photoblogography - Just some stuff about photography

35mm camera clearout

Once they’re gone, they’re yours

in Film , Thursday, November 29, 2018

I’ve decided to trim back on my film camera collection, and I’m offering for sale a “vintage bundle” of 3 compact 35mm cameras, a Ricoh GR1s Date, Olympus XA, and Minx 35ML.

All three are, in my recent experience, in working order, as follows:

Ricoh GR1s
The top place LED has lost a lot of functionality, so some settings are not shown.  However they still work.  The camera switches on fine, the lens extends, auto-focus works, film transport works. However the film transport is a little noisy, and I Dom’t honestly remember if that is normal. Unfortunately Ricoh GR film cameras were never particularly robust or reliable, and what few perfect ones remain fetch crazy prices.  Basically, it still takes photos. I’ve owned the camera since new, and it comes with box, leather pouch and original manual (and original price sticker of £299, which was pretty expensive in those days…)

Minox 35ML
In my opinion this is actually the best of the three, an absolute gem. The camera works fine, the only issue is that the ISO dial on the bottom plate has lost a lot of its paint (actually it seems it was some kind of adhesive film) so you have to guess (a bit) which position is which.  It’s not a big issue.  The meter works fine.  Owned since new, nut unfortunately the box and manual have gone astray.  Bonus - a spare S28 battery is included. Shows an expiry date of 2017 but should still be fine. These are very hard to find.

Olympus XA
Full working order, the rangefinder patch might be a little faded from its new condirion, I’m really not sure, but it is still quite visible. Of the three this is the one which has had the most use recently, for example when trying out the new Ferrania P30 film. Comes with its accessory flash. This one I bought secondhand as a back up a very long time ago.

All three have clean optics and no fungus, etc.  And all three have acquired the odd scuff mark over the years, but nothing dramatic. These are working cameras, not display cabinet queens.

I’m offering all 3 for CHF 120 (or US$ 120, it’s about 1:1 right now) in Switzerland or CHF 150 posted to anywhere in the world, payment via PayPal. Not for sale individually.

To the best of my knowledge the above descriptions are correct, I absolutely don’t want to rip anybody off, but please note, they are offered at-risk, no refund or return.

IMG 5224

IMG 5229

IMG 5225





Minox bottom plate




Seller’s remorse

the one that got away

in GAS , Friday, July 11, 2014

Around 4 years ago I made a decision I’ve come to seriously regret. I sold my Hasselblad ArcBody kit, mainly to offset the cost of a two week trip to Svalbard.  I can rationalise the decision on the grounds that I wasn’t using the ArcBody much, that it was a worthwhile trade, and that very unusually, I made more on eBay than the price I paid for it new. But these days I really wish I’d kept it.


The ArcBody is a one-off for Hasselblad and didn’t stay on the market for very long. It is basically a small, portable view camera that takes Hasselblad film backs - and, possibly, certain compatible digital backs. It had three purpose designed, and expensive, Rodenstock lenses, a 35mm, 45mm and 75mm. I just had the 45mm.  Nominally the movements are restricted to rise, forward and reverse tilt, but with a piece of angled iron grandiosely named the “ArcBody Inverter Mount” it could easily be hung upside down to give fall instead of rise. Although this could also be accomplished, slightly more perilously, by hanging it from a rotated ball head.

In use the ArcBody required about 30 steps to take a single shot, including removing the back to attach a ground glass focussing screen, and inserting the appropriate correction slide.  At the time, for me, it was more of a solution in search of a problem: my photography did not really justify it. Nowadays, it would make the perfect compliment for my m43 gear.

Arc foroglio 1

Foroglio, Ticino - ArcBody, Provia 100F

It would probably be hard to buy another one. Mine sold almost instantly on eBay, well over my reserve price, and they’re still in demand, possibly, and unfortunately, by collectors. Mine went to Hong Kong and was probably resold at a healthy margin.

And now that I’m considering selling my “obsolete” Olympus E-3 and E-5 DSLRs, maybe I should pause to reflect that at some point in the future I might find a need for a solid, optical viewfinder camera.


More retail therapy

hello Olympus E-P5

in GAS , Sunday, July 06, 2014

I am pleased to announce that I am now the proud owner of a silver Olympus E-P5. I wasn’t planning on any gear acquisition, but a super-low special offer price of just CHF 660 made it irresistible, and my significant other talked me into it (she tried to push me to get an E-M1, but that’s just too expensive and not really what I need just now). So I finally have a latest-generation micro Four Thirds sensor, even if the signs are that it won’t be latest-generation for much longer. At least it’s fully debugged now.

I can also blame Neil Buchan-Grant for lending me his E-P5 in Venice. Yes, it’s his fault, he must be PAID by Olympus to DANGLE candy in from of innocent unsuspecting photographers who can’t RESIST the shiny lures. I’m sure of it!


I’d have preferred a black one, for subtly, although the silver is certainly prettier. But the black one wasn’t on sale.

I think it’s bit late to do a review. The world+dog did theirs well over a year ago. So I won’t bother. I’ll just take some snaps with it.

I’m a bit sad to retire the E-P3, which is probably the digital camera I have used the most, but I’m planning on giving it a new role as a dedicated infrared camera. For now though it’s having a bit of a rest.


Sigma DP2 … should I ?

or shouldn’t I ?

in GAS , Thursday, November 29, 2012

For ages now I’ve been wondering about buying the brilliant-but-flawed Sigma DP2. Or maybe DP1.

Sigma DP2

All the internet gurus seem to be raving about it, from eminent elder statesman photographers such Michael Reichmann or David Taylor-Hughes to uber-tech-geeks such as LLoyd Chambers. Not to mention the hordes of forum dwellers, including some of the more intelligent of the species. It seems to be the camera that has everything: amazing image quality, close to ultimate resolution, film-like rendition, practically pocketable, discrete, well designed and not unrealistically expensive. Of course you have to accept that it has a fixed lens (a very, very good one apparently), that it can’t take photos in the dark, like the latest Canikons, that it munches through batteries like a pig in a field of clover, and that you can only process it’s RAW files in Sigma’s own software, which apparently is truly dreadful.

Well, on that last point, most of the reviewers obviously have led a very sheltered life when it comes to software. I’ve downloaded Sigma Photo Pro, and found a few DP2 Merrill RAW files, and tried it out. It isn’t that bad. I would put it about on a par with Olympus Studio/Viewer - a bit slow at times, a tendency to do things in an unconventional way, but it works. It seems it’s biggest sin is that it’s not Lightroom, which is not a problem as far as I’m concerned.

And the results are, indeed, breathtaking.

But… in what way are they breathtaking? The resolution and clarity is exceptional, and to a lesser extent so is the colour. But unless I’m going to be printing on the side of a house, does this matter? At screen / web size, there’s no practical difference between the Sigma images and those from my 12 megapixel Olympus E-5 or E-P3. And both of those come with exceptional, interchangeable lenses. Which I’ve already got. I doubt that there is any practical difference in printing up to A3, or even A2, which is as far as I go. And there’s no end of software applications which can happily handle Olympus RAW files.

So, it’s a thumbs down then? Well, I don’t know. I have a feeling that the Sigma could be very nice to have along with me on my forthcoming trip to Antarctica, but then I’d start getting (even more) stressed about which camera to use. On a nice, clear day it could really come into it’s own for certain landscape shots, but then again the E-5 does a good job too. And I’m still debating if I should take the XPan, adding even more variables to the mix.

Of course there’s a considerable deal of GAS (Gear Acquistion Syndrome) and Retail Therapy involved here. But this is counterbalanced by a general feeling of too-many-toys nausea. And they don’t call me Indecisive Dave for nothing.