly, the 1985 Nikon L35AF (a true legend of a camera) has a cousin in the Canon AF35M II. And the Olympus AF-1 came out a year later with a Zuiko lens lacking a no-flash option (admittedly, neither did the L35AF but the brothers and sisters of the L35 have learned how to work around it).

The thing about the Pentax, like the Nikon AF600, is they are harder to find than the Olympus Infinity Stylus Epic and the Konica Big Minis.

They have a nice body. They age better than the champagne coloured mju-IIs. And they just look nice. I like the sparkly finish.

The other nice thing about the Espio Minis is they do a great job of correcting parallax. The viewfinder darkens no longer part of the photograph as one focuses on closer subjects. A very fine feature.

The above is my second Pentax Espio Mini.

What lenses does Ron Galella use

Gear heads want to know sometimes.

I understand, I am one.

I know it doesn't make ones pictures better because you use the same specs as someone you admire but, well, I'm still a gearhead.

For example, it has been asked, what does Ron Galella (Brando, Jackie O, Stallone, and, of course, Warhol), paparazzo, use?

Well...recent photos of the photographer, during the promotion of his latest photo books, show him using (best guess by looking at some portraits of Galella by others) a Nikon Nikkor AF 24-85mm AF D zoom on a Nikon D100.

Interesting note: at this site one can find the exif info for his camera which has been turned on him for a promo shot.

The camera is indeed a D100 and the focal length does support the 24mm part of the zoom range. It is possible the lens could be a 24-70mm but that lens's barrel is very long.

The lens on Galella's camera behind a funny Brando shot is (only a best guess) a Nikkor-H  Auto with a Nippon Kogaku Japan tag but I can't tell what the focal length or maximum aperture is. The serial number might suggest it is a 5cm with an aperture of F2. To figure it out: check out the fairly hi-res image.

Then cruise around the Mir Nikon resource site!

UPDATE - Another possibility is a NIKKOR-N Auto 24 mm f/2.8. The letter after Nikkor is really hard to read!

Olympus Trip AF specifications

Olympus Trip AF, originally uploaded by *jj*.

I've posted this camera before.

I have yet to take pictures with it. It indeed uses AAA batteries. I prefer cameras that use AA. I really need to get AAA rechargers.

But I have found the Olympus Trip AF specificiations. I think this camera is too often maligned as a cheap exploitation of the great Trip brand name.

Note however the camera sports the Zuiko lens tag. Even the Infinity Stylus - MJU's don't have Zuiko lenses. One advantage over the original Trip is it has an on-board flash. The body is smaller. Also, I don't enjoy walking around with my Trip 35 with the fear my selenium meter running out for good. One has to make the awkward choice between using a lens cap at all times or letting the selenium drain.

The Olympus Trip AF skirts around all this. Hmmm, I've nearly convinced myself to load it with some film:

If you want to check out the original Olympus Trip 35 specifications (click to make it bigger):

And of course, David Bailey shilling the Original:

And here he is again selling the AF-10 or Infinity Jr.

More Andy Warhol camera poses including the Konica C35-EF 2

The cataloging and identifying of Andy Warhol cameras continues!

If you're wondering,the camera in Warhol's left hand is a Konica C35 EF 2.

You can tell because it has the self-timer lever. The first, ground-breaking, flash-toting , Konica C35 EF Pikkari, didn't have the timer (see below).

Also the later model had three speeds - I can't recall what they are. The original (below) had two shutter speeds: 1/60 and 1/125. One Flickr discussion says 1/250 is the third speed on the second version.

Konica C35 EF

Here is the second C35 EF as advertised:

Here are my previous notes on the camera:

Film range: 25 to 400 ASA.
Lens: Hexanon 38mm, f2.8, 4 elements in 3 groups
Filter ring: 46mm
Focus range: 3.5 feet to infinity
Zone/Scale focus
Shutter: 1/60, 1/125, 1/250 shutter speeds. (also 1/30 AND 1/650???, see comments below)

Use 2 x AA batteries to power the flash and 1 X 1.3 volt button cell (mercury PX675 or EXP675) for the CDS light meter. Apparently, using modern 1.5v batteries won't negatively effect C41 or black and white films. Correct voltage may be needed for slide film.

With flash off, the camera will select the correct aperture. The CDS above the lens controls which f stop is used.

I believe the shutter speed is determined by the ISO setting in non-flash mode.

As this is the NEW EF - the original had no timer - there is a third shutter speed of 1/250. The old EF had 1/60 and 1/125.

Note the camera shoots without any batteries. It may default to either 1/60 or 1/125 depending on the ISO. I believe it shoots at its widest aperture, f2.8.

Konica C35 EF aka C35 New EF aka Pikkari
In flash mode the camera default to an aperture determined by the ISO. The camera may default to a shutter speed of 1/60 1/125.

The window beside the viewfinder has a light meter attached to the flash. This may govern how much light the flash emits.

On this camera, after some cleaning, everything seems to be in good working order.

Figuring out the focus point of a fixed focus and contradictory Olympus XA1

The above is the official corporate portrait of the odd sheep of the XA family of compact cameras by Olympus.

What makes it odd it is a fixed focus camera.

It has the classic Zuiko lens tag. It sports the 35mm lens, like the rangefinder Olympus XA. It even has the excellent clamshell design.

Did I mention it has a fixed focus lens. In other words you can't focus it.

The manual says you the camera will capture subjects between 5 feet and infinity in focus, but this is, at the camera's widest aperture, a ridiculous concept.

For those who may not know, the wider the aperture the more shallow the depth of field, that is the range at which a subject will appear in focus. It can be deep or it can be shallow. Whatever is in the field or range will appear in focus.

There are three ways to increase your depth of focus.

The further away one focuses on something, the wider the depth of field becomes. More will be in focus if it is far from the camera.

Another way to increase depth of field is to decrease the aperture. The smaller the aperture the wider the range where subjects will appear sharp.

Another way to increase the depth of field is to decrease the focal length of a lens. Wider angled lenses have deeper fields of focus. Telephoto or zoomed lenses have shallower ranges of focus ...phew...

Unfortunately the only variable that applies to the XA1 is the aperture. The lens  length (not the physical length but you know what I mean) and focus point are fixed on the rascally camera.

It's complicated but for the Olympus XA1 to have an object in focus at 5 feet at an aperture of f4, the fixed lens would have to be focus at something 6 feet. However, at f4 the furthest something would be focused would be 7.28 feet.

How do I know this? Well I used the Online Depth of Field Calculator!

Plugging a set of numbers based on the focal length and possible apertures for the XA1, one soon discovers there is no focus point at f4 that will cover 5 feet to infinity as specified in the XA1 manual.

However, I am beginning to suspect the XA1 focal range was calculated at the classic street shooting aperture of f16, good for a sunny day. One can get away with a fixed 35mm lens at f16 if the lens is focused at the correct point.

At f16, punching the numbers into Online Depth of Field Calculator by the DOFMaster, we do get a corresponding depth of 5 feet to infinity...(4.96 feet but close enough)...

IF the lens is set for 12 feet!

Now here's the rub. When one shoots the XA1 with a flash, the aperture gets locked at f4.

(UPDATE April 21, 2011 - I am incorrect regarding the fixed aperture in flash mode. The selenium meter is in control of the aperture even in flash mode, which means, the aperture will stop down in bright conditions. Good news.)

The flash, the A9M that often comes with it, can only illuminate up to 14.8 feet with 400 ASA film (again complicated).

Back to the calculator...that would mean only objects between 8.86 feet and 18.6 feet would be in focus at f4. But only items between 8.86-14.8 feet would be properly illuminated by the flash.

Not the best product design by Olympus.

But there's something about this camera. I just want to shoot with it. I suppose it's odd gives it some charm.

Raw specifications for the camera: