Use what you have.

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Spot on.

I’m not quite ready to pull the trigger on a full-blown spot meter.

The model I’m interested in, the Minolta Spot Meter F, has a price range of roughly $100-$300 US on eBay depending on condition, seller, and shipping.

I spotted (!) another option on eBay. It’s the Minolta Viewfinder II 10 Degree Spot attachment for their Minolta Auto Meter IV F. It just so happens that I have one of those little gems. The Auto Meter IV has been in my kit for many a year.

The attachment goes for around $50. I figured it’d be a good investment and learning tool. There were enough decent reviews in forums to convince me to give it a try and since the cost was reasonable, I went for it.

I’ll look into a Spot Meter F again next year, but for now I think this attachment will be useful.

I’ll be loading up the 4×5 film holders with Fomopan 100.

I’m looking forward to getting out with the Shen Hao.

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When something’s broke.

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Fix it.

I did it. I finally sent my Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 to The Panasonic Factory Service Center just down the road in McAllen, TX for a good sensor cleaning.

Over the past year or so I’d noticed a few little – and not so little – specs showing up in images that I’d made while using smaller apertures.

I didn’t mind too much, as they could be cloned out or I could do a content-aware fill to remove them. Shooting macros at ƒ/1.7 wasn’t an issue, either. I do a lot of that.

The dust doesn’t show when shooting wide open. But recently I was trying to get some good star flare in a sunset shot, at ƒ/16, and when I looked at the image in Photoshop there were so many specs that cloning or a fill just wasn’t feasible.

… a dusty sensor is kind of a thing with the LX100.

I started doing a little research online and found that a dusty sensor is kind of a thing with the LX100. Plenty of threads on the various forums had complaints. And a few whacky solutions.

One person came up with a device made from a plastic soda bottle that slipped over the lens barrel, with a vacuum hose attached to the other end, and after turning the camera on he’d zoom in-and-out while the vacuum did its thing. Some folks claimed success.

I was hoping the repair department of our local camera store, Austin’s Precision Camera, could do a proper cleaning. I called. It was worth a shot, but no, they suggested sending it to Panasonic.

A little research turned up examples of folks who’d sent their LX100 in to Panasonic. Some under warranty, some not. I couldn’t find what Panasonic charged for out-of-warranty sensor cleaning on any forum.

And finding the page on the Panasonic web site for actually initiating the cleaning was not easy. It’s Service and Repairs on the shop part of their site.

After a few back-and-forth emails, I learned that they’ll do a complete inspection of the camera for free. The sensor cleaning is $100 US. And coincidentally, that amount was kinda’ the threshold for me. Any other issues cost extra. It works fine, so I hope it just needs the sensor cleaned.

… my questions were answered by Agent 5 and Agent 4.

A funny side note… the folks who communicated with me via email didn’t use their given names. Instead, my questions were answered by Agent 5 and Agent 4. A bit quirky, and something I have not previously experienced with any customer help.

The forums all had stories about folks getting back their LX100 and, after use, the dust returning. And there were many questions about the latest version having the same issue.

All I know is the LX100 is probably the best digital camera I’ve owned and after 4 years of use, the $100 is worth making the camera usable again. Hope fully I’ll get another 4 years out of it.

Now, if Panasonic decides to add a flip-up rear display to the LX100III, whenever that might happen, I’d definitely upgrade.

I’ll do a follow-up post when my LX100 is back in my hands.

My desk.

The utter chaos that is my desk

Utter chaos.

Sometimes more, sometimes less, but without a doubt, always a mess.

1 > Olympus Stylus XZ-2 & Sony RX100III battery chargers
2 > An unexposed roll of 35mm Ilford XP2 Super 400 I pulled out of an old Canon SLR
3 > Fuel
4 > An unopened box of Fomapan 100 4×5 film (soon!)
5 > iPhone 8
6 > Blood pressure log & calendar
7 > Zero Image 6×9 pinhole camera
8 > Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1
9 > Western Digital 320GB external USB powered hard drive
10 > Apple Mac Mini, 2012 vintage (16GB RAM)
11 > Nikon P300 point and shoot
12 > A pair of Newer Technology 2TB hard drives
13 > 8Banners pinhole camera
14 > Apple Magic Mouse
15 > Nikon One•Touch Zoom90 AF Quartz Date 35mm camera
16 > Thingyfy Pinhole Pro S11 pinhole cap
17 > Olympus M.Zuiko 15mm f8.0 body cap lens
18 > Sekonic Flashmate L-308S light meter
19 > Minolta XG-1 w/Rokkor MD Rokkor-X 28mm ƒ/2.8

There are a few other things that’re just out of view, like an ATT wireless router, a Kodak instant photo from 1984 of my future wife and I (35 years this month), 2 Fuji FP100c prints from the Shen Hao, a 1970 nickle, an ‘R’ scrabble tile, a blue mini-armadillo toy, an Ilford 120 Pan F Plus ‘unexposed’ paper band, a Minolta lens cap and body cap, a Lumix lens cap and body cap, my Epson V500 scanner with a bunch of stuff stacked neatly on top of it, another stack of external drives, an aging Drobo, a really old Mickey Mouse coffee cup that has a Tokina 28-108mm ƒ/3.5 Minolta mount lens in it, an Apple USB Super Drive, an old Sekonic Twinmate L-208 light meter in its storage bag, and those are really nice Bose Companion 2 Series III speakers flanking a pair of ViewSonic LED monitors.

Wild.

Out with the old.

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Convergence.

Rusty Shutters is turning out to be a bit cathartic. And productive. Pulling out all the old film cameras and doing a little technical research is a good thing, it turns out. I’m finding new info, learning about history, and checking out some really useful videos on YouTube.

My Hasselblad 500C/M is a good example.

I was about to load up my ’84 Hassy with a roll of expired (2009) Pan F Plus. I have a roll of the same film in one of my Holgas and it made sense to develop two rolls at once, now that I have the Paterson Multi-Reel 3 Tank.

I took the A12 back off, then pulled the slide out just to have a look see. Never hurts to check how everything is functioning. Part of the light trap had gotten to the point where it was so thin it broke away and was resting on the pressure plate.

Not good. Must be replaced. No light leaks, please.

Just a little bit of Web research turns up a number of videos demonstrating how the replacement is done, and some even had dimensions and materials needed for DIY types to do their thing.

I took the easy way out. I ordered a replacement trap seal from Dick Werner. He’s blackbird711 on eBay, but I found a web link for Dick’s kit that worked just as well.

Dick promptly sent an email with details about my purchase and delivery. It arrived via USPS in just a few days.

I tackled the replacement this morning. It only took a few minutes. All my research paid off, giving me absolute confidence going in. The entire process was a total success.

Now, time to load up that roll of film.

One summer morning.

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South Congress photo stroll.

I ventured down to Austin last Saturday morning. Precision Camera hosted a photo stroll on South Congress from 9-11 a.m.

Well attended, I’d say there were 20 or more people sporting their favorite camera.

The weather was nice, though a bit warm, even for that time of morning. It’s Texas, y’all!

We walked south from Jo’s Coffee the first hour, then crossed the street at E. Milton Street and headed north, taking advantage of the shade on that side of the avenue for the second hour.

Ending at Jo’s again, this stroll was a bit different from others in that we didn’t gather for lunch and look through each other’s shots once the walk was over. Or maybe that did happen and I didn’t hear about it. No biggy.

I had a blast, met a bunch of good folk, and got a few decent shots.

Goin’ large.

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But not quite 4 x 5. Yet.

I’m fiddlin’ ’round with large format photography again.

I broke out my Shen-Hao 4×5 field camera with the Rodenstock 150mm lens, the Polaroid 405 film back, and an expired pack of Fuji FP100c – 12/2011 vintage.

The Polaroid back comes with a mask, but it’s just a little bit off. I’m drawing one in Illustrator that’ll be more accurate for the Fuji 3.25 x 4.25 size.

The first shot was a success, a straight-on photo of the night stand in the war room, with the front standard tilted forward slightly. The point of focus is the lamp switch. It’s just a little fuzzy, I know. My choice of tripod is the cause.

I have an older Calumet tripod with a 3-way head that I should’ve used. I used a Giotto with a hefty ball head that’s hard to manage with the Shen-Hao sittin’ on top of it.

Not bad for the first shot and the film seems to be okay. I’m saving the negatives for reclaiming later on.

More to come.

Rusty shutters #4.

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Polaroid Spectra System AF.

I haven’t used this camera a whole lot. Finding useable film on eBay wasn’t an issue when I first got this camera back in 2006, and I only went through a few packs using this cool shooter.

I’d like to use it again, but the time just isn’t right. Polaroid Originals stopped producing film for this camera for a short while, apparently because of issues with the film jamming at ejection, so I’m reluctant to spend any money on what amounts to an experiment with their pricy film.

First released in 1986 and simple enough to use, a majority of the Spectra AF’s controls are located at the back of the camera. Among them, switches for autofocus off/on, flash off/on, and exposure compensation. The sonar auto focus could be tricky at times.

The viewfinder is positioned at the back of the camera on the left side and the shutter release is located top right, just above the picture counter.

The right side of the camera has an adjustable hand strap that makes it easy and secure to hold the camera and access the shutter release.

I like the images I made with this camera, and although I haven’t used it in quite a while, the Spectra AF is still in my collection.

Image size – 3.6in x 2.8in
Film size – 4in x 4.1in
ISO: 640
Shutter Speeds: 2.8 sec – 1/250 sec
Aperture: ƒ/10
Focal Length: 125mm
Dimensions: 5.3in x 3.7in x 6.8in