How to see

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How to see-George Nelson
TitleHow to see
Visual adventures in a world God never made
AuthorGeorge Nelson
PublisherPhaidon
Year2017 (original made in 1977)
Format24×22 cm
Pages248
Price24,95 EUR
CoverHardback, colors
ISBN9780714873831

“Seeing is not a unique God-given talent, but a discipline. It can be learned “: this quote in the back cover well explains a lot about the book, its content and its purpose. It is a real guide to the right way to see and understand the images, the shapes, and the geometries that our eye faces at any moment, and this is a discipline, an art that according to the author can be learned like any other. George Nelson was a designer and architect considered one of the fathers and leading exponents of American Modernism, countless of his design works have become true icons, recognized all over the world.

Convinced that most people were not able to “see”, meant as the ability to decode the non-verbal messages that occur to their eyes, as a result of some experimentation carried out on groups of different people, Nelson carried on his message , “How to see” is the Summa, according to which these people (90% of the total according to his experiments) would be educated to “visual literacy” as well as to mathematics and literary sciences.

How to see was published in 1977 and this new 40th anniversary edition by Phaidon is aimed to repropose the Nelson’s thoughts even if lowered in a world completely different when we think about what he called “visual pollution” from that in which the author worked and wrote: Nelson mentioned the city of Las Vegas with its billboards and light signs as the maximum example of pollution from visual saturation but today, with photographic smartphones and instant social sharing, we can easily say that Las Vegas is everywhere.

The Book is full of pictures, an astonishing amount of 341 in 248 pages: we know that George Nelson almost always traveled with a camera around his neck, although he was not a photographer, and countless were the film slides with which he returned from every trip. Do not expect artistic photographs (or rather, deliberately artistic) in which it lends great care to composition, exposure or any technical aspect: what counts in the reproduced photographs is to show Nelson’s contemporary reality with all its signs and symbols, helping the viewer-reader to recognize and understand them. The effect is remarkable and will not fail to amaze the reader who can see what is shown to him (which, as the subtitle says, is a world created not by God but by man) with the eyes of the designer and communicator.

How to see is divided into chapters but, there isn’t a proper reading order to follow; each section is made up of Nelson’s writings, quite concise and clear in the message they want to share, embedded in the full-bodied photographic apparatus that truly makes it a master. Immersing yourself in the images, recognizing signs and symbols and then looking for confirmation (or denial) as exposed by the author is the best way to enjoy this text.

Although not properly addressed to those who take care of photography, How to see is certainly an excellent resource for all of us as it can offer important insights and profound reflections on how to communicate content more or less (especially less) explicit with images. It certainly finds its own place in the library of the conceptual photographer!

As far as this edition is concerned, How to see is proposed in an attractive and manageable format, almost square, which invites to keep it at hand to browse it from time to time; the hardcover is very neat and decidedly graphic, while the inside paper is semi-gloss and seems by good quality both to the sight and to the touch, very apt to bring out the many images present inside.

The prefaces and the introduction of Nelson are to be noted as important to better understand the original context and purpose of the publication as well as the author’s thought on “visual literacy”. Surely, even for those who are concerned only with photography, the reading of How to see will open the doors to further investigation.

Rolleiflex SL26

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BACKGROUND

The 126 Instamatic format has never been considered as something aimed to the professional photographers nor evolved photo-amateurs and this has always been except for some rare examples that we talked about a few times ago.

The Rolleiflex SL26 is one of these examples, perhaps the most widespread, if we can talk of true diffusion for these cameras; it is in fact a system, unfortunately remained incomplete, that in addition to the body includes high quality objectives as the tradition by Rollei and Carl Zeiss and that probably should have replicated by extension and for accessories as present in reflex systems For 35mm.

The Rolleiflex SL26 appeared on the market in 1968 and was launched immediately with three Carl Zeiss lenses: a normal 40mm f/2.8, a wide-angle 32mm f/3.2 and a medium tele 80mm F/4, all of them with Tessar scheme therefore able to compensate for the sharpness problems of the 126 cassettes thanks to their great optical quality. Unfortunately what was presented at the beginning was everything and the system remained unchanged and practically ignored by the market until 1974, the year in which production ceased.

HOW IT WORKS

Rolleiflex SL26
The Rolleiflex SL26

The Rolleiflex SL26 presents itself at first glance like a classic reflex even if you notice immediately its proportions not exactly classic: the camera is narrower than a common 35mm SLR and consequently the height, though contained, is more evident. There is the classic pentaprism as well as the lens mount in the center of the body. While handling the camera you appreciate the small size even if you notice the unusual weight for an object of this size, due to the valuable metal construction.

Rolleiflex SL26 Back
The back of the Rolleiflex SL26

The back of the camera is dominated by the plastic window that allows you to see the frame counter stamped on the film protective paper. Moreover, given the ease of loading inherent in the 126 Instamatic format that allows you to eliminate all mechanisms of winding and manual rewind, could not be otherwise. After inserting the cartridge and advancing the film through the winding lever on the upper casing until the first frame number, the Rolleiflex SL26 is ready to shoot . The camera operation is really intuitive to anyone who has used a common 35mm SLR and the only thing is to get comfortable with the fact that the controls to adjust the shutter and aperture times are positioned on the front lens barrell, as occurs in all cameras equipped with leaf shutter. The shutter, leaf central type, has a speed range from 1/2 sec to 1/500 sec and includes the Bulb; with the 40mm Tessar optics, aperture range is from f/2.8 to f/22.

Rolleiflex SL26 Tessar 40
The Tessar Optics 40/2.8 and the control nuts

The standard kit lens, thanks to its Tessar scheme, allows to obtain decidedly sharp and, above all, astonishing images compared to what was normally produced on 126 film; closed by just one stop maintains uniform sharpness from edge to edge and confirms that the idea was to create an unusual quality system for the format. Focusing is easy thanks to the well defined viewfinder even if the lens focusing ring is a bit small and could create some discomfort to users with large hands. The viewfinder also contains indication from the exposure meter, consisting of a CdS cell powered by a button battery whose compartment is on the side of the camera: the exposure meter is accurate as long as you use the original battery obut, with modern batteries you may incur in some inaccuracy.

Rolleiflex SL26 and Tessar 40mm
The Rolleiflex SL26 and its Tessar 40

The camera has sharp edged and in prolonged use this is felt, especially if it is used without shoulder straps or bags always holding it in hand; nothing dramatic, though. The controls are really reduced to the bone and, in addition to the spedd and aperture rings on the lens barrel there are only the winding lever and the shutter button (with thread) on thetop plate. Then the opening command of the back placed on a side of the Rolleiflex SL26. This minimal commands setup is obviously reflected in an extreme ease of use, which is perfectly in line with the vocation of the 126 Instamatic format: few minutes in your hands and you are perfectly able to master the camera. Focusing as mentioned above is rapid by means of the ring nut on the lens and thanks to the viewfinder which is small but with a light slide that undoubtedly facilitates operations; familiarity with the adjusting rings of time and aperture and there is no more to learn.

The only additional operation that could happen is the replacement of the lens: this is mounted with a proprietary bayonet which is a little different from the classic ones because, once unmounted, if you look to the mount you’ll see another lens instead of the classical mirror: this solution allows to have an extreme compactness of the objectives, because an element remains fixed on the camera and therefore it streamlines the construction of the optics. Unmounting is done by rotating and simultaneously acting on the release button on the body of the lens.

Tessar 40mm f/2.8 Rolleiflex SL26
The Tessar 40mm f/2.8 of the Rolleiflex SL26

Shown below, as a curiosity, images taken on a very old and poorly preserved film that despite the clear damage to the emulsion, let you guess the good quality of the optics. It still remains a particular camera with almost only collectable value given the format and, unless you are fanatics of the 126, not a tool for everyday use.

The multilingual manual, assuming that there is any need to read it, is available on the always great site of Butkus.

PRO

Minimal Style

Easy to use

Light Viewfinder

Solidity

AGAINST

Limited System

126 Film

Few controls

TECHNICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Model: Interchangeable lens reflex camera

Size: 28x28mm on 126 Instamatic film

Optics: Tessar 40mm f/2.8 (supplied as standard)

Shutter: Leaf shutter, speed from 1/2 sec to 1/500 sec, pose B

Exposure Modes: Manual

Focus: Manual

Viewfinder: Reflex with a split-image slide and light-meter indication. Approximate Coverage 100%

Self-Timer: No

Flash: Flash shoe with hot contacts

Power supply: N. 1 battery type PX625 for Cds cell

Dimensions: 101 x 98 x 68 mm with Tessar 40mm

Weight: 585gr with Tessar 40mm

AVAILABILITY AND PRICES

As said the Rolleiflex SL26 was the most expensive camera built for the 126 Instamatic format and this, combined with its average rarity, makes it a non-easy-to-find model on the used market which often reaches unwarranted quotes. If you are a collector it is worth looking for auctions for the complete set that included the bag and the three optics as well as some extra accessory: every now and then something appears for sale, generally in excellent condition, and with prices from 200 to 450 EUR. For the camera and the Tessar lens prices range should be from 50 to EUR 100-120.

Analogue-Digital Hybrids

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In recent years the traditional film photography and even many of the oldest techniques, i.e. the Daguerretype, have regained a certain media appeal that obviously shortly has generated marketing opportunities and introduction of new products.

Thus riding the nostalgia of the old enthusiasts and the curiosity of the new ones who had never seen a film from the real, have first appeared the software filters to simulate the film rendition and, with them, the filters applied in social sharing apps; then the tide of revival has also shifted to the hardware side.

What appears to be the guiding thread is the reborn awareness of the value of a printed photograph as a tangible physical element which is no longer relegated to storages or screens: certainly you could argue that anyone can print even today, at home or through service, with printers or in the traditional way but none of these systems marries with the imperative of immediacy, something that Edwin Land had well understood seventy years ago.

The reference to the founder of Polaroid is not accidental because the replica of the snapshots experience was the first and most widespread example of this new trend. The print-cameras with Zink technology that used the Polaroid logo (to a careful eye, a little different than the original) have attracted those users accustomed to the use of digital equipment but tempted to replicate in some way the mood of an old-style photograph, and also some old fan who, however, well aware of what these products represent, let himself right to go to a moment of nostalgia.

The Polaroid Snap Touch with one of its stencits

Over the years Zink technology has progressed, improving the quality of the microscopic prints and also enlarging its size in some models so that now several brands, including Kodak, propose their product in this sector. Zink devices combine digital technology with the analogue heritage of the instant picture and, albeit with their qualitative limits, are certainly a tool that in the right hands can lead to even valuable results.

The interesting thing to note is related to one of the latest models, the Polaroid Mint camera: this small digital camera, based on Zink Technology, has the peculiarity of not having a screen and to print all the photos that are taken, at least as long as the paper lasts: no more screens to choose which images to print, rough framing from a Galilean viewfinder and photos coming out after a few seconds! A jump backwards or forwards?

In few years these more and more models have been added to this hybrid analogue-digital crew but, always with the same basic idea to conjugate past and present; Fujifilm, the main actor of instant photography today, launched the Instax SQ10 which is nothing but one of its classic instant camera equipped with a sensor (with very few MP given the small size of the photographs) and a screen from which you can change to taste with the inevitable filters the images just taken and then print them on the classic instant film: a digital processing that then becomes analogue and that, thanks to the fact of losing uniqueness (every image can be printed several times), it becomes a different sharing tool: not onlineanymore but, physical. It’s not a case that on the protective plastic of the Instax film we find the inscription “Tangible Photography”.

The other manufacturer of chemical instant cameras, impossible/Polaroid Originals, followed the road of hybridization with the smartphone, first with the Impossible I-1 and now with the one Step 2 +: a traditional camera with instant film which also includes Bluethooth connection and dedicated app on smartphone that allows you to use features not available in the standard use of the camera.

Instax Share SP-2

Then there is another category of analog-digital hybrids, again proposed by Fujifilm: Instax Share printers, which earned a good sales success. Here the medium that takes the photograph is a smartphone or a digital camera but, through app, it is offered the possibility to print the image, with any modifications and in all the copies you want, on true Instax film. Originally, the Instax SP and the upgraded model SP-2 allowed prints on the Instax Mini film (the true commercial crack by Fujifilm) but, given the good success and requests of users, the company also introduced the SP-3 SQ that uses the largest Instax Square Films.

Instax Share SP-3 SQ

This latter model, perhaps, opens the way to a new form of artistic experimentation thanks to the good quality of the Square films and the possibility of overcoming the chronic deficiencies that Fujifilm introduces in its Instax camera bodies, philosophically always reduced to the bone in terms of functions. The thing that seems interesting, in all this flourishing of new products, is that the user is rediscovering the interest in photography as a printed object and this clearly can only be a good sign for any film photography enthusiast; the fact that a good slice of these analog-digital hybrids, and especially those that give the best results, lead to have as a final result a chemical photograph can only please us!

Fujifilm GA645

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HISTORICAL NOTES

The “compact” medium format has always been one of the strengths of Fujifilm’s offer, the company able with the various models to propose cameras actually of small size (to be medium format) with optics of excellent if not superb quality and several features that have often transformed them into real professional tools.

Fujifilm has always had in the catalogue of cameras for medium format several product lines subdivided for the most common frame formats, from 6×4,5 to 6×9, with periodic updates of the models and similar evolutions between the various lines. This Fujifilm GA645 represents the model that introduces the autofocus in the line dedicated to the format 6×4, 5, as clearly suggests the abbreviation.

The commercial history of the model is short enough and goes from its introduction in 1995 until 1997 when it was replaced by the model GA645i and, nevertheless, enjoyed a good success even in the professional field given the rapidity of use and the excellent results guaranteed From the mounted optics and, not least, thanks also to the possibility to use rollers in 220 format at the time still very widespread. The main features of the series, however, have remained roughly those of the first model and have ensured over the years a good diffusion to Fujifilm GA645.

HOW IT WORKS

The Fujifilm GA645

The Fujifilm GA645 is presented with a body externally made of plastic material with dimensions all in all compact, especially in depth, which immediately transmits an impression of solidity. The controls are concentrated mainly in the upper part of the back where they are, from left to right, the viewfinder, the ignition ring and the mode selector, the date activation buttons (which is stamped on the film Edge outside the frame), the self-timer and the flash.

The back of the camera

The rest of the back is dominated by the door of the film compartment, which opens by acting on a command placed on the right side of the camera and presents at its center the pocket for the reminder of the film.

The service LCD display

On the upper part of the shell is located the LCD display which, despite being small, provides a complete set of information on the shutter data, shooting mode, battery status, counter, type of film inserted, mode of Focus. On the side of the display we find the adjusting ring, which performs several functions depending on the mode, the Focus mode selection button (Autofocus/manual), the one for exposure compensation (-2 to + 2 EV in steps of 1/3 ev) and the shutter button. At the center of the shell, finally, the hot shoe for the external flash.

The top cap

What strikes taking in hand the Fujifilm GA645 is the excellent ergonomics, despite the non-graceful shapes, favored also by the grip deep enough and the positioning of the controls that are almost all at finger’s reach.

Unlocking the Back

The operation is quite intuitive, subject to some initial settings that you have to keep in mind in order to configure the camera in the correct way. First of all is the choice of the type of film used: The Fujifilm GA645 in fact allows to use both rollers 120, with which will take 16 frames, which now (unfortunately) disappeared Rollers 220 whose capacity is doubled to well 32 frames. The choice is made by acting on the pressure plate inside the back which has a slide movement at two positions 120/220 which substantially change the position of the film plane. Once you have done this you can proceed to load the roller in the machine by first turning on the release of the Rocchetta (red buttons in the lower part of the back) and then advancing the roller using the multifunction ring until the arrow is aligned On the roller’s protective paper with the red button unlock-spool on the left. Once the spine is closed, the film feed is automatic.

The caseback

The sensitivity of the film remains to be selected by moving the control knob to the ISO position and acting on the multifunction ring: The selected sensitivity will appear on the LCD screen. Having done that, we are ready to shoot with the Fujifilm GA645.

The operating modes selectable by the rear bezel are P (programmed), A (diaphragm priority) and M (manual). In the two automatic modes the multifunction ring will act on the exposure by holding down the dedicated key at the same time or, mode A, for selecting the aperture value

The front of the machine and the optics

By setting the manual mode, however, the diaphragms are adjusted by acting directly on the ring nut, while to change the shutter speed of the display will have to hold the exposure button pressed at the same time. The manual mode is indicated on the LCD display by the word “Tv”. In manual mode It is also possible to use pose B, while in the automatics the maximum time is limited to 2 seconds.

The information in the viewfinder

Another setting that can be changed is the focus mode: In addition to the standard autofocus mode, you can press the AF button on the top cap to switch to manual focus; The mode change will be indicated on the LCD screen. At this point, holding down the MF button located under the lens barrel will move the multifunction ring which will set a series of focusing distances (14 steps) from 0, 7m to infinity: Again, the information is displayed on the LCD display and also inside the viewfinder, where there is a small panel that replicates the information of the main screen.

The viewfinder, as you will notice as soon as you lean the eye, has an unusual vertical orientation, characteristic that has made the Fujifilm GA645 and subsequent evolution a medium format much appreciated for portraits. Inside, in addition to the small panel with red Carrateri very well defined, also presents a frame that automatically regulates the parallax error for shots with distance less than 1, 5m, very useful feature in a viewfinder that is Galilean and offset than the target.

In the use the Fujifilm GA645, familiar with the controls and with the viewfinder is pleasant thanks to the ergonomics already mentioned, the sensation of solidity and compactness; It can not be defined very light but also with prolonged use not to be affected. The results that the Fujinon Super EBC Optics guarantee are excellent in terms of sharpness and color rendition and already at full aperture (F/4) The frame is well defined throughout its surface, which should not amaze in a fixed-optic camera designed with Criterion-it is reported under some images of example, both in black and white and color.

The functions it offers are complete and allow to cope with much of the photographic opportunities; Maybe the autofocus is not very fast but still very precise. On the other hand, the use of Fujifilm GA645 in manual focus mode is quite cumbersome and will not be used.

As regards the mode of exposure, already in P but especially in a you can count on a range of operation decidedly complete thanks to the possibility of being able to stay the exposure. The only case where the manual exposure becomes important, even with its greater machininess, is when you need long exposure times over the two seconds possible with the automatic modes. The integrated flash, in spite of the reduced power (guide number 12), performs well to its task where necessary a lightening light and the exposure is perfectly compensta from the lightmeter of the machine thanks also to the central shutter. For more complex uses, the hot shoe is still available even if the maximum integration with the exposure system is with the flash dedicated to Fujifilm GA645, very difficult to find by now.

There are no particular faults to be reported, except perhaps a little too much noise when the film advances automatically after each shot or at the end of the roll, when the winding completion phase on the receiving spool lasts a few seconds.

Note: The machine is no longer supported by Fujifilm which, however, guaranteed a long life for the mechanical and electronic parts of this camera. You can check the shots by holding down the exposure correction button and turning the rear bezel to ISO: The number you will read represents the number of hundreds of shots (1 = 100 shots)

Pro

-Sturdiness and Ergonomics

-Meter Accuracy

-Full set of functions

-Use of 220 Film

-Optics Quality

-Battery life

-Parallax Error correction

-Central Shutter

AGAINST

-Cumbersome manual operation

-Viewfinder orientation (in landscape photos)

-Expensive batteries

-Price

TECHNICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Model: Compact autofocus with fixed optics

Size: 6×4, 5 mm on roll film 120 and 220

Optics: Fujinon Super EBC 60mm F/4 made of 7 elements

Shutter: Electronic programmed, Central type, speeds from 2 sec to 1/700 sec, Bulb mode

Exposure modes: automatic programmed, aperture priority, manual

Focus: Autofocus from 0.7 to infinity, manual focus with 14 zones

Viewfinder: Galilean with automatic parallax correction, partial coverage from 90% to 93%

Self-timer: Yes, delay 10 sec

Flash: Built-in, manually insertable, NG 12 at ISO 100. Flash sled with hot contacts

Sensitivity: 25 to 1600 ISO

Exposure compensation:-2ev to + 2ev, steps of 1/3 EV

Power supply: N. 2 Batteries Type CR123A 3v

Dimensions: 166 x 110 x70 mm

Weight: 816 g without batteries

Availability and Prices

The Fujifilm GA645 has always been decidedly sought after and in recent years the price to which it is located has risen considerably, going along with the decrease in availability. For specimens in good/excellent condition be prepared to spend from 400 to 800 EUR. The availability is not high, especially in European shops, something more online and on auction sites.

Found Films: separate site

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Given the continuous increase in the years of my found films collection and the long work of development, archiving and cataloging that, with slowness, is almost coming to an end, a subdomain dedicated to sharing only these images has been added and will progressively be filled up over the next few months to replace the found films section on this site. To access the new space click on the image below. The link will then be integrated into the new homepage of the main site after the restyling activity which is currently underway.

Minolta 16 II

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IMG_1545

 HISTORICAL NOTES

Minolta commitment to 16mm photography market started at the beginning of the 50s when the company acquired the small manufacturer Konan which for some years produced an ultra-compact 16 mm camera named Mica Automat. Following the acquisition, the camera continued to be produced in the first instance by keeping the original logo to then be marketed as Minolta product.

Following up to  this project, Minolta engineers took the cue to begin development of a new line of 16mm cameras debuting with the 16 Automat, which was simply the old Konan model enriched with some marginal improvements; this was followed by the first Minolta 16: the shapes were then more rounded,  guides for  the insertion of filters in front of the lens were introduced and also were offered seven different body colors.

In 1960 appeared the 16 II model, known as the most complete and most successful of the range, in which were set lens and shutter improvements; the camera was sold in a complete set including BW and color film, negative mask insert for enlarger, leather case with filters and a reel attachment for the development of the film. The camera was a great success and was the first to impose Minolta as a global brand in terms of selling.

The Minolta 16 II is equipped with the new lens Rokkor 22 / 2.8 and a guillotine shutter with 1/30 sec to 1/500 sec speeds plus bulb; it was entirely built of metal except for the film chamber and  was distributed in six different colors, though the most common and almost exclusively present in Europe is a silver-gray. This model was followed by others, which were gradually introduced with features such as automatic exposure or simplified lenses, but no further camera had the same success of the 16 II.

 HOW IT WORKS

The shape is reminiscent of the classic spy-cameras in vogue in the 60s and 70s, that of a small rectangular metal piece that can easily be mistaken for a lighter. IMG_1547

To load the shutter is necessary to “open” the camera by sliding the upper shell; this frees the shutter release button, located on the top, and the lens, which is positioned behind the shutter to the guillotine. A blue dot on the surface indicates that the shutter is cocked and the camera is ready to shoot, but after shooting the surface is free. This special construction implies it is not possible to make double exposures with this camera; to re-arm the shutter and move to the next step, you must close and reopen the camera: on the bottom there is a climbing frame counter indicating how many frames can still be impressed on the film.

The camera operation is completely manual and there is no light meter; you will, therefore, use an external one or apply the sunny 16 rule: times and aperture can be adjusted by means of two wheels placed on the right side of the camera being present align the red dot on the knurl with the values ​​engraved on the camera body. Shutter speed varies between 1/30 sec and 1/500 sec, plus the bulb while apertures range from f / 2,8 to f / 16, with a one stop increment. Film is put in proprietary cartridges, designed to be reloaded with 16mm film; in origin, those were sold with Minolta brand, with Tri-X film for BW and probably Kodacolor 100 for color film; the cartridge contains enough film to impress 20 frames sized 10×14 mm.

To insert film cartridge in camera it is necessary to separate the shell from the rest of the body; this is done by separating the two parts as in the moment when the shutter is charged, and to the block, push the small button that is located on the bottom of the shell: in this way the latter can continue its run and separate from the rest of the body.

Minolta 16 II apertaIn the lower part of the body will be visible the metal slide that guides the opening and closing of the shell (and which, in the underlying part, is connected to the reset sliding mechanism of the guillotine shutter) and wheel frame counter that, with new film inside, is placed on E and then start the timer counting back from the number 20.

Opening the door, you can proceed to place the cartridge  inside the compartment: the operation is very simple, as there is only one correct manner, a concept that  will be then taken up by Kodak at the time of the launch of 126 and 110 Instamatic Pocket Instamatic.

Cassetta Minolta 16

A cartridge ready to be refilled with film

The cartridge, as mentioned, can be refilled more times, very simple operation and rapid since, moreover, the film is not equipped with any protective backing paper but is simply rolled up and inserted in the accommodation and fixed with a bit of tape on the reel drag positioned within the second tank of the cartridge. On this site there is a tutorial for the reloading of the 110 film cartridge, which also includes the operations required for refilling the Minolta 16 one. Once positioned the cartridge, close the door of the compartment and you can proceed to reassemble the camera.

 

A final note about the use relates to the ability to use additional filters or lenses that must be positioned in front of the lens; the body of the camera is, in fact, shaped to allow easy inclusion of these additional pressure filters (see photo at left). Some of these were directly supplied with your camera, while others could be purchased separately. One in particular, part of the bundle, and it is worth mentioning a correction lens that allows you to have a perfect focus to infinity at all apertures, solving a problem that affects all cameras of this size, which results in blurry images indefinitely if taken in large opening.

TECHNICAL DATA

Model: Ultra-compact Camera (spy camera).

Image Format: 10 x 14 mm on 16mm film.

Lens: Minolta Rokkor 22 f / 2,8  four lenses 

Apertures: f / f 2.8 / 16

Shutter: guillotine, Minolta, Rates from 1/30 to 1/500; pose B.

Exposure modes: manual and B.

Viewfinder: Galilean with additional focus lens.

Self-timer: no.

Multiple exposures : no.

Flash: sync socket on the camera body.

Dimensions (closed): Length 80 mm; height 23 mm; depth 40 mm.

Weight: 146 gr.

ACCESSORIES

There is a large amount of accesories available for the Minolta 16 II mainly due to the peculiarities of the  film format; major options that are worth mentioning are:

– Coloured filters for optical add-shooting
– Flash bracket and additional grip
– Dedicated enlarger
– 16mm spiral and tank for film processing
– Dia-dedicated projector

PROS:

Small size

Easy to use

Totally manual

Sinchro flash at all shutter speeds

Robust construction in metal

Ease of repair.

 CONS:

 Cartridge to be refilled manually;

Lack of sharpness at f / 2,8.

 

AVAILABILITY AND PRICES

On the used market you will find all models of Minolta 16, especially those partially automated or simplified as the MG, P, EE; the 16 II model is quite common in Northern Europe and Germany but is also found in Italy with prices ranging between 30 and 100 Euros, depending on the condition and accessories included. Even on online auction sites it is quite common. The model 16 II is always to preferable given its total mechanical nature, the quality of the lens and set of shutter speed available.
If you want to venture a mean value “right” for this camera, I would say 60-65 euro with dedicated bag and infinity corrected lens (usually is inserted into the housing.)

 

Impossible I-1

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The clean lines and design

To the many fans who followed (and currently follow) the process of development and improvement of Impossible instant film, it has been clear while years passing  the basis of Polaroid used cameras  was wearing thin and would become increasingly difficult find good condition samples, excluding those reconditioned and sold by the same Dutch company; also, the basic characteristics and features of type 600 cameras could now become reason of disaffection with consequent reduction of potential customers.

So in mid-2016 makes its appearance on the market the Impossible I-1, the first brand new camera for 600 films of the 21st century! This is a completely new design, which combines a retro feel in shape and a good set of modern features that recall the typical functions of digital cameras. For a year now since its introduction the Impossible I-1 did not depopulated as hoped by the producer (worth to mention the price far from popular about three hundred euro) but it still has a good degree of diffusion that bodes well for future developments.

How does it works

The package is well taken care of but essential, as the camera in it: in addition to Impossible I-1, we find a number of small manuals and tips sheet, USB charging cable, a lens cleaning cloth and leather strap with the relative screws to attach to the rear of the machine. The camera shows a black plastic body with a finish that returns a feeling of soft rubber and slightly opaque and an original form that recalls vaguely a running Polaroid SX-70 as well as a OneStep camera; the wide base is equipped with studs to make balance the support out of smooth surfaces, while the pyramid-shaped body (which contains within it the mirror for image reflection) ends with the typical Galilean collimation lens, attached to the body thru a magnetic system.

12 LED ring flash

Contributes to the clean design even the almost total absence of controls, consisting just of a circular three-position switch for turning on the camera, located on the body side, the flash and exposure adjustments enabling switches, located on opposite sides of the lens barrel; on top of the base there is opening switch of film compartment, whose window opens from the front as in the classic Polaroid 600.

But the first thing that characterises and distinguishes the Impossible I-1 is undoubtedly the great flash  that surrounds the lens, formed by eight white LEDs (plus an additional four which operate at short focus distances not to harden the shadows in portraits); looking better on the front of the camera, you will see additional LEDs  which have different functions, and a USB socket, with its led, positioned below the film eject window: this is representative of another big news. In fact, the Impossible I-1 has its own internal rechargeable battery and no longer depends on the inserted film and relative batteries and that’s why Impossible Project has also launched a new range of cartridge (I-type film) without battery inside (these films cannot be used with traditional Polaroid cameras, obviously).

The Bluethooth LED

Despite a few commands, the functions allowed and the levels of user interaction are really increased from old vintage cameras; The Impossible I-1 turns up thru the side knob which rotates to align the yellow lines present on the external ring and on the body side: Red led lights up when switched on close to the USB port and stays lit unless the battery needs charging (in which case, it would be flashing); for a few moments some of the leds will illuminate to show, according to their numbers, how many frames are still available in the cartridge, not being available the classic mechanichal frame counterof the old Polaroids.  Unfortunately, the fact that LEDs available are only eight portends that probably we will never see the cartridge with the classic 10 shots!

Once turned on the camera and opened the upper retractable viewfinder you’re ready to take the picture: you should probably get used to the Galilean Finder collimation, where to get the correct framing you must remember that the big circular spot screen printed on the lens back scope represents what  the central axis of the lens “sees”; the circular ring printed on the frontal lens is helpful when you use the special films “Round Frame”. The shutter command button is a double-level pressure button in which the first step halfway activates the autofocus and metering system while the full stroke triggers the shutter and consequentially ejects exposed film. The autofocus is a wreath of plastic lenses that go to modify the geometry of the optics according to five different focusing steps and its sensors are positioned in the lower part of the flash ring.

The manual mode screen

So far the classical operating cycle which, except for autofocus and flash, isn’t much different from that of classic Polaroid 600 cameras; but the Impossible I-1 is, as mentioned earlier, a modern camera with a range of modern features: by simply further rotate the main switch the camera will go into Bluethooth mode, indicated by a blue led in the flash ring. By now, you take control of the camera using an app (Ios and Android) that manages all functions and adds several shooting modes. The available functions are as follows:

Remote shutter: allows you to place where you want the camera, thanks to the standard tripod socket  on the bottom, and take shots via smartphone

Delayed shutter release: allows you to set a fshutter firing delay in 5, 10 or 20 seconds

Double exposure: inevitable, allows two shots before activating the film ejection

Noise control: a variant of remote shutter release in which you record with your smartphone sounds and decibel threshold that you want to use to activate the shot (for example, clapping). So, it’s a noise-controlled shutter activation

Light paint and color paint: these are long exposure shooting modes that allow you to use the led and the screen of your smartphone to create light effects

Manual mode: by far the most interesting and creative mode, which allows you to adjust aperture, shutter speeds, focusing distance, flash activation and number of multiple exposures, including meter reading

Align the point with the center of the viewfinder

It is clear that with these new features the Impossible I-1 brings a level of creativity and of operation unthinkable using the old Polaroid cameras: just a pity that all of this is available only via smartphones, going slightly against analog philosophy but it is equally true that the classical operation without smartphone retains the charm of the old point and shoot instant cameras while guaranteeing improvements in the accuracy of the images thanks to the autofocus system and the good flash system. Comparing the shots with those of an ordinary Polaroid 600 you’ll notice the greater accuracy of focus resulting in better definition, net of Impossible film defects (a new generation of films will arrive in a couple of months by the way).

Also, the exposure appears more accurate and it is generally centered for distances greater than 2 m, while in the short distance the camera tends to overexpose a little (resolves using the adjustment prong). The ring flash is useful up to about 3-5 meters away while lacking a power control that is effective on small distances where you may run into heavy risk of overexposure.

Another sore point is the battery, which is a far cry from 15 packs of film advertised and barely reaches the 16 images in case of use with a flash or thru Bluetooth. Finally, several users lament the poor ergonomics due to the viewfinder and position the shutter button, as well as the extreme sensitivity of the same: actually, once get used to cammnds position, the Impossible I-1 is handled quickly and accurately with one hand.

On this matter, it is advisable to consult the various videos on the Impossible youtube channel

Overexposure by flash at close range

Good sharpness and focus in 0.3 m

Good definition and exposure in the middle distance

TECHNICAL DATA

Model: automatic Flash camera

Format: Polaroid type 600 or compatible

Lens: 6 elements (five variables) plastic, 82-109 mm, f/8.6-60

Shutter: auto motor step,  30 ” to 1/250 sec, T

Exposure modes: automatic and manual (remote mode)

Viewfinder: Galilean with collimation index

Self-timer: remote mode, time delay up to 20 sec.

Flash: led ring (8 + 4)

Power supply: internal rechargeable lithium-ion battery, 500 mAh

Weight: 440 gr.

PRO

Autofocus

Wealth of features (remotely)

Tripod mount

Lightness

Design

AGAINST

Battery life

Shutter button sensitivity

Price

CONCLUSIONS

Despite the imperfections and defects which we said, Impossible I-1 is still a great camera especially for the large amount of creative possibilities that brings with it, many unheard of for those who used to date your old Polaroid 600 basic cameras. Unfortunately the price makes it a bit out of reach, especially when you consider that big expenses for films must be added to the 260-300 EUR you’ll spend fo the camera. The introduction of I-type films will reduce a bit the cost as well as some expected discount in camera value.

Fujifilm Instax Mini Monochrome

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Fujifilm continues to believe in Instax film format and definitely will be supported in this by a sales trend that is growing and is now reported to be a very substantial part of the turnover of the company. No wonder then that they periodically release new updates of Instax cameras line and that Instax films are very easy to find even in those stores that do not treat anymore analog materials; recently, though, a nice jolt was given to the Instax world community with three announcements in rapid succession:

  • The new Instax Mini Monochrome film release
  • A new square sized film with its camera, that Fuji will release in 2017
  • The release of the first instant camera from Leica, the Sofort, in conjunction with the new mini monochrome film

Available since few days, the Instax Mini Monochrome seems to be an initial response to all those who were complaining of the disappearance, after FP3000 commercial death, of any BW isntant film from the Japanes firm’s catalogue: sure, it’s not the same thing especially for the tiny size but if commercial success would be relevant it is not ruled out that Fujifilm has in mind further steps.

L protective paper shows Color film

The protective paper shows Color film

Meanwhile, it must be said that the new film comes with two different packs, a Fujifilm one and a Leica-branded (dedicated to the Sofort camera mentioned above); the packaging has been more restrained than color film box, as if to give an idea of greater professionalism, and does not exist at the time the double pack by 20 shots. Opening the box, though, we have a little surprise: the protective plastic wrapper is stetaing Instax color! Probably, given that currently only the first production batch is circulating, Fujifilm has not had time to prepare the proper envelope: never mind.

Technically there is not much to say: it is a monochrome integral instant film, with a sensitivity of ISO 800 (as the color sister emulsion); the frame size is 8.6 x 5.4 cm while the image is equal to 6.2 x 4.6 cm. Development time occurred during this first test is about a minute and is slightly longer than the Instax Mini color; the final image stabilization is reached in about three minutes.

It only remains to load a compatible camera and try it even if the current limitations of the available devices for the format makes it a bit haphazardly given the almost total absence of manual configurations; the photographs below were taken using a Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic so you have at least a partial exclusion of flash and exposure compensation as manual commands.

A backlight easy

A easy backlight

Strolling on a late autumn day with some ground fog and clouds in the sky you should find several interesting subjects to capture on black and white film but, this means coming up against the Instax cameras exposure issues as the camera tends to quickly burn the highlights: never mind, in theory we should be able to do some good backlight by finding the right subject! Black seems pretty dense, while the film captures some shade of gray in the sky (see image at right); the sharpness seems rather fade away a little: Fujifilm has not released any information about the film but we assume that resoution is not by any mean different from  the Mini color film; However, with the same camera and subject, the latter seems more defined though not by much.

Even the size of the image doesn’t help to better assess the ability of the film and the judgment therefore remains somwhow suspended.

Backlight with detail

Backlight with detail

Of course if you want to add a bit of detail, however not expecting wonders, it requires action on the exposure compensation (the famous L/D of Polaroid cameras) and increase it of at least one stop: picture begins to regain some shade even in high-contrast images. The highlights remain burned but the greys begin to emerge in the darker areas: the answer to overexposure, at least with current Instax cameras, is one of the factors to be studied in order to better manage the new Instax Mini Monochrome.

The image below shows side by side a normal exposure and one made with the command L + of Instax Mini 90: you can clearly see how the dynamic yield is significantly better when overexposing (although perhaps L + is too much in this case) leaving substantially unchanged the highlights and significantly increasing the detail in the shadows. Still, miracles do not stand to gain from such small images, and then, in our opinion, we should anyway be pleased with the flexibility shown; It is important to remember that the use and enjoyment of the Instax Mini Monochrome is hardly comparable to that of a normal black and white film and therefore expectations need to be recalibrated.

Standard display (left) and L + r

Standard exposure (left) and L +

These two other images, however, show the difference between a plain exposure shot and one made with overexposure set to L; overexposing makes image tones less homogeneous at the expense perhaps of some detail:

Standard exposure

Standard exposure

Exposure varied L

Exposure set to L

That said and learning to appreciate the format for what it is, we will be able to derive our satisfactions and working on the exposure limitations, maybe even to extract some small (it’s appropriate to say!) interesting work; the film-camera, however, eschews the classic photographs of “BW lover”:

Trees in the mist, a classic for the BN

Trees in the mist, a classic for the BW

Reflections, more classic

Reflections, more classic

I shoot with flash

Shot with flash

Net of environmental conditions in which we took this test, we can still make some considerations that apply to better understand the opportunities offered by this film:

  • The small size of the Instax Mini Monochrome does not allow us to fully assess the tonal ability and degree of detail
  • The limitations of available cameras probably won’t allow to extract the best from the film in terms of response to exposure
  • The film still tolerated the overexposure
  • Were not detected particular dominant (greenish) in pictures, as seen in other trials

If this new film will succeed, as you might expect, we can only hope two things by Fujifilm: introducing a camera with advanced features in terms of exposure and of controls (and perhaps even optical quality) and the possibility of having this emulsion also Instax Wide format which is definitely more satisfying and able to provide higher quality especially for shooting in black and white.

The Instax Mini single pack is on sale in 10 Monochrome pose at an average price of EUR 12.50 (online).

SGF Pink O’ Chrome

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Six Gates movies (SGF) is an all-Italian initiative aimed to recovery and remarketing of special and rare films which are bought in stock and resold wirewound on a new package created ad hoc; the offer is quite wide, ranging from color to black and white, positive and negative with some specialties like this Pink O’ Chrome: for purchases and to check availability, which are inevitably variables it is good to visit the SGF site or contact the Puntofoto shop in Milan.

The film we are dealing with here is one of the most unique and because of that can give surprising results: named Pink O’ Chrome, it’s a positive emulsion film dedicated to offset internegative duplication and hold a sensitivity of 12-15 ASA; on some presentation pages it is deemed to have the remjet layer while I did not find it while processing: if any, normal normal processing has however completely eliminated it without polluting the chemicals. In any case its particularity is to make pictures with a purplish or pinkish dominant (hence the name) with fairly unpredictable variations; If processed in C41 chemistry, it produces a constant and heavy blue cast and this is what has been done in this trial, which, given the nature and the circumstances, is just a report of an experience with the Pink O’ Chrome.

Shooting in bright sunlight

Shooting in bright sunlight

At the end of  the C41 processing  the negative has a distinct yellow coloration which suggests how strong dominant over the images would be: it is clear, then, that the film is not suitable for all types of shots but, when used properly, it can definitely have a very distinctive effect. The choice is really upon the photographer who must judge what are the right subjects to enhance the quality of this SGF Pink O’ Chrome. The photos shown were taken by exposing at the sensitivity of 15 ASA using a good resolving lens (Minolta Rokkor 58/1.2) and some of the images were then printed on RA4 paper.

Reduced sensitivity requires the use of very bright optics or tripod but, rewards the image definition and the virtual absence of grain; being still a reversal film, the exposure latitude is not the most extensive though it is not easy to measure the extension given the dominant: Let’s say that is felt a weakening of the dominant underexposing 1 stop, the same even if it does not lead to some to have a balanced colour image;  hues tend a bit to get lost as expected, and you find yourself with an image perfectly defined in detail (if the optics  permits) but almost monotonous.

vases

Shooting in shade 1 stop overexposed

Shooting with a bit more generous exposure and, above all, by taking less enlightened subjects, makes appear different colors although obviously heavily altered by blue mask: the yellow of the vase pictured at right is roughly, in natural colours, the same shooting yellow candle as in the previous picture in bright sunlight: this is an example that makes us understand how the response to significantly changes exposure condition will affect color rendition.

This is the element on which those who want to use this still interesting film should make some considerations, preparing themselves to a careful selection of subjects and lighting conditions in order to extract the best from Pink O’ Chrome and not to make the images repetitive and tiring, very easy thing when working with special films. Continuing in the considerations, sensitivity choice seems appropriate for what is the result described by the seller and the subsequent treatment to the development does not pose any problem: the scanner recognizes and digests the blue mask (as long as the software is not enabled for color correction) and plays effortlessly; as regard the RA4 print, starting from the basic filtering the mask produces far more tenuous tones, giving the impression of image blurring; working on the filtration to increase cyan, tones printing becomes “correct” (the last image of this brief description is a scan from print).

train

2 stop underexposed image, daylight

The image on the left serves to confirm what has already been said above concerning the underexposure: this is a 2 stop underexposure in daylight, required to capture a moving subject and you notice the phenomenon of masking attenuation, which does not however let emerge the true colors of the subject and makes the whole image undoubtedly less interesting. To this we must add also the predictable loss of detail in shaded areas which leads to the conclusion that the maximum the film may be overexposed to a single stop without impacting heavily on the yield.

However, the Pink O’ Chrome shows its definite character and certainly in the hands of creative photographers it can lead to achieve great impact pictures although, as mentioned at the beginning, the choice of subject is key to exploit it to the maximum; exposed at 15 ASA is well balanced (the blue, of course) and with a repetitive behavior with regard to variations in exposure that schedules with accurate shooting. Probably the same considerations apply if the film were to be dealt with in E6 but dominated blue that returns when processed in C41 makes it unique, while there are also other films with dominating purple.

1 stop underexposure, subdued light

1 stop underexposure, subdued light

1 stop overexposed, daylight

1 stop overexposed, daylight

Printing scan

Printing scan

A trip through time

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The magic of found films lies in the ability to see first what others people, often long before,  saw themselves and wanted to capture on film while preserving memories often lost for a long time; it is the case in this series of negatives, which tell the unfortunately incomplete story of a holiday trip made by an English family (estimate according to the provenance of the negatives) in Northern France in 1921 (the year was clearly shown). Here in addition to the classic pleasure of rediscovering forgotten memories there was also that of reconstruct as much as possible the itinerary of the trip, recognizing places seen in person and browsing between sites and online maps to locate those as close as possible.

The beginning (or end?) of the trip. St. Servan.

The beginning (or end?) of the trip. St. Servan.

The satisfaction was such that raised in myself the idea of making a trip in Northern France that follows these stages, redeeming where possible the same images from the same shooting point  (obviously using the same format 6 x 4 .5 mm), documenting how 100 years practically changed the things.

Ultimately, a trip through time.

Another important consideration arose from this experience: it is about storing media and thus of historical memories recorded on them; we all know that the negatives are considered very long life and stability media when stored appropriately, with an expected duration certainly superior to any digital or optical support currently available. However, this applies to newer media (where newer means produced in the last 70 years at least!), while older ones, especially those made by cellulose nitrate, are intended for a purpose that is to become finally in an unremarkable brownish powder. Already now negative of this kind, unless kept in a professional manner (museums), have a significant degree of deterioration of the image which, moreover, is irreversible. Without forgetting the inherent danger of this media type, highly flammable. 

The invitation to guard and preserve personal and collective memories is then now stronger than ever, even through the passion for found films and their recovery, because it will always be possible to do a day trip through time!

Finally, here are some of the images chosen between the recovered ones, while a more complete collection of shots with included some references to places as they are currently can be found in this Flickr Album.

67-Noun and tourists in Mont St Michel68-St Wandrille Abbey
65-Mont St Michel55-baby in front of Caudebec church
22-In in Landerneau38-St Anne Auray Sancta Scale
12-Dinan old bridge14-Dinard beach

In addition to typical  vacation places in Northern Franc, the unknown tourists have also captured some typical events of Breton culture, the most interesting is the Festival des filets blues , an event taking place even today; among other things, these shots were allowed to circumscribe the August 1921 the year when images where shot.

The procession of filets bleu

The procession of filets bleu

The Queen of 1921

The Queen of 1921

PRECEDENTE TO BE CONTINUED….

Found films-part II

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A new roundup of found films …

Found film # 3: Kodachrome 135

# 1 Bryce CanyonThis is not properly a found film because the box was found with slides that were already been processed and framed but, these slides allows you to understand at least part of the reason for the veneration that many photographers have had for decades to Kodachrome. The box has the postage stamp of the laboratory which dates back to 1951 and cardboard frames seem to match those of the era. This is a series of pictures of a trip to Bryce Canyon and Vancouver, as well as in the Arizona desert with its typical missions.

Arizona MissionJust a picture of a mission here on the left shows the large capacity (matched of course to photographer’s ability) in being able to retain detail even in complex situations like these: the Sun in front would put in crisis more than a film and also a lot of sensors, but Kodachrome has perfectly represented what was the natural vision. The images are perfectly preserved and vision through projector allows you to appreciate the beautiful and natural color rendition, enhanced by some of the subjects.

The images, as mentioned, are essentially related to a multi-day excursion, nothing particularly interesting if not for those taken and been taken!

Arizona Mission # 2Vancouver Skyline
# 1 Bryce CanyonSequoia National Park

Found film # 4: Kodak Vericolor 120

Found vericolor # 3I found the partially exposed roll inside a Ferrania Eura with obvious signs of mold abandoned on a stand of a country market. Having already several Eura I was quite dubious about buying but that number “8” sticking up from the frame counter window had a recall too strong! The curious thing is that I took the four missing poses and once removed the roll … the shutter of the Eura stopped working! Obviously, its only purpose was to finish this roll before dying. This is a Kodak Vericolor II, film with 100 ISO emulsion (but there were also other sensitivity emulsions marketed with the same name) fairly widespread in the ’70s and produced up to nearly ’90s; this image seem to postpone the roll end of the 70s.

Found vericolor # 2

Being a film to be processed in C41 chemistry it has not presented any difficulties though, for safety and fearing a possible weakening of the emulsion, I treated all at 25° C with a presoak of four minutes with increasing temperature from 20° C to get to the process temperature just before starting. The correctly exposed images at the end were only four and three depict the same subject while the last you see a familiar group during a kind of picnic.

The image on the right has suffered probably some haze as can be seen from the magenta streaks that are evident even on the negative. It should be noted also that the photos taken by me after retrieving the roll have presented surprisingly no difference in quality compared to the pre-existing and that’s a sign that the film has retained its sensitivity and was able to well preserve the latent image.

Found vericolor # 4Found vericolor # 1

Found film # 5: Perutz BW 120

Find images # 14-Brescia Mille Miglia 1953 publicoThis roll comes from a Zeiss Ikonta in 6×4,5 format, a quite widespread camera among hikers in the 50s and 60s due to its quality and robustness combined with reduced dimensions. The roll was wrapped very tight and the time above (1953) resembled a heavy risk of fogging; with a thin strip cut from head I have rated the best time with Xtol stock then resulted in 7 and a half minutes at 18° C: the lower emperature allowed, apparently, the elimination of any fogging and images were of excellent quality, despite nearly 60 years awaiting processing. Pictures confirm the small journey vocation of the Ikonta and contain some shots (one above and below), relating to the truly evocative Mille Miglia 1953 Edition (or 1952, I’m still looking for the certainty).
Find images # 13-Brescia Mille Miglia 1953 Punching

On the area should also be the image of post flood works: at the time of the supposed shot the only news of flooding in the vicinity of Brescia is relative to the village of Marone, in 1953: some clues, so agree!

Returning for a moment to technical matters, Perutz film behaved admirably, retaining images without apparent loss of quality after more than half a century. All images presented here were printed with condensed head without any difficulty and showed an astounding tonal range.

Find images # 6-1953 Marone after the flood

Among the excursions of the photographer there is also a rugby match  viewed from the sidelines just behind the protective mesh: from t-shirts seems to be a challenge between teams of Brescia and Milan:

Find images # 9-1953 Rugby Brescia Vs. MilanFind images # 11-1953 Brescia Vs Milan Rugby Scrum

But the images certainly more interesting, to me at least, are those related to a mountain climbing with rope and two images of snow-capped peak:

Find images # 4-String Double Bass to the Bell TowerFind images # 5-String Double Bass to the Bell Tower II
# 1-CordataFind images # 2-In view of the goal

The remaining images are not trivial, with a couple of night and Interior views, the fourth image is Mirabella Tower of Brescia:

1952-Brescia NightFind images # 12-1953 Rodengo Saiano, pozzo sacristy
Scan-0007-church interior 110422 rodengoFind images # 10-Brescia 1953 Mirabella Tower

But it is the last image most interesting of all, a real gang of boys of the 50 ‘s, complete with sunglasses and Vespa (or Lambretta …):

Find images # 3-Gang of ' 50s


PREVIOUS   CONTINUE

Maco Eagle TCS

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With this article we inaugurate a series of proof of use of films designed for video surveillance, trying to assess the main characteristics and applicability for use in the field of photography. The first review is dedicated to Maco Eagle TCS, a color negative film purposed to monitoring traffic infringements; But why choose a film of this type to take normal pictures?

If we consult the manufacturer’s fact sheets we discover that some of the key features of this kind of film are actually quite palatable even for the amateur photographer:

  • high exposure latitude
  • correct balance in either artificial and ambient light
  • next to infrared sensitivity
  • wide tonal range
  • high resolution
  • enhanced scratch resistance

Clearly quality such these can only be of good interest and so the answer to the question is done.

The Maco Eagle TCS is available exclusively in 35 mm format and is sold directly by the manufacturer (at Macodirect site) in bulk reels  8.5 or 30.5 meters; in Italy you can find this also in 135/20 canisters marketed by Six Gates Film and branded Senna 640. It is a color emulsion with nominal sensitivity between 400 and 800 ASA destined to be processed in C41 chemistry; for this test a Voigtlander Bessa R has been used in both external and internal, considering the surrender with daylight or tungsten and setting the sensitivity to the mean value of 640 ASA. The film was then developed with C41 kit Rollei Colorchem, before proceeding to scans and to optically print a few frames in RA4.

One of the features mentioned in the datasheet, i.e. strengthened support, you will immediately notice just extracting film from the magazine: the negative strip turns out to be stronger than usual and you have the perception of even a greater thickness; the whole is then confirmed by increased resistance which opposes at the time of the tail cut. Once processed instead, we are faced with a decidedly dark support due to a very heavy mask, which is also found in other films of the same purpose.

640 ASA daylight

640 ASA daylight

The first thing that you notice immediately going to see developed frames is colour fidelity, which might also be unexpected given the normal intended use: in outdoor shots the Maco Eagle TCS behaves well and the image on the right was printed in RA4 without any trouble but a small filter correction. 640 ASA exposure seems to guarantee an optimally balanced emulsion as partially (although not directly) confirmed by a careful reading of the datasheet. This is true at least in shooting outdoors and with sufficient light: in these conditions, even the grain remains at quite low content and the film is able to solve even complex textures and details (see the radiator grill on the side).

In this case you can therefore count on a film that will ensure the use of small apertures enough to benefit of quicker speed in action photography (on the other hand, it is also the purpose for which it is manufactured …).

800 ASA daylight

1600 ASA daylight

Underexposure to ASA 1600 in daylight does not produce appreciable variations in colour rendition and neither a significant increase of grain, returning an image substantially usable as that shown at nominal sensitivity; you notice a slight desaturation of color but still within levels that can be easily corrected in printing process.

When available light decreases, however, the behavior of the Maco Eagle TCS tends to become less precise with a slight increase of grain especially in the darker areas: the effect is noticeable when you enlarge the negative but also a scanner output (for which the film is theoretically optimized) shows this behavior.

640 ASA subdued light

640 ASA subdued light

640 ASA evening light

640 ASA evening light

The problem of course is especially visible in images with large uniform areas, and even if there are bluish colours but it is still tolerable if you consider that you are using the film outside of its traditional area; in low light conditions in any case, is not comparable to what can be produced with an emulsion such as Kodak Portra 800 but it is also less accurate than a consumer film like Lomography CN 800 recently tested. In the case of frames rich in details everything is toned down and enlargements up to around 18 x 24 do not have any evidence.

ASA 320 with daylight

ASA 320 with daylight

If overexposed it tends to saturate the lighter colours and increase the contrast and consequently the perception of grain. The overexposure is not the reason you might choose such genre of film since the nowadays available emulsions behave much better in every respect to low average sensitivity and the market is fortunately quite wide.

640 ASA artificial light

640 ASA artificial light

Concerning the white balance in artificial light, the behavior is not exactly what is described by the manufacturer but it is true that the dominant are more attenuated than those you usually get with a normal daylight color negative (the photograph on the right did not suffer any correction or filtration): this can be useful if you practice urban night photography where greater colour fidelity even with artificial light sources represents a decent benefit.

Remaining within the long exposure photography, the manufacturer declares that the known defect arises not reciprocity for exposure times of 1/10,000 sec and 1 sec, but does not mention any exposure changes make for a longer time; from tests performed, up to 3 sec exposure there isn’t any appreciable alteration in graininess or color rendering and this suggests that the correction factor is less than 1 stop until a shutter speed of at least 5 seconds, the value in line with the behavior of various still photography C41 emulsions.

800 ASA subdued light

320 ASA subdued light

800 ASA subdued light

800 ASA subdued light

A factor to consider is the preservation of film: Maco declares that the emulsion should be stored at a temperature of 8 degrees and performance characteristics remain unchanged for two years from production; a different conservation could, therefore, alter the film’s response to different exposure conditions. Film used for this rapid tests were kept according to instructions before and after exposure for which the results should reflect quite faithfully the actual quality of the film.

ASA 320 with daylight

1200 ASA daylight

640 ASA daylight

640 ASA daylight

Found films

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One of the most pleasant surprises that you may have when buying a used camera is to find inside a film exposed but not developed; Obviously, the more the camera was aged more the thing becomes interesting. My passion for the films was created initially by browsing this site which lists hundreds of photos literally recovered from oblivion.

Over time I have come across several times in films and tried to establish a development method that could guarantee reliable results in every situation; generally, at least as far as black and white, if something on film was impressed, after developing the photo, if deteriorated, will prove to be.

Depending on the age you can find black and white emulsions is no longer produced (e.g., FP3, HP3, HP4, Adox, etc) or color film that were developed with processes that are no longer available (C22, E4, over at Kodachrome); If the disused emulsions you can determine in which growth charts we can find also products detectors (for example and especially the Rodinal), for proceedings discontinued color things get complicated. There are labs that develop still using older processes, such as Process C-22 in UK, but they do obviously dearly (GBP 20 per film); the alternative is to come home and try to get at least the image black and white.

C22 color process

C22 was the color film development process in use before the current C41 formulation; this is a standard procedure that needed tight control of temperature (even more now!) and included ten steps before getting the final negative. Chemicals are no longer marketed, although it can still sometimes possible spot a powder kit (I have one, but not want to open it). The best way to go, in this case, is to try to develop the black-and-white image while managing to limit the intrusiveness of the color mask; it is important to remember that these films are not compatible with any of C41 chemicals. The first C22 film that I found myself has been developed in Diafine, getting all the pictures in BW but with very strong color mask (red); I thought then to remove it by using the bleaching chemical of C41 kit and the end result was emulsion gone and completely transparent negative plus bleaching bath sent to trash! The incompatibility is, it turns out, fairly well known and leads to detachment of the emulsion from the support, or rather the removal of silver. But with a second attempt using the fixing of C41 separated from bleaching, instead, I verified that the result you get.

Options I have undertaken to develop these negatives are two:

  • Stand development (1 hour at 1 + 100) in Rodinal, at room temperature 24° C
  • BW process with ID-11 stock between 9 and 11 minutes at 20° C

Both options allow you to reduce the intrusiveness of the mask and create negatives usable at least for scanning purposes. Processing film with Rodinal  produces a negative that you can manage to bring on paper but the image looks flatter than developing with ID-11. Potentially, however, any BW developer produces an image and I intend to try it soon even for developments with XTol stock.

E4 process reversal films

These are difficult customers, primarily due to the incompatibility with the modern E6 process; these films are not very common to find certainly less than all other type of film listed here but, if it happens, you need to be prepared and decide what you want to do. Discarded the idea of proceeding with the E6 the experiences I collected around about this are development in Rodinal 1 + 100 stand, Caffenol proceedings or cross-process with C41 chemicals. Personally, I’ll stop here for now pending further experiences.

Known and unknown BW films

If the found film is known brand and version, although decommissioned, we’re at a good point: it will be relatively easy find the right matching with the best developer. The films that are most commonly found are Agfapan APX, older Ilford emulsions (FP3, HP4 and Selochrome) and some Adox.

As already mentioned in my approach I try to standardize as much as possible and work only with Xtol stock; considering the history of the old Ilford emulsions and taking in account examples I’ve found even with different developers, I started from the following times:

  • for the FP3 and FP4: 6.5 minutes
  • for HP3 and HP4: 7.5 minutes

An extended 10% of the processing time if the film just seAPX Slabems old gives results that I can basically assess correct, for what one might consider when it comes to films from dubious conservation and age.

For any other film, including those not known up to now I follow this procedure: If I know the ISO/ASA film speed, starting from the time on the coupled Xtol stock/ Agfapan APX closest or equal sensitivity, I stretch the time about 10-15% for each alleged Decade of age except the first. This method also has provided consistent results until now.

Problems related to the film size

The films which are most commonly found are obviously 135 and 120 format but it is not difficult to find even formats such as the 110, 126, 127 and 620. Generally, I found that the 135 and 110 are those that suffer less age, although after a period on the 110 film grain gets really annoying. For others formats the biggest drawback is the backing paper which tends to adhere to the emulsion or support and literally pull pieces from them (typical in FP4) and to leave symbols and numbers stamped on the negative. There isn’t too much to do in these cases, if you do not accept the result as it stands.

This article has to be considered that is constantly evolving with the addition of images from my found films.


Found film # 1: Adox 620 format

I found this film exposed and without seal on a stand; from afar I had noticed the620 film pink protective paper typical of the Adox and 50 ‘s, as I was looking for to restore a 620 box camera I did not hesitate to take it (I finally had free but only because I purchased more from same vendor). I had no particular hopes for the film that was not sealed though it then jumped out of his cardboard box (expiry date 1952) and in fact, after processing I found only one photo, though really beautiful to me. You can see how the paper adhered and snatched away the emulsion in the upper part of the image but, fortunately, did not leave anything on the most interesting part of the image. Adox film 30EN2 developed for 12 minutes in Xtol stock at 20° C.


Found film # 2: Kodacolor color 110

with 110 # 3

with 110 # 2col # 1 110

I would add that the images of people are shown also in the hope that someone will recognize and can give information about their history or to request a copy. These images come from a 110 cartridge 70 ‘s-early 80 ‘s, developed in C41 without any special care.

CONTINUE

Landscapes, interiors and some nudes

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 Todd Hildo

Title

Landscapes, interiors and some nudes

Author

Todd Hido

Editions

Aperture

Year

2014

Format

19 x 25 cm

Pages

128

Price

25.90 EUR

Cover

 Plastic colors

ISBN

101597112976

This review is based on the Italian edition of the book, which is substantially just a translation of the content.

A book full of pictures, decidedly preponderant than the text, which is part of a necklace designed by Aperture Foundation whose purpose is to reproduce in a volume the main elements of workshops held by the big names of photography and focused on the creative aspect of the process photographer; the series is published in Italy by Postcart and worldwide in english language by Aperture and this volume is currently the third in the series.

In this book, Todd Hido, known to many for his “collaboration” with writer Raymon Carver, explores the three themes of the title object through instructional path made of numerous pictures interspersed its considerations on the creative process of the individual images and even and complete works series; the starting point is always his personal experience from which Hido extracts the recommendations and points that may be considered essential and universal for any photographer interested in improving awareness of own Visual path. The photographs are always relevant proposals and text explanatory (seems unnecessary to say this, but this is not always the case) and serve as a true medium for exploration and study revealing themselves as the real core of the book; in fact, this volume is also valid for deepening the production of Hido at least the part connected to the three themes: landscapes, interiors and nudes.

Points of great interest are those related to color management and its ability to vary the emotional perception of the image, a well illustrated tips from interior and exterior photographs (some also recognizes the type of film used) which is the lead player then in  photographic practice; in the color photography field Todd Hido is a master and allows reader to understand the impact of exposure choices that can be applied, an impact that is equal or even superior to that of composition: this is a lesson that the book shows very well. Similarly, much attention is focused on the exploitation of available light, whether natural or artificial, in particular in the nude portrait photo to emphasize the composition and to establish with certainty the emotional message that photography will delay the observer.

The volume structure as a workshop is ultimately very well chosen because you can convey the message of the teacher effectively without ever tiring the reader-student with long written passages that would make everything too theoretical. From the graphic point of view, the volume is beautifully maintained and the paper used allows the photographs to make the best putting in evidence all shades (essential for the understanding of the text) without straining the eyes of those who maybe decide to devour the book in one session; this is not recommended as the way to get as much profit as possible from this book is to savour it slowly investigating over and over photos and comparing them with each other.

It is, in conclusion, a book definitely recommended to a wide audience with an eye for those who practice and wants to improve their color photograph (even and especially on film).

Lomo ‘Instant Wide

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At the time of the presentation of the original Lomo ‘Instant we expressed the desire to see the same camera also for Instax Wide film and now it seems that it has granted! Lomography is presenting today its new Instant Lomo ‘Instant Wide, a revised and enlarged version of the previous model (which is still in production) that seeks to expand flexibility, indeed quite limited, of original Fujifilm cameras family for Wide format.

Instant Lomo ' Wide Portobello Road

Lomo ‘Instant  Wide Portobello Road

Available now for pre-order with expected delivery in December 2015, it is released in four different versions that differ in external finish: besides the classic black or white plastic, there are the Portobello Road model (green, blue and cream) and the Central Park (with a quite elegant at first glance brown finish). The first cameras available for delivery will be white or black.

Coming to the main features, as mentioned the new Lomo ‘Instant Wide introduces, as already did by the sister in the small format, a series of tools  that are not usual for the Instax system cameras; the operation is automatic exposure but with a good range of available shutter speeds (from 1/500 sec. to 8 sec) in addition to the always useful B mode. Possible user interventions include exposure compensation (EV +1/ -1) and even the expected multi-exposures mode.

Flash synchro socket

Flash synchro socket

The camera has a built-in flash with a guide number of 13, automatic functioning but can be disabled; also, and this is another interesting news, thereis a synchro socket for connecting an external flash. The lens does not differ greatly from what until today and has a focal length of 90 mm with a maximum aperture of f/8 and a further step to f/22; the minimum focusing distance is 0.50 m, which already allows you to perform rather close shots.

More flexibility, the Lomo ‘ Instant Wide is also equipped with some optical extension filters: a lens for close-up bringing the minimum focusing distance to 10 cm, an additional ultra-wide angle (which is not known the multiplying factor) and a dedicated version of Lomography Splitzer.

Wide angle

Wide angle

Spiltzer

Splitzer

Close-up

Close-up

As said at the time the camera is on pre-order at the Lomography Shop and the production planning of each model will be organized chronologically starting in December and based on pre-orders; Initially, the camera will be distributed in a bundle along with a special set of colored gel filters and a dedicated belt. More info in the dedicated microsite.

Optics

Belair X 6-12

Featured

Since the first announcement of this camera Lomography provoked many discussions and a general sense of anticipation for a product that was presented as a real crack: compact folding, auto exposure, and interchangeable lenses three different frame sizes on medium format film, including the rare (and usually expensive) 6×12. These were  the awesome credentials that accompanied the first Belair X 6-12 shipped to the end of 2012; Unfortunately, judging by the reactions of the users most of the expectations were unfulfilled and Lomography is partially running for cover with a special version or with the introduction of new accessories.

La confezione curata ma meno colorata rispetto allo stile Lomography

The Lomography style package, less coloured than usual

In any case the camera has encountered and continue to have a good success and is marketed in two versions (except release that come and go as the “Globetrotter” or the “Trailblazer”) which are the “City Slicker” completely in black plastic, and the “Jetsetter” clad in aluminum and imitation leather and object of this test: Other than these differences, the two cameras are identical.

The kit for sale includes the camera, the three plastic masks to be fitted inside to select the size of the frame, two lenses with their external viewfinders to beinstalled in the sled on the casing top. Lenses are also made by plastic, with focal lengths of 58mm and 90mm both with a maximum aperture of f / 8; vocation is therefore quite wide, especially for 6×9 and 6×12 formats.

Il contenuto della confezione

The content of the package

HOW IT WORKS

The Belair X 6-12 shape resembles the classic folding 6×9 format of the ’30s – ’50s with some stylistic solutions that refer instead to the Polaroid bellows cameras. It is a camera with fully automatic operation where the electronic shutter is controlled by a light meter in average reading very similar (even here) in what was the electonic eye of the old Polaroid Land; it can also be considered like an aperture priority camera as a pin placed inside the body of the lens “transmits” the chosen (between the available two) aperture to the camera. The rubber bellows is extended by pressing the release button located on the back, while the shutter, the exposure with circuitry, battery housing  and the shutter button are all positioned on the front plate. This is portrayed by the closing of the camera by using two buttons on the arms metal latches to support the bellows, yet reminiscent of Polaroid bellows cameras in the 60s.

The bayonet mount is pretty simple and named “Attack 3”: lenses are inserted easily by aligning the screen-printed guides and operating a rotation of a few degrees; each lens has its own external viewfinder to be mounted on top of the camera: these are plastic made and not particularly accurate, with some difficult reading of the internal frames for different picture formats.

Il carter superiore

Top view of Belair X 6-12

The top cover is pretty neat, presenting only the hot shoe for the flash plug-in, the film winding pawl and, at the center, a second slide which is grafted on external viewfinders dedicated to each lens attached.

On the bottom side of the camera are positioned only the aforementioned opening button and the threaded mount for a tripod.

La mascherina installata nella camera pellicola

Framing mask installed

The first thing to do before you even load the film, is to choose the format in which you will start the roll: the Belair X 6-12, as mentioned, allows you to select three different formats; to do this, just install the selected plastic mask in the film chamber using the appropriate joints. Masks appear quite solid, as well as their positioning is quite accurate. The back detaches completely from the camera body via two buttons placed in the body lower corners; Once loaded the film, you will advance to the first frame using the classical red window counter as a guide which is housed on the back of the camera; this is equipped with a switch to correctly read the numbers for the different formats: one position is dedicated to the 6×9 format while the other is used for the 6×6 and 6×12, using the latter you must remember to advance the film using only even numbers (the format is double size the 6×6). A nice note is the easy loading and the fact rolls stand still in place, the best found so far on medium format cameras from Lomography.

The removable back

Frame count red window

The last step before beginning to shot is the selection of film sensitivity which is done by turning a wheel on the back of the front plate in a position actually quite uncomfortable; the same selector, which allows you to set values ​​from ISO 50 to 1600, also serves to set the Bulb mode.

Il selettore ISO e posa B

Sensitivity and B mode selector

Unfortunately the main flaws of this camera emerge when starting to use it, beginning with the low quality  viewfinders in which it is not easy to properly display the frame limits for 6×6 and 6×9, and ending with the little definition of the plastic lenses. In particular, we found numerous complaints about 58mm for which there are often reported problems with infinity focus: This problem seems to afflict randomly specimens and maybe a fault in both bellows extension and lens manufacturing.

Lomography ran for cover to avoid this problem by introducing two glass lenses with focal length of 90mm and 114mm that can be purchased separately; this remedy, however, in addition to lead to a considerable additional expense does not take into account the fact that one of the main attractions of Belair was just the possibility of using the wide-angle 58mm with size 6×12 to make panoramic photos.

Another limitations of which you realize pretty quickly is the minimum time of only 1/125 sec which is also the only time available in the absence of batteries;  together with the two only available apertures (confirmed in glass lenses too) this limits the range of potential exposurevalues, unless acting on the sensitivity of the film. Lack of a connection for remote shooting and the inability to lock the shutter button restrict the use of B mode and make long exposures more susceptible to camera shake.

Il kit Jetsetter in vendita a 299 Euro

Jetsetter kit priced 299 Euro

That said, the camera is simple to use and the first rolls can easily lead to bitter disappointment but, once you have understood the many limitations the ability to work around them can help to produce images of discrete quality (possibly with the glass lens!) tespecially using the unusual 6×12 format, while for the 6×6 and 6×9 at the moment we believe that any vintage folding camera is capable of better results. The most interesting results are obtained in photographs taken at intermediate distance (between 1.5 and 3 m) with 90mm lens and f/16 aperture; the exposure, given its simplicity, it may sometimes be deceived in situations of mixed light but the exposure latitude of modern films neutralizes this problem in most cases. Regarding the film, the Belair X 6-12 seems more suitable for color films of average sensitivity.

To remember, finally, how various accessories are available to expand the capabilities, particularly the  35mm and Instax wide backs.

There remain, however, the unfulfilled promises of which we spoke at the beginning.

TECHNICAL DATA

Model: Folding interchangeable lens

Format: variable masks with 6×6, 6×9 and 6×12 on 120 film.

Lens Mount : Attack “3”

Shutter: electronic programmed speed from 4 sec to 1/125 sec, bulb

Exposure modes: Automatic with presets, bulb

Sensitivity ISO: manually adjustable from 50 to 1600 meter EV4-EV15

Viewfinder: Galilean with optical frames format.

Timer: no.

Flash: hot shoe socket.

Multiple Exposures: Yes, unlimited.

Power: 2 LR44 or similar

Weight: 500 grams without battery (450 grams for the City Slicker).

PROS:

Design.

Lightness.

Multiple sizes.

B mode.

Availability of accessories.

CONS:

Quality of standard lenses.

No self-timer.

No remote shutter release socket.

Limited zone ocus.

Infinity focus issues.

Price.

AVAILABILITY ‘AND PRICES

As always the price of Lomography products is susceptible to heated discussions in which all parties have reasons that can be considered valid; In this case, the selling price on the Lomography store is net of any promotions of Euro 299 for the kit and 199 for each of the two glass lenses. Easy objection is that a practically complete set comes to 700 euros, meaning the price at which you can buy a Fujifilm 6×9 (GW690 or similar) or a kit Mamiya RB67 or more than one dual-format folding rangefinder cameras such as Zeiss Ikonta. With some improvements in the basic kit, however, would redeem the product immediately more attractive. The situation is different if one obtains on the secondhand market where a better price makes the purchase interesting perspective.

The Kodak Roll Holders

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The roll holder were introduced by Kodak since 1886 and placed in 1898 as retro-fitting operation to try to ensure buyers of cameras produced by the company in previous years the opportunity to work with the new films in roll; from Kodak catalogue (1886), the system could be applied to any camera to replace the original glass film holder or portalastra.

The Kodak roll holders contain negative material wound on spool can guarantee a rRoll_holder_mechanism_in_first_Kodak_cameraange up to 24 poses and were produced in several versions to accommodate the large number of cameras (and image formats) in use at the time.

The containment structure was made of mahogany and contained within it the voltage adjustment mechanisms (2 positions), advancement, frantura, as well as automatic spools and removable which contained spirals/o the negative material. A particular type of sensitive material that was used in the early days was the paper negative, which needed a final treatment, after the classic, transparent development through the application of "Translucine".

The first series of roll holder, without visible progress indicator, was manufactured in the following sizes:

  • 4 x 5
  • 4 1/2 x 7 1/2
  • 5 x 7
  • 5 x 8
  • 6 1/2 x 8 1/2
  • 8 x 10

Prices ranged from 12 to 24 USD depending on size; the second series, in addition to having a visible indicator of progress, was produced in a much greater number of formats:

  • 3 1/4 x 4 1/4
  • 4 x 5
  • 4 3/4 x 6 1/2
  • 4 1/2 x 7 1/2
  • 5 x 7
  • 5 x 7 1/2
  • 5 x 8
  • 6 1/2 x 8 1/2
  • 8 x 10
  • 10 x 12
  • 11 x 14
  • 14 x 17
  • 16 x 20
  • 18 x 22
  • 20 x 24
  • 25 x 30

In this case, the price range ranged from 12 to 85 USD, with all models larger than 11 x 14 that were produced only on request.

Over the years, with the introduction of new sensitive materials and new configurations by kodak, the Roll Holders have retained their function and guaranteed to operate cameras once discarded their original formats.

In particular, since 1898, kodak introduced some new formats in negative film roll were also widely used to upload the film holders, specifically:

  • 106 format: 3 1/2 x 3 1/2
  • 107 and 108 size: 3 1/4 x 4 1/4
  • 109 and 110 format: 4 x 5
  • Size: 111 3/4 4 x 6 1/2
  • 112 format: 5 x 7
  • 113 and 114 size: 4 3/4 x 3 1/2

The negative paper or film were designed and sold to be inserted with ease inside the holders (in this regard were also sold fuses replacement receivers in order to increase the autonomy) and ensured 24 poses for all sizes up to 11 x 14 or 12 poses for higher sizes. Single roll prices ranged from 0.75 to 20 USD and could be supplied, on request, rollers that can hold up to 36 or 48 poses. In fact, an extremely flexible system.

Use the roll holder now

Exist and are still operating several cameras ready for origin or after their purchase to use the roll holders; the mechanisms of the second or subsequent version, which contained several brass inserts and/or iron, are certainly more resilient than wood of the earliest versions, in particular as regards the regularity and constancy of the advances and the correct count of the poses. For smaller sizes is not particularly challenging the rehabilitation using 120 roll film, even if the image format is obviously larger than the whole width of the roll.

Lomography CN800

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The CN800 in tri-pack 120 format

The CN800 in tri-pack  format 120

Lomography CN800 is the kind of film for which most of the available shots are performed with toycameras (made by the same Lomography and not), thus not easy to get a precise idea of qualities and defects and perhaps highlighting especially the latter; It is therefore worth some testing with a more powerful and precise system to see how far you can go with a film of this type in terms of image quality and reliability. This is useful also given the current shortage of high-sensitivity color films: from the consumer side remains some Fujifilm Superia 1600 (800 Xtra are rather rare), while the few professional films like Kodak Portra 800 remained often reach unjustifiable price; It remains possible to underexpose, with good results, 400 Asa but, why not see how an alleged 800 native film Asa works? Sure it’s not super cheap being generally offered in three-pack films with a unit price of almost 5 euro for 135/36 canister and  euro 5.60 per 120 roll (However, taking advantage of the periodic promotions you can get them at lower prices).

Here we deal with the 120 format version, which is produced in China, while 135 version is credited with being a rebranding of any emulsion “Made in U.S.A”. (Kodak?); about who produces the film there are no certainties, but until recently in the Chinese territory only the Lucky manufactures was equipped for such type of production; probably these films come from there, maybe produced exclusively for Lomography.

Lomography CN800 taken with Holga

For this test (as always, leave scientific comparisons to scientists!)  a Mamiya RB67 camera has been used so that we can take advantage of a high quality and optical precision and be able to assess what actually the film can give. As mentioned, these films are a boon for toy cameras that have high sensitivity, but all chromatic aberrations introduced by plastic lenses inevitably distort any assessment on actual yield. See the shot, taken with a Holga camera and developed under the same conditions as below ones. Three rolls were used to evaluate the behavior even in the over and under exposure though the exposure latitude of the color negative of this type usually does not change when push/pull by 1 or 2 stops, especially in overexposure. The rolls were developed all with the same batch of C41 chemistry and a RA4 print was made from one of the frames exposed at box sensitivity.

The fate of 90% of the negative color is to be scanned and then possibly be printed on inkjet or similar, but a RA4 print still allows you to get a more accurate idea of the actual yield, net operable corrections in post production (also, however, here scans are taken as-is from RAW files).

Shot at 800 Asa

Shot at 800 Asa

For a first look at the negatives it is obvious that by using good optics the fidelity and accuracy are good, much better than the supposed target of Lomography CN800 would let think; in a shooting situation in daylight you can count on a faithful rendering worth of more rated films.

The detail at 100% is perhaps the most critical point with respect to a professional film and here the difference is also perceived in terms of apparent greater granularity; the grain increases when exposed to 400 Asa (much compared to a native such as Portra) while remaining basically at the same level to 800 and 1600 Asa. We are still the norm and a prints up to 24 x 30 should not be affected much. Certainly, for a common use as photo-passionate, does not represent absolutely no problem.

The result in overexposure is obviously a greater color saturation, but not to make unrealistic the shooting scene; overexposure has not particularly sense, having availability of far better films Asa 400 natives and of equal price level (Kodak Portra 400); when underexposing at 1600 Asa colors hold still in a rather faithful even if you feel a slight blurring, especially in medium-sized and grain, as mentioned, remains unchanged compared to a normal exposure

Shot at 400 Asa

Shot at 400 Asa

Shot at 1600 Asa

Shot at 1600 Asa

Click to 3200 Asa

Click to 3200 Asa

Climbing further by one stop, it continues the effect on colors (not on blacks) and also grain increases  but the result is still acceptable: If you develop by yourself, changing the developer time you would be able to compensate for the variation and to limit negative effects to almost indistinguishable tresults from a box exposed film. Though most shooting conditions in which we are involved, instead, will have enough sensitivity at 1600 Asa, no intervention in development will need to get a result substantially correct.

You can then say that the Lomography CN800 can give better results than you expect, especially if used with good equipments and exposed and processed correctly: this is definitely a good news for those who hunger for high-sensitivity color films and sees the choice now reduced to light; clearly, we are dealing with a product that has no professional ambitions but that, however, can go far beyond the toy/plastic cameras target positioning itself firmly in the availability of even advanced amateur photographer. The film is highly recommended for all those cases where you don’t want to underexpose films with lower sensitivity.

As mentioned above, it was made a test RA4 print on 18 x 24 format  from one of the frames exposed to box speed (below) and the result was satisfactory in terms of colour rendition and grain detail, asking for just minimal filtration.

Lomography CN800

Lumen prints

Featured

The simplest “photographic” techniques are those that involve contact printing, where the external light is used in place of the enlarger: at a time when enlargement devices did not exist yet this was the usual way and even before it was born the idea of negative thanks to Henry Fox Talbot with its calotype process, were in vogue the prints made from shadows of simple objects placed on reactive paper.

Even today we can indulge with this technique, which requires no special knowledge and, from the point of view of materials, has really minimum requirements taking advantage of sunny days that by now they should abound and having, perhaps, some old expired paper of which no one knows what to do, you can have fun  just creating some “solar” prints. Materials required here are quite a few:

The materials for the lumen prints

The materials for the lumen prints

  • Photo paper (RC or FB, although the Baryta paper is recommended for the increased uptake)
  • Paper fixing chemical
  • A basin for fixing
  • A picture frame with glass
  • Paper adhesive tape

The most important part is, of course, composition: as said any object placed on paper will produce a shadow that will remain after exposure to light and the best results are achieved with translucent materials that allow a glimpse of textures; the most common objects are definitely leaves and flowers and so we try to go to the nearest green space and collect those that seem the most interesting forms and then put them on paper according to our imagination. The paper will first be fastened with adhesive tape at the base of the frame:

The paper attached at the base of the frame

The paper attached at the base of the frame

A simple composition of leaves

A simple composition of leaves

After having placed the materials on paper and chose your own composition, you reposition the glass on the frame, blocking on its way to avoid unexpected movements; the frame so prepared is then placed in direct sunlight.

Sun prints

Sun prints

Here come into play a series of erratic factors, due to lighting conditions and the characteristics of the objects that we used. Sunlight has an effect proportional to the exposure time and this effect is in turn influenced by seasonality and geographical location: we can say that at the moment (June), for a proper exposure at midmorning in Northern Italy were needed 1.5 hours to get the final prints shown here. In the middle of the day the time will shrink accordingly, as well as with the advance of summer; second item to consider is that the presence of clouds and mist, which affects the result in terms of contrast: by analogy with the traditional darkroom, the bright Sun will have the same behavior as a condensors enlarger with sharper contrasts, while the presence of clouds will make him more like an enlarger with diffused light, ensuring a better distribution of tones.

Evaporation condensation

Evaporation condensation

In addition, it plays an important role even the thickness of the leaves and their seasoning: fresh and thick leaves reduce the passage of light and require top exposure times at the same external conditions, compared to thin and dry leaves. Do not underestimate the condensation caused by the evaporation of the water contained in the leaves and flowers, which will cause a mixing effect in the print which hardly controllable.

To add more variability, even the paper type will have its influence, in this case to the general tone of the print: to realize which shades will the print assume simply expose to sun for a few minutes a sheet of paper and check which staining tone it is reaching. In conclusion, several experiments are needed to figure out how to get the desired result but here surely stays the beauty of this technique, which can also give prints of great quality and impact; a check of the blackening may be executed by slightly moving the objects but taking care to reposition them exactly (or not …)

In any case, at the end of the show you must remove objects from above and perform fix and consequent washing according to the usual patterns of darkroom for paper type, then the final lumen print is ready.

Lumen printLumen print
Print lightLumen print

Despite its simplicity, this technique can become a real art form: see, for example, the images of artists who devote themselves such as Barbara Dombach and Ky Lewis, who in addition is using negative film as a medium.

This article is part of the archive of the website and community COLLODIO.IT currently under construction and will be hosted on those pages too.

Minox 35 PL

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HISTORICAL NOTES

Minox 35PLThe Minox 35 camera series is rightfully carved in collective photographic imagery as a synonym for compact and efficient systems which can provide important results despite the reduced size; in fact, the various models that have taken place in the course of production have always had two important common characteristics that have remained constant over time: pocket size and optical quality.

It is beyond any doubt a masterpiece of miniaturization  thanks to the weight and dimensions that make it even smaller than some 110 and 16mm cameras and: height, for example, is slightly higher than that of a 135 film canister and the weight is reduced to a few hundred grams.
The first model was launched in 1974 after the presentation of the final prototype took place a year earlier, and the production lasted until the beginning of 2000 articulated in 21 versions; among these, we can recognize three main families, which then evolved into below-versions:

• 35 EL, from 1974 to 1998
• 35 PL, from 1982 to 1987
• 35 ML, from 1985 to 1992

Regardless of the differences (sometimes minimum) between the various models, the points remain the extreme compactness of a camera that had roughly the same size as the small Rollei 35 but relying on mid weight Makrolon body (very lightweight polycarbonate), as well as the accuracy of the metering system and the quality of the lens (the Minotar) based on the crisp outline four lenses Tessar. 

HOW IT WORKS

Minox 35 PLThe camera is totally automatic in its operation although usercan count on some manual adjustments and is protected from accidental front closure that is reminiscent of the old bellows cameras: while opening the front door, retractable lens extends into position and activates the internal circuits that regulate the exposure. The camera begins to show signs of life when acting on the film advance lever, short wheelbase type that requires two strokes to advance frame correctly and cock the shutter; Once the lever is activated, the red LED placed on the top cover lights if it detects low light that might lead to blur the image. The second Green LED serves to confirm the charge status of the battery and is operated by a small button on the top of the camera.

Top cover of the Minox 35PL

Top cover of the Minox 35PL

The bottom of the camera

The bottom of the camera

Loading the film is intuitive and foolproof and is made after you unlock the back using the lever on the back itself; the particular system of interlocking slide back to the camera body can do without seals (a bit like the Rollei 35): a problem less to evaluate when looking for a used!

The back removed

The back removed

After you load the film and reassembled back then adjust film sensitivity by turning the adjustment wheel on the bottom and you can then advance the film until the first pose; the frame counter is incremental type with auto-reset at back opening. The white numbered disk makes it perfectly readable despite its small size.

The shutter button, green in this model (Minox are divided into different families depending on the colour of the button) is similar to the electromagnetic one installed on Olympus XA and it is extremely sensitive once the shutter is cocked: care should be taken in that is not at all difficult to activate it and lose inadvertitely good shooting. Once the Minox 35PL is ready all that remains to do is to focus using the focusing ring concentric to the lens: the focus by zone estimation and thus requires a little practice before being fully masters, but the depth of field of 35 mm supplied helps to limit the risks of off-focus. In the focusing ring there is a green dot indicating an average  hyperfocal distance with which it is reasonably sure to focus on the subject in the shots in the middle distance (2-10 m).

The 35PL with the dedicated flash

The 35PL with the dedicated flash

Image composition is done through the galilean viewfinder, presenting the bounding frame area and the parallax error indicator at close range, which is limited due to the positioning of the optical viewfinder right above (as in TLRs); the Minox 35 PL can also be used on a tripod thanks to standard  thread and the remote shutter socket that is placed immediately to the right of the shutter release, although little visible.

The camera is also equipped with a self-timer, which is operated by moving a sliding button on the rear of the body near the viewfinder. Another similar button is placed on the upper case and allows an intentional exposure adjustments, representing one of only two possible manual interventions on the operation of camera. The second is the manual aperture adjustment for exposure with flash, and is carried out by turning a ring on the lens. The dedicated flash allows additional automatic exposure control although it can be operated manually and is also interesting for the shape of the bottom that fits perfectly with the camera profile. The Minox 35 PL can still use any flash thanks to the presence of standard hot shoe and synchro flash speed is 1/90 sec.

While using it, the Minox 35 PL behaves very well in all photographic situations requiring readiness (once made a habit to focusing on distance estimate) thanks to the automatic program that ranges from 1/500 coupled to f/16 up to 1/4 (or 1/15 with low sensitivity film) at f/2.8, especially on maintaining enough shutter speed to freeze motion. The Tessar scheme is very precise and engraved will not be sparing of satisfaction especially in black and white; the extremely compact size and light weight are a plus in many everyday situations.

Camera ready with the housing closed decomposable

Camera ready with the housing closed decomposable

Painful notes are relative to the impossibility of manual intervention (except the few options given above), the shutter button not protected from accidental activation and sometimes, delicate electronics which can lead to sudden death. It remains an extremely viable camera, always ready to use when carried, maybe loaded with a traditional type BW film.

2 testminimal

TECHNICAL DATA

Model: Automatic Compact

Size: 24 x 36 on 135 film.

Lens: Color-35/2.8 Minotar, minimum focus distance 0.9 m

Apertures: from f/2.8 to f/16

Shutter: central type, speed from 15 sec to 1/500 sec

Exposure modes: Auto, flash openings control

Viewfinder: Galileian with frame and parallax indicators

Meter: Silicon cell metering, ISO 25-400

Self timer: Yes

Flash: flash shoe.

Dimensions: length 100 mm; height 61 mm; 31 mm depth.

Battery: PX27 5.6 V

Weight: 190 gr.

PRO:

Compactness.
Absence of seals.
Efficient program mode.
Optical quality.

Cons:
No manual controls.
Limited sensitivity of films.

AVAILABILITY AND PRICES

Minox 35 ‘s are available in any of the usual channels but, with a great variability of price and a certain risk that of running into some electronic fragility so many years after the production of these cameras. While looking for it you need to understand that it is a cult and it is therefore not difficult to face exaggerated quotes: searching with acumen, especially in the German market in which there are plenty, you will be able to tick the right price (under 70 EUR).

Lomography 35 mm Lady Grey

Featured

Who is the manufacturer of Lomography films is one of the questions that are asked when anyone usually gets his hands on a piece sold by the lomographic society; If it is true that several of their films are simple rebranding, there are also in-house productions, or rather from multiple manufacturers.

The case of Lady Grey, black and white ISO 400 film, is quite interesting because according to information gathered between users this presents two film emulsions which have nothing in common between them depending on the chosen format, 120 or 135. Aside from the 120 roll, here we focus on 35 mm film that seems particularly interesting: substantial entries give it as a rebranding of none other than Kodak T-Max 400; the purpose of the test was primarily to establish whether this is true.

3 blister 135/36 magazines

3 blister 135/36 rolls

The Lady Grey is sold in blister packs of three 36 frames rolls for an average price which is around € 5.60 per roll, even higher than that practiced by some retailers and other aligned for TMax 400 in the same format; a film so expensive that the price would be motivated solely by performance and quality control.

Taking hold of the package, you notice the bottom a very promising (Made in U.S.A.), different from the one that appears on the similar Lady Grey in 120 format (Made in China); Here, it is confirmed that the two films are different. By opening this package, then we face the classic transparent plastic package with grey cap, common in Kodak Portra and Tmax  packs: second interesting clue. The third clue is given by the film rosy colour, typical of kodak antihalo layer combined with a decidedly plastic support aligned with Kodak products.

Made in U.S.A.

Made in U.S.A.

I went searching for the final clue by trying some developers on a series of Lady Grey and comparing with similar prints made with TMax 400; rolls were processed in classic in Rodinal 1 + 50 dilution, Xtol in stock solution and in T-Neg by BWork in dilution 1 + 6. Were performed a series of shots with two identical cameras, one loaded with Tmax 400 and one with Lady Grey, later developed with the same processing time to obtain a normal contrast negative and then printed on VC paper with constant filtering, a method more than enough to make impressions “by” without claim of measures with densitometers et similia.

A look and comparison of prints  showed a substantial equality between the two films behavior if developed with T-Neg or Xtol, while the Lady Grey developed in Rodinal 1+50 was found to have a higher grain, though not unpleasant, at 18 x magnification.

Rodinal 1 + 50

Rodinal 1 + 50

Xtol stock

Xtol stock

Grain with films developed in Xtol on T-Neg remains contained up to 24 x 30 format where it begins to become predominant even if well ordered, with no major differences between the two developers; with a focometer you can appreciate it better and, comparing it to that of the “true” TMax 400 small differences emerge in favour of the latter: one explanation could be that being in front of old lots of TMax or “second choices” discarded by Kodak for its product. In particular, using the T-Neg, TMax 400 is virtually indistinguishable from the lower sensitivity sister  TMax 100, whereas in the case of Lady Grey the difference you see.

2015-05-25-0005With regard to tonal range, T-Neg again is the winning developer and that goes for the Kodak, assuring the best extension more than Xtol and Rodinal. None of the negatives however presents major issues in printing, with only some difficulty in optimal detail in highlights exemplary in Xtol. The film processed in Rodinal is the one presenting the best sharpness as can be expected from high acutance development; dilution 1+50 and stirring scheme aimed at reducing the effect on grain that anyway, as said, is higher than the other two developers.

High detail captured

High detail captured

The Lady Grey is configured as an excellent medium-speed film suitable for widespread use and capable even in small format (if supported by quality lenses) to resolve detail and tonal variations with great precision and extension; in bright sunlight and contrasted scenes it succeeds, if properly processed, to maintain an extended tonal range with good control at the extremes: “correct”  graded 2 print  was perfectly paired with the T-Neg dilution 1+6  with a processing time of 6 min 45 sec at 20° c. Not that with the other developers is less good but corrections made in print are more consistent, although nothing complicated (adjusting the contrast and gradation of a bit and some dodge and burn operation). Clearly these are just guidelines to make a comparison, directions that could very well be inconsistent with the interpretation of a negative that the printer would like to give.

9 seconds corrected exposure-Aperture 2/3

9 seconds corrected exposure (2/3 stop)

Shooting indoors and dimly lit showed instead how the exposure latitude is in line with that of the more famous Kodak sister. Regarding the behavior with long exposures and its manifest lack of reciprocity, it confirms what goes for TMax 400: up to approx. 10 seconds, the correction needed is minimal (from 1/3 to 2/3 stop) while exceeded that threshold rises rapidly up to two stops for about 30 sec metered exposure, acting from this point onwards as a film less sensitive than the TMax 100. These are extreme situations, which do not affect everyday use in common situations.

Adjust weighted average

Weighted average

+2

+2

The speech at this point moves on other factors: given that this is the same film (second choice or maybe a little more seasoned) when it is worth it? Certainly, if you need a well-defined ISO 400 from which you know exactly what to expect it doesn’t have many rivals, and if it is found at a price substantially different from the original it is definitely to be purchased; However, if the price is close (in some cases is even higher!) then the most sensible choice is probably original Kodak. On quality control little is known but it is likely that until the seasoning and paving the same Kodak, assuring its (high) standard. Shame that the Lady Grey  in 120 format is a completely different film!

15 sec exposure with fix to 32 sec

15 sec exposure corrected to 32 sec

Bwork T-Neg 1 + 6, maximum range extension

Bwork T-Neg 1+6, maximum range extension

 

Discovering old cameras

Featured

 White classic cameras

Title

Discovering Old Cameras 1839-1939

Author

Robert White

Editions

Shire Classic

Year

1980-2001

Format

17.4 x 11.2 cm

Pages

88

Price

6.99 GBP

Cover

 Plastic colors

ISBN

9780747802662

A smart booklet dedicated to the collector or camera hystory passionate which wants to act as a first introductory guide and inspiration for further studies. Unfortunately only available in English (for the italian speaking readers), it is anyways well understood and quite full of pictures and can be found normally in flea markets or in-store at derisory prices so it deserves to be taken into account. The volume covers the first century of cameras production history and try to give useful information to the collector or enthusiast who is having to identify a specific model or having to reconstruct its history; starting from the first daguerreotype cameras until the introduction of 35 mm, the information that is provided is of course, given the small size of the book, general type except that in some cases but, nevertheless, more than enough to take the right direction in their research.

For this reason it is undoubtedly useful although not limited to much less definitive. The various timelines that are shown are detailed and act as fundamental input to every search; some of the information on the different types of film rolls are hard to find elsewhere without effort. The book helps to disentangle between the various models and manufacturers taking useful note (where possible) even mergers between different societies. The concluding section is a Glossary which presents useful elements to use as a starting point for various insights. Robert White is a well known name in collections and in the context of historical research on photographic technology, thanks to its collaboration with R.P.S. and with a few magazines but was first and foremost a passionate and enthusiast who wants to have his first smattering on the evolution of a century is facing camera this writing; No one then expect a manual or guide that gives all the answers in its few pages.

Coming to the physical structure of the volume, the format is very practical and its size allow you to keep it in your pants pocket, maybe useful when visiting a flea market or a second hand store and you are facing with an enigmatic camera; the issue is particularly cured and it is obvious the nature of paperback but, given the cost, this is not a particular concern.

There are also online extracts on Google Books repository.

Photography the Definitive Visual History

Featured

 Definitive visual history

Title

Photography-The definitive visual history

Author

Tom Ang

Editions

Dorlin Kindersley

Year

2014

Format

31 x 26 cm

Pages

400

Price

€ 29/25 GBP

Cover

Rigid plastic

ISBN

9781409346456

Tom Ang is quite known for his books and manuals dedicated to digital photography but, this time, presents a book that sets out to retrace the history of photography in pictures: not the first and certainly very probably not the last; However, this story (short, according to the author) brings with it many advantages first of all the rich iconographic apparatus.

The pictures are really many and blend very well, even from a Visual point of view, with descriptive text in English on the chosen format, perhaps a bit cumbersome for those who want to keep the volume in your hands but perfectly timed for the purpose and to present the various arguments in paragraphs two-page Compact with everything at a glance.

The volume is divided into eight main sections in chronological order, from the beginning of 1825 until the present day, each of which is in turn split into more paragraphs (as mentioned above, two pages) that will delve into the various elements relating to the reference period; This is the most interesting part of the book, then, not for nothing traces the historic steps but select a canonical set of topics considered most significant by the author: you can find agree or disagree about the choices (personally, I see as a gap in the absence of a paragraph dedicated to Weegee), but the reading is still interesting and full of ideas for further exploration; also the fact that consecutive arguments are closely linked with each other makes the usability of the text particularly pleasant. Are taken into consideration, of course, the salient historical moments but many paragraphs are devoted to individual photographer, or to a particular type of camera, a production process or image photography and everything is clear and easy to read, with some brief reference inserts other insights embedded in pages.

Photography-The definitive visual history is available only in English, as is often the case for this kind of issues and from the point of view of construction is appreciated, in addition to the already mentioned, wide format for the printing and paper quality, allowing you to bring out the best (as far as a generalist book can offer) the present and many images in particular, full-page ones. Approaching the time of the gift, it might be a good idea.

Pinhole Cameras DIY Guide

Featured

 Pinhole cameras

Title

Pinhole cameras – a Do It Yourself guide

Author

Chris Keeney

Edition

Princeton Architectural Press

Year

2011

Format

22,5 x 16,5 cm

Pages

191

Price

19,95 $

Cover

Stiff cardboard, canvas back, metal spiral inside

ISBN

9781568989891

To gain experience and maybe prepare the equipment for the next Pinhole Day, here it is an interesting manual that can help us in finding unusual ideas for the construction of a new pinhole camera. “Pinhole Cameras – A Do It Yourself guide” is exactly what the title says: a compendium of projects to transform common objects (including the classic tin and matchbook) in pinhole cameras, including permanent changes to traditional cameras (Holga , in this case) or adaptation to the modern DSLR, with the classic pinhole body cap.

The guides are built step by step and completed with illustrations to help better understand the instructions provided; for each project it is included a detailed bill of materials needed as well as some notes about test and use of each device. The projects included are the following:

  • oatmeal can
  • shoe box
  •  coffee can
  • cigar box
  • candy box
  • matchbox
  • PinHolga
  • DSLR body cap

The volume is completed by introductory chapters about pinhole photography, the choice of materials and tools (also a interesting visual toolbox at the end of the book), as well as the papers and negatives to use. The second part is a gallery of pictures taken with some of the proposed models and an interesting compendium of practical and creative tips. This book is available in English only but the presence of images allows to have a good understanding of the content, however, even for those not so much in the language.

From the aesthetic point of view the cover made in stiff cardboard with canvas back is well made and of a size that provides manageability; very practical interior volume, which is assembled with metal spiral and entirely printed on very thick paper.

Definitely a highly recommended book for anyone wanting to experiment within the pinhole: it is true that much of the information, as well as more additional, can easily be found online at no cost but, when possible, we should always try to reward those who dedicate time to disseminate information to increase our common passion.

Minolta PROD 20s

Featured

HISTORICAL NOTES

In the last few years main photo brands designers tend to recreate shapes and retro design adapted to modern digital cameras: since the introduction of the new Olympus PEN and, above all, with the launch of the Fujifilm X100, a clear message on how the ergonomics and style of the old film cameras of the past were and remain a winning choice. Not everyone knows, however, that this operation had already been carried out in the late 80’s by Minolta which was at the time one of the most advanced camera manufacturee in terms of technological content ( to Minolta, among other things, the introduction of one of the first autofocus SLR camera body) and innovative research.

Tentative did at the time with the PROD 20’s is totally analogous to what today Olympus, Fujifilm and others are doing: advanced technology in a camera body that recalls an earlier era of photography; in this case, it comes to using the best technology available at the time regarding autofocus and automatic exposure in a body that recalls the features of famous cameras of the twenties and thirties, although with new materials.

The camera was introduced in 1990 in a limited edition of only 20,000 numbered units mainly for the Japanese market, although some smaller imports also occurred in the United States and Europe; the entire package represented a recovery of design because also the box, made of refined cardboard, recalled immediately packaging of pre-war rangefinder cameras. The package included a lens cap in metal, the owner’s manual (also with clear reference chart at the time passed) and a soft bag for carrying the camera.

 HOW IT WORKS

Vista frontale della fotocamera

Front view of the camera

The camera is built in chromed metal and brown plastic and covered with imitation leather of the same color; the general appearance is that of a rangefinder camera with fixed lens and clean lines reminiscent of even some Leica models . As mentioned the camera’s operation is fully automatic, as the technological content are the same as Minolta AF compact cameras production of the early 90s. User can operate essentially only two commands: the shutter release button, located on the top cover together with the frame counter, and the self-timer lever, located to the left of the lens: a blinking LED to indicate the oactivation delay of about 10 seconds. Coaxially to the shutter button is the mode dial to turn on the camera (in the L position for Locked).

The film is inserted through the door at the back and there is no pawl winding in

Vista dello sportello pellicola

The back with the film door

since loading is automatic once closed the back as well as rewind of the exposed film, which starts automatically at the end of the poses or at least no later than the 36th frame. The film speed is automatically selected by reading the DX code while in its absence  the default sensitivity is set to 100 ISO. The specifications state that the sensitivity setting covers from 100 to 1000 ISO for negatives and from 100 to 400 ISO for reversal films.

On the bottom there is a switch to unlock the battery compartment, which is accessed by removing the entire bottom (as was done in the old screw mount rangefinder cameras); the battery (which thankfully exists in a rechargeable version) is critical, because the camera does not work at all without electrical power.

Vista del carter superiore con pulsante di scatto e contapose

Top view with frame counter and shutter button

The operation, in conclusion, it is completely “point & shoot” because the user is responsible only to frame the shot; to facilitate this inside the viewfinder (very large and very bright) there are the frame guides and the indication of the autofocus measuring zone (the minimum distance of focus is 0.9 m), which is useful when you want to work in AE-Lock through the intermediate pressure of the shutter button. Even firing of the flash is fully automatic and can’t be manually excluded, as governed exclusively by a center-weighted average light metering circuit which is located in the front window just inside the crown of the flash; this may be a limit to the creative use of the camera in low light conditions. Its entry into service is indicated by a flashing LED in the viewfinder that indicates loading. The flash has a range of 3.3 m (ISO 100) and 6.6 m (ISO 400) while the meter reading is from EV 9 to EV 16.2 at ISO 100.

The Minolta PROD 20s is also more suitable for exposures in bright sunlight, in which its lens can produce particular incisiveness and certainly represents, together with the design, the element of greatest value and interest of the camera itself; clearly derived from the Rokkor lenses that equipped cameras of the HI-Matic series, it is likened by many to a value such as the Zeiss optics Orthometar 35 / 4.5. It is, in any case, a Tessar scheme lens, therefore can ensure quality shots. The focal length, along with the rapid operation, make it a very suitable camera for daylight street photography.

 TECHNICAL DATA

Model: Compact 35mm autofocus.

Format: 24×36 on 135 film

Lens: Minolta 35 / 4.5

Shutter: on the focal plane, iris.

Exposure modes: automatic.

Viewfinder: Galilean frames.

Self-timer: yes, 10 seconds.

Multiple exposures : no.

Flash: integrated automatic flash.

Size: Length 141.5 mm; height 73 mm; depth 39 mm.

Weight: 390 gr.

Power: 1 stack DL223A / CRP2P or equivalent (6 V).

PROS:

Attractive design;

robustness and reliability;

operational speed;

 autofocus performance;

 bright viewfinder.

CONS:

fully automatic;

no mechanical operation;

 no flash bypass;

high rating, due to the rarity.

 AVAILABILITY ‘AND PRICES

The camera is obviously not easy to find, at least according to the canons of common equivalent cameras and the few models that appear periodically on sale are quickly purchased. Generally, in stores or at specialty retailers, the price fluctuates between 200 and 350 € for a complete package, while it can happen in auction sites to find an exemplar at about 100 euro price. Very unlikely to be able to go below this figure. It is convenient to add about 25 euro for a rechargeable battery and its charger. The model reviewed here was purchased in like new condition at an itinerant trader, at the price of 100 euro.

Lens mounts sizes and registers

Featured

You may find yourself  wanting to use a lens belonging to a particular photographic system on a camera made by another manufacturer and then not compatible (in the digital world it happens quite often, especially with mirrorless cameras); this is the typycal situation in which help comes from the adapter rings, which are today quite popular and promise interchangeability between systems, almost complete at least among the major ones.

The adapter ring has two main functions: the first is the physical connection, means securing connection between mounts (lens and camera body) which differ between them in diameter and often in electrical / mechanical contacts. Often the automatics present on a system cannot be replicated on the other and are lost, while still allowing you to work in manual mode. The second function is to adapt the lens register distance to make them compatible. Lens register distance or registration means in photography the distance between the focal plane of the film (or sensor) and the plane of the lens mount on the camera body and is typical of any system (SLR and otherwise) in trade now or in the past. Here lies a major problem: as the register is characteristics of each lens mount, this will be designed to focus on that particular floor and no one else thus making it impossible to use on bodies with different registration distance. The adapter rings to make up for this in two ways: if the register of the body is lower than the lens one, the difference will be offset by the sheer size of the adapter while in the opposite case, there are additional lenses that will correct the focus mistake due to insifficient registration distance, at the expense of quality which rapidly decays.

The table below summarizes the dimensional characteristics of the main mounts&bayonets systems for 16mm, 35mm, medium format and movie formats: all of them, in some way, can be used in both mirrorless and in modern digital SLR but, it is not unusual to find even adapters rings for film cameras even for less known mounts. 

MANUFACTURERMOUNTDIAMETER (mm)REGISTER (mm)
AatonA bayonet5040
AlpaAlpa bayonet4237,8
AltixBL3442,50
ArgusC bayonet3344,45
ArriArriflex4152
ArriPL5452
ArriMaxi PL6252
Bolexstandard25,4023,22
BolexH8RX24,4015,31
BronicaS57101,70
BronicaETR69
BronicaGS
CanonEF5444
CanonFL/FD4842,10
Contarexstandard46
ContaxRF dual 34,85
ContaxC/Y (Yashica)45,50
ContaxG29
ContaxN48
Eclairstandard48
ExactaTopcon standard44,70
Exacta6674,10
FujicaX43,50
Hasselbladstandard82,10
HasselbladV74,90
HasselbladXP34,30
Icarex35 standard48
Kiev6074,10
KievMST 8882,10
KodakRetina44,70
KonicaAR40,70
KonicaF40
KonicaHRF3928,80
KowaSix79
LeicaM27,95
LeicaR47
LeicaV3928,80
Mamiya759,95
Mamiya64563,30
MamiyaRB112
MamiyaRZ105
MamiyaZE45,50
MinoltaAF44,60
MinoltaSR4143,70
Mirandastandard4441,50
MitchellBNCR6861,47
NikonF4446,50
NikonS4934,85
PanavisionPVM49,5057,15
PentaconSix74,10
Pentax6784,95
Pentax64570,87
PentaxA11027
PentaxK45,46
VariC Mount25,4017,53
VariD Mount15,8812,29
VariM393928,80
VariM424245,50
VariT/T24255
ZenitMST74,10

Celeste Network

Featured

With pleasure we present this new initiative called Celeste Network, useful for those taking their first steps in photography and who want to be known, the presentation of which we quote in full:

The place you’d expect

There is always someone ready to appreciate your artistic work.

Celeste Network is a web community for contemporary art with more than 60,000 personal pages created by users interacting and exchanging feedback: http://www.premioceleste.it/

Since its inception, the network has been characterized by innovation and dynamism, heavily investing in the professional development of artists and members and trying to bring out new talent.

Celeste Network’s commitment is focused in helping artists to come into direct contact with dealers, critics, curators and collectors enrolled in the network.

Entry to the network is free: you can have a personal page in which to expose your work and get the feedback you want from art professionals.

Register at the site and created the opportunity that merits:
http://www.premioceleste.it/ita_auth_login/

For more info:

 info@premioceleste.it

 

Rollei Colorchem C41

Featured

] Rollei Colorchem C41

The selection of chemicals for the home processing of color films is extended with an additional kit produced by Maco and marketed under the name Rollei Colorchem C41; the kit is complementary and not to replace the already present Digibase but, unlike this, is closer to that which currently appears to be the most sold kit, ie the Tetenal Colortec C41.

The Colorchem, in fact, comes as a kit in two baths, with bleaching and fixing combined into a single step, while in Digibase those are separated; currently is marketed in  1L, 2.5L and 5L packages, respectively, to treat up to 16, 40 and 80 films; particularly convenient from the economic point of view appears to be the  2,5L pack for which the theoretical expenditure is below 1 Euro per developed roll.

Operationally, the Rollei Colorchem C41 is used as any other kit for color film  homemade processing, with the new addition of 25°C working temperature to the classic 38 ° C and a rapid 45 ° C; it is something that will benefit those who have trouble keeping stable the standard temperature during development and those who dedicate themselves to home processing even in the winter months.

The kit is accompanied with instruction booklet with development times to vary according to the developed film (in this case, no distinction is made on sensitivity), the times of storage (in line with other kits) and the preparation mode.

From the first tests, results at 25 ° C seem to be correct:

Test Colorchem

 

Stenopeika 6×6

Featured

The pinhole photography has always been fertile ground for the DIY given the apparent ease with which you can build a working camera and fully adapted to their tastes and needs; are not just lovers of self that have turned this hobby into a real business.

Stenopeika has become a brand that rightfully belongs to this genre thanks all’aprezzata range of handmade pinhole camera that has evolved over the years to include different film sizes and types of cameras, some other very simple even for discrete manufacturing complexity. Currently the range includes machines for pinhole size 135, 120 in all its forms, 4×5, 5×7, 8×10 and snapshots (for films peel-apart), plus two folding of exquisite workmanship in 8×10 format.

il foro da 0,2 mm

The 0,2 mm pinhole

The camera here reviewed belongs to the first generation of Stenopeika (specifically, the model has serial number 026, then one of the first) and is a model that is still in production albeit with useful changes that occurred over time. It is a camera built entirely of wood, with no moving parts, around a calibrated pinhole of 0.20 mm made of metal foil. The manufacturing is classic, with compact parallelepiped body and with a few basic commands necessary for a true pinhole camera.

The hole of 0.2 mm and the focal length of 25mm allow you to have a decidedly wide viewing angle on the 6×6 frame and the small enough aperture to get long exposures but, without the risk of diffraction. The shutter is constituted by a simple sliding door that, in its rest position, covers the pinhole. A similar but smaller door is installed on the back of the car and covers the classic red window frame counter for monitoring the progress of the roll.

il dorso della StenopeiKa

StenopeiKa back

In the upper part of the camera are the only metal parts, namely the two pawls for the winding of the film (also inside there are two metal pins for roll locking) and the lid tightening screw; this top, in fact, must be removed for installing and removing film purposes, very intuitive: only take care to position the empty receiving spool in the left slot, in order to have the frame numbers in the correct position and not inverted as generally happens in medium format cameras.

L'attacco standard per trepiede

Standard tripod mount

In the lower part of the camera, which is fixed, we can see the clamping screws of the above mentioned pins and the standard tripod mounting, also made of metal and very useful having regard to the typical exposure duration; there are also four rubber feets that help stable positioning of the camera on any surface.

Overall, the Stenopeika 6×6 appears solidly built, leakage-proof, and it is really nice and intuitive in its use and is, of course, an almost final solution for the practitioner pinhole, thanks to the broad focal and the generous surface of the frame. I can not even mention the fact that it is a totally Made in Italy!

Il carter superiore amovibile

The top of the camera

One of the few flaws worth mentioning, but that has been resolved in the subsequent evolution (and thus in the models currently on sale) is the loosening of the rolls inside the camera that may lead to a non-perfect flatness of the film: you can easily fix it by tensioning both knobs in the opposite direction to each other before shooting or entering into slots some foam to fill the empty space.

The main technical characteristics are as follows:

Model: Pinhole Camera

Format: 6×6 cm on 120 film.

hole size : 0.2 mm

Focal Length: 25 mm

Aperture: f/125

Size: Length 155 mm; height 110 mm; depth of 65 mm.

Weight: 450 g.

The camera, along with all the other models in the range is on sale online directly on shop Stenopeika .

Below there are some images taken with the Stenopeika 6×6 in previous editions of the Worldwide Pinhole Day:

WPPD2013 #1

6983804132_f1a7816bb6_b

6983807976_71b624943d_b

7131639551_edfb27af03_b

Kiev 60 TTL

Featured

HISTORY

Kiev 60 TTL In the early 70s the Ukrainian factory Arsenal was tasked to develop a camera to compete with the widespread Praktisix and Pentacon Six, both SLR cameras with 120 film and 6×6 image format with a general approach similar to that of smaller 135 SLRs. Thus was born the first Kiev 6C (it would be more correct to say 6S), a mammoth SLR with decidedly boxy lines which rest in production for fourteen years, until 1985: this model was a great success, to the point that Arsenal drew an improved version, precisely the Kiev 60 sold in 1984, which took the role of direct antagonist of the Pentacon Six. In that regard, often reads like the Kiev is a mere copy of the Pentacon while, in my opinion, you should consider it more a rework as well as a tentative to improve the original. Compared to 6C, the new 60  loses the ability to use 220 film but, gains improvements in ergonomics and prism viewfinder.

It has been produced in some variants, not always recognized, until middle of 90’s:

  • 1a (1984-1987)
  • 1b (1987-1988)
  • 1c (1985-1987) size 6×4,5
  • 1d (1988-1991)
  • 2a (1991-1992)
  • 2b (1992-1993)

Must be considered also the 645 version, which produced frames in format 6×4,5 and it was the export version of the model 1c.

HOW IT WORKS

Vista d'insieme della calotta superiore

View of the top with the big prism

You see it and you promptly understand how to work with this  king-size camera which in fact is quite simple: the only operations that require attention are the loading of the film roll and the management of the feed, and if necessary the use of the exposure. Going in order, the Kiev 60 TTL presents with sharp but clean lines, few commands located mainly on the upper cover in which stands out the large footprint prism viewfinder. On the left side of the cap there is the selection wheel for shutter speeds, while on the other side there are the loading lever, the frame counter window and the reminders of the speed of the film. The controls are all here and all that remains to do is to eventually use the exposure of the pentaprism.

Il comando di selezione dei tempi di scatto

The speed selection wheel

La leva di carica e il promemoria pellicola

The winding lever, frame counter and film speed reminder

This simplicity should not, however, suggest Kiev 60 TTL is a camera of limited value; in fact, leaving aside any instance towards the Soviet photographic materials, the Kiev 60 is a camera that if in order can grant you great satisfaction and its simplicity and its look like a common reflex will become rather strengths. There are two elements that justify the above: firstly the size of the film, with all the quality that goes into generous 6×6 frame, then the ability to access, thanks to the Pentacon Six mount, to a wide range of lenses at times of excellent quality.

Il bocchettone compatibile Pentacon Six

The Pentacon Six bayonet mount

L'imponente tendina dell'otturatore

The impressive shutter curtain

As mentioned, the most complicated to use element is the metering system which is fitted into the big pentaprism; on top of this you will find all the commands for the correct metering operations. First, the scale feeling is quite unusual for us, being the values ​​according to the standard DIN and GOST: luckily, it is easy to convert to common ISO / ASA values; the sensitivity adjustment thru dedicated wheel is the first step to be followed after previously engaged the shutter (the case of TTL metering, with mirror up nothing is detected). done that, acting on the second wheel, concentric with the first command, you must set the maximum aperture reached the lens, making it coincide with the value of the orange screen printed notch. At this point you turn on the meter using the three-position button on the left side and the same is also used to check up the battery, whose charge is confirmed by the LEDs positioned next to the command.

I comandi del pentaprisma esposimetrico

I comandi del pentaprisma esposimetrico

With the meter turned on, framing through the eyepiece, you’ll see in the viewfinder the ignition of two symbols “o” and “*” indicate that the over-and underexposure, the correct exposure is displayedwhen, while rotating the third ring (one time) you get both symbols illuminated simultaneously. At this point, you can turn off the meter and choose any of the time / aperture couples that you read in the rings. The procedure is rather cumbersome partly because you have to operate while holding a two and more kilograms of weight: it is probably easier to use an external exposure or rely on the experience and Sunny 16 rule .

The pentaprism, as already mentioned, can be replaced with a simple WLF: to remove it is sufficient to unlock it by acting on the wheel to the left and then simultaneously press the buttons on both left and right and lift it. The batteries, finally, are housed on the left side and closed with the classic cap.

Il fondello della macchina

Il fondello della macchina

Going back to the camera body, is to be mentioned the presence on the front side of the Synchro socket placed in the lower left, with a threaded hole for attachment fittings at the top and the shutter button with connection for cable release located immediately to the right, very convenient location. On the bottom we find, instead, the commands of the roll retaining spring, the back opening button and the threaded tripod.

Ultimately the camera is a pleasure to use and, as mentioned, if well maintained gives high satisfaction; the worst points are first and foremost  the weight, which is great for both the  all metal body and the lenses, and the slowest time that is only 1/2 second. Conversely, it can use different beautiful lenses, also of Soviet origin, including the fisheye Arsat / Zodiak 30mm (roughly equivalent to a 16mm in 135). Particular attention should be paid to the initial loading of the film and the subsequent cocking of the shutter, best is to make movements with light trying to always accompany the loading lever, in order to avoid problems of irregular spacing or overlap between frames. A check of the seals and lubrication in general counts as first tip once purchased while for the rest, the Kiev 60 (the two in my possession for sure) does not seem to have the need to change the timing only after resetting the shutter, worth breaking mechanisms: here you can easily do, sooner or later.

TECHNICAL DATA

Model: Reflex 6×6

Format: 6×6 film 120.

Bayonet : Kiev / Pentacon

Shutter: on the focal plane, curtain side-scrolling, shutter speed 1/2 sec to 1/1000 sec and B mode.

Exposure modes: manual, B.

Viewfinder: prism viewfinder, WLF.

Sensitivity: manually selectable from 10 to 31 DIN (pentaprism)

Timer: no.

Flash: Synchro.

Size: Length 170 mm, height 156 mm, depth 86 mm.

Power : 3 batteries LR44/SR44 (pentaprism)

Weight: 1.570 gr.

PROS:

Solidity of the body.

 Pentacon Six mount.

Meter accurately.

CONS:

Excessive weight (with some scales)

Slowest speed only 1/2 sec.

Laborious metering procedure.

AVAILABILITY AND PRICES

Until recently, the Kiev 60 and 6C were really low in price while now the trend has shifted to prices generally exceeding EUR 100 for the body and 80mm lens (generally Volna-3); there are no substantial differences in price if the body is equipped with pentaprism or with the WLF, while the only pentaprism at times, especially in online auctions, is reaching prices equal to the camera: if in doubt, then, it is better to look for cameras with pentaprism already installed. Lenses, however, often have values ​​much higher (up to over 400 €), which on average are unjustified.

Below, two images taken with the excellent 30mm fisheye Arsat:

Empty SpacesIcone

Quality 110 cameras

Featured

110  format has been always considered synonymous with low quality photography done especially for fun: small 100 box cameras have been for years one of the surprise gifts contained in bags of potato chips or as attachments to magazines for children. They were in fact simple plastic boxes with a 110 cartridge inside, which was often the only one that would never impressed by those cameras.

110 quality cameras Same way, “adults” products from the photographic industry for the 110 format have always been represented by simple tools without any kind of regulation made by users, with full respect to the dictates of Sunday/vacation photography. In addition to this predominant production, though, must be remembered a few examples of the most comprehensive and sophisticated cameras, the aim of which was to transpose some of the features of the 135 equipment in a smaller format, so as to attract to the 110 even more evolved photographers; particularly remarkable  in this niche are the Pentax Auto 110 and the Minolta SLR 110.

Given the renewed presence on the market of both black&white and color 110 films (for now made  by Lomography, in the future perhaps other manufacturers will be added …), as well as the ability to recharge autonomously 110 cartridges , it can be interesting to take a closer look at these two models as we can consider them the two main examples of quality 110 cameras.

Construction

Both cameras are presented with a much higher building quality than the totality of existing competitors, about both the choice of materials and care in the assembly; Pentax looks like a miniature SLR, while the shape of the Minolta (later reflex-like in the MKII version) is much more intriguing, much thinned and vaguely similar to a downsized movie camera. Design features are also reflected in the technological contents which for both cameras are good enough to meet the expectations of demanding photographers.

Exposure

Both cameras are very different from simple point and shoot units and provide true electronic exposure programs; the Pentax 110 is fully automatic, and delegate the selection of the pair time-aperture to the metering circuit, very accurate, within the range of values ​​between 1/750 sec f/13,5 to 1 sec f /2,8; the second version, called Super 110, also includes additional elements such as the 1.5 EV exposure manual adjustment. Minolta 110 works in aperture priority by electonically selecting the shutter speed (in the range between 1/100 sec and 10 sec) to match the manually selected  aperture within the range f /4,5 – f/16; it also allows you to select a shooting mode with bulb, as well as synchronization with electronic flash at a fixed speed 1/150 sec. It also comes with a dial for exposure compensation from -2 to +2 EV in steps of 1 EV

Lenses

La 110 Auto con l'ottica standard 24mm

110 Auto and 24mm lens

The Pentax looks like the heart of a true reflex system (Pentax System 10) which includes  six lenses, all with f/2,8 as maximum aperture with the exception of the 18mm pan-focus: 18mm (two models, standard and the aforementioned pan-focus), 24mm, 50mm, 70mm and 20-40mm zoom. These lenses are a masterpiece of miniaturization and, coming to terms with the resolution little negative can offer, do not give up quality typical of Pentax lenses.

The Minolta 110 provides a non interchangeable lens descendant of the well-known Rokkor family with 25-50mm focal length and max aperture f /4.5 with additional macro shooting capabilities up to 28 cm.

Accessories

 Minolta and Pentax endowed both these cameras with various accessories; while the Minolta are the most classics such as carrying cases, filters or dedicated flash, accessories Pentax’s  are more oriented to the SLR system and include, in particular, a motor winding, a focal multiplier and a dedicated tripod.

Usability

Minolta 110 SLR These cameras are fully usable and enjoyable nowadays, both with original and refilled 110 film cartridges. Functions and exposure modes available allow their use in all  of the most typical light conditions; for night or very low light use Minolta is preferable, thanks to the long time of  than 10 seconds and the presence of the bulb mode as well as the threaded socket on the shutter button, while the Pentax has an indisputable advantage in the presence of  interchangeable lenses that allow a wide range of focal lengths. Both cameras are dependent on batteries, but as they are working with simple LR44 elements this is not an issue. A small bore of the first Auto 110, then resolved with the Super model, is the need to operate two times the lever to advance the film one frame.

What to choose

Soon we will publish the reviews of both cameras but the answer, given the current market prices and features summarily set forth above, is simple: both!

Rollei 35

Featured

HISTORY

The Rollei 35 is the biggest success of the company in the 35mm camera market, thanks to a style and a form that remained inimitate to date, combined with the mechanical precision and high performance levels typical of Rollei (or Francke & Heidecke) products. Introduced originally in 1966 as the smallest 35mm camera in the world it is still today, nearly fifty years later, a model of unparalleled ergonomic, though it is a rectangular block with nearly sharp corners.

In its commercial history, which lasted until the ’80s, the original concept has seen a succession of different models, with some additional features or with simplifications to make it more economical and suitable for beginners, as well as a whole range of versions for special celebrations. The various standard models, except for the special ones, are as follows:

  • Rollei-35 (Germany or Singapore): the first version, reviewed here, with Tessar or Xenar 40/3,5, CdS exposure meter
  • Rollei 35-B: with Triotar 40/3, 5 and selenium meter
  • Rollei 35-C: model B without exposure meter 
  • Rollei 35-S: with Sonnar 40/2, 8 and CDS exposure meter
  • Rollei 35 T: the original model  renamed after the release of S
  • Rollei 35 LED: with  Triotar 40/3,5 and LED indicator in the viewfinder 
  • Rollei 35 TE: the Model T with the new LED indicator
  • Rollei 35 SE: the Model S with the new LED indicator and different battery

Rollei 35 original Singapore The camera was widespread in all its versions and is a omnipresent model wherever they are in the sale of quality photographic equipment; there are over 2,000,000 copies produced. It was generally marketed in two aesthetic variants, a chrome band with black center and a completely black one, built with solid metal and assembled with absolute precision and accompanied by a practical leather case with belt loop; were, of course, developed a whole series of accessories such as flash, filters and mounting brackets.

HOW IT WORKS

La fotocamera con obiettivo rientrato

The camera with retracted lens

When using the Rollei 35 classic it’s easy to find that some of the operations we are expected to perform on a compact camera should be reviewed, because of the particular design philosophy that has been followed in order to achieve such a level of miniaturization . First of all, the lens: it is a retractable model, which helps to further reduce the size of the camera when storing it. To unlock it you have to bring it to full extension and then turn it slightly until a block: if you do not complete this operation, the shutter won’t release. Once fired, at the time of placing the camera, you must arm the shutter to close the close, which otherwise will remain in his position: to do this, after loading by the winding lever, you have to press the button placed on the upper cap and turn slightly the barrel to release the lens; after that, you can push in the rest position.

La calotta superiore

Top of the camera

On the upper cap, in addition to the release button of the lens, there are the shutter release button, the winding lever (that is, unlike most of the existing cameras, on the left!) and the exposure window of the lightmeter; this is a CdS cell powered by a mercury battery MR9 1.35 V. The circular window of the cell is placed on the front of the camera, while on the upper window a mobile needle indicates the light reading, without references; it must be matched with a second mobile element (orange) by acting appropriately on the adjustments of shutter speed and aperture. The meter is quite accurate and has a limited consumption so that the battery can last decades.

The focus is adjusted using a wheel on the front of the lens and partially protected by a plastic cover; the values ​​of the distances are  printed on the outer ring of the dial and must be read from above. The distance adjustment is continuous between 0.9 m and infinity, with a brief excursion indeed between 6 m and the maximum value. The values ​​2m and 6m are screen printed in red to indicate the typical adjustments for which, playing with the hyperfocal, you can  always have a clear picture as long as you use a sufficiently closed aperture (typically f / 8).

Comando i regolazione tempi e promemoria pellicola

Speed setting wheel and film reminder

The speed and aperture are set by two special wheels positioned on the front of the camera, a solution which is not common and certainly unsettling at first glance; to adjust the shutter speed, you have to turn up to coincide the desired time with the white silk-screened triangle: you can choose shutter speed 1/2 sec to 1/500 sec. The values ​​are screen printed on the outer ring of the wheel, so that they can be viewed from above without turning back toward the camera.

In the front part of the wheel are shown the indicators of the type of film  (black and white negative , color negative, color daylight and tungsten), which can be selected by acting on a second smaller wheel installed in a concentric position with respect to that of the speeds.

On the opposite side of the lens, always on the front of the camera, there are commands for adjustment of the diaphragms and the film sensibility. The system is the same used for shutter speeds.

I comandi di regolazione diaframmi e sensibilità

Apertures and film speed settings

The aertures are adjusted by means of a release button located at the bottom of the wheel and by turning the same until the desired aperture in the range f / 3,5 and f/22 is chosen. The reading takes place, also in this case, from the top on the outer ring of the command.

The speed of the film is adjusted instead with the second and concentric smaller wheel, setting the desired value on a double scale with ​​ASA / ISO and equivalent DIN. This is not a simple reminder but a real adjustment that directly affects the reading of the exposure meter.

The design surprises are not finished: on the bottom of the camera, in addition to traditional elements such as the threaded mount for the tripod and the back release button, we find others that are usually located on the upper side of cameras . They are located on the back, in fact, the frame counter, where its window is positioned concentrically with the tripod thread, and the rewind pawl of exposed film. The pawl works in rewind once a lever placed in the upper part of the back, near the viewfinder, is set on R position. 

Il ricco fondello della Rollei 35

The rich bottom of Rollei 35

But above all even the hot shoe is in this position, which is very unusual and almost unique; this means that in case of its use, the flash will be below the camera and, worse, it might be impossible to use tripod and flash simultaneously.

The bottom is one piece with the back and is separated from the camera by pressing the release mechanism located on the bottom between the flash shoe and the tripod mount. Once separated we can see immediately how the battery compartment is accessible only while camera is open and empty: it is, in fact, placed in the upper part inside, where it goes to position the spool of film and, to this end, the lid has a particular form with recess to allow the accommodation of the 135 canister. In addition the pressure plate is not installed, as typically occurs, on the inner wall of the back, but is hinged to the camera body and must be placed over the film before closing the back, an operation which requires no particular expertise but which nonetheless must pay attention.

Il pressapellicola, l'alloggio batteria e la leva di sblocco del riavvolgimento

Pressure plate, battery slot and rewinding unlock lever

For the rest, once you get the hang with all these “quirks”, the use of the camera is very nice and quite fast; the image in the viewfinder is quickly composed, thanks to the little frame that trace the limits of the picturee, which is also the reference mark for shooting at a short distance. The Rollei 35 falls perfectly in your hand and is easy to get a firm grip that allows handheld shooting even down to 1/8 sec.

The above features join the undisputed optical quality and it can be said with certainty that the great commercial success that the little Rollei has encountered, as well as the approval that is still read today in discussions among fans, are well deserved.

TECHNICAL DATA

Model: Compact with Galilean viewfinder .

Format: 24×36 on 135 film.

Lens: Carl Zeiss Tessar 40/3, 5

Aperture : from f / 3.5 to f/22

Focus: continuous from 0.9 m to infinity

Shutter: central shutter speed 1/2 sec to 1/500 sec and B mode.

Exposure modes: manual mechanic, bulb.

Viewfinder: Galilean.

Self timer: no.

Multiple exposures : no.

Flash: hot shoe.

Size: Length 95 mm; height 65 mm; depth of 405 mm.

Power : 1 stack mercury MR9/PX625

Weight: 390 gr.

PROS:

Elegant design;

Building material:

Compactness;

Optical quality;

Accurate focusing.

CONS:

No self-timer.

AVAILABILITY ‘AND PRICES

As mentioned, the Rollei 35 is widespread, both in the Germany and Singapore made versions but, that does not mean that prices are particularly low. Generally, the price stood  between 150 and 200 euro for well-preserved specimens made in Singapore and up to 250 € for the made in Germany, with a small increase if the models are in black color. Quotes are commensurate with different characteristics for other models  listed at the beginning of article.

The example images below are shot on film Rollei 400s processed in Xtol stock:

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7170386883_89028fccf3_c7102975273_54277fbeca_c

Respool 828 roll

Featured

Among the most attractive cameras produced by Kodak are surely the 30’s Bantam Bellows: stylish and compact with characteristics of all respect for the time of production, these cameras used film in  828 roll format, also called Bantam, a typical example of the ongoing effort operated by Kodak to reduce the size of the units and create new proprietary systems.

Having been the same Kodak practically the only producer of this film, at its disposal the Bantam series cameras have remained virtually unused inevitably and soon abandoned, but fortunately, however, the main feature of this format is to be a standard 35mm film, though without perforations, which allows to easily repurpose a 135 or cut to length film 120 . Unlike other adaptations of older formats, this is extremely simple and, therefore, who has a camera 828 has no justification for leaving it unused.

Un rocchetto originale 828 e una backing paper 120

An original 828 spool and 120 backing paper

Being formed in the roll, the two basic elements (in addition to the film) are the spool and the protective backing paper; regard to the first, often it is still inside the camera or can be found quite easily online. The protective paper, however, is the hardest to find, unless you have a fully original roll but, also in this case, it can be easily overcome with modern materials. All you need is a normal backing paper from 120 film which will also allow you to have the numbers on the back ready. In fact, the spacing between the frames in 828 (which have dimensions 40x28mm) is a few millimeters less than that of the 6×4,5 frame in 120, so you can use the numbers of this format as a reference for frame advance, in front of a waste of a couple of centimeters of film.

Il punto di inizio della pellicola

Film starting point

In order to transform the 120 backing paper in 828 format we must first cut in length the paper: keeping it lying in front and taking as reference the number “1” for format 6×4,5  we’ll mark a line transverse to 72mm away towards left, which will be the starting point of the film.

From this line, there shall be spece on the left  for about 18-20 cm in order to create a roll head sufficient to protect the film during the loading phase in the camera and then remaining part of the paper can be cut and removed. Moving then to the right, perform the same operations by reference to the number “8”, creating the line of the film and the tail end of the roller; consider 8 because the number of frames in the native format 828, but if you want the spool is able to contain film for 10 frames.

La coda di innesto nel rocchetto

Connection of the paper to the spool

Once prepared the paper to the right length, we provide to reduce its width: as mentioned above, the width of the film 828 was exactly 35mm and this will be the size of our final backing paper. Draw the line cutting guide, remembering to measure from the edge of “high” in order to keep the numbers of the format 6×4,5. Once cut, it only remains to shape the ends to let them fit the slot of the receiving spool (help with this for the measure to be taken).

At this point we have a paper almost equal to native on, so we have to start feeding film reel by inserting into the trailer tail and wrapping until we reach the film finish line  previously reported on paper, in correspondence with the start line of the film; then, we apply on the inside of the papera  piece of adhesive tape, to which the film head will be joined.

Il nastro adesivo per l'aggancio della testa della pellicola

How to attach film to paper

L'inizio della fase di avvolgimento della carta

Winding the backing paper

From this moment on, must operate in the dark and start winding the chosen film, be it 135 or 120 cut, starting from the end point to get to the adhesive tape, with which the same will be fixed the paper; once finished to rewind the head of the paper we can get back to work on light to seal the roll, which is now ready for use.

Il rullo 828 sigillato e pronto all'uso

A ready to use fresh 828 roll

Reloading the 828 roll does not require more than a couple of minutes if you have the paper available, while up to fifteen minutes are needed to prepare it from 120 native one.

Agilux Agiflash

Featured

HISTORY

La Agiflash vista di fronte

Front view of the camera

Agilux is a company established by AGI, the British entity specializing in the manufacture of instrumentation in support of military activities, with considerable attention in the field of optics; the subsidiary was founded just after the Second World War and devoted to production of cameras and optical equipment intended for the civilian market, also producing for others (i.e. the Ilford Sprite cameras were produced by Agilux). The first attempts were the ones to convert to civilian use the aerial camera model ARL, from which came the first Agiflex and then the production of all machine components: body, lenses and shutters. Following the launch of this first reflex were then produced some compact camera 127 and 135 size and an exquisite folding for 120 film, before the final closing of the production, which took place in the first half of the sixties (while the parent company is still active on the market).

The Agiflash was introduced in 1954 and remained in production until 1958, making a success of sales at home but virtually none in the rest of the world, and is a basic level of camera using 127 film made of bakelite, amazing especially for its asymmetrical and unusual design .

HOW IT WORKS

Vista del carter superiore

Vista del carter superiore

Being dedicated to the mass audience and presenting itself as part of the cheaper products line, the Agiflash has an extremely simple interface and has no mechanism for regulating delegated to the user.

The only controls on which action can be taken are the shutter button and the film advance, both located on the top cover, on which space is also the connector for the characteristic flash reflector (which, unfortunately, , the model in my possession is not equipped with). The composition of the image is carried out through the Galilean viewfinder, positioned slightly offset with respect to lens and without any parallax correction.

The rest of the camera is extremely simple and, as mentioned, does not present any further command: on the back is placed the small red window for the control of the frame number, while on the bottom there is the release mechanism of the back, a screw-type very similar to the common battery cap of the 70’s/80’s reflex. The back is integral with the cap which has to be rotated until the retainer slips pushing down: you have to remember, therefore, to have a coin with you if you want to take more than a roll!

The camera produces eight 4×6 cm images on a roll, then the range is rather limited (and here one must also take into account the cost of the few remaining 127 rolls), while as regards the quality we can not expect much from lens, which is a simple meniscus, often made of plastic material.

Where the Agiflash is particular, however, is in the construction: the body is entirely made of bakelite, and the metal parts are solely those of the mechanisms of advancement and retention of the film, the rim of the eyepiece, the button of shutter release and the flash connection, as well as the retaining screw of the bottom. The body is covered with a vulcanite that seems to hold up well as time and sits with ease thanks to its special form (“streamlined” in Anglo-Saxon terminology), while also providing a solid feel not just as a toycamera.

Unfortunately, however, it is in every way a camera that is part of the toy philosophy , while not belong to her for age reasons: one shutter speed, simple and not very bright lens, no additional control; a defect, in this case, is the use of 127 film, which certainly does not make economic the operation of the camera, which remains more a collector’s item than a usable one and can make a good impression as a design object.

TECHNICAL DATA

Model: Compact

Format: 4×6 cm on  127 film.

Optics : Anonymous Agilux 60 / f14, 5

Shutter: central spring, 1/35 sec fixed time.

Exposure modes: manual.

Viewfinder: Galilean.

Timer: no.

Flash: jack flash bulb.

Size: Length 150 mm, height 90 mm, depth 70 mm.

Weight: 430 gr.

PROS:

Design.

Quickness.

CONS:

No B mode.

Lens not accessible.

Wasteful Image Format.

AVAILABILITY ‘AND PRICES

Leaving aside some “crazy” listings the camera can be found online, especially in English sites at reasonable prices, up to a maximum of 30/40 Euro for a model including flash and box (the more attractive, taking into account limitations we mentioned above).

Kodak cameras

Featured

Kodak, as well as being the largest film producer in the world, has played a key role in the production of cameras, often innovative and always aimed at the spread of photography in the areas most extensive, with many of them, especially in the late nineteenth century and the first thirty years of the twentieth century, were accompanied by the introduction of a new form of photographic film: it has almost always worked, except in some cases where the low market penetration of the camera has limited the spread of the format , or vice versa.

I have often seen requests lists of Kodak cameras and we would like to raise here a summary list broken down by format film. The sources to which it refers are texts and publications that cover essentially the Kodak American production, except for a few European models of the Retina and some of the cameras produced on the Nagel Stuttgart design basis.

101 Format Cameras

Model

Period production

Notes

No.2 Bullet

1895-1900

since 1896 could also use single plate

Kodak No.2 Bullet

1900-1902

could also use double plate

No. 2 Bullet Special

1898-1905

could also use double plate

No.2 Bulls Eye

1895-1913

Produced in 5 different models

No.2 Bulls Eye Special

1898-1904

Version with bright viewfinder, produced in 3 different models

Kodak No.2 Falcon

1897-1899

No.2 Kodak Flexo

1899-1914

No.2 Folding Bulls Eye

1899-1901

Version with bellows

No.2 Folding Pocket

1899-1910

Stereo Kodak Model 1

1917-1925

Version with bellows

No.2 Kodak Stereo

1901-1905

102 Format Cameras

Model

Period production

Notes

Pocket Kodak Camera

1895-1901

could use either the roll-film holder 102. Updated every year for a total of 6 models

103 Format Cameras 

Model

Period production

Notes

No.4 Bullet

1896-1900

could also use single plate holder. The special version with double plate

No.4 Bulls Eye

1896-1904

Produced in 5 different models

No.4 Bulls Eye Special

1898-1904

Improved version, produced in 3 models

No.4 Panoram

1899-1924

Version with viewing angle of 142° produced in 5 different models

104 Format Cameras

Model

Period production

Notes

No.4 Kodak Cartridge

1897-1900

could also use glass plates

No.4 Cartridge Kodak LB

1900-1907

Version with stretched bellows . Even for glass sheets

105 Format Cameras

Model

Period production

Notes

Folding Pocket Camera A and B 1897-1899
No.1 Folding Pocket 1905-1915 Produced in 4 different models
No.1 Panoram 1900-1926 With panoramic lens in 4 different models

106 Format Cameras

Model

Period production

Notes

No.2 Eureka

1898-1901

Adapted to the format with Roll Holders

107 Format Cameras

Model

Period production

Notes

No.3 Kodet

1894-1896

With double plate or Roll Holders

108 Format Cameras 

Model

Period production

Notes

No.3 Folding Kodet

1894-1896

With Roll Holders

109 Format Cameras 

Model

Period production

Notes

No.4 Eureka

1899-1901

Adapted to the format with Roll Holders

No.4 Kodet

1897-1899

for double plate holder or Roll Holders

Flat Folding Kodak

1894

First attempt at rehabilitation with Roll Holders

110 Format Cameras 

Model

Period production

Notes

No.4 Folding Kodet

1894-1897

With Roll Holders

110 Pocket Format Cameras 

This is one of the most successful amateur formats in terms of cameras produced, for which a complete list is useless while we try to list here the following family of cameras produced by Kodak over the years.

Model

Period production

Notes

Ektralite Series 1978-1995
EKTRA Series 1978-1984 Basic Series of cameras
Fling 1987-1989
Hawkeye Pocket Instamatic Series 1973-1979 Reissue of Hawkeye 126 format ;  different models with normal or telephoto lenses
Pocket Instamatic Series 1973-1975 One of the most popular series in different versions and features
Tele Series 1975-1982
Trimlite Series 1975-1979
Pazzazz 1988-1994 Series Special colored

111 Format Cameras

Model

Period production

Notes

Current research

112 Format Cameras

Model

Period production

Notes

No.5 Folding Kodet

1895-1897

On glass plate or with Roll Holder

113 Format Cameras

Model

Period production

Notes

Current research

114 Format Cameras 

Model

Period production

Notes

Current research

115 Format Cameras 

Model

Period production

Notes

No.5 Cartridge

1898-1907

Produced in different models with improvements to the materials. It could also use adapters for glass plates

116 Format Cameras 

Model

Period production

Notes

No. 1A Autographic

1917-1924

Film A116

No. 1A Autographic Junior

1914-1927

Film A116

No. 1A Autographic Special

1914-1926

From 1917 onwards, with coupled rangefinder. Film A116

No. 2A Beau Brownie

1930-1933

Camera special edition produced in five different colors

No. 2A Brownie

1907-1933

In the course of its history, produced in bakelite and metal with different colors

No. 2A Folding Autographic Brownie

1915-1926

Film A116

No. 2A Folding Pocket Brownie

1910-1915

No. 1A Folding Pocket Kodak

1899-1915

The camera that introduced the format. Variations of materials and configuration during production

No. 1A Gift Kodak

1930-1931

Limited Edition

No. 1A Kodak Junior

1914

Limited Edition

No. 1A Kodak Series III

1924-1931

Part of a series of cameras produced also for other formats

No. 1A Pocket Kodak

1926-1932

Since 1929 also produced in bakelite and colored in the Junior version

No. 1A Pocket Kodak Series II

1923-1931

From 1928 also produced in colored bakelite

No. 1A Pocket Kodak Special

1926-1934

Film A116

Six-Three Kodak No. 1A

1913-1915

No. 1A Special

1912-1914

No. 1A Speed ​​

1909-1913

117 Format Cameras

The format, encoded before 1913 as No.1, is especially important because it marks the introduction of the first Brownie, a camera truly dedicated to the masses thanks to its launch price of just 1 dollar. 

Model

Period production

Notes

Brownie

1900-1901

The original Brownie (1 Dollar)

No.1 Brownie

1901-1916

118 Format Cameras 

Model

Period production

Notes

No. 3 Autographic

1914-1926

No.3 Autographic Special

1914-1926

No.3 Folding Pocket

1900-1915

Produced in 21 different models

No.3 Folding Pocket Deluxe

1901-1903

Special version made of precious materials

No.3 Special kodak

1911-1914

No.3 Series III

1926-1934

Part of a series of cameras produced also for other formats

Three Six No.3

1913-1915

No.3 Pocket

1926-1928

119 Format Cameras

Model

Period production

Notes

No.3 Cartridge

1900-1907

Produced in different models with improvements to the materials. It could also use adapters for glass plates

120 Format Cameras

Despite being the longest-serving size and the most loved by amateurs, semi-professionals and professionals, Kodak has never been aimed in a particular way on the 120, introduced in 1901 as a simple amateur format and preferred other types of film such as 116, 620 and 127, at least judging by the amount of camera models introduced over the years. However, there are some interesting patterns, even of a certain rarity, just for film 120.

Model

Period production

Notes

No.1 Autographic Kodak Junior

1914-1927

Film A120. Special version in two models 1915-1921 with parts in bakelite rather than wood

No.2 Beau Brownie

1930-1933

Produced in five different colors

No.2 Brownie

1901-1933

Series by great success, introduced the new format in roll. Produced in three different series with variations in material and color

No.2 Brownie Special

1933-1934

Special Edition and Final Brownie

No.2 Folding Autographic Brownie

1915-1926

Version folding A120 film

Souvenir Century Progress

1933

Limited edition and very rare

Kodak Junior No.1

1914

Economic version of the camera with 120 film

No.1 Kodak Series III

1926-1932

No.1 Pocket Kodak

1926-1932

From 1929 available in 4 different colors and versions economic Junior

121 Format Cameras

Model

Period production

Notes

No.0 Folding Pocket A

1902

Original pattern for size

No.0 Folding Pocket B

1902-1906

With addition of metal fasteners for quills

122 Format Cameras 

Model

Period production

Notes

No.3A Autographic Kodak

1914-1934

No.3A Autographic Junior

1918-1927

No.3A Autographic Special

1914-1934

From 1916 with rangefinder coupled

No.3A Folding Autographic Brownie

1916-1926

No.3A Folding Brownie

1909-1915

No.3A Folding Pocket

1903-1915

Made in 7 different models

No.3A Panoram Kodak

1926-1928

Special version with panoramic lens

No.3A Pocket

1927-1933

Six Three No.3A

1913-1915

No.3A Special

1910-1914

No.3A Series II

1936-1941

No.3A Series III

1941-1943

Part of a series of cameras produced also for other formats

123 Format Cameras

Model

Period production

Notes

No.4 Focus Screen

1904-1910

No.4 Folding Pocket Kodak

1907-1915

124 Format Cameras

Model

Period production

Notes

No.3 Folding Pocket Brownie

1905-1909

Brownie No.3

1908-1934

No.3 Bulls Eye Model A

1908-1913

125 Format Cameras 

Model

Period production

Notes

No. 2 Stereo Brownie

1905-1910

3B Quick Focus

1906-1911

In 3 different models

126 Format Cameras

Model

Period production

Notes

4A Folding Kodak 1906-1915 could also use glass plates

126 Instamatic Format Cameras

Model

Period production

Notes

Instamatic Series

1963-1973

23 different models of compact cameras basic

Instamatic S Series

1967-1971

2 different models

Instamatic X Series

1970-1988

The longest-running series

Instamatic Reflex

1968-1974

4 different models

127 Format Cameras

The 127 is one of the formats of film on which the company has been more focused in the first thirty years of the twentieth century and then again in the 50s and 60s with the Brownie plastic cameras; introduced to provide a quality comparable to larger sizes while ensuring an excellent portability of the cameras, it was called commercially for some time, “Vest Pocket” as the most famous 127 cameras produced by Kodak

Model

Period production

Notes

Boy Scout Vest Pocket

1929-1934

Baby Brownie

1934-1954

Reduced version of the Brownie in 117 format, again with just one dollar price, also produced in small Special version with surcharge

Brownie No.0

1914-1935

Brownie at 27

1963-1965

Brownie Bullet

1957-1968

Two versions were produced

Brownie Fiesta

1962-1970

Three different models

Brownie Reflex

1940-1952

A TLR with basic functions

Brownie Star series

1956-1967

It includes several models and versions like Starflash, Starmite, Starlet

Eastman Bullet

1936-1942

Jiffy Vest Pocket

1935-1942

Kodak Coquette / Ensemble

1929-1933

Hawkeye Flashfun

1961-1969

Bakelite camera for kids

Pupils

1932-1935

It rode Leitz lenses or Schneider. Equipped with external rangefinder

Ranca

1932-1934

Similar to the pupils but with Nagel lens

Vest Pocket

1912-1935

The original bellows camera, produced in different variations with film A127

Vollenda

1929-1937

Folding compact design of Nagel, with Leitz lenses or Schneider

128 Format Cameras

Model

Period production

Notes

the format was produced as an alternative to Houghton E1

129 Format Cameras

Model

Period production

Notes

the format was produced as an alternative to Houghton E2

130 Format Cameras

Model

Period production

Notes

No.2C Autographic

1916-1928

special version (from 1923) with coupled rangefinder

No.2C Brownie

1917-1934

No.2C Folding Autographic Brownie

1916-1926

Film A130

No.2C Series II

1924-1931

Part of a series of cameras produced also for other formats

No.2C Pocket

1926-1932

No.2C Pocket Special

1928-1933

135 Format Cameras

Also for the 135 it would not be very useful to provide a list of cameras produced by Kodak since the introduction of the classic film; in particular, there is a large production of compact cameras of any type produced by the 70s until the end of the 90’s, mainly in response to the compact Japanese tat that time becoming increasingly widespread. There are, however, important models and families of cameras that have marked in some way the history of cameras, below.

Model

Period production

Notes

Automatic 35

1959-1969

Produced in four successive variations, a large circulation amateur camera

Motormatic 35

1960-1969

Three successive variants

Pony 135

1950-1962

Introduced in parallel to the Pony 828

Retina

1934-1970

The series that introduced the format. It presents different models, some of the highest quality and value, both bellows that rigid body with fixed or interchangeable Schneider lens

Retina Reflex

1958-1968

version of the SLR family Retina

Retinette

1952-1967

Star

1990-1995

Produced in many models, including autofocus and zoom

VR 35

1986-1993

prior to Star Series 

240 APS Format Cameras

Model

Period production

Notes

ADVANTIX Series

1996-1998

Series of cameras with fixed lens or zoom

35 Format Cameras

The format 35 is a predecessor of the standard 135, and part of 828, based on cinematography-derived film wrapped with protective paper

Model

Period production

Notes

00 Cartridge Premo

1916-1922 The smallest box camera produced by Kodak

616 Format Cameras

The 616 is one of the formats on which Kodak has focused more for a long time, introducing different series of cameras, most of which are very simple, dedicated to the casual photographer. Almost every series has also been presented in the format 620, which is identical in the physical size and image size too but different in the size of the spool.

Model

Period production

Notes

Brownie Target Six

1946-1951

 

Six 16 Brownie

1933-1942

The most popular model, produced in three successive series

Brownie Target Six 16

1941-1946

 

Jiffy Six 16

1933-1942

 

Junior Six 16

1935-1940

Produced in three successive series

Monitor Six 16

1939-1948

most advanced camera of the previous

Senior Special Six Six 16 and 16

1937-1939

 

Vigilant Junior Six 16

1939-1948

 

Kodak Six 16

1932-1936

 

620 Format Cameras

To 620 applies what already said about 616: it was one of the formats for which Kodak has produced countless variations of camera, from simple box to TLR and bellows cameras  as well as the famous series Brownie, widespread among young amateurs.

Model

Period production

Notes

Brownie Bulls Eye

1954-1960

Two versions with different colors

Brownie Flash

1946-1965

Three different models

Brownie Hawkeye

1949-1961

since 1951 with flash

Brownie Reflex 20

1959-1966

 

Brownie Six 20

1953-1955

 

Brownie Target Six 20

1946-1952

 

Brownie Twin 20

1959-1964

 

Jiffy Six 20

1933-1948

Produced in two series (second from 1937)

Kodak Duaflex

1947-1960

Produced in four consecutive series

Kodak Duex

1940-1942

 

Kodak Duo Six 20

1934-1940

Produced in two series, the second is also a model with rangefinder

Kodak Junior Six 20

1935-1940

Series similar to the format version 616

Kodak Medalist

1941-1953

Camera successful produced in two series

Kodak Monitor Six 20

1939-1948

The same model product for film 616

Kodak Reflex

1946-1954

Produced in three versions

Kodak Tourist

1948-1958

From 1951 Tourist II

Kodak Vigilant Six 20

1939-1949

A similar model for the film 616, also available in Junior until 1948

Six 20

1932-1944

From 1938 model Super Six 20. It was the camera that was introduced with the 620

Six 20 Brownie

1933-1946

Camera widespread, produced in 6 different models

Vollenda

1934-1939

Camera on folding design Nagel

828 Format Cameras

Model

Period production

Notes

Bantam

1935-1938

In the version with viewfinder disk

Bantam

1938-1947

With collapsible viewfinder

Bantam f / 4.5

1938-1948

Bantam f / 5.6

1938-1941

Bantam f / 8

1938-1942

Bantam Special

1936-1948

Bantam RF

1953-1957

Flash Bantam

1947-1953

With flash

Instant film Cameras

The history of Kodak branded instant film was rather unlucky: Kodak went from being a producer of instant film for Polaroid type FilmPack to produce their own version of the film, marketed since 1976 but, that had to be stopped abruptly ten years later, when the same Polaroid won a lawsuit for patent infringement.

Model

Period production

Notes

Colorburst Series (EK)

1976-1982

The first series, produced in different versions with increasing technical characteristics. Film Series PR10

Kodamatic Series

1982-1986

The second series, produced in various versions until the end of the instantaneous production in 1986. Film Series HS144

Kodak Disc HR Cameras

Model

Period production

Notes

Disc 2000

1982-1984

Disc 3000

1983-1984

Disc 4000

1982-1984

Disc 6000

1982-1984

Disc 8000

1982-1984

Kodak Disc VR Cameras 

Model

Period production

Notes

Disc 3100

1984-1987

Disc Hawkeye

1985

Disc 4100

1984-1987

Disc 6100

1984-1987

Disc 3600

1986-1990

Disc Challenger

1986-1990

Tele Disc

1985-1990

Disc Medalist

1985-1990

Different models produced

Rollei RPX 25 – First Contact

Featured

Maco has recently introduced the new film at 25 ISO that would complement, together with ISO 100 and 400 presented a couple of years ago, the RPX family, now more than ever similar in content to the historic  Agfa Pan APX line. The official announcement has been followed by the spread of the early film stock, which now can  be found in  stores in  120 and 135 (36 exp and 100ft reel) sizes and the exchange of information has begun  in the forums and discussion groups about the characteristics and possibilities of exploiting this new emulsion.

The choice of Maco to introduce the Rollei RPX 25 has certainly aroused enthusiasm, also due to the fact that the newcomer goes to cover a hole left by the end of production of the Efke 25 (though the characteristics are different) and not filled with the Rollei PAN 25, generally not very popular, and it is expected a good spread between amateur photographers.

Rollei RPX 25 Package The new RPX is a pleasant surprise from the first sight of the pack, which is particularly carefully-made and different from those typical of Rollei, much closer to the packaging of Ilford and Kodak. The expiry date (January 2018 for this first batch) is stamped on the carton and on the aluminum, while inside of the card are present information for the development of the film, very useful due to the novelty, although some have remarkable similarities with those of Agfa APX 25. The initial development times proposed by Maco  are as follows (agitation or rotation, 20 ° C):

Developer Dilution Time (min)
Rollei SUPERGRAIN 1 +12 5
Rollei RLS 1 +4 12 (24 ° C)
Rodinal 1 +25 6
Rodinal 1 +50 11
Studional 1 +15 5:30
Studional 1 +31 7
Ilford ID-11 1 +1 8
Ilford PERCEPTOL 1 +1 10
Kodak D76 1 +1 8
Kodak XTol 1 +1 8
Kodak HC-110 B 5
Paterson FX39 1 +9 8
Tetenal Ultrafin + 1 +4 5

For this first contact I used Rodinal 1 +25, well-tested with the APX 25, particularly to see whether the promises of fine-grained, are met; shots were made with a camera Zenza Bronica ETRS (size 6×4, 5), while the exposure was always measured in the incident light (ambient or flash).

Without dwelling on the development stage, it is worth remembering that the media is pretty thin and when Rollei RPX25 exposed going to play the film to insert it into the spiral you have to pay attention and place it gently in order to avoid scratches; in addition, there must be a significant electrostatic component as at the time to separate the film from the backing paper  some spark have been developes, even though the operation was carried out with the utmost caution. In addition, the developed support dries very quickly and seems to avoid the dust!

At the end of the development has been noticed  how the emulsion is coated on a extremely transparent support like the one on which is coated, for those who have tried it, the Rollei CN200: this should facilitate scanning operations but can give help even during the traditional print process.

Il supporto decisamente trasparente

Il supporto decisamente trasparente

The drying roll seemed well developed with clear and legible writings on the edges, proof that the suggested time for the Rodinal is correct (seems obvious, but it is not always so ….); next step is verify what is the response of the scan, to be followed by the much more convincing chemical print.

The first thing that you would expect from a film of this type is that it accurately captures even minute details (providing the optical camera allows it), so the first two shots below have served for a first evaluation on this. Net of interpolations and conversions which can be performed by the scanning software , the observation of negative confirms that the detail captured in the nuances (for example in the cortex of the picture on the left) is really the top. This bodes well for getting large detailed prints even from a negative 6×4,5.
It’s important to remember, however, that this impression of detail is also helped by the contrast generated by the development in Rodinal 1 +25.

scan0002Batch Pict0012

Another important element to achieve high magnifications without deterioration of quality is, as mentioned at the beginning, the fineness of the grain; in this case, the chosen developer and dilution  are certainly not the best solution but, the film keeps largely the promises of the manufacturer and has a fine and extremely pleasant grain; magnification below is very illustrative of detail that you can keep:

RPX 25 ed esposimetro

Particolare dell'immagine precedente

Detail of the left image

The images were taken in ambient light, both indoors and outdoors (of course the gray, rainy day was not the best), or indoors with flash light, trying to assess roughly the exposure latitude: we tried to do some  over and underexposure of the same images. In both cases, it seems that two stops adjustments are too much (certainly in overexposure), and the impression is confirmed both by scanning and direct view of the negative but, the final verdict will be asked for to the enlarger . The two images below show the difference between a correct exposure and a two-stop longer:

Esposizione corretta

Correct exposure

Sovraesposizione 2 stop

2 stops over exposure

This imbalance does not occur if the exposure time becomes quite long, more than 10 seconds; this is probably due to the occurrence of a lack of reciprocity which, however, while the data are not yet available, we can assume that is analogous to what happened for the APX 25 (1.5 stops of variation for times longer than 10 sec), and the two images below would appear to confirm this:

Esposizione corretta

Correct exposure

Sovraesposizione con difetto di reciprocità

Over exposure with reciprocity fault

Untitled-2 The film behaviour appears to be correct when using the flash even in those cases where strong variations in brightness within the image are likely to render unreadable parts. A flash shot from the front and very close almost like in the photo on the left did not stop, in fact, the development of an extended tonal range, maintaining  legible details even in the brightest parts.

The range is, however, more extensive when not using the flash, and if you take into account the correction factor of reciprocity (and you have a good tripod!), long exposures do not represent an absolute problem.

Batch Pict0004Untitled-3

Ultimately, this first contact confirms that the Rollei RPX 25 is definitely a good news for the analogue photography community, lately a bit stressed out by the constant (or threatened) disappearance of products, and is presented as a film that can give satisfaction in a fairly large area, definitely larger than what would appear to suggest an emulsion just 25 ISO. These initial assessments need of further testing as soon as possible by chemical printing of these negatives and additional test with different developers (and also in the 135 format). Subsequent updates will be published as a continuation of these notes.

Batch Pict0005

Retromania

Featured

 Retromania

Title

Retromania

Author

Lawrence Harvey

Editions

Logos

Year

2013

Format

15 x 21 cm

Pages

176

Price

14.95 €

Cover

Cardstock

ISBN

9788857605623

PLEASE NOTE THE REVIEW IS REFERRED TO THE ITALIAN LANGUAGE EDITION

A small volume that wants to propose, as the subtitle says, a list of the most original cameras of the golden age of photography through their images, their packs and much more accompanied by a brief text that tells little anecdotes. If you are looking for reviews Retromania is definitely not the book but, if you want a quick roundup (for each proposed model are indeed devoted two pages including pictures) of some of the most popular models of amateur photographic and cinematographic equipment perhaps to take the cue to start its own collection, this text can fulfil its task very well.

The book begins with a brief descriptive introduction, followed by two pages of summary of film types and formats (indeed, rather incomplete, but this is due to the fact that it only refers to the models shown in the volume), followed by the main body entirely dedicated to cameras and divided into chapters (1900-1949, 1950-1959, 1960-1969, 1970-1979, 1980-1999 and 2000 +).

As mentioned, for each model presented you’ll find a very short historical overview, some notes in some cases linked to the author’s personal experiences and photographic apparatus consisting of cameras, images of packaging or accessories and reproductions of advertisements and manuals of the era. Some models are actually “momentous” for what they have contributed to photography in terms of mass distribution or technological progress, while others impress because of their rarity, bizarre or nonsensical functions forms (two out of all, very little known, are the Ricoh Mirai 105, undoubtedly one of the ugliest camera ever, and the Keystone Everflash).

If you are a curious of  camera history or an insatiable collectors  always looking for new pieces, then this book can do for you.

Aesthetically, the Edition (edited for Italy by Valentina van Deventer and translated by Karen van den Bergh), is built with printed images and paper quality suitable for the target audience of this book as well as the soft cover; the format is guessed for its portability, a little less for storage in a well-ordered library!

Canon A1

Featured

HISTORY

Canon A1 In the second half of the ’70s we saw expansion of the electronics integrated in the cameras, played with perhaps too early by some companies but not by Canon, which at the right time presents the new series camera “A” in which, in fact, the electronics, in the form of controls and exposure programs, is the key element. The Canon A1 represents the flagship model in terms of technical characteristics of this new series and was commercialized in 1978, two years after the release of the forerunner model of the As (Canon AE-1). Compared to this, the Canon A1 is positioned at a higher technological level, you could say almost professional, although some shortcomings and limitations make it more oriented to advanced amateur photographer. The main innovation was the introduction, for the first time on an SLR, of a programmed mode of exposure-control, coupled with a highly accurate metering system, the operator freed by the need to evaluate the best couple time-diaphragm, allowing him to focus solely on composition. Along with this ability, however, Canon equipped the A1 with a full set of advanced features and improvements over the previous AE1, while maintaining substantially the same aesthetics. The camera remained in production virtually without any changes or improvements until 1984, when it was introduced the new T-series and just before the advent of auto focus system of the EOS.

HOW IT WORKS

La guancetta-impugnatura protettiva

The handling support

The comprehensive approach does not differ from the typical SLR in general, and especially of those of the second half of the 70s; compared to the previous AE1, changes to the “body” are quite limited: significant is, above all, the presence of the grip plate screwed on the right side, which performs the double task of improving the handle and to protect the battery compartment cover, weak point of the whole A series; aesthetically, however, note especially the black finish, only available for the A1.

As mentioned, the real revolution is placed insider the body: the Canon A1 has, in fact, four exposure modes; the camera can be used in manual, shutter-priority or aperture-priority and the new mode “Program”, in which the camera circuit takes care of choosing the optimal combination of time and aperture. All things taken for granted today, but revolutionary at the time of commercialization.

Vista complessiva della calotta superiore

The top of the camera

First of all, the camera should be turned on, as being totally dependent on the battery and does not have mechanical times; switching is done by moving the lever on the right end of the top cap from position A to position L; the same lever is also used to activate the self-timer to 2 or 10 seconds. The selection of the mode of operation, however, is carried out using the controls located on the right side of the top cap. Coaxial to the shutter button (equipped with threaded socket for the insertion of a remote shutter release) there is the command for the selection of the time priority (TV) or the aperture priority (AV); together with the choice of modes, a movable bezel turns in the window to the left of the shutter button for the selection of the scale of shutter speeds or lens apertures. Both modes work after positioning on the green  A the aperture selection ring on the lens barrel and then by selectiong the proper value by the wheel located on the front of the camera; this wheel is equipped with a safe which goes down before using.

Il selettore delle priorità e la finestrella di selezione. Si notano anche il pulsante di scatto e il led dell'autoscatto.

The priority selector and the values windows, the self-timer LED and the shutter release button

If the lens does not lie on A, the Canon A1 works in manual mode in the case the mode switch is set to TV; inside the viewfinder, the LED indicators will provide, in addition to indicating the M of the manual, the proper aperture to be set in function of the chosen time. Unfortunately, the indicators do not give any confirmation of correct selection, which must then be carried out by detaching eyes from the viewfinder. Regarding the shutter speeds, is to emphasize the presence of the long ones, 2-4-8-15 and 30 seconds, which are very useful for long exposures without using the B mode.

The program mode is activated by keeping the aperture ring on A and placing the speed indicator  on the green P, that is reacheable on the wheel after the shorter speed of 1/1000 sec. In this way, you will see inside the viewfinder the indication of the selected pair from the metering circuit. The display can also be switched off using the lever on the left side of the prism housing, placing it on the white sticker, all in order to preserve as much as possible the precious battery. This lever is coaxial with the test button battery which, if positive, let the LED illuminate. The camera, finally, can also operate in automatic exposure mode with flash synchro selecting the 1/60 sec speed.

La ghiera delle sensibilità e gli altri comandi qui descritti

The other controls on the left side of top

Always on the left side of the top cap is located, coaxially to the pawl rewinding, the film sensibility dial which varies between 6 and 12800 ASA and is unlocked by a really hidden key, located on the outer ring of the dial. Acting instead on a second button release, this time clearly visible on the cover, you can intentional modify the exposure, with four different values (under or over).

The frame counter is finally placed in hidden position behind the window of time / aperture and at a lower level, enough to be hidden from the loading lever.

The rest of the camera body is quite simple: on the front you will find an outlet for Synchro flash, the aforementioned safe closure for the  selection wheel of speed / diaphragms and, on the side of the lens mount, buttons for exposure memory lock and activation of the exposure and the sled for previewing depth of field. On the back there is only one command that drives the closure of the viewfinder (useful in case of long exposures), on the left side of the eyepiece, and a pocket to insert the film memo set in the middle of the back.

On the bottom, finally, there are the threaded tripod mount, the release button for film rewinding and electrical contacts for the optional motor winder.

The Canon A1 offers all the functions evolved amateur photographer could need and is certainly a rugged and reliable camera, with the only flaw being totally dependent on batteries; those accustomed to more simple reflex can be initially bewildered in front of so many features and so many commands condensed into a camera body that ultimately is quite compact, but they need just to study a little or read the manual for further use in total confidence. Of course, thanks to the possibility to exploit the high general level of FD lenses (as well as the previous series), the price makes it the perfect centerpiece of a semi-professional outfit, given the wide selection of products and accessories yet widely available.

To mention a problem that often plagues these models, and more generally the whole A Series, the hardening of lubricants which causes a hissing sound from shutter which can in the long run  lead to mechanical damage; nothing, in any event, that can not be solved with a little DIY or thru professional CLA.

TECHNICAL DATA

Model: 35mm SLR

Format: 24×36 on 135 film.

Lens mount : Canon FD

Shutter: on the focal plane, horizontal side-scrolling curtains, time from 30 sec to 1/1000 sec and B mode.

Exposure modes: Aperture-priority, Shutter-priority, Program, Manual, B mode.

Meter: from -2 to +18 EV (100 ASA)

Viewfinder: pentaprism, LED display time / aperture / mode.

Sensitivity: manually selectable from 6 to 12800 ASA / ISO

Self-timer: Yes, 2 or 10 seconds.

Flash: hot shoe outlet and Synchro.

Size: Length 141 mm; height 92 mm; depth of 48 mm.

Power : 1 stack 4LR44/4SR44

Weight: 623 gr.

PROS:

Exposure modes.

Choice of shutter speeds.

Canon FD quality lenses.

Availability of accessories.

Exposure memory lock.

Robustness.

CONS:

Dependence on batteries and no mechanical timing

Synchro time only 1/60 sec.

Crowded upper shell commands.

AVAILABILITY ‘AND PRICES

The Canon A1 is very popular due to its great commercial success, and is very easy to retrieve it worldwide within all the usual channels; cameras for sale are generally in good if not excellent condition but, its complexity makes it worthy of any check-up. In any case, if well kept, this camera is able to guarantee long years of service!

The prices are variable generally between 70 and 150 €  depending on the conditions, the nationality of the seller and any accessories or optical equipment; it is not unusual to find online well-maintained bodies at prices slightly higher than 50 €, which is close to a bargain!.

Way Beyond Monochrome (2ed)

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 Way Beyond Monochrome

Title

Way Beyond Monochrome

Author

Ralf Lambrecht, Chris Woodhouse

Editions

Focal Press

Year

2010

Format

26 x 26 cm

Pages

542

Price

42,00 €

Cover

Plastic-coated cardboard

ISBN

9780240816258

Way Beyond Monochrome is a book that since its first appearance in 2001 arose to the role of a real must have for all those devoted to the fine art print, both amateur and professional; updated in 2010 to take account of developments in camera systems and digital print, keeps in any case, even in this second edition an impression purely analog.

The book is full bodied (542 pages), printed on quality card that highlights the many inserted pictures and, especially, is fraught with theoretical and practical knowledge about the entire shooting, developing and printing, not to mention more general references physical and optical laws; not for nothing, the text opens with a brief study on the physiology of the eye and on the theory of vision. The first section of the volume continues with the basics about printing and presentation of prints, before leaving space to the second part, aptly titled “The Science”; Here are exposed clearly theoretical and practical rules that follow a common thread: prefix to the player to achieve a level of mastery of the whole process of producing an image that you can create easily and knowledgeably fine art prints of exceptional quality. We will find a modern discussion of the zone system, though not extensive as that of Adams, an in-depth guide to sensitometry-related specs and several practical techniques exposed in great. As a plus, about 50 pages of images, returned, as mentioned, perfectly from coated paper, illustrating the above in the “theoretical”, clearly showing which is the degree of control of the process that the authors want to convey to readers. The third part of the book, not least, closes with helpful tips ans tricks on traditional darkroom equipment, offering some interesting examples of DIY and illustrating more new special techniques. No less useful are the formulas and tables in the Appendix, which are real close to the text.

Ultimately, the book definitely keeps the promises and fully applies (even more) its price; Certainly, it is one of those classic that can not miss in the library of the printer, or even a simple analogue photography enthusiast, like Adams trilogy or our manuals Osca Ghedina. The format (26 x 26 cm square) is quite impressive and the typographic quality overall, as mentioned, excellent and there was to be expected if you know the Focal Press publications. The only drawback (for Italian speaking readers, of course) is the availability in English only, which could restrain many from buying: Unfortunately, to date there is no translated Edition. If the language is not a problem, instead, Way Beyond Monochrome should be your next purchase.

Miniature Photography – Part II

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Following the first notes on miniature photography in which we had a look at the film formats, we shall now proceed to make a quick trip on the main cameras available on the market at the time; several of these, in particular the Minolta 16, are still readily available in second-hand equipment market and can be used without any problems, except that of refilling the cartridge , even today.

Minolta 16

The small Minolta 16 in its many variations is undoubtedly one of the 16mm cameras still the most common, due to its convenience and 4552163736_8999ed9979_nmaterials quality as well as its Rokkor lens. In the original version it was presented as a camera with full manual control, equipped with 3 elements Rokkor 25 / 3.5  and a shutter speeds 1 / 25 – 1 / 50 and 1/200. A second version, in the same body, was introduced with an improved four elements Rokkor 22 / 2.8  with a minimum aperture f /16 against the f/11 of the original version and  shutter speeds from 1/30 to 1 / 500 plus Bulb: This version, though outwardly identical, is known as Minolta 16-2.

The closed metal made body  measuring just 8 x 4 x 2.3 cm  combined with a weight of just over 100 grams, make it an incredible example of portability, much smaller than the classic pack of cigarettes and with a lower surface to that of a credit card; opened, in use position, it is measuring only 10.5 cm in length.

The camera uses proprietary 16mm film cassettes capable of twenty exposures, which were originally marketed filled with Kodak Plus-X or Kodacolor, though branded Minolta. These cassettes are designed to be easily refilled.

The first two models were followed by several other versions, automatic or semi-automatic, but none with the compactness of the first series.

 Ricoh 16

The camera manufactured by Ricoh Ricoh 16 was equipped with screw lens mount that allowed, in anticipation, great expandability:  initially presented with a  three elements Rikenon 25 / 3,5, was equipped almost immediately by an additional telephoto 40 / 3.5. The Ricoh 16 follows the shapes of 35mm rangefinder cameras much in vogue at the time of its introduction, and is an excellent example of miniaturization operated by Japanese engineers: the dimensions differ by very little, except of course the height, from the Minolta 16. The shutter allowed three different  speeds (1/50, 1/100 and 1/200) and the bulb; in Italy it was marketed in the standard version, as in the rest of Europe, while the United States was particularly diffused and appreciated the Golden version. The film was supplied in boxes of 20 exposures and was generally BW film or Kodak Kodachrome 20

Mikroma

The Mikroma was introduced by Meopta since 1949 and today represents one of the most sought after by 16mm cameras collectors. This model, like the Ricoh 16, follows in the materials and forms the 35mm production and, in this case, is reminiscent of a miniature reflex. Mikroma IIb

The camera was originally equipped with a  3 elements Meopta Mirar 20 / 3.5, a very moderate wide angle, and with a shutter with only two exposure times (1/50 and 1/100) more poses B. Film loading  takes place also in this case with rechargeable cassettes (with higher fatigue than those Ricoh and Minolta) able to ensure a range of 50 exposures.  The frame format is 11 x 14 mm or 10.5 x 14 mm, depending on whether you are using 16mm film single or double perforation.

Given the remarkable success that this camera experienced in the 50s, in the early sixties was introduced a new version (Mikroma II) with an improved shutter with speeds from 1/5 to 1/400 sec and Bulb, a greater extension of the apertures up to f / 16 and a wider impressed frame 11.4 x 14,7mm or 10 x 14.7 mm). It was also produced a stereo version, but it is extremely uncommon.

Minox B

The Minox B, a paradigm par excellence of spy-cameras, goes on sale towards the end of the 50s; a real gem of miniaturization and precision mechanical engineering, is still one of the most apreciated mini cameras and sought after.Minox_B_blitz The model B, in particular, reflects the heritage of the first Minox IIIs (or A), introducing improvements in both optical and electronic mechanisms vs the original.

Lens is a four elements Minox Complan 15 / 3.5 prized for its clarity and definition, outstanding in relation to the format; the camera has a shutter with a full range of speeds from 1/2 up to 1/1000 sec plus the bulb and the already rare at the time T pose. The dimensions are equal to 9.8 x 4 , 75 x 1.6 cm make it an extremely pocket and carry it with you. This  Minox was also equipped with an accurate lightmeter and built-in ND and Green filters, easy and quick to set up. If one of them used, lightmeter calculated automatically the exposure compensation, a very peculiar feature.

Unlike other cameras described above, the Minox uses 8.5 mm film and produces 8×11 mm pictures; the film is contained in proprietary cassettes with up to 50 frames. The choice of films was rather large and included emulsions as Adox KB14, KB17, KB21, Agfa isopan F, while there were also 36-exposure cassettes filled with Kodak Tri-X and Anscochrome. There was also a orthochromatic film by Adox rated 5 ASA.

In the next part we will continue the rundown on other of the most popular models of spy-camera on the market.

110 Pocket format

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110-2

Historical Notes

In 1972, the year of introduction of the new format, the large-scale spread of the 126 Instamatic format had suggested the introduction of a new format that would reproduce the main features, most notably machine loading error proof, while seeking to overcome the dissemination, leveraging lower cost of ownership and ease of use. He was presented the new 110 format, called Pocket to distinguish it from the previous 110 of the early 900, and, with it, the new series of ultra-compact cameras pocket-instamatic.

Technical Characteristics

The film is contained in a plastic cartridge that can be inserted in one direction inside the camera and that is extracted from the same after you take the last image, no need to rewind the film. The film strip contained in the cartridge is protected by a strip of paper and has a length of about 30-35 cm and a width of 16 mm, while the single frame measures 13 x 17 mm. The film has a puncture which, in most cameras, allows the advance and shutter armouring.

The cartridge, in some cameras with automatic exposure, enables the appliance, using the presence or absence of a tongue on one side, to distinguish the films in low (100-200 iso) or high (200 – 400 iso) sensitivity. The extreme miniaturization of the format (which however is not the smallest that appeared on the scene with the camera) does not allow achieving high magnification, high penalty grain and lack of sharpness that make it, in fact, useless printing.

Cameras & Films

Several manufacturers have made their contribution to the success of the format, producing films that both machines, most of which little sizes exceed those of the cartridge itself without any adjustment; the format itself has allowed the proliferation of all sorts of cameras-gadgets spread in tribute along with many products, from detergents to magazines at French fries! Next to such simple machines, it should be noted the production of camera with complex functions and sophisticated automation, such as the Minolta SLR 110 or even interchangeable lens systems, like the Pentax 110.

Dominating was the availability of color negative film, produced by Kodak, Fujifilm, Agfa and other smaller producers, and for a time was also a 110 version of Kodachrome. Deficient or totally absent production of black and white films for this format. Fujifilm has finished production in 2009 and its latest films have deadlines between the 2010 and 2011; today (2010), Kodak remains the only manufacturer, mainly non-European market.

Similar formats and derivatives

Next to the spread of 110, there was also the presence of two additional formats with similar characteristics, the Minox format (with images of only 8 x 11 mm) and cameras with 16 mm cartridge, such as the Minolta 16 and Kiev 30.

Use the 110 Pocket format today

Being the simplest cameras available on the used market at prices generally below 5 euros, and a few more sophisticated ones, the real obstacle to using today's 110 format is the availability of film and development laboratories. The new film is available only from Kodak, usually Gold in color, and now also the new Lomography line that includes, to date, a film NL iso 100, iso 200 colour and a red-scales; the laboratories capable of developing the format are now completely disappeared, while always Lomography has launched a new service of 110 film processing and printing.

However, having these cartridges you can easily charge with 16 mm film or film 135/120 duly cut, possibly with those cameras that do not need to load the bolt hole; in this way you will have a wide choice of color or black and white film to process and print out on your own.

For scanning, in addition to simple alternative to build a cardboard film, suitable for the purpose are the old life that accompanied the objectives of dia duplication.