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The Stuff You Didn't Like
Old 02-22-2015   #1
lawrence
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The Stuff You Didn't Like

There's plenty here on RFF about the cameras and lenses that users love to use but what about the stuff that missed the mark? For example, I bought the Olympus OM1 when it came out but could never come to terms with the high magnification (low eyepoint) finder or the shutter speed dial round the lens throat. So although the OM1 was very nice as a concept I could never get on with it. Any similar experiences with other much-hyped cameras, lenses etc.?
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Old 02-22-2015   #2
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Yashica GSN. Very capable, great lens, but the size of the package and the aperture-priority-only operation just didn't work for me. Replaced with an Olympus 35SP, which I love.

Olympus PEN EES-2. Fun, handy, solidly built, but again, the auto-only mode just didn't cut it. Replaced with a PEN D3, which again works far better for me.

Holga 135 Pan. I know Holgas, and toy cameras in general, don't get much love around here, but I've seen some great work with Holgas, and I had a hankering for a panoramic camera, so the 135 Pan seemed to make a lot of sense. Turns out that, where the blurred corners and vignetting work for me in squares, they don't in panos, so off it went. Might go and buy an original when I get around to it.
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Old 02-22-2015   #3
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A Yashica Minister D that I bought fairly inexpensively was a disappointment. I sent if off for service, and it came back with the rangefinder patch misaligned vertically. Sold it for less than the cost of the service. I just could not get along with how the Aperture and Shutter speed had to be set (the double-dial on the lens barrel, if I recall correctly).

Also, an Olympus Pen FT. It was also inexpensive, but with nowhere to get the pictures printed correctly, and scanning being a pain, I finally decided it just wasn't for me. Passed it on, and 3 lenses that came with it, at a camera trade show. Never missed it.
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Old 02-22-2015   #4
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Olympus Pen F - although I made some of my favourite images with it, I have found scanning the half frames a PITA, and the incredibly violent shutter plus an overall cheap feel of the film advance made me abandon the format altogether.


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Old 02-22-2015   #5
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Nikon F4. The grip was just too fat for me to hold comfortably, and having a shooting mode switch was a real come-down after the simplicity of the F, F2, and F3.

Pentax K5. Great controls (even if it did have a bloody mode dial), great handling, and about the only 'serious' APS-sensor DSLR family I've found that was the right size for its format; but the autofocus was too slow and unreliable, and the finder too small for manual focus to be worth the effort. On the plus side, it went towards paying for my Fuji X-T1...
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Old 02-22-2015   #6
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Canon A-1 (most hostile manual mode ever)
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Old 02-22-2015   #7
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Olympus Stylus Epic and Yashica T4. Not that they are bad, just that they are way overhyped and overpriced, and neither produces produces photos that are any more magical then many other "lesser" cameras.
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Old 02-22-2015   #8
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Canon 7S with the stupid index mark for the shutter speed off-set by two stops. Most Rf cameras has a "proper" setting - along the long axis of the camera -like the Canon 7, Leica M, Nikon Rf etc. Far to many rolls exposed two stops off because I thought I had it on right setting!!!
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Old 02-22-2015   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom A View Post
Canon 7S with the stupid index mark for the shutter speed off-set by two stops. Most Rf cameras has a "proper" setting - along the long axis of the camera -like the Canon 7, Leica M, Nikon Rf etc. Far to many rolls exposed two stops off because I thought I had it on right setting!!!
I tried several Canons over the years but have settled on the L1. Love that slow speed dial on the front and always use with the Ultron f1.9 and minifinder. Great combo.
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Old 02-22-2015   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ruby.monkey View Post
Nikon F4. The grip was just too fat for me to hold comfortably, and having a shooting mode switch was a real come-down after the simplicity of the F, F2, and F3.
Personally I like the F4 although I have to agree that it's somewhat on the big side.
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Old 02-22-2015   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfogiel View Post
Olympus Pen F - although I made some of my favourite images with it, I have found scanning the half frames a PITA, and the incredibly violent shutter plus an overall cheap feel of the film advance made me abandon the format altogether.
Never had a half frame but was tempted from time to time. The film advance of the OM1 was another thing I didn't like about it.
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Old 02-22-2015   #12
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The absurd way of changing focusing screens on a Nikon F. I have to use my pocket knife (!) to press in the release button on the back of the camera, turn the camera upside down and shake, then hope the screen falls into my hand. As much as I like my F, the screen/prism changing procedure is not one of its finest features.

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Old 02-22-2015   #13
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Never cared for Bronica 645. Went 500 C/M instead.
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Old 02-22-2015   #14
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M5 and ... The message you have entered is too short. Please lengthen your message to at least 10 characters. Both annoy me.
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Old 02-22-2015   #15
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Olympus Infinity stylus/mju I and the Yashica T4. I found neither to be especially sharp, the Oly had poor AF and was really bad in the corners (but not in a way I find charming at all) and the T4 photos I got I can only describe as vaguely waxy looking. I was lucky in finding two copies of each for very cheap but ended up disliking them all and giving them away.
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Old 02-22-2015   #16
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Minox 35 cameras. For me, the good lenses didn't compensate sufficiently for their fiddly controls and cheap plasticy feel.

The two examples I had--different models, at different times--also tended to overexpose.

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Old 02-22-2015   #17
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Nikon F100: too big, too plastic
85/1.8 AF-D: I did this because I missed my old pre-AI one, and mistakenly thought the AF-D would give similar quality images.

Still have both; am casually looking for an older 85 so I can dump the AF-D.
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Old 02-22-2015   #18
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Another design by some-one who obviously never used the lens! The 21f3.4 Super Angulon and the hood. It clamps on right tight to the aperture ring - which is narrow to boot. You keep trying to grap it and you frequently loose the grip on it. Well, the lens is good enough that you do use it anyway - but every time you have to change aperture you think of things you would like to do to the designer!
The ring material is to thin to put in a lever for access.
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Old 02-22-2015   #19
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There are some lenses that have annoying characteristics (mechanically). I am thinking of the Pentax Takumar lenses which have a quite high tendency for the aperture to become sluggish or not operate at all with age. The actuating mechanism relies on a mechanical bar in the camera hitting a pin in the lens mount to stop it down to working aperture. It seems it does not take much old lube to upset this delicate balance and prevent it from working properly.

Another that comes to mind is the tendency of some old lubes used by Leitz to fog their lenses - sometimes irrepairably. Not helped by having internal coatings that are as soft as butter in the noon day sun. Thus making cleaning efforts arguably worse than the disease.

When I am in a more sanguine frame of mind I might put both of these down simply to the quirks of age and the realization that they can mostly be fixed if caught in time, with the application of dollars (or time if you have the necessary knowledge and skills - as for me while I have pulled a number of lenses apart I have never yet succeeded in getting one back together :^) ). But then again, neither Nikon F lenses nor Canon FL lenses which are approximately as old as these exhibit any such problems (I own a number of samples of both). So a bit of foresight and good design could have headed these things off maybe? But I suppose even then planned obsolescence was a factor and who might have know that people like us would want to use these things 50 or more years on.
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Old 02-22-2015   #20
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Pentax K1000. Bright viewfinder, granted, but a real povvo pack model, no DOF preview, no timer. And boring as bat**** to use. The definitive uncharismatic Japanese SLR. Massively overrated and, these days, overpriced. Give me a Spotmatic any day over one of those.
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Old 02-22-2015   #21
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Nikon SLR. It's never felt right. Clunky and does not mount m42 lenses which I have had many of for years.
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Old 02-22-2015   #22
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Sometimes designers come up with things that are incomprehensible. It probably sounded like a good idea at the drafting table - but as a camera!
The Voigtlander Prominent was one of the clumsiest cameras made in the 50's. Built like a tank and about as practical! Howvere, the lenses were good, really good. I still have the Nokton 50f1.5 - and with an adapter I can use it on my Nikon Rf's. I donated the body to a friend who likes things that are complicated - an obviously is not a photographer!
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Old 02-22-2015   #23
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OM system flimsiness of film transport. It made me feel like handling an unknown Contax II or Kiev cameras: you don't know when that ribbon will break. Contax II with newly replaced ribbons, on the other hand, is something very reliable for several years.
Bronica SQ. I found it, unexplainably, very uncomfortable to use. Too unwieldy. I also own a Pentacon Six TL with 180/2.8 Sonnar, tah I find quite comfortable.
Shutter release on Olympus XA series. I find it to be very unpredictable, even after cleaning.
Fiddly controls of Minox 35 series. Wonderful lens, however.
Flimsy and ratchety film adavnce of Yashicamat 124g. Wonderful lens couldn't compensate it for me.
Overall form of Yashica Electro 35 GSN or GT series. Wonderful lens, though.
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Old 02-22-2015   #24
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On the other hanc, I quite enjoy using Olympus Pen F and EES-2, just like Exakta, that I didn't quite get along with, initially. Exakta/Praktica's curtains are another story, however.
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Old 02-22-2015   #25
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Oh, yeah. A cost of owning any of Leica equipment. Love the form, hate the cost, don't know about image quality. I can have about 5 Contax II/IIa cameras with 50mm lenses for the cost of M3 with any 50mm lens, if shopping carefully.
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Old 02-22-2015   #26
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Any fixed lens rangefinder camera that puts the aperture ring right next to the body.

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Old 02-22-2015   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom A View Post


Sometimes designers come up with things that are incomprehensible. It probably sounded like a good idea at the drafting table - but as a camera!
The Voigtlander Prominent was one of the clumsiest cameras made in the 50's. Built like a tank and about as practical! Howvere, the lenses were good, really good. I still have the Nokton 50f1.5 - and with an adapter I can use it on my Nikon Rf's. I donated the body to a friend who likes things that are complicated - an obviously is not a photographer!
I owned one of these and found it to be a classic example of a love/hate relationship. As you say Tom it is a camera which is built like a tank. I was particularly impressed with its satin chrome finish which unlike a Leica M (which scuffs if you so much as look at it hard) this camera was virtually impervious to any marks. But it was, like many German cameras, quirky in the extreme to use. I did not use it enough in the end to justify keeping mine in the long term but had I not needed the money from its sale to fund some other purchase (which I think happened to be an M3) I think its the sort of camera I would have enjoyed keeping to haul out once or twice a year just for the novel experience of annoying myself. :^).

There were one or two better reasons to keep it in retrospect however - both relating to its leaf shutter. It is very, very, very quiet - moreso than an M3 shutter and being a leaf shutter it can also sync with flash up to its maximum speed (which however was only a modest 1/500th of a second). I read that in the 1950s many photo reporters used the camera for these reasons.

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Old 02-23-2015   #28
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The Leica MP.

Among the Leica rangefinders I have used (II, IIIc, IIIf, M3, M4, M4-P, M5, M7, MP, M9) and still own (M2, M6, M8), I have to say the MP is the most disappointing.

After knowing and loving the M3/M2, and an M6/M7, the MP just felt like an odd me-too. I prefer the M5 over the MP; I may even one day own an M5. I wouldn't turn down an MP if given, but I would not buy one. If I were given a choice between that and an M4, I'd rather go for the M4.
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Old 02-23-2015   #29
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Oh, and the Bessa R2; I owned it, didn't quite ever warm up to it. I still own the original "R" -- can't think of letting that one go.
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Old 02-23-2015   #30
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Bronica ETRS. Couldn't warm up to how it handled.

Konica IIIm. The EV setting coupled got me mad and sold it.

Leica M8. Those flashy filters needed to be screwed on and off when sharing the lenses with my M3. Traded it towards an M6 0.85 Classic and cash.

Nikon F90x. With the sticky rubber back door.

Nikon F70. With the weird display and menu.

Ricoh 500 RF. Small lenses, strange sideways trigger wind.

The list goes on
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Old 02-23-2015   #31
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Minolta SRT101. It was the first non-Pentax SLR I used, after growing up with my parent's Spotmatic SP and K1000, and later my own MX and LX bodies, and it just felt... weird.

Fujifilm X100 mkI. I'd like to have a go at one of the later editions, but the first model, with early firmware, was by far the most frustrating camera I've used.
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Old 02-23-2015   #32
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All Leicas pre-1954 and post 1966

Most of those Leicas up to the iiif look quite pretty but surely only a dedicated masochist would consider using one for actually taking photographs? All that messing around trying to load a film in one, then squinting through two tiny pinholes to view and focus the picture. No thanks! I have a few but they stay firmly on the shelf where they belong.

As for anything post M3, why bother? By the mid sixties even the lovely M3 had become an anachronism, having been bettered in almost every way by cheaper Japanese SLRs.
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Old 02-23-2015   #33
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Fuji X10

Nice looking modern digital, almost like a real camera. And best of all, a proper viewfinder instead of a stupid screen which becomes invisible as soon as the sun comes out.

But the image quality seemed no better than most other pocket cameras and the zoom range was limited, so I couldn't really see what all the fuss was about.

And worst of all, mine refused to focus or release the shutter as soon as the warranty had expired. Fuji wanted more to repair it than the cost of a discounted new one, so I vowed never to buy another Fuji product. Quite fortunate really, because it saved me from being tempted to waste more money on the overpriced X100.
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Old 02-23-2015   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mackinaw View Post
The absurd way of changing focusing screens on a Nikon F. I have to use my pocket knife (!) to press in the release button on the back of the camera, turn the camera upside down and shake, then hope the screen falls into my hand. As much as I like my F, the screen/prism changing procedure is not one of its finest features.

Jim B.
Better than the retaining clip most cameras use, IMHO

The Nikon F- yes it's "raw" and "basic"- the F2 is a much nicer camera to use- removing the back to change the film... ugh

The Contarex- you buy it for the lenses- yes the bodies are mechanical marvels but no one knows how to service and the aperture dial on the body (while very futuristic) is a pain to use - same for the Contax series (especially when you're focusing near infinity with the 50)

EDIT: forgot - Film point and shoots- yea, you get okay to very nice photos out of them, yeah, they're small- but dear god, they're SLOW
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Old 02-23-2015   #35
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Cheap crappy bellows on Agfa folders. Arrgh!

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Old 02-23-2015   #36
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Quote:
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Minolta SRT101. It was the first non-Pentax SLR I used, after growing up with my parent's Spotmatic SP and K1000, and later my own MX and LX bodies, and it just felt... weird.
SRT-101 was my first SLR and I used it throughout my college days until, sadly, it was stolen. The original Spotmatic was a nice camera but I never liked the stop-down metering however I tried and really liked the Spotmatic ES, which seemed very solid, looked wonderful and had auto metering at full aperture.
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Old 02-23-2015   #37
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Canon A-1 (most hostile manual mode ever)
Tell me about it. What a pain. It's like manual mode was just an afterthought. They certainly wanted users to focus on the auto modes. The A-1 was my first SLR film camera. I still have it and have a soft spot for it, though.

I owned a Canon FD 35mm f/2 for a while before I sold it. It was a great, sharp lens, but it was so heavy and ultimately didn't think it was worth carrying around.
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Old 02-23-2015   #38
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I agree on the K1000 - major disappointment compared to the SP. Yashica YK comes to mind as a singularly uninspiring bugger of a camera. The Lubitel I threw away in disgust ...
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Old 02-23-2015   #39
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Canon A-1 (most hostile manual mode ever)
Canon AE-1. Everyone I knew at the time owned one, and they all loved them. I bought one and promptly became the exception. All the controls had the tactile feel of a plastic toy.
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Old 02-23-2015   #40
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When I went to Barnacks a long time ago, I expected the film loading and finders to be a hassle. That turned out not to be the case for me, they work fine.
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