Film Camera 2022 – 2 – Minolta Maxxum 600si – Results

I like this camera. It’s fairly light and feels solid. I suppose what I like most are all of the buttons and dials. There’s a button or a dial for practically everything you want to do: exposure compensation; flash compensation; drive mode; exposure mode; exposure area; autofocus area; autofocus mode; flash settings; ISO. There’s no messing around with complicated menus here. I also liked the bright and uncomplicated viewfinder: just the shutter speed, aperture; a green light that illuminates when focus has been achieved. I also liked the top LCD where you can change and view settings without looking through the viewfinder. The various settings are controlled by two dials – one on the front and one on the rear.

The were only a couple of minor things that I didn’t like. I found the exposure compensation dial to be rather “fiddly” because you have to press in a small button before you can rotate it. The camera also has a proprietary flash shoe. This doesn’t bother me much because I don’t use flash a lot and in any case I have flashes I bought for my early Sony Alpha cameras, which used the same proprietary shoe. I would also have liked the grip to have been a little deeper.

The pictures were taken at Dale (no relation) cemetery in Ossining, NY.

Film Camera 2021 -3 Pentax Espio 115G – Results

I liked the appearance of this camera with its brushed silver and black look and it was quite a pleasant camera to use.

The zoom to 115mm was a bit intimidating and extended for quite a distance from the front of the camera. I suspected that it was probably quite soft a the longer end of the zoom so I tended to avoid the telephoto end. Unfortunately I hadn’t realized that the wide end suffers a lot from pincushion distortion.

I took the camera out on a pretty bad day: it was overcast and dark with quite a bit of haze. Also I was using an old film (of course I didn’t know how old it was). So the resulting pictures needed a bit of tweaking in terms of exposure and contrast, but bearing in mind that the film was probably quite old they weren’t too bad.

The review I mentioned in the preceding post (See: Film Camera 2021 -3 Pentax Espio 115G) concludes:

I really enjoy using the 115G — it’s a lot of camera packed into a little package, and for me at least, the pluses are definitely more significant than the minuses. It’s a solidly built little machine that produces nice, sharp images. If you happen to see one turn up at your local thrift store at a reasonable price, grab it. I think you’ll find, as I have, that it’s a very capable shooter.

I’d agree: all things considered it’s a decent camera, but unfortunately I have other point and shoot cameras that I like more so I don’t think I’ll be using it again.

Above the brick wall of the former Speyer Estate.

A gate in the wall.

Passing the Old Croton Aqueduct trail.

A garden at the intersection of Albany Post Road (Route 9) and Scarborough Station Road.

Another garden, this time at the intersection of Albany Post Road and Revolutionary Road.

Entrance to Scarborough Presbyterian Church.

Crisscrossing patterns.

Detail of the door of Scarborough Presbyterian Church.

Historic (1764) Sparta Cemetery.

Tree at Sparta Cemetery.

The plaque reads in part: “This stone was pierced by a cannon shot fired from the British sloop-of-war Vulture commanded by Lieutenant Sutherland, 1780”.

Interesting detail of a headstone.

Gravestones and a monument.

Same tree as above, different angle.

A brick wall at the corner of Scarborough Road and Ridgecrest Road.

Another brick wall, this time with tree roots.

Film Camera 2021 -2 Kodak VR35K14 – Results

All in all it was a pleasant camera to use. Like most point and shoot cameras there is little in the way of settings so you can focus more on your composition than on technical details. I can’t remember that there were any negatived points to the camera, but nor were there any features that blew me away. Other than the lens (a four element f2.8 coated Ektar), which as most reviews state is pretty good. As Mike Eckman says in his review:

There are many cameras from the 1980s that are highly regarded for the quality of images they can make. The Kodak VR35 K14 is not one of them, but it should be. Looking at the images in the gallery above, I would have believed you if you told me these came from a high end German point and shoot, or even an SLR. With the sole exception of a tiny amount of vignetting in some outdoor photos, the images are nearly perfect. Color accuracy is excellent, contrast is excellent, sharpness is excellent. The camera’s metering and auto focus system worked well, even indoors. The garish green florescent cast of the lights from the train picture are accurately rendered here. I used the fill flash feature a couple of times outdoors and it worked wonderfully. I’m only showing 10 of the 24 images from my first roll, but frankly, I could have shown the whole roll and they would have all looked just as great.

Kodak has made some really great cameras in the past. While they don’t enjoy the legendary reputation of other mid 20th century camera marques like Zeiss, Leitz, or Nikon, many of Kodak’s earlier cameras were quite good. Of the ones that were “quite good”, many of them used names like “Medalist” and “Ektar” so when I first started shooting this camera, I’ll admit to having a bit of cautious excitement as to what the camera could do.

I still question the use of the name “Medalist” but at least the camera performs well.
From a usability standpoint, the camera works much like most other automatic mid-80s point and shoots. The camera is a bit on the large side and with questionable ergonomics, but all of that was forgiven when I saw the images.

While I question the decision to label this camera as a “Medalist” with an “Ektar” lens as it shares absolutely nothing in common with the original Kodak Medalist or it’s 5-element Ektar lens. The one here is a 4-element semi wide-angle f/2.8 lens that is likely a Tessar inspired design. If Kodak was looking to tap into their past for a high quality point and shoot camera, perhaps they should have called this the “Signet”.

Nevertheless, this Medalist with an Ektar lens absolutely lives up to the reputation of it’s ancestors in how painlessly it delivers fantastic results and is a camera I highly recommend if you have an opportunity to pick one up.

Although it’s larger, and less ergonomic than the Olympus Stylus Epic/Mju II it’s much less expensive and in my opinion produces images that are just a good (or perhaps even better?)

The snowy pictures were taken at Croton Point Park, Croton-on-Hudson, NY and the cemetery pictures at St. Augustine’s in Ossining, NY. I believe the film used was Kodak Colorplus II.