This is Nyavn, the touristy end of town. Two 7 second exposures with the Pinholaroid.
So- I was looking for a sheet of glass to use for reclaiming fuji instant negatives and found this scanner lying in the electric goods recycling area in our yard. I got the sheet of glass out and a number of other interesting parts, including this lens:
After messing about with it for a while I realised it would almost cover 120 film. An hour or so later I’d attached a shutter to the front of it and that to an old Bilora body using foam, a bit of film canister and copious duct tape. I adjusted the fit of the lens to infinity focus using a sheet of ground glass.
The shutter had to be in-front of the lens to enable the lens to be seated far enough towards the film plane to focus at infinity. This may be vignetting the image slightly.
Anyway, I loaded it with FP4 and took a roll to see what it was like. I reckon the lens is about 40mm f8 or so.
As you can see- it’s pretty wide. It’s also fairly sharp at the centre but getting very smooshy towards the edges- obviously using the lens way beyond the intended limits of it’s coverage. It’s reminiscent of some of the toy camera images. I quite like it and can see how the sharp in the middle-soft in the edges thing could be put to good use.
So, a year or so ago I borrowed a friend’s Olympus Pen F (A.K.A “The Precious F”) for a couple of weeks. I hadn’t shot with a half-frame camera before and I really enjoyed shooting with this diminutive SLR and the rolls of film I took with it had a lot of shots I liked. The thing I liked best was taking a few shots on adjoining frames to make a mini narrative, made in camera and shot together at the time. Here’s some examples:
I had a hoot and a holler but it also made me really, really want a Pen F. I looked for one for a few weeks before realising that they were out of my financial reach (staring at around £250) so I started searching the world wide info-web for alternatives.
I found two candidates for alternative half frame SLRs- the Yashica Samurai and the Konica Auto-Reflex. The Yashicas are all singing, all dancing electronic cameras with fixed zoom lenses (not something I like in general- the lenses are pretty slow). The Konicas are metal-bodied, robust mechanical SLRs from the ’60s. Konica it was to be then. I spent about a year stalking them and bidding on them and I finally got this one for the princely sum of £60:
Now, there’s plenty of information about these on the information super web (here, here and here) so that I won’t repeat it here. In short the coolest and most interesting feature of this camera is it’s ability to switch between full-size 36x24mm frames and 18x24mm half frames anywhere in the roll. Here’s a gratuitous shot of the switch:
This makes little blinds come over the film-plane to mask it to half-frame and two little prongs stick down into the viewfinder to remind you that you’re on half. There’s two lines engraved on the focusing screen to show the extents of the half frame. Switching from full to half or vice versa means that you waste 9mm of film each time. There’s also an order to switching that you must follow to avoid overlapping frames (switching full>half you wind then switch, switching half>full you switch then wind).
It took a while for me to get a lens for the camera but I got a shiny 40mm 1:1.8 last week. I loaded it up with HP5+ last weekend and shot a couple of rolls:
There’s a slight light leak but that’s fixed now. Some of the images are slightly fuzzy but that’s probably my fault and not the camera’s (shooting wide-open in piss poor light at slow shutter speeds whilst being a little tipsy is not ideal…)
I like this camera- its a lot bigger and heavier than the Pen F, of a size comparable to my Nikkormat or Spotmatics but I’m happy with that. In use it’s quite comfortable- the front-mounted shutter speed dial makes it easy to change speeds without taking the camera away from your eye. In addition, when shooting half frames the nice thing is the full frame is still visible in the viewfinder- so you can see what’s going on outside the frame, akin to shooting with a rangefinder. Getting 72 shots on a roll is quite jolly and is one of the many reasons I wanted a half-frame camera. It saves film i might waste on the odd or experimental- but it’s also nice to have the option to be able to switch to higher quality full frames should quality be required.
There’s two things I don’t like about it- I would much prefer a screen with a split-image rangefinder rather than just micro-prisms and the strap lugs are placed so that the camera hangs at an awkward angle with the tiny 40mm pancake lens attached (it probably hangs nicely with a bigger lens).
That’s all for now- there’ll doubtless be more to follow because I like shooting with this one….
Wow- just found Danish Photog Jacob Holdt’s American Pictures website. It’s a huge piece of documentary photography compiled over decades vagabonding in the states, concerning racism and social inequality. It is profoundly disturbing and moving without being exploitative of misery because there is a strong and coherent message of peace and understanding running through the whole.
He’s pretty hardcore too- hitchhiking around the US & selling his blood to buy film:
"The half-frame camera took 72 pictures on a roll, so by selling my blood plasma twice a week for $5 each time, I could afford 2 rolls of film a week"
Respect is truly due to the man….
So- I built a pinhole instant camera from a tin box and a damaged Hasselblad instant back I got in the bargain bin at Photografica. It’s my first successful pinhole camera and so far it’s been a real hoot. For more details about the camera see here.
I’ve started a series called 7+ seconds of Danish summer; 7 seconds is about the shortest exposure you can get with this thing with ISO100 film. Generally the exposures are about 1-3 minutes long.
Here’s some shots:
There’s more (and will continue to be more) from this series on my Flickr, here