Monday, April 29, 2013

Roll/Spotlight: Back Alley Suburbia (Part 5) on the Petri Color 35

Yesterday Katie and I went to Volo, Illinois, to walk around the huge bog there, and to go to the local antique mall, which is also gigantic. At the mall I found a camera that I had read about before, the "Petri Color 35", got excited, and bought it for 20 bucks.

The Petri Color 35 is a super-compact 35mm "precision" viewfinder camera. It came out in 1968, and was Petri's direct competiton to the Rollei 35, which had come out a couple years prior. While the Petri isn't as visually pleasing as the Rollei 35 (Though it's not ugly by any means), its ergonomics are drastically better. Shutter speed and aperture are adjusted via the two small dials on the top of the body; easily adjusted with your thumb and pointer finger.

The Focus is adjusted with the dial that resides on the back of the body. The camera is a zone-focuser, just like the Rollei 35, but the distance scale on the Petri is located in the viewfinder, which is super cool and convenient. The camera also features a match-needle CDS exposure meter, but my battery compartment is unfortunately corroded shut.

Today I went on a long walk through a bunch of alleys with the Petri Color 35. Here are some of the photos I took:

I really like this camera. It's not as flashy as the Rollei 35, and the images aren't quite as sharp or contrasty, but it's a fun, funky little camera, and joy to use. Thanks for looking!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Spotlight: Yashica 635

 The Yashica 635 is undoubtedly one of the most unique cameras in my collection. Just by looking at the front of the body, it looks like your run of the mill 6x6 twin lens reflex camera. However, the Yasica 635 is actually a dual-format machine, accepting both 120 AND 35mm film, through the use of an adapter kit. This is the only camera I know of that uses both formats (with the exception of those POS Holgas). The camera's name refers to the fact that it shoots 6x6, and 35mm.

The camera shoots 120 film by default. To use 35mm film, you must have an adapter kit, which is a bit hard to come by. I was lucky enough to find a 635 that came with one. Most of the time you must buy the kit separately, and it can cost upwards of $50. Once you have the kit, you install the 5 or 6 pieces into the inside of the camera as seen above. once you do that, you're good to go!

The 35mm film advance is is separate from the 120 film advance. It's on the right side of the camera, complete with a film rewind knob and film counter.

While using 35mm film, you compose your photo using the red guidelines in the middle of the focus screen. The lens is 80mm, so it's a standard lens while using 120 film, but a short telephoto while shooting 35mm. It's also pretty tricky to shoot horizontally, as you have to turn the camera on its side, while dealing with the reverse-image and parallax. Also, no split prism or micro-prism screen here, folks. Get used to focusing on a straight-up matte screen!

Here are some photos I took during the last week on my Yashica 635:

While using 35mm film in a twin lens reflex body is pretty fun, it's a bit too janky for it to replace my Pentax MX or Olympus OM2-n anytime soon. Still, the Yashica 635 has an undeniable charm, and I'll probably still shoot with it from time to time just to shake things up a bit.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Print: The Marsh

I found this doll at an estate sale a few months ago. I left it out in the weather, and I really like how the face turned out. About a week ago, we had a lot of wind, and I stepped outside to find that the doll's head had fallen off and split in half! I used a staple gun to put the head back together, and stuck a few staples in her arm for good measure. I took the doll out into the flooded woods and photographed her using my Pentax 6x7 with a 135mm macro lens. Thanks for looking!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Print: Suburban Scrap

I took this photo a couple of weeks ago on my Pentax 6x7 using a 105mm lens. It's of a totaled car that I found in an alley in Wilmette, a few blocks away from my house.  I took a photo of it on my Pentax MX, but wanted to make a nice print with a large medium format negative. My dad thinks the background is too distracting, but I wanted to give the photo a sense of place. The whole point of this photo for me is showing how out of place the totaled car is in the middle of a suburban neighborhood. In any regards, I think the contrast turned out quite nice.

Hopefully the weather will improve soon, as I have a few things I've been meaning to shoot with the 6x7. Finger's crossed!

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Spotlight/Roll: Back Alley Suburbia (Part 4) on the Olympus OM-2n

Yesterday my friend David and I went for a bike ride through the surrounding neighborhoods. I brought my newly acquired Olympus OM-2n, and he brought his Nikon F. I wanted to make sure the OM-2n was working correctly before I replaced my beat-up black OM-2. David and I found some pretty cool stuff, including a creepy abandoned house right in the middle of Evanston next to the train tracks (First photo at the top). Here are some of the shots off of the roll:

Monday, April 8, 2013

Spotlight: Olympus XA

 At first glance, you would be forgiven to label Olympus XA as a P.O.S plastic point and shoot, given its small, plastic build and slide-out lens cover. However, the Olympus XA is actually a very capable miniature 35mm full-frame rangefinder. In fact, I believe it is THE smallest 35mm rangefinder. It's nearly as small as my Rollei 35, which does not feature a rangefinder.

The XA is an aperture-priority auto-exposure camera. You pick the aperture with the sliding switch on the front, and the camera does the rest. I've found that it's pretty accurate in just about all of my exposures. A handy little switch on the bottom adds EV +1.5 to compensate for shooting back-lit subjects or if you're in heavy shade. I do wish there was a manual mode, but sometimes you just can't have everything. You can indirectly change the shutter-speed by fidgeting with the ASA switch, so it's all good I guess.

The XA with optional attachable flash

The camera features an F-Zuiko 35mm wide-angle lens. Damn, is this lens sharp! I was very surprised. I found that it rivaled the 50mm 1.4 Zuiko lens on my OM-2. Olympus sure knows how to make a lens. I just wish it was a 40mm, like the Rollei 35. That's a very pleasant focal length. 35mm just feels too wide to me for every-day use.

Here are some of the photos I took on the XA. All photos were taken on Fuji 200 film, and scanned by me.

Courtesy of Katie

So yeah, I'm impressed with the Olympus XA. I just wish it wasn't so... plastic.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Spotlight: Pentax 6x7

To put it lightly, the Asahi Pentax 6x7 is a hulking monster. With a standard 105mm lens and grip, it weighs over SIX POUNDS. It's a beast! A sexy, sexy beast. I've wanted to use this camera for a while now, and when I recently saw one going for a great price on ebay, I just had to pick it up.

The basic principal behind this camera is that it has the ergonomics of a 35mm SLR, with the power of a 6x7 medium format negative. So does it handle like a 35mm SLR? Yes. A 35mm SLR that got "Arny-fied". The shutter release, film advance, and shutter speed selection dial are all in similar spots as they would be on a 35mm SLR. So, operation is very similar, aside from the fact that it's huge. Like a 35mm SLR, the Pentax 6x7 has an auto-return mirror. This mirror is roughly four times the size as a 35mm camera's mirror, so the slap is pretty significant. You really do hear a big "KA-CHUNK" when you press the shutter release (Extremely satisfying!). Because of the mirror slap, it's commonly recommended not to hand-hold the camera at speeds slower than 1/250th of a second. For any speed slower than that, the camera should be mounted on a tripod (a large tripod) with the mirror locked up.

Katie with the 6x7 in front of my van... pure sex appeal.

I film tested my Pentax 6x7 today for the first time, and was very impressed. It's a lot of fun to use. The viewfinder is decently bright for a medium format camera, and the microprism focus screen is pretty easy to use, but I do plan on eventually purchasing a split prism screen in the future. As I just said, the shutter sound is very pleasing... much easier on the ears than the "Cling!" my C330's leaf shutter makes. The 105mm lens is great. It handles beautifully, and is tack-sharp, even though I hand-held all the frames I took today. Here are a couple scans of today's roll:

I shot this photo of my brother with the lens wide open at f2.4. Though the Mamiya is a bit fuzzy, Pearson's face is nice and sharp. The bokeh also looks great!

I shot this photo of my minivan at f5.6, 1/250th of a second. Even though I shot it at a somewhat wide aperture, it's still very sharp. Take a look at a 100% crop:

So much detail! The Pentax 6x7 is a camera I definitely want to keep using. I don't think it'll replace my Mamiya C330, but it'll be a nice backup, and my go-to close-up camera, because parallax is a bitch. Thanks for reading!