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Camera Hack

Posted 2012.07.22 12.46 in Hobbies, Photography

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.

A Multilens Camera

Posted 2011.09.04 9.10 in Hobbies, Photography

Going in a completely different direction from my usual photographic interests, I recently picked up a totally plastic novelty toy camera – a multilens Actionsampler.

These cameras have four lenses in a two-by-two layout, which result in four 1/4-sized images on a single 35mm negative. The four mini-frames are taken sequentially (rather than simultaneously) so that the four mini-images are each a fraction-of-a-second apart. Thus, it lets you ‘sample’ some ‘action’.

Lomography Actionsampler

The camera has no focusing or exposure controls. The lenses have a 26mm focal length and the shutter speed seems to be about 1/100th. Focus is fixed, 1.2m to infinity.┬áThe aperture is unknown, but small – probably around f/11. They have some suggestions to vary the film speed based on the weather (sunny, cloudy, et cetera) but I’d ignore that and go with ISO 400 at the slowest. In fact I used ISO 800 and that was acceptable from bright daylight to dusk. Indoors it was inadequate – this is an outdoor daytime camera only.

The interval between pictures is listed as 0.22 seconds, so all four frames are taken in just under 3/4 seconds. With a 1/100 shutter speed, fast action will show some motion blur. Slow action may not show enough difference between the four frames, so there’s a trade-off to be had – either the four images will appear nearly identical, or you’re likely to see some bluring.

The camera does not take any batteries, winding and rewinding is simple and manual, and the shutter release is also a simple plastic button. There is no viewfinder as such – you frame your shots via a simple fold-up plastic frame. Or you just ‘shoot from the hip’ and hope for the best.

The camera is very light – 100 grams. It seems a little bulky and blocky, and feels like they could have made it smaller if they wanted. The size and light weight make it feel very, very cheap and toy-like. The biggest complaint I have though is actually the noise – when you trip the shutter, it makes a noise that is a bit unpleasant and quite noticable. Sort of a brief plastic grinding sound. I suspect it is a clockwork that causes the 0.22 second delay between each of the four shutters.

The Actionsampler’s four images start at the upper-left and end at the upper-right, moving anti-clockwise. With some practice one can figure out what kinds of motion / movement are most appropriate for this camera, and then I’m sure it would really shine. It does seem to love people, and although the focus is set for 1.2m to infinity, it’s mini-image format will make it happiest with people 1.2m to 5m. Not a great camera for landscapes or architectural shots, I think.

Overall, it’s not a good camera by any means. It’s a toy, and a novelty. So why’d I buy it? I was curious and I wanted to play!

More Snail Porn

Posted 2009.09.07 20.22 in Aquaria

Little Buddy certainly seems to fancy himself a super stud – he won’t leave Speed Racer or Big Blue alone…

Little Buddy: Super Stud

Speed Racer's O-Face is not terribly attractive...

Hot Snail-on-Snail Action!

Posted 2009.08.29 22.36 in Aquaria

That’s right, it’s Snail Pr0n! Just before lights-out tonight, I noticed Little Buddy had crawled ontop of Big Blue and was getting, shall we say, amourous with her.

Snail Pr0n!

Snail Pr0n!

A few days ago I spotted Little Buddy having his way with Speed Racer (whom I thought was a male…) Clearly there’s no question about Little Buddy being a bloke (maybe I should have named him Randy!) but until there are some eggs, I just don’t know for sure about the others.