Saturday, September 27, 2014

Photos I've Taken - Pentax IQZoom

Another Goodwill find, a Pentax IQZoom.  A fun little point & shoot camera.  Just load, aim & shoot.  Here are a few photos I took with a roll of Kodak BW400CN.  Really like this film.  The camera has a good range.  Top photo taken in broad daylight, the second in a tunnel & the 3rd just outside of my studio.  Not bad.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Photos I've Taken - Yashica MAT-124G

A photo of my backyard during a foggy morning using a mint Yashica MAT-124G that I purchased this summer at Roberts Camera's used section.  This is a classic designed TLR.  Very Vivian Maier-like camera.  This photo was taken using Ilford XP2 400 Super B&W film.

The camera takes some getting used to if you've never shot a TLR.  However, I've shot about 5 rolls through it and really digging it.

Monday, September 22, 2014

What I'm Shooting - Yashica & Minolta

I had a trip to Cincinnati the other day so I brought a few cameras for some street work.  2 of these were not stealthy, but except for one person I didn't get a second look.  I was shooting with my Yashica Electro 35 GSN rangefinder, a Yashica MAT-124 TLR & a Minolta Maxxum 700si, a mister SLR.  Not a single toy camera here.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Split Personality? - Nope It's The Split-Cam

Time to discuss another toy camera.  This time it's the Accoutrements "Split-Cam" with Image Fusion Technology.  That's right "image fusion technology" - impressed yet? This has all the requirements to be a toy camera.  It's plastic, it's low tech, & it produces unique or light leaky photos.  And, it's made in China.  The company that sells them is Accoutrements who has the tag line "Outfitters of Popular Culture"...OK, if you say so.  I bought this beauty new in package on eBay.

The unique feature of the Split-Cam is that you have black plastic sliders that slide in front of the lens & the viewfinder.  Each slider is 1/2 the size of the lens & viewfinder that cuts the image in 1/2 horizontally.  Simply slide one slider closed and the other open both on the viewfinder & the lens.  Next you take a photo.  Push the little switch on the back of the camera to re-cock the shutter (you don't advance the film yet).  You then switch the sliders, recompose the photo and shoot again.

If you do it correctly you get a "fused" photo, one on top and one on bottom with a fuzzy line in the middle.  In theory it's a good idea, but on my camera, it didn't work so well.  The sliders didn't stay shut or open completely every time, or sometimes I forgot to change the slider.  My first roll was just a test, so not surprising.  The biggest issue with my camera is the line between the top and bottom half is not crisp.

But hey, repeat to yourself Steve, "It's a toy camera".  No one that sees the bumblebee colors would think anything other than that.  Even the instructions say's "taking pictures with the Split-Cam is about trial & error.  Forget everything you've been taught about "good" photography.  This is fun photography.  This is art photography".

Specs are fairly limited.  The lens is a fixed f/8 aperture with a fixed shutter speed of 1/100.  There is no hot or cold shoe.  The instructions say you can use any 35mm film but then says it works best with 200 ASA film outdoors / bright sunlight.  More instructions "he Split-Cam is not equipped with flash. Outdoor use is recommended".  Also, it's not really a run & gun camera so using it indoors at a party probably isn't going to work.

As you can see, the camera doesn't have much detail.  The front has the slider switches next to the viewfinder & the lens.  The top has the film rewind knob, the shutter release & the counter.  The back the viewfinder, the shutter re-cock switch and the film advance knob.  That's it.  Load it with a roll of 35mm film and go out an play.  

Here are a couple of photos using a roll of expired Mitsubishi MX-III 400 ASA color film that I took while out on a long bike ride and a street shoot downtown.

Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis

Used car lot in central Indiana

OK, Maybe A Bit Obsessed

I like film cameras.  I like to research them, read about them, look at the photography they create, study the history, shoot with them, and also buy them.  Understand I shoot digital for my professional and studio work, so film is just a side genre.

So here's the deal, Friday and today Steph and I did a bit of traveling.  While out we stopped at a couple of thrift stores.  And guess what, I bought some film cameras.  Not just a couple, I bought 13.  Yikes!  I'll post a picture soon.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Pictures I've Taken - Yashica Electro 35 GSN

Over a year ago I purchased a Yashica Electo 35 GSN on eBay.  Not sure how much I paid for it, but I recall it was a good deal.   It's a fun rangefinder, but it tends to be a bit light leaky.  But only occasionally.  Here is a photo I took a few weeks ago with a roll of Ilford XP2 Super 400.  The fun thing about this roll is that I added a yellow filter that I purchased on eBay for $4.  I wanted to punch up the B&W images.  I took about 1/2 the photos with the yellow filter on and the other half without. It was a fun test.

The image is along Washington Street in Indianapolis's west side around 6pm.  Sun west of me, but hidden in the clouds so I had a soft box effect.  More photos and a blog post about the camera to follow.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Stuff I've Purchased - Ilford Film

Mmmm, tasty.  Purchased some yummy film yesterday both for my Yashica Mat-124G & one of my higher end 35mm cameras.  I normally shoot Ilford XP2 400 in my medium format cameras, but this time I'm going to try a roll of Ilford HP5.  Nice.  I also purchased a 35mm roll of Delta 3200 ASA.  This is the highest ASA film I've EVER purchased.  I'm looking forward to try this out with an lower light street photography shoot.  Not sure which camera I'll use it in yet.  I'll let you know.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Pictures I've Taken - Vivitar Series 1 500PZ

For those of you that know me, my primary photography Jones is editorial fashion and model photography.  That's all digital.  However, as you can tell by this blog I still play with film photography.  Rarely the 2 intersect, except for my Polaroid behind the scenes and fun shots during model shoots.

However, the other day I took one of my film cameras, a Goodwill find Vivitar Series 1 500PZ to one of my shoots.  While photographing Annette, I took a couple of shots with the film camera.  Even used flash mode.  Not the best quality, but still fun.   Shot this photo with a Kodak Portra 400.  Kind of creamy.

A formal blog post on the camera coming up soon.

It's Development Time!

Oh my, I've got to get into gear and get film processed.  The problem is except for 4 of the 5 35mm rolls, my local camera store, Roberts Camera, can't develop the rolls.  I've got Kodak TMax, Ilford 120 FP4 Plus, 110 film and an old FujiFilm disposable camera that I need to send out.

Think I'll try out The Darkroom for the first time.  Looking forward to see what turned out.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Pictures I've Taken - Time Rangefinder

My Dad was an avid photographer.  Over his years he picked up quite a few cameras.  After he passed a couple of years ago I was given several of his cameras.  One was a cheapo Time Rangefinder I found in a box of camera equipment.  This was the type of camera you received as a free gift when you subscribed to Time Magazine.  An extremely cheap point & shoot.  All plastic rangefinder. Load, point, set the aperture ring on the lens & shoot.

I recently took it out and shot a roll through it and as expected the results were....hmmm, how do I say this? "Poor", yep that's the word.  But you know, it has toy camera written all over it, and at the time I bet there were thousands out there. 

Here is a picture I took recently on a cloudy day along Washington Street in Indianapolis.  The cool thing is that this was one of my Dad's cameras so I'll hang on to it, and write a formal post soon.

Wow, Expensive

I'm always on the lookout for film cameras and reading about film cameras.  One of the cameras I'm interested in trying is a more robust (i.e. non-toy camera) panorama camera.  I've read about the Fuji TX-1 and the X-Pan.  Started to check out the prices to see if possibly I could get one on the cheap...

Silly boy, wow, super expensive.  In the $1,500-$2,000 range.  Uhhh, maybe I can find someone who can loan me one for a weekend.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Instant Uberness - Polaroid One Step

Remember Instant cameras?  Look in your parent or grandparent's closet.  Go to a garage sale or a flea market.  What might you find?  A Polaroid OneStep.  This was one of the classic instant film cameras by Polaroid.  The one with the rainbow marking.  This was an EXTREMELY simple camera.  Literally, point & shoot.  The only thing you could control was the exposure dial under the viewfinder.  And, honestly, that was trial & error.  

Believe it or not, these beauties are very hot right now.  Very hipsterish.  I mean come on, look at the Instagram app icon.  Look familiar?  I thought you'd see the resemblance.  Obviously they aren't made any longer since Polaroid (as we all knew it) is defunct.  However, you can find these on EBay or similar sites, or in the afore mentioned flea markets or garage sales.  The price will vary depending upon if the seller knows what they have.  If you get one just check to make sure the rollers in the front (where the film goes) are clean and roll smoothly.  If not, its a fairly easy DIY cleaning job.  

You can buy the film today.  However, if you buy original Polaroid film online it will be expired, and expensive.  Unlike 35mm or similar expired film, Polaroid instant film doesn't hold up well unless properly refrigerated and even then you are rolling the dice.  That's because the chemicals in each photo chemical pack breaks down or dries up.  Secondly, the camera has no battery to eject the film.  Each film pack contains a small battery.  Without a working battery the film won't eject properly.  If it doesn't eject the chemicals won't spread across the film or the photo won't come out at all.  The batteries don't hold up well over time.  Money down the drain.  

The second option is a new company called The Impossible Project.  All Polaroid enthusiast have heard of the Impossible Project.  They essentially recreated the chemistry from scratch.  And you know what.  They've come a LONG way.  Today's film gets really good results and is reliable.  The only drawback, the cost.  Not cheap.  Expect to pay at least $25 per pack of 8 photos.  If you are new to the film and your camera, expect to burn through a pack to figure out how the film best works and the way your camera operates.

I digress, back to the OneStep.  As I mentioned this was a classic Polaroid point & shoot.  It takes SX-70 type film.   I bought mine at my local Goodwill Outlet last year for less than $1.  It's insides were clean and all it needed was a good cleaning outside.  I popped in a pack of film and fired away.  Super fun.

Here is a photo I took a couple of days ago.  It was the last photo in the pack, and the camera had been sitting on my camera shelf for about 6 months with the one photo left.  This was a pack of the earlier Impossible Project film, so the quality was hit and miss.  You can see that this image of a Gumby toy was jacked.  But, you know what.  It is still cool.

So go out and get yourself a Polaroid and some film.  You can thank me later.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Cameras I'm Shooting - Canon, Pentax, Olympus, And Others - Oh My!

Went downtown Indianapolis yesterday with Stephanie and then went to the Oranje arts event in the evening.  I took a my Sony A6000 digital camera with me, but I also took film.  Yep, lots of film cameras.  During the day I took a Canon Sure Shot 85 Zoom, my Olympus XA, & my Dad's old 110 camera (not sure who made it).  After hours I took a Pentax IQZoom 130M (which I recently picked up at Goodwill) and a Lomography Fisheye II.

I tried out an expired roll of Kodak Max 800 for one of the evening shots, so it will be interesting to see if I got anything.  

Fun stuff.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Picture I've Taken - Kodak Easy Load KE30

A photo I took with the no so easy loading Kodak Easy Load KE30.  Another one of my Goodwill Outlet finds.  This is the point & shoot that digested 2 rolls of film before I figured out how to use it.  For a 30 cent point & shoot camera with some cheap Mitsubishi film the quality is OK.   A formal blog post on the camera to come.  

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Pictures I've Taken - Polaroid Colorpack III Land Camera

One of the most fun Polaroid cameras that I have (and I have A LOT of Polaroids), the Colorpack III. This is a Land camera.  You know the type with the peel apart film which you pull out the side of the camera.  You can still buy film from FujiFilm and the quality is primo.  I use this camera regularly during model shoot for giggles and for just tooling around town.  A more "official" blog post to follow ASAP.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Picture I've Taken - Prinz Alternative EZ-200

Time to share a photo between camera reviews.  This is a very light leaky photo from my recently purchased Prinz Alternative EZ-200.  A plastic toy camera that allows you to switch between normal & panoramic settings.  I kind of dig the panoramic look it produces.  Shot this with a roll of Mitsubishi MX-III film.  Very soft due to the plastic lens and the film.  I suspect the light leak is actually from the film since it's way past expiration date.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

What I'm Reading - "Photojournalism"

Not only do I like to take photographs, I also like to read about photography.  I like to read about techniques, the history, photographers, the photographs themselves, etc.  It's just cool, and often I do more than simply look at the pretty pictures.

I often make a monthly or more trip over to the local Half Priced Books book store and see what they have in.  This weekend I stopped by and purchased "Photojournalism, 150 Years Of Outstanding Press Photography" by Reuel Golden.  The cover photo alone was enough to get me to purchase the book.  You see the 2 war photojournalist right in the middle of the action.

I'm not sure war photojournalist can do this anymore, but I digress.

I started to read the book and so far am intrigued by Rene Burri who took some of the iconic photos of Che Guevara, Margaret Bourke-White who was a controversial photojournalist who captured amazing images of Gandhi,  and of course Robert Cappa who's photos of D-Day were riveting.  Lots more to go.

My Latest Finds - Minolta & Pentax

I went to a local Goodwill Store today during 50% off day.  Scored!  Found 2 small P&S film cameras.  A Minolta Freedom 35AF/QD & a Pentax IQZoom 130M.  Both appear to work.  The Pentax looks like it will be fun to shoot.  It has a REALLY long zoom at 130mm.

Oh, and both were marked at $0.99 so with the sale I got them both for just over $1.  Nice.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Ricoh FF-1s - Who Is That In The Window

Selfie in an abandoned shop window.  Taken with a point & shoot Ricoh FF-1s.  A fun little camera 35mm point & shoot.  Ilford XP2 400 film.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Panoramic Paradise - The Ultronic Panoramic

I purchased the book "Fantastic Plastic Cameras" by Kevin Meredith at Half Priced Books recently.  It's a reference book that details many cheap, plastic cameras.  A fun read.  One of the cameras listed is the Ultronic Panoramic.  The ultimate in cheap, plasticy, toy cameras.  AND, it shoots exclusively in Panorama mode. Here's the book.

OK, it's not a "real" panoramic photo, but it gives you the illusion of one.  In the viewfinder and the film plane opening is in the shape of a panorama.  Approximately the top & bottom 15% of the photo is blocked off. This produces a black band on the top & bottom of the photo.  It's actually kind of cool.  Thus the look of a panorama.  Not X-Pan cool but not bad for a cheapo camera.

This is strictly a point & shoot.  No manual settings for anything.  It takes 35mm film.  There is no ASA scale or switch, so this leads me to believe any ASA rating is A-OK.  The lens is recessed slightly in the camera body with a cheap plastic cover that slides over when not in use.  The lens focal length is rated at 28mm which is definitely wide angle.  Focuses down to about 2 1/2 feet.  Researching the camera indicates that the lens is fixed f/11 with a shutter speed of 1/125.  So a wide angle lens with good depth of field.

I bought mine new on E-bay for about $15 including shipping.  I know I could have bought it for almost nothing in a flea market / junk store, but hey, I wanted one, so I bought one.  I loaded it with a roll of Mitsubishi MX-III 400 - 12 for the test.  Just point & shoot.  Nothing to fiddle with.  You see the panoramic effect in the viewfinder, so there is no guessing.  The lens is not very bright, there is no hotshoe or flash, so you either need a bright day or high ASA (and associated grain).  I therefore shot my first roll on a fairly sunny day at my sister's lakehouse.    

The camera worked great.  As expected due to the quality of the film and the plastic lens the photos were soft and the colors not crisp.  But still, kind of fun. The only downside is that the camera feels really cheap.  If you drop it, I suspect it will break easily.  However, with all that I'll probably run a roll of better film through it and try to get some better images.