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 !
(link)

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:
LFI - LEICA FOTOGRAFIE INTERNATIONAL (link)
EOS MAGAZINE (link)
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

panochrome.com update

Quite a while since I started the monochrome collection of panoramic images at www.panochrome.com. 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 @ www.panochrome.com
(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.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Watermarks

OK, I haven't been very active with film lately and the few undeveloped rolls sitting in the black plastic bag for 6 months can tell that. For an average bw film that is not really a big deal, but it seams the Shanghai GP3 does not really like to expose his latent images to the protective layer-paper. Resulting in a nice watermark over all negatives. Lesson to learn. Shot with the Agfa Isolette a while ago... yes, early this year.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Mamiya ZD handheld vs. tripod and mirror lockup

For a while I was thinking the Mamiya is a "tripod only" medium format camera only. As with any other cameras it depends mainly from your lens and shutter speed. So I tried my hands on one subject with different setup and the same settings.
Mamiya AFD II with ZF Back
80mm lens @ F8 and 1/200s
1. With tripod and mirror lockup
2. With tripod
3. Completely handheld only
Result: At this speed I cant recognize any difference. I compared at zoom level of 200%.
I will try with different settings going down to 1/80s.
But: Working with a tripod always ensure you have best possible results !

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Trails in the web

Once you made one footstep in the internet, it will stay like the steps by Armstrong on the moon. I am surprised out of which context I get sometimes requests for images or where I find them, even I dont post millions of pics. Just check out this one at this one at ac "associated content" (link). I have no clue how it found its way there. I dont mind in this case since the copyright is protected, but you should think before uploading images if you potentially want to see them somewhere else. Check out for Viewzi (link) for a very decorative websearch on, uhm.. maybe your name !

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Quiet Times

There has not been activity here lately, true ! This shall not be a sign this blog is dead. But the last 2 months I have been rather busy with work and the cameras look sadly out of the dry-cabinet. There is even a couple of undeveloped films waiting to go to the lab. I will go to my favorite lab, Fotohub (www.fotohub.com), the next few days. Unfortunately the nearby outlet at Bukit Timah closed. So, please stay tuned and I will give you updates on the latest projects.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

You still know what this is ? Yes, red/cyan glasses for viewing 3D stuff. I remember my father having a book 30 years back with theses images. So, this stuff is not exactly new, but lots of fun to experiment with ! I am not sure how to produce these anaglyph pictures before the digital age with "home" tools. At that time photographers were (are still?) using stereolenses (check Loreo at link) or a 2 camera-setup and looked at them with special stereo glasses. Check out this equipment at 3D Concepts (link). I am currently reviving this technology in panoramic terms but with a digital workflow, and because its digital, I move over with this topic to my digital panorama blog at panoramaxl.blogspot.com. Check out results there.

Compare Novoflex and Panamatic

Not sure if it is fair or if it even make sense to compare this 2 panoramic gears.

Novoflex Panoramaplate
Price: 99.- Euro
Weight: 165 gr
www.novoflex.de
This sturdy german product made of metal allows you to very! smoothly turn with light- and heavyweight cameras. It has no stops but a scale from 0 to 360 degree in steps of 10.


Panamatic
Price: 99.- Euro
Weight: 50 gr
www.panamatic.com
This piece of plastic, which is completely overpriced, turns in steps of 30 degree and allows you to cover 360 degree in 12 steps. It is made for very light consumer cameras working at a fix wideangle setting only. It is patented (!?).

Conclusion: Both products make more sense in a digital workflow. I would always prefer the professional product because of its sturdiness and accurate and smooth rotating ability.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

EPSON 4800 Saga Part 3

A short visit and 171.20 SGD later the skilled EPSON engineer identified heavy clogging and a power clean (which stingy user avoid because plenty of ink goes into the maintenance tank) solved my problem. Maybe the most expensive cleaning I did so far.
Lessons learned:
1) Print once a week
2) Powerclean once a month (thats what EPSON says)
End of todays lesson !

Thursday, May 29, 2008

EPSON 4800 Saga Part 2

Other than previous experience with service centers, EPSON's hotline attended the call and in less than a minute I was talking to the supervisor taking care of the large format printer support.
Since a customer can't carry a printer this size to the service center, they come to your place. Of course, not for free, but within 24 hours I had a quotation for this onsite service. I signed, what else to do, if not continuing pumping ink into the wastage tank ? 170 S$ to drop by ! Lets see what we need to change, its either the pumpcap or the whole printhead. I keep you updated..