CCG Review – Canon Photura – An Interesting Bridge Camera

Alright, I finally made it to the third bridge camera in my recent collection, the Canon Photura.  Brought in at a $2.99 bid with $8 shipping, it’s a 1990s funky looking tube design with a 35-105mm zoom lens (with a fairly fast f/2.8-6.6) and a built-in flash.  Unlike the last two bridge cameras I’ve reviewed, this camera really does a decent job with only one hand controlling everything.

I liked the ease and simplicity of the camera.  It’s really a point and shoot with just a few things you can shut off or use (like fill in flash, etc.).  The weight is pretty light since it’s plastic and lens so carrying around in one hand is a breeze.  And it takes a good picture which is the primary function of a camera as I understand it.

Downside, the camera has no capacity for using standard screw in filters and the zoom is really under powered since you would likely need at least 135mm zoom for indoor sports or other similar events (the later version of the camera went to 135mm).  Plus, the focus is not perfect but usable.

Unfortunately, my developing did not do justice to this batch of TMAX100.  You can see the images straight to the scanner are underdeveloped.  But you can still see some of the capabilities of the lens and autofocus.  I have to admit, the more I used the camera, the better I liked it.  Had my developing skills been better, I believe some decent contrast and shadows would be in the image.

Canon Photura Test Franklin 7-15 100TMAX005

 

Overall, the camera seems to do a good job with the lighting and the focus for long shots.

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In the end, I think the Canon Photura will be my one keeper from the bridge cameras on this review cycle.  I think the lens are sharper and faster than the Chinon and the Olympus.  Plus, it’s just cool to see the expressions from others trying to figure out it’s a video camera or a couple of beer cans put together.

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CCG Review – Chinon Genesis 3 – Auto Programmed but Not Likeable.

Following up from my review of the Olympus, I came up with the Chinon Genesis 3.  It’s a boxy looking bridge camera from the 1990s which went for $14.32 (shipping cost came in higher than the bid).

Specs: 35 mm TTL finder zoom camera

– 38-110 mm zoom lens

– Auto programmed zoom

– Hybrid auto focusing system

– Fully motorized film transport

– Built-in sensor flash

– TTL metering multi mode program AE

The internal system is pretty much fully automatic so not much to do other than point and shoot.  It allows you to zoom in a manual mode which I like better the auto mode.  Like the Olympus 300 Infinity, it has the right handed grip which I find to be more useful than the camera wrapped around the neck but others may differ.  The programming modes and film count is on the left side of the body and inconvenient to see.  Placement of the spot metering and manual zoom is on the left side as well so you will be using both hands most of the time which is fine since it’s better for a stable shot.

Now to the reason you use the tool, the pictures.  I was not that impressed with this camera.  I wanted to be but the quality of pictures that came out on 100TMAX just weren’t that good.  Maybe it’s operator error or my skills in developing (standard time with XTOL per instructions).  My other roll of TMAX in the same canister for my Canon Photura (coming review) came out better.  You be the judge.  Disclaimer, these pictures are straight from the scanner (some dust can be seen).  They might perk up with software but I wanted to show what the lens and system was doing.

Partially cloudy DayChinon Genesis Lipscomb 7-16 100TMAX001

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Inside with strong backlight.  The overall depth of field is nice but soft around the edges.  Other pictures were out of focus (no doubt due to 100 speed film)

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Under shade with partly cloudy sky – I like the texture but not at 100% crop – I might be a shade underdeveloped.

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At 38mm view

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At 110mm

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Zoomed in under full light

Overall, the Chinon Genesis works well as a manual style of point and shoot but it’s just not a likeable camera.  I just didn’t like the auto zoom feature which seem to take the picture too close for nice framed shots to my eyes.  Also, auto focus was not very fast (expected given the age of the camera).  On top of that, I don’t believe it’s a keeper just due to the quality of the lens which I don’t believe are that great.  I’ve run a roll of color through it and will have to make up my mind when the film gets back from professional processing.

CCG Review – Olympus Infinity Superzoom 300 Camera

Well, I finally made some time to get a few rolls of development completed.  In one roll came from one of my latest cheap camera purchases, the Olympus 300 Infinity.  I paid a total of $11.17 for the camera with shipping so it easily met my guidelines of under 20 bucks for my review toys.

A quick review with Pic – It’s a funky looking bridge camera from around 1990 with a 38-105mm built in lens. B/W film is Arista 100 and developed with Kodak XTOL using recommended development times per Arista.  You might see some of the flaws with Arista film in it’s QA process but it’s the cheapest I’ve found for testing.  Also, flaws made by the cameraman are an added bonus… :o)

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Now, that said, it is a fun camera to play with.  While it will not be the fastest or the best out there in filmland, to my way of thinking, it works pretty darn well for a roughly 30 year old camera.  The focus worked in the various tests I put it through and the lens is quality with decent sharpness.  Batteries are easy to come by (CR123A lithium) and it’s pretty much automatic in many of the shots.  That said, it does have some flaws.  I hated the flip down door on the back which covers the controls for the camera programing. Makes it difficult to move from manual modes to automatic (which is limited anyway).  Good thing the manual came with it (along with the cheap case for the camera).

From what I’ve read, many people don’t like the ergonomics of the one hand wrap to hold the camera.  For me, it’s not an issue (even though I’m a lefty) and I found it to be a asset when just walking around and needing a quick shot like this ambulance speeding by (all pics are slightly adjusted out of the scanner for look, I haven’t covered the flaws).

Olympus300Test - Franklin015 (3)

As you can see by the next picture, the depth of field is good for an auto mode.

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But it does not work correctly every time, I suspect due to the way the AF sensor works (below).  However, this could be my lack of experience/technique with the camera since I used full auto nearly all of the time.

Olympus300Test - Franklin013

I’ll let the other pics speak for themselves.  You will see an obvious pattern in the cameraman’s predilection to use angles and shadows in his shots, the curse of being a noir style writer as another hobby.

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Full Telephoto Zoom Used

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Cropped this picture for a better look.
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Note the artifact coming from the Arista film layer.  I’ve seen these artifacts show up several rolls.  I’m moving to other brands for my future testing.

In conclusion, the Olympus Infinity 300 is an interesting tool.  Funky look that won’t appeal to everyone and stuck back in the age of transition for SLR to a point and shoot ease for everyday picture taking.  In the end, it’s fun to play with, takes pretty good pictures within it’s limits, and it’s cheap.  For 10 bucks, it’s a keeper to bring out when you want people to ask what you are using.

Bringing Back Kodachrome Film

While I have little experience with slide shooting and development, I noticed this article from earlier this year which is quite intriguing.  I need to try it out when they get the processing back again….

In the meantime, I was working on scanning in some old color negatives I took during my days in the Navy.  Cheap 35mm camera (long gone) and processed by one of the local drug stores at the time.  Kind of fun to reminisce about the era and when I took the picture.

USS Saratoga CV-60 from vulture’s row looking down at the flight deck.

EPSON scanner image

 

 

Oddball 35mm Cameras

Recently, I’ve taken a liking to various unique cameras that strike my interest.  Over the course of the last month, I’ve picked up 3 oddball 35 film cameras (ranging from $4.95 to 7.99) that I’m currently shooting B/W and color rolls through.  As soon as I can, I will follow up with some pics from each camera along with my impressions of these unique blend of point and shot camera with SLR capabilities.

Canon Photura 35-105mm – Funky Cool from the 90s.

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Chinon Genesis III – Late 80s Bridge Camera

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Olympus Infinity 300 Bridge – 1988 Best Camera Award

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Getting Ready for the Big Event – Solar Test the Cheap Guy Way

Yeah, it’s not much but trying out my digital camera with a sunscreen put on so I don’t burn out my sensor.  The set up is a vintage 135mm 2.8 Pentax 42mm lens on a Sony NEX-5N camera.  I cut up a NASA approved solar sunglasses (the paper kind for a couple of bucks) and fixed it over a cut piece of thin cardstock.  It’s mounted on the front of the lens using good ol’ black electrical tape.  Kind of hard to line up but seems to work correctly.  It’s a quick test below so manual focus and aperture will need to be worked on as the event occurs tomorrow.

 

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