Crohn's Disease Awareness · editorial · film photography · health · life · Photo essay

Testing Cameras on Location: Canon 7, Nikon F, & Kodak Premo No. 2

I’ve been feeling extremely tired lately I think from the medication I am on for Crohn’s Disease, and just from the disease in general. It’s been really challenging for me to go out in the summer heat to take photos. I can’t really explain the type of fatigue that comes with Inflammatory Bowel Disease. It’s not so much like being tired after a long day. That kind of fatigue usually can be remedied with sleep. The type of tiredness that comes from an autoimmune disease is like waking up in the morning, feeling like you never went to sleep, and you just can’t summon the energy to move any part of your body. From what I understand, this is due to the fact that my immune system is always on. It is so busy fighting the disease that anything else thrown at it just throws me into overload. That’s the best way I can describe it. So I apologize that my articles and YouTube videos have been few and far between. But I still love film photography and I’m still shooting when I can.

The Gear

Mike Eckman recently lent me his Canon 7 to try out for a little bit to see how I like the older rangefinders. I normally use SLR cameras, but I’ve been having a hard time getting accurate focus while wearing my glasses with them. My focus has been significantly better with the rangefinder.

I decided to take this camera with me on a test run along with a Kodak Premo No. 2 folding camera and my Nikon F with the Nikon clip on meter attached to give them all a good testing.

I had some energy and I had to take advantage of it. It was a very hot day as is everyday in Florida this time of year, so I had to do everything very quickly. There is no taking your time when shooting outside here.

My fiancé and I drove into a town nearby called Tradition. I often go there to shoot because there’s much more to take pics of than in my town. Right away I found a spot to park and a wide lake to shoot. It was the perfect subject because I equipped my Nikon F with the Nikkor 24mm f2.8 lens and the Kodak Premo No. 2 takes wide shots on 6×9 film frames.

I didn’t bring a tripod, because I needed to be quick, or else I wouldn’t last. They were all loaded with Ilford HP5 400 film.

The Tests

First, I tested out the Premo. I was excited to use this one because it was my first time shooting with a folding camera. It doesn’t have a built in meter so I used the Pocket Meter app on my phone. This camera’s fastest shutter speed is only 1/50th of a second. I knew this would be an issue in the bright conditions that day, but I hoped the large aperture numbers would make up for it.

The f32 aperture definitely made up for the slow shutter speed. It also gave me a very wide depth of field, catching the foreground as well as the wide background.

I put a yellow filter on the Nikkor to help the clouds pop. The first few shots I took with the Nikon F was to test the clip on meter. The meter told me to open wide the aperture. I am not sure why. I knew it was wrong but took the shots for testing purposes.

I have used the meter before in less bright situations, and it was fine. I am thinking that the brightness of the sun, and the reflection off the water threw the meter off. As you can see below the shots were somewhat over exposed.

Next, I used the meter on my phone and metered the sky. This time it told me to close down the aperture. These shots came out better than the ones metered with the clip on meter.

The Canon 7 Mike lent me was equipped with a 50mm lens, not quite wide enough for this setting as well as a built in selenium meter. I did take a couple shots here, but after that I decided to drive on and find another spot.

The built in meter reacted the same as the Nikon clip on meter. It wanted me to shoot wide open, but the shots didn’t come as bad as the Nikon pics.

The shot below, I metered with my phone app. These almost came out too dark, and I suspect that the meter compensated for the bright reflection on the water. I didn’t think of that at the time.

We moved on to another area of the town square. I love the city hall building. I have shot it before with my Argus Seventy-Five. I figured the Premo would be perfect for this tall building.

You may notice the light leaks around the edges. This happened because when I unloaded the film, I found the film was not rewound tightly on the take up spool. I don’t know why this happened, but now I know next time I will have to unload the camera in the dark. Also in the last picture you can see the circles and numbers from the backing paper were burned into the picture. Again I don’t know if this was also caused by the unloading process or if the red window in the back caused light to leak in. To be safe next time I will also tape up the window.

Finally, we drove on to another area to shoot around the bridge. I used the clip on meter again and in shaded areas such as the pictures of the trees below, it metered correctly. Although there was lens flare.

When I metered these shots of my fiancé, the meter again faltered in the bright conditions and over exposed. Not so bad though that I couldn’t correct it in post processing.

I also shot here with the Canon 7 and relied on its built in meter. It didn’t do badly in certain areas. Same as the Nikon clip on meter, it faltered when sun reflected off the lake, but in shots such as the trees below, it was pretty good.

I enjoyed the rangefinder so much that I continued to test it when we returned home. It’s built in meter held up well indoors and outdoors as the sun set.

Final Thoughts

It was a really good day. It took a lot out of me, but as long as I am shooting, I am happy. I haven’t been able to summon energy lately to do anymore. Hopefully soon I will get out there again, because I hope to do a formal review of the Kodak Premo No. 2, as well as the Nikon F with the clip on meter. I am not sure if I will do a formal review on the Canon 7 because I want to return it to Mike soon. Hopefully I will own one in the future myself and I will do it then. The prices are a little too steep right now. I may try some of the more affordable rangefinders until then. Mike suggested the Zorki. What do you suggest? Let me know in the comments.

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Until next time, stay motivated and keep shooting.

14 thoughts on “Testing Cameras on Location: Canon 7, Nikon F, & Kodak Premo No. 2

  1. I can’t imagine having a health issue that is so constant. It must be so draining, I am always impressed by your attitude. As for the fat rolls, they are so annoying. It makes everything awkward. Sometimes I want to try another roll while out and about, but you can’t change over without a bag.

  2. I got a No. 2 Cartridge Premo in a box of old cameras from Goodwill, but unlike yours the bellows was a shambles and the little red window was missing. The lens on mine is a rapid rectilinear and the shutter is 1/50 and 1/25 plus B and T. I might try patching the bellows and putting some red acetate in the window.

  3. Hi Aly – I like your work and your attitude! Most of your ‘mistakes’ are quite reasonable (not blocking the red window, light leaks) and you still manage nice images. I strongly disagree with the advice to try Soviet stuff. It’s advantages are;1 interesting designs- often copying pre war classics. 2. low price. BUT quality control is abysmal (here is where everyone with a working unit pops up with ‘mine is fine’ You don’t want to deal with a broken or breaking camera while you are learning.

    1. Thank you. Yes I’ve heard about the quality control. I think the only way I’d buy one is if it was a really cheap price. Otherwise I’ll probably save for a canon 7 or a Leica. Idk much about Leica though.

  4. Nice review and good video. Good to see women in the field who aren’t afraid to dive into a camera. Me, I don’t like to, but that is just because I have very little patience and shaky hands. So, my vintage cameras are usually in good shape when I get them, just to avoid such things. But, old film cameras are such a joy to use, like old sewing machines and a good, balanced hammer!

    Anyway, on an aside. IBD / Crohns / UC is not fun, and the fatigue from poor nutrient absorption is not fun. I don’t know if you have heard about the IBD-AID diet, but it helped me immensely, as did giving up gluten. You will find an excellent Facebook group that is supportive for this diet, as well as can learn about it from the UMass medical website. It is an offshoot of the SCD diet and I found it to be better for me. SCD was very limiting and the lack of starchy foods did not help. IBD-AID includes oats, and that was a game changer for me and my overall health with IBD. If you haven’t heard of this diet, look it up.

    I’ll be back for more posts!

    1. Thank you 🙏
      I have not heard of that diet. I did SCD when I first was diagnosed and it was just too extreme. I lost too much weight and the only thing it helped was my heartburn. I know some people swear by that diet but it was just too strict for me. I was miserable. I will have to look into the IBD-AID. That sounds better. Thank you for telling me about it. Diet is the hardest part to taking care of IBD because every person is different and that makes it so difficult to treat. My sister has IBD but she’s not as bad as me and she can eat things I can’t. Anyway sorry for the long response lol I was excited when I saw your suggestion for a diet I actually have not heard of.
      Take care.

      1. Send me a pm – you have my email from these – and I will be glad to help you out with it or give you some of my own experiences. I like the IBD-AID as it really seems effective for many. Like you, I couldn’t keep weight on with SCD. It helped but not enough IMO. The corner turned with IBD-AID. And, glad to have been able to point you in what might be a successful direction. 😉

  5. Hi Aly,
    I suggest you try one or more of my Soviet Rangefinders and see if you like them. They are kind of an acquired taste, like oysters. I have lent equipment to some other bloggers without any issues. Have a bunch of Feds, Zorki, and several Canon P’s, Leica ii, iii, etc.

    1. Yes the Soviet ones make me nervous because I’ve read they’re hit or miss with quality control etc. the ultimate goal is to get my own canon 7 or P and eventually I’d love to try a Leica. I also have always wanted to try the Nikon SP because it’s what the Nikon F was modeled after. But these are dreams lol I’ll have to start saving.

  6. Some great shots Aly. I never knew yellow filters would make clouds stand out like that. I need to get one because they definitely were eye catching. Also, I think those light leaks actually look really cool in the church photos even if they were unintentional. I’ve really been favoring my rangefinder lately. I love my SLR’s, but they are fully manual and I’ve been more interested in the ease of aperture priority and trying to learn zone focusing. A Zorki might be cool. All those Eastern Bloc cameras are interesting.

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