Friday, 4 October 2019

Canon AE-1 Program and Fomapan Classic 100


I apologise for my lack of publishing of late.  I have a very good reason though!  Our new front garden is testament to the hard work that Kim & I put into removing very large Yucca and Dracaena plants, not to mention the huge Cycads, that were there when we moved in 10 years ago.  We now have a softer much more colourful garden that will look wonderful once the new plants have established themselves.

Anyway, here I am again!

I was contacted back in May by Cathy, an ex-RAAF colleague with who I have been able to stay in contact with thanks to the wonders of modern day social media!  Sadly, her husband Graeme had passed away and she was now going through his things.  He'd been an avid photographer and she asked me if I would be able to use a couple of his old cameras she had found in the cupboard.  A Canon AE-1 Program 35mm SLR with a Cosina MC 35-70mm f3.5-4.8 Macro lens and a Canon T50 with a Mitakon MC 80-200mm f4.5 lens.  

If you have been following me for a while, you will know that I am always more than happy to welcome a vintage camera (or two) into my collection.  Each camera I have is different in it's own way and I take it in turns to load them with film to keep them active!  Of course, I said that I would love to add them to my collection!

They arrived and I had them out of the box before you could say 'Ansel Adams'!

The lenses were clean and without any mould.  The cameras looked to be in perfect condition but, unfortunately, the batteries had not been taken out of the Canon T50 and they had corroded badly.  I eventually got them out and cleaned out the battery space and terminals but there was obviously more damage done to electrical components as a result and I couldn't get a heart beat.  On the upside though, both of these cameras are an FD lens mount so, I may have missed out on using the T50 but the lens with that camera will work with the AE-1 Program camera!

The Canon AE-1 Program on the other hand, was in perfect condition!  All it needed was a dust out and an air blast and it was ready to go.  It has the sweetest sounding shutter I have ever heard.

The AE-1 Program has Shutter and Aperture priority controls but can also be used in fully manual mode.  There are LEDs inside the viewfinder to provide information to the photographer.  Shutter speeds up to 1/1000 and a flash synch speed of 1/60 (which is still a little slow but it's the same as I have on a fav Pentax and I haven't had any problems there).

I wanted to use a black and white film for the testing of the camera and lenses and so I chose a Fomapan Classic 100 for the occasion.  This film has a wide exposure latitude, which makes it good for varied lighting conditions, a fine grain with good resolution and sharpness.  You can judge the outcome for yourself!

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In Memory of Graeme Close.


Thursday, 22 August 2019

Crescent Head, New South Wales


My son Lachlan and his wife Naomi moved to Crescent Head about a year ago.  

Naomi is a Crescent Head local and she and Lachlan were married there on the bluffs on Big Nobby 4 years ago this coming October.

We love to go up there to visit!  It is such a beautiful, quiet, relaxing place (except during the school holidays ha ha) and is really a photographers dream.

Captured these few photos about a month ago the last time we were up there.  Next time I go up I 
will endeavour to rise early for some sunrise photos and also hang around for the sunset.

I tried my hand at capturing the Milky Way while on their property which is away from the town area and has perfectly clear starry nights.  It was ok-ish, I shot for a 50 second exposure but that must have been too long because it did catch a bit of movement as the Earth turned!  Gotta do some more experimenting in that department obviously!


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Sunday, 4 August 2019

Another addition to the collection from Ricoh


My daughters went to visit my Mother-in-Law the other day.  They returned with this camera that had been languishing in the cupboard for some years.

It is a Ricoh FF-3 AF Super 35mm film camera, released in 1984.

It appeared in good condition on my first quick inspection but the slide switch for the flash is broken (you can see it under the flash).  When the 2 x AA batteries were inserted, the camera appeared to be working normally, giving all proper indications through the viewfinder.  It's a shame that the flash switch is damaged.  I had a better look at that and it is worse than just cosmetic damage; it appears that the switch is not engaging the contacts.  Hey, I can live without using a flash.

The lens is a 35mm Rikenon f3.2 made of 5 elements in 5 groups. It has an auto focus with a pre-focus facility.  The shutter is a programmed AE (aperture priority) electronic shutter.  Fixed aperture is at f3.2 and the exposure is measured by a Cadmium Sulphide electronic light meter (located below the ISO settings on the front of the camera).  

Shutter speeds of 1/8 to 1/500 of a second are available and the ISO range is from 25 to 1000.

There is a self timer that allows approx 10 seconds for you to race around the front of the camera for those social media selfies.  The camera also has a motorised film advance and rewind.

The auto focus is pretty much the same as modern day cameras, depress the shutter release button halfway to pre-focus and then set up the composition.  Either side of the viewfinder are what they call the 'Distance Measuring Window' which sort of reminds me of a range finder system.  The focus system has 3 indicators that light up within the viewfinder.  A silhouette of one person from the waist up indicates a close up (no less than 1 metre otherwise the icon will flash to indicate too close for proper focus), a full body silhouette of 2 people indicates indicates the next focus zone and, a squiggly line suggesting a mountain will indicate infinity focussing.

There is also a camera shake warning signal inside the viewfinder to indicate slow shutter speed.  It is the flash symbol that flashes on and off indicating that you need to turn the flash on in low light situations.  Given that, it looks like I'll be an outdoors sunny day type of photographer with this camera!

I won't be loading a film straight away.  I still have a Bronica ETRSi with a full roll loaded and I also have a Fomapan 100 B&W half finished in a Canon AE1.  I don't want to end up with half finished rolls in my cameras!  Hopefully, if the weather stays good this week, I will get out and about to finish off those rolls.

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On the right, under the flash, you can see the damaged slide switch.




Monday, 15 July 2019

My first Slide Film - Fuji Velvia 100


I have shot many different types of film.

I can't really say I have a favourite; each roll is its own little bundle of enjoyment (with a little disappointment thrown in rarely!)  

All my films up until now have been negative films.  Negative films are those whereby the image is produced on plastic which has multiple layers and each layer has a different sensitivity to a wavelength of light.  After development in special chemicals, the colours on a negative film are inverted to their complimentary colours (each colour has an opposite).  When looking at the film negative, that is why the colour looks so different.  For black and white film that has no colour, those areas that are usually the lightest were the darkest point and vice versa.  In the process of making a print, the colours and light are restored through the enlarging process onto print paper.

Colour negatives are pretty much 'what you see if what you get'; accurate colour and contrast (which is why it is preferred by portrait and wedding photographers).  In previous subjects on my blog, you would have read that negative film also has a wide latitude for exposure.  In other words, it is very forgiving for those mistakes made when calculating exposure.  In fact, some photographers like to shoot their negative film underexposed or overexposed to get a certain look to the photo.

Slide film is known by a few names - Reversal film, Positive film; that is because the image on the film itself is exactly what you have shot on the camera; it's not all inverted colours like the negative film is.  It produces a positive image on a transparent base.  This is why this type of film is usually mounted inside a cardboard square and can be viewed using a projector.

There are a few drawbacks for using slide film.  It is developed using E-6, a different chemical to that of negative film.  Not all labs have this chemical and so I had to send the film away to be developed and scanned.  That virtually doubled the price of having negatives developed and scanned!  Slide film does not have the latitude of negative film to exposure.  If shooting slide film, the exposure latitude is narrow so you have to be pretty well on target with your camera settings.  You also need to shoot in areas with lots of light

One thing you will notice about slide film is the crisp, bright colours and contrast.  They really make a photo POP!  Slide film also has a finer grain, a higher resolution and greater sharpness than negative film.

Anyway, taking all of this in mind, I loaded the Velvia 100 into my Canon EOS 300V.  I shot using my 50mm and 85mm primes.


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Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Bronica ETRSi and 35MM N Film Back


You may recall that I wrote in an earlier article (Jan 2019) about some difficulties I was having with a 35mm N  Film Back on my Bronica ETRSi.  Long story short, it appears the steps I took back then was the correct work around in getting the film back to work.   I suspect that the culprit is the dark slide because each time I removed the dark slide, the film would not wind on.  I think something inside the film back was not resetting when the dark slide was removed.

Now I know how to work around using the 35mm film back, and the small amount of hassle it presented, I am wondering if I will actually use the 35mm back at all!  I mean, is there an advantage to using a 35mm film on a Medium Format camera?  I am thinking that the only advantage is if a photographer had only one camera and wanted to swap different films back and forth. Maybe some time in the future I might revisit the 35mm N film back but for now, I will leave the shooting of 35mm film to those cameras suited for it!

So, by the time I had experimented with the 35mm film back, taking it off and putting it back on again, I did actually get about 12 good shots out of a roll of 24.  I used a Focal 100 colour film (K-Mart Brand which had expired).  I miscounted the number of exposures left on the film and overwound it slightly.  That resulted in the film becoming loose inside the cartridge so that I could not rewind it. That lead to another problem in that I had to take the film back to my Lab and have them remove the film from the back in the Dark Room.  Shoutout to Marianne from Pro Am Colour Laboratories in Newcastle for looking after me in that respect!

Shot with a Zenzanon Eii 75mm f2.8 prime lens.


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Canon AE-1 Program and Fomapan Classic 100

I apologise for my lack of publishing of late.  I have a very good reason though!  Our new front garden is testament to the hard work that...