The Cameras We’ve Forgotten

As you may recall, I haven’t photographed often recently, certainly nothing like as much as two or three years ago.

So I decided to take a look through my remaining cameras and see what I still had. And, not surprisingly really, I came across a few purchases I’d forgotten about.

Here are three –

1. An ND8 filter for my Lumix FZ38

I really like this old CCD sensor bridge camera from 2009, and in many ways it is the ideal balance between a compact and a DSLR. My favourite mode to shoot with is “film grain” which defaults to ISO1600 and black and white, giving a grainy, film-like look to the images.

Because with this setting you’re also in Program mode, and have no control over the shutter speed or aperture, and because it uses ISO1600, in anything like half decent light, the aperture closes up, and often even the faster shutter speed and smallest aperture aren’t enough to prevent overexposure.

So I thought about how I could control this, whilst retaining the look I like in this film grain mode. An ND filter seemed like a good solution. The ND8 will reduce the number of stops by three, in effect giving the same aperture and shutter speed settings as if I was shooting at ISO200.

In very bright light, this means I can still use the camera in film grain mode without the shutter speed and aperture maxing out.

In average to lower natural light, it means the camera should drop the aperture towards its widest, meaning a more shallow depth of field, something I nearly always want in my photos too.

2. Pentax Q M42 adapter

I adore the little Pentax Q, it is essentially a DSLR in miniature, with all the control that suggests, along with interchangeable lenses. I’ve written about the Q numerous times before here on 35hunter.

However, my favourite interchangeable lens mount is M42. I mean, Asahi Takumars alone would make that the case, but add in lenses like the Zeiss Flektogon 35/2.4, Helios 44 series and Jupiter-37A and nothing else comes close.

As the Q is a tiny camera, it naturally has a pretty tiny sensor (1/2.3″), the crop factor compared with 35mm film is 5.53. This means that if you use a lens designed for 35mm cameras, their field of view gets magnified by the same factor.

A 55mm M42 lens on the Pentax Q, like the Takumar 55/1.8, becomes the equivalent of around 300mm field of view, and my Jupiter-37A’s 135mm equates to nearly 750mm!

The first lens I plan to try is the widest I have in M42, the Flektogon 35/2.4, which will be like looking through a 194mm lens. Still very long compared with what I’m used, but at least I’ve used a 200mm lens before and it won’t be completely alien.

The handling should be interesting too as even a relatively compact lens like the Flektogon will be huge when Frankensteined on the front of the tiny Q.

3. FujiFilm FinePix E900

I’ve had a couple of FujiFilm FinePix cameras, the compact and classy F810, and the highly regarded 2004 bridge camera, the S7000.

Both have had their quirks in use, and with a little nurturing and understanding, both have also given me pictures well above what I had hoped for.

The E900 I picked up on eBay over two years and it cost me just over £10.

What appealed was the baby DLSR shape with a decent rubberised grip (front and rear), 9MP Super CCD sensor and 32-128mm f/2.8 lens.

The latter seems a very sensible range that most of the time I will use at its default widest 32mm – partway between the 35mm I generally favour in compact cameras and 28mm which I usually find too wide.

Even fully zoomed in, 128mm is still a focal length I have some experience with (mostly via 135mm film lenses) and not anywhere the crazy range of many later compacts (eg the Lumix FZ38 mentioned above is 27-486mm!).

What I’ve also enjoyed with the other two FujiFilms I’ve had is the F-mode which has colour settings that supposedly emulate FujiFilm film emulsions. There’s a default colour mode, then an “F-Chrome” mode to look like FujiFilm slide film, and an “F-B&W” mode for black and white shots.

I look forward to experimenting with this potential little gem in the coming weeks, along with the Q and M42 adapter, and the ND8 filter on the Lumix.

How about you? Which cameras, lenses or other gear is gathering dust in your collection that you’ve forgotten about?

As always, please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).

Thanks for looking.

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10 thoughts on “The Cameras We’ve Forgotten”

  1. I have 5 Pentax DSLRs… they all see use but the K-S1 bodies (I have two) don’t get as much use after I bought the K-S2.
    But the cameras I gave to my 3 sons are mostly forgotten. They only ever remember that they have cameras, when they get grounded from playing videogames.

    1. Yes my oldest son is a bit like that, if he loses the TV and/or PlayStation he becomes more interested in things like board games and drawing. Maybe we should encourage these more creative offline activities more with him…

  2. One of the reasons I thinned the herd a couple years ago was because too many cameras were collecting dust, essentially forgotten. I think I probably have some lenses for my 35mm SLRs that I’ve forgotten about, though. I keep them in case I need them, but if I don’t remember what I have I’m unlikely ever to use them when the situation calls for it.

    1. That’s exactly what happens, we keep stuff “just in case” then because the need arises so infrequently, we all but forget we have them anyway. This is true for so much stuff, not just cameras.

      I read very recently about a library of things scheme over here, where you can rent out tools and appliances as and when you need them, like a book from a library.

      You might only need something like a wallpaper stripper or a carpet cleaner or a pressure washer once or twice a year or even less, so it makes sense to just hire it for the fraction of the cost of a new one, and not have to store it in the meantime. Collectively of course it has massive benefits in terms of sustainability.

      Jim you should start a camera library and rent out your cameras!

  3. My Samsung ECX 1. Too many buttons to press before taking the photograph I am afraid. A tripod is almost mandatory at the tele lens position, 136 mm, and focus is a bit of a miss, which could be my error. I will try to use it with ColorPlus 200.

    1. Francis, you might recall I had an ECX1 also. Probably the most over-engineered device I’ve ever used, ha ha. It’s the opposite of a minimalist point and shoot, as capable as it might be once you figure out how to optimise shooting with it.

      I far preferred the almost identical in features but far smaller and more enjoyable to use Rollei X70 –

      Bigger Better Faster More...

      1. Yes! I remember from Flickr. That Rollei without doubt looks a kinder friend for photographic ventures : ) Now I am heading to Flickr to check photos with the Rollei 😀

      2. I don’t recall the Rollei being a standout camera in any way. Probably my favourite compact zoom film cameras were Pentax Espios.

        One of the first was the 120Mi, and another favourite comparable to the Rollei lens wise was the Espio AF Zoom, one of the first Espios Pentax made. I gathered up a few favourites here –

        If I got into shooting film again and wanted a compact, I’d look no further than an Espio.

      3. Quite a fantastic trip through the Espios. And I agree, these zoom cameras in the end tend to be used as prime lenses cameras. The lenses are excellent too for what I see in the photographs, beautiful contrast and color reproduction. Thank very much, Dan. Wishing you are having a nice summer : )

      4. Thanks Francis, happy summer to you too!

        i think many of the Espios do well at their widest, just ignore the fact that they made them to zoom to increasingly silly telephoto lengths like 200mm.

        At that end the lenses are usually pretty poor, you get very slow maximum aperture and of course the longer the focal length, the more likely they’ll be blurring due to camera shake.

        It fascinates me that the earlier prime and zoom compacts were/started at 35mm then at some point this changed to 38mm, and from that point onward it was difficult to find one that went wider, unless it was 28mm.

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