Champ Camera

I am currently sat in Champ Camera, it has taken me almost 2 hours to get here from where I was in Tokyo. I don’t mind, I could read a book on the journey. I have been following them on Instagram and thought while I am relatively close I will visit. Basically, it would have bugged me not to visit.

They have a great collection of films with books of sample photos, great idea.

The junk section really is junk and not worth the trip for me. But they have a small, reasonably priced selection of film cameras.

The best thing though, is that I am writing this blog post while waiting for a film to be developed. It will take 30 minutes. I just went to Yodobashi Camera in Akihabara and I have to wait 8 hours for those. In fact they wanted me to return tomorrow, which I can’t as I fly out. I should have trusted my instincts and brought them all here. Though, some of the films I left at Yodobashi were Kodak not Fuji, that always seems to cause an issue.

So I didn’t buy any cameras at champ, but I got some film – off the shelf APS.

A nice selection of APS.

Champ is a friendly shop, with interesting film if you are looking for something different. It is not as convenient as Suzuki Camera in Yokohama Station, but worth a trip if you are nearby and love film.

Pentax Pino 35

I am currently in Japan on a short holiday, but here is a review I prepared before I left. It is another Pentax, you would think it is my favourite brand. No, I know someone who is trying to convert me though. It is also another cheap and cheerful point and shoot from the mid 80s.

As you can see, it is a very simple camera to use. You set the film speed of either 100, 200, or 400 ISO/ASA then choose the conditions based on the weather symbols. The camera has a fixed speed of 1/125th, the weather symbols change the aperture which ranges from f3.8 to f19. If there isn’t enough light a red warning indicator appears in the viewfinder, but it will still take the shot. The camera will work without the two AA batteries as they power the flash and warning light not the mechanism. That means if you find an example with battery corrosion damage, it might still work. Oh, if you are using the flash, there is a distance scale on the side but that really opens and closes the aperture as it is linked to the weather symbols.

And that is it, not even a self timer to worry about, just point and shoot at things beyond 1.5m. This review says it is one of the worse looking cameras of the plastic era. Bit harsh, but somewhat true.

I had a film in this one for a while and kept it in my bag as I wandered around Yorkshire. It was small and study enough to go on a bike ride too.

Well, nothing special really. Some are sharp, some are a bit soft. It produced typical results for a basic plastic camera. It is fine if you plan on taking it somewhere where it might get stolen or damaged. But really, there are plenty of better cameras out there. It is fine if you find it for a couple of quid. I will not be keeping my example.

Fantastic Plastic Book

I have finally finished the book about Frank Hurley. It was a heavy read. I don’t think I will read another biography for a while.

So now I have picked up this book…

I am thinking about the cameras I want to take to Japan tomorrow. I have to take my Nikon D750, but what camera for fun?

I have a suitcase with at least 5 cameras in it safe with a friend in Japan. Inside is a 35mm SLR, a TLR, and compacts are easy to get. So a toy camera seems the best choice at the moment….I am ignoring the golden half I know is in the case too.

I thought I would look through this book for inspiration. I do have the Diana F+ with an Instax back, plus the super wide and slim which I have yet to test. I don’t want to fill up my luggage with cameras I own in case go shopping for some bargains.

If you could take one camera for fun, what would it be?

Canon Prima Super 105 (Canon Sure Shot 105 Zoom/Autoboy Luna 105)

I had to really check whether I had tried this camera before. I found another Canon 105 among my collection of posts, but not this one. It is another one of those point and shoots with many names depending on the country it was released in. I got this one from a second hand market. The stall owner threw it in for one pound when I bought another camera that was also very, very cheap. To be fair, I didn’t really want it, but a quid?? Nothing to lose.

Well, everything seemed to work seamlessly. Powered up with a CR123 battery – check, zoomed in and out – check, shutter fired – check, flash worked – check. Well, nothing more to check then. Having a look over the camera I noticed the RT on the selector?? I could figure out the rest of the symbols and I was happy to see the ‘no flash’ choice, but what was RT. Checking the manual revealed it meant Real Time. Basically on this setting the camera would fire in 0.03 seconds instead of the usual lag. OOOHHHH, perfect for a cycle race.

So in I pop some HP5 and set off for the Tour De Yorkshire on a miserable, rainy day. This year I was a volunteer for this event on two of the four days. Last year the weather was in the 20+ temperatures, but I was in Japan. This year it was wet and cold, so much so I had to buy an extra jumper from the church jumble where we were based. Maybe not the best conditions to test a non waterproof camera from 1997. Also, I had to keep my eye on the race and spectators so I could not frame photos very efficiently. The camera had to be a literal point and shoot with no fancy or tricky operating features.

Here is my TDY day for stage one, and a tiny bit from stage 2.

Wow, I love this camera. It worked perfectly for me and the shots are perfectly exposed under difficult conditions. Oh and the chains are from a round swing that I laid on. I was early for my shift and went to the park. The swing was fun, but it made me very queasy and I almost threw up, I am getting old 😦

There are also a few shots that have a lot of ‘road’ in it. I got very excited when the main peloton went by, shot from the hip and tried to keep the camera lens out of the heavy rain. I managed that, but missed most of the bikes.

I am going to Japan in a couple of days for a short holiday, I think I will take this camera with me. I don’t want to carry a heavy film camera as well as my digital. Plus I have some there already and I could get more easily. But I want one to use before I pick up my ‘left luggage’. The super 105 is just the right size, just about pocketable with a built in lens cover. It also accepts film up to 3200asa, handy. Oh if only it had a slightly better bottom or top aperture instead of  f/3.8-9.9. You can’t have everything I suppose, but for a quid this camera was a bargain and a half.

Return to Pinhole Photography

Yesterday was World Pinhole Day 2019. So I decided to dust off my Ondu camera and give it another try.

As it has been a while since I tried it, plus have only even done pinhole a couple of times before. I forgot how to calculate the exposure. So I lost the first 4 shots as they were too underexposed. Then I remembered the handy guide in the box and adjusted the timings. There are the results from that point.

Now that I have worked out the timings I might try a few experimental shots. Actually the Building shot on the top row has a person running passed the camera, but the exposure was so long she has disappeared. I think I will try this again…but with a slightly more visible person.

Pinhole is not like anything I have tried before. Initially I am always disappointed by the lack of focus. Then I look at the shots in a different way, they make me do that. I look beyond the actual image and think about the process. Pinhole is not for a rich person, a person in a hurry. It is something to savour, to enjoy for just what it is. For me it is a time to be alone, even when I am not.

Nikon FM10

Let’s just start with the premise…I LOVE THIS CAMERA. Love it. I don’t care that it is not made by Nikon. I don’t care that it does not have automatic focusing. I don’t care that it is plastic.

It is extremely light, small in size, takes multiple exposures, has a shutter lock built into the winder mechanism, a split screen, a brightish viewfinder, has speeds up to 1/2000th, and accepts films from 25 to 3200asa. The plastic doesn’t feel plastic, it feels very nice to hold. Plus it works without batteries but takes LR44 for the light meter. What more could you need? Here are more technical details if you need them. Best of all my example was bought for less than £35, barely has a scratch and it works. Bargain.

I took it for a walk near the Paddock Viaduct in Huddersfield. I put in some expired E6 Film and set the asa a stop lower. It was a lovely walk, quite surprising to me as it wasn’t something that I expect to find in that area.

Then I developed the film when I got home. Here are the results.

Holy moly, they are just wild. I don’t have much experience developing E6 film, but I know I followed the instructions to a T!

I checked the cartridge and it was definitely E6, I didn’t cross process it or anything. The scanning process enhanced the colour shift. So as Bob Ross would say, it is a happy accident.

Of course it did mean I should try the camera again 🙂 To avoid the same colour issue I tried a Fomapan 100 black and white film in my local area. I also tried a few basic double exposures which were achieved with the black slider next to the film advance lever. I usually forget to try this feature, but I think I will try a few more in the future as this camera makes it easy to do them.

I am going to have to smile a bit more…but I like the moody look, it seems to suit mono film more.

Well, the results from both films only make me love the camera more. The exposures are spot on. The kit lens that came with the camera is pretty good too. For a couple of shots I switched to a sigma 35-70mm auto focus lens which also worked well, though of course I manually focus it. I did try a vintage f1.4 50mm lens, but the aperture ring would not move and I didn’t want to break either the lens or the camera. I also tried a Yongnou flash that I use on my digital Nikon, but though it fired, the negatives are blank. I think that means the sync was out. I will try it again on the next film, plus a regular old flash for comparison.

If you can find a cheap FM10 then buy it, but the price of this camera varies a lot. They can be quite expensive. Here is another post raving about the camera. As for me, this camera is going to go on my top ten list, though at the time of writing I am not sure where.

Loreo MK II 3D Stereo Camera

What a funky looking camera! I bought this with my winnings from the 2019 Grand National. I had a couple of quid on Tiger Roll at 14/1 before it finally settled at 4/1, lucky me. As it was free money, I decided to get myself something superfluous. Free money refers to money you didn’t expect to have and so have not budgeted for anywhere. The Grand National is a somewhat controversial topic, but I have not been in the UK to see it for 20 years so I was quite excited on the day. But at the very first fence a couple of horses fell, one obviously heavily and that made me feel very emotional with mixed feelings about the whole thing. Even so, free money!!

Recently I have been watching a TV show about World War 1. It features stereo photos that have been digitally enhanced. They are freakily effective.

Also Brian May has been on TV promoting his book about Queen which contains the same style of photos. He is a complete nerd when it comes to stereoscopic photos 🙂

That was it, I wanted a stereo camera!!! Oh crap, they are expensive 😦 Hmm, what to do??

Solution, buy an untested one with a broken flash and hope for the best. When it arrived it seemed in pretty good condition, but looking closer the mirrors do seem to have a slight layer of haze. I wondered whether I should try taking it apart and cleaning them before using it. In the end I decided against it as it might not even work. So here is the Loreo Stereo camera from 1999, but it is still available.. It has twin 28mm lenses, a single shutter speed of 1/60th and an aperture of f18 or f11 if you have one with a working flash.

You may have noticed I am a little impatient at times (all my family will laugh at that statement). Having a love of film photography has had no effect on that trait. If I am excited about a camera I tend to use it straight away, even when the weather might mean waiting would be a better choice. This camera was a prime example. I needed a clear, bright day with good film. I chose a humid, cloudy day with old film 🙂

The inside of the camera suggests 200asa film. I had some expired 400asa film. Seeing as I didn’t know if the camera would work, I didn’t see the point in using fresh film. I decided to take the camera to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park as they had a few new pieces on display by Damien Hirst. Perfect for a stereo camera.

The way the camera works means you can take it to a regular shop for developing and scanning. Here are the results I got from that test.

Of course you can’t see the 3d effect but they came out….not in great condition, but they are there. There seems to be a light leak or a reflection of some sort. But, how to effectively view them. I tried the free viewing method and it made me a bit dizzy. I used to be able to see magic photos, but I think the fact I now wear glasses might have affected my ability. So I ordered a Google Cardboard device which has yet to arrive. In the meantime I decided to learn how to make wigglegrams using the free program Gimp.

This is a video heavy post, but what can you do if you decide to ‘wiggle’. Anyway, it didn’t take long to learn, but did take a long time to convert them all. It also made me a tiny bit queazy. So be warned, below are some of the wigglegrams I created. If they make you feel a bit weird, then don’t scroll down. I found the best ones have the subject closer to the camera. This style of photography is not mean for far off landscapes.

As for the camera, I did take it apart and cleaned the mirrors, it did make a difference. I also used some black tape on the film door which reduced the light leak. There also seems to be a reflection from somewhere, a ghost image on the negative. For the second test I used some street candy film. Here are some of the results after the cleaning.

And the second test.

Book: Frank Hurley, a photographer’s life

I have been reading this book for a while. It is thick, heavy in terms of size and readability. Honestly, I am amazed by his life and what he went through to get his photos, but I will be glad when it is over. At least I can sit outside and read for a while. Actually the book reminds me of a TV series I just watched called, Chimerica. It was about a photographer who manipulated a news photo. Well, so did Frank. Many of his photos were composites.

What are you reading?