Apr 23 2014

Pentax Espio W

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I have to admit it was the 28mm focal length that attracted me to this camera and pretty much nothing else, I am that shallow.   However it turns out that within its extremely limited range it’s actually a camera (No I did not forget to place an adjective it literally is a camera).  The zoom is a paltry 2X  going from  28mm to 56mm with apertures of 4.5-8.6.  Not exactly a low light star and the lens is only actually sharp in the center but its 28mm people why else would it be called the W.

So the good: 28mm and large buttons and display. The Bad: 56mm isn’t exactly telephoto (See image of seal bellow) and pictures look vaguely like they have been smeared with vaseline but only in the corners so that’s okay.

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Apr 20 2014

Cellphoneography what happened to all the cameras?

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For many photographers and those interested in photography there may be a  bit of a bubble effect where,  we are interested in cameras so we think everyone else is too, but we are in our own little world because most people have given up on single purpose photographic devices (i.e. cameras).  Sure there are more people taking pictures now than there ever has been before but they are not doing it with ‘cameras’.  It wasn’t that long ago that if you wanted a picture of something you needed a camera, so that’s what people had hanging around their necks and in their hands at destinations like this Tulip festival.  Now with the proliferation of ‘smart phones’ having a camera is no longer a necessity.  Cell phones and tablets serve the function of proving you attended somewhere or something.  The change hasn’t occurred to the same degree for those of us that fancy ourselves as ‘photographers’ with our cameras and lenses but for everyone else they just don’t need to go out and buy a separate camera if what they already have serves that function well enough.  You can see the camera industry reacting to this, although slightly behind, by dropping the basic point and shoot camera and concentrating on niche higher end cameras for the bubble people and maybe to convince a few cellphoneographers to enter the bubble.   Where will this all lead us?  Leaving the social media and sharing aside for a moment I think that there is likely to continue to be different devices for different photographic purposes of which cell phones are only one.  Now the survival of film that is another story.


Apr 19 2014

Fuji st701 and Zeiss Flektogon 35 f2.4

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This is really two posts in one.  How good the Fuji St701 is with Pentax Lenses and how terrible the Ziess Flektogon 35mm F2.4  is.   It started when I pulled out some M42 lenses to put together a complete kit centered around my Fuji st701.  The other lenses are Pentax Takumars (28mm f3.5/50mm f1.4/ 135mm f3.5/200mm f4) but I also wanted to give the Zeiss Flekton 35mm a try.  Wow what a terrible lens it’s like a Lens Baby without the configurability.

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In case you thought that was a one-off aberration here is some more eye candy.

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There are many cases online of people who are happy with this lens but it seems to me that most instances of this are of people using it on digital cameras with smaller sensors and therefore only using the center portion.  Perhaps I have a case where my lens has some mis-aligned element but it seems properly centered so I think that is doubtful.  I just think that wide open it’s not that good.

Now for the other part of the post.  I think the Fuji ST line of cameras are probably the best cameras available for the M42 mount.  They have an exceptionally bright viewfinder and are very well-built.

As a side note it may be a bit of a stretch to say that the latest Fujifilm digital camera the X-T1 has  ST701 DNA in its design but that camera does look nice. Fujifilm_X_T1

 

Here are some images shot with the other lenses and maybe one or two from the Zeiss you might be able to spot those ones.


Apr 16 2014

Ricoh R1

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The Ricoh R1 is like two cameras in one.  A high quality 30mm point and shoot and a 24mm panoramic riot of distortion.  For my purposes I think I will stick to 30mm.  That is the cameras native focal length and it’s only by swinging extra lens elements into the optical path that the 24mm is created.  Some people disable the panoramic masking at 24mm to allow the full 35mm frame to be exposed but the result is a mix of the distortion I mentioned and severe vignetting.

While not as small as the Olympus Stylus Epic it has superior ergonomics and controls and still fits in a pocket easily.  As for 30mm as a focal length it is a bit wide but not as much as 28mm. I tend to prefer 35mm but this is a decent compromise.

It really is a testament to the design of this camera that 20 years later Ricoh is still making digital cameras that take their design cues from the R1.  Additionally the iconic GR series of film cameras were an improvement on the R1 while retaining similar ergonomics.

In this 100% crop you can see really see the quality of the 30mm f3.5 optics at the center.  It’s not as good in the corners but is still respectable.

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And now for the pictures.

 

 

 


Apr 14 2014

Polaroid Spectra P-18

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Apr 12 2014

Canon AF35ML

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I tried the Canon AF35ML again (a different unit) and once again I wasn’t overly impressed with the results despite the promise of that 40mm f1.9 lump of glass.  The exposures were inconsistant as well as the focus.  It is just a fair camera and not one that inspires.  So what to do with it….I know exactly what to do, I’m going to adapt that lens on my Pentax Q where it will be a 220mm equivelent super macro lens.  Maybe then it will learn to perform.


Apr 8 2014

Riverview Hospital Coquitlam

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It’s sometimes odd how as photographers we seek out places from the past to create images for the present.  It’s a common theme to capture something that is on the cusp of disappearing.  From the very beginning photographers have tried to stem the tide of time going to great lengths, even recreating pseudo realities of times already gone.  It’s as if we can’t wait for our images to evoke a sense of nostalgia.  If we take pictures of the ‘right now’ it seems too mundane it doesn’t spark the same thing in the viewer.  That sense of this is something different because it is no longer here.  It takes time to make many things interesting.  An early cell phone didn’t seem interesting beyond its technological function at the time say 20 years ago but its sure a ‘huge’ source of amusement now.   Think of a portrait viewed at the time it was taken. It’s generally appreciated as a likeness of the person and not necessarily more but fast forward 30 years and that portrait now speaks to the passage of time, to fashion to aging.   What does all this have to do with pictures I took around the grounds of the now closed Riverview hospital complex?  Well I took these pictures now because I’m almost certain it won’t be there in the future, I’m hedging my nostalgia bet.   There is a lot of history here and in the future when we think back to how we handle the issues around mental illness perhaps a few photographs could be illustrative.  I would love to take more with greater access but that seems unlikely.  I do wonder how many photographs were taken around the site over its operating history. I suspect that it may be less than imagined do to the stigma that has always surrounded mental health and the societal norm of secrecy.


Apr 5 2014

Paxina

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Not that much to say really there is a lens a shutter and a light tight box…wait the box isn’t so light tight.  How does that Meat Loaf song go ’..two out of three ain’t bad.’  yah he was wrong.

The lens on the Paxina is colapsable which is nice for making it slightly more compact but it lets light in where it’s not supposed to.  In hindsite I shouldn’t be that surprised after all I am sliding a shiny metal tube into a hole in the front of the camera what did I expect.  The shutter works well despite the age of the camera but is limited to 1/25,  1/100,  1/250 and Bulb.  I love the name of the lens the Kataplast its 75mm f3.5

 

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Someone kindly scratched all types of wonderful reminders on the top plate of the camera so now I know if I’m shooting Verichrome-Pan film in Hazy conditions I should use 1/100 and f 11 thanks for that.  On the other side is the even more helpful information for Ektachrome ASA 32.


Apr 2 2014

Konica C35

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There is something quite liberating about having a fixed lens camera do the exposure for you, it lets you forget that one technical aspect and concentrate on the making of the image.  The Konica C35 does exactly that but with what I think is the added benefit of rangefinder focusing.  With most autofocus point and shoots your never truly sure where it’s focused and I like to be in control of that.  To me this is as close as it gets to simply converting what you see into a static image.  There are of course multitudes of options for producing superior images.  In that case though its like there is a layer of technology between the photographer and the image.  It’s a subtle thing that I’m struggling to convey with words but using the Konica C35 or other cameras like it is a wonderful and simple photographic experience.


Mar 29 2014

Spring 2014 with the Pentax M Macro 1:4 100mm

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This post serves a dual purpose: one as an ode to spring 2014 and the other as a test of the Pentax M Macro 1:4 100mm lens on my Pentax K-01.  I am happy with the performance of this lens even when used at its widest aperture.  It only remains to be tested with 35mm film but I suspect it will do just as well with the added benefit of allowing me to share the lens between film and digital.  It’s slightly more compact than the DFA 100 Macro  WR and is manual focus but it actually seems better suited to the K-01 and the way that this mirrorless camera is used.  In fact with its focus peeking the K-01 is an ideal manual focus camera.