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Waiting Again

Posted 2012.07.31 9.12 in Computers/Internet/Technology, Pointless Blather by Stephanie

Back to the waiting once again. I hate this part.

There was a week or two there where I managed to distract myself with some photography fun, had a nice daytrip and that sort of thing.

But now it’s just back to waiting, hoping the mailperson brings me some goodies.

I’ve about exhausted all the coding and testing I can do using the partialy-built-out rejected board. I’ve added more modes, more functions and features. But I can’t add or test sensors without building them, and I can’t do that on the reject board – I have to wait for the good board before soldering the expensive bits.

Here is one of my favorite new features – it’s not useful or informative, it does not accomplish anything. It’s just fun to look at. That’s right, it’s Conway’s Game of Life running on the ISEB-6 Mk II.

Hey, with 128kB of flash and 16kB of ram, there’s room for all kinds of crazy stuff in there.


Posted 2012.07.26 12.19 in Photography, Pointless Blather by Stephanie

I think people have gotten confused about what the word Impossible means.

A lot of times I get told this is impossible, that is impossible. I think the word is over-used. There’s a big difference between Impossible and Not Easy, or Not Worthwhile, or even just I didn’t think to try it yet.

Really, when people say Impossible, I just assume they mean that they either can’t figure it out, or haven’t even been arsed to try.

Today’s impossible thing was taking a 15 year old film disc, that I exposed a year ago, and processing it myself here at home.

For those of you who missed it, Disc cameras were a very short-lived thing that came up in the ’80s and died by the ’90s. It was a tiny format, smaller even than 110 film. The only thing going for it was that the cameras were flat and skinny, like two decks of cards side-by-side. Easily fitting in a pocket or handbag.

But the film was expensive and the quality was terrible, while 35mm P&S cameras got smaller and smaller but their quality remained acceptable (a 35mm neg is at least 6x larger than a disc negative.)

Anyhow, I had come across a couple un-used film discs, and had to give it a shot. I found myself a wonderfully horrible little disc camera, an Ansco VR-1, for which I paid 99 cents. The VR-1 is plastic, powered by springs, and used a Flipflash if you needed light. No exposure adjustments, no focus, it is amazingly light and cheap and plastic. I believe it is a re-branded Halina, just bearing the Ansco name on the outside. It is exactly the same as this camera here.

So the shots I took were simple snapshots, using a Konica ISO200 disc that had spent at least a decade gathering dust at the local Goodwill. That was the easy part. Today I did the “impossible” and processed it myself.

It wasn’t all that impossible actually. I just improvised a way to sit it inside my developing tank then used my worn out old C41 chemistry, happily ignoring the fact that disc film uses the “C41a” process (about which I could find no information.)

So what came out of it? Small, crappy, grainy, miscoloured pictures. Just like back in the 1980s!

Well actually mine are crappier and grainier but I attribute that to the film being 15 years past its best before date. I’ve had similar results from other old cheap film, like Sooters 126 colour film from the 90’s.

So what was the point of this whole grainy excercise? I just had to prove I could do it. Although I have two more unopened film discs, I can’t imagine any reason to try and use them.

What matters is that I now know that I could, if I really wanted to.

The Kodak Jiffy V. P.

Posted 2012.07.24 12.26 in Hobbies, Photography by Stephanie

The Kodak Jiffy V. P. is a camera I acquired some time ago – last summer I think. It is the second oldest camera in my collection, dating from the mid 1930’s.

The V. P. stands for Vest Pocket, as the camera folds up and fits neatly in a pocket. It was a cheaper model even back in the day – bakelite construction, folding metal frame-style finder, and simple doublet lens. Groovy art deco stylings though.

The Jiffy V. P. uses format 127 rollfilm. This is a halfway size, bigger than 35mm but smaller than 120 rollfilm. The Jiffy shoots eight 4×6.5cm frames on a roll. You can still get 127 film from a couple sources. I used a roll of Efke R100 (ISO 100) black and white for the following shots.

The subject matter is an old abandoned driving range north of town. I noticed it a few weeks back while en route to visit my folks, so on the way back home I stopped and explored around and took some pictures. It was a blazingly hot and sunny day, which was good for the ISO100 film and the old camera.

Processed at home with some very old T-Max 1:4, 8 1/2 minutes at 76°F, and scanned with my Epson flatbed.

Camera Hack

Posted 2012.07.22 12.46 in Hobbies, Photography by Stephanie

Some long while ago I picked up a Lomography Action Sampler camera – a little multi-lens plastic ‘toy’ camera that takes four pictures in sequence when you press the shutter release. The four images all fit on a single frame of 35mm film, and are taken about 1/4 second apart.

It’s supposed to capture ‘action’ but the shutter speed isn’t very fast so if the subject is moving fast enough to capture the action, they’re probably going to come out blurry. And if they are moving slow enough not to be blurry, then there isn’t enough ‘action’ to capture.

Anyhow, I got the idea to modify it. I’d black out two of the lenses and remove the internal frame mask so that a) there was only two images instead of four, and b) they would bleed into each other.

It was a super simple modification, the frame mask was a plastic insert that just popped out when I tugged on it with pliers. To block out two lenses I just used some black electrical tape – so neither change is permanent.

I was hoping that the two lenses would have enough coverage to expose the whole negative, but it turns out they do not. I think there might be some more plastic inside that I could try and remove, to see if that does it. Or not. It’s not bad as-is.

The film was an OEM Fuji colour negative (store brand), ISO 400. Processed myself with my stale old C41 chemistry, 20 minutes at 76°F then scanned on my flatbed Epson.

Road to Meaford

Posted 2012.07.21 19.08 in Family/Friends, Photography by Stephanie

This past week I took a day off for a little road trip with my sister. Just tooling around for the sake of seeing something new. There’s a website that has some day-trip routes that sound interesting and we opted for the old route to Meaford trip.

It was an excuse to take a day off work, see some parts of Ontario that we hadn’t seen before, and take some pictures.

I was also putting the exposure value function of my Integrated Sensors Electronic Bracer to a practical test, using it to determine the settings on my camera. For this outing, I selected my Zeiss Ikon Nettar 515/2, a lovely old folder from the late 1930’s. It is completely manual everything, and takes eight 6×9 frames on 120 rollfilm.

The forecast was for a bright sunny day, but I selected ISO400 film just incase – experience has taught me that it’s better to over-expose than under-expose. Colour negative film nowadays can usually handle up to 3 stops of over-exposure anyways.

All three rolls of film were processed at home at room temperature in my stale C-41 chemistry (20 minutes at 76°F) then scanned on my flatbed Epson. A few of them did come out over-exposed but I was able to scan them without too much grain / noise.

Board Renders

Posted 2012.07.16 9.30 in Computers/Internet/Technology by Stephanie

This morning I put in the order for Rev. 2 of the ISEB-6 Mark II circuit boards.

Many thanks to Laen of OSHPark who helped me sort out a problem I was having with the top silkscreen layer!

Now it’s back to the waiting game again… will have to try and find something to keep me occupied till the boards come in.


Posted 2012.07.15 14.18 in Computers/Internet/Technology by Stephanie

I’ve been working on this on-and-off for the past couple days – a second revision of the custom circuit board for my ISEB-6. After learning from all my mistakes on the first revision, this one is a thing of beauty, if I do say so myself.

It’s got a great big gorgeous ground plane, on-board USB port and FTDI chip, all the same sensors and expansions as before, but I think it’s much more neat and tidy than the first attempt.

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