Tag Archives: 35mm

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

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , ,

Sardine Tin Camera: MKii

MKii_08_sml

My first attempt at making a camera from a sardine tin worked as well as I could have hoped, but there was plenty of room for improvement.

Read more about my first attempt here

One of the shortcomings of the original design [mk1] was that I was only getting around 25 exposures from a 36 exposure film. This I believe, is to do with the width of the ‘exposure chamber’. [might have just made that name up?] By this I mean each section of film had to travel quite a distance between the [light tight] unexposed film roll and the [relatively light tight\] take-up spool. This could  potentially leave the film open to light from subsequent exposures hitting the previous exposure before reaching the take-up spool. To remedy this I added a screen / flap between the ‘exposure chamber’ and the take up spool that will hopefully protect the exposed film and the take up spool from said light leaks. This also means I’ve had to move the aperture slightly off centre.

MKii_16_sml

The biggest and most exciting modification I’ve made is to the take_up spool. However, I must now confess that although my principal intention was to build a camera from things easily found around the house I have started to stray from this with a few of my modifications. My first attempt of a functioning  take-up spool broke half way through it’s maiden voyage and subsequently some of the film ripped. Also, the design of the take-up spool encouraged further light leaks that aren’t always desired.

MKii_10_sml

The first advance in design was to replace the former sewing thread spool with a proper 35mm spool and make wooden holders for the spool to sit in.

MKii_11_sml

Then I made a wooden peg [above] that slots inside the spool hub, allowing it to turn. Into one end of the peg I glued a piece of 5mm K&S brass tubing. This can be bought from most model shops where model train enthusiasts hang out. I found a brass radiator/ central heating key for the advance, as the beer top was a little clumsy which a piece of K&S brass tubing fit perfectly.

MKii_12_sml

In order to then connect the radiator key to the 5mm tube in the wooden peg I soldered a smaller 4mm piece of K&S brass tubing. I used silver solder as that’s what I had but lead solder that plumbers use is easier to get hold of from DIY shops and is much cheaper. Silver solder is much stronger too. This modification should hopefully make the camera completely light tight.

MKii_04_sml

Once it came to attaching the film to the take up spool I could have just taped it, like you do with the Holga. However, 35mm spools have a clever little hook thing on the inside of the spool hub which holds it in place. I thought I’d try to be clever and attempt to recreate this by punching a hole in the beginning of the roll…

MKii_05_sml

…but soon realised that the hole is a little off centre. I punched more holes in the film but made a right pigs ear of the job so just tapped the factory cut attachment from the old roll to my film.

MKii_06_sml

This time I’ve loaded the camera with 100 ISO film which will make the exposure time around 1.7 seconds.

MKii_07_sml

All in all I’m pretty happy with the modifications and the advance spool works perfectly. All I need to do now is expose the film, so please check back soon for my results.

Bob

pinbox

Tagged , , , , , , ,

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

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

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

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

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

Tagged , , , , ,

D.I.Y. SARDINE TIN PINHOLE CAMERA

HOMEMADE D.I.Y SARDINE TIN PINHOLE CAMERA

An ambition of my blog is to share with you the things I make. So this is my first blog project, a D.I.Y Sardine tin pinhole camera.

I’ve been making cameras for some time. My first cameras were constructed from modelling board, and I have also made more complex ones from 5mm ply. However, with this one, I wanted to make a camera out of things I could find around the house. So, inspired by the Lomography La Sardina, this camera is made from a sardine tin, a beer bottle top [for the advance wind] and a empty spool of thread, for the take up spool. Everything else I’ve used are random things I’ve hoarded, and I also raided my Dads [the master of hoarding] workshop for a few bits.

I constructed a carrier for the film roll from aluminum. Hopefully this will reduce the risk of light leaks too.

I also aimed to use non-specialist tools too which, consisted of a regular cordless drill with drill bits suitable for metal and regular metal files. I also used a bit of glue, but again this was just regular super glue, a bit of contact adhesive and epoxy putty. The epoxy putty I used was Milliput, which is a two part putty that you mix together and is relatively safe.

There were a couple of materials that I used that you might not necessarily have laying around the house. I used really thin aluminum sheet for the front panel, shutter and film holder. A bit of 5mm ply to support the front panel and some ‘Chicago screws’ to hold it all together. I also used a 0.65mm drill bit [the smallest I have] to drill the pinhole, which I realise not everyone has in their tool box.

Beer bottle top advance.

The decision to use a sardine tin nevertheless was fundamentally problematic. This is due to the depth of the tin [25mm] in relation to the 0.65mm drill bit. Without boring your pants off, in short these two factors make it difficult to achieve a large enough f/shop to ensure the exposure time is physically achievable, i.e. 1 second plus.  With a focal length [distance between film and pinhole, which is the depth of the tin] of 25mm and a pinhole of 0.65mm, this gives my camera an f/stop of f/38. Therefore, if I was to use ISO 100 film, the exposure time would be around 1/4 sec. Even if I’m super speedy I don’t think i’ll be able to achieve this and so run the risk of over exposure.

I saved the original pull tab to retain its sardine tin aesthetic. I also helps when removing the front of the camera.

So, did I modified the camera design or simply buy a smaller drill bit to achieve a larger f-stop?..erm, NO! Nevertheless, there are a few things I can do to compensate for my flawed design.

As I mentioned, the simplest thing to do is reduce the size of the pinhole; 0.2mm would be ideal. I don’t have a 0.2mm drill bit to hand, so instead the first thing I can do is NOT take a picture on a super sunny day. Straight away this will reduce the amount of light available and thus require a longer exposure time. Secondly, I can load the camera with a slower ISO film. The slowest available is ISO 25 which, also will require a longer exposure time. Finally, I can use an neutral density [ND] filter. An ND filter reduces the intensity of light entering the camera but doesn’t change the hue or colour rendition and will essentially allow me to stop down my exposure time.

This is the theory anyway, but I’ll not know if my logic is sound until a bit of trial and error.

With the front removed the take up spool [aka. sewing thread spool] is visible.

Anyway, I’m off to grab my light meter, load the camera and expose some film. So, please check back over the next few weeks to see what this little pinhole beauty yields. In the mean time if you fancy having ago yourself the sheet aluminum and 5mm ply can be found in good model shops. You can find Chicago screws online but I got mine from ‘Le Prevo‘ in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, who also have an online store and are super friendly knowledgeable people. I will also post a ‘How To’ tutorial in a couple weeks once I’ve put a few rolls of film through the camera.

Bob

Please also read about my progress with this camera here

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Finding the Drip with a Toy Camera

Polaroid shot by Geekchau.tumblr.com

…I used to put Polaroid’s in a container with seawater, sand and pebbles. I’d swirl it all around to get scratches. It’s this random element that I call ‘the drip’… My whole life is spent in search of the drip; it can change everything. [David Bailey]

During my relatively short career as an animator/filmmaker I have experienced what David Bailey refers to as ‘the drip’. It is what my tutors at Art College referred to as happy accidents or serendipity, and was pretty much what Art College was all about; losing control and removing yourself from prescribed notions of Art.

It is quite a leap to force serendipity upon your trade, in many cases for fear of getting it wrong. But as it has been said many times and in many different ways, “Serendipity is looking in a haystack for a needle and discovering a farmer’s daughter” [Julius Comroe Jr]. In other words mistakes can always render useful in the creating process and often go hand in hand with success, progress & discovery.

This picture it taken with a Holga 120CFN and a redfilter on from the BKS picture blog.

Serendipity, happy accidents, the unknown, whatever you want to call it, is for me what using a toy camera is all about: finding “the drip”. Simple construction, limited settings, inconsistencies and aberrations in the cheap meniscus lenses and other inherent flaws warp fidelity. These gives each camera a unique ‘personality’. This personality finds it’s way on to film and allows the Holga et al, to create unique, charming and indiscriminate photographs and make the ordinary extraordinary.

Awesome shot by Darwin Wiggett. Captured with a Holga 120 CFN.

Therefore when you use a camera with little fidelity and clear limitations, all you’re left with is your vision and sensibility for a great shot. With their jocular façade and a predisposition for inaccuracy our toy cameras assume a more spontaneous approach, nurturing naturalistic candid photography with a subordinate approach to technique. Thus increasing the opportunity of finding ‘the drip’.

Bob @pinbox

Tagged , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: