A camera project on Kickstarter with a brilliant feature - interchangeable backs

Discussion in 'Modern Film Cameras' started by Karim Ghantous, Nov 8, 2017.

  1. Agreed.

    Even though I HAVE used a good many of the films on the list, it's rare that I would head out of the house with more than two. Usually it's Tri-X and Velvia 50 although I'm not married to those two.

    I do sometimes have a 3rd body. It I do, it's to carry a more "tame" color film-usually negative-if I need to include people. Depending on what I'm doing, I might opt for something like Portra 400 if I anticipate needing speed, or maybe Ektar 100 if I want a dual-duty landscape and people film(it's not a great one for the latter, but is better than Velvia).
  2. What I've learned from participating on a cycling forum for many years is that there are large numbers of people that find buying used equipment very risky. Bikes, like cameras can sit unused for decades and for little effort and expense be made to work like new. Sometimes it takes no work at all. Yet people would rather spend a one or two hundred dollars on an inferior bike from Walmart when that money can get a much better quality used bike. They want to know that there's a place they can take it if something goes wrong and either get it fixed or get another one.

    And I kind of get it. Recently I've sold a number of cameras on eBay and sometimes I'll be asked questions from people who don't know much about cameras. I sold one to a university student in Singapore. Honestly it makes me a little nervous at times. I allow 14 day returns and I only sell cameras that I'm comfortable are working properly. But I'd feel bad if it quit working after 20 days. I have no reason to suspect that will happen, but it could.

    Personally, I'm not out to cheat anyone and prefer to sell to people who know exactly what they're getting and what to expect. However, there's a lot of untested cameras being sold on eBay and other places. There are sellers that misrepresent their condition. I wonder how many people who are new to film photography end up with a camera that either doesn't work right or is just the wrong camera for them. Having that experience can sour them to film.

    Buying a camera that's the result of a Kickstarter project may not be a ton better and entails risks of its own. But getting something new that hopefully has some technical support and a warranty behind it has some value.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2017
  3. "They want to know that there's a place they can take it if something goes wrong and either get it fixed or get another one."

    - There's no guarantee that Reflex will be around for any length of time to fix, replace or refund either.

    If I had £399 to spend (or waste) on a new 35mm film camera, I'd be looking to buy an established brand and model that has thousands of clones out there to cannibalise and keep going. Not an unknown kickstarter outfit that might well disappear without trace in a few months time.

    I'll keep an eye out for the local 'More Money Than Sense' brigade sporting Reflexes around their necks, but I won't be holding my breath.
  4. Exactly-I'd feel a LOT more confident with a major brand camera(Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Minolta, pick your poison) that's either still factory supported or has good folks out there for repair. I don't know about the Pentax or Minolta scene, but Nikon does still offer limited factory service on some FM and FE series cameras, plus full service on FM3as and other recent ones. We also have Sover Wong for F2s. Most independent shops probably have bins full of broken cameras they can salvage other parts from. We have Ken Oikawa to take care of our Canon F-1s-he was head of the west coast Canon service facility before setting up his own business, and also has factory parts.
  5. Sure, and around here at least there are countless bikes shops that would much rather work on a 30 year old bike than something somebody bought at Walmart. But imagine for a second that you know next to nothing about cameras. I know more than most people but I had no idea that factory service was still available for some Nikons. I know there are some individuals that still service some cameras and that they have access to factory parts but in many/most cases the supply of those parts is dwindling. Plus I'm guessing that factory service isn't cheap.

    Again, I personally wouldn't trust that a kickstarter company is going to last very long, but I understand the appeal of new.
  6. Well, if one has money to burn and insists on new, there's still always the F6.

    I've toyed with the idea of buying an F6 new since I've never bought a new film camera. Ultimately, though, I can think of better uses for $2500 whether it's photography related(a Mamiya 7 sounds tempting, or a couple of long fast Nikon lenses), dumped into the money pit known as British sports car(that would make a BIG dent in my MGA restoration, or I could have a lot of fun with my MGB for that), or something else productive like paying off my student loans...

    Of course, that's a moot point since I don't HAVE that much disposable income lying around right now.

    On the new camera subject, though, up until a few months ago one could buy a new FM-10 with a kit lens for I think around $500(street price). Although not a BAD camera, per se, it's still much lower quality than any of the other FM series cameras and there again a person who MUST have new can still plug into an established camera ecosystem. There are probably still some new ones lingering out there on dealer shelves. The fact that they couldn't continue to sell this camera for about the same price as the Reflex, though, makes me wonder if the perceived demand is really there.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2017
  7. In fact a camera in the niche market doesn't become successful because of having lots of features but because of very high level of craftmanship.
    For a beginner I would agree with you but one who is experience can pick/check out a used camera quite easily and quickly and thus can return or refuse .
  8. Well, from my early impressions, the Elbaflex looks like a flop to me also.

    First of all, the photos of it are with an Auto-Nikkor 55mm 1.2. This is kind of a chunky lens(enough that I don't think a Nikon F will sit flat with one installed-I'll pull mine out this evening) yet it looks "normal sized"-on the order of a 50mm 1.4 or 1.8-in the camera pictures.

    Second, the specified shutter speed range is 1/500 to 1/2s-or chopping off one stop on each end from what most 35mm FP cameras have been doing since the 1940s. It also specifies a 1/60 flash sync speed-a regression to 1980s consumer SLRs and 1970s pro SLRs. What is even more amazing is that they claim a vertical traveling shutter-all else being equal it's traversing 2/3 the distance of a horizontal shutter. The early vertical Copal Squares like the Konicas and the Canon EF used in the 70s managed 1/125.
  9. The shutter specs are inherited from the camera it's based on, an 80s Kiev SLR you can get for about a tenth of the price on ebay, serviced and delivered. On the other hand, this looks like it will have proper QC, some technical improvements, and better styling. I expect it will be successfully funded on Kickstarter. It's not intended for the average photo.net member, who would probably just buy a better secondhand Nikon for half the price. You'll see photos of the camera, and photos taken by the camera, popping up on Instagram within a couple of days of its release, and excited posts on 'analogue' film blogs. There's a niche for this sort of product, and if it keeps a Ukrainian workshop open assembling film cameras, then good luck to them.
  10. Well, it looks like the Elbaflex is "live"

    ELBAFLEX 35mm True Analog Camera: History Reloaded

    $500-600 as an early backer, and anticipated retail price of $1600. I think the price is much more realistic than the Reflex, but it's still a handicapped camera in my view and apparently doesn't have a meter. It is at least fully mechanical, but 1/2s to 1/500 and 1/60 sync doesn't sound appealing to me on a 35mm camera. My Bronica S2A covered a wider range of speeds(up to 1/1000) with a focal plane shutter that was 3x as tall and nearly twice as wide, albeit at 1/30 sync.

    It's also just a bit lighter than a Nikon F and a decent bit lighter than an F2 with an eye level finder, but appears to be much less capable. It does offer a swing-out back, something lacking on the F, but otherwise lacks a lot of feature parity. It is heavier than an FM, FM2, or FM3a, all of which are much more capable cameras. I think that all of these comparisons are fair esp. since the camera is only in Nikon mount, the FM3a can be found new in box if you want to pay up for it and Nikon will still service it.

    Still, I'll put my criticism aside and I'm tossing around the idea of ordering one since it does at least APPEAR to be a high quality product, and again the price point looks a lot more promising to me for the
  11. Another thought...are they REALLY charging an extra $800 for a Triotar type lens and $1K for a Tessar?

    People gave Nikon crap for the $500 45mm 2.8 AI-P. I have one(bought used) which I like and use. It's a nice, contrasty lens thanks to the fact that it's a multicoated version of a lens DESIGNED to get around the limitations of uncoated lenses. Still, it's fundamentally a Tessar-small and light(I think the smallest lens Nikon has made), virtually no distortion, slow for its focal length, and abysmal corner performance wide open. I also have the 45mm GN, which shares most of the same characteristics except for having just a tiny bit less contrast.
  12. Yes, apparently the same guys are behind the Meyer lenses they've been selling for a while: Meyer Optik Goerlitz

    It's hard to defend any of this stuff in terms of technical quality, of course, but there's enough interest in quirky cameras and lenses to make them viable. Leica have resurrected a couple of ancient lens formulas recently, cannily choosing rather rare optics where the originals command high prices, so that potential customers can't just buy a cheap secondhand alternative.
  13. I can understand the logic in Leica doing that that.

    Heck, I swore it would never happen but I've considered a lomography product-specifically an F mount 85mm Petzval. Even though I have no aversion to shooting large format and would love to have an old one, a clear one will cost dearly. Heck, even ones that are cloudy or have separation are not that cheap.

    To me, building an F mount Tessar would be like Leica building a new Elmar. Yes, it's an interesting design full of character, but in LTM an uncoated collapsible is worth maybe $100 on a good day. I know that when I bought my IIIc(my only entry into the Leica world, even though I have a couple of other LTM cameras) the seller would only knock off $50 if I DIDN'T take the 50mm(I bought it with a 35mm Summaron and a 135mm that I think I've only take out of the case once or twice).

    Aside from the F mount Tessars I mentioned, they also abound in larger formats. I have a couple of 4x5 lenses that are Tessar type designs.
  14. "The difference to digital is an increase in charm, depth and elegance in your images."

    - And the tyros that fall for this BS are going to set up a darkroom to avoid the digital process altogether are they?

    I didn't think so.

    Either you're committed to an entirely 'analogue' workflow, or you're not. Going digital after the easy bit of exposing and taking the film out of the camera is completely hypocritical, while supposedly vaunting the merits of film.

    If you're happy with a digital file as the end-product, then shoot a digital file in the first place, and don't pretend to despise digital imaging.
  15. I have bought some cameras from the nearby (avoid shipping charges) Goodwill auctions. Usually they will take them back if they really don't work, but most often they work well enough. My latest is a Canon IID2 with 50/1.8 Canon lens for $220 (plus tax).

    So far, it seems to work fine, and without a CLA.

    I think they would have taken it back, and either auctioned it again, or sold it to the next bidder.
  16. I suppose the Elbaflex isn't very different to what the Lomography guys are doing - recycle an Eastern Bloc design with better marketing. I like the old LTM Elmar I've used on a Leica - the images do have a distinctive look to them that can be attractive. But there's a certain irony in the new Meyer selling a $1000 50mm 'Trioplan' lens that isn't even a Tessar, but a triplet. Back in the day, one of the UK camera magazines used a budget 50mm Meyer Domiplan triplet that I suspect has similar qualities as a comparison standard on their resolution charts. It was the 'worst' lens they had ever tested (a Zeiss Planar 50/1.7 was the 'best'). But now, of course, the same flaws make these lenses especially interesting for some photographers - never mind the resolution, look at the 'bubble bokeh'!
  17. Hypocritical? It's not a belief system, just a way of taking pictures. Scanned film shots look quite different to purely digital images when you post them on Flickr, and some people like this. Anyone shooting film this century without their own darkroom is in any case probably getting their pictures back from a hybrid digital minilab like a Fuji Frontier or a Noritsu that prints from a scan.
  18. If I can stand on a soap box again, "bokeh" is another one of those terms that has unfortunately been corrupted. I was taught that it refers to the character of the OOF areas, and now it often just seems to be used generically to refer to an OOF background. In any case, I'm probably preaching to the choir.

    I hunted a little while to find a nice Nikkor-S 5.8cm 1.4. Mine came on a 6.4 million F, and is PROBABLY the lens that was bought with that camera when it was new. The 5.8cm version was made for about 2 1/2 years(and not in super high quantities) before it was replaced by the 50mm Nikkor-S that was-in almost every way-much better. Wide open, the 5.8cm has a peculiar "swirly" quality to the bokeh when wide open that I like, but it also is very low contrast and has a fair bit of spherical abberation.

    Along those same lines, I have a Mamiya 150mm "SF" lens for the RB67. This is an interesting lens that actually comes with "diffusion disks" to change the bokeh. In any case, though, it's loaded with spherical abberation-probably the worst I've seen in any modern lens(much less a Mamiya) that basically disappears at f/8. To my eye, it looks terrible wide open, but there are Flickr pages dedicated to the lens.
  19. The best lens I have for quality of OOF areas is the Nikon 105 DC. It's sharp (but not harsh) wide open with very nice 'bokeh', and applying the 'defocus control' feature allows you to manipulate the effect. Apparently it works by varying the level of spherical aberration - a subtle (perhaps too subtle) effect at low settings, and something like a diffuser at extreme settings. For swirly bokeh the Leitz Summitar is a good and not too expensive bet.
  20. The 135mm DC is one of the lenses on my "want" list. I've considered it because I like 135mm for headshot portraits, and having a 135mm f/2 is something I've missed since moving to Nikon. Also, I've overlooked the 105 for the simple reason that I have several Nikon 105s.

    In any case, I like what I've seen from both of these lenses.

    If the Summitar is available in LTM, I might have to look at getting one.

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