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CAMERAS OWNED
BY TAK

CAMERAS OWNED BY TAK

 

RETURN TO CAMERAS OWNED BY TAK

 

 

CAMERAS IN THIS SECTION

 

CANON EOS7

KENKO BINOCATCH BC1300

KODAK DC280J ZOOM

MINOLTA VECTIS40

MINOLTA VECTIS S-1

MINOLTA ƒΏ-8700i MIR

MINOLTA ƒΏ-7700i

MINOLTA SR-1s

 

 

CANON EOS7

MANUFACTURING COUNTRY

Taiwan

DATE OF AVAILABILITY

2000 October

SUGGESTED PRICE

93000 yen

TYPE

Motor drive and strobe integrated 35 mm focal plane shutter AF/AE single lens reflex

LENS MOUNT

Canon EF mount

SHUTTER SPEEDS

1/4000 to 30 seconds

BUILT-IN FLASH

yes

BATTERIES

2 x Lithium batteries (CR123A)

DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT

146.7 x 103.0 x 69.0 mm

580g (w/o batteries; + 32g with batteries)

 

  I bought this camera in March 2003 after realizing that APS is headed to extinction. EOS7 also was the first real 35mm camera I ever bought. I've been using disposable cameras and APS cameras until then.

  The major reason for choosing APS over 35mm way back was that I had trouble loading the practice film into a compact 35mm camera displayed at the store (I seem to have two left hands). Therefore, upon purchase of the EOS7, I thought loading the film was going to be a huge hurdle for me. It turned out that loading the film was no trouble at all. Everything was automated. Now that's technological advancement (and perhaps human retrogression).

  EOS7 features an aluminum casing (supposedly more durable and high-quality than engineering plastic), 7-point auto-focus, as well as a pop-up flash.

  Mode dial is equipped with 'Scene Modes' that allows an absolute beginner to take tolerable photos.

  EOS7 is a great camera for beginners who don't want a camera that shouts "a beginner camera!" but needs every convenience and simplicity offered by such a camera. It's also a good camera for more advanced users who desire all the features of modern AF cameras but just can't afford top-of-the-grade ones.

  This camera features Canon's fabled EYE CONTROLLED FOCUS technology that allows the user to focus on objects just by looking at it. It sounds great, but it's a gimmick that's way over my little head, so I don't use it. Also, I heard that it doesn't function well for those wearing glasses, so that's another drawback for me.

  This camera is marketed as EOS ELAN7E in the United States. There is also EOS ELAN7, which is similar to ELAN7E, but without the EYE CONTROLLED FOCUS. Such model is not available in Japan. I wonder why.

 

PROS

 

1. Simple to use, even for beginners

 

2. Great quality and mechanical performance for its price

 

CONS

 

1. Pop-up flash doesn't pop-up all that much, so external strobe is required when using large lens in poorly lit environments.

 

2. Portion of the casing is plastic, creating spaces between aluminum casing, causing cheap squeaks and creaks (especially around the shutter button). This spoils the solid feel of the metal casing.

 

 

EOS7 with Tamron 28-300 lens

 

 

 

EOS7 with back open

 

 

Front view

 

 

Body with strobe shut.

 

 

With the strobe raised. It doesn't pop up all that much.

 

 

Command dial, with the scene modes. External strobe socket is painted black, which will definitely scrape off when using external strobes.

 

 

LCD display and other various controls.

 

 

Shutter button. The casing around the button is plastic, while the rest of the top cover is aluminum. This creates cheap squeaks.

 

 

Rear view. Overall, it's simple to use.

 

T O P

 

KENKO BINOCATCH BC1300

MANUFACTURING COUNTRY

China

DATE OF AVAILABILITY

2003 April

SUGGESTED PRICE

19800 yen

TYPE

Digital auto focus camera and memory integrated binocular

LENS MOUNT

NA

CCD

1.3 megapixel CMOS

RECORDING PIXELS

1280 X 1024

MEDIA

SD Memory Card

LCD MONITOR

none

SHUTTER SPEEDS

auto

BUILT-IN FLASH

no

BATTERIES

3 x Type AAA

DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT

127 x 90 x 48 mm

280g (w/o batteries)

 

  I bought this device in July 2003.

  I was facing a problem. The digital camera I had (Kodak DCS280J) only had 2X zoom which was of no use when shooting distant objects. On the other hand, the 35mm camera (Canon EOS7) was often too much of a baggage, and Vectis40 and Vectis S-1 were APS, which I didn't want to use any more.

  When I saw the BC1300 (8X magnification!) on the net, I thought it would solve all my problems. The resolution was only 1.3 mega pixels, but I thought it would be sufficient for my purposes.

  Big mistake.

  The binocular portion is 8X, but the digital portion isn't. What you see through the binoculars aren't the images that are processed to the memory card. The digital portion is 4X at best.

  To make matters worse, Picture quality is extremely poor. The image looks like a mosaic in ancient Greek temples than a photo.

  Binocular + digital camera.

  It's a great concept, it's something I think many people crave for (perhaps not), but this particular product is essentially a really cheap binocular with minimal digital photo capability, with almost no consideration for ergonomics.

 

PROS

 

1. A unique binocular plus digital camera system

 

CONS

 

1. Ejecting the SD memory card is a chore. The designer failed to consider the fact that the user might want to remove the card after use

 

2. What you see through the binoculars isn't what you get in the digital camera

 

3. Digital image quality is extremely poor, resulting in mosaic images

 

 

Front view, with packaging. Comes with a case.

 

 

Rear view

T O P

 

KODAK DC280J ZOOM

MANUFACTURING COUNTRY

Japan

DATE OF AVAILABILITY

1999 July

SUGGESTED PRICE

open

TYPE

Lens shutter compact digital auto focus camera

LENS MOUNT

Fixed lens:

Kodak Ektanar, 8 elements in 7 groups, F3.0-F3.8

CCD

1/1.76 inch CCD

RECORDING PIXELS

2.3 megapixels

MEDIA

CompactFlash

LCD MONITOR

1.8 inch LCD monitor

SHUTTER SPEEDS

auto

BUILT-IN FLASH

yes

BATTERIES

4 x Type AA lithium batteries

DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT

133 x 52 x 76 mm

342g (w/o batteries)

 

  I purchased this camera in December 2001. It was the first digital camera I ever bought.

  The resolution of 2.3 mega pixels is extremely low by current standards, but at the time I bought it, it was high. Professional digital cameras costing about as much as a medium-sized car had about the same resolution (although with larger sensors). Immediately after purchasing it, I had asked myself again and again why I bought a camera of such excessive performance (and cost).

  Although it was a "high-end" digital camera at the time I bought it, I was immediately dissatisfied with its performance. As a camera, everything fell short of the APS compact I owned, the Vectis40.

  First of all, the lens only has 2X zoom, which fall far short of Vectis40's 4X. Secondly, the camera is extremely slow. It's a slow starter, and it takes ages to process the images on to the memory card. Thirdly, the camera is a battery guzzler, requiring four AA batteries. The batteries don't last, especially if you use the LCD monitor frequently. And last but not least, macro performance is poor. Although it has a macro mode, any attempt at taking pictures of objects closer than 30 cm result in out-of-focus blurs.

  This is the camera I use the most (both 35mm and digital included). Many of the images in this site were taken with this camera. But I'm looking for a replacement (I bought its replacement, Nikon COOLPIX3100, in October 2003).

 

PROS

 

1. Easy-to-use interface

 

CONS

 

1. Rather large and heavy for a "compact" digital camera

 

2. Requires four AA batteries

 

3. Processing is slow

 

4. Poor macro performance

 

 

Front view, power off

 

 

Rear view

 

With power on

 

 

Rear view, power on

 

Top view

 

Command dial

 

 

LCD display

T O P

 

MINOLTA VECTIS40

MANUFACTURING COUNTRY

Japan

DATE OF AVAILABILITY

1996 April

SUGGESTED PRICE

66000 yen

TYPE

IX240 lens shutter auto focus camera

LENS MOUNT

Fixed lens:

Minolta Lens 30-120mm F3.5-F9.9 (equivalent to 38-150mm in 35mm film), 6 elements in 6 groups

SHUTTER SPEEDS

auto

BUILT-IN FLASH

yes

BATTERIES

2 x CR2 lithium batteries

DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT

123 x 71.5 x 60 mm

320g (w/o batteries)

 

  I bought this camera in August 1998, for a trip to Thailand. I've been using disposable cameras until then.

  This camera wasn't under consideration when I entered the camera store. I wanted a Pentax Espio, a compact 35mm camera with 5X zoom lens. But when I tried to load the test film, I found that I had two left hands when it came to handling cameras. The store clerk, observing this, recommended that I try an APS camera.

  That was the Vectis40. Lens was a 4X zoom (30 - 120mm), which was lower than the Pentax, but I found it quite attractive (easy to use, to be exact), so I purchased it on the spot.

  It's a fine camera, and served me long and well until I realized that the APS is headed to extinction.

 

PROS

 

1. Simple interface

 

2. 4X zoom lens

 

3. Splash-proof

 

CONS

 

1. APS

 

2. Battery guzzler; I didn't take as many photos in Thailand as I had planned, because the batteries dried up at the airport before departure. I had to rely on spares during the trip.

 

3. No manual zoom. Power zoom is fine, but it's slower than doing it manually, and eats up batteries like crazy.

 

4. You need a coin to open the battery compartment. Well, actually, you can open it without a coin, but you'll damage the latch. I kept opening and closing the battery compartment (to take batteries in and out to conserve them) with my fingernail, and the latch was damaged. I seriously doubt that it's splash-proof any more.

 

 

Front view

 

 

Rear view

 

Lens fully extended

 

Rear view. Scene modes can be seen.

 

 

Close-up

 

Front view

T O P

 

MINOLTA VECTIS S-1

MANUFACTURING COUNTRY

Malaysia

DATE OF AVAILABILITY

1996 June

SUGGESTED PRICE

62000 yen (body only)

82000 yen (with V zoom 28-56mm F4-5.6)

10000 yen n (with V zoom 22-80mm F4-5.6)

TYPE

IX240 auto focus single lens reflex

LENS MOUNT

Minolta V mount

SHUTTER SPEEDS

auto

BUILT-IN FLASH

yes

BATTERIES

2 x CR2 lithium batteries

DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT

126.5 x 76.5 x 63.5 mm

365g (w/o batteries)

 

  I bought this camera in September 2002. It was the first SLR I ever bought.

  I signed up for a group photo session that was to be held that month, and decided that I should use an SLR, not a compact camera.

  But being strapped for cash, I wanted an SLR at the lowest possible price.

  That was when I saw the Vectis S-1, sold at a clearance price (about 40000 yen, 40% of the suggested retail price). The fact that it was an APS camera using batteries compatible to the Vectis40 (CR2) made it quite attractive. It would enable me to use the Vectis40 as a back-up. Also, it was a Minolta, the same manufacturer as the trusty Vectis40. This camera has my name engraved on it, or I thought at the time.

  I purchased the Vectis S-1 on the spot, and took it to the shooting session the next day without testing it.

  Big mistake.

  It turned out that the camera was defective. The power seemed to turn off at the perfect shooting moment, turns on unexpectedly at the slightest touch. The motor of the winder is defective as well. I found more than one photos with unintended double exposures.

  I was the only one in the photo session with an APS camera, and the promoter of the session had no APS film in stock, so when the APS film I brought ran out, I had to go out and sprint for about half an hour to purchase additional films.

  This camera, had it not been defective, would have served me for a long time, despite all the drawbacks. But being defective, it served me only twice before retiring. That's what you get for buying something at a clearance price. You end up spending more.

 

PROS

 

1. Simple-to-use interface.

 

2. Compact body and lens

 

3. Splash-proof body and lens, a feature that isn't offered in 35 mm SLRs other than Canon's flagship EOS1v and Nikon's flagship F5

 

CONS

 

1. Defective. I don't know about other Vectis S-1s, but the one I own is the only Vectis S-1 I know, so it places ideas in my head that all Vectis S-1s ever manufactured are defective. I lost all confidence I had toward Minolta.

 

2. Made in Malaysia. I have nothing personal against Malaysia. It's probably a wonderful country. But the Vectis S-1 was the first camera I bought that was not made in Japan. It made me doubtful of all Japanese maker cameras assembled in foreign plants.

 

3. Being compact, it's easy to handle, but being compact, I look as if I'm using a compact camera rather than an SLR.

 

4. The power button is located right beside the finder, so there were instances where I turned the camera off when I was looking through the finder (at first I thought that this was the reason why the camera turned off suddenly)

 

 

Front view with 28-80 mm lens

 

Rear view

 

Front view, body only

 

Strobe raised

 

Rear view. Note the gray power button immediately below the finder at the upper left corner.

 

 

The two Vectis.

Vectis S-1 body (rear) is more compact than the compact camera Vectis40 (front).

 

T O P

 

MINOLTA ƒΏ-8700i MIR

MANUFACTURING COUNTRY

Japan

DATE OF AVAILABILITY

1990?

SUGGESTED PRICE

172000 yen (set price; includes 35-85mm AF lens and external strobe 5200i)

TYPE

35mm auto focus single lens reflex

LENS MOUNT

Minolta ƒΏ mount

SHUTTER SPEEDS

30 to 1/8000 seconds

BUILT-IN FLASH

no

BATTERIES

2CR5 lithium battery

DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT

153.5 x 93 x 69 mm (body only)

520g (w/o batteries; body only)

 

  After the Minolta Vectis S-1 experience, I thought that I'll never purchase another Minolta ever again in my life time.

  But, as the saying goes, never say never.

  I purchased a Minolta.

  "Why in the world did you buy a Minolta? Are you crazy? Don't you ever learn," you might ask.

  Well, the Minolta I purchased was no ordinary Minolta.

  It's an ƒΏ-8700i.

  What's so special about ƒΏ-8700i? There must be a million ƒΏ-8700i around, you might say.

  Well, this particularƒΏ-8700i is no ordinary ƒΏ-8700i.

  It's a MIR Limited Edition.

  What is 'MIR'? What's so special about it?

  MIR was a Russian space station, launched in 1986, and destroyed intentionally in 2001. It first served as a space laboratory for the Russian Space Agency, and later became as an important test-bed for the International Space Station.

  In the late 1980s, two Japanese astronauts (male and female, not at the same time) went to MIR with specially-built Minolta ƒΏ-8700i, as first Japanese in outer space. To commemorate this historic event, Minolta produced 8000 units of Minolta ƒΏ-8700i, with the special pearl-white finish similar to the ones that went to outer space.

  It is said that the pearl-white finish prevent the camera from heating up by strong solar rays.

  I read about this camera a dozen times in magazines on used cameras, so I knew about its existence, but I thought that I'll never see it.

  In December 2003, I went to Matsuyama on a trip. I saw a camera store, and decided to have a look inside. Although not a used camera store (majority of the cameras sold were new), in the corner was a used camera section.

  There were many cameras, and one that stood out the most was the ƒΏ-8700i, with its pearl-white body and external strobe. It was in very good condition (another camera that stood out was an unused Canon New F-1 and motor drive, which was sold by the next day despite the price tag of 200000 yen).

  Not only was it in good condition, it came with the original box.

  And the price?

  68000 yen, excluding tax.

  No pocket change, but not an impossible fortune.

  I contemplated for several moments, and decided to purchase it.

  It was 71400 yen with tax.

  With minute scrapes, it's not exactly in mint condition, but it's in very good condition, with original manuals, and guarantees (with the name of the previous owner; no longer valid).

 

PROS

 

1. Simple to use

 

2. Although limited edition, it's relatively inexpensive

 

3. Pearl-white finish is beautiful

 

4. Made in Japan

 

CONS

 

1. No built-in strobe

 

2. Plastic body. I don't know if the ƒΏ-8700i that went to outer space is exactly same as the ones sold to general public, but if it is, I seriously doubt its durability

 

3. Auto focus relatively noisy and slow by current standards

 

4. Pearl-white finish too fragile for practical use?

 

 

Humongous box

Although hard to see in the image, the space station MIR printed on the surface

 

 

Complete set

With body, lens,

 and external strobe (in the black case)

 

 

Assembled set, with strap, and caps

The pearl-white body is, well..., extremely white.

 

 

Rear view

 

 

With camera back open

 

Shutter button. Palm grip is extremely large

 

 

Even the lens is pearl-white

 

 

Detail

 

 

Detail

 

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T O P

 

MINOLTA ƒΏ-7700i

MANUFACTURING COUNTRY

Japan

DATE OF AVAILABILITY

1988

SUGGESTED PRICE

80000 yen (set price; includes 35-85mm AF lens and external strobe 5200i)

TYPE

35mm auto focus single lens reflex

LENS MOUNT

Minolta ƒΏ mount

SHUTTER SPEEDS

30 to 1/4000 seconds

BUILT-IN FLASH

no

BATTERIES

2CR5 lithium battery

DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT

153.5 x 93 x 69 mm (body only)

590g (w/o batteries; body only)

 

  I responded to a sweepstakes of a magazine on used cameras, and won this camera for free.

  It came with a lens and an instruction manual. It looked very used.

  Operation and dimensions are similar to ƒΏ-8700i. The major difference is that while the ƒΏ-8700i is capable of shutter speeds of up to 1/8000 seconds, this camera is only capable of only up to 1/4000 seconds.

 

PROS

 

1. Simple to use

 

2. Made in Japan

 

3. Nice grip

 

4. Setting can be immediately returned to P mode simply by pressing the P button.

 

CONS

 

1. No built-in strobe

 

2. Plastic body. I have nothing against plastic body (I use Nikon D100), but the surface finish of this camera is very plasticky.

 

3. Auto focus relatively noisy and slow by current standards

 

4. Lid of the battery compartment is not connected to the body. I'm afraid that I'll lose it someday.

 

5. Mode setting is done by buttons, not dials like current cameras. I find dials are easier to operate

 

 

With standard lens

 

Note the large grip

 

 

Rear view

 

 

With camera back open

T O P

 

MINOLTA SR-1s

MANUFACTURING COUNTRY

Japan

DATE OF AVAILABILITY

1967 June

SUGGESTED PRICE

37900 yen (in 1967)

TYPE

35mm manual focus single lens reflex

LENS MOUNT

Minolta SR mount

SHUTTER SPEEDS

1 to 1/1000 seconds

BUILT-IN FLASH

no

BATTERIES

 

DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT

145.5 x 88.5 x 47.5 mm (body only)

830g (with MC ROKKOR PF)

 

  This isn't my camera. It's my parent's.

  Along with this camera, he had two lenses, MC ROKKOR PF F1.7 55mm and KOMURA SUPER F5 300mm. It seems that MC ROKKOR PF F1.7 55mm and SR-1s body was sold together as a set.

  He bought it second-hand in early 1970s, but said that it still cost a small fortune.

  What cost even more was the KOMURA SUPER F5 300mm.

  The fact that it came with a leather case (not shown) make it feel vintage.

  SR-1s is an improved version of Minolta's medium-range camera, the SR-1. It's more compact, and maximum shutter speed increased to 1/1000 seconds, up from 1/500 seconds. In terms of maximum shutter speed, it equaled Minolta's top-end product at the time, the SR-T101.

 

PROS

 

1. Made in Japan

 

2. Metal construction

 

3. No batteries required

 

CONS

 

1. Hefty for its size

 

2. Maximum shutter speed of 1/1000 seconds might be regarded inadequate by current standards

 

 

With MC ROKKOR PF

 

 

With MC ROKKOR PF

 

 

Rear

 

 

Rear

 

Top

 

 

With back open

 

With KOMURA SUPER

 

 

With KOMURA SUPER

T O P