All posts by Peggy

Boredom and Friends

Today I felt completely bored. I went into Leeds and got a few films developed, wandered the Minster and Canal area.

Whoa, first time uploading camera photos. Anyway, it was lovely, but didn’t take away the underlying feeling. What was causing it?

And then it hit me, I miss Japan. Bugger. I definitely miss the train system, the public toilets. I miss the camaraderie of a regular work place, having people who will pose for me, or go for a wander. Don’t get me wrong, I like my new life but that doesn’t mean I have forgotten my old one.

While looking for things to do I stumbled across this creative use of models. This article says embrace boredom in a positive way. But actually I don’t mind the odd day of boredom, because I know it is an odd day. Tomorrow I will be fine.

Yashica Autofocus

I bought this camera a while ago, it wasn’t expensive and it was a Yashica, yippee. Plus, I hadn’t tried or even seen it before.

There is very little on the net in English about this camera, but I did find one site in Japanese. That one stated that it was released in 1978 and has shutter speeds from 1/60 sec to 1/360 sec. After using the camera I can add, if it is too dark for the shot, a red warning light appears in the viewfinder and it will not fire. It accepts films up to 500asa, a bit of a weird top choice. As you can see from the photos it has a 38mm f2.8 lens.

You can also gather from the photos that it has autofocus, hence the name. Once you have taken a shot you can check the zone chosen by looking at the scale on the front of the camera. That is a cool feature if you want to learn about zone focusing. On the front, you will also find a focus lock button. The flash is activated by pressing down on the top where it says push. On this example, everything worked as it should apart from opening the back. It was a bit sticky and as I had just cut my nails, hard to open. The focusing mechanism was a little loud, but not overwhelmingly so.

I really liked the look of the camera and really enjoyed using it. I took it on a bike ride to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park on another beautiful day. Then later I to it to Walton Colliery to finish off the film.

There are two very similar shots, I used the flash on one thinking it was too backlit and it would be underexposed. The camera and film were fine and it didn’t need that help. Wow, what a stunning little camera. The focus lock worked perfectly and produced a rather nice bokeh on some shots. It didn’t handle sky shots well as it probably confused the focusing system.

I will have to ponder this camera a while as I have a few similar ones. I might keep this and sell the Ricoh 800 I just tried. Not sure.

Pentax Espio 928M

I have recently tried another point and shoot from Pentax, which I lent to a friend who hasn’t tried film for a very long time. Then the person who gave me that camera sent me a remote for it, bugger. I always regret parting with cameras, but for the sake of my sanity and wallet, it has to be done. Anyway, in order to try the remote, I looked for a cheap but good replacement. Hello 928M.

The zoom on this 1999 camera was not as long as on the other one, but 28-90mm was still ok for me. I chose this one as I read somewhere that it did multiple exposures. I won’t link to that article, because it doesn’t. Though this one also has a bulb mode which is rather good for a point and shoot. It also accepts DX coded film up to 3200asa, available apertures range from f3.5 – f9, and has a maximum speed of 1/400s. That is all quite impressive really. Here are some more technical details.

I used this camera on a day out in Doncaster, exactly as a point and shoot might be used. One film, one location but I saved a couple of shots to use with the remote, gosh I have been enjoying fish and chips lately looking at my increase belly size. The remote worked perfectly, and the case even had a little pocket to keep it in. Cameras with a brushed metallic finish are always lovely to hold. It was quick and responsive, but the proof is in the pudding or photo whichever you prefer.

Golly, I think this one did well. Even the tricky shot of the market roof is perfectly exposed. I might be converting to Pentax as my main camera of choice. And what the heck is happening to the weather? The day in Doncaster was the warmest day on record for February in the UK, warmer than most summer days. Look at it now, barely a dry day in sight.

As for the camera, I think I will keep this a while seeing as I the other might not be returned and I now have a remote. These cameras are still fairly easy and cheap to find. If you can find a good example it would be a great one to keep in a handy location.

Contax RTS III

While taking part in my first vintage fair I was contacted by a reader of this blog who made me an offer I could not refuse.

“Would I like to try a Contax RTS III with a lens of my choice?” he asked.
“Erm yes please!” I replied without much delay.

So at the fair he brought in said camera as promised with a 28mm lens as I already had a 50mm. He also brought in a box of other items including a 500mm mirror lens with a Contax adaptor.

Here is the camera with the wide angle attached.

My goodness this is a heavy camera, but as you can see in perfect condition. I think if I had owned this camera it would have been a lot more scratched up as I carried it and swung it around. Mr Generous really did look after his stuff. Everything in his box of goodies was in its original box or a bag and labelled.

This camera was first introduced in 1990 and you can find all the technical details you like on this page. Really far down on that page you will see details of a ceramic film pressure plate. This other site also mentions it as a starred feature that ensured a flat film plane as it was enhanced by a vacuum. Well, that is impressive. This reviewer said it felt and looked like a Porche of cameras. I have to agree. Even though it was heavy it was surprisingly comfortable to hold, the hand grip being just the right size for my tiny hands. The diopter adjustment made the already bright viewfinder a delight to look through.

As I had this camera for “as long as you like” I decided to put a few films through it and experiment a bit. So for the first film I put in some Kodak EPH P1600X slide film that I had been given by another reader. In fact he gave me a fair bit of this now unavailable film. I wish I had read that link before as it mentions it is a rare 400asa film that can be pushed to 1600…oh I think that is what the ‘p’ indicates before 1600x.

And it says it right there on the tin! Push once for 800, twice 1600, thrice 3200.

Well, I really should start reading instructions and reviews before I use things, but where is the fun in that. Anyway, nowhere does this film have 400asa written on it, not even on the box, you just have to be clever enough to know it??

So as I thought the film was 1600asa and it was from 2002, I set the camera to 1250, moving the dial two places lower on this camera. First I tried the 500mm lens, as it did not have an aperture dial I used it at various settings. I tried aperture and speed mode hoping the camera would figure it out the aperture of the lens. I also tried manual, guessing the lens was an f8 as I had seen other lenses with the same sized aperture. I took ten shots then changed to the 28mm lens.

Then I made some calculations. Sending the E6 film off to be developed would take at least a week and cost about £15 with postage. I have at least 12 rolls of slide film. Gosh that would be expensive.
An order of Tetenal Colortec E6 would be about £50, arrive the next day, and possibly develop 30 films if I could do it. And there is the rub, I have never done E6 processing before. In Japan you could only get black and white chemicals due to government restrictions on the chemicals needed. So I had next to no experience with colour processing. How hard could it be?? Be brave I thought, chemicals ordered!

I found this site and followed it to the letter. I followed the mixing ratios and timings with a quick glance at the pack instructions. If I had known about the pushing element I would have also followed the film guide which I found later. That would have meant adding 5 minutes to the first development stage.

I boiled a kettle to use as topping up water for the tub which I had filled from the hot tap. I put all the chemicals in the tub and took constant temperature readings to check it stayed at 38C. The main issue I had was the wash process, because the sink was full and I have a small kitchen. But in the end it was not as hard as I thought it would be to keep the temperature fairly stable, even on a cold day. I agitated the developing tank every 15 seconds by using the agitation stick rather than taking the tank out of the warm water and inverting it. Then I waited very impatiently for the film to dry.

So the first part of the film was from the 500mm mirror lens.

Well, they are a bit crappy. Underexposed and fuzzy, focusing was quite hard due to the very small depth of field and darker viewfinder. I don’t like the lens very much, though I am glad I tried a free one as I always wanted to buy one for bird watching. The slides were obviously underexposed which enhanced the blue tint.

Here are some of the ones from the 28mm lens.

At first I was disappointed with the results, but then I remembered…Hey, I developed these slides! The film was 17 years out of date and I used it at the wrong settings on the camera and wrong timing of the film processing. So actually, they are not that bad 🙂

These slide also have a blue tint. The ones in the link I shared to before were also blueish. I wonder what the slides will look like when I try another roll and set the camera to 400asa.

As for the camera, it is a bit awesome. I have put a fresh roll of C41 film in it which I will not be processing myself as I want to see what it can do without the hit and miss of my own processing skills. For a Contax camera these can be found for sale at quite reasonable prices. If you are looking for a good quality, manual focus SLR, they don’t come much better than this.

Update: I tried another roll of the slide film today, this time taken at 400asa. I tried a few settings and a yellow filter. I found the yellow filter definitely was not needed and the blue colour cast was probably due to the underexposure of the first film. Some of the new roll were still blue, but some were relatively ok. Either way this roll came out better.

Here are some more from the second roll. It is not my favourite film at the moment, but I will try it in another camera for another comparison test at a later date.

Vintage Fair, Bleurghhhh and Issues.

You may have noticed the change of blog theme just when I was settled on a new layout. I have been having issues lately with WordPress losing media selections from the galleries. This was happening every time I updated or edited a post. It only started to occur since the previous theme change. Hence I thought the new theme was the issue and the reason for this new change.

WordPress help was very responsive and attentive, I can’t fault them on their attempts to fix the issue. But in the end it seems to have fixed itself…for now. It was very frustrating, especially when I edited an older post and had to relink the photos.

The “bleurghhhh” in the title means I am sick, it is cold season and I have a stonker. This week I had to skip work and my volunteering duties, staying in bed watching Game of Thrones. I did manage to attend my very first vintage fair as a stall holder before being afflicted. The fair was not as well attended as in previous years, but I did manage to sell a few cameras. Strangely, I ended up being offered more cameras by visitors. Those that lived nearby went home and got them. At the end of the day I walked away with the same amount. That was interesting, just as I was saying I could not afford new cameras, here are people offering them to me to keep, borrow, or buy for next to nothing.

Here are the phrases I heard the mosts:

  • Oh, I used to have one of those
  • Do you buy cameras? I am sure I have one in a draw somewhere.
  • Can you still get film?

It was nice to chat with people as they seemed genuinely happy to see the cameras, but I would have preferred to sell more. There will be another fair at that location in October so I think I will attend again. I also realized I will never be rich as I ended up giving some film away to a couple of people for various reasons.

It was hard to choose the cameras I put up for sale and repacking them after the event, I changed my mind on a couple of them. One the changes of mind was for the Minolta Weathermatic. It is just such a good camera. I reread my own post and then up popped this one from 35MMC. And after that I checked the prices. Wow, it has gone up in price. That settled it, I am keeping it….Especially as I sold the Sea & Sea at the fair.

Lastly if you are interested in buying a film camera, here is the most comprehensive guide I have ever seen. It is a few years old, but it is a treasure trove of information.

Pentax Efina T (aps)

This is the second APS I have tried recently. This one is small, well built, solid. It feels like a quality piece of equipment in your hand. There is also a lot about it online, including all these technical details. The brushed metal finish of this 1999 camera makes you feel like, yeah…this is gonna work. And then you remember the film issue.

Anyway, here is this great looking camera.

And look at that tiny, tiny flash! I thought…That is never going to work and most of the reviews agreed with that thought. Oh well, I still like it.

I loaded it with Agfa Futura II and left it in my bag for ages…and ages, whipping it out when I remembered, testing the flash on Christmas day. It was just so small, it was easy to lose it at the bottom of a big bag. Then, when I finally remembered it again, I took it to Bradford.

Oh, if it only had ISO over-ride it would be super. Oh, if only there was fresh film it would be even super-er. But no. Great to hold, fun to use, not great for important photos.

Buy this camera – Pentax Efina T

Please check the photos and read the text, that way you know exactly what you are buying. The amount includes postage to the UK. If you live outside the UK please contact me for postage details. Included: One aps film

£15.00

Canon EOS IX7 (aps)

I have a heap of APS film and it is all out of date. What I need is a camera that allows me to select the ISO. Hello IX7. It was released in 1998 and it was a bugger to find anything about it on the net that had any useable details. I did find some technical details in Polish.

Using it reminded me of the Canon EOS 300 I have just tried. In fact, I even used the same lens on both cameras. The mode dial for both cameras is exactly the same. The only thing missing on this one was the multiple exposure function, shame as that would have been interesting.

I found using the camera easy, very intuitive. It did have a plastic feel to it, but it had a very pleasing look. I loaded it with Kodak Advantix 100 and set it to 25.

Here are some of the shots from that experience. I won’t subject you to the full roll as they are truly awful. APS film is really hit and miss, and this one was a big fat miss.

Sometimes I try to salvage films with a colour cast by changing it to black and white. With this film, it didn’t do much to improve anything, but it is interesting to see the results.

The next film I tried was a Centurian 200 which expired in 2005. I shot it at 80.

Wow, that came out much better. I did like using the camera, it responded well to everything I asked of it. The weight was comfortable, again comparable to the EOS 300. With fresh film, it would be outstanding. With the ever depleting film stock and my lack of funds, I probably will not be buying any APS film in the future, the prices are shooting up. The remainder I do have will more than likely be used with this camera due to the ISO function. The price of processing is quite reasonable though. I used Picture Lizard to develop these and it was just as cheap as 35mm colour, they did a good job too.

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?