May 24 2015

The Story of the Megapickle Race


May 22 2015

Olympus IS-10


Digital super zoom cameras with a few exceptions have been looked down on by ‘serious’ photographers primarily because they tend to have tiny little sensors with large lenses.  The positive is that they are able to cover a multitude of focal lengths in a single package the trade off has been lower image quality.  Back when the Olympus IS-10 was released in 1994 though it used 35mm film just like almost every other camera available. Olympus called their version a ZLR or ‘Zoom Lens Reflex’ as it had a mirror and prism for viewing just like an SLR however it does not have an interchangeable lens.  The lens zooms from 28mm-110mm with apertures from 4.5-5.6 across that range.  The lens has 11 elements in 9 groups and is superior to any similar point and shoot lens.  In fact at the 28mm wide end the lens is amazingly good.  The program line for the camera will result in the lens being wide open for shutter speeds bellow 1/60sec at 28mm and 1/125sec at 110mm beyond that as the light increases the shutter speed will increase in step with the lens stopping down.  You can also quickly select an aperture using the button and the camera will respond by selecting the necessary shutter speed (aperture priority).  While full manual control isn’t possible further exposure manipulation can be accomplished by using spot metering.

Like any other lens letting a direct light source like the sun strike it will cause flare and reduced contrast.OlyIS10_Jan2015_009


One thing about one camera:  No matter what buttons you’ve pushed and if you’ve forgotten how to set the camera a quick push of the full auto button will set everything back to its defaults.

The digital bridge camera zoom war has seen the focal length range expand from around 28-500 in 2008 which was already impressive to 24-2000 in 2015 which makes film bridge camera zooms seem pedestrian.



May 18 2015

Pentax ZOOM 280p


The Pentax zoom 280-p is a beast of a ‘point and shoot’ weighing in at just over 1lb (467g with battery)  as a camera of this style it’s really only rivaled in size by the Nikon Zoom Touch 800 .  The 280-p though has a 28-80mm zoom lens rather than the Nikon 37-105mm. I much prefer the wide angle over the telephoto.  The Pentax 280-p lens is comprised of 10 elements in 8 groups with a reasonably fast f3.5 at 28mm and f8.0 at 80mm (when compared to other zoom point and shoots from its time)

The camera has a lot of features though that help to compensate for its bulk.

  1. remote control built into the grip which even allows for zooming to 28/50/80mm.
  2. step or continuous zooming
  3. +-3EV exposure compensation in 1/2 steps
  4. Image size tracking (it can zoom automatically for portraits)
  5. Multiple exposures (under the drive menu)
  6. Interval timer settable from 10sec to 60min
  7. Several flash settings (Slow Speed/Bulb Sync/Auto/Daylight Sync/Forced Off)
  8. Focus override for infinity and spot
  9. Bulb timer settable from 1 second to 10 minutes

When all is said and done though it’s the image that matters and not the camera and unfortunately the Pentax zoom 280-p does not provide that good of image quality.  I found it missed focus on a fair number of shots and the amount of distortions particularly at 28mm render all but the center of the image unusable.   The verdict is that it’s just too heavy and it doesn’t provide enough in the final image to make up for it for general shooting.  In 1993 it was one of the first point and shoot film cameras to provide this sort of focal range but it was surpassed by later models, and it’s ugly.


May 14 2015

Pentax UC1 75th anniversary

PentaxUC1-0924This camera looks like its had a tough 75 years but it’s only been 21.  Pentax celebrated its 75 anniversary in 1994 and produced a few limited edition cameras as well as ones like this. This Espio MiNi otherwise know as the UC-1 was available both in black and silver but  it’s only the sticker that distinguishes this one.  This particular camera looks like it spent some time around salt water or a nervous sweaty handed photographer with the chrome eroded away revealing its true plastic nature.  Just the same I thought it was worth a roll of film to see if it worked.  And true to its appearance it worked but not perfectly.  It seems that there were a few blank frames where no picture was captured.  When it did work and this is true of other Espio Mini’s it produced good results.  The lens is a simple 3 element design (32mm) that produces sharp images from corner to corner with accurate exposure.  For more post about my other non pitted UC-1 look here October 2014 February 2014  April 2013 or March 2012

One thing about one camera:   The Pentax UC-1 allows close focusing down to  1 ft and has LCD  frame lines in the viewfinder to help compensate for the parallax.


May 11 2015

Pentax K-3 Multi Exposure Bright Composite Mode

The Pentax K-3 has a number of new features not previously available on any camera.  While other cameras have had the ability to take multiple exposures none have come close to the versatility of the K-3.  In my case I wanted to use this feature to create the look of a long exposure with flowing water.  Light conditions were that even stopped down to f22 and 100 ISO the shutter speed was around 1/2 second.  That just isn’t enough time to give the look I was after, which ultimately is an averaging of the water. This GIF shows two images each captured using 20 exposures one using averaging and one with bright mode. _K3_4006-4007_composite

Primarily the difference between the two methods was that averaging did as it suggests and all twenty frames smoothed each other out where with the ‘Bright” mode of composition any bright reflection of water registered above the rest of the frames.  So it would appear that for smoothing out water averaging is the better mode.  Another difference though was that the Bright mode image was about a half stop brighter.  I could have edited to eliminate that but I’m not sure if it is something that always occurs and it also helps to differentiate the images.

I continued to use ‘Bright’ mode for the rest of the images it gives the look of a long exposure with the added stop motion of a fast shutter speed.  Which one is preferable is a matter of taste.  additionally I lowered the number of exposures I used to create each image to 9 which seems to give roughly the same effect as the 20 did with these shutter speeds.




Here is a detail from one of the above images which shows how using the bright mode allows for individual variations in the water to still register and not be smoothed away this would likely have created a more dramatic difference had I used a shorter shutter speed for each exposure.

My initial post and more information about composition here Pentax K-3 Multi exposure and Interval Composition

There is another way to use Bright composite that I haven’t been able to fully utilize yet and that is to use it to create multiple flash exposures. The idea is that with the camera on a tripod taking multiple exposures and a wireless flash trigger you can walk around a scene lighting it with a flash. I have done some initial experiments but haven’t had an opportunity to take it to the level I want such as lighting an entire section of a forest or other landscape. That will be a future post I’m sure





May 9 2015

Interactions 15


More posts in the series Interactions

May 5 2015

Petri Blue Majic Scope


Apparently the use of blue coloured glass on the rangefinder patch was enough to warrant marketing this camera as something unique.  Unfortunately other than the blue glass the camera is rather basic.  Not having a light meter isn’t that big of a deal but the shutter doesn’t offer anything particularly unique going to 1/500 second and the lens is 45mm at 2.8 just fast enough to be useful but a bellow average performer.  I’m trying hard to think of something nice to say about this camera but nothing is coming to mind and that is not a good sign as I’m often effusive about other cameras…wait wait I thought of something it makes cool Bokeh balls.Petri_Jan2015_016


May 2 2015

Contax RTS ‘the indignity’


After two issues with the film not advancing the final indignity the Contax RTS delivered to me was that for the one roll that had worked it was light struck through almost every frame.  So as far as I’m concerned I have a group of Contax/Yashica lenses and no camera for them to go on…Yes that’s right RTS you are not welcome here you may leave now.  Besides you are heavy and cumbersome, good bye I said!


Apr 28 2015

Fuji Epion 3000ix Zoom


There were two versions of this camera the Epion 3500ix and this the 3000ix.  The former had a detachable controller that also doubled as a lens cover or a wireless remote or could be clicked to the back making it like the 3000ix.  The fixed back is better if you don’t want to lose the half that controls everything or the half that takes the pictures.  The reason I like these cameras (APS taken into consideration) is the 21mm wide-angle. The full size of an APS film image is the H format or 30mm x 16.2mm  so using the Pythagorean theorem c = sqrt { a^2 + b^2 } .   we get a diagonal of  34.1mm While 35mm film has a diagonal of around 43.3mm.  If we take the larger size and divide it by the smaller diagonal we get a value of 1.26 This is our ‘crop factor’ between the two film formats (Most people just round it to 1.3).  So the 21mm of the Fuji is equivalent to a 26.7mm lens on a 35mm film camera.  Okay there is a problem with all this in that the aspect rations are different but if you want to argue about that you’re welcome to find a camera forum, pretty much anyone will do.  I also like the 16×9 aspect ratio which I may have mentioned on a few previous occasions.

I should probably mention that the film I used was just some random stuff I had.  Some images even look like they have a 32 colour pallette I cant expain that. I even tried two different methods one of them my Pentax K-3 with plenty of dynamic range.  There just wasn’t much information captured in the film itself resulting in this ‘analog’ banding which I like.Fuji3000ix_detail-0575



Apr 25 2015

Scratched lens repair (spoiler it didn’t work)

In the dusty pages of some old photography books can be found tips on dealing with a scratched lens.  Pop_Science
Generally small marks on the front of a lens aren’t apparent in the final image but it the light strikes them in the right way they can cause extreme loss of contrast and flare.  With large lenses feeding light to large pieces of film a small mark is hardly noticeable and the flare and contrast issue can be controlled by painting it black.  It may be surprising but it works.  I thought I would give it a try with this digital camera that I picked up cheaply.  It has a dent on the body but works fine despite that. It’s the number of what appear to be gouges on the lens that needed to be addressed though.CanonG11scratches-0944


I set up a baseline test to see what sort of improvement I could achieve. I pointed an LED flashlight directly at the lens at an angle that produced the greatest impact.  CanonG11scratches-0947

after which I carefully applied the minimum amount of black pigment in the scratches to prevent light from being scattered.  And it did have that effect but unfortunately the black was readily apparent in the images.  This appears to be a function of two things tied to the image sensor.  One the sensor is small so the lens is small too meaning that any scratch takes up a greater amount of the total surface area and secondly the small sensor provides for a large depth of field meaning that rather than being defused across the entire image the blackened scratch appears in focus to an extent. While the lens is badly damaged and it effects the image in real world shooting the problem is far less apparent.  It’s only when you let direct bright light fall on the front of the lens that it is obvious. IMG_0769

Here are some more samples from around my yard, you can see that its harder to even find the scratches.  Also I found that by using the telephoto end of the zoom they had even less impact on the image.