Oct 19 2016

Pentax IQ zoom 170sl

Pentax170sl-5554It’s film cameras like this that produced the dreadful images that put many people off photography or drove them to buy expensive terrible early digital cameras. The notion of having a lens that covers 38-170mm sounds good but there are a few reasons that it isn’t. The maximum aperture of the lens is f5.6 at the wide end and f12.8 at the telephoto end, neither gathers much light. Couple that with the fact the maximum shutter speed was a paltry 1/250 second and its almost a guarantee that blurry images were going to result. But lets say you use some good technique and you do manage to get a blur free image there is still the fact that there is a boat load of chromatic aberrations (ie colour fringing) you’ll be waist deep in vignetting and only the center of the image is sharp. And by sharp I mean butter knife sharp not tack sharp. So why bother using this camera 15 years later? Good question, I suppose I too was lured in with the promise of a 4.5x zoom, thinking won’t that be fun, it wasn’t. So if you see one of these languishing in a thrift store bin its better to walk away and save your film for a more worthy camera. It’s hard to believe but there are a few 35mm film point and shoot cameras that attempted even longer telephoto zoom maybe I should try them.

Oct 14 2016

Ricoh R1 Light seal transplant


I seem to attract light leaks with cameras like ants to a picnic or mosquitos to the one spot you missed with the repelant. All very annoying. I’ve been using my Ricoh R1 for a few years now without any issues and have been very pleased with it. Ricoh R1 with Color Implosion Ricoh R1 great camera design
Ricoh R1 in Niagara but then this happened.


There are some clues in the leak: It repeats on every frame, it is near the edge, it is a narrow strip. This all points to the light seal around the film canister window.
Taking a close look at the seal I could see that it had begun to deteriorate. I decided to look for a donor camera that would fit the bill. It isn’t until you nead something that you realize how hard it is to find. The variety of shapes and sizes for the seal material was unexpected not to mention the different textures and methods of adhesion. Not finding a perfect match I decided rather than doing the sensible thing and just blacking out the film window I would deprive a cheap camera of its seal despite its poor fit. A little extra strip of foam shouldn’t hurt either.


As you look at this you may be thinking well that looks unprofessional to which I would reply ‘It’s inside the camera and it does the job’

Here is the proof


And here are a few images from before the seal transplant.

Oct 8 2016

Harrison West one year after

It was just a little of a year ago that the Wood Lake fire occurred on the West side of Harrison lake. I originally went there after the fire was out and they had just reopened the road. Now I have returned to see what changes have taken place. Obviously slow growing plants like trees will take time to come back but those plants that grow rapidly like ferns and grasses have already started to cover the landscape. Its interesting to see so much happen over the course of a year and I plan to return again in coming years.

Oct 2 2016

Pentax MZ6 Kodak 400 and Fujicolor 200 mixed.

The MZ6 is a great little SLR that I have written about many times so I wont repeat myself here but I will post 30 random pictures taken using it with two rolls of either Kodak 400 or Fujicolor 200

Sep 21 2016

Yashica T4 Super


What can I really add that I haven’t already said about the Yashica T4 Super? http://wkoopmans.ca/notebook/?s=Yashica+T4
Perhaps not much, if I was to summarize all my posts it is a very good point and shoot camera.

One thing about one camera: The Yashica T4 Super has a top shutter speed of 1/700 of a second and the flash can synchronize at that speed. This is one of the reasons that this camera is very good at fill flash.

Sep 4 2016

Pentax efina T


The Pentax efinaT is with out a doubt my favorite APS film camera. I’ve posted previously about its robustness here Pentax EfinaT
It’s just one of those cameras that seems like the peak of its type, its type being a small camera with a film format doomed for failure before it ever started of course. EfinaTAdvert

It’s 23-69mm lens gives a similar field of view as a 29-87mm lens on a 35mm film camera a very nice focal range and with the wide 16:9 aspect ratio its a fun camera to compose images with. The lens is a slow f5.6 to 9.9 comprised of 6 elements in 5 groups with two of them being aspherical. The slow speed of the lens shouldn’t be a surprise considering the compactness of it. The camera does weigh a hefty 195g due to its metal build. Interestingly it has a 5 point autofocus system and can also be set to spot focus. The close focus distance of 65cm can be used at any of the zoom settings.

I didn’t scan the film, I photographed it with my Pentax K-3 setup APS-Scanning-8008
and then cropped and adjusted it in Lightroom. I also decided to leave the full area of the film visible just for the sake of it and so you can see the true image size captured.
The film itself is 24mm wide but the image area captured is only 16.7mm along that edge and 30mm along its length. It results in an image area 58% smaller than that of 35mmm film although it’s no less fun.

Aug 14 2016

Ranger 35


Every so often I try out a camera that results in an epic fail, this Ranger 35 meets and exceeds that. Its a cute little camera with all kinds of design touches and markings.

It is the sort of cheap camera I expect you could once have ordered from the back of a comic book. The shutter nominally provides 1/25,1/50,1/100,1/200 of a second as well as bulb and the aperture ranges from f3.5 to f16. The focusing is strictly via zone and unfortunately my camera doesn’t appear to be anywhere near accurate. Out of a roll of 24 images I think there is one that I would deem to be completely in focus and that must have been accidental. So its more an object to look at than a camera to produce anything worth seeing.

Aug 8 2016

Voigtlander Vitessa


There are certain cameras that are things of beauty and some that are functional and the Voigtlander Vitessa is all that and more. The most unique attributes of this camera are the way the lens pops out of the barn doors like a cuckoo clock’s bird and the film advance plunger. The plunger not only advances the film it also sets the shutter so you are ready to go for your next exposure. The rangefinder focusing is done with a rear thumbwheel much like the Fujica 35 SE an arrangement that I feel is better than turning the front of the lens as is done with most other rangefinders. The lens itself is a very good 50mm f2.0 Ultron with 6 elements. I found it to be plenty sharp and to create gratifying images.

Every aspect of the camera is well made making it a pleasure to look at and use.

Jul 31 2016

Developing film on a BBQ

I wanted to demystify the developing of colour film. It really is a matter of time and temperature…oh and keeping the film in the dark that’s important too. The film was some very old 110 Kodacolor II that I found in a thrift store camera and it turned out to not have any images on it but the processing itself wasn’t at issue. I’m not actually advocating using a BBQ for film developing but the point is that its not as hard as it seems. I used a Unicolor C41 kit which includes all the necessary instructions.

I shot the video with the Pentax K-3 in timelapse mode. The K-3 was set to take a picture every 2 seconds it then builds the sequence into a video clip in camera which is very convenient.

Jul 29 2016

Epic Light Leak

I discovered that an Olympus Stylus Epic that I used had a light leak. That’s bad but the other problem was I have two nearly identical Epics and I don’t know which one it was.
The leak appears at the bottom of each frame. The detail shown in the image above being the most obvious example. Because the image on the film is created upside down it means that the leak itself is coming from the top. I looked at both cameras carefully but couldn’t see any obvious source. However there is a rubber seal on Epics that could have been slightly askew. So then I ran a roll of 8 exposure film I happened to have through the one that was the least likely culprit.

I put it under lights I exposed it to lots of daylight after taking darker images so if there was a leak it would be obvious. So far so good with this one and I have another roll yet to develop just to be sure because this is one of those cameras that everyone that shoots film should have.

The Leaker

The Light Tight?

UPDATE  They both leak light!  With ISO 400 film and bright conditions they seem to both have leaks. Well that’s frustrating. It may be coming through around the lens.  I have a third Epic that is a champagne DLX that I am going to give a try.  I would really like to take an Epic on an upcoming trip.


And finally third times a charm:  The Champagne coloured Epic DLX doesn’t leak light!