Thursday, November 14, 2019

Pentax K1000 - 35mm Film Uberness

One of the finest general purpose / everyday 35mm film SLR is the Pentax K1000. You want reliable? You want basic? You want good images? Then look no further than the K1000. Manual focus, reliable light meter, good ISO/ASA range (20 - 32000), good speed range (B to 1/1000 second), hotshoe & solidly built. What else would you want in a basic SLR.

I have 2 K1000's. One with a workable light meter and one without. The K1000 with the light meter that doesn't work is still perfect for using with a hand held light meter or sunny 16. The shutter operates without a battery.

To operate you either manually use aperture or speed priority. Set whichever is your preference based on the scene, film and light. Then simply adjust the other. The light meter is a needle in the viewfinder that goes up and down based on the setting. When the needle is in the center your exposure is set.

The shutter has a moderate mirror slap which is noticeable but still stealthy enough for candids and street photography. 

I have one of the cameras mounted with a Pentax-M f/1.7 50mm and one with a f/2.8 28mm. I prefer the 50mm which is my go to focal length for street photography.

Honestly, for a basic camera or your first SLR you can't go wrong with a Pentax K1000.

The manual at Butkus 

A few photos taken with bulk loaded Kentmere 400 pushed to 800 and some Kodak TMAX 400 at box speed.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Konica C35

I was gifted a cool Konica C35 point & shoot camera. When given the camera I was told it worked, but the flash didn't. I put a button battery in the camera and the light meter worked. I loaded AA batteries in the flash, and nope, didn't work. I put black tape over the flash as a reminder that the flash didn't work.

The camera is sturdy. Moderately heavy, glass and metal. This particular camera appears well used with a bit of brassing. The C35 is automatic. The only adjustments is the ASA dial and the focus ring. The viewfinder is fixed so you either guestimate distance or use 4 typical distance symbols (that show in the viewfinder). The lens is a 38mm f/2.8 Konica Hexanon. You can mount a 46mm filter. The shutter is very quiet which is perfect for street photography.

The automatic aperture selected by the light meter shows on a scale from f/22 to f/2.8. The bottom of the scale has a red lightning bolt to remind you to turn on the flash. Film loads easily. The back gate pops open with a small switch. The viewfinder is clear with frame lines highlighted in bright yellow.

I shot a roll of Arista EDU 400 bulk rolled film. Although the film loaded smoothly and advanced easily it felt "crunchy" when advanced. I thought it was catching or not advancing completely. I stopped using the camera after about 24 of 36 shots and rewound the film. I didn't want to damage the film. I guess the advance just needs lubrication because the film came out fine.

The first roll was developed with 1+25 Rodinal at 5.5 minutes. Rodinal isn't the best developer for this film as the grain came out fairly heavy. On the second roll I'll use a finer film with a milder developer to make sure it was the film choice versus the camera that resulted in the heavy grain.

Here are some photos from the first roll.

Bottomline a nice, sturdy camera with an iconic look. However, if I want a simple point and shoot camera with approximately the same focal length I'll stick with the Minolta Stylus.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Nimslo 3D

I was gifted a Nimslo 3D 35mm point & shoot camera. The Nimslo is a unique 4-lens camera that shoots 4 x half-frame sized photos of every image with a slightly different angle of view. There was a special developing process called Lenticular Printing that would create a 3 dimensional like photo from the 4 images. The 4 images are shot across 2 frames. Therefore, a 36 exposure roll yields 18-4 frame images.

After basic research, I’ve not found anyone doing this type of developing / printing so I’m using it simply for fun to create a 4-panel photo. Kind of cool. There is a process currently used to create “wiggle-gifs” which will be fun to try.

The camera is automatic with fixed focus 30mm lens, auto exposure with no additional features. The only variable is a 100 or 400 ASA switch. There is a hotshot which I’ve used to fire a speedlight. Worked great.

The camera is well build with metal / plastic / leatherette. The lenses are glass. It is sturdy.

I gave it a go with a couple of rolls of fresh and expired film. The camera is very stealthy so it can easily be used for street work. I’m a fan.

A few images using Fujicolor Superia X-TRA 400, expired Kodak Portra 400NC & Arista EDU

Expired Kodak Portra 400NC

Fujicolor Superia X-TRA 400

Fujicolor Superia X-TRA 400

Arista EDU with a speedlight in studio

Arista EDU on a bright day

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Yashica Electro 35 GSN - A Cool Rangefinder

I tried out my Yashica Electro 35 GSN the other day with some Ilford Delta 400 35mm film. This camera has classic rangefinder lines. It's super solid & built like a brick. The camera has a 45mm f/1.7 lens. Perfect for street photography.

The camera is semi-manual. The variable is the aperture. Speed is automatic. You simply partially push the shutter button and there is a red or orange arrow in the viewfinder. You turn the aperture the direction of the arrow until the light turns off. If you are shooting on a tripod or from the hip there is a yellow and red light on top that does the same thing. The only option on speed is bulb, Auto & flash. 

The camera has a hot shoe if you desire a flash. Focus is like butter. There is a nice rest for your finger to aid in focus. ASA can be set from 25 to 1000. Also, there is a predominate battery check button on the back. Push it with a hot battery and the film counter window lights up!

The biggest issue with this camera is that you really need a battery. It fires without one but it goes to it's default settings. The battery is not standard. The Electro used a 5.6V mercury battery that has a unusual shape. A 6V 4LR44 works in a pinch. I was unable to find this battery at any store, so I bought a few off brand online. Seems to work fine.

 I really like this camera. The shutter is SUPER quiet which makes it excellent for street photography. The film advance is smooth and it loads easily. I'm a fan. Here are some photos from this past weekend.

Note, my Electro 35 GSN has a light leak that showed up at the end of the second roll. I gave it a good look and it appears some of the light seals have dried up and flaked off. No problems ... I'll seal the back with gaffers tape in the future.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Olympus Infinity Stylus - Southern Tier Bike Trek

I recently completed a bucket list item! I rode a bicycle across the entire USA following the Adventure Cycle Association Southern Tier route from St. Augustine, FL to San Diego, CA. OF COURSE, I took a couple of cameras. One digital, a Panasonic Lumix G7 and a film point & shoot, Olympus Infinity Stylus.

The Stylus was the perfect choice for the trip. Not only is it reliable and delivers fairly good quality, but it has the following:
  • Very good flash that can be overridden
  • Sliding film cover that turns the camera on and off
  • Excellent battery life (easy to obtain, 123A size)
  • 35mm f/3.5 lens
  • Very compact and stealthy

I shot about 25 rolls over the 55 day trek. I took all my color film I had in inventory and purchased a couple of packs along the way. I shot Fujicolor 200 & 400, Kodak Portra 160, 400 & 800, Kodak 200 and several B&W rolls. I also brought one roll of Dubblefilm Jelly.

My plan was just to take snapshots. Just capture scenes along the route versus doing any specific genre like street photography, landscapes, etc. Essentially, I took photos of anything that caught my fancy when I was on a break or when finished riding for the day.

I'm just now starting to home develop the film so will be posting images over the next few posts. Here are some images from the 1st 3 developed rolls.

Bottomline, I'm really happy with my choice to bring the Stylus as my film camera option (and trust me I have lots of cameras to choose from).

Florida - Fujicolor 200

Florida - Fujicolor 200

Florida - Fujicolor 200

Florida - Kodak 200

Florida - Kodak 200

Florida - Kodak 200

Florida - Kodak 200

El Paso, TX - Dubblefilm Jelly

El Paso, TX - Dubblefilm Jelly

El Paso, TX - Dubblefilm Jelly

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Dubblefilm Bubblegum - It's Green!

I'm testing out the different types of Dubblefilm pre-exposed 35mm film. I've previously tested Sunstroke & Jelly which I liked. Now I test Bubblegum. I purchased the film for $14.99 per 24 exposure roll from Roberts Camera in downtown Indianapolis. 

The film cartridge canister says "tinted with sugar packed analogue sweetness". The packaging is well done. Cool marketing. The website says "ISO 200 35mm film with added tone producing sweet colour to spark your visual taste buds". Nice. It's actually Kodak Gold 200 film that has been given their magic treatment. The cartridges are DX coded.

A Google image search shows images with color palettes of pinks, orange & blues. Based on the packaging and name I thought the colors were going to be pastels focusing on pink. I understand output will vary based on the lighting conditions.

I shot the roll in mixed lighting conditions on a day that moved from cloudy to sunny. I shot the roll in an Olympus Stylus. I developed the film at home using fresh Unicolor C-41 chemistry.

Wow, were my results not as expected.  All of my photos came out with a very "night vision goggle" greenish tint. All lighting conditions generated the same results. Not subtle at all. The green tint was in the shadows and the highlights. Some of the green shifted slightly to browns in the shadows. Like I said, nothing subtle. The color was uniform across the photo (unlike Sunstroke or Jelly).

The results were not unpleasant and can probably be used for artistic purposes, but this wasn't my favorite results compared to Sunstroke or Jelly. The green was just a bit too overpowering. I'm CERTAIN results will vary.

Here are results from the one roll:

Next up, Monsoon!!

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Olympus Stylus - The Perfect Point & Shoot Film Camera

All photographers whether film or digital have an opinion on their favorite camera in various categories. This is often a highly subjective topic based upon personal preferences and shooting style. For me, the Olympus Infinity Stylus I is my favorite film point & shoot camera.

I've owned several copies and versions of the Olympus Stylus including the Olympus Infinity MJU, the Infinity Stylus in both the version shown above and the "gold" version....oh fancy. Except for my original Canon TX SLR, I've owned a Stylus longer than any other film camera.

There is a massive amount of posts and technical data available online about the camera so I won't bore you by repeating what others have said. For me I like the camera because it's pocketable, easy to shoot (there are almost no setting options except auto point & shoot), DX coding, fast focus, a good flash, and stealthy. Perfect for travel, street photography or simply for film snapshots. I bought my first one over 26 years ago when I lived in Hong Kong (that one died this summer).

I carry it with me whenever I do film work either as my main film camera or as a 2nd or 3rd camera option.

If you are into film photography and have never had an Olympus Infinity Stylus or MJU, do yourself a favor.

Here is a roll of Ultrafine Xtreme 100 that I shot through it during a photowalk in downtown Indianapolis with a friend.