A new manual film camera?

Well here’s some more good news: a company called Reflex is making an all-new manual SLR, which would make it the first since Cosina-Voigtlander made the Bessaflex (which was what, 13-14 years ago?  Not quite as long as the article is claiming but whatever).  Their Kickstarter campaign will be going live in about two weeks, the original story is here: http://www.film-traveler.com/reflex-1st-new-manual-slr-25-years/

Like the article mentions already, the shots on their Instagram are taken with a Super-Takumar lens, so I do really hope that like the Bessaflex this is an M42 mount camera!  Of course, whether or not I can buy one, that will depend on the price.  I did just get a full CLA for the Spotmatic which cost me $120, meaning that the entire amount of money I paid for that camera body (including the battery) is somewhere around $137.  I doubt that a new manual camera would be less than $400, and also doubt that it will have the same build quality as a Spotmatic.  Hope I’m wrong though!

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Don’t ever trust the meter…

Don’t ever trust, don’t ever trust the meter, it lies!
Don’t ever trust, don’t ever trust the meter, 
When it cries, cries your name…

I’m paraphrasing Queensryche here.  But the point is, that even I’m still making exposure mistakes on occasion, and evidently it had to do with it being a particularly overcast day (a rare occurrence in Colorado Springs, I can tell you).  Evidently everything I shot during the Pike’s Peak Regional Airshow was underexposed by a stop or so.  Not the end of the world, thankfully, as Ferrania P30 seems to just lose contrast when it’s underexposed.  At least, under the circumstances where it’s an overcast day, and using a 1940s lens.  Here’s the worst offender:

 

That was at least 2 stops underexposed.  Even though underexposed, I was able to pull incredible amounts of detail in scanning, it was just a matter of bumping up the contrast and usually lightening things up a bit.  What I couldn’t say is what’s up with all the dust particles and water spots (and I always run my film through the StaticVac right before scanning).  I had a roll of Tri-X developed at the same time and there was nothing wrong with that roll at all; I think I will make an entire post out of unfairly comparing the two films.

Here are all the stats for this:
Scanned myself with the Pakon F335, edited in Photoshop
D-76 stock at 8min (I think, or it could have been 9min…it was developed by my local camera store)
Canon 7 with the Leitz 35mm f/3.5 Summaron
Overcast day
Shutter speeds were nominally around 1/125 at f/8 (I was shooting at around ASA100)

The Axis Trio makes its first appearance, here’s a pic:

(Shot with the Spotmatic SPII on Tri-X) – Japanese camera body, German lens, and finally, Italian film!

As far as first impressions go, I wasn’t expecting much at all because John at Cameraworks said they were very underexposed and the negatives were quite thin.  I don’t know how to describe what I mean, but looking at the curve I provided, the picture was there right in the middle, where with something like Tri-X all that information would have been way to one side where it’s much less usable, and usually is a lot grainier.  And this film certainly has some fine grain!

I shot that 35mm Summaron at f/8 all day and it looks incredibly soft, compared to my beloved Takumars (this is really the first time I’ve put it through its paces), which threw me for a while.  Having had a couple weeks to think it over and studying the rest of my scans, I think I might be dealing with a focus error here.  Is P30 a different thickness from most other films?  I’m going to rescan all the negatives when I have a chance, and make sure I run the autofocus wizard using this particular film.  I assume that I will also have to run it again to refocus it to all the other films I use.  Again, nothing wrong with that roll of Tri-X I scanned at the same time.

I’m hoping that the dust/water spots were just so noticeable because of the underexposure.

Overwhelming Majority released to the world

Overwhelming Majority is an experimental documentary dealing with issues of alienation, isolation, and social anxiety.  I remember my teacher Jane sending me this article when I was making the film and being very intrigued by that aspect, something I’d never considered.  OM has been screening at film festivals for the last year and a half, but in light of recent events like Las Vegas, perhaps it’s time to be seen by the rest of the world.

WINNER: Best Experimental film – 2016 Blissfest333
WINNER: Best Experimental film – 2016 UCCS Short Film Festival
NOMINATION: Best Experimental film – 2017 Wales International Film Festival
NOMINATION: Best Documentary Short – 2016 Blissfest333

OFFICIAL SELECTIONS:
2017 Carmarthen Bay Film Festival
2017 Colorado Short Circuit
2017 Wales International Documentary Festival
2017 Durango Independent Film Festival
2016 London International Documentary Festival
2016 Southern Colorado Film Festival

October updates

I can’t sleep right now, so I’ll post this early.  For those of you that actually read this blog, thanks for sticking it out so far.  Summer season has finally wound down (a bit at least) and there will probably be more posts with actual content.  Here’s what’s been happening in my photographic world:

I sent my Pentax SPII off for a CLA, it seemed to be about time since one of the strap lugs had come loose.  For future reference, Cameraworks charges $120 for a full CLA, which is fine, and at least I’m not shipping the camera anywhere (I did once send my Pentax ESII off to be repaired a few years ago by this guy but he wasn’t able to get the speeds right unfortunately).  This will be the first time one of my cameras will have had a CLA.

I’ve had my Pakon F335 in storage for more than a year, but that’s about to change and I should be back to scanning my own images shortly (the only thing I scanned myself recently is this post, the rest of my images were scanned on Cameraworks’ F235 or Mike’s Camera’s Frontier).

I shot my first two rolls of Ferrania P30 alpha, happy to use the Axis Trio as I’ve dubbed it, for the first time: Japanese camera body, German lens, and Italian film, looking forward to seeing my results and scanning them on the Pakon.  If it’s anything like Double-X (and from everything I’ve read it is), it’s a good film for older, low-contrast lenses and should give a very classic mid-century feel.  Thankfully, I also shot on a pretty overcast day (rare in Colorado).

Back to sleep now…

The power of the latent image

I was helping my mom rearrange some things in her house and came across a roll of film that had been in a basket just lying around the house.  I thought it might have been a roll that I shot when I first moved to Colorado, maybe a good 7-8 years old now, as I still have one roll unaccounted for.  It turned out to be something much more precious:

This was our home in Ohio which we had to sell back in 2002 which means that these pics are at least 15 years old, and judging by the way my brother looks, are probably closer to 20.  While mostly different angles of the front of our house, I also managed to capture our dog Pinto that my mom brought out to Colorado, and who sadly didn’t survive long after that.  Also in the background is a straw barn that we spent many an afternoon playing in back in the day.  These were taken by me, with my Kodak Cameo Focus Free point & shoot camera, picked up at a thrift store at some point and probably still in my top drawer in the chest at my dad’s.

I bumped up the contrast a bit but that was all, and am pretty impressed with how good the images held up, even if they do now look a bit vintage.  Knowing from experience how reluctant people are to drop off old film at a camera store these days, I recently had a single-use camera processed for a friend of mine and they were at least this usable.  If people you know have film lying around undeveloped, please encourage them to make a trip to their local camera store, or barring that, offer to do it for them: it’s a nice favor and can bring back some great memories.

Chapel interior

The chapel at the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, tends to draw quite a few visitors because of its interesting shape (you can search for pics online).  But also due to its unique architecture it has always suffered problems with leaking, and will therefore close for renovation next year.  If you’re planning on visiting Colorado Springs soon, you might want to check out the Academy chapel as your next opportunity could be at least 5 years from now.

While giving a tour of my city I took the opportunity of the bright sunlight to really let the stained glass do its thing inside the chapel, and the Ektar 100 really let the colors pop.  Below is a view of some of the dormitory buildings.  If you enjoy mid-century modernism the Academy is fantastic, and offers striking contrast with its surroundings.

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