Apr 30 2013

Minolta Uniomat


I love when cameras exceed my expectations.  You might, like me, think that a camera from 1960 with a programmed shutter and aperture would be questionable,  not in this case though.  The Minolta Uniomat has a selenium meter just bellow the shutter button that moves a galvanometer on the top plate. If you adjust the exposure ring around the lens it moves an arm also in the window with the galvanometer needle, when the arm and the needle match that is the suggested setting for the scene. When adjusting the camera like this you actually have no independent control over the shutter and aperture it follows a set program line. I’ve created this handy little chart which does actually give an indication of the aperture and shutter speed for any EV setting.


You can see in the pictures where I allowed direct sunlight to reach the lens that the images are quite washed out, I think quite a bit of this came from the original uncoated Minolta filter that I left on for the testing.


Apr 28 2013

Pentax K-01, follow the ‘yellow brick’ down the road


I’ve had my new Pentax K-01 for just over a week now and have been trying it with different lenses to see what works best.  Ergonomically the K-01 is not the best camera but once you adapt it is fine, there aren’t any obstacles that permanently get in the way of taking pictures.  The camera seems best when paired with smaller lighter lenses like the SMC Pentax-A 1:2.8 28mm but I was also surprised to find that the DA12-24 is also a good match, the DA*16-50 and DA*50-135 however seem too front heavy.  Manual focusing is great with  focus peeking and the autofocus is fast and accurate (I have the latest firmware Ver 1.03).    And ultimately what really matters is that the image quality is great.

Design wise it certainly is different from other cameras on the market but I don’t see it as being quite as radical as some people have made it out to be.  As is well known it was designed by Marc Newson  for Pentax, it’s just too bad he didn’t get a few more opinions on the button layout.  The look of it though has grown on me and composing with the rear LCD has its own appeal.  You can keep both eyes open and remain aware of what is around you and all the information you would want is available right on the screen as you compose your picture.

The perfectly matching strap was just a matter of luck.  I bought it from Couch Guitar Straps who specialize in hand-made guitar straps but make other items too.  Not only does the Yellow and Black Racer X strap look good on the K-01 it fits perfectly for wearing it across the chest and the width is also super comfortable.  Straps used to be this wide what happened?  My new favourite strap, there isn’t even a second place anymore.

How about these beauties?  Sony makes an inordinate number of appearances and the other Pentax should be easy to spot.Ugly_Cameras

More pictures will come as I continue to test different lenses on the camera but for now here are a few yellow tributes


As a side note the lemons are shot at 3200 ISO, which is a very usable sensitivity with this camera.

Apr 26 2013

Fuji ST701 SLR


I picked up the Fuji ST701 because it was slightly smaller than the Pentax Spotmatic but it has more than that going for it.  Size wise it is narrower than the Pentax but slightly taller.  It makes a surprising difference in feel and I think I would be more likely to find the room for it in a camera bag.


Another thing that elevates this camera above others from its time is its bright viewfinder.  I have no way of measuring how much more light it is transmitting but comparing it to the Spotmatic it is ‘clear’ that it is brighter.

The focus screen of this camera is a split image surrounded by a circular microprism screen on a matte field,  It works very well and it is very easy to confirm focus.


The depth of field preview is the best of any camera I’ve ever used.  It is a large well place button beside the lens that operates smoothly and quickly.


The lens that came with the camera is the Fujica 55 f1.8.  The build of this lens is superb and it has the smoothest focus of any lens I have.  Better than the best Takumars, which are also excellent but this lens has absolutely no discernible looseness or play at any location.  The Fuji ST701 is an absolute gem.


These images are a mix from either the Fujica 55/1.8 or the Takumar 200/3.5

Apr 23 2013

Pentax Efina T Rhymes with Density


Again with the APS? Yes it must all be destroyed. With that out of the way this is the most solid little camera I can think of. With its stainless steel shell and angularity, placing it in a camera bag with another camera might result in only one emerging intact, my money is on the Efina T.     More from this dense little film burner Glutton for Punishment and Pentax Efina T

Other posts and pictures from the Pentax Efina T   Glutton for Punishment

Apr 20 2013

The colourful language of photography

Photography is a visual language that can communicate a range from emotions to simple facts, but photography isn’t quite as straightforward as it seems.  Yes at its core is a representation of the reality in front of the camera, but what you frame and what you exclude determines how the image may be read.  The key is ‘may be read’ because even more than words photographs are open to the interpretation of the viewer.  This fact was highlighted for me recently while reading some commentary on the internet about a court case regarding the sale of an Eggleston print.  Many people seemed unaware of Eggleston’s work and couldn’t imagine why anyone would want a print of a tricycle let alone pay large sums of money for it.

I think that some of the misunderstanding comes from a reading of the image from our moment in time and a failure to see it in the context of the time it was created.  In this age of the cell phone image its hard to imagine the break from the past that was occurring when Eggleston and  a few others embarked on an expansion of the photographic lexicon, bringing colour in.

Thank you Mr. Eggleston, there is some great further reading at the Eggleston Trust.  And now for some of my own banality taking with my Pentax K-7

We may be numbed by the volume of imagery around, and this is even stronger for those of us that look at thousands of images on purpose, but it’s through the reading of many images that you develop a keen sense of the language.  And it’s through understanding the language that you are better able to articulate your vision.

Apr 18 2013

Diptychs on film

Taking two pictures that go together is an added challenge that I enjoy.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.  I tried this previously here Diptychs also using the Yashica Samurai because it’s half frame and runs the film vertically like a movie camera. This allows  images to be stacked right on the negative.  This is different from almost every other 35mm camera of course because their film runs horizontally through the camera.

As I wrote on a napkin previously you need to take the lower image first because of the way the film travels and  the inversion of the image through the lens.Film_flip

Apr 16 2013

Polaroid (P minus 22)

There is no (P minus 23) unfortunately it didn’t make the cut


Apr 14 2013

Yashica Electro GX


If I were shipwrecked on a desert island and I could only have one camera it wouldn’t be the Yashica Electro 35GX.  Why? I couldn’t bring myself to break it to use the lens to start a signal fire of course.  Of all the fixed lens 35mm rangefinders this must be one of the best, I don’t know of one better.  Every time I get negatives back from this camera I am pleased, the images are sharp and the way the lens renders the out of focus areas is smooth and delightful.  I also like the 40mm focal length, it may be the Goldilocks between 35mm and 50mm.  As an example of the sharpness of the lens and just how fine grained Kodak Ektar is here is a 100% crop from one of the images.


Scanned at 3200 DPI the resulting file is about the equivalent of a 13 mpixel digital capture.  Not bad and films ability to preserve shadow and highlight detail in the same image still exceeds digital for now but that’s not really why I shoot film.  It’s still all about the cameras for me and this one is great.

More images and information I have written about this camera can be found here Oct 2012 and here Cross Processed Velvia and Canon Ql17 vs Yashica Electro GX there are more so maybe using the search function on my blog is a better idea.

Apr 11 2013

Do U C 1 too?


The last time I used my Pentax UC-1 it didn’t rewind the film and I had to do it by hand in a dark bag (back pack) I lost a few frames to the light in the process. Well I found another UC-1 and it worked great, Yah for me, I’ve like these cameras ever since I first tried one. The 32mm focal length is a nice compromise between 28mm and 35mm and the camera itself takes up so little room.


Apr 8 2013

Pentax Q Firmware update


Pentax has released a new firmware update for the Q     PENTAX Firmware Update Software for Q    which dramatically improves the autofocus, especially in low light.  It wasn’t that the Q was bad before but there is a noticeable speed increase.  At the moment though the only lens I own with autofocus is the standard prime.  A quick test in very low light shows that the camera is able to focus at 3200 ISO f1.9 and 1/4sec which is about -1EV which is very good and approaching DSLR levels.

I often take the Pentax Q with me when I’m out simply because it outperforms its size.  What I mean by that is for the small amount of space it takes up it exceeds any other camera I have.  It can be jammed into a jacket pocket or worn around the neck either way it’s hardly noticeable.  As for wearing it that’s something that gets little mention, most cameras its size don’t have a neck strap and I prefer to wear cameras that way rather than with a wrist strap.  This gallery of images from the last two weeks were taken with the 01 prime lens the 03 Fish Eye and my Homebrew 40mm.