Tag Archives: format

Pinholes with expired Svema

Continuing with the photo posts, I have tried my pinhole cameras again. This time with Svema 125 film from around 1990. The first camera I reused was the Ondu. Each of these were exposed for 2 minutes, on a tripod of course. The film was developed with ilfosol 3 as that is all I have right now. I presoaked the film for 5 minutes, then developed for 14 minutes at 20 degrees. I found that over developed the film, so will try 10 minutes next time. I used water and a few drops of vinegar as a stop bath, then fixed it in the regular way.

The photos are very grainy. I have a love/hate relationship with this pinhole camera. I think the actual camera is beautiful, but am struggling to love the images it produces. The one where I shot straight into the sun had a black hole where the sun was, I deleted that so the rays would be more of a focus.

The next camera, and only other pinhole I tried was the Diana F+, the multi functioning toy camera. I mainly stuck with the 2 minute exposures except the ones inside. One of them is 4 hours long. Now to be fair, I screwed this film up royally. I HIGHLY do NOT recommend trying to thread an old film onto a developing roll in a dark bag when it is hot and humid. I just could not get it to go on. It just kept getting stuck, bending and I was touching it all over the place. I did not have fun!

But you can see the Diana is not as sharp as the Ondu. And if I do bother with Pinholes again that is the camera I will choose. But why, it is just not my thing. I would prefer to put the film in the Kiev 88 or another medium format camera.

I hope my next post has much sharper photos 🙂

4×4 on the Diana F+

After using the Agfa Isoly-Mat I realised I did have another 4×4 format camera. The toy camera Diana F+, it has a 4×4 mask. So one not so sunny day I tried it.

I do like the 4×4 format, you get extra shots for your money. The glass of the Agfa is definitely sharper that the plastic lens of the Diana. The latter has its own charm and can do multiple exposures. It also seems more like a pinhole with the massive drop off at the edges. I think it works well with the ruggedness of historical Yorkshire.

After this film I started drying my films in the bathroom as my own room seems to have all the dust in the world floating about. The bathroom isn’t perfect, but definitely less time is spent getting rid of dust spots after scanning. To remove dust and other stuff I always use inpaint. It is easy to use and can be used to remove much larger items.

Ondu Pinhole Camera

A while ago I was contacted through my other website and asked to take some photos. Plus I would be paid, Awesome!! That would be almost like free money. My Japanese friends never understood that phrase, but basically, it is when you get something unexpected. Like when you get cash back from a purchase or store credit. As I was still working full time as a teacher, I didn’t have to worry about where my next paycheck was coming from…or sell stuff to fund my hobby as I do now. So, what to buy??

A completely weird and gorgeous camera. A camera for fun. A camera I would not usually buy. Hello Ondu Pinhole Camera 🙂

Luckily for me, there was a sale on and the multi-format camera was still available. That turned out to be not quite so lucky later as you will see.

I had to wait until I returned to the UK to use it. Plus, as it was a camera I would not normally buy, I had forgotten all about it. So it was a nice surprise when I opened the box, a present to myself.

At first, I had a lot of issues loading and winding the film. When I first tried loading it, the film just slipped out. It was frustrating. Once it did seem to be moving ok I put the back on the camera and put it in my bag.

The day I decided to try the camera was quite wet and windy. As it was dull, I exposed the film for 2-3 minutes. Of course, I used a mini-tripod, but probably there was still movement. After 4 shots the film would not wind on anymore, it just spun inside the camera. I thought it might have got wet or something. When I got home I put the whole thing under my bed covers and I found the film was fine. I rewound it and transferred the roll to my Yashicaflex.

These are the shots I got from the Ondu from that outing.

I waited for a brighter day and tried again. BUT…I forgot I had moved the masks. I thought it was still set for 6×6, but I had set the masks to 6×9. That meant all the shots would be overlapping. Due to the increased brightness, I exposed the Fomapan 400 roll for 10-25 seconds. I took it to my local cemetery as I thought the camera would suit this kind of subject.

I don’t know if it is a shame about the overlapping or if I like it. I do think the small tripod and low viewpoint enhances the look achieved from the pinhole. Also, Photo Hippo did a great job developing and scanning the negs. At the time I was still waiting for my developing equipment 😦

Anyway, Now I have a little notebook to remind me of these things for when I try again. As for the camera, I find it stunningly beautiful. I also find it tricky to use, but there is something about it. I took it to a camera club meeting and the other members wanted to examine it, check out the construction. If you have some spare money, then this is a cool camera to play around with. It is not the camera to buy if you want super sharp, point and shoot images.

Here are some other blogs with reviews and sample photos from this camera. As I wasn’t entirely successful, these might be better places to see what this camera can do.

http://scenictraverse.com/blog/2016/8/22/review-the-ondu-pinhole-nothing-camera
http://filmbasedtraveler.com/2017/09/07/review-ondu-6×6-pinhole-camera/
https://luminous-landscape.com/art-meets-function-pinhole-cameras/

Keep or Sell: Keep for now. I would like to try it again. For me, it is a purely for fun camera so I am not sure how long I can justify holding on to it.

 

Kiev 88

This is one of the cameras I bought in order to play with it on my return to England. I had read a lot about it online on various blogs. I read this article which called it the “Beast from the East”. At the time that I ordered it, the UK news was full of details about their own beast from the east, kismet I thought.

Due to the fact this takes 6×6 photos, there seems to be more photos of the camera here than the 12 test shots that I will add later. The article I linked to before says that you will need at least 2 backs as the loading part is complicated and you might want to do it at home rather than out and about.

I agree I wish I had two. This 1980s camera was one of the most annoying cameras I have ever had to load. Before loading the film I read the manual a couple of times, but still struggled. It didn’t seem to make much sense. The first issue I had was actually getting the cassette back in the holder, it would not go in easily. The second was that I had forgotten to wind the film to the first frame in the cassette and cock the shutter before reattaching the holder to the body. Really, I had read the manual…maybe I have to make a video to remind myself. The body’s film advance also cocks the shutter, so I had royally screwed things up.

Once I did have the film loaded, actually using the camera wasn’t that tricky. Mine had a waist level finder, not TTL, so it didn’t need batteries. I used an app on my phone for a light reading, then adjusted the aperture when the lighting changed. The next mistake I made was forgetting to take the cassette plate out. In the manual, they call this a “shutter”, anyway, with this plate inside the camera’s actual shutter is locked on my version. So you can’t waste film by forgetting to remove this, you just get confused as to why the damn thing isn’t working. Don’t start throwing the camera though as the thing could kill a cow.  This brilliant website has a funny review of the camera and says that it “weighs a f*****g ton.” He also used the word crap a lot, but he does give a lot of technical details if you want them.

So did mine actually work? Here is my roll of Fomapan 400.

As you can see I missed the first shot on the roll completely through my bad loading skills. There are a couple of shots of the swan where I think I forgot to change the aperture and the one blank one…no idea what happened there. The ones that did come out are nice and sharp, especially the non-moving log.

I don’t know why, but there is something about this camera I love. It is big, fat, and heavy. It clunks and groans while you use it and is prone to breaking. There are many websites detailing how finding a good one is hard, but if you do it is worth it. I think I have found a fairly good one, despite my issues with loading it. I am going to use it again and maybe upload more photos here. I find it beautiful and funky. This website compares it to the Hasselblad it was originally based on, it makes for an interesting read.

Keep or sell: Keep, for now, it is waaaay too heavy to post it anywhere I would get a good return for what I paid.

 

 

 

Fujipet Thunderbird

I got this Fujipet really cheap as the back lens of the viewfinder was loose and rattling around in the funky bullet looking thing on top. Once I got it back to my house I undid the two screws holding the viewfinder on, but it took me a lot longer to get the metal ring off. I must have yanked it for a good ten minutes, but I didn’t give up. Finally, with the ring removed the front glass popped off. To reattach the back lens I used a strip of a post-it as I wanted a glue that was not strong, but strong enough. I attached the strip to the tiny piece of glass and put superglue on the viewfinder part where it should fit. It worked like a dream, the lens stayed in place and the post-it strip released easily….and then the problems started.

Have you ever seen CSI, where they use superglue to reveal fingerprints? I have, but I conveniently forgot. I put the viewfinder together again almost immediately. Have you also read that Japan is having an unprecedented heatwave right now? Combine a small enclosed space, heat, superglue and what do you have…cyanoacrylate. I slowly watched the viewfinder glass I had just reattached get covered in a white film. Then stupidly I decided to see if I could still see through it…up goes the camera to my eye…and holy crap!!!! Lesson quickly learned. My eye started to sting and burn. And then my brain switched on and I rinsed my eye. Once pain-free I quickly removed the pieces of the viewfinder and chose another glue. This glue was much thicker and harder to handle. I made a complete mess of it, especially as I decided to put glue on the front glass too. The front didn’t need glue, the metal ring holding it in place. Durh. I could take the front off and clean it, but I was done with the whole thing. At the end of the day, the actual camera lens was clear and the viewfinder was clear enough to see through.

So here is the camera, with a crappy front viewfinder.

 

This version was known as the Thunderbird in Japan. According to this site, I have the 1959 red version. I have seen a few of these around. I didn’t think they were so rare, but apparently, they are. This site has lots of technical details and instructions on how to use it. Though it is pretty straightforward, select an aperture, press 1 to cock the shutter, then press 2 to release the shutter. You can wind on if you like or take multiple exposures.

But did my gluey version work? I tried it at a very Japanese place.

 

Like the other Fujipet I have, it worked really well. It doesn’t have all the attachments of a Diana F+, but it has its own charm. I tried another film a bit later, a very expired Svema. Only a few came out, but it was fun to use.

 

Keep or sell: I want to keep it, but due to the current situation and “taking time out” my collection is being decimated. I sold this one too.

Konica Pearl III

I was asked to use this camera by one of my students. He was a bit worried that it wasn’t working correctly and wanted some reassurance.  Sure I said, I have never used one before, or even seen one for that matter. I was a bit jealous as he is in grade 5 and he has this super camera.

I had helped him load some Shanghai GP3, but after a few shots, he thought something wasn’t right so asked me to finish the roll. I took it to Shunpuu Banriso a beautiful house and garden in Kasama, Ibaraki.

This is a coupled rangefinder from 1955. It has an auto-stop advance and takes 6×4.5 photos. The shutter release is on the lens door and the door opening button is where you would expect the shutter release to be, a bit of a reverse.  The lens is a Hexar f3.5, 75mm. The speeds range from 1 second to 1/500th. The rangefinder is operated by the indented slider on the lens. The indented button is molded and placed in order to be operated by the right index finger. This example’s worked so smoothly, perfect condition. I found loading the camera a bit tricky as there is a push-up plate which is hard to reach. Once we had loaded the camera I put some tape on the film door opening lever as the student is sometimes a bit impatient. When we had loaded the camera he immediately opened the back again. So the tape was a visual reminder. The actual switch also worked smoothly and perfectly.

You cock the shutter with the lever on the front of the lens, after setting the aperture and speed manually. The camera does not have a light meter. It is possible to take multiple exposures before advancing the film. Once you are ready to advance the film you have to press the switch next to the film advance knob, this releases the mechanism. Turn the knob clockwise to advance and it automatically stops in the right place.

Once I had finished the roll I thought I had advanced the paper all the way to the end, but when I opened the back I found part of the paper still covering the exposure space. The film advance was a little sticky so I manually finished advancing the film paper. There was only a little bit of paper to go, the film was already protected. I think the paper was really stuck to the original spool and there wasn’t enough ‘power’ to pull it off.

Then I developed it, in Kodak T-Max 🙂

Wow, what a bargain this student has found. I think he got it for much less than the few cameras posted on eBay. It is clean and works perfectly.

Keep or sell: I have to give it back 😦

Lomography Diana F+

This camera was in a shop in a ziplock bag with an extra lens. As I had recently tried another Lomography camera and liked it, I decided to give this one a go.

You can also get another lens, a fisheye, that was not in the bag. Neither was a mask which lets you take 6×4.5 photos. So I was stuck with the 6×6 on 120mm film. I was fine with that. There are quite a few reviews of this camera online already including this one with lots of technical data and this one with details of the Instax back. I also didn’t get the flash, but I really do not mind about that as I will probably only use it outside.

The settings are found on the barrel of the lens, before the part that the lens parts attach to. There are a few settings for lighting conditions, plus a P for pinhole. The actual lens has the distance selector which is incredibly hard to see. It is a tiny little arrow which can only be seen if you catch a reflection at the right angle.

Once I had figure out how the camera worked and found a spare spool, I loaded some Shanghai GP3. Unfortunately, this film has a black paper backing and it was almost impossible to see the numbers through the window. Unless I was in really bright light, I had to guess how much to advance by the number of rotations. If I use this camera again I will use a film with white backing paper.

I took the camera to a street corner in Akihabara and tried out the various settings. Of course, I could try multi-exposure pinhole, super-wide 38mm (how is that superwide?), and 75mm. I tried them all 🙂

Here is my test roll.

Low and behold, for a toy camera these aren’t bad at all. I really like using it. I am not so keen on the pinhole ones of the crossing, but I love the multi-exposure and the blurred edges of the super-wide lens. I am really tempted to get the Instax back for this setup and try to find the 6×4.5 mask.

Even though I like this camera and the functions, I am absolutely sure I would not pay the full price for another if it broke. And it is plastic, it is all plastic. One drop on hard ground and it is done for.

Keep or sell: I did buy some of the items such as the instax back and the fisheye lens, so have kept the whole system for fun 🙂

Rolleicord III – K3B

This is the final camera that I bought while on holiday in Hong Kong. Before writing this blog post I didn’t realize there were so many variations. Looking at this blog I matched the serial number to the Rolleicord III – Model K3B produced between 1950-1953. Now researching this camera I realize what I suspected at the time, I overpaid….but look at it.

It is in perfect condition, with box, case, and instructions. You can find more technical details from the previous link I supplied and this excellent blog shows you how to take care or repair it. I agree with that blog that the screen is a little dim, but that is the only thing I can find to fault. This cheaper version of the Rolleiflex is a delight to use. This particular version lacks the red window as it has an automatic stop function on the winder. Compared to the Seagull and Yashica TLRs I have tried, it feels much more luxurious and better made.

I loaded a roll of Shanghai GP3, which has terrible reviews. That review said it curled a lot after self-developing. I did not find that at all. I quite liked it and would buy more. Here are my test shots, taken around Tokyo Station and my local park.

The position of the viewfinder on top of the camera made it much easier to get the duck photos. I have not tried a Rolleiflex, but I am very happy with this holiday purchase.