Sunday, May 13, 2018

Street Photography in Chicago Using Fomapan Action 400

I recently visited Chicago to do some street photography. This time I took my Canon L2 & Minolta 3000i. Both had 50mm lenses. I wanted to use a manual rangefinder and a basic point & shoot SLR for flexibility.  I shot different film stocks during the visit, but here are shots of Fomapan Action 400. 

I like this film for general purpose uses. The grain is reasonable but obviously can be effected by the developer. This time I developed one roll in Ilfosol3 & one in Rodinal. Also, Fomapan is reasonably prices, especially when you bulk roll it like I've done. 

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Minolta 3000i a Super Simple SLR

I recently purchased a Minolta Maxxum 3000i body from Used Photo Pro in Indianapolis. I was looking for a very simple SLR & this is it. I mounted it with a Minolta AF 50mm lens which is my preferred focal length for street photography.

The Minolta 3000i is essentially a point & shoot in an SLR body. There is only a Lock/On switch, shutter release, P/H (program / program hi-speed), self-timer button, & a focus mode switch. That’s it.  P (automatic) mode only. The high-speed mode is simply when you photograph fast moving objects. The camera uses DX coded film. ISO range from 32 to 3200. ISO is set at 100 when using film without DX coding.

I’ve used the camera a few times and it’s efficient. Just point & shoot. Like I said, nothing to it. Personally, I like more control (i.e. aperture priority, manual mode, ability to push film, etc.) on a camera. I would use it when I just want to run & gun. It’s a really nice starter camera for someone who is just getting into film.

Here are a few photos using Fomapan Action 400

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Canon L2 with an Industar-61 53mm Lens

Rangefinder cameras are my favorite. Not sure why, but I’ve always liked the 35mm film form factor. I think that’s why I’m drawn to the Yashica Electo, the Leica M line & similar cameras.

Yesterday I added another rangefinder to my lineup. Hopeless, I know! I purchased a Canon L2 (without a lens) from Used Photo Pro at Roberts Camera for $95. I saw it the other day. It didn’t have a lens, so although I’ve always wanted a Canon L1, L2, L3 or 7 I didn’t consider it without a lens. I knew it took an M39 Leica Thread Mount type lens. Original Canon LTM are pretty pricey. Since film is just a hobby for me (pro work is all digital), I couldn’t justify the price. I thought maybe I could go the adapter route, but honestly, I said to myself “Steve you JUST bought a Leica CL”.  

However, when I got home I remembered my Fed 4 which has a Industar 61 53mm LTM lens. I hadn’t used the Fed 4 for some time so wheels started to spin. You know how it goes (or at least how my brain goes) – should I or should I not?? I didn’t resist, off came the lens and the next day took it down to Roberts.  The lens fit, the camera felt good, everything worked….so I bought it.

Here she is without the lens (as purchased) and the lens I put on it.

I wanted to give it a go immediately. It was a bit of an overcast day but still bright. Since the max speed on the camera is 1/500 I picked up a roll of Kodak TMAX 100 & loaded it up.  I walked around for about an hour and just took some test snaps.

The camera handles like a dream. Very smooth, quiet shutter, good weight & the rangefinder is fairly bright of an old camera. It very much has a Leica vibe going on. The Industar lens is also good. Although mine looks a bit “rode hard” it focuses smoothly, the aperture blades are smooth and it looks nice on the camera. A nice combo, and anyway 50mm (this is 53mm) is what I prefer for street photography.

I brought the film home and developed / scanned it last night. I’m happy with the results.  Here are a few examples (these are just test shots).

I’m very happy with the camera. It was a good price, got to put a lens into use & it looks nice. This might be my current go to rangefinder.

Friday, March 30, 2018

The FakMatic Adapter - Bring Those Instamatic Cameras Back From The Dead

I have fond memories using 126 sized cartridge film in my Kodak Instamatic & similar cameras when I was a young lad.  Nothing was simpler than dropping in a film cartridge and shooting away. Those days are long past and so is 126 sized cartridge film. It hasn't been produced in years.

There is now a way to bring back those Instamatic styled cameras. Camerhack in Italy makes a 3D printed 126 adapter called the Fakmatic. It's a simply 3 piece 126 cartridge sized adapter that holds a roll of 24 exposure film.  There is a bit of dark bag or dark room hand rolling and slight camera modification required, but once you do it once it's very straightforward and simple.  

Here is a YouTube video that shows you how it's done.  I watched a couple of times and quickly got the hang of it. I bought mine through the Film Photography Project store

Here's what my adapter looks like

I've used it twice. First in a Kodak Instamatic X-30. Unfortunately, I couldn't get the camera to work properly with the adapter so the film wouldn't advance. The video & the FPP information says some cameras don't behave well with the adapter. I tried it again with the Agfamatic 100 shown above and it worked well.  

There is a bit of trial & error with each camera. As an example the video says you need to take a shot, advance the film, take shot with your hand over the lens, advance the film & then take another shot.  This allows proper film spacing. However, with my Agfamatic 100 I need to take 2 blank shots after each good one. On the roll I just finished I mostly have overlaps.  Kind of cool however.

I develop my own film do unloading the cartridge and developing the film is simple. If you send your film out to the lab there is an extra step you need to follow. The video lays this out.

So if you have a 126 sized cartridge film camera, you now have a way to Frankenstein them! I did and am enjoying it.  A few photos from my overlapped roll.