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Good, Bad, or Fugly?

Posted 2009.11.01 9.29 in Hobbies, Photography

Have you heard about this Lomography stuff? It’s sort of a ‘movement’ thingy. They use these Lomo LC-A cameras, or Holgas, or Dianas… the point is using a cheap / crummy / mediocre camera, expired film, ‘shooting from the hip’, cross-processing with the wrong chemistry, whatever – so the end result is sort of the opposite of carefully composed properly exposed photography.

Perhaps its a little like throwing cans of paint at a canvas, and calling it fine art?

It also reminds me a bit of the Dada movement from about a hundred years ago, sort of an anti-art movement, where the Dadaists were rebelling a bit about what the modern world was calling art, and they went in some wierd directions to sort of call attention to the pretentious silliness of it all. (Yeah, I actually learned stuff in the Art History classes in highschool.)

Anyhow, so the thing with Lomography is that ‘bad’ is ‘good’, or something along those lines. That you find the beauty in the results you get, and you don’t know what you get till you get the film back. They do caution that you can’t expect every shot to be a masterpiece, you might only get one good shot out of a whole roll…(**)

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More Home Camera Repair

Posted 2009.10.16 16.55 in Hobbies, Photography

The codeine buzz didn’t last long, so in an attempt to draw my attention away from the unbearable seething agony in my mouth, I decided to have a go at repairing another camera.

Hanimex RangefinderToday’s victim subject was my Hanimex Rangefinder. I’ve looked high and low on teh interwebz but have yet to find any more information on this camera. I’m confident that it works like the Hanimex zone focus ZF35, and is almost certainly made by whomever made the ZF35. I have parts of the ZF35 manual, and between that information and what I’d ascertained when I originally disassembled part of the Hanimex, I am confident that a) my RF35 is functionally equivalent, b) the mechanical shutter operates at full speed when there is no battery power, and c) the metering system (when it works) uses an electromagnet to delay the shutter closing.

In other words, the shutter is cocked and released in a fully mechanical fashion. However, there is a small electromagnet (basically a small relay coil) next to an armature which, when released, closes the shutter. This armature has a small steel weight attached. Without any power whatsoever, the armature moves unimpeded and its maximum speed is probably 1/300th of a second. When the small coil is powered, this magnetically holds the armature in place until the current is removed. This delay is what allows the camera to employ slower shutter speeds.

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Hanimex Rangefinder

Posted 2009.09.30 22.58 in Hobbies, Photography

So I ran a test-roll through the Hanimex today. I took it partially apart last night and figured out that without a battery, it was probably running the shutter at full speed. Full speed is probably 1/300 sec based on the Hanimex ZF35 which looks very similar. So knowing (or guessing) that the shutter speed was 1/300 I calculated the aperture based on the Sunny-16 rule, and went from there.

The results were not bad – the lens seems fairly sharp and I’m pleased with the results. I’ll have to get a battery for it and see how it reacts in its normal mode, aka aperture priority. It has a CdS “electric eye” and can allegedly adjust the shutter speed based on the available light and selected aperture. I’d have been happier if it was fully manual, i.e. if it had a shutter-speed selector rather than a film speed selector. Nonetheless, it’s a wonderfully small and lightweight 70s rangefinder and seems to have a fairly decent lens!