Sep 2 2018

Olympus OM1 with Kodak Portra 160

OM1Kit-4324

Over time I’ve managed to put together what I think is a nice little Olympus OM1 kit with a 28mm, 50mm f1.8 (Of course), a 35-70 zoom and a 200mm f4 telephoto.  Not comprehensive but small enough yet versatile.  I loaded up the OM1 with some Kodak Portra 160 and  pointed it at some stuff.  Back in the early 1980′s this kit would have cost around $700 but now they can be found at just a fraction of that.  As an all mechanical camera I don’t bother with a battery and shoot it without a meter, using a digital camera instead as a pre-exposure test if necessary.   More about the OM1 in this post OM1 Metering in case you want to use the meter though you’ll need to find a 1.35V PX625 battery if you want it to be accurate.

Olympus_OM1_wkoopmans

 


Aug 25 2018

The Minolta Talker

MinoltaTalker-4329

The Minolta Talker has a limited vocabulary but just enough to be annoying.  I’m sure that in 1984 it was quite the novelty just like the Chrysler K car being able to tell you that your door was ajar or did it actually think your door was a jar?

MinoltaTalker-4331

So what does it have to say?  I’m glad you asked.  It has three different things it says: Load FilmToo dark use flashCheck Distance all in its annoying you don’t know what your doing “voice” thankfully you can turn it off.

What about the Minolta Talker itself, well it has a lens cover that clips on the front of the camera something that could be easily lost.  The lens is a 35mm f2.8 4 element lens which shouldnt be judged from these images shot on expired Fuji Xtra 400.   The lens is actually as good as its ability to speak is ridiculous.

One thing about one camera:  The Minolta Talker (Minolta AF-Sv) has a maximum shutter speed of 1/625 of a second which was faster than any other similar camera from the time.


Aug 19 2018

The Inevitability of Piss Shark in the Brain of Somebody

The Inevitability of Piss Shark in the Brain of Somebody-2

‘The Inevitability of Piss Shark in the Brain of Somebody’  – After Andres Serrano, Damien Hirst

I don’t recall exactly when the idea of marrying these two iconic works of art developed in my mind.

The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living – Damien Hirst 1991

Immersion (Piss Christ) – Andres Serrano – 1987

I think it was somewhere around the time I read about Damien Hirst’s ‘The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living’ becoming murky and requiring a fresh shark.  Both works were and remain controversial, Hirst’s primarily is questioned as to whether it truly is art and Serrano’s for its perceived blasphemy.  The Hirst work exists as a three dimensional object in the world while the Serrano work is a two dimensional photograph but both spring from conceptual art.

So what is this image that I created then? Maybe a little blasphemy of contemporary art or satire of the actual works and how we perceive them? Ether way I found the idea amusing which is usually good enough for me.

On a technical note, I recorded the image using 35mm Kodak Portra 400 film which I then scanned and then had printed.  I created a small print 4″x6″ to fit the requirements for a miniature print show called ‘Compartments’ curated by Latent Image Magazine and held at the Gam Gallery. Compartments

And don’t worry I don’t need to see a urologist that’s not urine but its deceptively difficult to create a reasonable facsimile of what was used for ‘Piss Christ’

The two other images I created for Compartments.

Compartments_010 Compartments_005

 


Aug 12 2018

Yashica Samurai with Agfa Ultra 100

Yashica_Samurai_Ultra100

The Yashica Samurai is a half frame camera which is great because it allows you to get twice the number of images from a roll of film.  And that matters when the outdated film is rare like this roll of Agfa Ultra 100 a friend Duncan kindly gave me to shoot.  Agfa Ultra was described as a saturated film with punchy contrast but after being outdated for a few years it seems to have mellowed out to a pastel pallet and much lower contrast. The sort of contrast like that between a large shrimp and a prawn they look the same to me and are both delicious.  Introduced in 2003 (the same year digital cameras first out sold film cameras)  It had a brief existence.

UltraEktar

The above spectral graph is an indication of how Ultra compares to Kodak Eltar 100 a film it is often compared to.  One interesting thing you can see is that the green sensitive layers of the Agfa Ultra are relatively insensitive to blue light compared to many other films including Ektar. (Its the green line bellow 500nm that I’m talking about). Intuitively this would suggest that it would reproduce clean deep blue skies better.  Agfa claimed that the colour sensitivity of Ultra and Vista more closely matched human colour perception and referred to it as ‘EYE VISION technology”  This is a good time to remember that film is really a 3 dimensional capture medium, while it may be very thin it is comprised of somewhere around 7 layers on top of the substrate that light must pass through and be filtered and absorbed by.  Film is amazing stuff!

One thing about one film: Agfa claimed an exposure latitude of -2 to +3EV for Ultra 

Get ready for a wack of images because I squeezed 70 shots on the roll because of the Samurai being half frame. (Best viewed in full screen)

 

 


Jul 1 2018

The Shitty camera challenge

HappySmile
I took part in a Twitter “contest”  (I use the term contest loosely)  its more a group of people seeing what they can get from some really crappy film cameras and posting the images on Twitter with the hashtag #shittycamerachallenge

I chose to use a camera whos sole purpose seems to be to annoy people.  Its garishly coloured and makes sounds like a cheap electronic game.  But taking pictures with it was fun and seeing what other people produced was great.

Here are the images from my roll of Kodak 400 Max taken with the Happy Smile including one that is an action shot of the camera coming out of the camera bag.


Jun 23 2018

Minolta AL with expired film

MinoltaAL-1673

If you have read more than a few of my blog posts you may be aware that when it comes to film I will shoot just about anything I can get my hands on.  This can produce some interesting and unpredictable results but it also allows me the chance to test out cameras without a huge investment.  No one wants to waste a roll of some fantastic and now rare slide film only to find out the shutter on the camera didn’t work.  Fortunately the AL worked.    The AL has a matched needle exposure system which means that as you adjust the shutter speed and aperture for a given film it changes a small arm in the top window where there is also a small needle that varies depending on the light hitting the photcell on the front of the camera.  The cell is meant to be used as a reflective meter so you need to get close to the object that you are measuring.  When the arm and the needle align  that indicates that the settings match the reading.  Me I just ignore old meters and adjust the shutter and aperture based on more accurate readings from a digital camera or general exposure settings based on experience.   The lens of the AL is a relatively fast F2 45mm but suffers from  chromatic aberration and low contrast.  Well as best as I can tell from this expired film anyway.  The shutter though does go to 1/1000 of a second which is nice.  I’ve seen it posted several times online that it is similar to the Minolta A5 but I think that other than both being Minolta rangefinders that is erroneous.  The A5 has a slower F2.8 lens and slower maximum shutter speed of 1/500 second as well as no meter, these are great enough differences in my mind to disqualify it from comparison.  Minolta A5   getting  back to the AL its a nice solid camera that has that 1960′s aesthetic (not surprising since its from the 60′s)  If you want the 1970′s feel and a slightly better camera have a look at a Minolta 7s  either way Minolta made some great rangefinders over the years and they all can be enjoyed today.

 

 

 


Jun 3 2018

Yashica T4 Zoom

YashicaT4_Zoom-4353

My second go around with the Yashica T4 zoom with some better film, Kodak Portra 400 to be precise.  You can see my previous post about this camera here Yashica T4 Zoom with some information about how to set it to spot focus and other things.  So I wont go into that on this post.  What I will reiterate is that the Yashica T4 zoom has a  28-70mm f4.5 to f8.0 lens comprised of seven elements in six groups.  With better film and some decent light I found that the lens produced nice sharp images.  At the wide end of 28mm there is distortion in the corners and vignetting as well but overall the results are very good for a point and shoot.  One thing that is hard to quantify is the feel of the camera in use and for this the T4 Zoom is above average.  It sits nicely in one hand and feels secure with the rubber ridge on the front.  Without this its ‘bar of soap’ design might make it prone to dropping.  As it is though it slips nicely into a pocket or small space in a camera bag yet handles well. There may be a little of a halo effect with this camera sporting the T4 and Zeiss badge but in reality it is just a good point and shoot not something that stands out above the rest of the crowd or warrants an exorbitant premium price.


Apr 28 2018

Kodak Portra 160 in the Pentax MZ6

MZ6_wkoopmans-3902

While I enjoy using rangefinder and point and shoot cameras there is no doubt for versatility its the SLR that wins.  That’s why when I have the space and can spare the weight I like to bring along an SLR on trips.  In this case the camera was the Pentax MZ6 one of the last film SLR’s produced by Pentax and full of all the features you need in a small light package.

I haven’t shot much of the Kodak Portra 160 mostly because it seems like an odd sensitivity.  It has a Print grain index of 79 at a magnification ratio of 17.9 while Ektar is 66 and Portra 400 is 89.  With only a marginal improvement in granularity over the Portra 400 it makes choosing it more about needing the slower ISO at which point the Ektar comes into play.   Then the choice is more between their colour rendition the more punchy saturated  Ektar vs the more muted skin tone friendly Portra.


Dec 16 2017

Yashica MC

YashicaMC-1706

The Yashica MC is like a miniature version of an Electro 35 with nearly half the weight and twice the charm.  It has the same type of infinitely variable electronic shutter that goes from 1/500 second to 4 seconds as the larger variants and its 40mm f2.8 lens while not as fast is still a decent performer.

The electronic shutter shouldn’t be confused with the modern idea of integrated circuits and processors its still a very analog system that essentially opens the shutter mechanically which also energizes the shutter circuit.  An electromagnet holds the shutter open as long as current flows through one of the transistors but when the charge that is building up in a capacitor, controlled by the resistance of a CDS photo cell reaches a certain level another transistor turns on de-energizing the electromagnet and therefore closing the shutter and switching the circuit off again.  This is why without batteries Yashica’s like this default to their maximum shutter speed, there is nothing holding the shutter open.  There are other factors in the circuit as well such as the aperture which changes the resistance of another part of the circuit or the ISO setting.  Okay when I started typing I thought it was going to be a simple explanation.

To sum it up: Wind film ,Press shutter, light on CDS and aperture determine shutter time, repeat.

My Electro 35 MC is stamped with ‘Hong Kong’ on the bottom so I can only presume that is where it was assembled but the 40mm F2.8 4 element lens is labeled as made in Japan

You can see a previous post about the Yashica MC Sept 2015 here


Dec 2 2017

Baby Bessa

Voigtlander_Bessa-1

This is the eighth post I have done with the Voigtlander Bessa 46 which is roughly one per year that I’ve been blogging.  That seems about right as every so often I think to myself what camera haven’t I used in awhile that I want to use.  I think that the reasons I enjoy using the Baby Bessa as much as I do is that it allows the use of medium format film with more of the feel of using a 35mm camera because of its small size.

I also like the option of doing multiple exposures as seen here.

2009_Feb_Voigt_006

The bad thing about the ability to do multiple exposures of course is that you need to be careful not to do them when you don’t want them.

A search through old magazines shows that in 1939 the Baby Bessa cost $49.59 which may not sound like much but considering that earning $1 an hour back then would have been pretty good pay makes it something not everyone would have considered purchasing.