Tag Archives: castle

Konica FP-1 Program

When I tidied out my photography stuff I found two lenses that I no longer had a body for. One was a Konica Hexanon AR 50mm F1.7, I remembered using it with another camera, I must have sold the body but kept the lens because I liked the quality of the photos it produced. I could sell the lens, but what if there was a cheap body for sale? I am not yet at the point where I can’t not look, so I did. And there was this camera, very cheap and with a very cool looking strap. It was worth it for the strap alone.

I thought it was a nice looking camera…initially…but hey, wait a minute…where are the dials to choose stuff? The speed mode, aperture mode, manual mode…any mode come to that?

There weren’t any…not one single solitary mode, nada, nothing. But what about the viewfinder? Was there any information displayed in there? Nope, just a green or red light. It turns out this camera was a program only camera. You have no choices. You can just focus the camera and press the button. You leave the lens on AE and let the camera do absolutely everything. There is no override and no information about the choices the camera has made. Well, that sucks.

The camera was originally produced in 1981 and discontinued in 1983, a really short run. If you read that link you will see that, not only is this a program camera only, it only chooses from 3 apertures. Those apertures are 2.8, 5.6, or 11….WTF! So there was absolutely no point in having the F1.7 lens that I had attached. What a pile of poo. Once I had realised all of that, I was glad I didn’t pay much and had basically bought it for the price of the strap. At least the body would act as a lens cover.

I doubted I would ever use it…but then I got bored and decided to go to Bolsover Castle. I could get in for free due to my membership of English Heritage, so why not wander around with this camera…trying cameras is another hard habit to break. It was a nice day, a break in the rain/snow, but not a break in the wind. Ooooh it was cold.

Given the lack of features, the camera was very easy to use, point – focus – check for green light – shoot – repeat. I used part of the film and then transferred the remainder to another camera, a real point and shoot that I will post about later. So how did it do? It sounded slow, I didn’t have any faith at all…

Well, holy moly..it worked and worked really well. In all the lighting environments the camera chose a perfect setting, of course it did because cameras are actually suppose to work. But it works so well. It was not fooled by backlighting, lots of sky or high contrast. Even in fairly dark situations it worked. And I still love the lens. I would be tempted to get another, better body for it…if I didn’t have lots of similar cameras and am reducing my collection.

As for the other lens I found without a body… I decided not to buy another SLR. I have already sold the lens to avoid the temptation. So I am getting a little better at not buying stuff I don’t need.

Kodak Six-20 Brownie Model E

This was one of the cleaner examples of Brownies from my job lot. I gave it an extra clean as the front pops off easily and, well, I could. It is also one of the prettiest from the collection. Look at it.

There are two versions of this camera, this is the second which was released between 1953-57. You can tell the difference by the horizontally striped design faceplate, plastic winding knob, and a plastic shutter release button. This version of the Brownie has more features than most models.

  • A built-in sliding portrait lens for close-ups
  • A yellow filter for use with black and white film, adding contrast
  • 2-pin flash contacts…though you might not be able to use them
  • Tripod sockets for landscape and portrait photos
  • A shutter lock stops double or accidental exposures…though I do think I got a couple of them on my test roll
  • A cable release socket

I loaded mine with Fuji Acros and took it to Wales for the weekend, though I did take all the shots at one destination…Goodrich castle. I decided on that destination as I have just bought membership to English Heritage. Basically for the cost of visiting this location was more expensive than the monthly fee, so why the hell not. This year I have decided to resurrect my other blog and want to visit more castles and stuff. But this blog is about the camera.

…And this camera was great. It just worked. The shutter release was a tiny bit juddery, but nothing serious. The viewfinders were big and bright, though you do have to look at just the right angle. The only thing that detracts from this version of the Brownie is the Six-20 in the name, meaning you have to respool 120 film in order to use it more smoothly.

But respool it I did, and here are the shots I got from this camera. Actually a couple of the shots were taken by the person in the photos. She is now the proud owner of this camera and has set herself the goal of learning to use it and develop a roll of film.

These are the shots from that excursion.

The first couple of shots do look like there is a double exposure, and that is possible on this camera. I can’t be totally sure as I wasn’t holding the camera the whole time the film was inside. But for a 60+ year old camera, the results are very nice. If you are going to get a Brownie then this version is a great one to have…apart from the re-rolling of course.

Plans for 2020

When I started this blog at the end of 2015 it was just a way to pass some time, now it has become a pastime I enjoy. But it as been over four years now and I feel I must move on or at least change.

So I have decided to sell most of my film cameras. I will keep less than 10 from the collection I have. None of those 10 will be a format that is obsolete such as APS, 127 or 620. To accomplish this I have started to post items for sale on eBay. If there is something you would like and it is not yet posted there, just send me a message through the contact page. I am open to offers on all cameras marked with a **have**. I might also try attending some car boot sales to relieve myself of a few brownies.

I want to get a new lens for my Nikon D750 that mean I don’t have to swap lenses quite so often while on photoshoots. Any money gained through sales will go into a virtual pot towards this lens. I also want to focus more on the creative and commercial side of photography. I have already started a few courses to learn more, taken part in exhibitions, and made some zines. I don’t think that photography will ever be my main source of income, but I do need to fund my hobby a bit better than I am doing now.

This winter break I undertook a photoshoot in an abandoned castle in Scotland. A friend of mine loves cosplay and we often do these kinds of shoot. I want to do more of this kind of stuff.

Captured on Nikon D750, 28mm lens, processed in GIMP

I also took an Olympus OM4 that I haven’t used in a while. I am trying to decide which cameras to keep. This will be one of them. It was the first camera I searched for, before I started finding junk cameras. I paid a proper amount for it as it was CLA’d and worked perfectly. I loved it when it arrived. It was my favourite, so it was nice to use it again. Here are some photos I took at the shoot.

It was quite dark in the castle so the 50mm f1.4 lens I have was wide open most of the time and I pushed the film from 100asa to 400asa. I should have pushed it a bit further. Anyway, that is the plan, only time will tell if I managed this during 2020.