Rollei 35 Test Roll

Rollei 35

I completely forgot that I hadn’t tested this camera at all after I’d tried unsuccessfully to get the light meter to work after I first bought it on eBay in August 2015. I got a mighty good deal on it, due to its cosmetic condition. The dings and dents and missing cosmetic bits don’t really bother me so much, as long as the camera works. I’d rather have a camera with character, anyway.

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Rusty Rail

Rusty Rail
[Taken 19 Jan 2017]

From the Rollei 35 test roll, taken in downtown Toledo this past January. More to come… including an unusual interaction with a stranger, and proof that the Rollei 35 is not a “selfie” camera.

Sears 35 RF Test Roll

Sears 35 RF

I picked up this camera at Savers for $3.99, all wrapped in a plastic bag with its flash, original lens cap, and a PC cord. At first glance, I mistakenly thought it was a trashcam — that is, a cheap plastic 35mm jobbie with a few rudimentary settings and a shitty lens. I bought it under that assumption, because I like the variability of trashcams. (File under: Life is like a box of chocolates)

When I realized what I’d actually bought, I was over the moon: a Sears-branded Ricoh rangefinder. It had gummy seals (and lots of them) and needed a battery, but the shutter appeared to work. I just needed to get it clean and tested. Knowing my love of rangefinders, I expected that this might end up on my film camera short-list, so I was excited to get going on it.

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Kodak S100 EF Test Roll

Kodak S100 EFI picked up this late ’80s – early ‘90s fixed focus point-and-shoot at Goodwill for a few bucks late last summer. Since discovering that my son’s generic blue 35mm camera actually takes pretty cool and hipstery pictures, I decided to take a chance on romance and start picking up some more point-and-shoot and “trashcam” models.

TL;DR: This point-and-shoot takes pretty decent photos overall. Pretty sharp focus at midrange, some vignetting in certain situations. Feels comfortable to use. I kinda like it. I might experiment with the apertures a bit in the future.

Kodak S100 EF

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Cosina CX-2 Test Roll

Cosina CX-2

I bought my Cosina CX-2 on eBay last spring for under $25 shipped. I’d been waiting for a decently priced one, especially since I overpaid through the nose for my Lomo LC-A back in 2004, and the Cosina CX-2 was purported to the THE camera that the LC-A was modeled from. I got this particular camera for a decent price — mostly because the seller was upfront that it needed new light seals.

Honestly, it’s not that bad. My Olympus XA has seals that don’t look much better, so I figured I’d take it out for a spin without doing any seal replacement (mostly because I’m still inexperienced at replacing light seals).

I was on the fence about the seals for a while, though, so I didn’t take the camera out for a test drive until September. I took the CX-2 for a walk to the new Middlegrounds Metropark in downtown Toledo, then finished off the roll that weekend.

Cosina CX-2 Test

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Mugging Out at the Playground

Cosina CX-2 Test
[Taken 1 October 2016]

This was the last frame from the maiden voyage of the Cosina CX-2, precursor to the Lomo LC-A. Expect an actual in-depth review sometime soon, but the tl;dr version is that Lomo did a pretty good job of copying this camera, for the most part, but the Cosina feels a bit more reliable.

I haven’t taken my Lomo for a spin for a good seven years or so, mainly because if I want a compact film camera that can be fully automatic, I’ll just take the Olympus XA — and I rarely want that high-contrast “Lomo” look about my photos these days. The Cosina, though… it has all the charm of my LC-A with none of the fuss. It might get some time to shine.

The Official Boy Scout 3-Way Camera

boys life ad for $6.95

I found the Official Boy Scout 3-Way Camera at the local antique mall back in late March — I probably shouldn’t have paid $14.50 plus tax for it, but I did. Not the entire kit, as advertised above in the December 1959 issue of Boys Life, but just the camera.

And it still had film in it!

multiple exposure

I finished the roll of film in the camera with my son — alas, the photo above, taken in the antique mall, was the only “found” photo that came out. The photos we took at home on the found roll were actually fairly salvageable with only minor digital tweaks.

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Kodak Brownie Fiesta R4

Me with my Brownie FiestaI purchased the Kodak Brownie Fiesta R4 at an antique mall last July for $8.30 (discounted from $10). Once spring rolled around and I found myself looking for a camera to take out, I loaded it up with expired (2014) Bluefire Murano film, ISO 160.

A quick check of brownie-camera.com told me that the exposure is fixed at 1/40 sec @ f/11, so I knew to keep this bad boy very, very still. In the end, though, I didn’t see any discernible difference between the shots where I braced the camera against a fence post or railing and the shots I handheld.

I’m really not sure why I continue to collect fixed-focus Brownie cameras. So many of them end up being reliable snapshot cameras — which is what they were designed to be — and nothing more. (See also: Brownie Reflex 20, Brownie Starmite) This one is no exception. It has a minor light leak at the bottom of the frame, but apart from that, the exposures (on a sunny day) were crisp and spot-on.

The Oliver House

Danger: Construction Site No Trespassing

I posted the entire roll to Flickr, but the long and short of it is that I’m not enamored with this camera. I don’t hate it, but it doesn’t have the je ne sais quoi I require for a camera to go into regular rotation. I’ll probably come back to it later with a roll of black and white and try again, but not for some time. For now, it’s going to sit on the shelf with my other Brownies.

Lubitel 2 Test Roll

Lubitel 2I bought the Lubitel 2 on eBay back in August 2015 for $80 — cleaned, lubricated, and adjusted (CLA). It was the first camera I’d bought that was CLA — most of my purchases were more bargain-basement prices and labeled “as-is,” so I figured that it was worth the splurge. Plus, it was being shipped from Mother Russia, and not too many of them seemed to be coming up for sale, so I figured I’d better jump on it if I wanted one. (Had I just been patient and bought one six months later, I could have gotten it for half the price, according to an eBay search of completed auctions today. D’oh!)

After getting the images back from my test roll, I’m having more than a touch of buyer’s remorse. It’s a sweet bit of Cyrillic to have in my collection, but it’s not going to be one of my more frequently used cameras.

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