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Hey Bacteria: What the Hell?!

Posted 2011.10.12 8.22 in Life On Drugs, Pointless Blather by Stephanie

It’s been a full month now since I first saw my doctor about my left leg. Am I all better now?

No. Not even close. I can’t say for sure if it’s worse or not, but it sure isn’t better.

It hasn’t been a full month of treatment, mind you. Not yet. The first five days were taken up with separate sessions with the x-ray machine, and two different sets of ultra-sounds, by two different technicians, in two different offices.

So treatment-wise, it’ll just be reaching the 4-week mark in a couple days.

Since the treatment started, I’ve had four different antibiotics. Two of them intravenously, three of them in pill form. There was also the NSAID for the inflammation.

Has any of it worked?

I don’t really know. I think the IV was starting to work but then my doctor switched me over to pills.

The pills sure haven’t worked. The first ones didn’t do a darn thing, that’s when I ended up going to the hospital. And since the IV, the pills haven’t done anything either. Not the first lot. And the second lot seems to be coming up useless too.

So hey you bacteriums down there? What the hell do you want from me? Bugger off, I’m done with you jerks!

These guys are jerks.

The score so far:

  • Cephalexin pills: Useless.
  • Naproxen pills: Useless.
  • Cephazolin & Clindamycin¬†together by IV: Maybe helped, a bit.
  • Clindamycin pills: Useless.
  • Ciprofloxacin pills: Useless.

Instamatic 500 by Kodak AG

Posted 2011.10.11 8.28 in Hobbies, Photography by Stephanie

After the Autopak 700, I thought I was finished collecting 126-format cameras. I thought I had found the best and therefore didn’t need any more. I thought wrong.

The Instamatic 500 was produced by Kodak AG (Germany) and was their top-of-the-line instamatic camera. Made in 1963, it features a solid metal body, quality German optics, and fully manual operation. It is smaller than the Minolta, having no built-in rangefinder. The Instamatic 500 uses guess-focusing, with a distance scale on the top of the lens and zone icons on the bottom. Interestingly, the lens has detents for the zones, so it ‘snaps’ into place for Portrait (4ft), Group (~8ft), and Landscape (~20ft).

The lens also has a Depth-of-Field scale printed on it, so it’s actually very handy on a bright sunny day – set your aperture to f/11 or f/16, set your shutter speed according to your film ISO, and set the focus on ‘Group’ and you’ll have good sharp focus from 4 feet to infinity. Great for street photography or casual snapshots.

The Schneider-Kreuznach Xenar lens has a 38mm focal length and the aperture ranges from f/2.8 to f/22. It is mounted on a Compur shutter with speeds from 1/30 through 1/500, plus Bulb. The shutter has X-sync through its entire range, with flash available through both a hot-shoe and PC socket. Finally, the lens is retractable, when not in use. A small button on the base of the camera allows the lens to be pressed back into the body. The lens is spring-loaded and pressing that button again lets it slide back out into place. While the lens is stowed, the shutter-release is locked, preventing accidental snaps.

To top it all off, the camera is equipped with a Gossen selenium meter. This works without requiring any batteries at all, and after almost 50 years, it is still working correctly! The meter is visible through the viewfinder, indicating if the exposure is off or if it is correct, with +/- 1 EV indication.

The only flaw on my camera is that the faceplate has been lost. Normally there would be the indication ‘Kodak Instamatic 500’ on the face of the camera, above and left of the lens.

It is, in my opinion, a nearly perfect camera. It works without batteries. It’s fairly compact. It’s solid. It takes square photos! It has an exposure aid, though it’s still a manual camera. There’s still that pesky problem of the film being nearly impossible to find, but that can be worked around. The lack of focus-aid, such as a rangefinder, is a problem when you can’t estimate distances very well. But the inclusion of a DOF scale helps make up for that.

The Instamatic 500 is a definite keeper, and certainly has a place in my collection. The Minolta Autopak 700 has the rangefinder, and the Rollei A26 is smaller. The Instamatic 500 fits right in between – the size is right, the feel is right, fully manual and doesn’t need batteries. It’s a winner.

The following pictures were taken on an OEM Fuji colour negative film. 35mm respooled into a 126 cartridge. This has two quirks: the sprocket holes are visible along one edge of the images, and sometimes there are feeding problems, which can lead to occasional overlapping images.

Also a quick point on using 35mm in the 126 cartridges: I do have a precious cache of genuine 126 film, so why am I using 35mm instead? When I get a new camera, I don’t know how well it’s going to perform, and I would hate to waste a real cartridge only to find out the shutter wasn’t opening or something stupid like that. So before using a real 126 film on a new aquisition, I’ll test with a reloaded one. Also, the colour 126 cartridges are all very expired, so there is a trade-off. Good colours / predictable results with sprocket holes, or completely unpredictable results but no sprocket holes?

This was the last roll to be souped in my exhausted C-41 chemistry. Processing at room temperature has gone from 18 minutes up to 25 minutes, my blix is exhausted, and I suspect the stabilizer is going too. So I’ll let some colour films pile up a bit before I make up a new batch of chemicals to resume processing. Maybe I’ll do some B&W in the meantime.

Tastes Like Plastic

Posted 2011.10.10 19.15 in Life On Drugs, Pointless Blather by Stephanie

Frozen “General Tsao” chicken, and microwave rice.

After suffering alone all day long in pain from my leg, it’s the best I could manage for dinner.

If I was designing the packaging, the phrase “You Can Really Taste The Plastic!” would feature prominently. Perhaps inside an exciting gold star, or in bright friendly red letters.

Thank the Gods for Sriracha sauce, otherwise this would have been a really crappy thanksgiving dinner.

Kalimar “Colt 44”

Posted 2011.10.10 10.01 in Hobbies, Photography by Stephanie

Here is a super simple 127-format camera from 1960. The Kalimar “Colt 44”, also known as the Kalimar 44, also known as the Anny 44, is about one step up from a box camera. As with many other cameras with a ’44’ designation, it takes twelve square 4x4cm frames on a roll of 127 film.

It’s designed to look like a rangefinder, but really it’s just a fake-out. The ‘focus lever’ is actually a lock for the shutter release, with the ‘rangefinder window’ turning red when the shutter is locked, and black when the camera is ready to shoot.

The fixed-focus lens has a focal length of 60mm, and is set to capture subjects from 5 feet to infinity. The camera has a single fixed shutter speed of roughly 1/60th – not even a bulb setting. The only thing you can control is the aperture, which can be set from f/8 to f/22. An indicator on the lens barrel suggests f/8 and f/11 for colour film, and f/16 and f/22 for black & white.

The 127 format is nearly obsolete, but there are a few places still selling fresh / new film, such as the Frugal Photographer. You can also respool 35mm film with a 127 spool and backer paper, but you will have sprocket holes in the image. Or skinny panoramic images, if you crop out the sprockets.

One other funky thing with this camera, it has an accessory shoe (not a hot shoe) and it has a PC connector, but it is not an X-sync — it’s an M-sync. This means it is timed for old ‘medium’ flash bulbs. Meaning, it triggers the flash about 20 milliseconds before the shutter is opened. So with an electronic flash, the flash is over and done with before the shutter has fully opened. So even though the camera looks like you can use a flash, it’s no-go. Unless you have some bulbs, that is…

All in all, the Colt 44 reminds me of the Holga, in fact. It is smaller, and made of metal and glass rather than plastic. And where the Holga has fixed exposure and zone focus, the Colt 44 has fixed focus and lets you set the aperture… ok in fact the Colt 44 and Holga are really nothing alike. Yet they still remind me of each other all the same.

The shots below were taken on a generic “store brand” colour negative 35mm film that was made by Fuji.

Souped, as usual, in my exhausted C41 chemistry. By exhausted I mean, it’s nearly the end of the road for that batch. Soon I’ll have to bid it fare well, wash out the containers, and prepare a shiney new batch. Then I’ll have to reset all my timers and start over.

Chaika II Repair Results

Posted 2011.10.09 15.32 in Hobbies, Photography by Stephanie

A while back I dug up an old broken camera and pulled it apart to fix it. Or kill it. Whatever came first.

Turned out that the fix was fairly simple, and I was momentarily pleased enough to put some film in it and carry it around for a couple days.

The Chaika II is a “half frame” camera, meaning it takes two smaller pictures for every one picture a normal camera takes. Normal 35mm frames are 36mm x 24mm, and a half-frame camera takes 24mm x 18mm frames. So with a 36-exposure roll, you actually get 72 shots!

It’d take me forever to finish a 72-frame roll, but luckily I usually have some half-rolls laying around, from re-spooling 35mm film into different formats (eg. 126 cartridges or 127 rolls.) Or just from getting bored and pulling a half-used roll out of one camera, to finish in another.

Either way, I had about half a roll left of CN-800 film, and into the Chaika it went.

Details: ISO 800 colour negative film, processed a long while in my tired old C-41 chemistry. Exposed using Sunny-16 and guesswork. The Chaika’s shutter seems to be working fine and the speeds are probably accurate. Yay!

XA-3 X-Pro

Posted 2011.10.08 11.44 in Photography, Pointless Blather by Stephanie

Being stuck at home with this lame leg is starting to get me down. I can’t go out and enjoy the nice weather. Can’t go for a walk. Can’t even go for a drive, as it irritates my leg to be in the car for any length of time. About the only thing that’s improved is without the IVs in my arm, I’m able to get my arms into a dark-bag to process some film I shot earlier.

The pics below were shot on Kodak Elite Chrome, using my Olympus XA-3. Elite Chrome is a slide film, but I cross-processed it in my standard C-41 chemistry. That’s why the colours are so wild and wierd. Where the Fuji film I’ve cross-processed has come out with pink and red hues, this Kodak brand came out with lots of greens and yellows. It’s kind of neat, I think.

The XA-3 did a good job, I quite like that camera. Most of the images are sharp and nicely exposed, though there’s a bit of motion-blur here and there as a few shots were snapped from the car while it was moving. I actually still had the IVs on when I shot off this roll, so it’s mostly crummy car-shots I took while getting from home to work or whatever.

Grumble grumble lame leg. Not crippled enough for an accessible-parking permit but too crippled to be out going places and doing things.

Anyways, pics:

Processed for about 24 minutes in my tired old C-41 chemistry, at about 68 degrees F. I’m really abusing those chemicals. They were rated for 12 rolls of film or 2 weeks, whichever came first. They’re now over 3 months old and I’ve processed over 35 rolls of film with them, and it’s still kicking.

Damn.

Posted 2011.10.05 22.19 in Computers/Internet/Technology by Stephanie

Steve Jobs. 1955-2011

R.I.P.