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Nikon F3 – Camera Review

Nikon F3 Camera Review (2 of 11)There are rare objects in this world that have the power to stop people in their tracks. Works of art so beautiful that they demand a lingering gaze; music so lovely that it pulls us into a different world. And for us photo geeks, even cameras can be so captivating!

I was on vacation, strolling through New York’s Greenwich Village and snapping away when a man stopped me on the street and enthusiastically exclaimed, “Hey, is that a Nikon F3?” We talked a bit, he lamented selling his own F3 long ago, and as we parted he mentioned his happiness (but not his surprise) to see one still in use.

A month later I was back home in Los Angeles eating at a Thai restaurant when another stranger asked me to take a photo of his family. When he noticed the camera on the table his eyes took on a distant, sentimental glow as he recognized the F3. He stared at it with something that resembled reverence, even as he distractedly handed me his comparatively gargantuan D4.

And it wasn’t much later that a stranger in a coffee shop casually remarked that the F3 slung over my shoulder was “the best camera of them all. That’ll last you forever.”

These interactions happen all the time, and they always leave me with a feeling of pride as I nod, and smile, and hold the F3 just a bit tighter. But what is it about the F3 that makes people so sentimental? What makes it so special, so beautiful, that it so often causes people to stop and appreciate it?

It’s an easy question to answer. Simply put, the Nikon F3 is one of the greatest cameras ever made.

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Five Best Medium Format Cameras for Beginners

5 best medium format film camerasIt happens to the best of us. At some point in the photographic journey, every photo geek is going to run into a wall. Things get stale; you’ve plateaued. You’ve been shooting the same subjects with the same camera for too many years, and there’s no way to avoid the truth that you’re getting bored with photography.

But it doesn’t have to stay this way. There are things we can do to stave off the inevitable onset of photographic ennui. Traveling, shooting with friends or alone, and taking a break from the camera are all useful tools in the toolbox of every happy photographer.

But if you’ve tried all this and you’re still finding yourself a bit distracted, a bit blasé about this whole photography thing, the problem may just rest with your format. Crop sensors? Full-frame? 35mm film? Get real. That stuff is so dull, and puny, and pathetic. You need a bigger format! You need something with depth and charisma! You need to shoot medium format.

But with so many cameras to choose from, how do you know which is right for you?

It’s cool. We’ve got you covered.

Here’s a list of five excellent medium format film cameras for shooters new to the vast frontier of medium format.

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Contax 139 Quartz – Camera Review

Contax 139 Quartz Review (8 of 11)

I recently found myself the reluctant owner of a Contax 139 Quartz 35mm SLR, a camera about which I knew little and for which I cared even less. After all, if this rebranded, electronic Yashica were anything worthwhile I’d have heard about it from my friends at the camera shop, or spied one scrolling by in my Instagram feed. Yes, surely if the 139Q mattered I’d have known about it.

Still, it was being sold with a fairly legendary Zeiss lens attached, so I bought the whole kit and awaited its arrival. Getting hands on this beautiful glass would be a big win for anyone, no matter what substandard camera so lecherously clung to it.

Luckily, this uncharacteristic bout of arrogant self-assurance was not much more than a 24-hour bug. When the camera arrived and I pulled it from its packaging my pompous windbaggery was justifiably and firmly checked.

I held the Contax, flicked its controls, squeezed off a few shutter releases, and decided my next action should be to insert into my gaping opinion hole the proverbial sock.

Just over a month later the Contax has become a constant companion. While it’s not a perfect camera, it’s surely one of the best I’ve ever shot. With objectivity (and humility) happily renewed, here’s the great, the good, and the bad about Contax’s electric wonder.

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Pentax ME – Camera Review

Pentax ME 35mm Film Camera Review

Well, it’s finally happening. We’re reviewing a Pentax. It’s the Pentax ME, an entry-level 35mm film SLR that entices with its promises of creative photographic controls, exceptional optics, and adequate build quality, all joined with the ease of a point-and-shoot.

But does it deliver on these promises? That’s what we intended to find out when, yearning for a break from over-saturation in needlessly-complicated cameras, we decided to head for the beach, alone, with the ME.

This outwardly simple camera’s semi-automatic nature, its diminutive size, and its surprisingly good performance left us with some questions. Specifically, why is this camera so often overlooked by shooters? How’d they make this thing so small? And why doesn’t Pentax get any respect?

We can’t answer any of those questions, but to learn everything you’ll ever need to know about the Pentax ME, read on.

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What’s a Prime Lens and Why You Need One (or Five)

Nikkor 20mm 3.5 1

Prime lenses are amazing marvels of optical wonder. And even though they’ve been around for as long as photography itself, there are still people out there who don’t shoot them, and may not even know what they are. If this sounds like you, worry not! We’re here to tell you what prime lenses are all about and why you need to be shooting them.

Whether you’re a new photographer or a seasoned shooter, and whether you’re shooting a classic film machine or the most advanced digital camera, shooting prime lenses can help improve your technique and aid in the creation of exceptional images.

These single focal length lenses provide unmatched performance over their zoom counterparts. And while they ask a little more of the user, the benefits to shooting primes far outweigh the drawbacks. In fact, we’re hard pressed to think of any substantive drawbacks at all!

So, let’s get to it. Here are a few simple reasons you need to shoot primes.

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