Category Archives: SHOW&TELL

Kodak Junior: Use 120 in your 620 camera

JUNIOR_003

Ghost Flower: still life

There were three models of this camera made between 1935 and 1939 selling for around £13.50. I’m not sure which model this is but it’s getting on for 80 years old and for it’s age it’s an amazing camera.

FOLD_CAM_009a

Kodak Junior 620

Using this camera isn’t without it challenges. The major one is that it’s a 620 camera and 620 film is pretty much impossible to get a hold of. However, the only difference between 620 and 120 is the spool in which the film sits on; the hub of 620 spool is little narrower then a 120 film spool. Nevertheless, there are a number of pretty easy ‘hacks’ you can do to rectify this inconvenience. The method I used was introduced to me by the FilmPhotographyTube channel on YouTube which show you how to roll our own. This involves rolling your 120 film from the 120 spool onto a 620 spool [in a change bag]. This method is easier then it sounds and the dude on FilmPhotography channel explains it really well. You do however need two 620 spool and a changing bag to do this.

FOLD_CAM_011

Full body shot

On the day I wanted to shoot the only 120 film I had was colour negative ISO 100 which wasn’t ideal as I planned to take some Harry Callahan inspired abstract nature shots and develop the film myself with B&W chemistry. It was a bright overcast day which would raise some concerns if I was using a toy camera for example but this Kodak is surprisingly sophisticated. It’s has a choice of shutter speeds 1/25, 1/50, 1/100, Bulb and T setting. The T setting allows you to open the shutter on the first press of the release then close it on the second. This could be used manually trigger a flash in really low light. There are also a choice of apertures 6.2 – 22 and a focus ring which can be preset depending on how far away you are from your subject. There was no doubt in my mind that I’d get a decent exposure. To make sure I metered the light once [with a mobile phone app] and then just guessed the rest.

The photograph at the top of the page is the only inside photo I took inside which explains the slight under exposure. My close proximity to the subject possibly also explains the lack of focus as well. Nevertheless, I think this only adds to it dreamy ambiguous nature.

JUNIOR_001

Framing is a challenge

Obviously I didn’t get any where close to actualising my Callahan ambitions but I still like the photo’s that the Kodak captured. I don’t regret using colour negative film either as I think sepia colour cast this sit right with the camera.

JUNIOR_010

Logs: Depth

JUNIOR_005

Pine tree; looking up

JUNIOR_008

Winter Poplar

In conclusion I really enjoyed using this camera. Like all film cameras it slows our photography down and makes you visualise or imagine your intentions before you press the shutter taking into consideration the light condition, film speed, film type, post production etc. It’s really easy to use and incredible versatile camera although you would need faster film for shooting inside and a light meter is always handy.

This camera is for sale and available here

Bob

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Colour Slide Film: X-processed

Slide Film

Night Bus

Had some colour slide film [reversal film] in my Ricoh KR-10 since the summer that I finally got around to processing. What does that tell you about me? I’m lazy, I’ve got too many other cameras or I’m not taking enough photos? Maybe all of the above.

The camera was loaded with AGFA CT Precisa Colour Slide Film [100 ISO] that I decided to cross process. This means using a C41 chemistry [used for colour negative film] to process the film instead of the conventional E6 chemistry. This process tends to give that quintessential Lomo look to your photos but blowing out the high-lights, increasing contrast and de-saturating colours. Anyway, I got the scans back from the lab but with mixed results.

The above shot of the bus stop was the only shot on the roll that I planned. The bus stop is at the bottom of my drive and the green florescent light has a very Lynchian / E. Hopper look to it that I though would render well on reversal film. It’s sort of worked how I wanted it to but think I will repeat the shot and not cross process the film. I might be wrong but I think the process is a little harsh and possibly the regular E6 process might help maintain a finer finish.

SLIDE_016

Car park

I believe the cross processing has desaturated this shot slightly as I was much more vivid from memory.

SLIDE_010

Nephew

I think this is the look that I wanted to achieve from cross processing the film. High contrast and washed out desaturated colours.

SLIDE_008

Nephew

So gutted that the focusing was off with this shot but in thumb nail it looks great.

SLIDE_007

Industry 1

SLIDE_006

Industry 2

SLIDE_005

Industry 3

I think there’s quite a lot of drama too these images created by the moody sky, the silhouetting and high contrast process.

SLIDE_002

Little lady

The 50mm on the Ricoh opens right up to f1.7 and copes with low light really well. However, I think I’m far to eager to leave it open and to the detriment of this shot; the depth of field is far too shallow and thus the second figure in this image just melts into the background. Well done Ricoh though for having such an awesome lens.

SLIDE_015

Digger

I know it’s just a photo of a digger but I think the colours have come out lovely and for me the exposures just right. Slide film does seem to render oranges really well.

In conclusion, I’m not sure I will cross process much more slide film unless I’m photographing orange things. If you like that blown-out contrasty lomo look then I think this is the best and most purist way to achieve it without using photoshop or putting a filter on your images. I’, not sure what is added to my images with this process but I will hold judgement until I have processed this Film with E6.

With all the ‘creative’ cropping I’ve done one thing I’ve learned is that I can’t hold a bloody camera straight and I rush when focusing. Anyway made little note to self: must try harder next time.

The film I used was AGFA CT Precisa Colour Slide Film shamelessly available here

Bob

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SLIM-WIDE: a summer romance

SLIMWIDE_07

The slim-wide is modest and understated but a true backyard shooter. It’s the reincarnation of the Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim, which has a huge cult following but is now made by the guys at Superheadz.

At first it was quite easy to be underwhelmed by this modest little camera but is simplicity is what makes it so special; it does one job and it does it beautifully well. It partly to do with the lens which is pretty wide at 22mm, which considering fisheye lenses start at around 15mm and our own angle of view is somewhere between 35 – 50mm [relative to 35mm film] you can squeeze a lot in. It means that the angle of view is around 90 degrees or in other words, if you have your fingers to close to the lens then there’s a good chance your fingers will feature in the shot.

SW_FRONT

However, the wide angle isn’t it’s only trick. The Vivitar was know for producing lens flare, sharp and vivid shorts and heavy vignetting. I think this reincarnation delivers on all three. This was my first roll of film through the slim wide and I was pleasantly surprised and delighted with the outcome. When put into perspective I don’t think a similar priced digital camera could produce shots anywhere as pleasing. It’s also important to bear in mind that like it’s contemporaries at Lomography there’s little quality control on these plastic lenses so each one will have it’s own personality. Some may give more lens flare and vignetting but I think this one’s hit it just about right.

SW_01

Nevertheless, I think I underestimated the wide angle slightly and I possibly could have got a little closer to my subjects. For example, with the photo below I possibly could have stood where the drain cover is and still got the building, phone boxes and bloke on the phone in shot. Or better still, just the guy and the phone boxes would have made a much better photo.

SLIMWIDE_01

I think this really highlights why I continue use and get excited to use cameras such as this. Primarily for the level of chance or imminent failure when using ‘toy’ cameras that often leads to many a happy accident. But secondly to reenforce the fundamentals of photography. Cameras with such limits of functionality [like the slim wide, if not all toy cameras] the strongest tool we have in our toy camera box is composition. Since there’s no way of influencing the exposure you just have to keep you eyes pealed for that killer moment, aim to be in the right place at the right time with the knowledge your slim-wide is instantly ready to go [as long as you’ve advance the roll!] I think that purity is something to embrace.

SLIMWIDE_06

Finally, I think it’s important to know what conditions the slim wide performs best in [same with all toy cameras] and thus play to it’s strengths. The slim wide is a true backyard shooter that loves the sun. So take it to the beach or to a festival. Don’t worry if you get sun lotion on it or spill a bit of beer over it and most of all encourage lens flare because that’s what it wants. So now you know it loves the sun and how wide the lens is so I implore you to use this to it’s full potential. If you’re after hipster status then you might find the slim wide a little underwhelming. But if you want to bring your photography back to basics then I think the slim wide is a great addition to your quiver.

SLIMWIDE_04

HAPPY ACCIDENT

Bob – pinbox

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GOLDEN HALF: roll one

GH_FRONT

Yep, just another toy camera but this one makes me so very happy. It’s a half frame camera meaning it cuts a regular 35mm frame in half, so a 36 exposure film gives you 72 half frame photos.

GH_08

See full set here

It pays attention to the details; it looks cool, it’s small, the viewing frame is directly above the lens making framing adjustment a little easier and it’s got a hot shoe. However, best of all it’s got two apertures: f/11 for sunny days and f/8.5 for cloudy days. Although it only has the one fixed shutter speed [1/100th of a second] the two aperture settings give you that extra bit of tolerance to keep shooting in lower light conditions [EV12-13]. This means that if you’re using ISO 100 film you should potentially still get a decent exposure on overcast days and push a evening sunset shots with ISO 400. It coped well on a dull winters day [above] and produced some lovely colours.

GH_11

The start of a great night in Amsterdam

But the real charm of the camera is the dialogue and discourse that is generated by the two little half-frame photo’s per print. Having two shots of the same subject or moment offers up a conversation and if you happen to leave your camera a few weeks half way through a roll of film you may get some interesting conversations going on. A great example in black & white here from the dude on the bike.

This was my first roll through the Golden Half and there is plenty of scope for creativity and experiment now I know what it can do.

If you want to see more from the set just go here

Bob – pinbox

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35mm and the Holga

HOLGA35

FULL SET HERE

I found my Holga! I had this terrible thought that it had been accidentally taken to the charity shop or left behind the last time I moved house. But there in a inconspicuous box lay the most precious and brilliant piece of plasticky tat I own. If you’re unfamiliar with the Holga then is a very ‘affordable’ no frills camera that takes film.

I’m sure there are many that would stick their noses up at these very modest cameras but this is probably because there comparing the Holga et al to super fancy digital cameras. Well STOP that right now! For me the Holga isn’t about if its better of worse than another camera but rather a creative tool; a means rather than an end. For example, when I went to art college we pretty much spent the first month drawing things with sticks or  with our left hand or with our eyes closed etc. This was simply to get us out the mindset that we all had to be classically trained sketch artists. These exercises helped us learn to let go and maybe tap into or find something that we didn’t know was there.  This is something you’ll ever or very rarely achieve with digital and this for me is why film is still relevant and worth using.

UNDER THE BRIDGE

UNDER THE BRIDGE

So the Holga is a simple camera. It has a shutter with one pre-set  shutter [1/100th of a second], a maximum of two apertures [post 2009 models have two f/13 & f/20]. You have focus although limited [here’s proof http://bit.ly/13mcRj2%5D. Finally, it’s up to you which film you load the camera with and how you develop it which are possibly the two biggest factor in the end result. But in short these limitations force you to approach and think about what you’re pointing your camera at in a different way which can be quite liberating. Also, it makes you really appreciate light metering and auto focus when you do use your digital camera.

HOLGA_FRONTNow I’ve justified my existence I’ll get to the point.

There are 35mm Holga’s available but the model I use can be loaded with both 120 medium format film and 35mm and that’s what I did here.

LOADING CAMERA:

HOLGA_BK

Here I used some foam cut from a cheap sponge to hold the film in place. There are many way so do this but I like this method as the sponge can be squeezed into the gaps to give a nice snug fit. Once the film is in place you have to wind it onto the take up spool. As there are no sprocket wheel that will catch the film and help in advance easily we have to tape the film to the 120 sized take up spool.

The easiest way to do you is to take the spool out and slide the film through the slot in the spool. Then use some tape to stick it to the spool but making sure the film is still straight. Then put the spool back into place and turn the advance a few time to make sure it’s secure. That’s it, replace the back of the camera and tape it up as you normally would. Remember if your using colour film to tape over the red viewing window so not to let any light in.

ADVANCING THE FILM

Now because there no counter you have to work out how much to advance to film between exposures. Whilst you’ve got the back of the camera off mark the film and the advance wheel and see how many rotations it takes to advance the film on. It’s good to check this but it will be somewhere between 1 full rotation and 1.5 rotations. I find 1.5 is a little too much and I like to use as much film as possible even if there is some over lap so now I just do one full rotation.

UNLOADING CAMERA

Your Holga doesn’t have film rewind crank so you have to do this yourself and this has to be done IN THE DARK! If you’ve got a darkroom then your away but if like me you don’t, the easiest and cheapest way is to use a changing bag. These cost about £15 and are super easy to use. Simply put everything into the bag, put your hands through the arm holes and remove the back of the Holga. Once the backs removed simply take the film canister from its foam holders and start to feed the film back into the canister.

PROCESSING:

Well that another story for another time. You can obviously send your film off the the lab but it far more fun to process it yourself. If you are processing the film yourself then make sure you put you developing tank in the changing bag as well and instead of putting the film back into the canister just load it straight into the tank.

HOLGA35_02

I’ve skimmed lots of details here. I will hopefully make a video on the whole process soon but in the meantime please get in touch if you have any questions.

Bob

pinbox

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DIGITAL PINHOLE: PINWIDE FIELD TEST

You may not fancy yourself as a Holga wielding hipster, but do not worry; with or without a V-neck t-shirt and obligatory anchor tattoo you can still enjoy beautifully dreamy Lo-Fidelity photography, instantly! Digital photography grants instant pin-sharp images but seldom leaves anything to chance or even our imaginations; sometime it’s just nice to experiment, explore and maybe get a little lost. Miles Roberts, pinboxblog’s first contributor has been out in the field giving the pinwide pinhole lens for micro four third digital cameras a run for its money. Here’s how he got on:

Coast

Photography is seeing a resurgence of the analogue look, of Lo-Fi/Lomo. We enjoy the softness and strange coloured images that come from more basic technology. Yet you can take it one step further, you can remove the lens completely; Re-enter the pinhole. The pinhole camera is the oldest way of capturing an image and the same process is what allows camera obscura to function. The process of light passing through a tiny hole, a wholly natural process, was the beginning of our ability to view the world and eventually capture it.

I am a lover of the analogue, working often in 5×4 and medium format as well as lugging round my digital SLR, all of which is exhausting and not very kind on the back. Pinhole cameras can be incredibly small and light, but lets make a key assumption, you don’t want to shoot on film because its EXPENSIVE. If you do, and there’s plenty of reasons to want to, then I hope to be able to write some reviews of some of the brilliant commercially available pin hole cameras out there. For now let’s talk digital.

TreeWindow

If you’re anything like me, I am always searching for ways to reduce the size of the kit that I carry around with me and the emergence of the Micro 4/3 Compact Camera Systems was a gift from the photographic heavens. I took the plunge and have adored it ever since. What made it even better is that very quickly a whole host of accessories hit the market. I suddenly had a digital Holga that was about the same weight as its toy counterpart but I wanted to make it a pinhole. I wanted to be able to whip it out on the go, a fun toy, a way to have take a pinhole into the street and as research tool for film re-shoots.

A google took me to the Wanderlust site. The Pinwide quickly seemed like the perfect solution. It is wide, offering an equivalent of 22mm on a 35mm body. So lets talk a little about the types of images you get from a pinhole shot.

  • They will always be soft. In theory a pinhole has an infinite depth of field due their tiny aperture which is usually between f/100 and f/200 but the diffraction of light passing through the pinhole makes it soft.
  • You will get weird and wonderful colours! They’re fun but I’m a hardcore black and white fan. Pin hole images give the sense of other worldliness and almost dream like. Experiment and see what works for you.
  • With the Pinwide, remember you’re working on a relatively small sensor which limits the resolution of your Pinwide images. This is part of the compromise, but it’s worth it. The discreet size and ability to point it at most objects and people without them noticing is a bonus for the whole system.
  • You get a lot of light fall off towards the edges of your images, similar to vignetting on a wide lens. It’s part of the charm – as are the rings of tone that you get in some images. There are caused by the diffraction of light.

Sky

Some tips for getting the most out of the Pinwide:

  • Get close if you can. The closer you get to small objects the sharper they will be in you final image.
  • Overexpose. I find that +1 stop gives a bit more to play with in the images. Remember the view on the screen on the camera is only an approximation.
  • Play with your ISO and Shutter speed. You have rapid control of these
  • Post process your images. It’s worth up-ing your detail slider and the contrast to give the images from the Pinwide a bit more punch. Be daring, playful and have a lot of fun.

In a nutshell its a great product for not a lot of money and its a great introduction to the world of Pinhole. Don’t expect pin sharp, think pin soft, think fun and expect to be surprised. Enjoy!

If you would like to view more or Miles’ wonderful photography please visit his  site’s listed below:

milesroberts.co.uk

recyclethereal.com

More product info on the pinwide can be found here.

If you’re a photography aficionado, an advocate of analogue picture boxes and would be interested in contributing to pinboxblog please get in touch here.

Thanks for reading.

Bob

www.pinboxshop.co.uk

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LOMOKINO Super35: Test One

1/4 frame

I’ve been staring at the Lomokino that has been sat on my desk for the past month waiting for favorable weather. Well, I got tired of waiting so one overcast Friday afternoon I called Chris to see if he fancied heading out for a skate and to test out the Lomokino; and that’s what we did.

Lomokino

Kinoscope

If you’re unfamiliar with the Lomokino it’s an analogue movie camera. Unlike other consumer film movie cameras, like a Super-8 the Lomokino uses regular 35mm film, pretty nifty. But this doesn’t mean that you can only capture 24/36 exposures. What’s clever is the Lomokino splits the conventional 35mm aspect ratio into four, thus capturing four times the number of exposures per roll. Therefore, if you are using a 36 exposure film, the ‘kino will capture 144 pictures.

The film is loaded in much the same way as any other 35mm camera and advanced using the crank on the side of the camera; each exposure signaled by a ‘click’. My favorite feature of the ‘kino is its continuous aperture, i.e. it has no step between each f/stop, ergo you can change the aperture whilst shooting. For example, if you’re moving from indoors too outdoors you can stop the aperture down avoiding over exposure, even though a little flaring looks cool on film.

I picked Chris up, loaded the skateboards and headed to Micklefield. Micklefield, a former mining town, hasn’t much going for it other than the bizarre windowless corner-shop and an awesome skate-park! It was midday, and although Jeremy Kyle had finished we had the park to ourselves. The light was really flat and rather dull. I was worried I’d not get a decent exposure so loaded 400 ISO and attached a mono-pod for stability and to make the camera easier to hold.

The ‘kino takes a little getting used too; I struggled with the ergonomics of simultaneously using the crank and the viewfinder. Eventually, I stopped using the viewfinder and lined up the shop the best I could. It is also important to keep in mind the super wide aspect ratio that is captured. For this reason, in a couple of shots either cut Chris’ head or feet out of the shot.  This isn’t great if you can’t see the skateboard your mini skateboard film. Having said that these issues can be easily worked around and I feel the results outweigh any minor shortcomings. Regardless of my teething problems with the Lomokino, I am totally smitten with the results. The slight vignetting and soft focus gives the shots a much more tactile human quality. The results are more evocative of 1960’s southern California then Micklefield 2012.

After my outing I decided to get the films developed at a high street 1-hour photo. This was simply for speed and the fact that they will also scan the negatives. Once I got home I imported all the scanned images into final cut and made a quick edit. Ok, it wasn’t that simple but the entire story is too lengthy and boring, plus it might do for a future ‘how to’ blog?

To conclude; The camera’s design is reminiscent of early 20th century movie cameras but that doesn’t mean that it worth is that of mere nostalgia. Rather, the Lomokino is another creative tool that can be taken as seriously as you want. What I think is most innovative and exciting about the Lomokino is that it really gets you to think through the entire filmmaking process. The cameras inherent low fidelity and clear limitations allows you to be more dynamic and responsive to the conditions you’re working in; it becomes important to consider the film stock, rehearse shots, and deliberate how those shots will go together side by side. The potential of the modest camera will go as far as you wish to take it. It can be used to capture a few memories in motion, experiment with a few techniques or employed to make a short film.

Anyway please view the short film I put together from my first test rolls of film. It’s not much of a concerto, rather a little ditty but hope you enjoy it all the same. Click the image below or visit https://vimeo.com/43613608

Thanks for reading

Bob

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Holga_D – If only…

Maybe one day this beautiful design by Saikat Biswas, inspired by our beloved analogue Holga may come to fruition. Watch this space.

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