30 Dec 2015

New Folder in Vintage Collection

I've just added a new folder to my vintage collection!
How cool is that? :D

Happy new year.

23 Nov 2015

First test roll from a Zeiss Super Ikonta 531

Zeiss Super Ikonta 531 + Ilford FP4 Plus with unknown expiry date.
Stand developed in 1+100 Rodinal for 1:10 hours, with two agitations.
Scanned on Epson Perfection 4490, straight on glass without film holder and without top pressure.

Levels and sharpness enhanced via Photoshop.

Exposure mostly determined by a Kopil cold-shoe light lighter, except for the portrait, where I used a Sekonic L-558 for flash metering.

I wonder if the haze in the front element can be cured with a back rub, and whether it's going to enhance contrast, but I'm gonna need a smaller screwdriver than what I currently have.

Lens performance is satisfactory where in focus. I am now a believer in Tessar, but focus at infinity didn't work in the photos even though it aligns perfectly on the rangefinder and the lens infinity mark. Could be handshake though, or could be that the film plane was off since this was 35mm film in a 120 camera. I used 80gsm A4 paper as backing paper to give compensatory thickness behind the film.

I should also determine whether satisfactory sharpness is only affected where a very narrow aperture is used or not. The portrait shows the texture of the fleece, but this was also the narrowest aperture used on this roll for the flashgun.

As you can see in the first photo, I did not get even the framing right (must have turned the tripod head when I was cocking or screwing in the cable release.) Most other frames were otherwise great, and have mostly been long exposures due to low light in my room and ISO125.

Portrait was taken with a 1s exposure in a dark-ish room (my laptop screen was still on), and single flashgun that I was holding in my hand, fired manually.

25 Sep 2015

Kodak Six-20 Brownie Box Camera 35mm

So I felt a sudden urge to shoot one of these box cameras. I can't explain it, especially given my craze for sharp photos. Sharpness is the last thing you want to expect from one of these, but heck, I wanted one, I got one, and here is how I tested it.

Before you start following any instructions, keep in mind that using 120 film spools was not a good idea here. I had to respool on original 620 spool to get this going.

Using 120 film backing paper and a Lloyds bulk loader, I taped the leader of my 35mm film right where the 120 film was. The Lloyds bulk loader allows you to use its weight and design to keep the film straight as you roll it.

With a spool at each end, the whole contraption went into the dark changing bag and I rolled an amount of film into the first spool.

Then I cut the film and rolled all the way to make sure the film and paper are nice and snug, and then I respooled the whole thing in reverse into the other spool. This way, I had the film "starting" where it should, and I could use the film counter numbers (which I didn't) to know how much film I'm actually advancing.

The backing paper was torn at the edge from the other spool which hooked into the hole and didn't want to come out in the dark bag. I had to tear it but that is fine. Now I simply rolled this in the camera making sure the emulsion side is facing front. This is where the problems began with using 120 film spools as they weren't the right size.

Advancing the thing was very tough and eventually the whole paper was torn. I had to take it all out, respool it on 620 spools (exposing a lot of both edges of the film in the process).  I'm lucky I had two of these lying around

The camera was then ready to shoot.

Knowing the aperture value (which was f14 in this case, the shutter value (which is either fixed at 1/30th or bulb), and knowing my ISO rating (which was ISO125 since I used Ilford FP4 Plus), I metered the scene outside of my window and took a bulb-timed shot of the outside (meter reading to get the time, then hand-guesstimating on the button to actually shoot), and here is the first shot which sat in Rodinal 1:300 for about an hour and a half. Tones levelled in Photoshop to make it darker. Not bad eh?

15 Sep 2015

Franka Solida III - overview

The following squares have been taken with this very camera in the video above. No cropping whatsoever. Film was an expired Fujichrome NPH400, developed in C-41. Colour tint is either from expiry or from scanner. I might fix that.

31 Aug 2015


Another photograph post. Another photogear post. Another Contrasts posts.

1/50@f5.6 ISO1600

Looks almost graphite. Would have loved this to be a graphite drawing, but it is actually a photograph.

EXIF data:
Canon EOS 40D
EF-S 17-85mm f4-5.6 IS USM (@50mm focal length)
1/50@f5.6 ISO1600

Feel free to like, fave or share on 500px or flickr as well.

28 Aug 2015

Tools of Some Trade

Tools of Some Trade

"Tools of Some Trade"; featuring a modern light meter and a vintage folding medium format folding camera.

For the curious, the modern is a Sekonic L-558 light meter, and the vintage is a Franka Solida III with a Schneider-Kreuznach 80mm f2.8 Radionar lens in Prontor-S shutter. With viewfinder, no rangefinder.

And yes, I'm using these things to take photographs.

This photograph is in black and white, taken with a digital EOS-M camera and shows so many contrasts. Old and new, modern and vintage, electronic automatic measuring and analogue manual measures, smooth and rough, a dark chamber and a light meter.

Feel free to like, fave and share from this blog, from my 500px or from my flickr.

23 Aug 2015

Fujifilm NPS160 in 6x8 Medium Format

Was thinking, while this blog is on, why don't I share my photography as well? :)

Here are a couple frames from a Fujifilm NPS 160 expired 120 film roll shot in a Fujifilm GX680 II. That is 6x8cm for each negative. That is a whole lot of image real estate.

Both of these shots are taken in my front garden. Fortunately that won't reveal my address to you. ;)

This first shot is of a single white-ish daffodil that bloomed this year in my front garden. The only one this year, something positive perhaps, taken with a Fujinon EBC 100mm f4 at near-macro level. I used the macro extension rails and long bellows of course.

Fujifilm NPS 160, C41, Fujifilm GX680 II, Fujifilm EBC 100mm f4

The following shot was taken with a much wider 65mm f5.6. Remember, at 6x8cm, 65mm is pretty wide. This decoration lantern that won't turn on can potentially mean so many things for me, not all of them positive which goes well with the lantern's incapacity for giving out any light.

Fujifilm NPS 160, C41, Fujifilm GX680 II, Fujifilm EBC 65mm f5.6

Two images that, in the context of their making, despite the simplicity of their content, can mean a lot. Does the blooming of the daffodil stand as the stubborn persistence of life to grow where the forces seem to be against, as the breakthrough of possibility despite the paralysing circumstances that surround it, or does its singularity reveal the lack of fertility in the carer's home and his incapability of providing what it would have taken for the rest of the bulbs to grow? Does the lantern incapable of giving any light reflect what I feel about my journey as a PhD student stuck in a rut and incapable of either production of getting out of what seems like an impossible situation? Or does the sheer symbolism of the object reflect what is actually happening behind the door it decorates? Will the lantern actually give out anything any time soon? Two simple images that I am struggling to read.

I hope you like them.

16 Aug 2015

Canon EOS 50E door clip repair - continued

 Here is a reprint from the last post with the correct length (it was only 3mm short on the top end; fixed that), and after some filing, smoothening and finishing, swapped the metal tab from the old clip to the new one...

And she is back in commission.

14 Aug 2015

Canon EOS 50E door clip repair

My GOD I've been so absent from this blog! But I've been working on my thesis, I promise you so it's all good. Did you consider donating whatever change you have left in your pocket today for a good cause? Try my tuition fees for example.

Today I decided to fix my EOS 50E. It's supposed to be a very good electronic SLR camera from Canon aside from being too plasticky. Don't get plasticky wrong, plasticky means less weight; long as all the features work, who cares, right?

Well, sometimes the slightest plasticky break can break the entire camera, rendering it unusable. Which is how I got this camera with battery grip for £1.20 + postage. Can't complain right?

Wrong. I thought I could fix it easily. Fortunately, the seller was kind enough to stick the broken piece of plastic on the camera body with some tape to make sure it's not lost. Unfortunately, nothing could actually stick that thing back in place.

The piece of plastic in question was no less than the infamous door clip. Yes, just the clip. And without it, the camera is quite useless.

I tried superglue, hotglue, more super glue, and in the end I drilled a tiny 0.5mm hole and stuffed a piece of needle inside of it as support, with yet more super glue, and still that thing wouldn't hold. See, the problem is, it's the door clip for God's sake! It's gonna have to have enough tension to resist letting the entire film door open back up! So I was able to make it hold for a short while, but then it failed again.

Today, it was brought up on a secret Facebook group as a good camera for my needs (it has some nice custom features, which is why I got it from the first place) so I decided to just fix it.

Enter 3D pritner. I held the clip and got my vernier caliper, took some dimensions and guesstimated the rest of them (because I should be doing something else, remember studying?) and I quickly sketched this on sketchup.

And here is my first prototype.

I got some dimensions wrong so it's a bit shorter

but it fits nicely anyway and proves the concept can be turned into a solution

By snapping the top of it, which is where I got the dimension wrong by being too careless, I was able to let it slide and here it is nicely locking my film door in place.


All I need now is to strengthen the spring tab, get the dimensions right making sure it will slide real nice with the screws tight, and swap the metal jumper from one piece to another.

You are welcome.

25 Feb 2015

Olympus mju: II (Stylus Epic) vs XA2- to 40-exp or not to 40-exp?

I've recently got an Olympus mju: II A.K.A Stylus Epic in the rarer champagne (you wish you could fine one of these in your champagne, but I only mean it comes in champagne colour) but had no battery to test it, so I kept it aside until not long later I was gifted a Minolta Riva zoom 140ex with film and batteries in it. I decided to swap the film from a Minolta 140ex into the Olympus mju: II. As I load the film into the Epic in the video above, I discuss the tiny size and why despite the lack of distance between the canister and the frame, you may still be unable to get 40 frames our of a 36-exposure film canister, in comparison to the Olympus XA2, in which you can.

The XA2 is able to let you squeeze 40 exposure out of a 36-exposur canister. The reason is that it does not waste any space between the canister and the film edge, both after the leader and by the end of the roll. This space is usually wasted in other cameras. What helps you get it is that the camera in in fact a manual-film-advance one, so if you are careful enough, you can get an extra two frames at the beginning, and continue to shoot two extra frames in the end.

The mju: II (Stylus Epic) is fully automatic in every regard including loading and rewind. It does not let you decide how much leader goes into the spool before you start shooting, and I suppose it will rewind the thing automatically once the counter reaches 36.

Notice that the mju: II (Stylus Epic) lacks geared sprockets. It does not, like its XA cousins, count the sprockets to know that you have in fact advanced a single frame. Instead, it has an infrared sensor which counts the sprocket wholes in the film. The amount it advances is therefore measured digitally by the infrared sensor. You know what that also means? Partial rewinding or multi-exposures is impossible in this camera. :)

It therefore takes the title point-and-shoot to its ultimate conception, which must appeal to point-and-shooters but less so to more advanced photographers who would like any amount of manual control or hackability, but it is still seen as one of the best 35mm pocket point and shoots out there due to the legendary status of its optical eye.