Friday, 20 April 2012

The Brick

This my friends, is my beloved brick. She is of course, a Bronica SQ-a, which was introduced by Bronica in 1982.

In typical 80's fashion, it would appear that it was designed entirely with a ruler. The camera's weight, size, and angular frame do often lead me to believe that I'm actually carrying around a house brick. That being said, it is the most functional house brick I've ever had the pleasure of shooting with, and I simply adore this camera.

It's battered, tattered, slightly rough around the edges, and has obviously been well used, but it works pretty well considering! The lens is clean, the viewfinder clear, and all the functions still work as they should. Testament I think to the original build quality. It has a feel of being pretty over-engineered, with everything having a nice solid feel to it.

The downside of all this build quality and weight is that I tend not to carry it around with me on a normal day out shooting. It stays nicely locked away until I have something planned for it. Generally this will be a modelling shoot where the conditions are fairly consistent and I don't have to worry about giving myself an aching back lugging it around. Still... It's not the cameras fault that I'm lazy right?

The lens of this camera is beautiful. It's probably 30 years old but the focusing action is still as smooth as silk, and is perfectly weighted. Coupled with the great depth of field afforded by medium format shooting, it's not too difficult to produce some really striking images. I'm always happy with most of the pictures I shoot with this camera.

I guess there's something about shooting medium format that makes me slow down, think a bit more, and hold my fire until everything's right. Something I should be doing anyway? Yeah probably, and to some extent I already do, but there's nothing quite like 12 shots on a roll and high developing costs to really slow you down!

Maybe you're gathering this as we go along here, but the weak link in my Bronica chain is definitely my medium format scanner. I'm pretty certain it's probably the oldest scanner in the world, but... It's all I've got. I think this scanner is JUST about better than no scanner at all, but I'll leave you with a few more 'life' shots to decide for yourselves. Until next time!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Top 25

After coming across the beautiful work of Whimsical Jane, and briefly discussing our mutual love of film photography with her, I was inspired to document a few of my favourite cameras from my collection. I'm fast approaching the 100 mark, so I thought my top 25 would be a good place to start.

Of course, this was only my top 25 today, tomorrow I may very well have changed my mind completely, but... such is life.

So, here is my little montage. Should anyone want more detail about any of these cameras, please message me and I will be happy to delve further in to the specifics.

Monday, 9 April 2012

I'm In Love

So, I'm in love. She's quite a bit older than me, but I've seen her around before and I knew I just had to have her. I mentioned her in my last post. Her name is Pen. Olympus Pen... EE3. The most heavenly name to ever grace my ears. She's perfect in every way. A real class act. A fantastic performer. Best of all, she's so petite, I can take her everywhere with me. She fits neatly in my pocket like it was always meant to be. It's a match made in heaven!

Right, so now you all think I'm mad, but in all seriousness. I love this camera! It's such a nifty little piece of kit, and it's really really versatile. I took it with me on a recent Prague trip for it's test run and I wasn't disappointed. I'm really pleased with the results I've had back. The PEN seems to have handled all the various lighting conditions really well, and the images are of a really high quality considering they're half frame. It's a neat little street shooter. Here's a few 'street' style examples.

It does landscapes and stuff pretty well too. It's captured the atmosphere of the place well I think.

Prague is a beautiful city, with plenty of amazing architecture as you can see. However, an architectural connoisseur I am not. One thing I am a fan of though is classic cars, and Prague has it's fair share of those. However, I got the distinct impression they weren't pampered classics, merely old cars that people were still using. I saw loads of old Skodas, FSU's and other delights from our ex-Soviet comrades.

So I guess I don't have much else to say about the Olympus Pen EE3 other than GO AND BUY ONE! It's as simple as that.

In other quick news. I used up the last shot on a Bronica roll to take a self portrait, and it turned out to be one the only pictures of me I actually like. So for the sake of my own ego, here it is. along with a few more Prague PEN shots for good measure.

I love my Bronica. It's a total beast, but that's a story for another day. Bye for now!

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Conspicuous by my Absense

Did you miss me?

It's been an age since I posted, but hey.. I have a life to be getting on with, and things to be photographing. That being said, I guess it's time for a catch up. So where did I leave you? Ah yes... The Chinon Bellami. Well there's no real gentle way to say this to you, so I'll just say it. It's dead. Destroyed. FUBAR. Kaput.

I suppose I should say that it was my fault entirely. I loaded it up with some slide film, and headed out to a quiet little place in Derbyshire called Burbage Brook for a day in the sun. So excited was I upon arrival that I was leaping from giant rock to giant rock (as you do), when I slipped, fell, threw the poor little Bellami out in to the distance where it smashed on a rock, slid (in slow motion) across the rock face, then disappeared over the edge in to the abyss. About a second later I heard a gentle 'plop' as it disappeared beneath the surface of the water and sank to it's demise.

Let's just say I was pissed off, and leave it at that.

Anyway, what else did I leave you with? Oh yes, the Yashica T2. Well I've had a couple of rolls through that and it was OK. Not amazing, not terrible, but OK. The lens is nice and sharp when it actually manages to find focus, but I seem to have half the roll out of focus, when normally I wouldn't. I've also found that it was a bit flimsy. The plastic seems a bit brittle and has already cracked around the battery compartment. So, as I said, it's OK. Here's a couple pictures from the T2.

I remember in my post about the T2 that I mentioned my little Olympus Mju I, and how great I thought it was. I'm happy to report that I still feel the same way. I have a few little Olympus cameras now of various vintages and I love them all. They seem to be well built, well spec'd, cleverly designed, and all give brilliant results. Here's a few recent pictures from the Mju. If you have chance to buy one, then just do it. You won't regret it.

I've been giving the old Olympus Trip a bit of a hammering over the last few months too. This is another Olympus that I love, but it's been giving me a bit of grief. I've had a temperamental red flag, and it was letting me take pictures when it really shouldn't have been. Anyone familiar with the Trip will know about the red flag that pops up when there isn't enough light for a good image. Well mine was having a hissy fit but a quiet afternoon getting intimate with the inner workings and it's good as new (I think...). Fingers crossed! Here's a few pictures I've taken with it since my last post.

The picture of the viaduct running over the river was taken in Knaresborough. I took that picture because I have an identical picture that my dad took back in the early 80's from the exact same spot. I always find it amusing to copy his pictures if possible. I guess it's my way of paying tribute to where it all began. The lomography shop in the picture above that was an interesting experience. I found myself pissed off at how expensive the kinder egg cameras were. There was some idiot hipster girl in there asking the chap behind the counter what all the knobs did on her new and overpriced Holga. What a swizz. Don't get me started...

Finally on the subject of Olympus cameras, let me introduce the very latest member of my gang. Hot off the press sometime between 1973 and 1983, and flying through my letterbox this very morning, my brand new (to me) Olympus Pen EE3.

I have used one of these little half frame cameras before, and I was genuinely impressed with the results. The genius of this thing is that it takes twice as many pictures on a 35mm roll as a normal camera. 72 shots on a roll? Yes sir. Thank you sir. This one is in mint condition and came in it's original box, with the original instruction manual and lens cap. Quite the bargain, considering what I paid for it!

I can't wait to get out and use it. I'm heading to Prague in a couple of weeks, then London, then Portugal a little bit after that, so I think this may just be with me the whole way.

So I'll leave you with the news that I'm going to try and sort a couple of proper shoots out soon, with some real life models, so hopefully there'll be some nice new pictures for you soon. In the meantime, keep checking the website as I'm always sticking pictures up there, including loads more from my period of absence.

See you soon!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Chinon Bellami & Endless Editing

Following up from my recent post about my obsession with little compact cameras, I went and 'accidentally' bought another one. Here it is. The little Chinon Bellami.

From what I can gather online, it's a pretty uncommon camera. I must admit when I came across the auction on eBay, I'd never heard of the Bellami. It's actually a pretty nice camera. It's tiny for a 35mm camera. Hopefully you can tell that from the roll of film next to it.

Despite it's size, the Bellami feels really solid. It's heavy for it's size, and it has a full size film advance lever. No little thumb wheels here! Perhaps the most striking feature of the Bellami though are the barn doors that the lens hides behind when not in use. To open them up, you pull back slightly on the film advance, and to close them you push slightly forward. It's a really clever little touch that I love!

The Bellami also comes with it's own little flash that screws on to the side. It's similar to the Olympus XA series in that respect, and it's another neat little feature. The flash can be set to on, off, or daylight sync, which is a pretty cool feature for such a little thing. It only takes a single AA battery so it takes a while to warm up, but it should be usable enough.

Browsing flickr for some sample images, it seems the 35mm, f/2.8 lens is pretty sharp and contrasty. The results look somewhat similar to the Lomo LC-A when loaded with slide film and cross processed. This is a fact which I'm quite happy about, as this camera only costs a fraction of the Lomo, and I'd quite fancied having a go at the whole cross processing malarkey.

Anyway, that's about all I know about Chinon Bellami's for now. I'll stick some old expired slide film in it, and see what happens. I'll be sure to post the results when I have them.

In other news, I'm slowly working through a whole heap of editing from some headshot sessions I did down in that there London. Editing is boring, so the less said about that, the better.

That's all for now.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Classic Cars and Classic Cameras

If there's one thing I love almost as much as a classic film camera, it's a classic car. So imagine my delight when I discovered recently that there would be a large classic car show very near to where I live. Go ahead, try to imagine that. Good.

Well what else was I to do, but bung some film in my trusty Canon AE-1 and head out to make the most of it? Little did I know that my 'trusty' Canon has developed a light leak. Oh well, it was a good day all the same. Here are some shots.

I'll start with the Landrovers because I absolutely love them. In the past I've had a 1972 Series 3, a 1991 Discovery, and I currently have a 1986 Ninety. So seeing these two as we entered the show started the afternoon well. I bet you're wondering which Landy I'd like next right? Answer... A series 2. Best looking of the lot.

Everyone loves a Beetle, especially a Herbie replica. Ocho!

You might like to know that I apart from Landrovers, I also adore the classic mini. None of this new fangled BMW mini business (even though it was designed by Rover). The oldies are the best. I've had a couple over the years. I used to have one that looked a little like this. It was certainly the same colour, although mine had the wideboy arches, big wheels, and was rally prepped. Sadly, I got rid of it to get a MK1 Ford Fiesta that I still have. It looks almost like the blue van in the next shot.

Mine had slightly different wheels, and it isn't the van variant, but other than that, it's very similar. Truth be told, the van here is in much better condition than mine. Still... the MK1 Ford Fiesta is a super cool little car. I've always had something for angular cars for some reason.

I'll leave you with a couple of big cats to drool over. I've never had a Jag, and don't know that I'll ever want one. I can appreciate the design, especially of the E Type, but my Mrs says they're cock substitutes, and you just can't argue with a womans logic.