Jul 28 2019

Nishika N8000

Nishika N8000

What’s large, heavy and unnecessary? A 10lb lead ball and the Nishika N8000. Now the unnecessary part may be a little unfair you could use the lead ball to sink something to the bottom of the ocean. There are certain aspects of the N8000 that serve no purpose. Like the fake top plate ‘LCD” and the battery indicator. What do the batteries even do anyway? And of course there is the superfluous metal plate inside the camera to add a little gravitas. The shutter in the N8000 operates at a fixed 1/60sec however there are three aperture settings. Sunny/partial cloud/cloud. The lenses are 4 separate 30mm ‘doublets” that’s two plastic elements so don’t expect anything even up to the standards of a disposable camera. The key thing though is that the shutter fires for all 4 lens at the same time. And because they are arranged in a row separated horizontally you get slightly varied views of the same scene. That’s where the fun is because you can take the four images and build them into a little GIF to create a ‘wigglegram’. to give a 3d effect.

I’m currently testing a Nimslo 3D which has the potential to be a much better camera that resolves all the issues I have with the N8000. It’s smaller lighter and has better lenses and exposure system.

Other posts about the Nishika N8000 can be found here. Nishika N8000 2013 Nishika N8000 2009

Jul 21 2019

Konica Auto S3 with Portra 160


As much as I have wanted to like Portra 160 I just cant seem to come to terms with it.  I am almost always happier with the results I get from Portra 400 and if I want to use a lower ISO film then Ektar 100 often fits the bill.  This should have been a good pairing with the fast lens of the Konica Auto S3 and under good light it can be but that extra stop and a bit you give up from Portra 400 can really make the difference. Will I keep trying with Portra 160? Of course I will it has a niche somewhere I just need to find it for me.

Jul 13 2019

Random Film Point and shoots


At some point I acquired these cameras with the idea of running a roll of film through them and blogging about it but they have sat in the “Too be chosen bin” for awhile now with no sign of making it out.  So I decided to apply a new test or more accurately a thought experiment.  Would I want to expend a roll of Kodak Portra 400 in them, and they were found lacking.  Looking at them all sitting there it has become clear to me that its the 38mm wide end. The no mans land of focal lengths.  Not nearly wide enough and the telephoto end isn’t that spectacular either.  The Minolta has the nicest finish and the Pentax is the most ubiquitous, you almost always need to push some aside to get at the other cameras at a thrift store.  So for not having made the cut these ones will find their way back to a thrift store.  I just need to make sure I don’t buy them back accidently.

Jul 6 2019

Olympus XA


Back in the early 1980’s the Olympus XA was quickly adopted by many photographers as a pocket camera for many reasons.  It was small and pocketable but it also produced good results.  This of course is due to the lens which is made using 6 elements in 5 groups.  (That’s where the F Zuiko comes from, F is the 6th letter in the alphabet E would denote 5 elements and G would be 7).  The lens focusing is done not with the front element as is particularly familiar with small film cameras but is done using internal elements.  The electronically controlled shutter  also sits between lens elements.  The shutter operates all the way from 10 seconds to 1/500sec so properly secured the XA can be used for relatively long exposures.

The rangefinder focusing can be a little fiddly with the XA and its small focus lever in the center just bellow the lens but it works.

Have you ever wondered why it can be so difficult to achieve focus on close subjects?  Bellow is some of the Olympus XA’s depth of field at different apertures presented graphically.

The yellow area represents the closest and furthest distance that is reasonably in focus for any given aperture when focused at the minimum distance of 2.8ft. You can see that increasing the aperture does not have the same increase in depth of field as it would if the lens is focused at a further distance.  Contrasting this when the lens is focused at 12feet an increase in aperture can have a dramatic impact on depth of field.  An example is at f5.6 and 12feet  the area considered to be in focus is from about 7.7ft to 27.5ft but simply stopping down to f8 yields 6.7ft to 62ft.


This is how fixed focus cameras work they are set to a certain distance of focus and an aperture that provides enough depth of field.  Similarly this is what you are doing with zone focusing and again why that can be so difficult when you cant control the aperture and the camera to subject distance is short.

Olympus considers the XA as one of its technological milestones for its online camera museum.  Olympus Museum Cameras XA