Blogs I Read

As I am running out of cameras, due to..

  1. Lack of Japanese second-hand store bargains in England.
  2. The ever-increasing price of film cameras.
  3. Lack of full-time work, attached to point 2
  4. The act of trying to reduce my collection.

…I am going to start adding more thoughts and musings. You may have already noticed some recommended reading posts. Hopefully, they be photography based, but they might not be. They will not be political or (hopefully) controversial. It is just not worth the hassle.

I don’t think I will publish to a schedule, just as and when I feel like it or have time. I think I have mentioned all this before.

Anyway, while I was thinking and musing about this I was perusing other blogs. One I read has a nice collection of photography blog links. Not only is it a great list…but I am on it 🙂 Big fat grin appears on my face 🙂 Have a look.

Camera Bloggers Alliance

Another related, but unrelated article I would like to share is this one.

It really explains why and others like film photography in a digital age.

And just to remind you about point number 4 above, reducing my collection. I will be at this vintage fair selling some cameras and stuff. Come along and haggle.

Hmm, maybe I do need a schedule? What do you think? Do you prefer blogs that stick to a publishing schedule or ones that publish as and when?

Ricoh 800 EES

This is another swapped camera, I still have quite a few to go through from that pile of swaps.

This one is from 1974 and while searching for it online, the word rare came up a few times. It was quite tricky to find any information about it. From the information I did find, it has shutter speeds from 4 seconds to 1/800th. That is where the 800 in the name comes from. You can find all the technical details you need here..in French.

As you would have seen in the details I linked to, this camera uses an awkwardly sized battery. The person I got the camera from had a clever workaround which meant I could use the more convenient LR44. A pile of tinfoil wrapped in electrical tape. The other slot was a perfect size for 2 LR44, which are a slightly higher voltage. You might need to change the asa settings if you try this.

I took the camera to Bradford city center and Moses Gate Country Park. The weather, as usual, was rainy and cloudy. I used Fomapan 100 and pushed it to 400, though the camera does have a setting for 800asa film. I found the camera very quiet, but a little disturbing as there was no information in the viewfinder at all. The rangefinders second image was very faint so I added a piece of black tape to the viewfinder to aid focusing.

When I finally finished the film I developed it as usual and waited for it to dry. Then shock horror, my scanner would not turn on. SERIOUSLY!!! It is three months old and I haven’t used it often. I tried different cables, different sockets, but nothing I did would bring it back to life. I was left with the task of calling Canon. The guy on the line was very helpful, but it didn’t make it magically work again. I had to send it to their one and only service center in the UK. It came back in less than a week with a new power “thingy”. It was a bit of a worry as I am working part-time at the moment and scanners are not really essential or cheap. Anyway, I can recommend the Canon service center in the UK.

Moses Country Park

Bradford

I do also have a cheap portable 35mm scanner. Though the cheap scanner’s results are ok, it crops a lot of the image. Neither scanners are as sharp as I would like. Here are some side by side scans from the two ones I have.

Ok, my final thoughts. I love this camera. If you can find a good one get it but be aware, it will not work without batteries and the batteries might be an issue.

Lomography Konstructor Update

Only yesterday I posted about the camera I built and how the shutter didn’t work. Well, as usual, I couldn’t let it alone and today I took it apart and had a look at the shutter mechanism. I looked at my example and compared it to the instruction book. Even though the mirror and shutter come ready built, the instructions and build diagram are included. This is probably just in case you want to take it apart…or in my case check it when it doesn’t work.

And this is what I found.

See that wire…it is in the wrong position.
It should look like this.

And voila! It started working as it should. So I reassembled the other parts and tried again. The mirror seemed slow and worked much better when the camera pointed to the ground, I still wasn’t sure it would work.

I put in the remainder of the film from yesterday and tried a few shots around my garden. Then I processed the film and there were the negatives in their beautiful black and white. Now to scan.

BUT, my friggin second scanner would not turn on. WHAT IS IT WITH SCANNERS AND THIS ROOM???!!!

My first choice scanner is somewhere in the postal system on its way to a Canon service center. The second one is not worth fixing and is now waiting to be retested and then thrown away. So I resorted to my third choice. Using an iPad and a phone.

Well, you can see the images and they are not too bad considering I thought the camera didn’t work. You can also see the LED display points of the iPad so not a perfect replacement. I think I will be using colour film until my first choice scanner returns or I can afford a replacement.

As for the camera, I now would recommend it if you can find a cheap one. It was fun building it and it actually doesn’t work so badly. It is on par with other toy cameras. You can do multiple exposures and have some fun. Use 400asa film for the best results.

UPDATE: I got my scanner back 🙂 It is a canoscan 9000F Mark II. I rescanned the photos so you can see the difference. The ipad and phone work better in terms of sharpness, but the canoscan is better in terms of ease of use and density. If it wasn’t for the LED thing showing through I would stick with the iPad and phone setup.

Interesting Reads

Look at this, another blog recommendations post. Again not something I usually do, but I was really moved by this post. It might be due to the fact I have been working in a few nurseries recently and have been put in the baby room. Being with babies 9am-5pm does things to your mind 🙂

Then, as I was reading some photography blogs I saw this one by Casual Photophile on how to improve my photography. But it wasn’t about that at all. It was a heartfelt post about trying to get pregnant. I skim read it as I was on a bus and thought I might cry, I am a big crier. I put it in my pocket account to read later. I recommend you read it in private, not on the bus if you are a crier too.

It reminded me of an article about going to Holland and I search for that famous article again. In the meantime I found another post saying they hated that original text, she has a point.

Lomography Konstructor

Today was a terrible day, lots of rain and wind. So I decided to stay inside and build a DIY camera. I had seen it second-hand packet on eBay at less than half the price of the new version, an unwanted present. Really? I would have been happy with a gift like this, each to their own. Everything was there, even the stickers and screwdriver.

I had a look through the instructions and just as I suspected, they weren’t great. I have other Lomography items and they seem to spend more money on leaflet design and promotion than they do on the actual instructions.

In the above images, you can see the different parts I made, ready to be snapped together. I found the screwdriver was poorly fitting and stripped the screws.

This reviewer found the same thing. Plus he recommended sorting the screws before you start as they are all clumped together in one bag. I agree with that direction, though it didn’t seem to matter in the end. I found my counter did work correctly though.

It did take me the 1-2 hours suggested and here it is all done.

Even though I put it together correctly, I didn’t have any confidence in it to take actual photos. When I looked through the lens to observe the shutter motion, I didn’t see any light appearing when it was in action. That part comes pre-assembled and you do not construct it, you slot it in. So I did my part ok, but the supplied part seemed faulty. I put a film in and took 5 shots before the whole thing became stiff and jammed, like many toy cameras. I only intended to take a few shots to trial the camera anyway, but still, it was disappointing.

When I developed the film, my suspicions were confirmed. It was completely blank. No fogging, but no photos. The end of the film was fogged as you would expect, meaning the development process was fine. On another site, I read the builder made it once then took it apart again to make improvements and repairs. I might take it apart another day, but not for now.

Here is a great video I found detailing the box contents and finished camera. I did not find his photos so maybe his didn’t work either?

Afterward, I went to the Lomography site to check if there was any extra information on their own site. They have the same instructions posted online with videos. BUT the videos are very poor, no close-ups and dull lighting. When you are trying to look at a small black part being fitted to another black part, you really need to zoom in and have stronger lighting. From what I could see, I didn’t do anything wrong and the shutter just doesn’t work on my version.

Though for 1-2 hours I was thoroughly engaged, now I am thoroughly disappointed. I don’t think I will bother with another DIY camera unless it is an actual gift. I might try to make a pinhole though, maybe I can scrounge parts from this camera…ooooh…or turn this INTO a pinhole camera.

UPDATE: I had another go at getting it working. Read about it here.

Canon EOS 300 (EOS Rebel 2000, EOS Kiss III)

I was expecting to write a scathing review of this plastic camera from 1999 but I loved it. Another camera I love and a cheap one at that. I can’t even remember where I got this one from so it must have been really cheap. I think I got it in order to use the one EOS lens I have.

You can find technical details here. The first thing I noticed and liked was that it loaded all the film into the body of the camera and then counted down as you used it. I always like that, easy. It was also really quiet, barely a peep out of it. But the main thing I liked was the weight and feel. It is very light and surprisingly pleasant to hold. It won’t hurt your neck on a long walk. Also, you may think it is going to be very plasticky, but the two-tone material on the front of the body actually makes it feel nice in your hand.

In terms of modes, it has all the modes you might ever need. It has iso override, bracketing, presets, manual, aperture priority, speed priority and can take multiple exposures.

As you can see by the photos of the camera, I took it on a walk in the countryside and Bingley Five Rises Locks. I am going to try and take photos of the cameras I use where I use them. I might forget, but that is the plan.

Here are the shots I got using some donated Kodak Ekta 100.

I think I might keep this one, I need something to put on the lens.

Interesting Reads

I don’t usually link outright to reads without it being embedded in a post, but I saw this one and thought…Oh, I have some of those cameras on my shelf ready to try. AND I have already tried some.

So if you have a penchant for cheap and cheerful cameras then you will probably like this post by Canny Cameras.

10 Crappy Cameras that are actually quite good.

Here is my experience with one of the cameras on the list.