All posts by Peggy

2019 Instagram Best Nine

I do like instagram, it is one of my favourite apps. And I really like the best nine apps that pop up at the end of the year.

This one is quick and easy to use, but you have to give an email address.
https://topnine.co/

This one takes longer, but it looks a little better and you can see instagram’s top account’s top nines. Gosh that is hard to write and say.
https://bestnine.net/en

On my account I post film and digital photos, I rarely post personal photos. Recently I have been going through my back catalogue and reprocessing them. It has been interesting to revisit places and times, revisit photos with new apps.

Here is my top nine for 2019.

I am glad the victorian camera made it into the top nine. I wish I could have kept the camera as it was beautiful, but I didn’t think I would ever use it again as it really was cumbersome. The photo below it was taken by that camera.

If you would like to see more of my photos without all the text, you can find a link to my Instagram account at the end of this post.

2019 Most Popular Posts

It’s the end of the year and though this is a small site compared to some, it is mine and I like to reflect on the year.

Every year this blog has been active it has increased in the number of hits received. This year has been no exception. The total for this year, with a few days to go, is around 150,000. That is six times the number obtained during the first 3 years combined. Thank you to everyone who has passed by, read a few words or linked to my little blog. Ultimately this blog is written for myself as a way to document the cameras I have tried and places I have visited. I often wonder how many of those hits are just myself looking back on my life.

But looking through the list of most popular posts this year, I realised it can’t just me 🙂 As many of them I haven’t visited for ages.

So, without further ado, here are the most popular posts from 2019 and the date they were first published.

  1. Fujica Auto-7 Date (2018-04-22)
  2. Nikon TW Zoom (2017-12-05)
  3. Minolta Hi-Matic AF-D (2016-05-21)
  4. Fujicolor Simple Ace Disposable Camera (2018-05-18)
  5. Fuji TW-3 (2017-12-20)
  6. Two Nikon TW Point and Shoots (2017-07-05)
  7. Olympus Trip MD (2017-09-08)
  8. Konica Z-up 80 super zoom (2018-02-26)
  9. Ricoh LX-55W (2016-01-12)
  10. Ricoh XR 500 (2017-09-17)

I put the dates on as I found it interesting that the most popular posts are all pre-2019, which means they were probably stumbled upon by searches.

And just for fun and as a comparison, here is the list from 2018

  1. Minolta Hi-Matic AF-D
  2. Olympus AZ-1 Zoom
  3. Fuji HD-M
  4. Minolta Hi-Matic AF2 MD
  5. Two Nikon TW Point and Shoots
  6. Nikon TW Zoom
  7. Olympus Pen EED
  8. Ricoh XR 500
  9. Fuji TW-3
  10. Konica Z-up 80 super zoom

There are many duplicates with the Minolta H-Matic AF-D in the top three for both years which is surprising for me as I really didn’t care for that camera.

Conway "Popular"

I have been working a lot the past few weeks, preparing for the lack of funds over the winter break. That combined with the rain and the short days does not make for many opportunities to use cameras like this one. I liked the look of this camera from the start. As a bonus it was easy to take apart and clean. Just undo the screw at the front and the mirrors are accessible.

For me, the best thing about this camera was the “Made in England” proudly displayed on the front. Searching for information on the camera proved a little fruitless, there isn’t much. I found nothing but photos of this version, with very little test attached. A very similar camera has more written about it, stating it was on sale around 1955. The company has a bit more information to be found. This site says it was based in Birmingham and originally called Standard Cameras Ltd, they also made Coronet cameras. Any other information you need has to be garnered by looking at the photos.

* There is a closeup and distance setting on the lens barrel.
* There is a green filter option, accessed with a slider on the side, to be used with foliage to make the shades more natural and dark green leaves lighter.
* There are two large, bright viewfinders for portrait or landscape shots.
* There is no tripod mount or cable release which is unfortunate as the shutter speed is probably around 1/40th-1/50th
* The aperture is set, probably to f11
* There is a bulb setting, again there is no tripod or cable release to make using this function more effective.
* The camera accepts 120 or 620 film. I used 120 but I found the film hard to advance so I think the 620 roll would be a better fit.
* The film is placed in the camera opposite to regular box cameras. You insert on the bottom and transfer to the top.
* There are two hooks to keep the camera closed. On my version they would slip off and leave the camera prone to opening slightly. It would be better to tape those down while using it.

I can’t think of anything else. So here are my test shots taken around Victoria Tower, Huddersfield. I went to this location as it was a lovely but cold sunny day, and we haven’t had a lot of those recently. This place would be a bit tricky to get to on a bad winter’s day as it is really exposed.

When I developed the film I was excited to see the results. On the negative, the images looked clear, sharp and contrasty. But on scanning, you can see a few soft spots on them. The focusing drifts throughout the shots. The last one was a timed shot taken inside of my father reading as the rain came back. I held the camera on a sturdy book for about 30 seconds, with the near setting activated, though I don’t think a tripod would have helped with the softness of the focus.

Though I do still like the look of the camera, I doubt I will use it again. The images are too soft and the winder was too stiff.

Kodak Brownie Six-20 (UK Model)

This was my favourite looking Brownie from the job lot I acquired, but it soon became my least favourite one that I have tried so far. Firstly loading it was a little annoying, the back is attached to the front, you have to swing it up and over. Why Kodak, why??

That makes this the earlier version of the UK model of which there were two versions; the earlier (1934-37) had this connection. You can see on the front there are a number of levers to change the aperture and distance. The default distance is landscape and you have to hold the other choices in place. The speed for regular shots is probably about 1/50th, but given the age of the camera, it is not guaranteed. This example only had one issue I could see or not see. The portrait viewfinder was black and I couldn’t use it to frame anything.

As I have now tried a few Brownies without too much trouble, I loaded it up with Fomapan without too much checking for issues. Then I took it to London on a birthday trip with my sister. The very first place we went to was the Rapha shop in Soho. I was holding the camera and the shop assistant spotted it straight away…”Is that, is that a Brownie???” and then we started chatting. I also had a Spiderman camera with me too. I did see a hint of jealously, well, who wouldn’t want a Spiderman camera.

Anyway, to make a long story short, he very nicely posed for a photo. As soon as I got home I developed the film and oh the disappointment.

Actually, the guy did very well as I had the camera on bulb as we were inside. But on the whole the results were disappointing. Lots of fogging. Where was the light coming from? These cameras are usually a solid box??
I turned the lights off and got a torch.

Bloody corners! I looked inside.

There does seem to be rusted areas, nothing too major, but enough to let light in. I tried painting the insides with thick black paint..it didn’t work, I could still see the light coming through. So I figured the camera was knackered anyway and it is mine…Hello old used Marvel comics. This bad camera deserved a bad guy makeover.

And then I tried it again…..

Much better, with just a lens aberration from the sun in one shot. Oh and the scratching 😦 Framing was tricky on portrait shots due to the mirror issues so I decided to try and fix it. It would be good practice.

In the manual it mentions how to take the front off to clean the camera so that is where I started…and then the next disappointment. The damn screws would not come off. I tried soaking them in WD40, nothing would move them.

In then end I drilled them out, just so I could see the inside of the camera. The mirrors are free hanging and the portrait one was flat against the back. I bent it back to a good position, though how it moved flat in the first place I have no idea.

Oh and there weren’t just the screws on the outside, there were three holding the lens/shutter box in place too. They were on the inside of the camera, remember the swinging back. That didn’t help. And then there were two tiny screws on the actual lens mechanism to open that in order to clean the glass. I managed to remove everything and not break anything. Then I started putting it back together. I figured I would glue the front plate on as it hadn’t been removed for 80 years so it probably wouldn’t be removed again. Once all back together I would finish decorating the rest of the camera.

But…next disappointment…the shutter mechanism no longer worked properly. It kept getting stuck on something. I took it apart twice, but it never really worked again once placed inside the brownie box. Well that was fun, not.

So, this was not my favourite Brownie experience. Funnily enough though, if this was my only Brownie I think I would have taken much more care. But when you have so many of something they seem to lose their value. It is something I will have to think about in the future and force myself to take more care.

Kodak Instamatic 33

This camera came as part of a job lot and it meant, finally, I had a clean instamatic. One that seemed to work perfectly, one that I might be able to use the Fakmatic in with relative ease. Having previously tried the adapter and failed, I had given it away. I cheekily asked the receiver if there was a possibility of getting it back and voila, another chance for the 3D printed device. There are other ways of using instamatic cameras, like reusing an old cartridge or adapting a 35mm roll as in this video but I really wanted to use the fakmatic.

This instamatic was manufactured from 1968 to 1973 and accepted 126 cartridge film. It has a fixed-focus lens and a two-speed shutter – 1/40sec and 1/80 sec. You select the speeds with the weather symbols on the front of the camera. The aperture is set at f11 for the 43mm lens.

If you watched the fakmatic video you will hear that you have to take a photo, then expose another photo while covering the lens in that pattern. That way you avoid getting overlapped images.

I seem to say this all the time recently, but the weather here has been awful. I managed to use the film ready for home developing over a few days. It was hard to know when the film was finished as I could not hear any squeaking and there were no numbers to check. So once I thought I had taken enough shots I put the cartridge in a light tight bag and felt for the sprockets of the film. I could still feel them, that mean there was still film left. So I took a few more shots, then I repeated the process. The next time I could not feel the sprockets meaning the film was finished.

There were some overlaps, and the beginning of the film was fogged where I loaded it into the camera. One side of the film had the image over the sprockets, but I didn’t scan those to include them.

I kept the camera set to cloudy which meant an exposure of 1/40th at f11. Mostly the exposure is ok, I over developed the film as I though the conditions meant they might be underexposed.

The results look very soft in terms of focusing. They remind me of something from a pinhole camera. All in all I did not enjoy using the camera and I am not keen on the results. I doubt I will be using an instamatic again. Though I have to change my opinion of the fakmatic, that worked really well.

Film Washi S 50 ISO Experience

I bought two rolls of this film ages ago and since then the weather has been absolutely rubbish, dark, grey, and wet. Which, as it turned out, was perfect for reducing the contrast of this very contrasty film. So Washi S, you can read all about the film and its history here. That blog also includes some sample shots. And there is a data sheet here, with some shooting tips.

I decided to put my first roll in my Canon IV SB2 because it had an f1.4 lens and I have only used it once since getting it CLA’d. That is a shame and a tragedy in camera terms. I took it for a wet walk around Dalton Bank Nature Reserve to see some rural graffiti and into Leeds for some “lines”.

Once finally finished, I developed the film in Kodak D76. I have to say the processed film is one of the clearest I have ever seen. I think I am so used to Fomapan with the blue tint, I have forgotten what other films look like. Anyway, here are some of my results.

As you can see, the film is indeed very contrasty. VERY. I think it works well for the lines and patterns, but not so well for run of the mill shots. The blacks are very black and the whites are so white they are sometimes blown out. There are very few grey or mid tones. I love it, but for the next roll I will choose when to use it very carefully, maybe stick to lines, patterns, or architecture.

I think I will also choose a camera with a built in light meter to compare the results.

Processing C41 Colour film in Black and White Chemicals.

My local Pound store has started selling the Geek 10 exposure colour film for £2 a roll.

Though it is only £2, the 10 exposures, then paying for development means it doesn’t actually end up being very economical as Kosmofoto points out. But what if you could develop it as a black and white film? Would that make it a cheap film to test cameras? At the very least, it would make a good experiment.

So, a little more about the film, in case you want to use it as a regular colour film. The ten exposures is literally that. I managed to get 9 out of mine once I had loaded it. To get ten you would have to be very careful while loading, or load in the dark. The cassette feels very cheap, a plastic affair that is tricky to open in order to process the film. I had to rip mine apart. The naff cassette also seemed to hinder the movement of the film through the camera and initially thought I had misloaded it. I found using a film picker impossible, hence the ripping apart option. The actual film inside is rebranded Fujifilm C200, here is another great blog with details about that.

I did some research about cross processing colour film as black and white and there are a few articles online. On the whole I didn’t find anything really substantial about using the developing chemicals I had. I have recently been using Kodak D-76 after switching from ilfosol 3. I did find one chat thread that way down said try a development time of 8 minutes at 20 degrees. But most things I read said don’t do it or it was a waste of time.

So ignoring all the naysayers I went for these development details.

Chemicals used: Kodak d-76 at full strength 1:0
Temperature: 21 degrees
Development Time: 8 minutes (with stop=30 secs, fixer=5 minutes)

Of course the emulsion is on a very orangy base that will affect scanning, but was there an actual image to scan after developing? YES!

The film was quite dark due to the plastic film base, but it scanned quite well considering. The initial scans were quite flat, but I processed all 9 exposures through the Snapseed phone app. To be fair, recently the weather has been rainy and dark so even a “real” film would have struggled.

Some of the shots came out quite well, others were underexposed. Overall, they weren’t so bad. What if I took the film out on a bright day and overexposed the film? The next test? Once the weather changes I will try that and update the post. Either way it was not a complete loss, at £2 a roll it is another option.

Kodak ‘Brownie’ Flash B

This is my favourite Brownie so far. It was produced from 1958-1960 so had a very small production run compared to the others. Just look at it…

This brownie has so many things going for it that distinguish it from the other Brownies I have tried.

  • It is very easy to clean the viewfinders and mirrors, just pop off the front.
  • The said viewfinders are nice and big, and once cleaned, very bright.
  • It has a choice of three speeds which are stated on the camera, no guessing. The choices are 1/40th 1/80th and B. With a set f11 aperture.
  • The 1/80th speed is quicker than most Brownies which are usually around 1/50th.
  • There is a built in close-up lens for subjects 5-10ft away.
  • There is a built in filter for brighter days or faster films.
  • Both of those filters are labeled on the pull out tabs.
  • There is a guide to settings on the camera. Though it is for Kodak film from the time. It is useful to know Tri-X is rated 200 ISO, Veri-Pan is 125 ISO and Pan X 32 ISO.
  • The skin is good quality and can be glued back in place unlike the paper-ish covered versions.
  • You can take multiple exposures.
  • There is a flash slot if you happen to have a flash and bulbs.
  • It is Brown, it really is a ‘Brownie’ hence the ’emphatic’ use of quotation marks.

It uses 620 film so I respooled a roll of Fomapan. Which I have to say is turning all my chemicals bright blue, I wonder if the dye affects the potency of the developer etc. Anyway, I took the camera to my local town when I went to find a pair of wellies. There has been a lot of rain lately, lots of places in Yorkshire are flooded. So I thought wellies might be useful. Unfortunately, there was only one shop selling them and no wide ones, I have fat calves…due to a motorbike accident honest 😦
All that is beside the point. Here is my test roll.

Dark, contrasty and moody, just as I like them.

I used the close up filter on the lettered flag stones. I am just over five foot tall, so I put the camera on my head and used the closeup filter.

I loved using this camera. I will use it again.