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!


Jul 23 2016

Canon A35 Datelux

Canon_Datelux-2651The A35 Datelux is pretty much the same as a Canon A35F but with a date function.  The camera was the first Canon camera to incorporate a built in flash and their last rangefinder if you include the A35F.  This was 1977 and the small fixed lens cameras like the Sure Shot that followed incorporated autofocus and motor advance rapidly bringing to an end the small fixed lens rangefinders.  The exposure system of the A35 Datelux is automatic unless you use flash where you can then set the aperture but forgo the exposure system and default to a 1/60sec shutter speed.
The lens is a 40mm f2.8 with 5 elements in 4 groups very likely the same or similar to that of the Canonet.  The shutter is limited to a maximum of 1/320 of a second which is quite restricting although it can stop down to f22.  The Date function is a very analog affair you set it by turning dials on the lens and rather than being a LED system it is a tiny light projected through a mask onto the film.
The viewfinder shows the aperture on the right hand side as well as the date function when it’s enabled. The meter is always on so a lens cap is a good idea to preserve the batteries.

A feature of this camera that I don’t like is that it locks the shutter if there is insufficient light, I want to be the judge of that thank you. And with a slow shutter speed of 1/60 second its easy to find yourself in a situation where the camera wont take a picture without turning the flash on. When you do have the flash turned on though the camera selects the aperture based on the focus distance which is handy.

This camera is not going to be as desirable as a QL17 or similar but as a footnote in the camera world it marks an interesting transition point, certainly for Canon.

Jul 15 2016

Ricoh Caplio G3

I picked up this camera recently, some 13 years after its release, not because it is relevant as a photographic tool any longer but because it is not.  It has a somewhat odd appearance with its lens, screen and viewfinder off to one side, this actually makes for very good one handed operation.  This is further aided by its rounded side that makes holding it very comfortable all be it for right handed operation.

Architect and industrial designer Masayuki Kurokawa had a hand in the design according to Ricoh so its not surprising that it is not like other cameras from that time.

“Renowned architect and industrial designer Masayuki Kurokawa, in collaboration with in-house designers at Ricoh, developed the Caplio G3 model S’s unique shape from close observations on how we hold objects such as pens, soda cans, and regular 35mm cameras. The result is a remarkably stylish digital camera that’s been carefully sculpted to fit comfortably in the hand of the user.” – Ricoh

It really is a nice camera to hold. Even from Ricoh’s own marketing material its hard to decipher which of the three variants is made from what material.  It appears that the Caplio G3 shell  is made from plastic and so is the Model M (Maybe).  And then there is the model S which is made from die cast magnesium and weighs 15 grams more.
What the difference is between the G3 and the Model M is not very clear but my Model M does not seem to be made from plastic except for the battery door.  The fact that it uses two AA batteries means that unlike many models with preparatory batteries I should be able to power it up years from now for that nostalgic turn of the century feel.

Aside from the design the other major claim Ricoh made at the time was that it had the shortest shutter lag of any camera at the time at 0.14 seconds this is of course if you pre focus and don’t mind that the rest of the operation around the image capture is slow.  The speed of operation of digital cameras has improved considerably since 2003 and it makes for a much better photographic experience.  Another area of improvement is the rear screens.  The 1.6 inch 80,000 dot display on the back of this camera is almost comical by todays standards.

The lens is made from 6 glass elements in 5 groups and provides focal length of 35-105mm (35mm equivalent).  ISO is limited to 125/200/400/800 which is probably a good thing with its 1/2.7inch CCD

One more area where this camera actually makes itself useful is for macro photography.  Set at its widest 35mm (equivalent) focal length you can take pictures from as close as 1cm and at its telephoto end it drops to 16cm.  Because the 3mpixel files are only 2048×1536 I thought I would post them in full resolution for the fun of it.  The Last three images are at the maximum ISO of 800 in case you get nostalgic for 2003 enjoy.

Jul 8 2016

Praktica 900AF


The Praktica 900AF has is a paltry 38-90mm f5.6-10.5 zoom lens in a cheap plastic shell. The only reason I actually tried this camera out was because of its name ‘Praktica’. Its not a common name to hear now around photography if really ever was ‘common’ but they certainly had a long history. The limitations aren’t the zoom alone they continue on to its 1/4 to 1/360 shutter speed range. It wasnt an expensive camera listing for $87 back in 2003 so expectations were low which you guessed it was a good thing. To achieve anything approaching a good image you need a lot of light and even then the images were soft and not in a good 1980’s soft portrait way.

Jul 3 2016

Nikon Af600

NikonAf600-2695The Nikon AF600 is a small camera, not that far off from the Olympus Stylus Epic which I see as the 35mm film small camera standard. The big difference of course is that the Nikon has a 28mm f3.5 lens. I think the lens is better than the build of the camera suggests. The year it was released Nikon also produced the 35Ti a design benchmark for small cameras but they also produced some stinkers like the AF200 and EF100 both with fixed lenses that looked like uncoated marbles. The Af600 lens though has a bluish coating which suggests an effort and is reasonably sharp and distortion free. In use all the controls for the camera such as the flash control are well placed on the top of the camera.

Another post about his camera with some panoramic images can be seen here Nikon Af600