Recommended Reading 8/28/20

One of the most popular posts of the week comes from Hamish at 35mmc and falls under his own category of “Philosophy & Reflections” in which he realizes that with the steady increase in prices of film gear online, that even now in 2020, you still don’t need to spend a lot of money to enjoy this hobby.

As I talk to so many other collectors, and wanna be collectors, the topics still revolve around the same Leicas, Rolleiflexes, and Nikon rangefinders that have been desirable for half a century or more.  People still want Heliars and Planars and Xenogons, but what about a lowly fully automatic Pentax SLR from the 90s?  Those cameras can still make some really wonderful images and if you learn what areas of film photography you can afford to be frugal on, you can enjoy shooting film on a tight budget.

Hamish says that once he came to the realization that a basic SLR can deliver satisfying, and sometimes even excellent results, that the pieces of the puzzle started to fall into place.  If you’re not spending a ton of money on an expensive camera with rare lenses, then you can stop spending $10 on a single roll of film and $15 to develop it.

Get some cheap Kodak ColorPlus, or my own suggestion, bulk roll your own film.  Find a discount mini lab, or possibly even learn to develop your own film, and you’ll find that not only are you spending considerably less on this hobby, your level of satisfaction hasn’t decreased one bit.

Here are more great posts from some of my favorite sites:

Some of my favorite cameras are those that are discounted versions of more expensive ones.  The thought of scoring something that’s 90% the quality at 20% the price appeals to me.  A perfect example of this is the Arsenal Kiev 88, a copy of the Hasselblad 1000F, getting a Kiev 88 system with film backs and lenses is far more affordable than the original Hassy, but like most old cameras, getting one in good working condition isn’t always a given.  Luckily, Alex Luyckx had access to a nice working Kiev, and with his excellent skills as a photographer, he managed to get off some really spectacular shots.  Alex’s review is short, offering a short bio on how he got this camera, a tiny bit of history and some opinions, but if you aren’t in the mood to read, I still recommend checking out his post as the images he got from his are outstanding!

Developing your own film is one of those world changing events that transforms film photography from a hobby with a high recurring cost, to something that can be quite affordable, so I never shy away from trying to suggest that someone learn to do it on their own.  Although he’s a veteran film guy, Jim Grey from Down the Road is a recent convert to developing his own film.  Jim, like most people do, read one of the many excellent guides online for how to develop his own film, and rather than repeat those same steps in his own “how to” guide, this week Jim shares some of the random tips and tricks he’s learned along the way.  I find articles like these to actually be more helpful than the actual guides in how to develop film as everyone does things a little differently, and part of the appeal of developing your own film is in finding what works for you, and in Jim’s case, he’s taken the time to share with us all some of the things that work for him.

If you’ve ever wanted to shoot an Instax photo using a Helios lens, the Nons SL42 is for you!

There have been a LOT of film photography Kickstarters and other crowd sourced projects for everything from light meters to film cameras with swappable lens mounts.  Of all those projects however, probably the craziest is of something called the NONS SL42.  The camera combines Fuji’s still incredibly popular Instax instant film, with that of a dedicated SLR camera that uses the universal M42 lens mount.  It’s like Instax for your Pentax (hey wait; a minute, that has a good ring do it…hmmmm)  Like all Kickstarters seem to have these days, there’s been some roadblocks, but the project is coming along, and if this is something that sounds interesting to you, might be worth checking into.

What do you do when you’re an electronics company looking to break into the film camera market, and you aren’t a well known player?  Today, Samsung is one of the largest electronics companies in the world, but 25 years ago, that wasn’t the case, so when Samsung wanted to start producing film cameras, they knew they needed to try something different, and different they did with their strangely designed ECX-2.  With a body full of swoops and curves and a huge LCD panel on top that’s extremely cluttered with tons of modes, the ECX-2 reminds me of a SLIGHTLY less extreme Konica Aiborg.  This week, Connor Brustofski from Casual Photophile takes a look at this camera that he accurately describes as the camera equivalent to a concept car.

Recently I had a discussion with some other bloggers about Olympus OM-series SLRs and I proclaimed my love for them.  But then I said, I also love Nikon and Minolta and Pentax, and a host of other SLRs too.  Realizing that it’s pointless to declare one SLR system as my favorite over another, I simply conceded with “My favorite SLR system is the one I most recently used”.  With that unhelpful bit of nonsense out of the way, I can still declare cameras like the Olympus OM-4 as a camera I REALLY like, and that’s perfect timing as just today, Jim Grey posts his review of the Olympus OM-4T.  The “T” of course meaning titanium, Olympus took a cue from Nikon and released titanium upgrades to their cameras, but does it make it better?

Recently, I came across a really nice Pentacon Six kit with three lenses that I am very much looking forward to using and eventually reviewing.  The thing about this camera is that it’s big, and heavy, and intimidating, so I’ve held off loading it up, waiting for a time where I feel I can dedicate some time just to it and not having to juggle 3-4 other cameras with it.  So this week, when I saw this mini review of the same kid from Holly Gilman at 35mmc, I was intrigued.  It seems as though Holly had some of the same pauses I did.  The camera is heavy, the mirror slap is severe, shooting hand held at slow speeds would be a challenge, and worst of all, Holly was once told that only a good photographer can get good images from a Pentacon Six.  Uh oh, I’m screwed.  I guess it’s still worth a shot though, but until then, check out Holly’s review!

Color Photography has come a long way from the earliest days of hand colored glass plates.  Before the world went crazy for Kodachrome, there were a variety of one off experimental processes that delivered a color image and this week Stephen Dowling from kosmofoto shares a prototype Soviet camera that uses some type of prism to split apart color light and capture them on separate color tinted emulsions that when combined back together, produced a color image.  Pretty cutting edge stuff, but as we all know today, other companies like Kodak and AGFA successfully developed easier methods that didn’t require such specialized equipment.

Starting off this recommended reading, we have an article about how a lowly Pentax MZ-5 SLR kicked off a rediscovery of how film can be cheap and fun to shoot, and I end this recommended reading with a full review of the similarly named, but completely different, and much more complicated Pentax MZ-S.  This week, Paul McIvor from EMULSIVE takes a look at this strangely designed, and high quality SLR from what would eventually be one of Pentax’s last semi-pro SLRs.  The MZ-S looks weird, and has a ton of features, but once you get over the fact that it’s not a carbon copy of what everyone else was doing at the time, it seems to be a pretty cool camera and one I have on my radar.

For anyone who knows me, I love heavy metal music.  There’s just something about the intensity and variety in the music that does it for me over other forms of music.

Within the extremely broad genre of heavy metal music is a small band from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada called Unleash the Archers who has quickly become one of my favorites of all time.  And for good reason, their singer, Brittany Slayes is in my opinion, the top female singer out there right now, and one of the best of any gender.

Unleash the Archers recently released their fifth studio album “Abyss” a couple of weeks ago and it is fantastic.  I was about to share with you a video from one of the singles from that album, before seeing this cover that Brittany did of the Cranberries “Zombie”.  This song has been covered many times, recently by a group called Bad Wolves, which was decent, but for me, not that remarkable.  Brittany’s powerful cover seems more of a compliment to Dolores O’Riordan’s wonderful voice, but also with the troubles and challenges going on in the world today, somehow seems more fitting.  Check it out for yourself.



  1. You made me ask myself why I have no complaints about the weight of the Pentacon 6. Well, I shot semi-pro with a handheld Pentax 67 for a few years. The P6 is sort of a crudely-finished Pentax 67. It is nowhere near as smooth to shoot, but it really is no heavier nor more awkward to handhold. Both cameras are laid out like our trusty 35mm SLRs so the control learning curve for muscle memory is not difficult. If you’re interested, I have a minty Arsat Zodiak-8 semi-fisheye lens, 30mm f3.5, for the P6 which you can try. The front element is about six thousand millimeters in diameter!

  2. Lots of good ideas in this post. I do wonder a little about people who pay big bucks for the fashionable cameras while other systems go begging. My last Canon F1 cost $100 shipped, with a lens from eBay. How much more camera does anyone need? I can’t think of many less expensive hobbies, even with higher film prices.

  3. Thank you for the interesting links. Can I offer a suggestion? Make the links open in a new tab when clicking on them, please, as I’m sure that many of us like to read through more than one and that method keeps things better organized.

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