Author name: Stephen Fretz

Exakta VX Review – Through The Past, Brightly

I  love playing with old lenses (and interesting color films, too) for their character. Creativity is a form of play, and the Exakta VX is a fun toy for exploring these things (and it’s Jimmy Stewart’s camera in Rear Window). There are the aesthetics, especially that gorgeous Spencerian script on the finder, and the overall art-deco vibe. In the late-30s, the Kine Exakta and its successors, the VX and VX II, were the first “system” 35mm cameras. They have interchangeable lenses in a bayonet mount, interchangeable finders, and accessories for macro, microscope, and astronomical photography. Their built-in knives and available take-up cassettes allow film swapping mid-roll. I have four lenses, a Carl Zeiss Jena 58mm Biotar, a CZJ Flektogon 35mm, a Schneider 135 Tele Xenar, and a 100mm Steinheil Tele Casserit.

5 Frames With a Nikon FM, Nikkor AF-D 35mm F2, and Film Washi X – by Stephen Fretz

I’ve had a Nikon FM for forty years, as long as I’ve been shooting. The first was my dad’s; after it was stolen, I bought one from eBay. These days the default lens on it is a Nikkor 35mm F2 AF-D; the “D” series work with Nikon’s digital and film bodies. The combo is almost too competent: while BW photography introduces a layer of abstraction, color photos are dead literal. There’s a fine line between “compelling” and “postcard”.

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