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06-04-2016, 01:50 PM   #4246
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QuoteOriginally posted by Cuthbert Quote
The BC 3 has arrived:
Nice... and, is it electronic???

06-04-2016, 02:00 PM   #4247
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QuoteOriginally posted by chickentender Quote
Nice... and, is it electronic???
Electronic diaphragm control. Assume that's the equivalent of the Pentax-A contacts (???)
06-04-2016, 05:38 PM   #4248
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QuoteOriginally posted by doggy1972 Quote
Electronic diaphragm control. Assume that's the equivalent of the Pentax-A contacts (???)
I was just tongue-in-cheek remarking about the moniker prominently inscribed across the front top right.
06-04-2016, 06:44 PM   #4249
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QuoteOriginally posted by doggy1972 Quote
Nice work! Every Praktica I have bought has either had a stuck shutter or immovable battery cover. Lenses are also pretty bad mechanically. Usually stiff focus or stuck iris (or both) I have performed minor repairs on these with some success but, the different variants of the same lens seem VERY different construction wise and great care must be taken to be methodical. There's usually a nasty surprise in there somewhere. I'm very wary of buying them these days as, what seems to be a bargain usually ends up as a paperweight.
That's strange, the VLC3 in particular seems to be a very solid camera, not Nikon F2 solid but at least K1000 solid (beside the plastic battery cover). I had reservations on the lightmeter but if there is corrosion in the compartment it works, and even is it's has been designed for a 4.5V battery it works with two 6V battery in series (so 12V).

Today I took the BC3 out and I lost the rewind lever...just to find it out that it got unscrewed, it just needed to get tightened and that was all. For the rest it appears everything is working great, besides that I got a BX20 with the lightmeter off but this happens to many cameras, so I assume I was lucky with Prakticas.

QuoteOriginally posted by WPRESTO Quote
In their day, at least here, Prakti cameras and lenses had poor reputations. We don't don't appreciate good mechanical parts, machining rather that stamping, until we come across something more cheaply made. OTOH, so long as the latter work, they can be totally satisfactory.
Today it appears the lenses are well regarded, a Pancolar 80mm 1.8 remained on the ebay in Germany for 3 hours before being sold for 270 euros, all the others have a BIN price above 500 euros. The 50mm f1.4 is also very expensive, as the Flektogon 35mm and 20mm, in general all the Carl Zeiss Jena are more expensive than their Japanese equivalent and mostly on pair with Carl Zeiss/Yashica glass. I would say that even humble Pentacon lenses better built than Pentax As, in particular 50mm f2 and f1.7.

QuoteOriginally posted by chickentender Quote
Nice... and, is it electronic???
QuoteOriginally posted by doggy1972 Quote
Electronic diaphragm control. Assume that's the equivalent of the Pentax-A contacts (???)
Ah!The contacts of the diaphragm are the "electric" technology, that was a smart idea to have open metering with M42 mount without getting compatibility problems (SPF for instance), but the Praktica Bs are indeed electronic cameras, without battery they don't work as they have an electronic shutter (even the BMS that doesn't offer aperture priority has an electronic shutter like the Zenit 19), they are more or less the equivalent of an ME Super with more features (an intelligent AE lock that works pressing a button, TTL metering with the BX).

QuoteOriginally posted by chickentender Quote
I was just tongue-in-cheek remarking about the moniker prominently inscribed across the front top right.
I assume in 1979 the East Germans were very proud to have developed a small camera with their electronic shutter, like Pentax was proud to introduce the "electronic" K2 in 1975. They wanted to shot they weren't backward or conservative in their choices.


Last edited by Cuthbert; 06-04-2016 at 06:58 PM.
06-05-2016, 05:14 AM   #4250
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QuoteOriginally posted by Cuthbert Quote
Today it appears the lenses are well regarded, a Pancolar 80mm 1.8 remained on the ebay in Germany for 3 hours before being sold for 270 euros, all the others have a BIN price above 500 euros. The 50mm f1.4 is also very expensive, as the Flektogon 35mm and 20mm, in general all the Carl Zeiss Jena are more expensive than their Japanese equivalent and mostly on pair with Carl Zeiss/Yashica glass. I would say that even humble Pentacon lenses better built than Pentax As, in particular 50mm f2 and f1.7.
The M42 versions fetch good prices. PB mount don't command anything like those prices though due to the shorter registration distance of the mount itself. Its still a real crap shoot with regard to condition and usability. Also, those prices seem a little high. Lots of people not searching Ebay well enough I suspect They are VERY plentiful just because CZJ/Meyer/Pentacon made so many of them.

I can honestly say I've NEVER come across a Zeiss Jena lens or Pentacon that even comes close to Pentax quality build wise, A/M/K or any other kind and I've been inside quite a few of them. There may be some that were better built but, I'm not aware of those. They certainly can't touch C/Y mount Zeiss lenses which are VERY solid indeed.

I'm not bashing CZJ lenses, when they work they are pretty good (although, IMHO not as good as the hype would suggest)
The best one of the bunch IMO is most definitely the CZJ MC 135 f/3.5. A fantastically sharp and contrasty lens. Flektogon 35mm 2.4 if you can deal with soft corners and very erratic sample variation.

---------- Post added 06-05-16 at 01:15 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by chickentender Quote
I was just tongue-in-cheek remarking about the moniker prominently inscribed across the front top right.
Yes, I got the irony

---------- Post added 06-05-16 at 01:52 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by WPRESTO Quote
In their day, at least here, Prakti cameras and lenses had poor reputations. We don't don't appreciate good mechanical parts, machining rather that stamping, until we come across something more cheaply made. OTOH, so long as the latter work, they can be totally satisfactory.
Agree, the internals on most of the DDR kit is scary to say the least. Poor quality brittle metal components and flimsy springs. Lenses are very prone to fungus as well. The Zenit/KMZ stuff seems better in most cases.

Last edited by doggy1972; 06-05-2016 at 05:56 AM.
06-05-2016, 01:05 PM   #4251
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QuoteOriginally posted by doggy1972 Quote
The M42 versions fetch good prices. PB mount don't command anything like those prices though due to the shorter registration distance of the mount itself. Its still a real crap shoot with regard to condition and usability. Also, those prices seem a little high. Lots of people not searching Ebay well enough I suspect They are VERY plentiful just because CZJ/Meyer/Pentacon made so many of them.

I can honestly say I've NEVER come across a Zeiss Jena lens or Pentacon that even comes close to Pentax quality build wise, A/M/K or any other kind and I've been inside quite a few of them. There may be some that were better built but, I'm not aware of those. They certainly can't touch C/Y mount Zeiss lenses which are VERY solid indeed.

I'm not bashing CZJ lenses, when they work they are pretty good (although, IMHO not as good as the hype would suggest)
The best one of the bunch IMO is most definitely the CZJ MC 135 f/3.5. A fantastically sharp and contrasty lens. Flektogon 35mm 2.4 if you can deal with soft corners and very erratic sample variation.
My experience is different on the matter, and in this board the quality problems with the diaphragm of the A 50mm f2 and 1.7 are well known, I have a 1.7 that cannot be really used because of that, never seen a DDR or a Soviet lens with that problem.

Also, I think you confuse CZJ with Meyer/Pentacon, while the latter are extremely common, CZJ glass is rare, especially for PB mount. The fact that some Pentacons were sold in the UK as "Carl Zeiss Jena" doesn't help either. I have the following CZJ lenses:

1) Pancolar 50mm f1.4
2) Flektogon 20mm f2.8
3) Sonnar 135mm f3.5
4) Vario-Sonnar 80-200 f4

They are all excellent, equal or better than their Japanese counterparts, in particular the zoom is astonishing, it's an internal focus with a minimum distance on 1 meter for all lengths and it's best zoom I've ever had.

I add one pic for each lens:









Also the cheap Meyer glass that you can find for few quid are no slouch:

50mm f1.8 M42:



28mm f2.8 PB:



Today I went out to test the VLC3 with the Pancolar and the BC3 with the Flek 35mm f2.8 that I got for relatively cheap, I'll post the pics but so far I cannot avoid to recommend these lenses.
06-06-2016, 05:12 AM   #4252
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QuoteOriginally posted by Cuthbert Quote
My experience is different on the matter, and in this board the quality problems with the diaphragm of the A 50mm f2 and 1.7 are well known, I have a 1.7 that cannot be really used because of that, never seen a DDR or a Soviet lens with that problem.

Also, I think you confuse CZJ with Meyer/Pentacon, while the latter are extremely common, CZJ glass is rare, especially for PB mount. The fact that some Pentacons were sold in the UK as "Carl Zeiss Jena" doesn't help either. I have the following CZJ lenses:

1) Pancolar 50mm f1.4
2) Flektogon 20mm f2.8
3) Sonnar 135mm f3.5
4) Vario-Sonnar 80-200 f4

They are all excellent, equal or better than their Japanese counterparts, in particular the zoom is astonishing, it's an internal focus with a minimum distance on 1 meter for all lengths and it's best zoom I've ever had.

I add one pic for each lens:









Also the cheap Meyer glass that you can find for few quid are no slouch:

50mm f1.8 M42:



28mm f2.8 PB:



Today I went out to test the VLC3 with the Pancolar and the BC3 with the Flek 35mm f2.8 that I got for relatively cheap, I'll post the pics but so far I cannot avoid to recommend these lenses.
Im CERTAINLY not confusing CZJ lenses with Meyer/Pentacon lenses. The Pancolar, Flektogon and Sonar ARE good lenses but, from my experience, they share one thing with all the DDR lenses that I have owned, POOR quality construction. Open one up and have a look Scary bad build quality.

Also, I wouldn't consider CZJ lenses rare, they are readily available on Ebay and various other places. Ebay search turns up multiple copies every time I search. Hardly rare.

I wasnt passing TOO much judgement on their optical qualities but, having tried the Flektogon 35 f/2.4 it's absolutely no match for my Pentax K 35 3.5 (a Japanese lens) even stopped down except with regard to close focusing. ALL the Fleks I've owned (probably 5 or 6) have shown soft corners and edges at every aperture. That's why I have ended up selling them on.

ALSO, I have owned and sold quite a few Pentax-A 50mm f/1.7 lenses NOT ONE has had aperture problems (Now the Pentax-A 35 2.8 is a different story) A LOT of the DDR lenses I've seen have. I'm not saying it doesn't happen but, its definitely more common in the DDR lenses.

In all fairness, I haven't tried any PB mount lenses and, if you read my earlier post you'll see I did say they were supposed to be excellent. I just don't see the hype with regard to the CZJ M42 lenses. Of all the DDR lenses I've tried the Pantacon/Meyer 50 1.8 is by far the best value and, quite a good lens. I suspect a lot of praise CZJ receive on internet forums is from sellers trying to inflate prices.

Nice pics by the way! (although your Sonnar looks soft )


BTW, the lenses I currently own are -

CZJ Sonnar 135mm f/3.5 (3 copies all red MC) - 1 has fungus, 1 has aperture problems
CZJ Flektogon 35mm f/2.4 (Red MC) - Gritty focus but, focuses OK
CZJ Flektogon 35mm f/2.8 (Zebra with modified A/M switch) - Slow aperture and lumpy focus now fixed.
CZJ Pancolar 50mm f/1.8 (Zebra) - Lumpy focus, hit and miss aperture (stops down sometimes)
CZJ Pancolar 50mm f/1.8 (Red MC) - Wont infinity focus
Pentacon 50mm f/1.8 (MC) - Perfect
Meyer Oreston 50mm f/1.8 (Zebra) - Oily blades, wont stop down
Pentacon electric 135 f/2.8 (early version 1) - OK condition, quite a nice lens

I'm extremely sick of having to fix these lenses time and time again. I just wont buy them any more.

Last edited by doggy1972; 06-06-2016 at 05:40 AM.
06-06-2016, 05:18 AM   #4253
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A 50mm aperture problem (derived by a design flaw):

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/10-pentax-slr-lens-discussion/23058-penta...-troubles.html

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/10-pentax-slr-lens-discussion/192958-stuc...m-f-1-7-a.html

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/114-maintenance-repair-articles/88051-pen...ng-repair.html

Then let's forget about this diatribe otherwise we derail this thread.

06-06-2016, 06:24 AM   #4254
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Tell that to my 50 f/1.7

---------- Post added 06-06-16 at 02:30 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Cuthbert Quote

Then let's forget about this diatribe otherwise we derail this thread.
Whatever you say Sir
06-06-2016, 07:17 AM - 1 Like   #4255
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I'm with Doggy on both of these, having serviced numerous examples of both. The East German lenses are poorly engineered and constructed across the board, no exceptions. The Russian/Soviet lenses are even worse.

Very common problems include:
1. Extremely poor quality lubrication, which nearly always has to be replaced at some point due to breakdowns of lubricity or migration to the blades, optics, etc.
2. Non-adjustable infinity settings that often come inaccurate from the factory
3. Aperture mechanisms designed poorly and prone to breakage (note, this isn't just a problem with the ring catch as in the Pentax, but problems with the blades and actuation systems themselves)
4. Poor quality metals, the presence of which is covered up by copious layers of black paint
5. Poor tolerance machining
6. Lunatic design decisions that make lenses much more difficult to repair (If you no longer value your sanity, try taking apart a Flektogon 35mm)
7. Common use of aluminum on aluminum helicals rather than brass on Aluminum, which is much less prone to failure.

The A 50mm f/1.7 on the other hand is sensibly designed to good tolerances, with high quality lubricaton and easily serviced. There is some more plastic than in previous incarnations, but the only really poor design decision was to connect the aperture ring catch spring with a plastic rather than metal rivet. When this breaks, which causes 99.9% of the reported aperture problems with this lens, the repair is easily accomplished and takes about 10 minutes, requiring only removal of the base and aperture ring. Also, the only other A lens that I am aware of that uses these cheap rivets is the 50mm f/2, so basically this problem is confined to the two cheapest standard lenses in the A line. The East German lens problems aare almost across the board.

To be fair, I find nearly all European lens designs (big Western names like Leitz, Zeiss, Kern, and Angenieux included) to routinely employ puzzling or even senseless design decisions, whereas the Japanese manufacturers (excluding Canon) nearly always use much more elegant, logical, and robust designs. The problems with the the Eastern Bloc lenses is that they combine overly complex design with poor manufacturing tolerances and low-quality materials, leading to much much higher rates of problems.

Note that this all applies to the mechanical side: The glass on Eastern Bloc lenses is often excellent and stands up quite well to its Western European, American, and Japanese peers.

And just for fun, here are Doggy's lenses, each assigned a problem from the above list ( I ignored the 2 he is currently happy with)
CZJ Sonnar 135mm f/3.5 (3 copies all red MC) - 1 has fungus, 1 has aperture problems - Problem #3 Problem #6
CZJ Flektogon 35mm f/2.4 (Red MC) - Gritty focus but, focuses OK - Problem #1 Problem #6
CZJ Flektogon 35mm f/2.8 (Zebra with modified A/M switch) - Slow aperture and lumpy focus now fixed. - Problem #1, Probelm #3, Possibly #5 and #7, one of the worst cases of #6 I have ever encountered
CZJ Pancolar 50mm f/1.8 (Zebra) - Lumpy focus, hit and miss aperture (stops down sometimes) Problem #1, Problem #7, Problem #2PRobelm #6
CZJ Pancolar 50mm f/1.8 (Red MC) - Wont infinity focus Problem #2 Problem #6
Meyer Oreston 50mm f/1.8 (Zebra) - Oily blades, wont stop down Problem #1, Possibly #4 Problem #6

Last edited by dcshooter; 06-06-2016 at 07:48 AM.
06-06-2016, 07:28 AM   #4256
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QuoteOriginally posted by dcshooter Quote
I'm with Doggy on both of these. Having serviced numerous examples are both. The East German lenses are poorly engineered and constructed across the board, no exceptions. The Russian lenses are even worse.

Very common problems include:
1. Extremely poor quality lubrication, which nearly always has to be replaced at some point due to breakdowns of lubricity or migration to the blades, optics, etc.
2. Non-adjustable infinity settings that often come inaccurate from the factory
3. Aperture mechanisms designed poorly and prone to breakage (note, this isn't just a problem with the ring catch as in the Pentax, but problems with the blades and actuation systems themselves)
4. Poor quality metals, the presence of which is covered up by copious layers of black paint
5. Poor tolerance machining
6. Lunatic design decisions that make lenses much more difficult to repair (If you no longer value your sanity, try taking apart a Flektogon 35mm)
7. Common use of aluminum on aluminum helicals rather than brass on Aluminum, which is much less prone to failure.

The A 50mm f/1.7 on the other hand is sensibly designed to good tolerances, with high quality lubricaton and easily serviced. There is some more plastic than in previous incarnations, but the only really poor design decision was to connect the aperture ring catch spring with a plastic rather than metal rivet. When this breaks, which causes 99.9% of the reported aperture problems with this lens, the repair is easily accomplished and takes about 10 minutes, requiring only removal of the base and aperture ring. Also, the only other A lens that I am aware of that uses these cheap rivets is the 50mm f/2, so basically this problem is confined to the two cheapest standard lenses in the A line. The East German lens problems aare almost across the board.

To be fair, I find nearly all European lens designs (Big Western names like Leitz, Zeiss, Kern, and Angenieux included) to routinely employ puzzling or even senseless design decisions, whereas the Japanese manufacturers (excluding Canon) nearly always use much ore elegant, logical, and robust designs. The problems with the the Eastern Bloc lenses is that they combine overly complex design with poor manufacturing tolerances and low-quality materials, leading to much much higher rates of problems.

Note that this all applies to the mechanical side: The glass on Eastern Bloc lenses is often excellent and stands up quite well to its Western European, American, and Japanese peers.
This is my experience EXACTLY with these lenses. They seem to fall under the category of "Character lenses" which, although quaint doesn't really make up for the multitude of problems that they seem to exhibit. I MUCH prefer the Helios/KMZ lenses due to the low risk (read: low price) when purchasing them. They are, however, a PITA also.

As I said previously, I REALLY like the Sonnar 135 f/3.5. VERY sharp, nice contrast and not too difficult to take apart when the inevitable problems rear their ugly head. 3 hands at least are required to service a lot of these lenses (Sonnar not included) The coatings are also soft and easily damaged.

As a side note. I'm not aware of "rebadged" Pentacon lenses with CZJ markings, although I'm perfectly willing to be corrected on this.



I also had a look and I have 5 more -

Pentacon MC 50mm f/1.8 - Fungus, oily aperture blades, doesn't stop down
Pentacon 29mm f/2.8 - (This one is a doozy) Fungus, oily blades, doesn't stop down, stiff focus, wont infinity focus
Flektogon MC 35mm f/2.4 - Attempted fix for stuck blades was unsuccessful (spring was so brittle it broke) only usable wide open
CZJ Tessar MC 50mm f/2.8 - Intermittent aperture closure problem (quite a nice, sharp lens though)
CZJ Tessar zebra 50mm f/2.8 - Focus stuck solid (cant be bothered to fix it)

I also have a HUGE stack of various Praktica bodies. ONE of them works correctly

By contrast, legacy Olympus lenses can be repaired with the lights off and one hand tied behind your back (well almost)

Last edited by doggy1972; 06-06-2016 at 08:16 AM.
06-06-2016, 12:23 PM   #4257
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QuoteOriginally posted by doggy1972 Quote
I also have a HUGE stack of various Praktica bodies. ONE of them works correctly


It appears I'm quite lucky with Prakticas because of the ones I have just two don't work: a BC1 with a sort of LX sticky mirror issue and a BX20 with the meter 4 stops off (I think it can be fixed).

I have on working conditions...let's see, this VLC3, the BC3, the Jenaflex AM 1 and AC 1, a BCX and a MTL50.

Since we are in the gear p0rn thread let's show something:









Regarding the fungi, sticky diaphgram, ungreased focusing rings etc...do you guy realise the problem is that this gear has been neglected for decades, right?
06-06-2016, 04:05 PM   #4258
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The K Trio








K 55 1.8 especially, has STUNNING build quality. Smooth as silk, quite exquisite.

---------- Post added 06-07-16 at 12:07 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Cuthbert Quote

Regarding the fungi, sticky diaphgram, ungreased focusing rings etc...do you guy realise the problem is that this gear has been neglected for decades, right?
Damn! I hadnt thought of that. Silly me!

Last edited by doggy1972; 06-06-2016 at 04:37 PM.
06-07-2016, 02:38 PM   #4259
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QuoteOriginally posted by doggy1972 Quote

K 55 1.8 especially, has STUNNING build quality. Smooth as silk, quite exquisite.

---------- Post added 06-07-16 at 12:07 AM ----------

[/COLOR]

Damn! I hadnt thought of that. Silly me!
While I agree the K55mm f1.8 is a great lens (much better than the M and A 50mm f1.7) IMO the Pancolar is no slouch either.

I just received my test roll taken with the brick (the VLC3) and these are the results:



Take this, Doggy!

P.S. I also post the current "arrangement" for the batteries...it is supposed to take a single 4.5 Volts battery!
Attached Images
View Picture EXIF
XT1072  Photo 

Last edited by Cuthbert; 06-07-2016 at 02:55 PM.
06-07-2016, 03:51 PM   #4260
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QuoteOriginally posted by Cuthbert Quote
(much better than the M and A 50mm f1.7)
REALLY don't get what your issue is with these lenses. Look at the reviews. They're well loved and take fantastic images.

This is the Pentax-F version but, I dont see much wrong with, what is basically the same design.



QuoteOriginally posted by Cuthbert Quote
Take this, Doggy!
Not bad. Use them while you can, they'll probably be paperweights in a few weeks
I have 2 Pancolars and have owned several others. Never saw what all the fuss was about to be honest.

Last edited by doggy1972; 06-07-2016 at 04:35 PM.
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