Regular readers will know I have a love for those cheap ‘n cheerful Lo-Fi cameras that other reviewers wouldn’t touch with a barge-pole. But even for me there are some pretty inexcusable garbage that tries to pass themselves off as being a camera. Here’s my top 10 plus some views of others in what cameras you really want to avoid.
We have some surprises as we go from Halina to Leica in this list. But do you agree and what would you add ?
A matter of taste…
There’s plenty of cameras that are crap to one user and lo-fi gold to another (e.g. the Halina Panorama). This list is not about those nor those cameras that just disappoint but still take okay shots.
At this point some of you might be screaming a bad workman always blames his tools. But whilst that true some of these are equivalent to handing Michelangelo a blunt chisel and telling him to paint the Sistine chapel with it. Yes I suspect many of you could pick up some of these and take fine shots but really the effort and film wasted isn’t worth it
So here’s my ten in no particular order and I’ve also some picks from fellow bloggers at the end . But what would you add to the list ?
Possibly the most pointless camera on the list. You’ll not find the name Halina in any list of classic or top cameras. Haking’s own brand cameras however are often cheap and cheerful copies of better known cameras. And some are not bad.
But this is just mince. It looks like any other 1990’s AF Zoom compact. Except they left out the AF. Yes you heard right it’s over engineered fixed focus with pretty rubbish optics before you start zooming and exposure system with glaucoma. The question is why ?
What the 40’s British Design classic ? Have you gone mad ? Granted it does look pretty on the shelf but trust me, just leave it there. You can put a pig in ermine robes but it will still be a pig. This camera is just a reworked cheap 1939 box camera that had a rubbish lens and less features than a 1901 Brownie No 2.
Weirdly a design “classic” and weirdly collectable. Go Figure.
The misuse of the Trip brand by Olympus is legendary. No camera that followed the Trip 35 would ever be deemed classic. But there’s many an okay and quirky camera with that moniker.
This is not one.
Oddly described by some as the Olympus Lomo (it’s not). This is just awful. The plastic lens starts off soft even when your at focal point and seems to have a DoF of about 3 inches. There’s tons of aberrations but not in a good way and it’s flash will tend to fire even in broad daylight . It’s glass lensed sibling the Trip 505 cost just little more in the day but offered a a huge leap in image quality and is a real contender for the Olympus Lomo title.
Pretty much ever job lot on eBay seems to come with these. I suspect its because folk are trying to rid themselves of these accursed items by bundling them with quite good cameras at knock down prices. This is a camera geared for taking panoramic shots but the absolute muppet who designed it set the focal point too close meaning things a couple of metres away are (relatively) in focus but anything further isn’t. And they are a curse because otherwise they’re working and none of us like binning a working camera. Hence they’re a job lot regular.
In 1987 those crazy Russians at Lomo decided they wanted a piece of the action that Simple Japanese fixed focus flash cams like the Konica Pop series were getting. It’s picked up a bit of Kudos for two reasons. The first is absolute tripe. It’s often found on eBay as a rare soviet camera. It would only be rare to find one outside Britain as over 75,000 were made and only for UK export. The second reason is the Minitar-1 lens also used in the LC-A. Works great on the LC-A, not so good on a fixed focus camera made out of pig iron.
Now Konica made some great compacts but the EU-mini isn’t one of them. Like many other cameras here it looks the part but it really isn’t. The lens is more dodgy than some campaign promises made on the Brexit referendum, with a woeful distorted & myopic view given. The exposure’s there but the view just ain’t. Trust me no one is voting for this option.
Known as the Hong Kong Lomo, this is Haking’s take on the Cosina CX-1 & CX-2. For a Halina, it is well put together with an innovative sliding design and built in flash. Just a shame the lens is guff and not helped by the lack of a genuine exposure system. All Fur coat but Nae Knickers as my granny would say.
Now Lomography deserve some Kudos for resurrecting the 110 film format. However they did their best to re-bury it with the Diana Baby . The concept was simple – ape the Diana camera as they successfully did with the Diana Mini and later the Diana Instant Square. Sadly they spent too much time designing the camera to look like the Diana, ignoring practicalities & the lens. unloaded the camera looks the biz. But it doesn’t look so clean loaded, has a shake inducing shutter switch on the lens (fine on the bigger format cameras but real pain here). There’s the flash sync completely useless as no mount or point for a flash bracket.
Then there’s the mess of the standard lens. It’s not so much as lo-fi soft but more totally out of any focus. Weirdly the optional wide lens is much more useable but the standard one is just rubbish. Just buy any vintage cheap 110 instead and save yourself a fortune.
On one level when behaving these are straight forward and average performing AF Zooms from the early 1990’s. Essentially the same cameras with just some minor tweaks as you can see from this review at 35mmc. The problem is the Auto Standby Zoom (ASZ) feature. ASZ was intended to intelligently zoom the camera to compose the subject when you hold it to your eye. In reality you’ll end up with folks looking at you screaming at your possessed camera as the zoom flies about in an uncontrollable fashion. Funnily enough you don’t find it on a feature of cameras made today.
Again one of those cameras that sound great but are just crap. Why not give folks a camera which has 2 lenses built in. Now if the lenses were any good this could have been a lomographer’s wet dream but sadly these two had the ominous Japan made seal of crapness. They are just mince and are even just 10mm in focal length difference making the entire camera pointless. The body is also a brilliant example of the worst of the 1980’s.
If you thought that lot were weird choices..
Now I asked some fellow bloggers what they would list as their crappiest cameras. Boy did they let go with some gusto.
Alex Luyckx nominated the Mamyia Universal (which he reviewed on his blog). “the lenses and optics on this camera are top notch. The problem is that Mamyia had the chance for greatness building a medium format press camera and take advantage of all the ease of roll film, instead they built a roll film camera with all the unforgiving features of a 4×5. Not to mention an awkward user interface.”
Jim Grey of Down the Road suggested both the Trip 500 (see his review) but also the Nikon Zoom Touch 400. In his review he reflected that “My mom used this awful camera for about 20 years to record family events. Mom, I’m really sorry you had to suffer with this piece of crap for so long.”
Taken by John Nuttall from Hampshire, United Kingdom [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]
Mike Eckman went for the technological monstrosity that is the Konica AiBorg. “What I hated the most about the Konica AiBorg is that they had this idea to design an innovative camera with a unique body and fun bonus features, but gave it a viewfinder nearly as small as that from a Kodak Retina, the worlds slowest zoom, and absolutely horrible ergonomics.” Read his full review on his blog.
by Lies Thru a Lens [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]
Emmet Brown of Emulsive.org picked the Hassleblad 500CM with older C lenses. “Why? Simple. The reason why film photography “slows you down” or at least, the reason for that statement existing is the f&*king stupid bare scalloped metal rings on those old lenses. they slow you down because 73.4% of the time, you’re bandaging your fingers up (which will be bleeding by the second roll). If you happen to be shooting in hotter climbs, the burns will get you. Colder climbs result in lost skin, frostbite and ultimately, death.”
Stephen Dowling of Kosmo Foto picked another Cosina CX-2 clone, the Chinese made Zenit ME35. ” It is without doubt the worst camera I’ve ever used. The ME35’s futuristic good looks are similar to the Kodak Advantix compacts / but in comparison it’s a resolutely unsophisticated. It’s focus free, has a fixed shutter speed and the aperture only changes with the ISO selection. How does it expose properly? By firing a flash as subtle as a nuclear detonation, whether you need it or not. “
So what did you think? Do you agree or disagree with these choices? Have we missed something that is just bloody awful or have we relegated an absolute classic to the bin ? Join the discussion below.
You’ve got to give Voigtländer the credit for some very gorgeous cameras. But then again as the longest serving camera make in the world that’s not a surprise. But how does this mid 70’s simple 110 camera that I got for a quid match up to the expectations ?
This was my second Poundland Challenge 2019 Quid or less Voigtländer. Ironically it was the second Vitoret although the older 35mm version was sadly fungus encrusted.
Voigtländer Vitoret 110 With Lomography Tiger 200CN. Blackpool 2019
Voigtländer – A brief History
Voigtländer can trace it’s roots as far back as 1756. It not only is the longest serving camera maker name but is associated with key moments in photographic innovation. it was for Voigtländer, that Josef Petzval designed his famous lens. The 1964 Vitrona is arguably the first built in flash camera although you did need to screw in a battery grip to use.
The heyday of the company is often perceived to be the era from 1923-1956, when the company was owned by German Pharmaceutical Giant Schering AG. In 1956 they sold their shares to Carl Zeiss. And by 1976 the company was jointly being run by Carl Zeiss, Local government and Rollei.
Unsurprisingly it would be Rollei that provided the skills for the Vitoret 110. This was in the form of Heinz Waaske, the legendary designer whom came up with Edixa Reflex for Wirgin. He famously designed the Rollei 35, which Wirgin turned down. So Heinz took his designs to Rollei and the rest is history.
Voigtländer Vitoret 110 With Lomography Tiger 200CN. Blackpool 2019
He had 110 form, designing Rollei’s legendary A110 so the Vitoret 110 was on good footing.
Unlike the A110, this is a simpler unmetered affair. there’s a fixed focus Lanthar 24mm 1:5.6 lens. That lens is believed to be a triplet. The camera has no metering but offers 4 weather condition settings geared for 80 ISO film. The weather slider moves between 3 apertures (f/16 bright sun, f/8 for hazy sun and f/5.6 for light cloud all at 1/125). The forth setting (heavy cloud) remains at f/5.6 but shutter drops to 1/60).
VOIGTLÄNDER VITORET 110
The camera has a standard hotshoe. You can use any you want but Voigtländer offered various mode from flash cube holders to full electronic flashes. The V200 is probably the best match and uses 2xAAA.
There’s even a Tripod mount (intended for the screw in wrist strap)
There’s a version with a metering called the Vitoret 110 EL. Similar to the Rollei E110, you set for good or bad weather and then the metering takes over. The EL can also sense the notch on 110 cartridges which were used in the day to delineate normal (80-100ISO) and High speed (400ISO) film historically.
Voigtländer Vitoret 110 With Lomography Tiger 200CN. Blackpool 2019
Build & Use
This is nicely made and although simple has a quality feel. It looks and feels like it is metal but is actually plastic. My £1 one came with the original box which had instructions, a wrist strap and pocket clip that slides into the hotshoe. This is one well thought out design.
To load depress a small button on the bottom. This allows you to slide the rear viewfinder cover to the side slightly unlocking the film door.
For scale with a VUWS clone
The camera advance is neatly twinned with the lens cover. There’s a slide on the front under the lens that sliding will open both viewfinder and lens cover. It will also unlock & cock the shutter and advance the film.
The manual suggest closest focus as 1.2m (4ft) and the good viewfinder has parallax markings for 1.2-7.5m (4-8ft).
Voigtländer Vitoret 110 With Lomography Tiger 200CN. Blackpool 2019
This is a mixed bag. Shooting Lomography Tiger 200CN works well with this camera and the exposure settings. But given it’s a over a stop more you do need to be aware or you will over expose. The film’s lattitude is alright but don’t expect the range you’d get from Portra.
The lens is alright but compared to 100 cameras you can focus like the Minolta Autopak Pocket 430 it can’t complete. So on a few meters away things can be pretty sharp but on long shots, the Vitoret is pretty soft.
Voigtländer Vitoret 110 With Lomography Tiger 200CN. Blackpool 2019
It is however incredibly compact even by 110 standards and is much better than many a cheap fixed focus 110
This was gonna be a two roll review but the camera gave out with the 1/60 setting jamming on open.
There’s a lot to like here. A compact incredibly well designed simple camera. But the lens while not bad is not great. Now granted most better optic’d 110 cameras are much bigger but Heinz had developed an other 110 before he got to the Vitoret.
Of course that’s the Rollei A110. Almost as small but with full metering and zone focus. A bloody compact marvel and capable of highly impressive images that could rival even the Minolta Zoom 110 SLR and the Pentax Auto 110.
And that really is the Rub. This leaves the Vitoret in an odd place. It’s not in the same league as the A110 but it’s much better than many lo-fi cameras. But it perhaps despite it weaknesses is too clinical and compared to really “cheap” cameras like the Halina micro 110 has little character
Shame as it seems so well made….. although mines failed I have got another so I may Revisit this. Although it wasn’t a cheap camera when launched you can get one for a £1-10 which makes it a bargain,
Ricoh RZ-728 with Lomography 100CN. Dumfries 2019
Specifications as Known
Lens: 28-70mm 1:5.6-10 Ricoh lens
Lens construction: 5 elements 4 groups
Active AF range: 0.9m-infinity (with macro)
DX Coding: 100/400 ISO
Flash (at 100 ISO)
28mm Range : 0.9-2.5m
70mm Range: 1.2-1.4m
The spec isn’t that high for a 90’s zoom with a much simple lens construction & spec than either my favourite Pentax Espio AF Zoom or the Yashica Microtec 70. Notable is the poor DX range although today getting much other than 100, 200 or 400 ISO is quite hard.
Vivitar Mega 200 with Fujifilm C200. Dumfries April 2019
The Vivitar Mega 200
The Vivitar is a multi-element constructed 35-70mm lens but whether it’s as low as 4 elements or as high as 8 I can’t say. The Japan lens logo doesn’t inspire confidence. However the camera has 4 sets of DX pin contacts suggesting it can encode for a wide range of ISO. It also seems to have a more advanced exposure system from the options. It uses the larger CR123A battery.
Vivitar Mega 200
No idea why it’s called Mega and the 200 has no link to features. It reminded me in someways of the Samsung AF 105 XL in some ways in feel although the Samsung has a somewhat more radical design.
Styling and Build Quaility
Neither of these plastic shelled compacts are ugly by any means. The Vivitar goes down the brushed metal look. It’s the bigger of the two but feels more robust. It can be wielded one handed in full auto mode easily enough.
Vivitar Mega 200 with Ilford XP2. Carlisle 2019
The top plate has a large LCD with separate controls for red eye, timer and shooting mode. The shooting mode cycles between auto, flash off, flash forced on, slow sync, landscape, +1.5EV backlight & nightshot mode. The Zoom Toggle sits in natural postition for your thumb
The Ricoh is smaller and feels more modern with a shinier metallic finish. It is more compact but feels just little more flimsy. Like the vivitar it can be hot in auto one handed and has a similar layout for shutter & zoom toggle. The LCD is smaller but uses clearer icons to show mode. On the front of the camera is a macro button. Overall you have the choice of auto, red eye, timer, flash off, flash forced on, landscape, slow sync and macro modes . It importantly has no backlight compensation.
Ricoh RZ-728 with lomography 100CN. Carlisle 200
Viewfinder -wise the vivitar feels bigger and brighter but lacks the parallax & frame lines of the Ricoh. Both move with the frame. The Vivitar has both a focus lock and flash ready LED by the viewfinder. The Ricoh makes do with just 1 LED.
Ricoh RZ-728 with Ilford XP2. Dumfries 2019
The Vivitar is faster to boot, shoot and zoom. The Ricoh is also one of those cameras which irritatingly charges the flash before allowing you to shoot in auto even on a sunny beach. But it is just slightly quieter than the Vivitar in winding.
I prefer the rubberised handgrip on the front of the vivitar to the ridge on the rear of the Ricoh. I suspect the Ricoh was made when LCD started getting stuck in the back of digital compacts. And if it was a digital compact holding it like that would make sense. But it’s a film camera not a digital.
Vivitar Mega 200 with Fujifilm C200
The flash tends to kick in just that bit earlier on the Ricoh as the light fades IMHO in 400 ISO. However as we’ll see that might make sense. The Ricoh also has that frustrating macro button to use.
Vivitar Mega 200 at wide with Ilford XP2. Dumfries 2019
Ricoh RZ-728 at wide with Lomography 100CN. Dumfries 2019
Both are not the sharpest compact I’ve used. However the Ricoh is just that bit sharper and requires less post work. It’s telling as some of the parallel shot were taken with Ricoh using 100 ISO v 400 ISO on the vivitar especially on the Tele end.
The difference is minimal on wide and at times I think the Vivitar wins out but that may be due to the extra wide you get on the Ricoh. However the softness is worse when you drop a speed or 2 with the Vivitar and it’s results at wide are worse than the Ricoh.
Both cameras have some pincusion distortion when wide. On the tele end the radial distortion is less. The Vivitar as a little pincushion whilst the Ricoh has a smidge of barrel distortion.
Vivitar Mega 200 at Tele end with Ilford XP . Dumfries 2019
Ricoh RZ-728 at tele with Lomography 100CN. Dumfries 2019
The Ricoh gets the exposure more accurate with the Vivtar sometime under-exposing
Neither is a great AF Zoom compact. They both take okay pictures but the Ricoh overall edges it with image quality and the wider end. A shame as the Vivtar is not that bad with options and easier to hold.
The problem isn’t which one is better really. It’s the fact you can get a whole better camera for the money.
Canon Sure Shot 60 Zoom. 35mm AF zoom compact from 1995
The once market dominant AF zooms have become overlooked with their once cheaper prime lens siblings now being the sought after cameras. This means there’s loads to pick from. But not all are equal. The Pentax Espio AF Zoom is one of many fine examples of the Espio series (there’s also some stinkers). Canon Sure Shot zooms are also worth a look especially the high end Sure Shot Classic 120 (aka Prima Super 120/Autoboy 120) and the Older Sure Shot 60. Equally several Olympus mju/infinity stylus zooms are worthy.
“The nice thing about the Halina 35x is you’re not likely to get mugged for it and if you do you can use it as a deadly weapon.” The poor Hong Kong made 35x is the butt of many a joke and scorn in the camera world.
But this 1959 “Empire Made” viewfinder did sell rather well and has cult following amongst some. So is it really all that bad?
There are a few cameras that invoke strong reactions from photographers. To some the Leica M6 is seen as the pinnacle of almost two centuries of film camera design. Other like the Lomo LC-A provoke desire and disgust in equal measures (it’s the original Marmite Cam). But one camera is more often snidely looked down upon than any others in the same way Soviet Lada cars were to most Westerners. That camera is W.B. Haking’s Halina 35x.
Re-skinned (the factory version had black leather effect card) Halina 35x. the model is a later one as has a base not top plate rewind button and is self cocking.
It also is a camera that seems to provoke arsonist tendencies. You’ll be surprised how often folk seem to to want to burn it or cover it in Napalm (am I missing something about this camera eating babies or something) .
The 35x seems to have sold well particularly in the UK where many a 60’s Schoolkid seems to have been given one. Haking also continue to use the 35x title with both the 35x Super and the 35x Mark II appearing. The Super is more an advancement of the 35x with winder lever and better controls, the MK II is more related to the later Paulette series and may represent the transition from the 35x to them.
Halina 35x with BW400CN (expired). 2019
What is the 35x ?
The 35x is a straightforward simple 35mm viewfinder camera with a 45mm 1:3.5 Halina Anastigmatic lens. The lens is a triplet with coated front and rear elements. The camera is fully manual with an aperture ring from f/3.5-16 and a 2 bladed leaf shutter with 5 shutter speeds (Bulb, 1/25, 1/50, 1/100 & 1/200)
The body is metal with a chrome plating and looks suspiciously like a pre M series Leica. However it is actually a close copy of the Ranger 35 made by Japanese make Nihon Seiki. This point is strengthened by the fact that both the 35x and Ranger 35 were rebranded under the Micronta brand (Micronta 35x and Micronta 35 respectively). Haking also sold the 35x under the Sunscope brand.
Halina 35x with Kodacolor 200. 2019
The shutter sits rear of all the lens elements. The manual indicates it syncs with M type bulbs at 1/25 for flash via PC sync. There’s a cold shoe mount, tripod point and it’s cable threaded. The lens barrel has rings for shutter, focus and aperture. Unusually the aperture ring is furthest out and turns on focusing. The Focus ring is marked in Feet from 3ft to infinity.
There’s manually set downward film counter. The camera accepts A36 (36mm) push on filters.
Depending on when the camera was made you might need to manually cock the shutter a la Smena 8M. However my one is a later self cocking model.
Halina 35x with Kodacolor 200. 2019
The using it as a weapon is no joke. The main body is solid. It’s not as heavy as some cameras from earlier eras but you’d certainly give your would be mugger a good wallop with it. The body has a black embossed card to resemble leatherette which you often find peeling off. This is why my one is recovered in vinyl.
The lens barrel is not so tank like. The camera has simple mechanics but is prone to issues with the control rings especially focus. I’ve seen reports of stiff, loose and even rings that have just come off !! Mines had an unnerving wobble in once you got beyond 20ft
If buying watch out for fungus. This is the 3rd 35x I’ve bought and the only one not to have a lens hooching with the stuff
Kodacolor 200 in a Hlaina 35x. 2019
The camera film compartment is opened by turning a switch on the base & removing the whole back. Loading is okay but it has one of those take up spools with a small shiny metal strip to slide your leader behind that never seems to hold the film enough. You’ll need to set the counter once loaded. The viewfinder is small and minimalist
There are various versions of this camera. They often vary over the rewind button position. Mine’s has one on the base but others have a button on the top plate. The rewind knob is small and a bit uncomfy.
A word of warning. Whilst I had no issues with rewinding but others have done when they get to the end of the roll and half wind on before getting stuck trying to rewind. I suspect this an age wear issue with the older models but be conscious of this. In the worst case if it happens you’ll just need to unload the film in film changing bag or if you don’t own one shut the curtain in your bedroom ideally at night, close the door and get the lights and unload your camera under the duvet with a few blankets on top. The issue is the winding sprockets so should be easy to open back and gently respool film.
Halina 35x with expired BW40CN. 2019
The optical weakness of the lens does become apparent. The failure to coat the middle element doesn’t help as Kosmofoto’s Review of the 35x explains. I’d agree with Simon Dowling’s view re the lens becoming soft at below f/8 so by and large I tried to shoot at f/8 or above on it. Here centrally in closer shots it isn’t bad although things fall off to the edges fairly rapidly.
That brings it’s own issues of vignetting which is noticeable but just and to some of you that will be a boon. There’s some pincushion distortion but not bonkers.
radial distortion test. Halina 35x with Kodacolor 200. 2019
The camera is prone to flare (probably why it was sold with a lens hood). You also get some chromatic aberrations. It isn’t great on infinity long shots but then again my barrel seems quite loose at above 20ft.
However it really depends on what you’re using as a yard stick. It looks weak compared to an Voigländer Vito or Olympus Trip 35 but then so did a host of late 50’s and early 60’s budget European made cameras. A good example is the ubiquitous Ilford Sportsman which is probably worse than the 35x optically at f/8 plus. Whilst the sportsman is better made, it’s also crippled by a weirdly missing 1/100 shutter setting.
Halina 35x with (expired) Kodak BW400CN. 2019
oddly you don’t get “What do you call an Ilford Sportsman… “
There’s a kinda Vintage appeal in the images you get.
I wouldn’t pay more than a tenner for one of these (before postage). And weirdly you’ll end up paying this for a reasonable one. Worth getting a seller who offers returns as the fungus can be a real issue.
Halina 35x with Kodacolor 20. 2019
The Halina 35x is not a great or classic. You will not and should never find it in a top ten list of classics. But it actually is not as bad as the jokes and the incendiary views would suggest.
It’s rudimentary, heavy and can have issues. Optically my Superheadz Wide & Slim plastic lensed camera is better. But this does have a range of control for exposure.
It’s on the par or just lagging behind many a entry level viewfinder of the late 50’s and early 60’s in terms of results. There’s nothing to make it stand out however and the cheap construction might make you want to look elsewhere. It however may have appeal to Lo-Fi shooters.
I’d probably go for a self cocking model like mines and watch out for Fungus if you did want one. Also keep in mind the potential rewind issue.
In short better than an Ilford Sportsman bar build quality.
Dumfries 2019. Halina 35x and expired BW400CN
The Late 50’s and early 60’s are littered with many a simple viewfinder from Europe and Japan. As I’ve mentioned these are often little better but better made. A typical one are cameras based on the Dacora Dignette such as the Ilford Sportsman which I’ve already discussed.
Japanese cameras would come to dominate with automated cameras during the 60’s with early models like the Fujica 35 Automagicbut before that you can find things like theYamato Pal Jr which looks very similar to Halina own much improved version of the 35x, the Halina 35x Super, which I reviewed earlier.
Kodak Retinette 1A
Viewfinders from Agfa Silette’s series are a slight step up. If you what to go for much better still some of the German made Kodak Retinette viewfinders are worth. And then there the Delights of the Voigtlander Vito.
If you like the 35x but wanna go even more Lo-Fi, Haking made a simpler camera just for you. It actually is better looking and is a hommage/rip off the a Fujica of the same name. It’s the Halina PET. Looks great but is much simpler and has a worse lens.
Since my last posting irregular update a lot has been happening both in the world of film and in the wider world. This post is a bit Bond themed with news that Bond 25 inches ever closer with news on the new Villain and confirmation the the Fantastic Phoebe Waller-Bridge will be co-re-writing the script. So grab your Martini (shaken not stirred) and pull up a seat.
The link with film cameras and Ian Fleming’s most famous creation is quite strong as these posts from Casual Photophile & ApoTelyt shows from the expected spy cameras to more outlandish Q gadgetry like Timothy Dalton’s Hasselblad sniper rifle.
License to Kill (1989) - Sanchez assassination attempt - YouTube
From Hong Kong With Love
If an actual simple camera was ever going to accompany Mr Bond it was gonna be a subminiature. Indeed George Lazenby whips his out his Minox and uses it upside down in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. I couldn’t quite afford one but I did manage to land a pretty small subminiture form those cheeky HK based purveyors of cheap cameras Haking. The Halina Super Mini is a simple but compact 110 camera. I’ll review it and it’s bigger Flash equipped brother, the Super Mini Flash, soon.
Halina Super Mini & Super Mini Flash cameras
I’m also just finished testing Haking’s most infamous camera the Halina 35x often seen as the film camera equivalent of a Lada.
Halina 35x. Probably not what Bond would use
Talking of things from Hong Kong….
The Man with the Golden film
I mentioned that the folks behind another infamous camera are back. Having somehow managing to alienate the bulk of both the film and the digital communities with the Y35, the folk behind the new Yashica are back after your money. This time it’s for launch film and a film camera. it’s fair to say the the response has been Lukewarm. I suspect that’s down to the Y35 and I can’t help thinking if only they did this first.
Absolute rebirth or rubbish. Only time will tell….
But actually they’ve actually done it in just a few days of their Kickstarter launch. It’s looking increasingly like the 2 films are based on Kodak Emulsions withe the Yashica 400 film apparent sharing the same edge markings of a older version of kodak Gold 400.
As to what Golden 80’s is ? My money’s on a VR emulsion.
Worth noting that the actual Man with a Golden Heavily featured the pro Nikon F series both as product placement and for that legendary optional accessory for the Nikon F a rocket launcher ! Talking on modifying stuff…
I’ve been shooting a relatively unknown experimental film in the UK last week. Dustin Adams has been selling his Psych Blues film for some time. These are hand fogged to give a dream like image. The film came as part of Emulsive’s secret Santa but a newly arrived 28mm Pentax-M lens gave me an excuse to try out. I’ll post the results soon.
Another arrival this week was the massive Olympus AZ-300. A confusing mess of 80’s excess, this viewfinder with bridge camera pretentions looks like an Starship from a Roger Corman Sci-Fi film. Still it won European Camera of the Year in 1988, so I’m keen to know if it is better than it looks.
Too often I have to do a review based on just a couple of rolls. But some cameras hang a round longer and I thought it might be worth revisiting those. We begin with the my Superheadz Wide and Slim, a clone of the Vivitar Wide and Slim (VUWS). This is often seen as one of the best Lo-Fi cameras still made
But does it deserve that ? And why you should by a a Black one ?
Blackpool 2017. Superheadz Wide and Slim with Kodak BW400CN (expired 2014)
A clue to how good this is, can be seen in the fact that it’s one of the few survivors from the pre digital dominance that are still made. The earliest dating of the original VUWS was 2002 but it may have dated before that.
The VUWS was generally seen as a freebie giveaway in it’s day. Sunpet Industries the HK company who made it for Vivitar continued to offer it and you can still buy it today from the likes of Superheadz.
Haymarket Station 2015. Superheadz Wide & Slim with Ilford XP2
It has acquired a cult status and is known as the poor man’s LC-A (although I’m guessing that moniker was applied when it could be found in UK Pound shops and US thrift shops new).
Whitby 2015. Superheadz Wide & Slim with AVP200
But is that deserved ?
In short yes
Once it was clean…..
It isn’t really that cheap now and unlike the the LC-A this is a simple plastic camera with a fixed focus 22mm 2 element plastic lens with a fixed aperture and shutter (f/11 & 1/125 allegedly). All wrapped up in a box not much bigger than pack of playing cards (the VUWS is a contender for the smallest production 35mm). The camera’s film plane like many lo-fi numbers is curved slightly. This is not surprising as it’s way of dealing with the Petzval field curvature of simple lenses.
Kelpies with Superheadz Wide & Slim & AVP200
It’s the lens that makes this.
It is not the best lens you have ever seen. It’s plastic alright and there are better clinically plastic lenses like the Goku UF1. But this is a pretty sharp centrally lens that falls off towards the edges and vignettes quite a bit. It really does give you that classic LC-A look but with it’s own twist.
It’s also incredibly wide angled at 22mm. It’s focal point is well set so depth of field carries acceptabvle focus from fairly close up right out to the distance. It will soften on landscapes but no worse than many much higher end AF compacts. It also pincushion distorts but given it’s a plastic 22mm lens that’s surprisingly not that bad.
Ferry to Belfast 2018. Superheadz Wide and Slim with expire BW400CN
It’s not perfect but for a Lo-Fi shooter it is one of the best out there. The choice of f/11 &1/125 make sense allowing you shoot the VUWS in most daylight conditions with 400ISO negative film and in bright conditions.
What’s the Catch ?
Well obviously this camera is very limited. There’s no control other than what ISO you load. You have no option to add a Flash like many other lo-Fi rivals.
Blackpool, 2017. Superheadz Wide and Slim with AVP200
Another issue relates to the plastic build. The camera itself is robust enough. I wouldn’t recommend dropping it – but it has survived doing that a few times with me and come out just slightly scuffed. It’s more to do with the wind mechanism. The manual warns you not to use more than 24 exp film. That’s good advice. I’ve loaded 36 exp a few times and boy does your camera feel it’s about to explode when the count goes over 30. It seems to get worse and I really won’t do it again.
Butlins Skegness 2015. Superheadz Wide and Slim + AVP200
Then there’s the coating….
The Superheadz ones use a rubberised coating which is like those found on many early 20th century cameras such as most Nikon consumer SLR. Just as with them, that stuff tends to turn sticky and messy. The older cameras used the coasting on black areas so you don’t notice but your Superheadz (unless you’ve the black slim devil version or another dark colour) shows up the muck after a while.
Lincoln 2016. Superheaz Wide and Slim with Fujifilm Superia X-tra 400
Despite the tacky coating this is one of the finest Lo-fi shooters for daylight. It’s so ultra compact that it’s an easy pocket carry spare camera. It has limits – notably the fixed exposure and 24 exp limit. But that lens just brings something in.
I’m very happy and will get another when this old sticky mess finally dies on me. It’ll just be black….
Superheadz Wide and slim with Ilford XP2
Last year’s Yashica Y35 launch led to one of the biggest outpouring of anger the photography community has ever seen. Whilst the Y35 wasn’t as bad some the vitriol, it was far from perfect. So there was some surprise when rumours of a Yashica branded film. But they’ve now pushed it even further with the launch of a Kickstarter for 2 new films, an analogue camera and the promise of more.
But What’s the catch ?
You can’t help feeling if only they’d done this first. What’s on offer is much more imaginable and cheaper. It’s also not something where exceptions (at least for now) are going to be too high. The Y35 has left a lot on animosity out there and the press around this announcement has been on the negative side.
Yashica Y35 with 1600 ISO DigiFilm module
What’s Up for Backing
Yashica’s Kickstarter has 3 items to be backed.
There was the much touted Yashica 400, a 35mm 400 ISO film. Yashica drip marked it through this month as this Petapixel post details. This is described as colour film with balanced grain, slight on the warm side as geared for skin tones.
From Yashica”s Kickstarter page
The other film Yashica Golden 80s, is also a 35mm 400 ISO film. This is a limited edition which features more colour saturation and more obvious grain. It’s intended to celebrate 70 years of Yashica (no – I can’t see the link in title either !).
Both films are 24 exp. Yashica have revealed they’re actually made by someone else. This isn’t a worry as setting up a film production is quite an undertaking (just look at the Film Ferrania saga) and there’s plenty of boutique films like Kosmo Foto Mono 100 which are made by another supplier.
We don’t now who makes it but my money is on Lucky Films. This Chinese film maker is best known for B&W film these days but a decade ago sold colour film. This was the product of a 2003 Joint Venture with Kodak. Production of colour films finished in 2011 but 2 years ago a new Lucky Colour film was announced. Not sure what happened to that but they certainly have the ability.
The Bigger Shock – New Yashica Film Cameras
What was really out of the blue was the camera and the possibility of 2 future cameras.
What’s on offer now is the MF-1. Basically fixed focus & exposure camera. Made with a plastic 31mm lens and a fixed f/11 & 1/120 sec. The manually operated flash uses 2xAA. There’s not much else. The lens doesn’t have a cover and the film plane is curved to improve focus with such a basic lens.
It looks suspiciously like a disposable but re-loadable. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
They’ve priced it well. The early bird Kickstarter comes in at HK$190 (~£19GBP) for a MF-1 & a roll of Yashica 400. Lomography sells their disposable for £15.90. Yes you can buy an even cheaper Kodak or Fujifilm disposable but this camera sits between those and the likes of the Superheadz wide and slim, Diana Mini and all those other trendy Lomo plastic cameras that sell for more without film.
Lomography Diana Mini – my true Love hate cam
The problem is we only have 8 photos to go on. It’s not clear if this lens adds much. As with all of modern plastic cameras there’s always the issue of much cheaper plastic cameras from last decades of film
Halina Vision XF fixed focus basic 35mm Camera. You can get this for a peanuts
There’s also the issue of the name. Yashica had a series of cameras with the MF moniker and there’s a zone focus camera called the MF-1. Not perhaps the best choice then however there is some logic
Taken from Yashica’s Kickstarter page. MF-1 (front), MF-2 (l) and Yashica-44 (r)
Yashica also tease us with the promise of 2 more advanced cameras.
The New MF-2
One is called the MF-2. This actually is based on a old Yashica camera and probably explains why the Kickstarter camera is called the MF-1.
But this new MF-2 isn’t actually a re-imagining of the original MF-2. Nor the MF-2 Super but actually the Kyocera era MF-2 Super DX from 1986.
Yashica MF-3 Super DX. Image by Joydeep [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]
This is a Fixed focus compact with DX-coding. It seems to hav just a single shutter speed. I’m struggling to clarify if the CdS cell is metering or just a low light warning system (some sites quote the aperture as fixed at f/8 except when flash triggered).
Not that much of step up potentially then.
A Old Classic rehashed or Trashed ?
The other camera is more interesting. It promises to be a 21st century re-visioning of one of Yashica’s most Iconic cameras the Yashica-44.
Orginal 1958 Yashica-44. Image from wikicommons and by Frode Inge Helland [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]
This one will take 35mm film (it’s not clear if that’s all it will accept or if you can still use 120 film like the original). Hopefully the build quality will be up to the job or we could end up with little more than this !
My apologies as this is way late but it has been a busy month as you’ll see. This post we’ll have a couple of trips away to discuss some new & old cameras and why I’m probably never buying Lomography 120 film ever again. But worse still it looks like the Lomography Film is now dead on the UK High Street too.
Oh and some other worthy reviews to check out and a DIY project for the darkroom bunnies.
Booted Out – More Lomography Bad News
Just over a week ago I found myself in Carlisle. Popping into Boots I bagged a 3 pack of Lomography Lady Grey 400 ISO 35mm film for just £2. That’s a bargain but a bit odd even for this rebranded Fomapan 400.
Looks like Lomo no more at Boots and on the UK High Street.
On the Road Again
I’d headed off walking the first 3 stages of the 3 Lochs Way Early in April. It was typical Scottish spring weather which manged to combine literally 4 seasons into a matter of hours. I’d loaded out with my mju-I and Superheadz VUWS clone alongside a Lumix G2. The weather meant the G2 spent almost all of the trip wrapped up and I’m developing a hatred for Lowe not so pro cases which seemed as water resistant as sponge. The Mju and my mobile fared better in walking sealed pouches and the VUWS seemed to be happier once moved out of the soggy Lowe case it was in.
Somewhere above Loch Long on the way to Arrochar. Huawei P20 April 2018
Nice walk but all I can show you for the mo are the Huawei P20 shots and the rare G2 stuff. I’m gonna post an update on the VUWS soon however I’ve clocked up over 500 shots on this pretty grubby camera.
The VUWS and mju followed on to the family trip at Easter to Sunny Dundee alongside a Holga 120N and my trusty FED50. But it’s here I made a mistake twice. I took Lomography 120 film
Fat Roll in Lomo
Yet another lomo Fat Roll
I’d blogged about this last year, when I hit the same problem with 400ISO 120 rolls from Lomography. But I’d stupidly though to myself can’t be all of the rolls. The Holga had handled a rolls of platsticed backed Portra 160 with ease so I though give some Lomography 100 ISO stuff a go
More New Arrivals
On the Camera front we’ve had a few more arrivals as you can see from the Nikon F65 post. Although that’s not a bad camera, I weirdly found the Pentax MZ-5 a better speced camera with better vintage lens support despite being a decade older.
Elsewhere a couple of AF Zooms turned up for peanuts. A Ricoh RZ-728 and Vivitar Mega 200 have been shooting things out. The Ricoh is able but low specced but the Vivtar feels very similar. A shoot off review soon
But back to Nikon….
Classic Nikons a Go-Go
Elsewhere more classic Nikon gear was being reappraised. Jim Grey reappraised his review of the prong using Nikomat FTn . I’m not typing that wrong as Jim has his hands on the Japanese version of the Nikkormat FTn. I’m a huge fan of the FT series and this a pretty nifty review of one of the commonest (abet in the rarest version) of these.
Launched in the 1950’s the Coronet 6-6 was yet another no frills Bakelite roll film camera, But the folks at Coronet decided to re-brand this camera as the Rex Flash. But is it King or just Flash in the pan.
Kind Hearts and Coronets
Coronet was founded in Aston, Birmingham in 1926. In its relatively short 41 year life the company produced a vast number of cameras (by 1933 they’d made over half a million). The company produced low end box or folders and their products are relatively easy to find today. They were notable for their Links to Standard Cameras Limited whom we’ve seen before for the Conway Popular. In fact the 2 companies often seem to share parts (to me not a good sign). The company also set up a partnership with Tiranty of Paris to circumvent French import restrictions.
Coronet 6-6 with Fomapan 100. Dumfries 2019
Rebrand a go-go
The Rex Flash is a curious camera not just because of the re-branding. Both it and the original 6-6 shoot 6-6cm negatives on 10 film. To us the 6-6 makes sense but this is 1950’s Britain where Imperial measures still hold sway. I daresay that the Coronet 2 1/4″- 2 1/42 just hasn’t the same ring. I also suspect it was Coronet’s attempt at looking all grown up to use the continental metric measures.
Coronet 6-6 Rex Flash
Even more curious is the link between these and the Coronet Cadet and it’s rebrand the Flashmaster. These essentially the same cameras bar angular lens housing and shorter focal length. things get more confusing as the Rex Flash has Flashmatier on the lens. More Bizarrely you can find versions of the cadet that look more like the 6-6.
At the end we have a nice looking Art Deco styled simple camera made of bakelite. It’s obvious comparisons are the likes of the Agfa Click, Ilford Advocate or the Kodak Brownie 127. Like those it shares a viewfinder reminiscent of those you get for rangefinders when using different lenses. There’s a set of sliders on the sides like a Holga 120 to open the metal film door.
Coronet 6-6 with Fomapan 100. Dumfries 2019
Core Spec & Features
The 65mm lens is a simple affair. Fixed focus and likely meniscus. The aperture is fixed as is the shutter. No definitive spec exists. Richard Kaye speculates on a ~1/60 and aperture of f/13-14. Meanwhile Art deco Cameras suggest a 1/35 & f/16 setting based on measurement. I’m inclined to believe the camera would have been made with a faster shutter which may have slowed (Art Deco cameras measured it). It’s highly unlikely even in 1950’s that a shutter speed of 1/35 for a 65mm lens would be likely. However in yet another Curious, twist these 2 options are broadly the same EV100 value.
Rear door of the Coronet 6-6
The back is metal and comes off with the whole film holding apparatus. This actually makes it much easier to load than many a box camera. There’s a red window and a simple shutter switch. And erm… that’s almost it.
I say almost as there’s a pair of slots terminals for the flash. I suspect this is a vintage standard but pre-PC sync isn not my thang. They are irritatingly the same width but just slightly narrower than the prongs of the Diana F+ flash.
Coronet 6-6 with Fomapan 100. Underexposed slightly. Dumfries 2019
Ease of Use
The camera is a bit unwieldy but actually comfortable enough to shoot. There are no controls and the viewfinder is spartan and small
The alarm bell should have rung now that Coronet and Conway shared features and parts. To be fare the lens here is better than the popular but not by much. The shots benefit from a little post processing as are shown here. There some barrel distortion but no worse than you’d expect.
It’s pretty soft and noticeably so at the edges and if your subject is more than 10 meters away. This is a camera from the 1950’s but yet my Brownie No 2 which was launched in 1902 takes better shots and has more features. It also was cheaper to buy comparatively new and in today’s second hand market.
Coronet 6-6 with Fomapan 100. Dumfries 2019
I suppose there’s some Lomo charm here but this camera costs the same (around a tenner) as a second hand Diana F+ on a good day which offers so much more capability. You can also buy an Agfa Click for the same amount and that whole lot better
This camera looks great with Art Deco retro style. But really unless you’re the most ardent of Lomographers, this needs to sit on the shelf. Bad lens and non controls do not make a good camera. You’re film choices and shooting mode are gonna be limited at around EV100 13
I’d already nailed a good SLR body with the Pentax MZ-5 for the Poundland challenge this year. But a AF SLR Nikon body also arrived for a 99p plus postage. So how does the F65 fare ? and how does it compare to other bodies.
I’ve said before there’s no need to show you shots taken with the camera here. For SLR bodies which work that is more reliant on the attached glass and the skill of the photographer than the body.
Known as the N65 in the USA and the Nikon U in Japan this is a 21st century consumer AF SLR body. Launched in 2001 as the successor to the F60. It’s often described as a entry level camera although as we’ll see it arguably sits nearer the mid range class. It was successful enough to still be on sale in 2006 when Nikon pulled it’s entire range of film SLR bar the F6 & FM10.
That’s important to note as it was effectively straddled by 2 models the definitely weaker F55 and the more mid range F75. The F75 has become known as the poor man’s F80 (aka the poor man’s F100) sharing the same AF module.
Nikon F75 with 50mm 1:1.8 AF-D Nikkor . Just a few quid more for so much more.
So the easiest thing to do is to compare the F65 & F75.
Where these 2 are identical
Metal F mount base plate
Powered by 2xCR2
CAM900 AF Module with 5 focal points
3D matrix metering
Shutter 30sec-1/2000 + Bulb
Auto DX coding
Built in TTL flash sync at 1/90 GN12
TTL metering for dedicated flash units
89% of image in diopter adjust viewfinder
non interchangeable B-type Clear Matte Screen V
The F65 & F75 along with the prosumer F80 share the same Multi-CAM900 module. This module was also used on the D70 & D100 amongst other dSLR and is no slouch. Only the F100, F5 & F6 had a technically better module as film cameras. It sounds limited with just 5 focal points but it’s pretty good in reasonable conditions. In lower light the focus assist lamp helps but that has only got a 3 meter range. In low light but as demonstrated in this low light review of the F75 by Hamish Gill it can struggle. Their focus screens are not geared to Manual focus making that just a bit harder
Both offer single and continuous server AF modes for locking on a stationary or moving target.
Nikon F65 Top plate.
The cameras differentiate in the ease you can switch between focusing modes. The F65 offers 5 point dynamic closest subject focusing (default) or the option to use one of 5 single point dynamic focusing. To switch you need to hold the AF button on left hand side (as held) and turn the command dial to select. The F65 is easier. On the film door there’s a 3 point switch allowing you to move between these mode and an additional center weighted focus mode and a 4 point pad allowing you to select 5 dynamic focus points.
Exposure – system
Both cameras have a 3D multi segment metering system . Nikon might lag behind others for AF but their metering systems were killer and these benefit from being late generation ones. Matrix metering essentially allows the camera to measure light in a set of segments to help work out the correct exposure across the scene. Nikon matrix metering goes a step further by comparing those values to 1000’s of sample scenes adding to accuracy.
Matrix Metering was first introduced in the Nikon FA in 1983 and is on test more accurate than centre-weight metering. The 3D element on these later camera is also able to factor in distance to the scene when using certain lenses
Don’t get hung up on the fact that the F75 has a 25 segment meter versus the 10 of the F65. The F4 only had 5 and wasn’t seen as a slouch.
Both offer centre weight metering. In the F65 you get that only when in manual mode. The F75 likewise defaults that in manual but hold down the Auto Exposure Lock (AE-L)button and it switches to Centre weighting too. Whats more you can in the custom setting mode program the AE-L to do spot metering too ! The F75 offeres a wider EV compensation (+/-3 vs 2)
Both basically have the same command dial with 10 options. These Have the typical Auto & PSAM modes but also 5 vari-program modes. Essential these are the same (portrait, landscape, close-up, sports & night scene) but the sports mode is the only way of accessing continuous drive on the F65. The drive is faster oddly on the F65 (2.5fps vs 1.5fps). Both have self timers and can be used with a remote but not an old fashioned cable release. Neither has a mirror lock
My sense is both were made in the same Thai factory for Nikon and share similar body plastic. Look if you want a solid late film SLR buy a F100 but that will set you back about £140. Still both mines look in good nick despite being at least 13 years old. At least these all have a metal mount plate (yes F55 I’m looking at you)
Worth noting the F75 came in a choice of black or predominate silver. The F65 is by default a silver/black combo unless you buy the data back (QD) version which is black.
Like all plastic Nikons watch out for the film door. You might be worried about the number of shutter actuations in the cameras lifetime. We have no idea of the rated number for either of these consumer cameras. However we have a known comparator…
My Nikon D50 was launched in 2005 and was Nikon’s first entry level cropped sensor dSLR. Mines (touchwood) has done almost 24000 actuations in the 14 years I’ve owned it and I’ve seen an estimate that is just under half it’s average life expectancy. I’m guessing these 2 film boys would be about the same. Assuming these cameras were both first used in 2005 and shot the same number of images – we’re talking almost 48x36exp rolls per annum. This is really an issue for the future but not now.
Build – Ergonomics & use
If you shoot in auto or in any of the modes without using other features these are both similar in the hand both by weight and grip. The viewfinders are roughly the same and give similar info. The F65 has a bigger LCD panel and mines seems slightly quieter with shutter and winder.
Many of the other feature buttons are reasonably located on both. But it becomes clear that the F75 is just laid out better if you shoot off basics. The camera is also more logically set up. A good point is the DoF preview buttons.
Worth noting the F65 shoots film and then rewinds conventionally. The F75 on loading spools out all film and then effectively spools back in as shoot. The theory being if you accidentally open the camera you only loose 1 or so shot frame. Tends to reduce no. of shots per roll IMHO (only by 1 or so)
Basically these are identical. Both will be more than happy mounting and using all the features of the usual AF-D , AF-S or AF-I lenses. They can use AF-P lens but without AF. They support G class lenses even the DX digital ones for cropped frame dSLR.
Both have VR support.
For manual focus lenses they can mount AI revision onward lenses but there’s no metering. these can be used in manual mode and focus assist will work.
Nikon F55 Film SLR with AF-D 35-80mm 1:4-5.6 lens
The F55 is a crippled version of the F65 with less lens support (no AF for AF-S and won’t work at all with DX class. It also has poorer AF 3 point module and a simpler matrix metering. As a second camera provided you mainly user older AF-D class lenses it does the job however. It also comes in that bit cheap although we’re quibbling over a few quid here. I wouldn’t by it as my only AF Nikon however.
Go up and you get the F80 essentially a more rugged F75 with a faster shutter (up to 1/4000) and easier control of exposure modes. You get manual film speed settings as well and a few other goodies. Expect to pay around the £35-50 mark. The F100 is more rugged still and shares many features with the professional and even better built F5. It has interchangeable viewfinders like the F5 & shares the bit better AF system but oddly not the F5’s 1000+ matrix meter having just a 10 segment. There’s even a proprietary cable point to allow you to hook your camera up to a PC to give essentially EXIF data. It’ll set you back about £140 and it’s a tough call as the F5 is only a little more
Most Nikon F65 sell around the £5-15 mark on eBay before postage. the F75 is usually nearer £20 but is possible to get a steal for both. I’d always suggest looking for a camera with a lens as you’ll likely pay less than the 2 parts combined (and if you don’t need the lens you can usually sell on more than covering the spend).
Thoughts & Conclusion
On one hand this is an incredible camera for the money. Brilliant matrix metering and for a Nikon not a bad focusing system. It will allow you to mount most Nikon lenses from the mid 1970’s onwards and supports high end features like VR reduction. If you’re wanting to shoot Nikon AF lenses this is not a bad camera for most users.
It really is the prototype for the F75, which takes all it’s pluses and irons out many a problem. And it really is worth the extra spend of just a few quid for the features it brings to the yard. Neither are that robust. But given the fact you’d need to shooting 2 rolls a week on these babies from original purchase to come near average shutter failure. There’s life in these dogs yet.
More pro photographers may need the higher end features of a F80, F100 or F5 or 6 but even then this would be a reasonable second body.
Unless you also owned a F75.
And weirdly the much older Pentax MZ-5 felt a much better laid out body despite the droppy flash and dark finder. It’s lens support is also better with decent metering available for MF lenses and an pretty good focus assist.