6.21.2018

Wet Weather Warrior: Pentax Zoom 90WR

Oh Pentax Zoom 90-WR, it wasn't supposed to lead to anything...



In my mind, you were supposed to be a one time thing, a flight of fancy, a spontaneous "sure why not" amid a flurry of other priorities that were more in line with my typical tastes. 

To my way of thinking, you were a consolation prize, as the second-best item of a half-hearted pity bid on a multi-piece lot that I snapped up at a low opening bid simply because I could, and since the main item of interest, the Pentax SF-1 SLR, was to be nothing more than a spare to me. 

4.01.2018

Small Format Size, Big Format Results: One Ten Camera Guide to 110 Cameras!

...or maybe 11 or more, depending on how you count.  


Could one of this band of misfits be coming to a pocket near you soon? 

It's that one day of the year when our collective cynicism abounds more than any other, particularly online, as websites and blogs get into the spirit of April Fools Day, unleashing a wide array of spoof or parody articles, done tongue-in-cheek, in the hopes of generating some chuckles, while ultimately managing to confound and bewilder the unsuspecting reader who has yet to check the date, or whose morning coffee has yet to really kick in.

I flirted with the idea of doing such a post in the spirit of April Fools Day (as I once did a bit of a fantasy piece one Halloween), either lavishing enormous praise upon a pretty terrible camera, or going through the effort to write a review that  might "trash" a very capable camera.  I could have tried spurring speculation about the re-release of a once beloved film like Kodachrome, but felt that would be a bit cliche.  I even thought of doing a sappy parody of an opinion post in which I go to great lengths to opine that every self-respecting person should carry a 3A box camera in the primary interest of making a statement to others.

But instead of doing a post that ultimately isn't to be believed, I thought I'd instead post about something that something that I myself find difficult to believe, specifically that one can use the terms "110 camera" and "shallow depth of field" in the same sentence.  Heresy you say?  Read on! 

3.08.2018

Triple Take Thursday 3: Plates, Film, and Digital

Variety is the slice of life.  While I continue to shoot traditional film stocks lately, I've been dabbling in some other mediums at the same time.  I've become increasingly involved in the use of dry plates coated by Jason Lane, that have allowed me to use a number of cameras designed for such plates, while also improvising their use into a many other roll film cameras as well. 

I'm also doing a little bit more with digital cameras, between early models with decent specifications and more recent ones with more bells and whistles.  While it's no replacement for a film camera, it does make a pretty easy tag along on my film (and now plate) photo outings.  

Here and there, as I shoot some plates, I'll be supplementing them with the same scene shot on both film and digital to allow for an interesting comparison between the blue sensitive media of the plates, the panchromatic, ortho, or color media of the film, and one or more settings on a digital camera that may mimic or differ from that of the non-digital media.  

Following are three takes of another scene in Baltimore.  Today's trip makes a stop at the Union Soldiers and Sailors Monument, and was taken the day after last week's shot along Linden Avenue.  Unlike the previous day, this Sunday emerged vivid and sunny, with remnants of the snow of the evening before still lingering.  The 109 year old monument has stood at this spot since 1959, after a relocation from nearby Druid Hill Park necessitated by highway construction.  The site near the Wyman Park Dell works well for this monument, and it has since seen its surroundings changed in ways more befitting it, as the southbound lanes of nearby Charles Street that used to curve into 29th Street encroached more upon this monument than they do today.  The change in traffic pattern has made this site more pleasant and relaxing as a result, and its a periodic stopping point for me to do for some quick photographic wanderings.  

With a few hours to burn as a loved one was at a medical appointment, I elected to make the stop past this monument to do my "triple take" as it glimmered resplendent in the noon day sun.  My plate camera was a 6.5 x 9 Zeh Zeca which has been something of a guinea pig among my plate cameras.  It came to me in a bulk auction sporting a basic lens mounted on a worn out shutter that was salvaged from a Univex TLR.  I'd tried a couple of "transplant" lenses upon this camera before electing to give the Meyer Gorlitz Trioplan 10.5cm f/4.5 from my Balda Pontina an indefinite home upon this platform. Supplementing this was the same rediscovered Yashica 35MC stocked with Eastman Double-X film that was featured on last week's entry, and the same Nikon J1 that I'd recently snapped up.  I fired off shots of the bright scene using all three cameras, with only the Zeca tripod mounted to accommodate the slow speed of the dry plates.     


Zeh Zeca 6.5 x 9 cm plate camera with Meyer Gorlitz Trioplan 10.5cm: J. Lane Dry Plate (Sixth Plate) shot at ISO 2, f/8 at 1/10 seconds, developed in HC-110 and scanned.


3.01.2018

Triple Take Thursday 2: Plates, Film, and Digital.

Variety is the slice of life.  While I continue to shoot traditional film stocks lately, I've been dabbling in some other mediums at the same time.  I've become increasingly involved in the use of dry plates coated by Jason Lane, that have allowed me to use a number of cameras designed for such plates, while also improvising their use into a many other roll film cameras as well. 

I'm also doing a little bit more with digital cameras, between early models with decent specifications and more recent ones with more bells and whistles.  While it's no replacement for a film camera, it does make a pretty easy tag along on my film (and now plate) photo outings.  

Here and there, as I shoot some plates, I'll be supplementing them with the same scene shot on both film and digital to allow for an interesting comparison between the blue sensitive media of the plates, the panchromatic, ortho, or color media of the film, and one or more settings on a digital camera that may mimic or differ from that of the non-digital media.  

Following are three takes of another scene in Baltimore, this time on a fascinating remnant of Linden Avenue, once a pretty vital arterial street that was almost entirely swallowed up to redevelopment beginning in the mid-1950's.  The 1700 block has managed to survive, complete with streetcar tracks that have been dormant since 1955.  Since the block is punctuated with an island in the middle, the east side of the street acts as auto parking, and the streetcar track remnants abruptly end, the vintage photo possibilities are somewhat limited in composition, but with careful cropping, an image of nostalgic nature is entirely possible with this scene.  

As a wet snow began to fall, I stopped past this favorite haunt one Saturday afternoon with three cameras in tow.  Instead of using a "proper" plate camera for plates, I was using the Kodak Bantam f/4.5 that I'd inherited from my father, with a pre-seated J. Lane "35mm" size plate as a recording medium.  Supplementing this was my newly rediscovered Yashica Electro 35MC stocked with Eastman Double-X film, and the Nikon J1 that I'd recently snapped up.  I fired off close focus shots of the scene using all three cameras, with the Bantam tripod mounted to accommodate the slow speed of the dry plates.     



Kodak Bantam 4.5: 36x50mm J. Lane Dry Plate shot at ISO 2, f/8 at 5 seconds, developed in HC-110 and scanned.


2.22.2018

Triple Take Thursday 1: Plates, Film, and Digital

Variety is the slice of life.  While I continue to shoot traditional film stocks lately, I've been dabbling in some other mediums at the same time.  I've become increasingly involved in the use of dry plates coated by Jason Lane, that have allowed me to use a number of cameras designed for such plates, while also improvising their use into a many other roll film cameras as well. 

I'm also doing a little bit more with digital cameras, between early models with decent specifications and more recent ones with more bells and whistles.  While it's no replacement for a film camera, it does make a pretty easy tag along on my film (and now plate) photo outings.  

Here and there, as I shoot some plates, I'll be supplementing them with the same scene shot on both film and digital to allow for an interesting comparison between the blue sensitive media of the plates, the panchromatic or color media of the film, and one or more settings on a digital camera that may mimic or differ from that of the non-digital media.  

First up in a scene taken in Patterson Park in Baltimore.  I'd known for some time that there was a small lake there, but had never taken the time to visit it until earlier this week.  Along with me for my visit were a Kodak Recomar 33 plate camera that shoots 9x12cm size plates, a Kodak Signet 35 kindly lent to me by Mike Eckman, and a Nikon J1 that I recently picked up.  As a gentle drizzle began to threaten, I managed to shoot a closely focused scene along the banks of this small pond on all three cameras to compare.  


Kodak Recomar 33: 9x12 J. Lane Dry Plate developed in HC-110 and printed on Ilford Multigrade IV RC paper.  Shot at f/8 for 4 seconds

1.19.2018

Film Hacking: Instaxperiments with the Polaroid J66

I'm stubborn.

There's just no other way of putting it.  One would think that after several less than successful tries of trying to use Fuji FP-100C pack film in a handsome but otherwise obsolete Polaroid J66 camera, I'd simply toss in the towel and be content to hand this camera over to my wife to strictly be a display item for the house. 

"Not I" said the rabbit.

If nothing else, my increasingly frustrating experiments with this forlorn folder proved one thing: that film placed into its chambers was exposed in proper focus.  The main issue with the pack film was the film speed combined with an apparent reciprocity failure that left repeated exposures of the same scene to have little effect on the exposure.  After 14 repeated exposures of a sunny scene that still came out dark, it was apparent that 100 speed film was ill fitted for a camera whose design called for the use of 3000 speed film. 

But what about 800 speed? 

It was this thought that dawned upon me one bitter morning as I began to embark on a few different "Instaxperiments" as I like to call them. I'd managed to make Instax Wide film work properly in a Kodak Brownie 2C, but had to do some work to throttle down the higher speed Instax film.  As I had a decent supply of this medium, I figured I'd give the J66 one last try, and carefully placed a single sheet of Instax wide (puffy side to the front) into the film chamber under the veil of darkness. 

With bright sunny skies in seeming contrast to the frigid temps, I set out on an errand, and in the midst of it, made a quick stop Downtown to attempt this last ditch effort to salvage a decent image from the J66.  I set the focus to the "portrait" setting, found a close subject well bathed in sunlight, opened the aperture fully by using the lighten-darken dial fully to lighten, and fired away.  Scurrying home and returning to my fully darkened room, I then removed the film from the camera and gently fit it into an empty Instax film cartridge, inserting it into an Instax 210 camera I picked up a while back with a faulty lens but working film ejector, and fired away to see how the J66 fared.

Expecting little after all of the previous trials and tribulations with this camera, I approached this last ditch try with almost no fanfare or anticipation, so I was pretty much speechless to see this image develop before my eyes! 

My first try at using Instax Wide in the Polaroid J66 was actually a last ditch try to see if I could salvage an image from this camera.  I was in utter shock to see this develop before my eyes. 

1.10.2018

Film Hacking: Not Your Typical Polaroid

A number of months ago, I snapped a photo on Fuji FP-100C Instant Peel Apart Film, and was particularly pleased with the results that I obtained.  


Would you care to guess which camera model shot the photo?