Saturday, April 30, 2011

The User’s Review: Canon Rebel 2000 (EOS 300, Kiss III) released in 1999

First of all, I thank Dave at 1705 Oakdale Ave, Lancaster, NE, who gave me this camera (4325333, made in Taiwan) for free this afternoon (20110430). Therefore, I get a chance to put its images here.

With a pentamirror viewfinder and a polycarbonate body, this Canon camera was sold exceedingly well and dominated its market sector after introduced. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The User’s Review: Nikon N80 (N80 QD, F80, F80D and F80S) released in 2000

You might read other reviews on this camera somewhere because it's one of the best film slr cameras. For beginners of film shooting, you should get this camera because you will know that you wouldn't be a good shooter if no good images come out from your N80. For professionals, you also should get one because you will know what is a camera which balances everything including cost. At the time of my writing, you can get a N80 in excellent plus condition under USD 100 including shipping.

Here I will not really write a review on N80, I will put my images of N80 below and let you view. What I should say is, I am neither a fan of any camera brand nor of any camera model. I just like to use different slr cameras like my 2 and 3 years old sons who alway hold small cars in their hands. However, I do own several N80s. Here are some of them. Any complaint about N80? Yes, I have one below the images.

Nikon N80 also has a QD version that can imprint date/time onto film. The QD back does not require a separate battery to power the clock. The backs were not designed for quick change. A screw driver and skill are needed when taking-off and installation of the backs on N80. With some study and info, I changed the backs myself.

The focusing screens in Nikon N80 is not interchangeable, as Nikon website says. In most bodies, the screens have no marks, 5 focus brackets and a reference circle of center-weighted metering will show up once with battery power. Grid Lines can be superimposed onto the focus screen with the camera's Custom Setting #4. I did saw that two N80 bodies (SN 2806895 and 2806904) had a horizontal line physically marked on their focus screens. They are rare and not likely a custom add-on.  

If you want to attach a AA-battery grip MB-16, you need to take off the battery door at the bottom of camera. When I first did it, I thought I would break the door or its attachment, but it would be ok since I have done many times. Why is there no better design? Like in N65 and MB-17, which has a chamber to accept the opened battery door still attaching to the camera bottom.

Nikon also produced two models of semi-soft cases for N80, CF59 and CF60. The later is for a N80 with a long zoom lens.

Nikon F80S is different from its siblings by imprinting the shooting data (spreed, aperture and exp compensation) vertically on the frame between two photos. For this function, F80S has an extra Custom Setting (CSM) 19 as 'ISO film speed setting for data imprint between frames'. F80S sets the film speed automatically, but it can be changed manually in CSM 19. And there is a selector on the data back of F80s to choose if the shooting data are printed or not.

The data back on Nikon F80S

Like N80 QD and F80D, the F80s sign is not marked on the camera body, it is printed only on  the package box and the manual for F80, F80D and F80S.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The User’s Review: The first and last cameras in Canon EOS Film SLR Family - EOS 650 and Rebel T2

Canon (originally named 'Kwanon' after the Buddhist bodhisattva Guan Yin by G. Yoshida, one of the four founders of Canon) developed the  Canon Electro-Optical System (EOS) in Canon's first EOS camera, 650, in 1987. The alternative definition of EOS can be find at the end of this blog.

As a piece of history, EOS 650 is honored as 'the masterpiece of modern simplicity' by the EOS users and followers. 'The EOS 650 marked the beginning of a new era for Canon since this camera is totally unlike any other AF 35mm slr on the market when it made it debut in 1987.' The EOS 650 represented a revolutionary approach to camera development especially in autofucus and ease-to-use.' Every EOS fan should own one 650 simply because of its affordable price today. As I read online, one got it at USD 6. I bought mine sold 'as it' at USD 3 plus shipping. This body was ill of 'shutter bumper sticky' with 'oil' stuff on the shutter blades. As a 'senior research scientist' (supposes to follow a protocol of doing science, sample the 'oil', analyze its contents, and come with a solution), I used my 'magic detergent' and MQ water to clean it up. Test shooting shows that my 650 works faultless. My 650 is near mint except the 'illness', a common problem in aging 650. I can not find a single scratch on the body. Wondering what this 650 had done over the past 20 years? The build quality of EOS 650 should be credited. Once it was in my hands, I know this body was solid. It is of both Japaneses design and manufacture as the camera bottom marked 'Canon Japan 1353225'.

Although Rebel T2 (= 300X = Kiss 7, released in 2004) is also in history, but in the first chapter of the 21st century due to the year of 2004 when T2 was introduced. By itself, T2 was not a revolutionary creature, but it was borned at the time when digital imaging took off. This little guy with a bigger LCD on the film door is more like the today's dslr. T2 is still in demand in the current used market. I paid ~60 to get a used one (21 09004376, made in Taiwan of China) for myself in early 2011. 

The elder brother EOS 650 is bigger and heavier, but it performs fine in today' standard and as I expected. The little brother T2 works without any difference from current dslr except the film rewinding sound (yes, rewinding, not winding) after shutter release each time. Both model have date and non-date versions, for EOS 650, it's easier to change a film door with date/time imprinting function. My T2 is a non-date version, you can see that there is no 'date' under the 'FUNC.' list of the rear LCD screen in one of the following images. In USA, most T2 bodies are of non-date. 

From 650 to T2 (including others like EOS Rebel Xs, G, Elan II, Elan IIe Elan 7ne I own and use), I come with my term EOS, Evolution Of Shooting.

Below are my images of 650 and T2 side by side. Please get your own vision on EOS in stead of my words.

Hello? The little one says.

Let's turn around. That guy will shot us. The elder brother says.

I carry a LCD on my shoulder. The big buy adds. 

Oh, mine is on my back and is bigger than yours. The little one replies.

Let's wave to him. says the little one.

I am taller than you. The elder says.

Yes, you are. The little agrees.

Oh, what else can we show him? The little brother asks.

Our batteries. Both brothers say. 

Canon manufactured three different models of grips for EOS 650 and its sibling models.

If you like to see the T2 equivalents from other manufactures, visit my blog page comparing them.         

Friday, April 22, 2011

The User's Review: Minolta Maxxum XTsi (Dynax 505 si Supper) and STsi (Dynax 404 si) 35mm SLR Cameras in images

Fig. 1. Front and back views of Minolta Maxxum XTsi, made in Malaysia and released in 1998(?). Inside the case, there are 1/4000 s shutter speed and 14-segment metering system. Build quality is acceptable but should be rated lower (8 - 8.5/10 by myself).

Fig. 2. 'Eye star' is one of features in Maxxum XTsi. Turn on the switch, hold the sensor on camera grip, put your eye close to the viewfinder, the eyepiece sensor by the side of the viewfinder will activates the camera.

Fig. 3. Panorama model is another feature of Maxxum XTsi. Switch the level to P, sections of the viewfinder are blacked (see the second image). At SDT position (see the third image), the two blocking pieces will be vertical. There are also two pieces between the shutter blades and film window to get the panorama view (see the last two images).

 Fig. 4. Maxxum XTsi also has the functions of wireless flash (WL on the dial), multiple exposure, bracketing, and 10 custom function settings.

There are 3 focusing areas, which are not lighted up. You have to refer the indicator on the left side of viewfinder to see which point is being used. Focusing process is a little bit noisy. No remote control to use, but a shutter release cable is available. The compatible cable is not the type of universal one. There is no depth-of-field check either. A coin or similar item is needed to open/lock the battery door. You will see some kind of colors (blue or yellow) in aging viewfinders of Maxxum cameras (probably cased by the old roof mirror?). 

Fig. 5. Maxxum STsi Date (02006737) and XTsi (94007783). STsi, made in Malaysia and introduced in 1999, is a simplified version of XTsi. They share may body parts. The top shutter speed is 1/2000 s in STsi (vs. 1/4000 in XTsi). STis does not have eye start, bracketing, custom function settings, and sport AF button, but do have a plastic lens mount on body. Do you find any differnce between the two models? How about the color of frames around the LCDs? Any more? Thanks.  

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The User’s Review: Nikon N75 (F75) 35mm Film Camera

In earlier 2011, after many years’ use of digital cameras and recent update of my dslr, I thought to take pictures for my two little boys and to leave their images on negatives (read my earlier article on the cost and price of film shooting in 2011). At that time, my two old manual focus slr Yashica cameras were out of reach. So I searched the local Craigslist to look for a used slr. Found a black and date imprint body of N75 with a Nikon 28-80mm G lens at $50. Emailed the seller, a state detective, who told me that he had put them on sale for several months. He brought the kit to my office. I found it is in very good conditions with original package and papers. Via later internet search, I realize this is a good deal because black and imprint version of N75 is rear in the USA market. If sold online, should be priced higher.

Fig. 1. Front and back of black and black/silver versions of Nikon N75

Released in 2003 as the last customer-level slr from Nikon, N75 was made in Thailand and is one of the most advanced compact slr cameras. N75 has two color versions (All black and Black/Silver) and optional date/time imprint on film door. Later I brought a black/silver non-date body  for parts and repair at USD 6.3 plus shipping online, and found out that it woks fine because not many people understand the hi-tech in the body and know how to use it.

Fig. 2. Top and bottom of black and black/silver versions of Nikon N75

N75 is well designed with a small and traditional-style body without big LCD on film door, which is found on Canon T2, Minolta Maxxum 7 and Pentax *ist, although all of them released several years apart. I rate N75 build quality at 9/10. It has a penta-Dach-mirror type of viewfinder, which needs electric power to make it bright up and to show the 5 focus squares. These squares are selectable and can light up to indicate which point is in focus. Film status and battery level are also indicated in the viewfinder. Film loading in N75 is unique, all film is first winded out of cartridge, the finished frames were returned into cartridge one by one to protect them from accident opening of film door. Shutter speeds among T and 30s – 1/2000 s, single and continuous servo AF, AF-assist light, 3D 25-segment metering, focus and AE locks, depth-of-field button, remote control, multiple exposure (up to 9?), bracketing, continuous shooting (1.5 fps), mid-roll rewind, 2 CR2 batteries for both body and imprint, mental lens mount, optional battery grip (MB-18) are enabled or equipped. There are also 12 settings of custom functions. On the downside, 1/90 s sync speed, no manual film speed setting, no IR film, on-camera control of remote delay (I prefer such setting on the remote as for my Canon Elan 7NE), accidently change of focus mode selector, un-durable latch on film door, no option of leave-out of film leader (as in Minolta Maxxum 7 and 70) should be listed.

It's common to see a small crack on the sidewall of the program knob on N75. The good news is that it does not affect any performance.

Fig. 3. Nikon N75 with film door open

In general, Nikon N75 should be among the tops of the last generation of 35mm film slr cameras by all manufacturers. If you like to see the equivalent cameras from other manufactures, visit my blog page comparing Canon T2, Minolta Maxxum 70, Nikon N75 and Pentax *ist.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The User’s Review: Minolta Maxxum 70 (Dynax 60) SLR Film Camera

Fig. 1. Various views of Minolta Maxxum 70 SLR camera.

Made in China and released in 2004, the all black Maxxum 70 was one of the last two film slr cameras of Konica Minolta (Fig. 1). Maxxum 70 has neither fancy look like Canon T2 and Pentax *ist with a ‘big’ LCD on their film doors nor body color options of black or black/silver on Nikon N75. However, Maxxum 70 does have its own unique designs and functions.

Fig. 2. Data imprint and AF/MF switch button on Minolta Maxxum 70.

These unique features are:

  1. Wireless/remote flash and high speed sync. Maxxum 70 can use its built-in flash to control an off-camera flash (such as Minolta 5600HS D or 3600HS D). With 5600HS D, 5400HS and 3600HS D flash, this camera can also use its full range of shutter speeds up to 1/2000 sec.
  2. New data imprint tech in every Maxxum 70, standard and not optional (although only year, month, date and time are imprinted). Unlike traditional method to stamp multiple digits onto the film from film door, Maxxum 70 prints a digit once a time right after film is removed from the exposure window (Fig. 2), working like the printer on my desk. This printing tech is also used in my Maxxum 7/Dynax 7, one of the most hi-tech film cameras.
  3. Among the 15 Custom functions, you can set whether film leader will be rewound into the cartridge or leave out (Custom 3, option 1 or 2). It’s a very useful function if you change film before used up, and reinstall it back into the camera.
  4. Mental top cover and flash cover (Fig. 3). I felt them when I used the camera in winder, these top parts felt colder than the other parts of the body.
  5. Unique outside control dial (Fig. 4). It locates by the shutter button, where the AF-assistant illuminator is on many of my Nikon and Canon cameras. I was fooled by the dial’s appearance. The built-in flash is used as the illuminator when necessary in Maxxum 70.
  6. Film door lock. It prevents the door from being opened while film is loaded. After film is rewound, the lock releases. 

    Fig. 3. Minolta Maxxum 70 top.

    Fig. 4. Control dial of Minolta Maxxum 70.

    Other features include: 9 selectable and light-up focus points in its viewfinder; 14-segment honeycomb-pattern metering (similar system used in Maxxum 7Dynax 7); mirror viewfinder; Bulb and 30 – 1/2000 sec shutter speeds; 1/90 sec for built-in flash sync; no calculation on bulb exposure; ISO 25 – 5000 DX-coded film or ISO 6 – 6400 manual-set film speed; 3 frames per sec continuous shooting; 3-image exposure bracketing, but unlimited number of multiple exposures; no delay or 2-sec delay remote (RC-3, better than Nikon N75 with such settings on camera); and depth-of-field button (Fig. 4).

    I rate the build quality at 8.5/10. The flash hook (Fig. 1) can not hold the flash firm, occasionally the flash pops up accidently. In some bodies, the focus screens turn light blue color with aging, although this will not affect their imaging. No infrared film can be used because of the film sensor in Maxxum 70. No optional battery grip is available for Maxxum 70, which means the only power source is 2 CR2 batteries.

    If you like to see the equivalent cameras from other manufactures, visit my blog page comparing them.