Jun 29, 2017

30-30-30 : Day 16 : Yashica T2

Setup for Day 16 (Mar 2nd, 2017):

Camera: Yashica T2
Lens: Carl Zeiss Tessar T* 35mm f/3.5
Film: Kodak T-Max TMX 100

Mini-review of the setup:

Camera: Man, this thing feels straight out of the 80s. The styling fits right in with my 1989 BMW - brick-like and angular, switches are plastic-y but yet solid. Blocky, chunky so it fits in my hand better than the thinner P&S cameras out there without the right hand grip. Everything falls to hand pretty well, none of the buttons are awkward to use.

After I did the test roll for this post, I took this out on a ride into the farmland around Portales, NM. It was small enough to fit in my jacket's pocket and I could shoot it without removing my helmet and didn't even need to pull off my leather gloves to operate. Loved that aspect, plus the built in lens cover kept the important glass protected and mostly dust-free while riding to the next scene.

Would I prefer to have an aperture control and let the camera decide the rest of the exposure calculations? Yes, but this was built to a price point. I see the sale price was $139 in 1990, less than the Minolta Freedom Tele.

Overall verdict: Winner for easy to use, simple point-n-shoot type shots. Not much control but that's OK for general use and even preferable for when you just want to get the shots and not spend all the time thinking about every detail of the image, instead concentrating on the subject. Good enough viewfinder, nothing really to complain about there.

Lens: It's a Carl Zeiss lens which means it has a great coating and should be above average in sharpness, contrast and general image quality. I see nothing to complain about, even forgetting the fact that this is plastic point-n-shoot and not an SLR or rangefinder lens.

Overall verdict: Basic lenses are the easiest to do a very high standard. A 35/3.5 could be made well by almost any lens company.  Add in good coatings and this should be a gem of an optic.

Film: Same old T-max from the big lot I bought used/expired. Getting to the end of that lot so I'll have to change it moving forward.

Overall verdict:
Good combination, might be even better used with 400ASA film to force the camera to stop down the lens and get more depth of field and sharpness. I'd gladly use this as my casual use camera and even could use it for more serious work if pressed to do so. Will keep it in my bag as a backup or alternative film option.

After seeing scans: Lens lives up to the hype and name. I need to check that it's focusing to all of the possible distances, it seems like it might be stuck at the medium setting, not going to infinity. Very good flare resistance, as expected.

Viewfinder seems moderately accurate, not the greatest ever but certainly bright and big enough to do what needs to be done. It doesn't match exactly what you are getting, but that's one of those things that always improves as you use a camera more. You start figuring out how to compensate when focusing closer.

This camera would easily earn a spot in your camera bag, if you use it for intended purposes.

Click on the first image, arrow through to see them all larger.

Mar 18, 2017

30-30-30 : Day 15 : Contax T2

Setup for Day 15 (Mar 1st, 2017):

Camera: Contax T2
Lens: Carl Zeiss Sonnar 35mm f/2.8
Film: Agfa APX 100

Mini-review of the setup:

Camera: Pocket powerhouse! Viewfinder is good even with my glasses, film loading is a snap and manual focus implementation is great and I found it very accurate. AF worked fine for my purposes, fast enough but might not be fast enough for others that are tracking actively moving subjects a lot. One of those you'd need to practice with, rather than it being intuitively timed.

These things have retained their value from when they were at the top of the heap, which is no surprise given that they are basically one of the top options still to this day for top quality compact cameras. The T3 came out later, obviously with some changes and is a good deal smaller but not everyone likes those changes including if you use the manual focus a lot (turned into menu item, basically).

Lens is a bit close to the grip and I wish it could take filters like the Contax T3 for better black and white without doing some sort of hack to keep filters on it. Part of me wishes there was a way to override DX but I never do that and DX labels are easy enough to spoof so bulk rolling can still be used with this cam with just one more step.

Overall verdict: Great

Lens: Carl Zeiss is basically as good as it gets when it comes to lens manufacturers. Who beats them, really? There's no reason to expect anything but excellent IQ from this Sonnar even with it's tiny size taken into account. Remember, small size is just another constraint for the optical designer to work with, so all things being equal, a larger lens should have less issues.

Overall verdict: 

Film: I've very much liked the APX 100 I've shot before this project, loved it here.

Overall verdict:
 Great setup for excellent image quality when you don't want to have to think too much about making the images. I will be using this for travel for sure. Wish the AF was a bit faster of course but if you have time to pre-think the shot, there will be less of a limit to hit and with some more practice it would be less and less of an issue.

After seeing scans: As expected, the lens is a winner. One frame showed slow shutter speed shake so I'll have to watch better for slow shutter times. A very small and lightweight travel tripod could be very useful with this. 35mm focal length is versatile and through this project I've started to like using moderate wide angles more than I did in the past. It won't give you tight headshots and it won't give you giant expansive scenics like an ultra-wide angle would but neither of those could be done with pretty much any camera/lens combo that can be thrown in a jacket pocket and/or shot on full auto with great results.