I 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.
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.
[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.
Last year, I bought an earlier model of the Voigtländer Brillant (technically the Brilliant, as the model I bought was the English variant) when I had intended to buy the Brillant V6. This June, I finally got my hands on the V6.
As a lover of vignetting and slightly quirky focus, I found it well worth the wait.
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!
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.
I 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.
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.
I 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.
[Taken 6 September 2015]
My favorite photo from the Lubitel 2 test roll. More details to come in a future post.
I learned about the Voigtländer Brilliant while I was doing a little research on TLRs and pseudo-TLRs. I’d read that the Voigtländer Brilliant V6 was the basis for the LOMO Lubitel TLR, so of course I wanted to get one. Alas, I jumped the gun on an eBay auction without reading carefully and ended up buying the second metal model, rather than the bakelite V6 I’d been wanting.
That’s OK, though. I rather like this little camera. It’s the oldest in my collection, manufactured in 1935, and it definitely takes photos with character.
I picked up the Brownie Reflex 20 for about $12 at a local antique mall back in July. I have a thing for Brownies, and for pseudo-TLRs, especially ones that have a zone focus rather than fixed.
I respooled some expired 120 film onto a 620 spool — my current method is to sit on my basement steps in the dark to do my respooling, and I really hope I get faster at it with practice. Unlike the first time I tried respooling film, I didn’t create any light leaks this time. In fact, the camera was pretty solid in that respect, too.
The short version: It works. It’s not my favorite, but it takes decent photos, and the camera itself looks kind of cool. The shutter speed is so slow that handholding is sometimes iffy, especially with the focus set to infinity. It did take some decent photos in bright sunshine on expired ISO 160, but there’s not much character to them, in my opinion — not much to distinguish this camera from other box cameras I own.
I probably won’t be taking this one out again, but it was a cheap and kitschy addition to my Brownie collection.