September 21, 2013

With Yashica 635 - why lens sharpness sometimes doesn't matter in medium format

The best bit of advice I ever received from a Hasselblad repair technician: If you're not cropping images, don't worry that the lens is a mere triplet and not a better formula.

My trusty 635 has the triplet Yashikor instead of the highly desirable Yashinon lens found on the Yashica Mat 124-G.

Horst Wenzel, camera repair tech extraordinaire, said, "Pah, what difference does it make. You'd have to blow it up the size of the wall to see the difference."

Indeed, the bigger the image the further back one stands.

Lens sharpness has a parallel to the passion for more pixels in the digital era. If cropping is not involved, a photographer can get by with a mere 2.7 pixels even less (depending on the size of the print).

A big negative makes up for a humble (not crappy) lens. Above is Park Wong tailor from the shop where I apprenticed, Modernize Tailors.

It's a scan made with a mini light table as the backlight...I don't have a medium format scanner.

I picked up the gist of this technique from John Sypal of Tokyo Camera Style. Good enough for me.

September 6, 2013

More Warhol news and Warhol-with-a-camera shots because we can't get enough

New York Times' T-Magazine reports a batch of photos by Warhol are on auction right NOW. They are owned by the Hedges Project. Above, is his 1986 image of Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran.
Recent Warhol/camera images....

Ahh. The above image is by David McGough. I've heard about this camera but I hadn't found a hi-res version of it. McGough writes that Warhol holds a point and shoot decorated by Keith Harring. It is identified as a Canon but based on the viewfinder position and the location of the light exposure sensor under the lens I suspect it is an Olympus AFL Picasso from 1983.

Also, because it's so nice, Warhol on the Great Wall by Chris Makos with his camera for that trip, the Chinon Infrafocus 35F-MA.

June 14, 2013

Test shot

Shot with Canon Super Sure Shot AF35ML. Film: suspected Fuji Superia X-tra 400ASA packaged as Easypix 400 from Shoppers Drug Mart.

Don't mind the bad scan please.

Also if you want to know more about shooting with the Super Sure Shot, I have a few notes.

June 12, 2013

Shoppers Drug Mart film Easypix 400 ASA

I finally had a chance to develop the Easypix film from Shoppers Drug Mart.

I shot the film with a Color Skopar 50mm f3.5 on the Voigtlander Vito B viewfinder. The results are quite nice considering how adverse the lighting situations I found myself in. One shot involved a dark elevator. The other had heavy duty back lighting.

I scan pretty roughly but I can safely say the film may very well be Fuji Superia X-tra as rumour has it. It certainly has the graininess of typical of that film.

In the past, when shooting colour 135 film (aka 35mm ), I have tended towards Kodak's Ektar 100 and Fuji's Reala. The Ektar has always been a very saturated film (which I like for outdoor summery). Reala seems to me more smooth and a bit more quiet. With Reala, I taken some of my favourite colour images (see pic below).


That said, I am itching to try the 200 ASA Easypix film which should be the same as Fuji Superia 200 ASA film. I don't think I've really shoot seriously with Superia 200 and I hope it is a bit of a sleeper.

As for the Easypix 400, it's okay. Though, I will hold back on a FINAL verdict as I shot another roll of the 400 on the Canon Super Sure Shot AF35ML.

You never know.

June 5, 2013

What is depressing...

When people take pictures of cameras for craigslist without an iota of photographic sensibility. It's just another hunk of metal to sell.

May 24, 2013

What the heck is a M42 to K/AR adapter any how?

It allows M42 aka Praktica or screw mount lenses, which can be identified with the screw threads on the back, to be used on Konica Autoreflex cameras, hence K/AR.

On this site, I post lots of macro shot with M42 lenses like the Industar 50-2 and the CZ Biotar 55mm f1.8. I am able to do this because the "Konica Praktica Lens Adapter" can fit onto the Nikon F mounting of my Nikon D40.

It is a loose fit and there is no infinity focus but it is fun to use in a gear head's version of a mashup.

Hence, I can have an Industar 50-2 with an adpater ring going to a heavily brassed black Konica Autoreflex T3 (with a Yashica Tele-Wide finder for good effect).

The adapter ring is not easy to find and is one of my more treasured items. It allows me to marry the solid metal shutter awesomeness of a Konica SLR with the variety and weirdness of all the M42/Praktica/Screw Mount lenses out there in the world.

Just remember, though, don't mix it up with a L39 lenses. Or, ahem, you'll be screwed.

May 23, 2013

Notes on the Canon Super Sure Shot AF35ML or Autoboy Super

I started shooting again - street/candid style - with one of the cameras I bought at the Vancouver Camera Show, the Canon Super Sure Shot (aka Autoboy Super) AF35ML.

I was originally going to take photos of my boys in the traditional Maypole dance but the shutterbug caught and I started shooting the things I found curious. Expressions of boredom, a beauty queen's dropped guard (so rare), regalia looking less than regal.

It was fun. And using the Canon made it more so. Also, I knew I was serious because I broke out the leather camera strap and the duct tape. I use it to make extra secure the camera chamber door (yellow highlight).

Now, what makes this consumer point and shoot, circa 1984?, my choice?
First, the lens. 40mm f1.9. It is quite rare.

I traded a BLACK Nikon FM2N to get my hands on a clean Hexanon 40mm f1.8 and a M42 to Konica (K/AR) adapter ring. If you try to buy a Pentax SMC in 40mm, you will pay a princely price. There's something about 40.

I've seen the Canon ML twice before and there is the first in good working order (this is after a decade of camera hunting). So I was pretty excited to get my hands on one and very happy to shoot it yesterday.

Nice things:

  1. It has in the viewfinder a focus lock indicator telling you where it has decided to focus (mountains, stick people family, head).
  2. The battery chamber provides a nice grip.
  3. There's a nice heft to the body and the camera really follows the lines of a rangefinder.
Not so nice things:
  1. An alarm squeals when it can't focus or detects low light conditions.
  2. The film advance sounds like a coffee grinder.
  3. I have no clue how the exposure program works.
Ideally, in a camera with a wide aperture, it suggests that the camera is optimized for portrait taking. The program is skewed to stay wide and shoot with a faster shutter UNTIL the light value are so high the camera has to start stopping down.

Stopping down makes the aperture smaller and allows less light to reach the film. From a portrait perspective, this can negatively impact the image as the depth of field increases and allows background images to become sharp which can be distracting.

The hope is the Canon AF35ML actually takes advantage of the wide aperture and follows a program curve similar to the Olympus Infinity Stylus Epic (aka mju II) which stays wide.

Here's my favourite shot of the boys with the mju II:

Check out the railing in the background, the grain is out of focus. This is on a sunny summer day. A fine example of the portrait-leaning program.

If the Canon Super Sure Shot AF35ML (Autoboy Super), could do this, despite all the noise, it would be well worth it.

The roll is shot. I'll let you know soon how it turned out.

May 22, 2013

How to hold a camera - because it can never be said enough

  1. Your finger should rest on the shutter release (not hover over it). This prevents you from jabbing at the release.
  2. Your left hand should cradle the lens and part of the base plate. This helps support the main weight of the camera.
  3. It's always good to have any part of both your hands, even a right pinkie and a left knuckle, in contact. This provides stability.
  4. Notice the strap. It is looped over his wrist. Cartier-Bresson (above) could snap his camera like a yo-yo and once used the technique to stun an attacker (not an exaggeration).
Of course, this way of holding a camera reflects a type of functionality. With auto focus functions even the great cradler of cameras would begin to move their hands away from the lens.

At least, HCB doesn't hold the camera as if it were a digital camera.

May 10, 2013

Another image of Warhol holding a camera

Andy Warhol
by Sonia Fantoli  on Flickr.

It's funny how one accumulates information (I won't say "knowledge") on the internet.

As some may know, I have an interest in point and shoot cameras and a mild obsession with P&S used by Andy Warhol or rather held by the artist in some photographs.

In an number of postings I've tried to identify cameras shown in Warhol portraits. Also, with a modest degree of art historical investigation, I've also tried to identify cameras with which he actually made art work.

So What is a Film Camera posted about my postings about Warhol cameras.In this case it was the Olympus AF-1 Infinity.  He also shot out the camera, which is terrific, as I had yet to do so with mine.

Better yet Richard, accidentally posted a Warhol image avec appareil but it was the wrong Olympus camera, one I had never seen before. A sharp-eyed reader noticed the gaff and identified the model: Olympus OM-77AF.

It was an early auto-focus slr. You can still find the manual at Olympus' site. Strangest detail it has a small pop-up flash at the right-hand that snaps up from the battery grip.

I will post an update on this camera and its place within Warhol chronology and oeuvre. Soon. I promise.

Cameras taking pictures of cameras

I am building bikes these days and one way of funding the work is to sell a few of my cameras including this Zeiss Ikon Contina with a 45mm f3.5 Novar lens. Quite a looker.

Posting the cameras (I try to look on the bright side) for sale, offers an opportunity to take pictures of them.

This time I used a Konica Hexanon 50mm f1.8 f1.7 mounted on the Nikon D40. It's not a perfect fit. Nothing locks. But the flanges do slip into each other enough to take a few frames.

I'm always stunned by how full and round (not scientific or based in optical science, I admit) the Hexanon lenses are. I mean the focusing ring in the top image is just fine. It floors me - and it's the lens not me.

May 7, 2013

Loaded Vito B with Voigtlander filter, lens hood, and accessory rangefinder

I sold my Nikon FM on the weekend. The buyer, who is a new avid going through that Internet heavy research that I went through when I started, told me Shoppers Drug Mart house branded film is Fuji. It used to be Life Brand (I think) but now it's called Easy Pix.

So, I bought a three-pack of 24 exp. Maybe, it will Reala! More likely Superia, which is not a fine grain film but hey it's film.

In any case, it finally gives me a chance to shoot the Color Skopar with colour film.

April 28, 2013

Score! Canon Super Sure Shot AF35ML and a Konica AF3!

The camera show put on by the Western Canada Photographic Historical Association is one of my favourite days of the year. So thanks to Johan for letting me know this Sunday that I hadn't missed it.

The top camera is quite a find: the Canon Sure Shot AF35ML aka "something, something" Autoboy.

In many ways a typical early point and shoot, the camera also boasts a hard to beat 40mm f1.9. This make it one of the fastest fixed lens cameras ever produced.

There is an excellent description of the Autoboy in a 1988 issue of Popular Photography. There it was already considered a vintage classic though it had only hit the market seven years before.

Here are some of the salient features :

- 3 feet to infinity focus
-f1.9 to f18
- five-element lens, oooohhh
-1/4 sec to 1/500 sec shutter
- continuous shooting, so keep a light finger on the release

For more info visit Canon's great history site. Matt's Classic Cameras has always done a fine job breaking it down to the bullet info. The manual is online at Butkus's essential collection.

The very fine film camera blogger Zeno Felkl has more to say about the Konica AF3. I've admired his stash of odd Konica for years and now I have an AF3.

April 2, 2013

With a Konica 40mm f1.8 Hexanon

With a Konica 40mm f1.8 Hexanon

The camera was the Cosina-made Konica TC-X.

It is a plastic body camera with the Konica AR mount or K/AR mount.

I used Kodak's slide film, Elite Chrome 100 ASA.

The sun is directly behind the boys' heads.