Jacksonville’s Monorail!?

Officially known as the Skyway. First opened in 1989 and overhauled in 1997 – located in downtown Jacksonville (Florida). It serves a limited area from near Florida State College at Jacksonville to the convention center and crosses the St. Johns River along the Acosta Bridge to the Southbank.  Also known by a handful of “colorful” local names, it is Jacksonville’s attempt at an automated people mover.

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Running north just under the elevated tracks.

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Headed north to the Rosa Parks Transit Station.

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At the Rosa Parks Transit Station.

It was free to ride courtesy of the Jacksonville Transit Authority for a time while they worked on a plan for payment. Ridership jumped nearly 61% as one would imagine! Estimates are as many as 5,000 people ride it everyday.

Thanks for stopping by!

Chris

Funny Underwater Dogs by Seth Casteel — FLOW ART STATION

Funny Underwater Dogs by Seth Casteel Underwater Dogs is a funny series of photographs by Seth Casteel. Based in Los Angeles, Seth delivers spontaneous and priceless results to capture our favourite pets in images that will surely last forever. Some of them are really funny and some a bit scary, you’ll be the judge! For […]

via Funny Underwater Dogs by Seth Casteel — FLOW ART STATION

Crazy funny stuff! Super imaginative! Amazing pics of dogs as never captured before… scroll through all the pics… pick your favorite.

Chris

Fuji Fail-ed… Discovery S700 Zoom Date

It was bound to happen. One klunker out of a bunch of good ones isn’t bad. We think it isn’t so much a bad build as possibly improperly stored… maybe.

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Another in the long line of plastic fantastic Fujifilm cameras from the late 1990s.

Part of the Discovery series of compact 35mm point and shoots from Fuji Photo Film. This one came to us still new in the box, unused but maybe stored in a too hot environment. Some of the plastic bag protecting the camera became stuck to the back film door (see below). This one is, using a nautical term, dead in the water. Despite a new battery, the camera won’t fire the flash and the shutter works intermittently or not at all. The power zoom works but beyond that, nothing else. Possibly a short in the circuitry caused by the hot storage (pure speculation).

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Sticky residue on the film door from the factory plastic bag. So far it’s resisted all attempts at cleaning it off.

When the battery was first inserted for the date mode, this is the programmed date that popped up. We’re thinking it may be the build year. Why not?

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Talking about the date mode battery, what a pain to change it! Number one, it’s not even mentioned in the owner’s manual for starters. It takes a CR2025 3V lithium button battery but it wasn’t mentioned. Take a peek at what it takes to get at it… ⇓

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Remove 6 screws and the film pressure plate, the battery cover and then peel up 2 felt light seals!

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That baby was buried and stuck down with the light seals!

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Back together.

Anyway, it’s a good looking camera and may have been fun to use.

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Oh and the remote control (below), no mention of that battery either.

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Another CR2025 button battery.

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We’ve had great results with our other Fujifilm Discovery series cameras in the past. No reason to believe the series is not worthy of a look. Having said that, this is a new camera that’s never been used and still failed – but that’s why there’s warranties.

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Quick specs: Lens Fujinon 35-70mm electronic zoom, 5 elements in 5 groups. DX coded for ISO 100/400. Continuous shooting at 1 frame per second. Weight 235 grams with battery and data back.

Can we recommend the S700 Zoom Date? Well no. There are much better models out there from Fuji. Stick with the longer zoom models still built in Japan.

Thanks for your visit! Comments always welcome.

Studio Camera: Fujifilm FinePix S9900W

Chris

 

Yashica FR II – the camera that made me buy the Canon F-1

I know – the FR II and the F-1 are miles apart in features (and price). I purchased my first Yashica, a TL Electro-X in 1971 and used it faithfully through much of the 1970s. Being a young (and married) US Navy Sailor and money deprived, the TL suited me just fine – until I was transferred to Japan in 1977. If you were ever stationed in Yokosuka then you know what Building A33 means. It was the Navy Exchange camera and stereo heaven!!! Reps from all of the major camera manufacturers were present and demonstrated their latest gear to the now cash flush Sailors. Upstairs was a branch of Navy Federal Credit Union… if you couldn’t afford it, finance it! Pure bliss.

I’m so easily distracted.

So it was time for me to upgrade my trusty TL Electro-X, so naturally I looked at what Yashica had to offer. The FR was out but it didn’t do it for me and quite frankly, the Contax RTS didn’t either. So I waited and saved some money and started reading the Navy Exchange catalog every day (and night). The Canon F-1 looked promising but was expensive. The TL needed to hold me over as I was diverted to purchasing stereo equipment. Sansui pre and power amps, Teac reel to reel, Dual turntable and some killer Kenwood speakers. A small fortune so a camera upgrade would have to wait.

Now it’s the summer of 1978. My ship was inport (finally) long enough for Carol and I to spend some quality time together and to focus our attention on replacing the Yashica. Another visit to A33 and another visit with the Yashica rep. Now the FR II was the camera of the day (and he was still pushing the RTS too). No way. The friendly Canon rep was all too happy to take my money and hand me a bright new F-1 with 55mm f/ 1.4 lens and Canon 80-200mm zoom. The Yashica was sold off to a friend and that was it for Yashica (for the next couple of decades).

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Oh happy day! July 1978 – my new Canon F-1 and Canon FD 80-200mm f/ 4 zoom lens.

Present day now and I’m finally an owner of a Yashica FR II.

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I picked up this beauty recently because it looked to be in near perfect condition and I figured, why not. Well I gotta say that I’m impressed. Not impressed enough to regret my F-1 purchase back in 1978, but impressed.

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The camera feels good in my hands – well balanced and the viewfinder is super bright. What a big difference over the Yashica TL Electro-X. The Contax/Yashica lens is crisp, clear and focusses easily (split-image). The meter is simple (this is a aperture priority camera) so you’re only messing with the f stops.

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With the power winder attached it’s a tad on the heavy side but would be useful as a weapon (or anchor).

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Simple lines and layout. The meter switch (upper right) is a bit awkward but the meter is accurate and that’s all that matters.

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Uses all of the C/Y bayonet mount lenses which can be had for a song today. Here is a 135mm, f/ 2.8 lens that came with it in basically unused condition.

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We have so many cameras in the queue right now I have no idea when we’ll get a chance to run a roll through it.

Verdict. I’ve waited nearly 40 years to shoot with it so I’m excited to see how it does out in the field. If you find a nice one for sale (mint condition) then give it a try. Stay away from the ones that look rough – these don’t hold up well with abuse. Prices are all over the place – you may be able to strike a nice deal with a seller who’s ready to part ways. Best of luck!

Studio Camera: Fujifilm FinePix S9900W

Chris

Modern Classics – Fujifilm Zoom Date 110EZ

No it’s not a 110 film camera as the name might imply but one of the last in a long series of 35mm super compact cameras from Fuji.

This one debuted about late 2003 – not that long ago when you think about recent film cameras vs. emerging digital cameras.

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As the name implies, it has a zoom lens (38-110mm) and can imprint the date on the film.

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Autofocus, exposure, flash and red-eye reduction.

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Electronic shutter from 1/2 to 1/500th second.

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Nice bright viewfinder – large LCD with date/time imprint and super fast two position zoom buttons. The red power button is almost impossible to push with a normal fingertip. Too small for me.

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Power zoom Fujinon lens 38-110mm (f 6.3 to 11.7).

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The camera is one of the smallest in our collection of plastic fantastic Fujifilm compact 35s. It weighs in at only 190 grams without the CR123A lithium battery.

Automatic DX film ISO setting from ISO 50-3200. Automatic film loading and film advance and auto pre-wind system.

As we’ve stated before, these cameras are getting harder to find in still brand new condition (with all original factory issued stuff)… so, they are somewhat collectable and if you’re looking for a super compact film camera to take on your next outing, the Fujifilm line is a very good choice.

Studio Camera: Fujifilm FinePix S9900W

Thanks for your visit!

Chris

Cute or uncomfortable by today’s standards?

Is this image from a mid 1960s Yashica camera instruction booklet simply cute or does it make you feel a tad uncomfortable?

Is it a fun reminder of how the world was in 1965 – a bit “western obsessed”? Was it a little out of line even then? If this image were to be posted to a social media site today, what would the reaction be?

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The original full context image from the booklet.

Weigh in if you’d like. We’d like to know your feelings.

Thanks, Chris and Carol

 

 

 

Twin-lens Reflex… a peek inside.

From an August 1963 sales brochure from Yashica (Printed in Japan). An excellent article we think. Of course Yashica produced twin-lens reflex (TLR) cameras well into the late 1980s so they would be considered experts (one would think).

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Also known today (more so) as medium format. An inexpensive way to get into medium format film photography, Yashica made enough TLRs over the decades that there is an ample supply of well made Yashicas available online. Budding film photographers should be able to experiment with that format without breaking the bank.

The Yashica model A is a great first choice as it is one of the most widely available and simplest to “master”. Less stuff to break or need adjustment. Another good model is the Yashica Mat-EM (1964). It has a built-in light meter that doesn’t require a battery to operate. The meters can fail over time so be sure to ask the seller about it first and if you’re looking at one in person, then check it against a meter from a phone app.

The Yashica-Mat 124G is the last model. Usually still very expensive but has a meter and requires a battery. The good news is that they are still fixable if something fails (they all are but our point is that they’re the newest out there).

The Yashica-D… well, we’ve never had much luck but others do and they are good cameras. The Yashica-Mat is another common camera and has a crank winder.

Give it a try. Shooting in squares is a challenge but fun!

Thanks for your visit.

Chris

Maybe this isn’t the best way?

We’re always searching for interesting cameras to review here on the blog – sometimes our searches online lead us to discover cameras that we’ve never heard of.

This is one of those cases. While searching for Topcon cameras, we discovered a TLR (127 film) that struck our fancy. Partly because of the name – Sawyer’s Mark IV… made by Topcon in Japan.

And then… THIS!!!

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Would you want to bid on this camera claimed to be in near mint condition? By the way, there is a half eaten donut on the table just behind the camera.

You don’t need a fancy studio to take good images of items that you sell online. Heck we started out by putting our cameras on a clean piece of white poster board and shooting with the natural daylight coming in through the window. Now we use “studio lights” that we put together from utility lights from a hardware store and daylight fluorescent bulbs.

I wish this seller all the best – I hope he continues to do well – just watch your backgrounds man!

Chris