I am a Patreon of this website called Casual Photophile. It’s a beautifully done website with reviews of interesting old film cameras, discussions about the old photography masters, and an occasional foray into the world of mirrorless cameras. It’s like the Petrolicious of film cameras.

As a diehard film shooter and mildly annoying film shooting evangelist, I’m a top tier supporter at $25 a month. There are two perks on top of supporting one of my favorite websites on the web. Every month, I get sent a roll of film sent to my mailbox — a roll of film that I usually don’t end up shooting, as I’ve got so much film that I’ve purchased and want to shoot instead. So the film perk ends up something I don’t particularly care about.

But every year, I get sent a cheap little camera to play with. And I got my first rewards camera, which is this Zeiss Ikon Contina viewfinder camera.

It’s a very basic camera. Focus is via scale focusing, as it being a viewfinder camera means that there are no provisions for a rangefinder. Top shutter speed is 1/300 of a second, so not a particularly fast shutter. But it has a red dot on the focus scale, and f/8 is marked in red on the aperture ring. Set the camera to f/8 and the focus ring to the red dot, and everything from infinity down to 3 meters is in focus!

Not only does the camera work, with nothing to suggest any show stoppers in use, the camera is also beautiful. There are very few scuffs, the glass is clean and clear, and the viewfinder isn’t fogged up. The leatherette is also in amazingly good condition, though it does have that “old camera smell” to it.

So between the Kodak Retina and this Zeiss Contina, I have two German cameras in the collection. I’m waiting for an opportunity to take both cameras out and shoot a test roll in each…

Stop the presses! I bought a camera! And not just any camera — this camera uses memory cards and not film! I decided that I wanted a discrete digital shooter for the times I’m asked to document events, and finally bit the bullet on a Fujifilm X-E3 rangefinder style digital camera. From left to right: my Nikon D7200 and 24mm f/1.4, my Fujifilm X-E3 and 23mm f/2, and my Olympus 35 RD and 40mm f/1.7. All three cameras have roughly the same field of view, but they differ greatly in size…

The cameras on my shelf inexplicably get older and older. I’ve always wanted a Rolleiflex, but the late f/2.8 and f/3.5 cameras go for more than I want to spend on a film camera. However, old pre-WWII Rolleiflexes are budget friendly, and historically significant — if you can find one that isn’t torn to bits and still works. To that end, I found this Rolleiflex Old Standard on eBay, CLA’d and put up for sale by Petrakla Classic Cameras in the Netherlands. A nice looking 1933-ish Rolleiflex that I can shoot with 120 film? Sure, why not? At the same time, I decided to buy a 1937-ish Kodak Retina film camera from them too, and had them ship the two cameras to my door. After three weeks of patiently waiting, they’re finally here!

New to the collection: Nikon FM3a and Bronica ETR-Si

I have two new additions to the camera collection: a Nikon FM3a and a Bronica ETR-Si. I bought both of these cameras off eBay, which just goes to show that it’s possible to find decent deals online if you know what to look for — and are willing to shell out cash during a period of time when few others are able to do so, e.g. during the Christmas season. (more…)