Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Frame: Stump

So a couple months ago, my beloved Pentax 6x7 body broke down. I finally got around to buying another one on Ebay this last week, and unfortunately it doesn't work quite right. The shutter "bounces" at 1/1000th of a second, causing half the frame to turn out unexposed (See below). So, I'm going to send it back and try again with a different Ebay seller. Sigh. I did like getting to shoot with a 6x7 again, though, and enjoyed my time testing out the camera. I took this shot in a forest preserve in Morton Grove. I used Ilford Delta 400 film. This is a scan, not a print.

The replacement Pentax 6x7 at 1/1000th... damn.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Spotlight: Minolta SRT 202

Last weekend I went to a camera show, and picked up this sweet Minolta SRT 202. The SRT 202 came out in 1975, and was Minolta's flagship mechanical camera, and also the successor to the famous SRT 102. It's apparently pretty hard to find in Black, so I guess I lucked out.

The SRT 202 has a full information viewfinder (aperture and shutter-speed settings are visible with your eye to the camera). The focus screen is a split image/microprism, and cannot be switched out, sadly. There is no mirror lock-up switch on the SRT 202, which I find odd, since the SRT 102 had mirror lock-up. One odd "feature" the SRT 202 has is that the depth-of-field preview switch only works when the shutter is cocked. Strange!

I put a roll through my SRT 202, and had a lot of fun with the camera. Unfortunately, the 1/1000th speed "bounces", resulting in half of the frame not getting exposed. All other aspects of the camera worked fine, with the exception of the internal meter, which I did not test.

Here are some of my results (all shot on T-Max 400):

  Thanks for looking!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Spotlight/Roll: Leica M4 at the Renaissance Faire

The Leica M4 was first introduced in 1967, and is considered by many to be the final "classic" Leica model.

The M4 is an evolution of the Leica M3 and M2; taking the best features from both of those cameras, and adding in some new additions of its own. The viewfinder has the same lower magnification as the M2 (0.72), and includes frame-lines for 35mm, 50mm, 90mm, and 135mm lenses. The frame counter is the same as the M3, and automatically resets when the bottom plate is taken off.

The Leica M4 introduced some new, innovative features that would become standard for most Leica M models to follow. The rapid-load system was introduced; a built-in loading system that did away with the removable (and losable) take-up spools, all while making film loading exponentially faster. A tilted film rewind crank was also added (as apposed to previous knurled rewind knobs), and greatly reduced the time it took to rewind film back into its canister. The film advance lever was also re-designed to increase cocking speed. These additions made the Leica M4 much quicker and easier to use, all while retaining the classic look, feel, and quality of previous M cameras.

Top View

I recently traded in my M3 for an M4 at Tamarkin Camera in downtown Chicago. I kept my same 50mm Summicron lens. The lower magnification of the M4 viewfinder makes it easier for me, a glasses wearer, to see the 50mm frame-lines. I've shot a few rolls with it so far, and am happy with my decision to switch.

I recently took the M4 to one of my favorite places, the Bristol Renaissance Faire. All was shot on Ilford HP5+. Here are some of my results:

Thanks for taking a peek!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Print: Ringwood Manor, Kitchen

This is the kitchen in the Ringwoad Road house, near McHenry, Illinois. Dead bugs littered the counter tops, and there was a mysterious pile of clothes on the floor. The door on the right led to the basement, which was pretty much empty. I used my Pentax LX with a 24mm F/2.8 lens, on Ilford Delta 400 film. The physical print is 7 x 10 inches. I had to burn-in the windows quite a bit, but I like how the print turned out. It makes me want to go back.

Thanks for looking!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Print: Ringwood Manor, Master Bath

This is an interior shot of the Ringwood Road house I explored last weekend. It's the master bathroom, located at the end of the hall on the 2nd floor of the building. I found it odd that amidst all the clutter and decay, the bathtub was nearly spotless. I used my Pentax LX with a 24mm 2.8 Lens on Ilford Delta 400 Film. The physical print is 8x10 inches.

Thanks for looking!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Print: Ringwood Manor

Last weekend my future brother-in-law, Aaron, and I took a drive through the Illinois countryside in search of abandoned houses. After searching for a few hours, we came across this beautiful Victorian house on Ringwood Road, near McHenry, Illinois. We explored the entire property, which included the house, three silos, a barn, and an old well. This is a photograph of the front of the house, which was overgrown by a large amount of brush. I used my Pentax LX with a 35mm F/2 lens and a yellow filter, on Ilford Delta 400 film. The physical print is 10 x 7 inches.

I took plenty of photographs of the interior of the house as well. I'll post those within the next few days.

Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Roll: Morton Grove 4th of July Carnival

Last Friday, on the 4th of July, Katie and I checked out a carnival that's held annually in the suburb of Morton Grove. There were all sorts of rides, food, and interesting people. I brought along my Pentax LX and a roll of Ilford Delta Pro 3200. I used only the light of the surrounding carnival rides, and was impressed that I could still get hand-holdable shutter speeds.  I had never used a film this fast before (I mainly stick between ISO 100 and 400), so I didn't know what to expect from the results. The final images are not nearly as grainy as I thought they'd be! 

Here are some of my results from our night at the carnival:

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Spotlight: Minolta SR-1

Over the weekend I went to Wolff's Flea Market at the Allstate Arena. Among a bunch of cool old stuff to sell on Etsy and Ebay, I came across a Minolta SR-1 for twelve dollars. The SR-1 is historically significant to a degree, as it's the second single lens reflex camera Minolta ever made.

In 1959, Minolta released the SR-1 as a cheaper alternative to their flagship model, the SR-2 (released a year prior in 1958). The only difference between the cameras is that the SR-1 has a slower maximum shutter speed of 1/500th, versus the 1/1000th top speed of the SR-2. The SR-1 and SR-2 were pretty advanced cameras for their time, featuring instant return mirrors and built-in pentagonal prisms.

Top View

The SR-1 went through many revisions (six!) during its twelve year production period. My SR-1 is the first revised model, referred to by collectors as the "SR-1 Model B". The Model B made it so you didn't have to pull up on the shutter-speed dial in order to change the shutter-speed. Later revisions added features such a light meter, fully automatic diaphragm control, and more.

One cool thing about Minolta SLR's is that they used the same "SR" mount from the release of the SR-2 in 1958, all the way up to their crappy plastic auto-focus cameras in 1998. This means you can use any lens ever made for a Minolta SLR on the SR-1. This worked out for me, as the 55mm F/2 Rokkor lens that came with the camera was completely toast. Luckily another vendor at the market had a 45mm F/2 Rokkor they were selling for five bucks. This was the lens I used to test out the camera.

Here are some of my results. I used crappy Fujicolor 200!

Overall, I have to admit that I quite like the Minolta SR-1. It has style (The old Minolta Logo is pretty sexy), and it's well built. I don't really dig that my "Model B" doesn't have a fully automatic diaphragm, meaning that the lens aperture stays stopped down after I fire the shutter, until I cock it again. The focus screen is plain matte as well, and pretty dark. I would have preferred a split image or micro-prism screen. But hey, you can't have everything. It's an extremely solid, all mechanical SLR that's perfect for someone learning 35mm photography.

Thanks for looking!