Tag Archives: film

Pentax P30n

Someone asked if I was still making reviews. Well, I still have quite a few cameras on my shelf and can’t quite kick the addiction yet, but this is the last one in my draft folder. It is also the last of the P30 cameras, definitely my last of this series. I have already tried the other, very similar ones, namely the P30 and P30t. On looks alone, I prefer the P30t. On use, I don’t really have a preference. While trying this version I decided to try a film experiment of sorts.

According to this site the only real difference between the P30n and the P30t are the looks. On this website you can find all the technical details you might need for this 1988 camera and some personal stories about the camera.

As I said I decided to try an experiment with this camera. I already knew how the camera worked and how it felt, so this time I focused on the film. Recently I have been trying to process my own slide film, but it has been coming out a bit funky. I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong and it didn’t seem possible that I had the wrong chemicals, but the scans were coming out very psychedelic. A friend suggested I send one film away to be processed by someone else to see if the results were the same. I thought this was a good suggestion so I did. I loaded a roll and walked around my local area, it was a dull day so mostly the camera was set to F1.7 and 1/60th. I sent the film to John Salim Photographic, who did a great job. The film was expired, as is all my E6 film, but the film returned did look better than when I processed it myself. It was purple but not psycho. So then I got down to scanning it and…

Return of the psycho! What is it? Ok Occam’s Razor…simplest solution. It must be the way I am scanning them. I did some research and found this article. It basically said, turn off all colour correcting software as it is fooled quite easily. So I did that and scanned the film again.

With all options set to “none”

So the colours are better, but they are not amazingly sharp. I do find that sharpness is an issue with the canonscan though. One day I will get a camera set up like explained in this video.

Anyway the camera worked well and I have solved my wild colour issue, though I have to say I do quite like it in certain circumstances. It works very well for grafitti.

Here are some more shots from the rest of the film. Note the little library is now much less psycho.

Basically, you can’t go wrong with a Pentax SLR.

Coronet D-20

Now, even though I just posted that my plans for my photolife are changing, I still have a few cameras with films inside. So I will be posting more reviews for now, but they will slowly die off.

One of the reasons for the change is because of cameras like this…I hate this camera. In fact I can honestly say I haven’t tried a coronet I do like. So this will be the last one I put a film in. I do have a few more, but due to my new plans for the future, I will not be wasting film in them.

My dislike of this camera is based purely on the viewfinder. I couldn’t see a bloody thing. It was clean enough, but you have to look through it at a specific angle to see anything. I rarely hit that sweet spot. So my test roll shot results were based purely on luck. I don’t think photography should be down to luck.

The one good thing about this 1950s camera is that it can take 620 or 120 film. That is handy, as I didn’t have to respool the film before loading it. Side loading by the way. To be honest, I also kind of liked the ratchety wind on mechanism. It clicked as you turned the knob, but a clicky knob can’t save it in my eyes.

The days I used the D-20 were dull so there was no need to use the built in filter for bright days. Oh I have to say, the plastic strap was equally annoying. It never quite went straight and was uncomfortable around my neck.

Not my favourite results. The one on the bottom, the field, was supposed to be of a cow, but I couldn’t see it in the viewfinder.

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.

Kodak Duaflex

Finally, finally!!!! a day with a tiny bit of sun and brightness and I just happened to have camera fully loaded and ready to try. This is the very smart looking Kodak Duaflex which was available in the UK between 1949-1955.

If you want a closer look at this camera, I found a really neat 3D model of it here.

Mine is in pretty good condition considering the age. It has a 75 mm Kodet lens with a fixed aperture of f15. I would guess the shutter speed is about 1/50th or less. There is an option for bulb setting, but that is it really. I have seen a few posts on instagram or blogs about attaching a digital camera to the enormous viewfinder. My example is a little dirty, but still very bright and clear. I might be tempted to clean it and try this type of photography. The square shape of the camera means this type of photography might not be too tricky…now I am even more tempted, but I think I will wait for the spring and longer, brighter days.

As for this camera in its current state, I like it. I liked using it, I like how it looks and I love how the shots came out. They have a definite look to them, a real tapering off of sharpness. I used mine at a local park during a few minutes of sun.

I am definitely going to try this camera again, maybe some portraits to really show off the bizarre focusing effect.

Here are a couple of the images quickly processed using the Snapseed app on my android phone.

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.