Darkroomist Photographic culture of the analog variety from the fresh coast.

26Mar/150

An old article on making a really tiny darkroom!

Article on closet darkroom

Ok, here's an old article on making a darkroom in as little space as possible. It's hard to read but if you click the pic you should be able to make everything out on the full resolution version. I would not recommend working this way, but in a pinch it'll do. I myself had a bathroom darkroom at one point. Perhaps more on that later. Point is, you can make do with very little space. At some point you will need running water for washing film or prints but that can be done in daylight. Still carrying fixed, unwashed, wet, prints around your house is far from ideal.

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25Mar/150

Th Canon AE-1 in Black

Canon AE-1 Film SLR

This is my Canon AE-1 in black. Back in the 70's and 80's black cameras were considered more professional. With a black AE-1 a pro could carry a less expensive body as a 2nd or back up to an F1 or A1 and still have compatibility with lenses, flash, etc. The Canon AE-1 is one of the best selling SLRs of all time. It is shutter priority with and the first with a microprocessor controlled metering that is still considered exceptionally accurate today. If you want a good, all around beginner's SLR to start shooting film with, you can't go wrong with a good Canon AE-1. It was my first SLR that my father gave me when he upgraded to an EOS. In fact the 50mm/1.8 lens on this camera came with the kit my Mother bought or my Dad in 1980.

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25Mar/150

John Deakin

John Deakin

John Deakin was a photographer for Vogue magazine back in the day. His work was largely forgotten and poorly handled. Much of it shows the ravages of time. He was very much about raw, truthful portraiture which of course put him at odds with the golden age of Hollywood glamour photography.

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Filed under: Books No Comments
24Mar/150

Doorbuster deals at Daedalusbooks.com

I just got a box of books the other week from Daedalusbooks.com some of which center around film photography, and all were crazy good deals. First up is Miami Graffiti by James Murray & Karla Murray (ISBN 9783791341620). This is a pretty cool little book of street art from Miami. Most of the work depicted is awesome, some of it resonates a little less with me. The photography of the street art is pretty good. Best thing is the price, Daedalus wants $3 for it!

Miami Graffiti

Next up is Vintage 80s: London Street Photography, by Johnny Stiletto (ISBN 9780711232518). After discovering Vivian Maier I've re-fallen in love with street photography. Johnny Stiletto is no Ms. Maier, yet he has a interesting collection of street photos from London during a nostalgic decade. For a $5-er it is a visual treasure, rife with inspiration.

Vintage 80s London Street Photography

Last and by no stretch least is Motel Fetish by Chas Ray Krider (ISBN 9783836536011). This is the book that spawned a trilogy. The first printing of Motel Fetish still commands a good some, but this is the 2012 printing and at a very good prince point. Motel Fetish is a Not Safe For Work book and does contain nudity. This book is awesome. Printed at the dawn of the modern pinup renaissance, Krider adds a low-key, theatrical element to the genre. His images are dark, moody, alluring, and almost nefarious. There is a brooding intensity of unknown story lines behind each vignette. Impressively all the images in the book were shot with a Hasselblad medium format camera on color film. It is a gem if you enjoy pinup or film photography. For $7 it's a must have. The reversible "panic cover" makes it disappear amongst your old college textbooks for when your Mom visits.

Motel Fetish by Chas Ray Krider

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23Mar/150

Bronica SQa

Bronica SQa Medium Format Film Camera

This is my workhorse film camera The Bronica SQa. When I post contact sheets and the images are square they were shot with this camera. It's one of the cheaper modular medium format slr cameras out there and one of the few available in 6x6. There were the got-to cameras for middle market wedding photographers for decades and many have a lot if miles on then but refuse to die. I think the image quality is great. I've done 16x20 enlargements negatives from this beast with no issues at all. There is a great range of reasonably affordable lenses for this camera. 120 backs have gone up in price with the disappearance of 220 film. It's worth nothing that 220 backs work with 120 inserts. They also made 6x4.5 backs and 35mm pano backs and I'. pretty sure Polaroid backs exist too. Waist level finders are also getting pricy but non-metering, as well as AE prisms were made. Another oddity is that the manual film advance crank can be expensive too. A complete camera, ready too shoot will probably run you $300-500 at the moment depending on condition, components, and accessories. My camera shown here with the speed grip (great for studio work with models), a coupled AE prism, and a standard 80mm/2.8 lens.

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22Mar/150

Putting the resolution debate to bed

Does film or digital have better resolution? The debate has been raging since the first professional 6 MegaPixel cameras hit the market. Now with 20 or more MegaPixels, digital is still playing catchup. I personally have made 20x30 prints from less than 20MP images with great success, I've also been surprised at how well a 35mm negative prints at 16x20. The reason digital is so enlargeable is in its smoothening, edge sharpening, and interpolation. Most all digital cameras have a type of soft focus filter over the light capturing CCD sensor. This gets rid of some digital artifacts like moire that occur with details at the limit of the camera's resolution. This filter smooths out some fine details the camera would have a hard time reproducing anyway. The edges however are still reasonably sharp. Film still wins the absolute resolution war, along with the ability to capture fine details. This is largely dependent on the film, camera, lens, technique while taking the picture, etc. The potential is still there none the less. This article from IStillShootFilm.org gets more into the (rather impressive) numbers and it's a good read:

Film vs Digital: resolution

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22Mar/150

The Pilot 6

Pilot 6 Camera

Today's camera from the camera collection is a Pilot 6. Originally I was trawling eBay for a Great Wall 6x6 medium format camera. After doing some research I found out that the Great Wall was an upgraded Chinese version of the German Pilot 6. I did some searches for the Pilot 6 and came across this little guy incorrectly listed as a box camera. It's actually an early SLR. Needless to say I got it for a song and started acquainting myself with this 1937 wonder. It is hands down the smallest medium format SLR you will find. It is tiny as well as primitive. You focus on ground glass, no split or micro prism. The taking lens is slowish, shutter speed choices are limited, stopping down the lens stops down the lens, no auto aperture. The lens is low contrast. I ran. Roll of lower contrast lucky film through the camera and ended up using grade 5 when printing for the first time. Also this one is model I can't find any documentation on. It is only 6x4.5 and doesn't have a removable mask for 6x6 like the ones I've read about.

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21Mar/150

Canon EPOCA 135

Canon EPOCA 135

Here we have the Canon EPOCA 135. A 35mm camera that was so revolutionary at the time, so bizarre, it won a spot in the New York Museum of Modern Art. Designed to be a one-handed super zoom it's a 38-135mm point and shoot. The built in zooming flash isn't half bad. Another interesting feature is the selectable waist level finder. Shooting with this camera onlookers will ask you variants of "Is that a video camera?" No. It's the film camera design camcorders copied. I'm not going lie. A friend of mine's dad bright this back from Japan around 1991 and I thought it was the coolest thing. Got this one a couple years ago for about $25 cause the grip is a little tacky. Be warned, this camera uses a funky and pretty expensive battery, the Lithium ion 2CR5. The EPOCA gets pretty decent use out of a battery, but if you keep the flash off you'll maximize battery life.

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20Mar/150

Glamor posing on a bed with Scott Church

Posing women to look their best is a skill and one that Scott Church has developed thoroughly. In this video Church takes the viewer through some great examples of glamor posing using a bed as a setting. He goes through several solid poses that are easy to transition between. In just a few minutes you can consistently get some great, solid shots. These poses are directly applicable to pinup photography. All you would need to do is put in a retro setting, in retro makeup and attire and maybe cheesecake up the expressions a little.

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19Mar/150

The Armatar 100

Sunpak 120j Barebulb Flash

Here is the pride and joy of my location lighting kit. It's an armatar 100. Back in the 1980s a TV repairman in New Jersey I believe churned these out (Joseph Armato IIRC). It's essentially a Vivitar 283 with a bare bulb added, the stock battery and flashbulb compartments stuffed with extra capacitors, the stock base removed and replaced with a HH sync connector and a metal cold shoe with 1/4 20 threads in it. On this one you can see I replaced the stock (surprisingly accurate) auto thyristor with a varipower module that lets me set a specific power output. Max on this is approximately 100ws and it can still use the standard Vivitar sync cable. The parabolic reflector is removable and you can use any Norman/Quantum accessories with it that attach with a twist lock and clamp base. I have a Norman mini octobox that works great on it. The biggest drawback is that it must be used with a quantum turbo battery pack or compatible packs (JTL makes one too). I have a Sunpak 120j and a Quantum T5 and this is still my fave even though it looks like an abomination. It's straightforward and extremely versatile.

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