Imperial Six-Twenty Snapshot

Three Imperial Box Cameras

I found these three Herbert George cameras at the antique mall last March. I paid $37 for all three, which was more than I’d usually pay per box camera, but I have a soft spot for Herbert George Imperial cameras for some reason.

The Herco Imperial and the Imperial Six-Twenty are clearly identical rebranded cameras, but I couldn’t pass up the chance to see how two “identical” cameras would compare to each other.

I loaded up the Six-Twenty last April for a test run, and discovered that it does not accept 120 spools; the spools are too tall. Some suggest sanding down the ends of the 120 spool, but instead, I respooled a roll of Ektar 100 onto a 620 spool. I suspected film plane issues right off the bat, as the tension seemed off while winding on — so much so that the bottom of the take-up spool kept coming unseated. Luckily, my fears were unfounded.

Downtown Toledo


Nikon One Touch Zoom 70 AF

Nikon OneTouch Zoom

I picked up this Nikon One Touch Zoom 70 AF for two bucks last February at my favorite thrift store (which has since closed — RIP, Savers).

I loaded it up with my last roll of 35mm 400-speed film, only to discover that it made a crazy grinding noise with each advance of the film. The first 8 exposures or so were different nighttime views of the living room as I was debating whether to continue the roll or give up entirely.

I ended up deciding to leave the film loaded and just take some snaps around the house over time instead of taking it on a photo walk downtown.

I finished up the roll over St. Patrick’s Day weekend, just snapping indoor photos at home. I experimented with selfies using the timer, portraits with different flash modes, zoom distances — all the while expecting that the photos weren’t going to come out, anyway. That grinding noise is ominous.

Of course, since I didn’t record info on any of the photos, it turns out that the camera works just fine.

Mei Kitty

Minolta 110 Zoom SLR Mark II Test Roll

Minolta 110 SLR Mark II

Ever since I discovered that 110 SLRs existed, and that there were multiple models by multiple manufacturers, I made it my mission to collect them. I love my Pentax 110 SLR, so why not catch ’em all?

The film advance on the Mark II had been stuck since I got it at a yard sale back in the Summer of 2016. I finally got it working in early February 2017 by cleaning the battery contacts with a pencil eraser and loading fresh LR44 batteries. I actually had to polish the batteries on my jeans and avoid getting any fingerprints on the poles for the camera to recognize the batteries, though, which was a new one on me.

Once I had the camera working, I loaded up the Mark II with Lomo “Tiger” 200 speed film and headed out to the local metropark to start photographing.

Park Bench
[10 Feb 2017 | f/3.5, -1 EV]

Kodak Brownie Twin 20

Brownie with ancient Ansco filmI purchased the Brownie Twin 20 at Savers (a thrift store) for $4 two years ago, and discovered an ancient roll of Ansco black-and-white still loaded with only four or five exposures used. Unsurprisingly, the found photos didn’t come out, and neither did the photos I attempted to take on the remainder of the roll.

Finally, a year and a half later, I did a real test of the Twin 20! Back in February, I loaded it up with Ektar 100 speed, spooled onto a 620 spool.


Fujica Half Test Roll

Fujica Half

I learned about the Fujica Half while researching sub-miniature and half-frame cameras online. I don’t recall exactly where I learned about this camera, but I decided I had to have one. After watching eBay for a while, I got one for $46.75 shipped this past January.

It arrived in the mail on a Saturday afternoon. I opened the package like it was Christmastime (except more carefully), and was immediately pleased with the size and heft of the camera. It didn’t look like the built-in selenium light meter was responsive, though, which was a bummer. No worries — I’d just forked over some money-well-spent for a battery adapter for cameras and accessories that were build to use mercury batteries, so my Kalimar accessory shoe light meter would serve me well. I was so excited, I loaded up the camera and took it to dinner to try it out.

Fujica Half

In the car en route to our favorite Vietnamese joint, I realized that the needle in the viewfinder was moving, and the on-board meter was functional. I compared the readings between all three meters — the Light Meter app on my iPhone, the Kalimar, and the selenium cell meter — and they all read 1/30 sec at f/2.8 indoors. (Which is admittedly on the low end of not needing a tripod, but I was anxious to start shooting with this little camera, so I took a chance.)

Fujica Half Test Roll
[Taken 21 January 2017]

Fujica Half Test Roll
[Taken 21 January 2017]

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.


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.


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


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