Tag Archives: developing

Contax 137 MA Quartz

Believe it or not, this was a junk find. A seller in Japan was selling it for junk as the skin had disintegrated and there was a dent on the bottom. Apart from that, they said it worked fine. So I got it for less than £8 plus postage. Then the fun started. I knew what I wanted to do with it so I ordered the covering material which arrived in a few days. But the camera took well over a month to arrive. A few days after I ordered it there was a massive typhoon in Japan which damaged Kyoto airport, and where was my camera…at Kyoto airport according to the tracking information. And there it stayed. I was just about to give up all hope when new tracking information arrived. But what state would the camera arrive in? Did it get damaged in the typhoon? Well, the package was perfect. Inside was this camera. It came without a lens, but I put one on from another camera to test the viewfinder and operations.

Actually, I almost forgot to take photos before I got stuck in recovering it. These were taken with my phone when it arrived. And the covering? Japanese stamps!!

This is what it looked like once I had finished.

The strap was made in Okinawa and was a gift from a friend when I left Japan. I also put on a lens hood. Even if the camera didn’t work, and I hoped it did, I already loved it.

The camera was produced from 1982 for around 5 years. You can find all the technical details you like on this website. I left the camera on automatic for my test shots, but you do have the options of full manual, aperture, and shutter priority modes. I found the camera very easy to use and quite responsive. It was sturdy without being so heavy that it became uncomfortable. The strap helped with that. The length of the strap meant I could move the position of the camera over my shoulder like a bag.

I put in a roll of Street Candy with the original thin film base. I developed it by adding a leader, in ilfosol3 using the same process times as I would use for Ilford HP5+. I still found it difficult to thread it on the holder though.

I tried the camera around my house as it was raining quite heavily. Once it had died down a bit I went for a walk. Here are my results:

I was really impressed with the camera and film. I spent a little more time post-processing these photos using Snapseed on my iPad. I don’t usually alter film photos in this way, but why not? It is just another form of photography I suppose.

I think this might be the subject for my next zine.

In my film pile, I had a very expired E6 film. I didn’t trust it for anything I cared about so I put it in this camera and wandered around Leeds. I was right about the film, the photos came back in a terrible state. I used Preview to change them to black and white, then increased the contrast. In the end, they came out ok. I just love this camera.

 

Keep or Sell: This is by far my favourite camera. As I am reducing my collection it has persuaded me to sell nearly all the other SLRs I have and stick with Contax. Yeap, I love it more than my Olympus cameras due to the lenses.  This other reviewer came to the same conclusion.

 

Olympus Pen EE2

I actually had 3 attempts to buy this camera. The first was utterly broken and I took it apart because it was only a couple of dollars. The second was bought on eBay and the red flag didn’t work so I sent it back for a refund. So then I contacted an eBay seller I have used before to see if he had one in stock. He did, but to be honest charged me a little too much. Ah well.

So when it arrived I decide to reskin it. I think it looks lovely. I have way too much of this material, but I think it makes my cameras look ‘mine’.

 

This website has so much more information and has a great review of the same camera. My favourite part about this camera that there is no need for batteries if the selenium cell works and this one did. It was produced from 1969-77 and is a half frame camera. It is a straight point and shoot, no zoning. There are two shutter speeds only 1/200th and 1/40th. If you choose a manual aperture you only get the latter and that means you need a REALLY steady hand. This website has more details on using that as a chosen effect for this camera. The minimum focal distance is 1.5m which is a little long and caught me out a few times.

Here is my test roll.

 

Of course as a half-frame camera you get twice as many photos than usual. As you can see it worked. As I specifically bought this camera there is no keep or sell. It is all mine 🙂

As an interesting note I usually use Kodak d-76 developing fluid, but I had run out. So for this roll I used fuji super prodol SPD which is half the price here. Use the iPhone app Film Developer Pro to work out processing times  as you can change choices such as temperature and it will adjust the time for you. I then put the times in the app Develop! for an actual processing timer. The first app does have a timer, but I prefer the second app for that. The problem I had with this film was that all my saved recipes are for D-76 and the database for SPD is very small. The SPD is also a speedy process, much quicker than D-76. That meant I could not just copy the times. The film I used was a lomography one, which is T-Max 100 in disguise. It was not in the database for SPD. SOOOOO I used the details for fuji acros 100 which was in the database for both developers and did some math. I figured that if I multiplied the d-76 time by 0.6 then I could get a rough developing time for the SPD. As you can see it worked. Yeah for math.

Keep or Sell: I kept if for a long time as I liked the skin I put on it, but at the end of the day it is a half frame, which is not my favourite. Sold and I managed to get my money back.

 

 

Bad Processing Issues

I took 4 films to be developed at my local shop yesterday. They were all different films, from different cameras. That being the case then why were 3 all purple and flat. They were new films and I know for sure one of the cameras works beautifully.

IMG_2711

That leads to one conclusion, it was the shop’s fault. Either the machine broke, was on the wrong settings, or the chemicals were old. Either way I was pretty annoyed, but what could I do? The films were already ruined. Luckily there was nothing on them that was important due to the nature of this blog. The only thing I feel I can do it never use their service again, which is a shame as I really liked the shop, plus they probably didn’t do it on purpose. I will have to use a bigger chain who probably have more customers and more quality control, somewhere like Yodobashi camera….or use this weird coffee method myself.

Before I became a teacher I used to have the same job as these guys. I worked in a couple photo labs printing enlargements. Here is a great description of the normal developing process.

I know how easy it is to ruin a film, but three and not say anything is a bit low. Film is expensive, so is paying for processing. I don’t want to stick to black and white then process myself, but I think for anything I care about I will.

The final outcome is that some of the next few posts will have funky photos as the test film examples.