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Argus C3 – Camera Review

Argus C3 review

Here at CP, we love film cameras. But the idea that film will ever again be the dominant medium in photography is unthinkable. The technical mastery and convenience of today’s digital machines is just too amazing, and we love shooting RAW. But while we pragmatically bow to the power of digital shooting, we’ll never lose our affinity for analog cameras.

This passion for classic machines informs the majority of what we do here; attempt to illustrate the ways in which these sometimes archaic cameras maintain relevance in the digital age. And it was with this end in mind that on a recent trip to New Hampshire’s White Mountains I chose to bring along a truly ancient camera; the Argus C3.

Some examples of the Argus C3 can be an astounding 77 years old. That’s an old camera. To try to put that into perspective, it’s possible that some of the C3s made in the ’30s could have been owned by 70-year-old photographers who were youngsters during the American Civil War.

Tenuous historical tie-ins aside, all we really care about is whether this thing’s fun to use. So, how did the Argus C3 fare in the wilds of 2016? Can a nearly 80-year-old camera make decent photos? And can its antiquated design satisfy a shooter who’s daily camera is a Sony A7? Let’s find out.

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Pentax – A SMC 35mm F/2.8 – Lens Review

Pentax A SMC 35mm 2.8 Lens Review

We’re back from a brief vacation and we’ve brought with us a treasure trove of material for our Photophile friends! First on the docket is a review of a pretty rare and rather wonderful legacy lens from Pentax. It’s the SMC Pentax-A 35mm F/2.8.

During our journey up and around Maine’s rocky coast, we shot this hard-to-find lens in a variety of stereotypically autumnal New England situations. We peeped leaves and hiked trails, we strolled through colonial fishing villages and sipped nutmeg-infused beverages, we basked in fleeting sunshine and we froze our asses off. And of course, we snapped photos.

We really wanted to put this lens through its paces to see how it performed on both vintage and digital cameras, so we not only shot it on a pair of classic film machines (the Pentax ME and the Ricoh XR-1), but later adapted it to the Sony A7 as well.

How did the SMC-A 35mm/2.8 comport itself? We’ve got the inside scoop on this uncommon assemblage of glass.

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Nikon Nikkor 105mm ƒ/2.5 – Lens Review

Nikon Nikkor 105 F 2.5 Lens Review 1

We’re back with another noteworthy lens, and this one’s a real legend for Nikon photographers of a certain age. Yes, if you were shooting film during the 1960s or in any of the subsequent three decades, you’ll likely have heard of this lens, owned this lens, loved this lens, or coveted this lens. It’s Nikon’s Nikkor 105mm ƒ/2.5, and it’s one of the best mid-telephoto and portrait lenses in the world.

Sound hyperbolic? I don’t blame you for thinking so. But it’s the truth. This is a lens that found a home in nearly every professional Nikon photographer’s bag for close to fifty years. Steve McCurry used it to shoot what is arguably one of the most recognizable images of the 20th century. His shot, Afghan Girl, was famously featured as the cover image on the June 1985 issue of National Geographic Magazine. 

That’s right. This lens is pretty much famous.

So let’s take a closer look. What is it about this lens that makes photographers gaze longingly through the mists of time? Why is it so spectacular? And how is it suited to today’s era of mirror-less cameras and DSLRs?  Continue Reading

Noteworthy Lenses – Minolta MC Macro Rokkor QF 50mm ƒ/3.5

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It’s time for another look at a fantastic piece of vintage glass, and today we’re talking about a truly versatile lens. It’s the Minolta MC Macro Rokkor QF 50mm ƒ/3.5, and it provides one of the easiest and most affordable ways to get into macro photography.

What is it about this lens that makes it perfect for those looking to dip their toes into the world of macro shooting? Practicality; Not only does this wonderful assemblage of glass and aluminum allow you to shoot the hell out of tiny bugs, flowers, coins, and all the usual macro subjects, it can also work as an everyday standard lens. It’s compact, relatively lightweight, and fairly capable as a 50mm standard. Sure, it’s not perfect, but that’s what we’re here to talk about.

So let’s get to work sussing out where the lens excels and where it suffers. Not long from now we’ll have discovered if this macro lens should have a home in your camera bag, or if it’s best passed over.

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