At the beginning of 2020, I wrote a post about the cameras I had as of December 2019. At that time, I was collecting film cameras rather quickly. I had some intention of writing subsequent inventory updates, but my camera buying slowed up after that wave of camera buying enthusiasm.
From 2017 through 2019, I bought 10 film cameras. In the 2+ years since, I bought 5. Two of those were replacement for cameras that were non-functional or, at least, I thought was non-functional as was the case for 1 of them.
Over that time, I’ve taken to some cameras more than others. Some are not entirely reliable. Some I don’t use often because they are not great for general shooting. And others are reliable which I have taken a particular liking to.
Unreliable enough that I’m hesitant to use them
I have 4 cameras that fall into this category:
I’ve had problems with advancing the film in the Pentacon Six where the images were overlapping. I’ve also had issues with the images coming out blurry and almost looking smeared.
I had put it aside for a while but, at some point last year, decided to shoot a test roll. Some of the pictures came out fine and some not so fine.
With the Yashica Mat, I twice had the film jam on me, and I wasn’t able to advance the film. The first time, I used a dark bag to open the camera. The film was misaligned, and I was able to straighten it and resume shooting. I lost a couple of photos in the process but was able to shoot the rest of the roll.
I was able to shoot a couple of rolls since then, but the last time I went out with it, it jammed again. That time, I was unable to get it to advance and lost the entire roll of film.
On 2 occasions with my Olympus OM-1, I had the film pop out of the container as I advanced to what I thought would be the final frame. I could blame this on user error, but since it’s only happened with that camera and has happened twice, I’m more inclined to think something is going on with the camera. I haven’t totally given up on this camera since an obvious solution would be to stop shooting at the 35th image to not risk it popping out of the canister.
The problem with the Olympus Pen-EE was straightforward. The shutter started sticking. I wasn’t inclined to look for a solution so I ended up replacing it with a newer Pen EE-3 (see below).
Cameras that work but are not for general shooting
I like all of these cameras but don’t use any of them on a regular basis mostly because they are unique in some way.
The Diana F+ is a simple, plastic camera, basically a toy camera. It usually produces interesting photos but never actually good photos. The last roll I shot with it in July 2020 turned out really bad so I haven’t used it since. I probably will use it again but will, as always, keep my expectations low.
The Olympus Pen EE-3 works fine and takes decent pictures, but it is a half-frame camera so not something I pick up often. I’m sure I’ll still use it on occasion.
The Minolta AutoPak 450Ex is a 110 camera. These cameras typically don’t take great pictures. That’s certainly been the case with the AutoPak. It’s fun to use but the results have been more miss than hit.
The only problem with the Flexaret Automat VI is that I bought it to replace my Automat VII when I thought it was broken. I’ve taken only 1 roll, and it turned out fine but once I realized that my original Flexaret was functional, I’ve stuck with that.
The ones that work and I like using
- Canon AE-1
- Canon EOS Rebel 2000
- Flexaret Automat VII
- Minolta Hi-Matic 11
- Minolta X-700
- Minolta XE
- Olympus XA
I don’t have a lot to say about these since they all work as expected with one exception. The power switch on my Minolta XE broke but, fortunately, it broke in the “on” position. At the time it broke, I was able to finished shooting the roll of film. The next time I used it, I had some issue with the mirror not resetting, but it eventually started working again. So it seems like the XE is working again. I really hope so because that was my first older 35mm camera. I learned a lot about manual and aperture priority shooting with it so I have a sentimental attachment. It also takes great pictures.
My Canon EOS Rebel 2000 was my first 35mm camera that I bought. It was a good first camera since it’s a newer model and has been quite reliable. It functions are quite similar to the Canon Rebel T3 digital camera I had been using so it was easy to learn.
The Canon AE-1 was a gift from a friend. For whatever reason, it took me a while to enjoy shooting with it, but the results have been great so I stuck with it.
My Flexaret Automat was my first “real” medium format camera. At that point, I only had my Diana F+.
I took a quick liking to my Minolta X-700 and it might be my current favorite.
My Minolta Hi-Matic 11 and my Olympus XA are my 2 rangefinder cameras. I find the XA a little hard to focus since the throw on the lever is short so it’s hard to be precise. But it can take great pictures for being such a small camera. The Hi-Matic is a delight to use and tends toward bright and somewhat saturated results.
And of course my digital cameras
I am pleased with all of my digital camera options. It took me a while to enjoy shooting with the Olympus TG-5. When I first got it, I think I had high expectations in terms of manual controls, but I eventually learned to appreciate it for what it is.
My only complaint about the Mark IV is its size. It’s an older DSLR and is quite hefty. I still really enjoy using it, but its size and weight can be a deterrent when deciding which camera to take places.
The Nikon Z fc is a fairly recent purchase. I’ve had it for only a couple of months but have liked using it so far and anticipate it will be a great camera to travel with.
I have been impressed with the quality of the pictures I get with my phone’s camera even as it is getting older. I’ve had it for nearly 5 years which is ancient for a smart phone.
It’s not pictured below since I had to take a picture of my digital cameras with something.
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