The arc of progress.

arc

Old, but not dead.

Over the past three weeks I’ve been checkin’ out the #ShittyCameraChallenge tag on Twitter and I’ve noticed that folks are using any old shitty camera they can get their hands on, including ‘vintage’ digital.

I still have my old Pentax Optio 300GS. It’s a tiny compact digital camera I bought in 2003. It’s a whoppin’ 3.2 MP, uses a 128 MB Compact Flash card, and it runs on AA batteries.

It’s not really shitty, but it is old.

It’s not really shitty, but it is old. And after 17 years, the sensor has a handful of dead pixels.

So, yesterday I walked around the house, garage, and backyard shooting whatever caught my eye.

These two shots had a similar feel, seemed meant for each other. A wagon wheel, and leaves from one of the Pride of Barbados plants out back.

It’s that time again.

brownie-trio

Shitty, shitty, shitty.

The Shitty Camera Challenge is happening soon. It’ll be a little different than last year, I think, as it’s being touted as the “Quarantine Special” this time ’round.

It lasts from June 1 to August 31, 2020. Not exactly clear about when to post, but I’m sure that’ll all get figured out as time progresses.

I looked on eBay to see if I could find some camera that’d be adequately awful to use, but found zero inspiration. I was about ready to throw in the towel.

Larry found it in the garage when they moved into the house…

Fiddlin’ in the studio I came a cross a handful of old 120 spools, mostly plastic, but one of them was metal. It has the words “KODAK FILM” embossed on both ends. Pretty cool.

It reminded me that I have a 50th Anniversary Kodak Brownie that a neighbor in the old ‘hood gave me. That old thing had a roll of Verichrome Pan in it, which I developed using D76. That’s where the spool came from.

wp-brownie

Of the three pictures that turned out (see top of post), two looked to be from the seventies and one looked earlier, maybe late fifties or early sixties.

Larry found it in the garage when they moved into the house, held onto it until late 2007, when he gave the camera to me.

I also have two rolls of expired film to use, a March 1968 expired roll of Verichrome Pan plus a June 2008 expired roll of Plus-X. The camera shoots ~6×9 so I’ll get 8 shots per roll.

 I’ll probably rig something up so I can compose and shoot horizontally…

Today I dusted it off and cleaned the, uh, viewfinder. It’s really not much of a viewfinder, honestly. I’ll probably rig something up so I can compose and shoot horizontally… you know, landscape.

The little red window that’s supposed to show the picture numbers has faded to a fairly transparent orange-ish yellow, so I made a little flap out of a piece of gaffers to cover-up between advancing shots. Should help.

I think it’ll do. Funky, fun, and free.

Rusty shutters #36.

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Pinholaroid.

September 2008.

Modified Polaroid Colorpack II – 35mm @ ƒ/140. No batteries required!

After removing the lens and shutter, I lopped off a good portion the front, then fitted a neatly cut and trimmed piece of black ABS to cover the resulting hole. This made for a shorter distance to the film plane and a wide angle of view.

I measured for center, then drilled a 4/16″ hole through the front plate. The shutter and shutter-stops came next. I measured for the shutter location, drilled a pilot hole, then attached the shutter with a small brass screw, washer and nut. The stops were super-glued. Super-simple operation.

I cut a 3/4″ square piece of soda can and used a very small sewing needle and a sheet of binder paper folded up a bit and placed beneath it to punch the hole through the aluminum, slowly, sanding the back of the puncture to smooth it out. The pinhole is attached to the inside of the camera with gaffer tape.

I turned the camera upside down and added a viewfinder, using a simple 200 degree peep-hole from Home Depot. I used ABS for the viewfinder support, drilled a hole to accommodate the peep-hole and super-glued the bracket to the camera body. The viewfinder placement is dead center above the pinhole.

Having removed the original Colorpack II viewfinder – which is now on the bottom of the camera – I cut out 6 of pieces of ABS that mimicked the shape of the Manfrotto tripod mount I use, each slightly smaller than the next. I glued them together, then drilled a hole for a 1/4-20 sleeve to attach the Manfrotto mount.

In a stroke of good luck, the pattern on the ABS was a close match to that of the Colorpack II. I finished off the Pinholaroid by painting all the exposed ABS satin black.

A fun little project. I even have a decent stash of Fuji pack-film to use with this camera.

WPPD2020

8banners-mc.jpg

#4, #4, #4.

Today is Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day.

I’m planning to get out with this guy – my 8Banners Mc – but it’s gonna be a bit of an adventure.

It has a roll of 120 film in it. The first roll I loaded actually, exactly 10 years ago.

The only clue I could find about which film I’d loaded was in a Flickr post for WPPD in 2010. The plan then was to shoot with the Mc, my Zero Image 6×9, plus a Polaroid Colorpack II I’d hacked into a pinhole. I noted that I was using Fuji film in all three.

Yup. As previously noted, there was a roll of Fuji Acros 100 in the Zero Image 6×9, and that leads me to believe the film in the Mc is the same. That roll in the Mc is on picture #4.

I’ll probably bring my Panny GF1/Pinwide combo, too. Just in case things go south with the Mc, I want to make sure I have something to show for the day.

It’ll be perfect weather for shooting ISO100, sunny and low 80s. I plan on avoiding people as much as possible and not wander too far from home.

Like I said, it should be an adventure.

The party’s over.

 

March 2020 FP4 Party: A few final observations.

It was quite the experience.

I enjoyed every aspect.

It got me out with film cameras, new and old.

I tried a film new to me.

My skill at loading 35mm and 120 film on the Paterson reels continues to improve.

Developing with D76 yielded excellent results.

I found a groove every week.

Looking through Twitter at the #fp4party hashtag for the past 7 days to see what other party-goers posted was a treat.

Followed some new folks, gained a few followers on Twitter, IG, and Flickr.

Thanks to the FP4 Party hosts.

Here are my 7 submissions, last-to-first…

the-gate.jpg

The gate
Georgetown, TX
Saturday, March 7, 2020
ONDU 6×12 Multiformat pinhole, FP4+ 120, D76
FP4 Party Post Week, Day 7

sprinkles.jpg

Sprinkles
Georgetown, TX
Thursday, March 5, 2020
Smena 8M, FP4+ 35mm, D76
FP4 Party Post Week, Day 6

used-cars.jpg

Used cars
Thorndale, TX
Friday, March 6, 2020
Hasselblad 500c/m, FP4+ 120, D76
FP4 Party Post Week, Day 5

bridge-to-nowhere.jpg

Bridge to nowhere
Georgetown, TX
Thursday, March 5, 2020
Smena 8M, FP4+ 35mm, D76
FP4 Party Post Week, Day 4

the-bucket.jpg

The bucket
Round Rock, TX
Monday, March 2, 2020
Hasselblad 500c/m, FP4+ 120, D76
FP4 Party Post Week, Day 3

nine-right.jpg

9 right
Georgetown, TX
Saturday, March 7, 2020
Smena 8M, FP4+ 35mm, D76
FP4 Party Post Week, Day 2

mid-century-emptiness.jpg

Mid-century modern emptiness
Taylor, TX
Friday March 6, 2020
ONDU 6×12 Multiformat pinhole, FP4+ 120, D76
FP4 Party Post Week, Day 1

FP4 Plus Party, Dev Week part one.

smena8m-fp4plus-35mm-27.jpg

Smena 8M + 35mm.

This was my first time out with the Smena. It’s a quirky little Russian camera. Plastic. Toy-like, if not for the fact that it has apertures and shutter speeds and a cocking shutter.

I put gaffer tape over the seams on the lid to the film compartment just in case of light leaks. The viewfinder is pretty close to useless.

Results…
– 27 shots out of a 24 shot roll. Cool.
– 1 accidental double exposure.
– A few underexposed, a few overexposed.
– A handful of not perfectly exposed.
– Bunches not quite framed up the way I’d intended.

Can’t really tell about focus, but there are probably a few keepers, and I’ll know which to submit next week once I run them through the scanner.

Tomorrow.

This is an iPhone shot of the negs, cut and slipped into a negative preserver, placed on an LED light pad, inverted in Photoshop.

Today I’ll tackle the 120 film development.

Cool and dark.

not-as-botched.jpg

Life’s about making adjustments.

My extremely rocky re-entry into developing film last year resulted in one botched and one barely salvageable roll of Ilford Pan F Plus, shot with my Hasselblad 500c/m and Holga 120S.

I was using a new dark bag to load the film onto Paterson reels. Even though it was done in an air conditioned room, the amount of heat my nervous and excited hands and arms generated caused enough steam in the bag to make the film stick to itself, totally ruining the Hassy roll.

The Holga roll wasn’t much better. The edges of the film got pretty crinkled, but I managed to feed the whole roll onto the reel without sticking to itself in the process.

Seems like a lot of trouble, huh?

The hall bathroom in our home has a separate water closet with a door. I can close the hall door, get my film rolls, reels, the tank parts, scissors, and any thing else I might need set up on the lid of the plastic tub where all this dev stuff is stored. I then turn off the light over the sinks. It’s easy to move the tub into the closet and close the second door.

It is absolutely dark in there, but I put a rolled up towel at the base of the door, just in case. I also take off my watch. After everything is situated, I sit on the toilet lid with the tub in front of me and turn off the light.

Seems like a lot of trouble, huh?

I haven’t screwed up a single roll since making this change, so the effort is worth it.

Plus, I’ve ditched the dark bag.

Rusty shutters #35.

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Diana Mini.

August 2009.

I already had a Diana 151 when the Lomography folks released this little guy, and I thought adding this 35mm camera to the collection could be fun.

It’s a cool toy that’ll shoot half-frame and square, but I keep it on the square setting.

Loading film is super-easy, and all the controls are quite similar to what you’d find on the Diana 151, so there’s zero learning curve.

I’ve run 3 rolls of Kodak film through it so far, BW400CN, Elite Chrome 100 (XPRO), and Gold 200. All three performed well.

Yet another film camera I need to put a little more effort into using.

Film type: 35mm
Shutter Speeds: ~1/60 – 1/100 sec
Aperture: ƒ/8, ƒ/11
Focal Length: 24mm
Viewfinder: Optical
Focusing: Manual/zone – ~2ft – infinity
Dimensions HWD: 2.8in x 4in x 2.4in

Rusty shutters #34.

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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III.

May 2019.

I wanted to bring a few point-and-shoot cameras on our 2-week tour of Portugal and Spain last year, but they had to be small enough to fit in the awesome Peak Design Everyday Sling 5L.

The RX100III was one of three that made the trip.

I like this little shooter a lot. My fave parts are the flip-up LCD, the Zeiss 24-70mm ƒ/1.8 lens, and the lens ring. The macro’s not bad, either.

The camera’s menu system is just okay and the controls are nicely arranged, so using the camera is pretty much a breeze.

I like this little shooter a lot.

I don’t use the viewfinder. No real need. Plus it has the nasty habit of turning off the camera when pushed back into the body.

I added a tasteful Gariz half-case and – since I’m not a big fan of wrist straps – I use an extra neck strap I had, a super-thin Panny with plastic clip/nylon cord connectors. Works perfectly.

Great little digital camera.

Resolution: 20.1 megapixels
Max image size – 5472 x 3648
Display: Tilting 3in LCD @ 1,228,800 pixels
ISO: Auto, 125, 160, 200, 250, 320, 400, 500, 640, 800, 1000, 1250, 1600, 2000, 2500, 3200, 4000, 5000, 6400, 8000, 10000, 12800
Shutter Speeds: 30 sec – 1/2000 sec
Metering: Multi-segment, center-weighted, spot
Focal Length: 24-70mm
Macro: 1.97in
Dimensions WHD: 4in x 2.3in x 1.6in
Weight: 9.28 oz
Power: Sony NP-BX1 lithium-ion rechargeable battery
Memory card: SD/SDHC/SDXC