The third version of Canon’s Sure Shot made in in 1983 ($150 USD) was sold as the New Sure Shot in the United States, AF35MII in Europe, and the Autoboy 2 in Japan. The New Sure Shot is a simple point and shoot 35mm camera featuring a 38mm f/2.8 – 16 lens. The camera focuses (near, medium, far) with a triangulation system using a near-infrared beam for autofocusing. Pressing the shutter button down halfway accomplishes prefocus. Powered by two AA batteries, the film advance is automatic and the exposure is controlled electronically. To test the camera, I used some expired Kodak Gold 200. The film really achieves that expired look in the blue tones.
Tag Archives: Film
The Hi-Matic series was Minolta’s most popular line of consumer rangefinder cameras. The F was produced in 1972 as an economy model. Not only economic in price, but in size and weight. The Hi-Matic F weighs 350g and measures only 113 x 73 x 54mm. With a small footprint, the camera does have a nice 38mm, f/2.7 Rokkor coated lens. The CdS meter on the camera automates the aperture and exposure for shutter speeds from 4 to 1/724 sec. On the lens itself, a flash guide number is printed so the photographer can select distance to the subject for flash photography.
While the camera is small enough to carry wherever you go, the absence of any manual controls make it feel like a point-and-shoot. The Hi-Matic F is a great all-purpose camera. It would make a nice addition to a street photographers kit because of its discreet size and shutter sound. My test shots were made with Kodak Tri-X 400, and scanned on an Epson Perfection V600 Photo.
One of the aspects of my personality is that I enjoy looking forward to specific events. I’m the kind of guy that buys concert tickets the minute they go on sale and then counts down the days to see my favorite band. Having something to look forward to keeps me going. It gives me something to go to bed thinking about and energizes me when I wake up. There are several things happening the world of film photography that I’m looking forward to in 2015.
The Film Photography Project last week announced the 2015 FPP Walking Workshop, March 14th & 15th. This annual event is now in its third year. The workshop this year will be two full days in San Clemente, California. The workshop includes a tour of TheDarkRoom.com lab, giveaways, prizes, Q&A with The Dark Room owners and staff, Q&A with the Film Photography Project gang, street photography in San Celementa, camera and film demonstrations, and more to be announced. Registration is free, but limited. If you’re thinking about going, make sure to sign up now.
In 2014 Film Ferrania launched a Kickstarter project to fund 100 More Years of Analog Film. Working closely with the Italian government, the original factory constructed in 1923 is now being re-assembled to create a new film production facility. Film Ferrania will be producing 35mm and 120mm film, as well as Super 8 and 16mm cine films. Those of us that funded the Kickstarter will be receiving our film this April! #FilmIsAlive
Unfortunately another film Kickstarter campaign went unfunded in 2014, CineStill Medium Format Film. The popularity of using motion picture film in still cameras is on the rise. Along with their 35mm film, CineStill wanted to produce tungsten balanced, 800 ISO, medium format 120mm film. The film quality gives photos an incredible cinematic look. Even though the 120mm film won’t be produced by CineStill, I don’t think the market and desire are going to go away. There’s been a lot of talk about Kodak Vision 3 film online that originally inspired CineStill. I believe someone in 2015 is going to make 120 cinematic film. I plan to shoot some CineStill 35mm this year.
I’m looking forward to executing many ideas I have for Utah Film Photography this year. I have numerous rolls of film, new vintage cameras, and exciting gear to review in 2015. We’re also planning a Utah Film Photowalk and some guest posts from local film photographers.
What are you looking forward to in film photography this year?
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I admit, this is a camera purchase I put off for a long time, but I’m happy I now own one. Why the hesitation? First, the expense. The original SX-70 has a cult following among instant photographers and has maintained its value. Finding one that functions correctly and looks good comes with a high price tag. You can buy an SX-70 from Impossible or Photojojo that has been refurbished, but it comes with a steep price tag, usually $300 – $450 (US). When they refurbish the SX-70, they replace the leather, clean, replace parts (motor and flash electronics), and test each camera. One critical component replaced are the rollers. The rollers are essential to any model of Land Camera. The rollers spread the reagent and developing components as the film is ejected from the camera. If the rollers aren’t clean and don’t press firmly on the film, the photo will not develop correctly, or at all. When Polaroid originally manufactured these cameras, the rollers were coated with a Teflon substance. A material that would grip the film coming out of the camera, but would facilitate the rolling movement necessary to spread the chemicals evenly. Over time, this coating on the rollers can break down. If the rollers aren’t cleaned frequently, white pieces of the reagent can remain on the rollers and eventually wear down the coating, or create a rust-colored residue. If you buy any Polaroid Land Camera, make sure it’s been tested with film. I purchased mine on eBay and since I couldn’t test the camera myself, I made sure the buyer had with a fresh pack of Impossible film. If you’re shopping online for a Polaroid camera, you’ll find a large price difference between cameras that have been tested, and those that are sold “as is.” Be cautious buying from sellers that state, “I have no way to test this camera.”
My second hesitation with purchasing this camera were the doubts I have about the reliability of Impossible film. If you check online forums and reviews, there’s no consensus among photographers regarding Impossible’s film. It’s expensive, and based on my own experience with their 600-Series film, it’s not as reliable as the original produced by Polaroid. That’s not to say that in the future it won’t be. And that’s not to say that the results aren’t artistic or enjoyable. There’s a reason why the company is called The Impossible Project. Reverse engineering and recreating Polaroid’s original formula with new chemicals is a massive undertaking. The original SX-70 film contained thirteen layers of chemistry, a thin plastic sheet on top (Mylar), with a black backing. The chemicals had to be self-contained within a pouch on each frame (the larger white film border at the bottom of each photo). If you haven’t seen it, I recommend the documentary Time Zero: The Last year of Polaroid Film. This film explains the final years and months of Polaroid’s warehoused inventory of SX-70 and 600-Series films, the hoarding that started to take place by photographers, and the confidence placed in the hands of Impossible to re-create two of the world’s most notable film formats.
Short History of the Polaroid SX-70 Camera
After Polaroid’s wartime production of bomb sights and goggles, the idea of instant photography was patented by Edwin H. Land in 1943. The story is told that Land’s daughter asked why she couldn’t see a photo taken after it was taken, thus creating the idea for instant photography. The name SX-70 actually means “Special Experiment” used within Polaroid that replaced the name project “Aladdin” in the 1960’s. Seventy was the next numerical number used by the company as it conducted such experiments. The shape and size of the camera was directed by Land himself as he wanted it to be small and no bigger than a paperback book. The design was created by Polaroid’s top engineer, Dick Wareham in 1965. The SX-70 camera and film was introduced to the public in 1972. According to The Land List, three variations of the original SX-70 exist. The first production models from 1972 – 1977 had a plain ground glass focusing screen. This is the model that I own. Later models have a split-image rangefinder circle and much later models have a split-image rangefinder circle and focus scale. The camera attracted serious photographers because it was the first instant SLR camera (Single-Lens Reflex), viewing and focusing was done directly through the lens. As the popularity of the camera grew, so did the technology. One of Polaroid’s bold engineers, Phil Baker, complained that the camera was too difficult to focus. Land threatened to fire him, but agreed to a redesign of the camera. By 1978, Polaroid released the first auto-focus instant camera with the use of sonar. This technology was used to “ping” subjects in front of the camera and the returning signal would allow the camera to focus automatically. While the sonar module added extra size to the camera, it was very accurate and remained part of Polaroid’s camera designs into the 1980’s. Along with auto-focus, other features were added over the years like a tripod socket, fill-flash using Flashbars, along with black and white colored camera bodies.
These are my initial test shots with the SX-70 and Impossible SX-70 Color Film. The camera is fun to use. It is slightly difficult to focus, but at f/8 – f/22, it’s a little forgiving. I actually enjoy the rangefinder focus on the older Land Camera models that use 100-Series film. The camera is unique and attracts attention while using it, making it a fun conversation piece. Between the design, the SLR functions, I can see why it has such a popular history and cult following. I’m still hung up on the focus difficulty. Land claimed that people didn’t understand SLR’s and placed blame on the agency marketing the camera. In 1975 Polaroid had television ads that showed consumers how to focus with the camera. The results with the Impossible color film are about what I expected, but are also what was expected for instant images coming from this camera with original Polaroid film at the time. There’s not a lot of color saturation, in fact the colors seem a bit muted. However, I think it’s subjective and some photographers may desire this look. The documentation that comes with Impossible’s film instructs you to keep the photo out of direct light after it’s been ejected from the camera. I did this while I was out shooting, placing each freshly taken image into my camera bag, only to find out later that some of the white reagent had leaked from one or more photos on to the other images. Not a big deal, but I see this as one of the minor imperfections that Impossible has to overcome. Another being the area of the photo that has dissolved away or appears as an undeveloped patch. This can be seen at the bottom of my photos. Again, this can be subjective to the photographer and many Polaroid fanatics like this look. I see it as a defect in the film itself, but that’s just my own opinion. In the future I will be posting some images and reviews of the Impossible B&W Film for 600, B&W Film for 600 Hard Color Frames, B&W Film for SX-70 and B&W Film for SX-70 Black Frame.