Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Holga 120N - A Plastic Cult Toy Camera

Much has been written about the Holga. It’s a cult toy camera. All plastic with point and shoot with very few features or controls. You simply load it with 120 film set one of 4 distance setting, slide the aperture switch to either sunny or cloudy, aim and shoot. It’s that easy.

The main feature of the Holga line is they tend to be light leaky and the lens gives a soft / distorted vignette. This quirkiness gives the image it’s unique, “every picture is different” vibe. The plastic is a 60mm f/8 piece of plastic. You can set the camera to take 12 or 16 shots.

Practical? No, Fun? Yes

I’ve had mine for about 5 years. I recently took it out and shot a roll of Ultrafine Xtreme 400. I shot the roll in downtown Indianapolis on a grey but bright day. Film was developed using Ilford Ilfosol3 at 1+9 for 4.5 minutes. Negatives were scanned using an Epson V800.

I dig the camera. Here are some images.

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