A Yashica T5 sailing the IJsselmeer

In sum­mer 2017 we chartered a boat, a 24m long tjalk, to sail the IJs­sel­meer and Mark­er­meer for a week. The Vrouw Dina — that’s the boat’s name — was com­manded  by two skip­pers — Simi and Daniel — and we acted as their ama­teur­ish part time crew.

I choose my old Yash­ica T5 to come with me … loaded with Agfa Vista 200. Reas­ons for choos­ing the Yash­ica T5 were that it’s water­proof — to a cer­tain degree, that it’s small — it fits in a pock­et and that it’s fully auto­mat­ic — per­fect if you have not much time to fiddle around with set­tings Sure, I had my work­horse — guess what — with me, but this time there was no use for it, as the Yasi­h­ica T5 did a very good job and the rest was shot with an iPhone. All images from the film can be found here.

We star­ted from Enkhuizen, get­ting a first brief­ing on-board the boat. After load­ing our lug­gage, we star­ted our first tour to Hoo­rn. The small town, foun­ded in 716, was name-giv­ing for one of the most fam­ous loc­a­tions on earth — Cape Horn. Willem Schouten, who circled it in 1616, named the south­ern­most part of the Amer­icas after its birthplace.

Dur­ing Holland’s Golden Age between 1602 and 1799, when it became a glor­i­ous sea­farer and trade empire, Hoo­rn was an import­ant home base of the Dutch East India Com­pany (VOC), one of the first mul­tina­tion­al cor­por­a­tions, issu­ing bonds and shares of stock to the gen­er­al public.

On we go from Hoo­rn to Monnikendam.

… and fur­ther we go from Mon­nik­endam to Marken … and fur­ther on to Medemblik.

On our way to Lemmer …

… and back to Enkhuizen.

In case you’d like to com­ment, it’s appre­ci­ated … and maybe, you want to vis­it my web­site or my flickr page too.

So long … and thanks for all the fish.

Olympus OM-2n with H.Zuiko Auto‑W 2.8/24mm

Just leav­ing for a trip to Crete. Hav­ing the good old Olym­pus OM-2n with its H.Zuiko Auto‑W 2.8/24mm lens with me. The OM-2n has recently been for a CLA at the OM-Labor in Frank­furt, Ger­many. The 24mm lens has a nice repu­ta­tion and I’m keen to see how this combo fits. The cam­era will be loaded with Agfa Vista 200 col­or film.

Besides that, I’m car­ry­ing with me my work­horse — the Olym­pus OM‑D E‑M1 with its mar­vel­lous M.Zuiko 2.8/12–40mm lens and — as a light­weight addi­tion, the Ricoh GR II.

When I’m back from the trip I’ll have a short report in my tiny blog and put some images on my flickr page.

In case you’d like to com­ment, it’s appre­ci­ated … and maybe, you want to vis­it my web­site or my flickr page too.

So long … and thanks for all the fish.

Contax G1 with a Zeiss Planar 2/45mm

This time a beau­ti­ful Con­tax G1 found its way to me, accom­pan­ied by three legendary Zeiss lenses. All parts are in good shape, so let’s see what comes out when the first film is pushed through.

On the one side, the Con­tax G‑System (i.e. the G1 and even more its sib­ling the G2) is said to be the world’s most advanced 35mm rangefind­er cam­era sys­tem. On the oth­er side its said that beside all its mer­its, it has its rough edges too. More on that later ;)

Here are the three stel­lar lenses I meant, start­ing with the Carl Zeiss Biogon 2.8/28mm …

… the Carl Zeiss Planar 2.0/45mm …

Contax Zeiss Planar 2/45mm

… and the Carl Zeiss Son­nar 2.8/90mm.

All three are rated as superb from a wide range of review­ers on the web — all far more exper­i­enced pho­to­graph­ers than I will ever be ;)

But now, film is loaded and on we go — an Agfa Vista 200 will do the job.

The Con­tax G1 body has been reviewed on sev­er­al web-loc­a­­tions — just check my web­site to name some — so there is no need to repeat. There are some points which are widely cri­ti­cized — things like a hyper sens­it­ive shut­ter but­ton, a small view­find­er, too slow max­im­um shut­ter speed and an unre­li­able auto­fo­cus — so I’ll have an eye on these.

The first lens I’ll try is the Carl Zeiss Planar 2.0/45mm, which is said to be  one of the best lenses of all times.

Puh, … film is done and in the lab. In the mean­time I can talk about how it went, shoot­ing this combo.

To me, this cam­era is a little gem. It fits in the hand like it was made for … me. Reminds me some­how on its SLR sib­ling — the 159MM. All dials and switches and but­tons are simply where they should be. As I was shoot­ing in aper­ture pri­or­ity mode with auto­fo­cus, the only thing to adjust was the aperture.

First point, the max­im­um shut­ter speed of 1/2000s was nev­er an issue.

Shoot­ing ISO 200 film there is plenty of room for adjust­ments for play­ing with depth of field. Using film with ISO 100 or ISO 400 or even ISO 800 makes it easy to work when the envir­on­ment makes it neces­sary. I do not know how some claim this 1/2000s to be an issue — too slow and not fast enough. Dur­ing their time, 1/2000s was not that bad, when most SLR and Rangefind­er offered 1/1000s — and yes I know there were SLR offer­ing 1/4000s already … at least some.

Maybe com­ing from mod­ern DSLR or Mir­ror­less Cam­er­as (I really like this term as it describes an object with its miss­ing fea­ture) with their max­im­um shut­ter speed of 1/4000s or 1/8000s or even elec­tron­ic shut­ter with 1/32000s is some­how chal­len­ging for those old cam­er­as, but really .… it’s nice hav­ing it, but who need this?

Second point, the hyper sens­ible shut­ter button.

When ‘half-pressed’, it trig­gers auto­fo­cus and auto­ex­pos­ure meas­ure­ment. To call this ‘half-pressed’ is some­what funny as you do not really need to ‘press’. I com­pare it more with the shut­ter but­ton of my Min­olta X‑700, where a slight touch trig­gers the meas­ure­ment. That’s it.

You get used to it the more you use it. Is this not the same with all things you learn? Learn­ing to ride a bicycle is tricky in the begin­ning, but once you got it, it’s pretty easy for the rest of your life as you know how to keep the balance.

Third point, the autofocus.

I can remem­ber my Yash­ica T5 which too has a cent­ral auto­fo­cus field only. Not hav­ing the inten­ded object in this focus field gives a missed focus … les­son learned.

Same for my Can­on AF35 MKII. Cent­ral auto­fo­cus field and if you miss your inten­ded object it res­ul­ted in a missed focus … les­son learned. Easi­est to be seen when shoot­ing two people, fram­ing that both are placed well and point­ing the cent­ral focus field in the middle between them. Wow … get’s the back­ground sharp and in focus then.

And yes, if you place ver­tic­al lines in this focus field it helps a lot. So there’s noth­ing spe­cial with it. Learn it and then do it — it’s like rid­ing a bicycle. That the pass­ive auto­fo­cus is not that good in really low light does not bear a big sur­prise. No con­trast, no auto­fo­cus. If you keep this in mind, auto­fo­cus works like always — and it’s fast enough.

If you come from the digit­al age with your DSLR and Mir­ror­less Cam­era car­ry­ing tril­lions of focus points spread over the whole sensor and work­ing with arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence like algorithms to auto detect everything … yes, then you per­haps might get a little bit lost with a single cent­ral focus field.

I learned, that many pro­fes­sion­al pho­to­graph­ers often deac­tiv­ate their auto­de­tect everything auto­fo­cus and use the cent­ral focus field only. Guess why?

Fourth point, a small view­find­er … can we please skip this and go to the next point.

Indeed it’s small — the smal­lest I’ve ever seen, besides some very old cam­er­as like my Zeiss Ikon Ercona II. Once you know how to best look through it (i.e. pos­i­tion your eye), you see all things neces­sary. The info pan­el on the bot­tom, the cent­ral auto­fo­cus field and the full frame (pun inten­ded). Noth­ing more is needed to frame and focus.

Shure, if the view­find­er would be like on a Min­olta Dyn­ax 9 this would be fant­ast­ic (more on that in a later post). But finally it shows what it should and its suc­cessor made it bet­ter with a lar­ger view­find­er — on the G2.

Next point … my conclusion:

If you can find one — get one and enjoy it.

Point one, two, three and four show to me that you do not need to worry using this cam­era. Those were the most cri­ti­cized top­ics and none is a show stop­per. The oppos­ite is the case — this cam­era fells into hand as it was made for and it’s hand­ling is so easy.

Besides all that tech­nic­al stuff, this cam­era is a real beauty — as beau­ti­ful as a cam­era can be. To me, this is a won­der­ful piece of tech­no­logy and worth being used to take pic­tures without any doubt.

In case you’d like to com­ment, it’s appre­ci­ated … and maybe, you want to vis­it my web­site or my flickr page too.

So long … and thanks for all the fish.

P.S. Just to men­tion, the full film can be found on flickr in col­our and in black and white.

Hiking the Lerautal with a Canon A‑1 and a FD 1.4/50mm S.S.C. — Part II

As prom­ised in the first part of this Can­on A‑1 attempt, I have fin­ished the first roll of film — it’s again an Agfa Vista 200 — and it’s back from the lab, so it’s time to show some images.

A couple of images were made dur­ing a hike in the Lerautal — a val­ley with a small creek — the Lerau. The path fol­lowed first the hill up to the old castle ruin of Leuchten­berg (built in the 10th/11th cen­tury … and sorry, no pics here … maybe next time) and went then down into the val­ley of the Lerau. This val­ley is mainly covered by forest and the Lerau is mean­der­ing through it.

This time, I post-pro­­cessed the col­our images slightly with Col­or­FX by apply­ing some kind of de-sat­ur­a­­tion magic — the Agfa Vista is nor­mally show­ing more vivid col­ours. They can be found here. As I’m always see­ing scener­ies also in black and white, a b&w ver­sion can be found here.

Using the Can­on A‑1 more often, some of the quirks I men­tioned in my earli­er post do no longer both­er. Still, the combo is quite heavy and still the multi-fun­c­­tion wheel is some­thing one needs to get used to. Tech­nic­ally, the Can­on A‑1 worked flaw­less with its 1.4/50mm S.S.C. lens and so one can more focus on the import­ant part — see­ing sceneries.

One thing, com­par­ing to let’s say a Con­tax 139 Quartz, a Con­tax 159 MM or even the Olym­pus OM-4Ti is, that the film advance works … not so smooth. This is some­how dis­ap­point­ing with a premi­um mod­el, but it may simply be caused by aging. So let’s not over­rate it here. I simply find it aston­ish­ing how dif­fer­ent the tact­ile feed­back of this mech­an­ism feels with dif­fer­ent cam­er­as, where it is always the same tech­nic­al pro­cess behind.

My con­clu­sion: It was inter­est­ing shoot­ing my old dream cam­era, but … I’m sure that I will not use this cam­era fre­quently. It’s def­in­itely no bad cam­era — under no cir­cum­stances, but it does not thrill me as much as I thought it will, dec­ades ago.

In case you’d like to com­ment, it’s appre­ci­ated … and maybe, you want to vis­it my web­site or my flickr page too.

So long … and thanks for all the fish.

Olympus OM-4Ti and Ricoh GR II

After hav­ing back the Olym­pus OM-4Ti from repair, I took it on a short trip to Frank­furt. Equipped with a Zuiko Auto‑T 2.8/100mm and loaded with an Agfa Vista 200, I was keen to see, if the prob­lem has been cured at the OM-Dok­t­or in Hamburg.


… and here the right lens.


We had two full days — one in Frank­furt and the oth­er in Mainz — and besides the Olym­pus OM-4Ti, an iPhone 6s and the highly respec­ted Ricoh GR II were on board. Olym­pus OM-4Ti was used in Frank­furt, the Ricoh GR II was used in Mainz.

First of all, why did I use the OM-4Ti only in Frank­furt but not in Mainz … it’s because the lens appeared to have a slightly bent aper­ture pin, which pro­hib­ited the OM-4Ti’s aper­ture sim­u­lat­or to work at the end of the first day. So sad! In the mean­time I have repaired this (thanks to a phone call with the OM-Dok­t­or), but on the second day in Mainz I’d bet­ter switched to my Ricoh GR II.

Second, my impres­sion on the OM-4Ti is twofold.

On the one side I’m massively impressed.

  • it worked flaw­less after repaired by the OM-Dok­t­or in Hamburg
  • the  tech­nic­al spe­cific­a­tions of the cam­era are superb
  • the size and weight are pretty stun­ning — one of the smal­lest and most light­weight (pro­fes­sion­al) SLR bodies
  • it simply rugged
  • the view­find­er is large, bright and clear
  • and so on …

On the oth­er side, I do not really get warm with this body (tak­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion also the OM-2sp I used dur­ing my trip to South-Tir­ol, which shares the same body and very sim­il­ar con­trol lay­out). Unfor­tu­nately I can­not name the reas­on for — it’s some­how a feel­ing only. Com­pared to a Con­tax 139 or even more a Con­tax 159, it simply does not feel like it fits in the hand.

Flaws … maybe some.
It has no on/off switch, which always makes it pos­sible to release the shut­ter acci­dent­ally when cocked. A second one, it’s meter can­not be switched off. It shuts off after some seconds auto­mat­ic­ally (15s if I remem­ber right), but when touch­ing the shut­ter but­ton (even by acci­dent), it starts again — which might drain the bat­tery. You have to switch the aper­ture to “B” or the emer­gency manu­al “1/60”, this deac­tiv­ates all elec­tron­ics, just to be sure when pla­cing it in the bag. How­ever this also makes it not a quick star­tup cam­era out of the bag.

I think I will have to use it a little bit longer, as the whole world praises the OM-line and so it must be me.

I have uploaded two albums, one is the Agfa Vista 200 col­our ver­sion and anoth­er is a b/w ver­sion.

The Ricoh GR II is a whole dif­fer­ent story.
I use it more fre­quently as my every­day cam­era and so I get used to it more and more. Besides the fact that I felt imme­di­ately famil­i­ar with it from the first day, it impresses me every time I use it. I’ll I add some pic­tures from the Ricoh GR II in my Frank­furt trip album on Flickr.
Here too, a col­our ver­sion and a b&w ver­sion exist.

This time I also tried some street shots using the snap-focus, where the AF gets  pre­fo­cused on a defined dis­tance. This avoids hav­ing to focus when hit­ting the shut­ter but­ton and you can hold the cam­era with one hand on arm length without look­ing on the mon­it­or. Totally unob­trus­ive. All pic­tures were crappy and … I have still to prac­tice that way of shooting.

In case you’d like to com­ment, it’s appre­ci­ated … and maybe, you want to vis­it my web­site or my flickr page too.

So long … and thanks for all the fish

Hiking around Flossenbürg with a Contax 139 Quartz

After dress­ing this beauty in new clothes, I was keen to see a first film in this 40 years old cam­era. So I moun­ted a Carl Zeiss Planar 1.7/50mm, loaded an Agfa Vista 200 and … enjoyed a photo walk;)

OK, this is not the 1.7/50mm lens attached ;)

… this is the right one ;)

Again we choose Flossen­bürg as our des­tin­a­tion and this time it was a 3 hour hike. We star­ted at the old castle — dated from around 1200 AD. From the castle tower you have a fant­ast­ic view in the sur­round­ing landscape.

From there we headed down­wards over Ham­mer­bühl, Alten­ham­mer and Gais­mühle to the Small Gais­wei­h­er and the Large Gais­wei­h­er. After hav­ing lunch, we hiked back uphill to the end of our tour. All images from the trip can be seen here in the ori­gin­al Agfa Vista col­ours … and  here in a black&white ver­sion.

A very good review of this cam­era done by James Toc­chio can be found on Cas­u­al Pho­to­phile, so there’s no need to repeat the obvious.
To me, this beau­ti­ful little cam­era is a pleas­ure to use … with a single weak point. The meter is not activ­ated by half-press­ing the shut­ter release but­ton like on many oth­er cam­er­as, but by a sep­ar­ate but­ton loc­ated on the cam­era front. While hav­ing your index fin­ger on the shut­ter release but­ton, you can have your middle fin­ger lay­ing on this but­ton. You need to get used to it, but it works.

What I also learned was, that in the view­find­er, not only the shut­ter speed is dis­played, but also the aper­ture value should be vis­ible … not in this cam­era. Seems as if some­thing is broken. After con­tact­ing Peter Robin­son from contax139.co.uk he assured me that this is repair­able, send­ing also repair inform­a­tion — very good inform­a­tion indeed. As this means to dis­as­semble the body to fix a broken wire, I think it’s bet­ter hav­ing this job done by an expert ;)

My con­clu­sion: This beau­ti­ful little Con­tax 139 Quartz is so easy to use and its a pleas­ure to shoot with.

In case you’d like to com­ment, it’s appre­ci­ated … and maybe, you want to check out my web­site too!


P.S. … and don’t for­get my Flickr page.

Canon A‑1 with FD 1.4/50mm S.S.C.

On we go with a Can­on A‑1, a Can­on FD 1.4/50mm S.S.C. lens attached and an Agfa Vista 200 loaded.

The next days hope­fully will bring a little bit sun­shine as it would make so much more fun. My first impres­sion while play­ing around with the A‑1 … sol­id … very sol­id. Some­how it reminds me on the Pentax LX. As already men­tioned here, the A‑1 was my dream cam­era in the 80th, when I finally ended up with a Min­olta X‑700. The A‑1 was simply too expensive.

The usu­al reviews are numer­ous out there … a won­der­ful one is here at Cas­u­al Pho­to­phile, so there’s no need to repeat all that. As a top-of-the-line mod­el, it offers so many fea­tures, knobs and knurles, more than I’ll ever need and so I miss the sim­pli­city of a user inter­face. Last time I shot a Con­tax 139 Quartz and … this is so simple in all it’s usab­il­ity. I know that the Can­on A‑1 has a lot more gim­micks inside, so no need to worry.
Com­pared to the Con­tax 139 Quartz, where all things go so smooth, the A‑1 is more … crude.

What I found strange, was the aper­ture set­ting dur­ing Aper­ture Pri­or­ity Mode, where it would be easy set­ting the aper­ture on the lens … no, here you need to use a knurl on the front with the right hand, which is also used to set time value in Shut­ter Pri­or­ity Mode. Anoth­er one … when grabbing the body with the left hand, you always press the stop-down lever which is quite annoy­ing. More of those quirks can be read here on Jit­tery Pixel, who has lis­ted all of them.

As soon as the film is through and back from the lab, I’ll post some images on my Flickr-Page.

In case you’d like to com­ment, it’s appre­ci­ated … and maybe, you want to check out my web­site too!


P.S. … and don’t for­get my Flickr page.

Olympus OM‑2 spot/program with G.Zuiko Auto‑W 2.8/35mm

Hik­ing in South-Tir­ol for a week in May should bring some beau­ti­ful days with per­fect light and tons of amaz­ing scener­ies … so far was the plan. What came out was a quite cold and rainy week in the Dolo­mites, which led to the decision using the OM-2sp not in the moun­tains, but dur­ing the city trips.

Olympus OM-2 spot/program

Using the new­er Olym­pus OM‑D E‑M1 was fine, as it got quite wet dur­ing the hikes. As the OM‑D E‑M1 is per­fectly sealed, this work­horse had not a single issue dur­ing the rainy days.

As men­tioned in my pre­vi­ous post, the reas­on why an OM-2sp accom­pan­ied me on my hik­ing trip to South-Tir­ol was, that the inten­ded OM-4Ti did not fire any more (… but that has been repaired in the mean­time and it will be tested soon).

Here is the cor­rect lens …

Olympus OM-System G.Zuiko Auto-W 2.8/35mm

I shot a roll of Agfa Vista 200 and the film is cur­rently in the lab … I’ll add a link to my flickr page as soon as I put these pic­tures online.
Dur­ing the city trips, the OM-2sp worked flaw­less in Aper­ture Pri­or­ity Mode. The lens with its 35mm focal lenght made it easy to focus — I mainly used zone focus­sing. What I found was, that the shut­ter sound was quite loud/harsh — at least com­pared to a Con­tax 139 Quartz I shot some weeks before.

We made a first day trip to Bru­neck Castle in the Puster Val­ley, where the legendary Rein­hold Mess­ner has installed one of his six Mess­ner Moun­tain Museums — the RIPA. A second day trip led us to Juval Castle — where the Mess­ner fam­ily lives dur­ing July and August — and to FIRMIAN, the Sig­mund­sk­ron Castle near Bozen — two fur­ther Mess­ner Moun­tain Museums. As a spe­cial high­light dur­ing our vis­it of Juval Castle was, that Rein­hold Mess­ner crossed our way while we walked over the court. This man is one of the 100 most known people on this planet.

Film is now back from the lab and it’s … some­how strange.
There are pic­tures and there are blanks in between. I have good pic­tures at 4, 5, 9, 10 11, 12 13, 18, 20, 21, 23, 26, 28, 29, 30, 32, 33, 36.
No. 6 and 8 are … some­thing, but no real pic­ture and the rest is simply blank (black, i.e. the neg­at­ive is trans­par­ent) where it seems as if the film has not been exposed. So 18 from 36 pic­tures are fine — not so bad. Nev­er­the­less some­how dis­ap­point­ing, as the cam­era looks like new.
I’ll have to push a roll of film through it under con­trolled conditions.

In case you’d like to com­ment, it’s appre­ci­ated … and maybe, you want to check out my web­site too!


P.S. … and don’t for­get my Flickr page.

Olympus OM-4Ti with Olympus G.Zuiko Auto‑W 2.8/35mm

Well, this time I planned tak­ing the Olym­pus OM-4Ti with me in on a hik­ing trip to South-Tir­ol — besides my work­horse, the Olym­pus OM‑D E‑M1. Planned it and pre­pared it and … while test­ing if finally everything works fine … the OM-4Ti refused to fire.


Olym­pus OM-4Ti with G.Zuiko Auto‑S 1.4/50mm (yep, not the cor­rect lens)

Olym­pus G.Zuiko Auto‑W 2.8/35mm

Bat­ter­ies changed, read­ing the manu­al, search­ing the web … noth­ing worked and I finally had to accept that this beau­ti­ful wun­der­werk will not go with me.

So here I can close this short post, as this combo will not be in the focus this time. I searched on the web for a repair shop in Ger­many and found the legendary OM-Dok­t­or in Ham­burg. Long story short … par­cel is on it’s way to repair this camera.

What to do now?
Grabbing anoth­er OM out of the cam­era case — this time an OM‑2 spot/program. But this is anoth­er story.

In case you’d like to com­ment, it’s appre­ci­ated … and maybe, you want to check out my web­site too!


P.S. … and don’t for­get my Flickr page.