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Through the Cemetery

Posted 2011.11.09 23.08 in Hobbies, Photography

So last week the Lomography folks unveiled their new product – a new-fangled old-fashioned movie camera using actual film!

I confess I think they’ve done something very clever. 8mm, 16mm, Super-8, all those old movie films have something in common: it’s really hard to find somewhere to buy the film, and it’s nigh-impossible to find somewhere to develop it. There’s like maybe 4 places left on Earth that process Super-8 on a regular basis.

So what the LSI gang have done, is come up with a funky retro hand-cranked movie camera, that takes common normal 35mm film, that you can still buy lots of places, and can still get developed lots of places. (Except around where I live, apparently.)

Now the drawback is that a 36-frame can of 35mm film is not a lot of film when you’re talking about motion pictures. The LomoKino camera fits 4 movie frames in a single still-picture frame, i.e. instead of 24mm by 36mm, the movie frames are 24mm by 8.5mm. So your 36-shot roll of film gives you about 144 frames. The LomoKino can crank at about 5fps so this is…less than 30 seconds of footage for a whole film cannister.

Still, it’s pretty keen. The camera looks good and if you get bulk film off eBay and process & scan it yourself, it’s not that expensive to make your own retro movies.

Here’s my first – Through the Cemetery, shot on Kodak Tri-X with the LomoKino. Enjoy!

C41 Film, B&W Chemistry

Posted 2009.09.25 9.35 in Hobbies, Photography

So I’ve tried a few times to process colour film at home in Black & White chemicals. And I’ve had a few failures. It started out as a lark, then became a bit of a challenge and a learning process. In the meantime, I also got a newer, better scanner that has a bit more oomph in its transparency adapter and can better manage the darker negs that colour film produce. (Darker due to a built-in orange mask.)

My most-recent attempt actually produced workable results! Pitty I wasn’t trying to take good pictures.

What happened was, I picked up one of those disposable / one-use cameras. It was cheap, a ‘store-brand’, and mostly I wanted to take it apart to get at the shutter assembly and the electronic flash components. So I had 27 frames of film to piss away, and I did just that, snapping here there and whatever. The film was ISO 800 which is very fast (for me at least, I used to think 100 was ‘standard’ and 400 was ‘very fast’; now 400 seems standard.)

Anyhow, so at the end of the day I had managed to waste the whole roll and took the camera apart to get it out. The no-name camera contained a roll of no-name film. I had been hoping for some clue as to who made it, so I’d have some hope of knowing what to expect. No luck. So I snipped off a bit of the leader then loaded the rest into my developing tank.

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Canonet Test Roll

Posted 2009.09.12 8.15 in Hobbies, Photography

I processed the first roll shot with my ‘new’ Canonet QL17, and the results were… mixed. Almost the entire roll came out under-exposed, so I have to try and figure out why. Two possibilities come to mind, the first being that the Electric Eye is not working right, i.e. giving incorrect metering, and the second being that I &#%ed up the developing somehow.

I’ll have to do another roll and be sure to vary the exposures so there are some different levels I can compare. The Electric Eye was designed to use the now-verbotten 1.35v mercury battery; the alkaline replacement is 1.55 volts and that might be enough to throw the meter off by one or two stops. And alternatively, when I decided to process the film it was late at night and I’d enjoyed a few adult beverages, so it’s entirely possible that the camera is fine and I baffed the whole thing up by mixing the chemicals wrong or getting the timing wrong.

I tried to find a book yesterday at Chapters that would include some info on developing film, but literally every single book in the ‘photography’ section includes the word ‘digital’. Even the darkroom books are all ‘digital darkroom’. ¬†Ptooey!

Anyhow, here are a few results from that first test-roll.

Because the whole roll had come out under-exposed, I was forced to push the exposure when scanning the negs and that affected the quality somewhat. It’s not unlike going from neg to print, you can fix some problems by varying how you expose and develop the paper.

Also, I was more interested in rushing through the roll so I could ensure that the camera was working, and didn’t think much (at all) about actually composing good shots. I’ll have to work on that – still trying to re-train my eye for photography.

Cheers!