Camera Reviews

It’s not often I hate using a particular camera. I can usually find something to like about them all. But not the Canon Dial 35-2. I’ve updated my review here.

Canon Dial 35-2
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Updated review: Canon Dial 35-2

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Around New Harmony

Margaret and I try very hard to get away four times a year for a three-day weekend, just the two of us. The concentrated us time really does our marriage good.

Chicago had become our default destination when we decided to mix things up a little. Our last trip, to Bardstown, Kentucky, showed us that small-town outings could be just as fun and much more relaxing.

I’ve always wanted to visit New Harmony, population about 700, in the southwesternmost county in Indiana. I tried once before, on an epic 2007 Spring Break tour with my sons of historic and scenic Indiana places. But it poured down rain the whole time. We drove around the town but never got out of the car.

New Harmony has a fascinating history. Twice in the early 1800s, groups tried to build utopian societies here, one religious and one not. Some of their buildings still stand. We didn’t dig into that during our stay — we wanted to experience New Harmony as it is now and just have a nice time. If you’re interested, this article tells the story in compact form.

A nice time we did have in New Harmony. We rented an 1840s cottage but due to something there being out of order found ourselves upgraded to an enormous four-bedroom house built in about 1860. I’ll share photos of this lovely home in an upcoming post. Renting a house let us bring food with us to make our breakfast and lunch, which let us save a little money, eat more healthfully, and relax through our mornings.

We brought our bikes with us and rode all over this little town, and then halfway through the trip decided it was no trouble really to walk anywhere we wanted to go. We serendipitously enjoyed live music two nights and met many interesting people, some from New Harmony and others visitors just like us.

The only things we wished were different about our trip related to restaurants. Only one restaurant is open in town on Sunday night, and it’s the town’s nicest and most expensive place; we really wanted a light bite in a cozy nook. We also wished menus more easily accommodated our various dietary issues, as we’re used to in the big city.

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Photography, Road Trips

single frame: Main Street, New Harmony

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Camera Reviews

Nikon EM

I’m sure photographers everywhere thought Nikon was going to heck in a handbasket when they released the EM, a 35mm SLR, in 1979. Plastic body parts? No way to manually set exposure? Whaaaaaaat?

Nikon EM

SLRs were originally considered pro equipment. But through the 1970s, everyday photographers came to appreciate the SLR’s many positive qualities. Camera companies sensed a vast untapped market of amateurs and even casual shooters. Pentax may have been first to figure that out with their small, light, simple, relatively inexpensive ME in 1976. Is it coincidence that Nikon’s similarly sized and featured camera reversed those letters for its name?

Nikon EM

The EM was the smallest, lightest, simplest, and least expensive SLR Nikon had ever made. Yet virtually every F-mount lens made to that point mounted right on. The EM eliminated most of an SLR’s fussy controls, limiting the photographer to aperture-priority shooting (the Auto mode you see atop the camera). If you could learn to focus, you could get Nikon SLR-quality photographs.

Nikon EM

Nikon was deliberate in which corners it cut to build the EM. They built in quality where it counted, starting with a metal chassis. They also built in a metal shutter with electronically controlled shutter speeds from 1 to 1/1,000 sec. — stepless, meaning that if the available light made 1/353 sec. the right shutter speed, that’s what the EM gave you. You could set ISO from 25 to 1600. The EM even had contacts on the bottom plate for an auto winder. All of this required two LR/SR44 button batteries, but if they died you could set the camera to M90 and keep shooting with a 1/90 sec. shutter.

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If you like little SLRs like the EM, also check out my reviews of the Olympus OM-1 (here) and the Pentax ME (here). I’ve also reviewed a slew of Nikon SLRs including the F2 (here), the F3 (here) the FA (here), the N2000 (here), the N60 (here), the N65 (here), and the N90s (here). Or just check out all of my camera reviews here.

I was headed out for a day on the Michigan Road, thanks to a quarterly board meeting. I headed south on the road towards Napoleon, the little town where we were to meet. Our meeting was in the Central House (photo here), built in about 1820. I had Agfa Vista 200 loaded as I made some photographs inside.

Inside the Central House

During loading I had considerable trouble getting the film to take on the spool. You have to make perfectly sure that a sprocket hole is perfectly placed on the little notch that sticks out on the takeup spool. Also, the meter won’t engage until the film counter is on 1, so you can’t shoot those early frames.

Inside the Central House

To activate the meter on most period Nikon SLRs, you pull the winder lever out. It’s a drag. Not so the EM: just touch the shutter button. The camera beeps when the meter has done its thing. Also, a needle moves to point to the shutter speed the EM has selected. If the EM keeps beeping, it can’t find a good exposure at your chosen aperture.

Inside the Central House

The wind lever is both neat and annoying. It’s a two-part lever. The first part pulls out to provide a good angle for winding, and then both parts work together to wind. Under use, it feels as if too much pressure would break it. Winding itself feels thin and unsure, lacking the usual Nikon high-quality feel.

Bank

My EM’s meter didn’t always want to engage. I found that if I moved the selector from Auto to M90 and back to Auto the meter would play nice again for a few frames. Old camera blues, I suppose.

White Lily

On the way home I stopped in Greensburg to photograph some favorite subjects. When this gas station switched from Shell to Sinclair several years ago I was very happy to see this Sinclair Dino placed out on the corner for all to see. It’s the company’s longtime mascot.

Dino

I walked Greensbur’g square to finish the roll. The EM handled easily, which is the whole point of a camera like this. I never got used to the cheap-feeling winder, and the fussy meter remained annoying. But I never failed to get sharp, evenly exposed photographs from the EM.

On the square in Greensburg

To see more from this camera, check out my Nikon EM gallery.

This Nikon EM came to me from a reader who had it in surplus, and I thank him for letting me experience Nikon’s little SLR. I do like little SLRs, as my love of the Olympus OM-1 and especially the Pentax ME attest.

This is a nice little Nikon body for an easy day of shooting.

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If you like old film cameras, check out all of my reviews here!
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All this week I’m sharing single-subject photo series I’ve made.

The very first series I made was of an office building in which I used to work. It was just like any other office building anywhere. But it was the one I walked into every day, and I often had an old camera with me, so I shot it frequently.

I was very happy working here until the big company bought us and ruined everything.

Sunrise across the anonymous office building

Palm Pre

Anonymous Office Building

Polaroid Big Swinger 3000, Fujifilm FP-3000B

Anonymous office building

Olympus Trip 500, Fujifilm Superia X-tra 400

Anonymous office building

Olympus Trip 500, Fujifilm Superia X-tra 400

Anonymous office building

Yashica Electro 35 GSN, Fujicolor 200

Anonymous office building

Pentax K1000, 50mm f/2 SMC Pentax-M, Fujicolor 200

Anonymous office building double exposure

Kodak Tourist, Kodak Plus-X

Anonymous office building

Minolta Hi-Matic 7, Fujicolor 200

Anonymous office building

Agfa Optima, Fujicolor 200

Anonymous office building

Kodak Pony 135, Fujicolor 200

Anonymous office building

Kodak Pony 135, Fujicolor 200

Anonymous Office Building

Canon AF35ML, Fujicolor 200

Double exposure

Argus A2B, Fujifilm Neopan 100 Acros

Anonymous office building

Kodak Retina IIa, Fujicolor 200

Anonymous office building

Pentax ME, 55mm f/1.8 SMC Pentax, Kodak T-Max 400

Anonymous office building

Kodak Brownie Starmatic, Kodak Portra 160

Anonymous office building

Olympus XA, Fujicolor 200

Anonymous office building

Minolta 110 Zoom SLR, Fujifilm Superia 200 (expired 12/2003)

Anonymous office building

Olympus Stylus Epic Zoom 80, Kodak T-Max 400

Anonymous office building

Nikon N65, 28-80 mm f/3.3-5.6 AF Nikkor, Fujicolor 200

Psychedelic anonymous office building

Argus Matchmatic C3, Fujicolor 200

Anonymous office building

Polaroid Automatic 250, Fujifilm FP3000-B

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Photography

Anonymous office building

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All this week I’m sharing single-subject photo series I’ve made.

The subject I’ve photographed by far most often is the shed at my old house. It was certainly easy to reach: just step out the back door.

It was in middling shape when I moved in, and it deteriorated from there. I finally invested in stabilizing and repairing the structure, at which time its blue hue gave way to tan.

All week I’ve shared pretty much every photo of each subject, but not this time, as I photographed the shed a whopping 51 times. Here are the 28 I think are most interesting — to the extent a shed is interesting. These are roughly in chronological order.

My barn

Kodak Signet 40, Fujicolor 200

Barn door

Kodak Signet 40, Fujicolor 200

Barn

Minolta Hi-Matic 7, Fujicolor 200

Shed double exposure

Kodak Tourist, Kodak Plus-X.

Barn

Pentax ME, 28mm f/2.8 SMC Pentax-M, Kodak Ektar 100

Barn

Ansco B2 Speedex, Fujifilm Neopan 100 Acros

Barn

Canon Dial 35-2, Fujicolor 200

Barn

Yashica-D, Kodak E100G

Shed

Voigtländer Vitoret LR, Arista Premium 400

My shed

Canon Canonet Junior, Kodak Gold 200 (found in camera, expired)

Shed redux redux

Kodak Monitor Six-20, Kodak Gold 200 (expired, processed as b/w by mistake)

Shed

Kodak Brownie Starmatic, Efke 100

Shed

Olympus Stylus, Kodak Gold 200 (expired)

Shed at dusk

Polaroid Colorpack II, Fujicolor FP-100C

Shed

Yashica Lynx 14e, Kodak T-Max 400

Open Shed

Polaroid Big Swinger 3000, Fujifilm FP-3000B

Shed and Brush Pile

Polaroid Big Swinger 3000, Fujifilm FP-3000B

Shed Again

Olympus 35RC, Fujicolor 200

Shed

Kodak 35, Kodak Plus-X (expired)

Goodbye, ash trees

Canon PowerShot S95

Shed

Minolta Maxxum 7000, 50mm f/1.7 Maxxum AF, Fujifilm Fujicolor 200

Locked

Nikon N90s, 50mm f/1.8 AF Nikkor, Eastman Double-X 5222

Shed

Yashica-12, Kodak Tri-X 400

Shed with a light leak

Pentax IQZoom EZY, Kodak Gold 400

Shed

Minolta AF-Sv, Fujicolor 200

Fence gate top

Nikon FA, 50mm f/1.8 Nikon Series E, Fomapan 200

Shed

Argus C3, Fujicolor 200

My shed

Pentax Spotmatic F, 55mm f/1.8 SMC Takumar, Konica Chrome Centuria 200 (x 12/2003)

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Photography

My old shed

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