All posts by Peggy

Unframing Identities Exhibition London

I have some exciting news. Exciting for me, but probably meh for you unless you are family or a friend. If you are excited for me then, “hello friend, how are ya?” 🙂

While I was on holiday in Japan I noticed a post on a Facebook group I am in with details of an exhibition in London. It was an open call to female photographers so I decided to send a couple of photos. As I was on holiday I could only get screen shots from my website, quite low quality. I then forgot all about it until I received an email asking for more details. Things fell into place and showed me once again how fate can work magic sometimes.

  1. I had just been talking to someone about my photos and they said I should do more exhibitions or projects, and then the post showed up on my feed. So I was in the mood to take a shot.
  2. I was in Japan to collect my left luggage, inside that luggage were the negatives for the shoot I intended to submit. Without traveling back, I would not have had access to them.
  3. The photos were from only the second project I had ever completed and it fit with the exhibition theme completely so I didn’t have to think of a new idea by which time my mood might have changed.

So this weekend I am traveling to London to take my exhibition photos to hang. I have chosen six photos. Here are two examples.

If you are in the area the main exhibition is on right now. My photos are part of a second phase that will take place at the end of the June. You can read more about it at this website. You can also search for these social media tags
@RPS100Heroines
#UnframingIdentities
#KCAW19

I will also travel down for the actual dates, of 28-30th June and will visit the exhibition at various times. If you are around please say hello or just quietly pass by and enjoy all the different pieces of art.

Rainy Reading Days

What super weather we are having recently! So my weekends have been spent reading and playing with my toys…cameras and literal toys.

I decided to start a new project just for the hell of it and to freak out my friends. It is based around a toy I got when I was about seven years old. Meet Charlie the Chatter Chimp, though he doesn’t chatter without help any more.

Honestly, if I get bored I tend to find things to do and they might be a bit weird. Some friends call them mini passions, some call them projects, some think I need help. I don’t mind any of those descriptions, I am enjoying myself.

I can come up with projects myself, but there are plenty of creative exercises out there, like this one. I especially like suggestion five, take a roll of film and limit yourself to 24 or 36 shots. Well, who would do that these days?! Or what about suggestion seven, take a something with you to photograph…Hello Charlie 🙂 Though I did think of it before seeing the video, it is hardly original.

And now I am going to demonstrate how dumb I can be sometime…sometimes, I said. I was playing with a camera, a Vito B which I am currently testing.

I added the rangefinder, because I could. When I posted these photos on my instagram feed a friend said, “why not set the camera to f8?” I though fair enough but close things would not be focusing. Then I remembered another friend telling me how he zone focused and didn’t really need to use a distance gauge. And I began to wonder, is my idea of zone focusing the same as theirs? Do I really know what zone focusing actually is? I know of the symbols on zone focused cameras, but beyond that I have not really thought about it. So I googled it and found this great article. And then I felt dumb, the gauges on the lens barrel with the diamond…

I had never really looked at them before. Oh well, I have tested over 270 cameras and never once looked at or thought about that scale. I think this might become a mini passion/project for one of the cameras I will test soon.

What else might I be missing? Well if you read the comments below you will see that I missed the hyperfocal distance which is shown on the photo markings. This great article explains all about that and how it relates to zone focusing.

It would be a great system to understand if you are a street photographer, which I am not. But either way, it just shows you can never be at a point in your life where you can’t learn something new or gain a better understanding of a subject.

For now I will carry on relaxing and enjoying the women’s world cup. Talking of world cups, don’t forget to vote in the Black and White World Cup.

Finally, do you own and Olympus OM 20? If so please check the serial number. If it is serial number 1032853 then please read this article as the camera could be important in a murder case.

Yashica T AF

This camera was a complete gamble. I know I usually buy cameras that are in junk bins and are a gamble, but usually they don’t cost much or I can test them a little in the shop to check them. But this for this one I could not test it at all and it was electronic so there could be things wrong that I could not fix. The price of the camera was $25, so it was more than I would usually spend on a broken electronic camera. I figured I could at least sell if for parts and get some of my money back if it didn’t work. At the end of the day it was a Yashica T and I probably would not be able to afford one in any other circumstance.

As you can see it was fairly clean with just a small crack on the lens cover. The flash did not stay retracted, but it still worked when I put in two AA batteries and slid the button. Also it seemed to want to load a film when you opened the back door. When I pressed the shutter the lens cover retracted and it seemed to take a photo. It activated 4 times then stopped completely. I opened the back once more, and again it tried to load a film, but then the shutter button would not do anything and the lens cover didn’t retract. So the shutter was stuck or sticky. Bugger. I did a search online and found this video.

That seemed to be exactly what my version did, maybe I could fix it too. I followed the video and did the same thing. Low and behold it worked. I pressed the shutter many times and fake loaded it many times, it carried on working. So now to test it with a film, but holy moly I was excited at the prospect. I liked how the lens cover retracted for each shot then returned to its original position. So there would be no forgetting the open it for shooting or closing it for protection. But that movement added to the electronics and might add to the issues. I also liked the slider which turned on the camera as it covered the shutter button when it was turned off. No bag shots with this camera. Plus the flash is off until you slide it on, so no random flashes

Here is the test roll, or half a roll as I had previously used it on another test camera.

I tried a few repeat shots, with and without the flash to see the difference and how the camera coped. For outdoor infinity shots, it seemed to cope very well and the exposure choices were great. For the closer shots, like the flowers, the focus is a bit off. So the minimum focal length can catch you out. I would suggest at least 2 meters to be sure.

Introduced in 1984 it was a top of the line point and shoot. The camera has a shutter speed range of 1/30 to 1/700 seconds, and has film choices of ISO 50 to 1000. Of course it has a Zeiss Tessar lens, but for me I have other cameras that performed better and I don’t think that has anything to do with the sticky shutter. For instance the Pentax PC35 AF which is turning into my favourite non-zoom point and shoot.

Keep or sell: It sold immediately.

Return to the Contax RTS III

As I was lent this camera and I am not sure when I have to give it back, I thought I would try the Contax RTS III again. I popped in some Fuji film and headed to Skipton with my father.

In the short time I have left the camera on my shelf I had forgotten how to use it. I have been using automatic cameras recently and for the first few shots I even forgot to focus the thing. Golly, what a complete amateur. But circumstances meant that my failings were not a total disaster in regards to the film.

The 28mm lens has a long depth of field and the camera and film coped with my setting choices until I came to my senses.

I still found the camera very heavy and would have preferred a different strap. The look of the camera is also not “classic” enough for my tastes. But gosh, the lenses are sharp. After the 28mm I tried a few shots of my 40 year old ape toy with the 50mm lens. A few of my friends are freaked out by Charlie, but it is a new project I have started.

Here are the new Contax shots.

It is a stunning camera and if you only want one camera then it would be an awesome choice….if you can afford a good one.

Minolta Alpha 8700i (Minolta Dynax 8000i)

I got this body in a second hand shop in Japan. I was looking for a Minolta auto focus lens as I seemed to have given all mine away. I thought I might as well look for a cheap body that I hadn’t tried before to keep the lens safe. That turned out to be quite tricky as Minolta cameras are the most common ones to be found in junk shops in Japan. Not because they are bad, but because there are just a lot of them around. Well, I eventually found this one. The body was about $3 which was cheaper than an actual lens cover. It even had a working battery in it already. Bargain! But gosh it was heavy when combined with the lens I found, a Tamron 28-200mm. I wanted a 50mm, but I could only find zoom lenses in the junk section.

In fact, I was so worried about the weight and excess baggage on this trip that I tried the camera straight away to make sure it worked. I didn’t want to bother packing a body that didn’t work. I carried this camera as hand luggage around my neck, but I still had too much luggage and was charged $110 yikes.

The 8700i was produced from around 1990 and was one of their top models. It has the card slot for different programs, but I didn’t have any card. You can find more technical details here. There you will see that the top shutter speed is 1/8000th, wow. Remember this camera is 30 years old and not their top professional model. That is impressive. I have the Nikon F90x which also goes that high, so maybe I will have to compare them.

I used this camera on a day out in Yokohama, visiting my friend and her little boy. Here are the test shots.

I found the camera fairly quiet. So quiet that I told my friend I thought it wasn’t working, but I would finish the film anyway to be sure. The lens was very responsive to touch, quick to focus. I took a couple of shots on a train station platform to try out the zoom on the lens. It captured the boy at top zoom on his bike, though admittedly he wasn’t exactly mr speedy. But the quick focusing at that distance was impressive. The exposure choices are spot on, even in bright sun and shade. There was also a multi exposure feature which I had a play with. What a cracking not so little camera. I think I prefer the Nikon F90x, but this one was much cheaper and a great alternative. I think I might keep this…for a lens cover..plus I absolutely don’t care about it so it will be great to take places it might get damaged. I might not even remove the stickers for posterity.

Return To The Olympus OM30

I knew I had left at least one SLR in Japan, but I didn’t know which one. I was happy to find it was the Olympus OM 30 with a 50mm lens. I used that one for most of my holiday, once I put in 5 batteries..yeap 5!

First I took it to the Kounosu Poppy Festival which had over 30 million poppies in bloom and a delicious Kakigori.

Then I took it to the Kawajima Rose Festival which has the longest rose tunnel in Japan. It really did get a flower workout.

After being in a suitcase for almost a year, you can see it still worked perfectly. I finished the film on the way to Champ Camera to get it developed.

It was nice having (almost) one camera to choose from for a while and it reminded me why Olympus was my first love.

Superheadz Ultra Wide and Slim

For a change I bought a new camera. It was on Amazon for a reasonable price and I had just won some money on a lottery scratch card. Plus I had read this article about a dirty camera, which reminded me of my own dirty camera from the same company. Knowing that I was about to swap/lose my Golden Half I decided to get this one…because it said Tokyo 🙂

Gosh my mind and reasoning goes around and around to persuade myself to buy or not buy cameras.

This camera is based on a Vivitar point and shoot with many different colours and designs being available. It is very basic with one speed and one aperture. It doesn’t even have a flash. Therefore it is best to use 400asa film outside. The surface of the camera does have a weird feel to it and I am sure it will go sticky and gooey eventually. It made me realise my original Superheadz camera was not covered in tobacco residue, in time they all turn sticky.

I took mine to Koishikawa Korakuen Park and Ueno.

There is a weird swirl on some of the photos, I have no idea why. The shutter speed of 1/100th is a little slow, but not slow enough for me to twist the camera in anyway. Could it be light on the lens? The lens staying open longer than expected? I don’t know.

I did use another film in it while there, but as with the FM10 I tried recently the results were wild. I have since dumped those chemicals and will make a new batch…despite the funky results. Here are a few from that funky roll.

I have to say, I absolutely enjoyed using this camera. The wideness of the shot it captures without being fisheye is impressive and interesting. It is small enough to fit in a pocket and cheap enough for you not to care about doing so. And the results are acceptable, possibly good, definitely interesting. But I would not pay an over the top price for a rare design. Hence I decided to swap my Golden Half with someone who really wanted it and also did not want to pay exorbitant prices for a toy camera. Toy cameras, fantastic plastics are fun, but for me film photography is expensive and I want to have a little more control over what is produced. I sometimes feel our love of film is being taken advantage of and it is annoying. Tiny rant over. I like this camera 🙂

Japan, Jetlag, and Cameras

So the all important question, did I buy any new cameras in Japan? Well, durh!! course I did. I went to a couple of my favourite shops around Tokyo.

GT Cameras has a great selection of good quality used cameras and a super junk section. From there I got these.

I bought the Konica for a friend, the topcon because it looked nice and shiny and the fuji because it was $1. The fuji has a built in battery but it is easily accessible and I should be able to swap it for a modern equivalent.

The next one I made a point to visit was Shinbashi Ichi Camera. This shop was on my walk from the Tsukuba Express Station to Ueno Park. I often wandered in. Though it has a nice range of cameras, they were usually out of my price range. But, the junk section sometimes had real bargains and it was always worth a quick look. This time was no exception. I bought one camera there. If it works it will be an absolute bargain.

A Yashica T AF for $25. Ok it might not work, but it might?? I thought it was worth the gamble. When I tried a battery it worked for a few shots, then quit. There is a possible fix online so fingers crossed.

Finally, I went to my old haunts of Wonderex and Hard-off. These are second hand resell shops, which sometimes have good quality film cameras, but always point and shoots for $3. I ended up getting a couple of toy cameras.

These types of shops also sell SLR bodies and cameras from $3. I went with an idea to get a minolta auto lens as no longer had one in my collection and it would come in handy to test any bodies I come across. Of course you need a body to attach it to, to keep the lens safe. So I got this combination for $8

And finally before I went I bought a new camera from Amazon because I saw this post and though Tokyo would be the best place to test it.

All the holiday wombling reminded me of another Canny Camera post about crap cameras. Will any of these turn out to be utter crap or have I wombled well? I guess the next few posts will tell…once I get over the jetlag that is.

Oh and I forgot this little camera…

This was a surprise buy for a number of reasons. Firstly I have owned a few of them and it was never my favourite camera. Secondly it is a half frame. Finally, I found it in an antique furniture shop while waiting to visit a mini pig cafe. I was early and saw it on a table with a label saying $10 so tested it and it seemed to work perfectly. As I had sold all my other versions I figured it was a good investment. I might even start to like it??