Camera making.

A bit of fitting to go, and I need to make a focus screen (Lubitel for scale).

It’s a fairly large camera 😀

[EDIT] Turns out that the kodak lens doesn’t quite meet my expectations – I’d really only thought about coverage, not that it would give me a range of magnification starting at 1:1 macro (which included the front of the focussing rail) and going up to about 5:1 (five times life size) – which is sure interesting, but not exactly ideal for the level of focussing technology I’m using.

So I’m cobbling something together out of an old pair of spectacles which will go from infinity to about 1:1 as well.

So I now  have a system 😛

Finished work, and an unfinished camera.

Well, the crit seemed to go ok, the feedback that I got was all along the lines of the stuff that I’d been thinking about when I was preparing and selecting.

Having given it a days thought, I shortened that in the critique to a verbal “I’m interested in how photography can make icons of ordinary things.”

My little wee 5×7″ print all on it’s lonesome, well, it does have a couple of vents to keep it company I guess – incidentally that’s the name of the gallery – “Vent” – not sure which one is ‘the’ vent – probably the one above my pic.

It’s quite a hard thing to view, cos it’s really as much a mirror as a print in an odd way – it’s black on black, but how you look at it determines the tones you see,

Also a wee bit of a trick to photo, I love that to represent it here I first had to decide what I wanted it to look like 😀

And, I’m reaching a point where I’m starting to see what a camera I’m building will look like – it’s a half plate camera for dryplate (the hole at the back is 7×7″ – it’s a big camera by my standards).

The front will be friction focus and will have front tilt, no other movements are planned in this iteration – I’ve been working on it for about a month on and off, I guess there’s another week or so of work to go.

And the obligatory studio shot;

Yup, mildly ordered chaos – yes, I have three power drills, handy things. – And what’s happening on the bench (typically three things at once).

The aluminium curve is my cyc, the animals on it are just there cos they are, the makings of two camera’s in the foreground, and all the little black dot things are wee screws out of a plate back.

That’s all.

More stuff.

Stuff? Well,now have a shiny new exposure unit (The Squirrel Mk.2?) – it’s made of custom wood, glue, sticky tape and paint;

Actually looks kinda fancy, it’s 10×12 format, for a bit of space with 8×10’s – it seems to cover it’s area pretty well – at least with cyanotype and gum bichromate, seems to work as well as expensive stuff, albeit somewhat more slowly.

I also now have cyanotype chemistry to play with, I’ll need to calibrate stuff, but i did a print of a branch just for kicks – this is what it looked like before washing out (after exposure);

And this is after washing (inverted);

It goes darker over a few days – this if straight out of the wash (hence the shiny water, yup 😛 )

I’ve also re-started another project, which is about images rather than techie printing stuff, photographing wee animal facsimiles (only been on that topic since 2009 😀 ). This is one from the very end of last year;

I’m using a 1/4 plate camera for this, I’ve modified it to take 3×4 graflex holders, I spent the afternoon at home attempting to get a result with camera flashes and a bedside lamp, the results were predictably enough rather shite;

That’s a (somewhat shoddy) digital inversion, so I should be able to scrape an image out of that neg with a bit of pencil work (You can draw on the backs of paper negs to get highlight detail, pencil is a good tool for this). I then sucked it up and went into school and set up some proper lights, and a proper tripod, which looked like so;

You can see the basic set up here – light tent, about 1000w of painfully frigging bright lighting, and my camera – yup, the view glass is hand made, seems to work ok *shrug*

Gratuitous shot of the focussing glass – the red is a sweater I was using to cut down reflections.;

Yes, upside down, which actually makes it easier to compose in some strange way – not sure what the reflection is of, might be my hair. The marker lines make it easier for me to line stuff up for different formats.

That’s what the camera looks like now, you can see that I’m using it at near full extension, the back was designed originally for septums, which after 100 odd years don’t really exist any more, so I removed the back and rebuilt it to take graflex 3×4 double dark slides – they’re just held in place by friction with velvet, so I’ll never have sub millimeter precision, but it does 1:1 macro happily enough below f22. The bit in the back is the removable focus screen, the inside is hardwood that I’ve sanded to the right thickness, a piece of sanded glass, and some cheap customwood for the actual back – I might get around to painting that one day. it’s not original, but it works rather well.

 

Finally, I found a cheap knockoff etch a sketch sort of toy with candy in it today (the sort with a magnetic stylus) for 39 cents, so I snaffled it up happily enough (they’re kinda fun, and candy is nice), but waiting for me inside was this dire warning;

Holy fucking hell! As a warning that’s even more frightening than the picture of some poor sap getting body slammed by a coke machine after they tried to rock n’ rob the sucker.

Unhappy face indeed.

Super 8 Developing and filing camera’s

First off, the minolta 16 film I got with my 16p seems to be stuffed, it’s hardly surprising given that it’s 50 years out of date for it to be a bit fogged – but this has been left somewhere hot and damp for a very long time – after developing the d-max was about 1/6th above fog, which is essentially unprintable.

Pity, I wanted to make friends with a new (old/antique/obsolete) film stock, I guess it’s not to be – I have some fomapan 100 cut down from 120 when I was making 127 rolls that fit’s very neatly into these cartridges, I guess that’s my next step. I really like that camera, it’s nice to use.

In other news I developed the rest of the super 8 film I had the other day (might have been yesterday, I’m not good with days) – I stuffed about 40′ of film into a patterson canister, and developed as usual, I got maybe 12″ of emulsion spots, not too bad really, I still have 3000 odd negs to make something out of.

Holding up a magnifying loupe in front of my digi cam was never going to give me a sharp shot – such is life.

Finally – this is one of the (many) reason’s I’ll never be an adult.

In that shot are; and agfa box camera, a french… uh… Pontiac rollfilm camera that’s been converted to a film slitter, about 8 rolls of tape of different types, a ricoh 500g, a canon 300 with a helios 58mm on it, about 60 coloured pencils (FC polychromos), a variety of other writing/drawing tools, a few sketchbooks and reference books, an agfa isoly plastic camera, canonette 19, ensign 1620, fujica st605 w. 24mm, mat cutter, film loader, and a crapload of unsorted papers, Oh, and there’s my antacids, cool, I hate having to pay for stuff I already know I have.

Reportedly adults have an innate ability to manage to store things correctly and don’t suffer from periodic cameralanches.

Camera post – Concord Flash 803.

This camera was one of my many Internet auction purchases, It came up the first time for $10 plus post by memory and I just couldn’t justify it, the whole reason that I was interested was because it looks like the bastard child of an instamatic and a holga. I have since seen the holga 135bc, which looks strangely like it shares some sort of ancestry with this wee beasty, though the specs are quite different.

Anyhow, it came back at $5 and I snaffled it up. When it turned up it had had a bad repair attempt done on the flash and hadn’t been put back together right, that was easy enough to fix and get the flash working, though I stuffed up something in the frame counter in the process so it sits on zero permanently – no biggie, it’s not like I actually look at it on cameras like this, it also had a couple of rusty screws, they’re still rusty – who cares?.

The specs are essentially as follows;

Body; Black plastic, with black plastic bits, a sliding flash, and white screen printing here and there. It feels fairly solid and is kinda chunky with the battery compartment at the side. Dunno the weight, fairly light I guess – Normal point n’ shoot weight? (guess who doesn’t have scales?)

Lens; 38mm plastic fixed focus.

It actually looks about 38mm too compared to my ricoh. Being a plastic lens it’s a bit soft on the contrast and isn’t corrected for anything, it doesn’t have much distortion and very little viginetting generally.

Shutter speeds; One, no bulb mode, seems to be about 1/100 or so with three apertures which I’d guess are maybe 5.6, 8, and 11 – this is a total guess from the sunny symbols.

Flash; Manually switched (switched off above, on below), probably pathetically weak, no indications given whatsoever as to distance Vs aperture. Runs off 2xAA batteries – nimh are too fat to fit in comfortably, needs to be disposable (hence the fact I haven’t experimented much with flash on this camera).

Advance/Rewind; It’s a plastic camera – thumb wheel advance and normal rewind crank.

And are we impressed by this marvel of camera technology?

Well, it’s cheesy as hell, but in a terribly serious sort of a way, I have serious reservations about the claim that the lens is ‘Coated’ – Unless it’s a plastic lens which is coated in more plastic I’d go so far as to quietly suggest that this might be an ever so slight exaggeration in terms (or even a falsehood perhaps). It looks like it might be coated in the shot above, but in truth that’s just a reflection of me in the lens.

It came with a Chinon lens cap (shown above) which may very well imply that it shares some ancestry with the holga 135bc (or conversely that it’s cross dressing), though I’m completely unsure on this point as I haven’t found any net data on this camera. The lens does take filters, which is a bit odd and slightly pointless, I’ll try it with a yellow filter when I get an adapter for my Ricoh.

The viewfinder strangely enough ‘is’ coated to reduce flare and even has bright lines – Classy! – though it’s slightly awkwardly placed a frazz to the right of center, which feels odd to a left eyed person like myself. The Flash as above and below slides out from the body to switch on. It has a swiveling ring on the flash side for a wrist strap I guess.

You can see the flash switch and the aperture symbols for 100 and 400 speed films, No focus and it seems to be telling you to only use the widest aperture for flash, no idea on the distance. The flash ready light works, as does the shutter release. The frame counter does not. In use the thumb wheel is light, comfortable, and pretty quiet, as is the shutter, though the “ping-ChucK-ping” noise is a little off putting to begin with. The rewind knob is better than many of my more expensive cameras.

To open the back you lift the rewind knob and scrabble frantically at the back – fingernails are quite handy for this task. Other than that – no light leaks, and nothing special, it has a tripod socket and rewind button on the bottom, not exciting enough to warrant a photo.

All in all I actually kinda like this camera, it’s a slight step up from the regular plastic cameras, having a selectable flash is kinda fun, though I’d prefer a hotshoe. The three apertures is a nice touch for daytime photos, and it takes an okay photo so long as you can accept the limitations of plastic lenses, at that level it’s better than most plastic cameras, it’s also somewhat solid feeling (relatively speaking).

But the real reason that I like this camera is because it tries so hard to look like a serious camera and fails utterly – from the molded black plastic ‘leathergrain’ to the “COATED LENS MADE IN JAPAN” (made in Hong Kong) it’s just trying so hard to look like something a serious photographer might pick up to take ‘good photos’ that I can’t help but giggle just a little bit (and pick it up and attempt to take ‘good photos’ with it).

Photos to follow;