Saturday, October 18, 2014

How to clean sticky rubber grips

The recently purchased used Nikon F70D with the panorama feature is more lessuseless because of the extreme sticky back. It must be a longterm reaction between rubber, sweat and humidity. Is not a pleasure to touch at all, your hands literally become sticky too. Anyway, someone recommended to have a try with alcohol, and I am not talking about having a drink while using the camera. I got some alcohol from the pharmacy for a few Euro's (actually the bottle costs half the price I bought the camera for) and started wiping, nothing to loose than the camera back. Indeed it works, though you must be prepared to to a lot of wiping and rubbing before a clean layer of rubber comes through the smudgy stuff. Can plan a good 1 hour before it is done.
I don't give any guarantee on this, not sure if the effect comes or whatever side-effect will surface.

Nikon F70D sticky back (red: before;green: after)
without words

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Camera Collection: Praktica LTL3

Another rock solid metal camera, the Praktica LTL3 produced by VEB Pentacon between in Dresden between 1975 and 1978. I bought this for 25,- Euro's and it comes with this fantastic old-fashion Stasi look-alike observation bag. Plus 3 bw Agfa films for the Chinese market (from the mid 80's) with a DM (Deutsche Mark, defunct currency before 2001) price tag on it.
Praktica LTL3 with manual and accessories leaflet

Action Bag

Open Action Bag

Agfa XR100i China


Friday, October 10, 2014

How to take picture - A basic guide from the 60's

This little leaflet (by DEWAG* in 1965) came with the original box the EXA500 was packed in. It is a basic guide how to take pictures by the camera maker explaining the basics of photography available at the 1960's in the former GDR (DDR). It is called 'erinnerungen sind eine kamera wert' ('memories are worth a camera') and written in rather old-fashion style.
Here the scanned version, hopefully not infringing any IP of a defunc company in history, this is meant for educational purpose and to keep camera history.

(*) DEWAG - Deutsche Werbe- und Anzeigengesellschaft, the governmental advertising agency, not the german company that operates under this name today. (Wikipedia)

Camera Collection: EXA 500

My latest addition to my camera collection. The EXA 500 was build in the former German Democratic Republic (DDR, aka East Germany) from 1968 to 1969. About 100.000 were built. The export version of the same camera was called EXAKTA 500, it got is name from the additional shutterspeed of 1/500, it is using a focal plane shutter. Solid metal handicraft work by lhagee founded back in 1921. The company was taken over by the government owned company VEB Pentacon. More in-deep info at the links in the reference section.
Unfortunately the model I bought does not work any more.

lhagee EX 500


Thursday, October 02, 2014

Consumer Cameras of the 1960's

I collected quite some 'consumer' cameras from the 50's and 60's, just unwrapped these cameras to be displayed on a shelf or stored in a dry cabinet. Not worth a lot, but they all still work fine and its fun to look at these old clunky metal bodies.
Mostly Agfa Isoly, Click, Clack, Isolette, Silette and others. I did not touhch this box since moving back to Europe 15 months ago. Btw, they were all wrapped, I just set this up for the picture.
What a contradiction to take a box of film cameras with a digital camera and then fake the bw image.
Camera Collection

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Why film can't be dead

We have the year 2014, most major companies (Agfa,..)gave up on producing film, though some smaller companies do so.
SLR cameras fron the 80's and 90's, basically most of the plastic bodies, go for a few Euros on ebay, but the prices medium format cameras achieve is breath taking. I don’t believe you buy eg. a Mamiya 6 for 900 Euros just to put it on a shelf. Except my panorama cameras, all the old cameras I buy, wont cost more than 50 Euro each.
Linhof Master Technika sold at 964 Euro
Mamiya 6 at 912 Euros
Linhof is certainly a well known brand, like Leica, it wont loose value, despite Linhof is still producing (non digital) cameras .

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Film Stock

Despite not using any film for a few years I still have quite a stock of film, I just discovered this 2 boxes with mostly 135 and some 120 roll film. Of course between 6 and 10 years expired, which should not be a problem for a black and white film. Guess will sell some of the film, at least any color/slide film and the infamous Shanghai film which is not worth to use developer on.

Panorama Camera Collection: F70D

Didnt add cameras lately to my collection of cameras with panoramic features and real panorama cameras. I came across this F70D (N70 in the US) which was introduced in 1994 and came with a panorama switch that allow to change from the fullframe 24x36mm to 13x36mm format (panorama by masking). The F70D is considered slightly rare, not as common as the regular F70 model.
SLR cameras from the late 80's to 90's you find on ebay for a few Euros or Dollars only.
Nikon F70D
Back with panorama switch
This camera has the usual problem, the rubber (20 years old) on the back starts to dissolve due to humidity and sweat and is quite sticky. Alcohol might solve the problem.

Some basic info at Wikipedia.

Monday, September 29, 2014

2014 - Film is (still) not dead

Almost 3 years passed and I did not touch any film. I moved from one continent to another in the meantime bringing along all cameras and film stock (I sold all 120 slide film though but kept the bw stock). Now I am getting serious, the last weekend I shot one roll of Jessops black and white film in the infamous panorama plastic camera. I still have two packets of Xtol but had to order some fixer. I almost have to learn again how to take out the film and put it into the Job drum !
I will wait for tomorrow night and take out the film from the camera, finally living in a house again that has dark places.

Will keep you posted on this !

Friday, January 27, 2012

Kodak: End-of-Life'd

I cant believe that one of the most traditional or historical photography equipment and film companies (Kodak on Wikipedia) is going down the drain (link) and filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy.
The company made photography accesible to the masses in the early years and introduced or invented a couple of fantastic things. To name a few:
  • 1900: The Brownie Camera
  • 1935: Kodachrome
  • 1963: Instamatic Camera
  • 1975: The digital camera (Engineer Steven Sasson)
  • 1986: First Megapixel Sensor
More than a few time Kodak missed the train with their products and the competitors happily overtook.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 - Film is not dead

I cant believe this year has passed so quickly. I noticed not a single post on this blog for a whole year. This actually reflects how many photographs (film) I created this year: Zero ! Reviewing my equipment in the dry cabinet I suddenly felt very bad and decided to develop a last roll that was still in the camera from 2010 and scan some of the negatives. I miss using the Noblex and the Roundshot, I will try to find some time in 2012 to use them.
So this is my tribute to film panorama for 2011. Two solid Agfa APX (original, not the remake) panoramas made with the Noblex.
All the best to my panoramic friends for 2012. May film be around for another few years !

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Noblex ceased production

Sad to post that another classic film based camera is no longer produced. Noblex Germany, based in Dresden, stopped the production. I have a 135S and always looked for a 150. Noblex Canada took over the service with the remaining spare parts shipped from Dresden. You better dont break it now.
Noblex Canada

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Noblex Re-Started

The very first outing for the Noblex after about a year of loneliness in the dry cabinet and its owner realizing there was still a film inside. And one more time I did the error of not "moving" it for a long period. The lens barrel would not rotate before several rounds of "supported" turning (aka turn it manually and listen to the squeeky sound). Finally it worked (turned at variou speeds without disturbing sounds) and I loaded an AgfaPan (from the 100 year supply fridge) and it had a little walkabout around town.
Half way through the film it started to get difficult to to forward the film, 2 more shots and it got stuck completely.. in both directions ! Only in my makeshift darkroom I could open the body and feel the mess, the film got tangled between the transporting mechanism. I recovered the film (badly fodled at 2 positions) and put it in an empty film can, hoping my lab will accept that.
Before wasting anther panoramic opportunity, I dry-run with some crap left-over film and see if there is any persistent problem. It seems to work fine, we will see.

Noblex from inside:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What happened to (Panorama) Photography ?

My blog has been very quiet this year (with hardly 3 entries so far), and so was my photography. Let me write down some of my thoughts about current photography.

What happened to Photography ?
Rewinding 10 years from now to 1999, the time I used a SLR and a medium format camera, and printed in my own darkroom, photography was something ordinary people were doing during their holiday or birthday parties only. You would see only professionals or hobbyists (aka. artists, semi-pro,..) using cameras regularly. That was the pre-digital era (few digital cameras at a low quality were available though) and the pre-mobile-phone time (yes, they were available but not everyone was carrying around 2 of them to ensure being connected all the time). Panorama Photography was truly an exceptional photographic form with exclusively film panorama cameras only.
Today photography is prostituted at large. Film photography disappeared almost completely, but digital photography is everywhere. Everyone is a photographer now (or claims to be), even more since mobile phones bring their build-in 6MP camera along. Wherever I go I see people either taking pictures with their iPhone's or with a DSLR dangling around their neck. We got virtually flooded with digital imagery. It is hard to find quality images in the classic sense, free of visible digital alchemy.
The product "photography" is dead in the commercial sense. Picture libraries are offering flatrates for images. Still they are the exclusive ones or the libraries working in niche markets but few photographers make a living of that. I met too many who gave up.

What happened to Panorama Photography ?
Panorama photography is getting more common in the sense of the digital age. Creating panoramas becomes just a result of the camera (with build-in panorama modes), such as the latest Sony model that only requires you to sweep along a scene to get a panorama. Software is getting smarter and faster, and with a few clicks anyone can venture into the panorama business.

What happened to my Photography ?
I didnt make any (film based) photographs this year. I didnt shoot or look much at photographs besides the day-by-day images (you usually do of your family or some simple product shots). Guess my version of an interrim creative break. Now the urge for outstanding photographs is coming back and I started de-dust my film equipment. Tired of HDR'd pictures and awful (even technical perfect) digital imagery, I am eager to take decent pictures and only few of them and enjoy some prints. My style or favorite subjects didnt change much, I still love decay and simple objects. Not necessary all gonna be taken with film but less images with more impact. I will focus on classic panorama formats again.
Also my project to create a book is back now, especially since mockup books are very cheap now from most of the online print-shops.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Fotoman stops production

A bit sad to say, but Fotoman pulls out from the traditional film and large/panorama format domain. With effect of April 1st they stopped production for understandable reasons (as you can read here). Thanks Paul for your dedicated work in the last few years to create a reasonable priced 617 camera (among others).

Friday, January 02, 2009

Happy New Year 2009

My best panoramic wishes to all readers for the new year ! Another year with hopefully enough film and film producing companies around.

Please dont forget to drop by the panorama-gallery.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Seitz says "Goodbye to film.."

The Swiss company famous for the range of film based panoramic cameras like the VR220 and 28-220 announced the discontinuation of these cameras. Sadly enough, but fact. Guess the digital world force them to move on. They still will support the old cameras for support but only sell the digital range (even I am not sure who can afford the D3 or the big boy D617). Wonder if the price of my 28-220 will go up. I am NOT it selling anyway !

On Photo Magazines

No posting for 2 months ! Thats the longest period of silence for this blog. Haven't been active in the field of (panoramic) film, but more in the digital world (sister blog link). Today I share some thoughts about photomagazines. To be honest I stopped buying them long time ago (with few exceptions). Either they are indulging in technical specs and curves of the latest lenses and bodies (some of the curves I cant even interpret) or half filled with advertising of camera shops. I prefer to see portfolios, experiences on assignment and similar content. The only magazine I read regularly is "Photographie" (german language, link), it is a fair mixture of images and technical editorial over the years, even the amount of nude pictures is too much compared to other portfolios. I gave up on magazines from US and UK, which are also rather expensive in Singapore (due to be imported).
(Copyright with LFI and Canon!)

I specifically want to compare 2 camerabrand pushed magazines:
Both magazines are about the cameras the brand produces and images that are made with the same. The 2 cameras brands are completely different league of equipment approaching different type of photographers. LFI rather on the artistic side, for the purist (hobbyist) who can afford it. EOS on the press/sports-photographer and hobbyist side.

Facts LFI (September/October 2008, Germany):
Price Euro 6,50, available at magazine dealers
74 pages
2 pages readers images
30 pages portfolio (2 photographers)
6 pages (fullpage) advertising
6 pages editorial, impressum, news, exhibitions
31 pages on Leica cameras/equipment (some pages shared with 1/2 advertising)

Facts EOS Magazine (April/June 2008)
Price free for selected customers (spend more than x on Canon), available through pay-subscription.
82 pages
8 pages readers images
9 pages (fillpage) advertising
8 pages editorial, impressum, news, exhibitions
8 pages portfolio (1 photographers)
16 pages on Canon cameras/equipment
27 pages learning trail, how-to (mixed with Canon brand equipment)
4 pages background story

Conclusion: None. Both try to advertise their repective brand. Canon focus more on guiding photographers in using Canon cameras. Leica puts the brand itself into the centre. I wont buy both of them because not being neutral or independant (are other magazines neutral?).

Alternatives: (?)
- For technical reviews and comparison I go online to the various photo portals.
- Maybe the Black and White Magazine for the artistic scene of bw photographers and gallerists.

I leave it to you to comment and decide..

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

SHD 100

I got several requests about supply and processing the chinese black and white film SHD from Lucky. I buy them when I travel to China and I let them process by a lab with standard bw process for TMax. For me, this is an experimental film, for playing around or artsy projects, not for serious, crips portraits. Same applies to the Shanghai GP film. They scratch very easily !!
Here the website of lucky (link) and scans of the SHD 100 120 box (copyright by Luckyfilm). Thats all I know about it, sorry folks.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Mamiya announce 4x5" adapter for ZD Back

On the Photokina 2008 in September they also announce a large format adapter. But both price and availability is not known yet. If it takes the same time to market it like the back itself we sell in the shelf around 2011. I hope earlier !
(German link)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Mamiya ZD Back revised

A rather small revision of the back comes with a internal buffer of double size, which allows to shoot more images in a row. The back also allows remote catpure.
Check Mamiya Japan (link)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Tips on storing panoramic cameras

I guess everyone is keeping his treasures in a dry cabinet (at least if you live in a damn humid place like Singapore). Since we have so many cameras (don't we?), it is very unlikely that you bring all your equipment along on a trip. Even more, it happens that a camera is not even used for months.

Tip 1: Batteries suck !
Dont leave batteries inside the body, specifically if you use the el-cheapo type of batteries which tend to vomit their content into the cam.

Tip 2: Move it !
If you have a panoramic camera with a rotating lens (Noblex, Widelux,..), make sure you move this parts occasionally. It happened to me before, that the Noblex didnt turn anymore after 1/2 year of not using it, but giving a squeeky sound.

Sure, this sounds a) like common sense and b) to all cameras anyway. Just want to share personal experience.

Sunday, September 14, 2008 update

Quite a while since I started the monochrome collection of panoramic images at I recently received some requests and decided to continue with the portfolio. I use AirtightInteractive's SimpleViewer which is not too flashy and simple to use. It is free (with a link back to his homepage), but I will buy the Pro version with more settings and the sourcecode to make some personalizations.
Drop by panorama monochrome @
(new Australia and China collection, more to come)

Friday, August 29, 2008

Ansco Panorama again

The Ansco Panorama PIX has been sitting on the shelve for quite a while ! Inside a Konica Minolta Centuria 200, damn I still have a box with 100 of this film. Even manged to have shots from 2 continents on one 24 roll. Like my grandma which used one film for 2 birthday and christmas parties. The colors are ugly and its grainy, but never mind it fits well into the Ansco.