Thursday, February 26, 2015

Holga 35 Fisheye

Recently, the Lomography store had a sale on some things, so I decided to pick up the slip-on fisheye lens and fisheye viewfinder for the Holga 35.  I have had the Holga 35bc (bent corners)  camera for several years, and it's a fun, simple toy camera that uses 35mm film.  Like its big brother (or big sister), it has very minimal controls - sunny or cloudy, bulb or instant, the four focus zones, and a hotshoe.  In general, 400 ISO film works for most conditions with this camera.

The lens and viewfinder come in little attractive boxes, well-packaged. That's always been a hallmark of Lomography -- they pay attention to package design.  No plain cardboard boxes for them!  The instructions inside are easy to follow, and the lens comes with front and rear protective caps. The lens and viewfinder fit exactly as they are supposed to, as well.

Looking through the viewfinder gives you a circular fisheye view, which does not actually match what the camera is getting.  It's good for framing, and certainly better than the regular viewfinder.

Since the fisheye is such wide-angle, I wonder if the actual focus position makes any difference.  Nonetheless, I set the lens to infinity while shooting with it.

The Holga 35 is a great cold-weather camera in that there are literally no controls to fiddle with, so for mittened hands, it is great.

I finished up a roll of 400 ISO Kodak (somewhat expired) color film and sent the film to Blue Moon Camera and Machine, where they do a wonderful job with processing.

I'll post two images here to give you an idea of the fisheye effect from this lens.  It's not a circular fisheye such as the one you get with the Diana version. The negatives are cropped at the top and bottom,   The effect is pretty good, though,  and perhaps the cropped image looks better than the circular fisheye.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Back to Basics - The Ricoh KR-5 Super II

Back in December, I discussed several 35mm SLRs made by Ricoh in the 1970s and 1980s.  The Ricoh XR-7 is certainly a very good K-mount body,  with excellent features to enable a photographer to do just about anything. More recently, I acquired another Ricoh SLR for $5.99 + 7.00 shipping. So, for the price of a pizza, I purchased another camera.
The KR-5 Super II sounds pretty advanced, doesn't it?  If the KR-5 was good, and the KR-5 Super was better, then the Super II must be awesome!  Well, hold on, there.  This is not a better camera than the XR-7.  Technologically, it looks like a lot of the cameras that were pushed out of the factory that were made by Chinon.  The camera has about the same amount of plastic as the Vivitar SLRs, the Nikon FM10, etc., that were made in the mid 1990s.  The KR-5 Super II is lighter for sure than the KR-5.  The shutter speeds go from B to 1/2000 sec.  it has X-sync in the flash shoe, and it has a self-timer.  Pretty standard, bare-bones features for an SLR.  Red/green LEDs in the viewfinder indicate the "proper exposure" and the ISO/ASA dial is adjustable from 25 to 1600.  This is a manual camera, so there is no compensation dial.  So, yes, it is a basic camera that will do anything one might ask of a Pentax K1000.  The manual can be found online at the usual site of
A 35-70mm f/3.5 lens, carrying bag, cleaning kit, and manual came with the body that I purchased.  I have not yet had time to shoot a roll of film through it.  It definitely has more of a plastic lightweight feel to it, and I will update this page after I shoot a roll of film.  Ricoh sold a bunch of these, and they are plentiful online.  So, I imagine that if one is searching for a bare-bones K-mount SLR, this one should do the job, and with all the K-mount lenses available, you should be able to assemble a pretty decent kit for less than a good dinner. There nothing wrong with going back to the basics, either.

UPDATE (03-09-2015)
I finally shot up a roll of 100 b&w (=Fortepan 100) with the KR5 Super II.  Everything worked great, and I shot these with the Zenitar 50mm f/2.