Thursday, May 26, 2011

Photos of the Week

This months theme is places. All photos were submitted to the KEH Flickr group pool.

Untitled (Boston), by: Rachel Carrier
Seattle with Diana  018
Seattle with Diana 018, by: Rick Knight, Go Kat Go
dumbo flies vericolor
Dumbo flies vericolor, by: Cha Cha
Black Friday (Majestic)
Black Friday (Majestic), by: John, Ham with Cam
Sheepscot Harbor at Night
Sheepscot Harbor at Night, by: Herb G.
le tour eiffel
le tour eiffel, by: Cara Rose Photos
Untitled (Alaska), by: 4light
The State of Decay IX
The State of Decay IX, by: Yoong Khean, excelsius

*Our next theme is Things. Join our Flickr group and submit your photos here.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Summer Busters


There are many photographic equipment predators, especially in the summertime. Some of these include: water, salt, sand, heat, sunscreen, loss, and theft. Here's a few tips, and a few reminders for how to keep these predators at bay, and how to fix any damage that may occur.


* Water- To state the obvious, let's first start with mentioning that it's a good idea not to take your equipment too close to water unless it's waterproof equipment. There's many affordable UW options these days, including disposable underwater cameras, UW housings for both digital point and shoot and DSLRs, waterproof digital point and shoots, and waterproof 35mm cameras.

Now, if you must take a non-waterproof camera near the water, and happen to drop it in the water, here's what you need to know to make the chances of survival the greatest: Immediately turn the camera off! Then, take out/off accessories such as the battery, memory card, and lens. Lay them out individually to dry. "Dump" any excess water out of the camera if it's full. I suggest air drying the camera, but if needed, you can use a hair dryer on a low setting for short amounts of time. The camera will take days to fully dry out on the inside. Do not turn the camera back on until you are positive that it is completely dry on the inside (any left over water could fry the circuitry). If you happened to drop the camera in salt water, then after removing the accessories, before drying, rinse the camera in distilled water to remove the salt. *This is if the camera was submerged, and not just if a little sea spray got on it. Adding silica packs (or rice) nearby your camera, in your camera bag, or put together with the camera body and/or lens in a Ziploc bag will help to absorb any extra moisture. Obviously, you want to try to never drop it in the first place, so use a camera strap or avoid the situation all together.


* Salt- If you live near, or spend a lot of time near an ocean, chances are salt from the water and air will creep into your gear. Salt typically isn't an immediate danger, but over time it can corrode electronics and etch glass. If you are near it often, just take some extra time to clean your gear on a regular basis, including small parts like battery contacts and glass elements.


* Sand- You know how when you go to the beach you seems to bring a ton of sand home with you? Well, your gear is no exception. Be especially careful to avoid sand... it's small and gritty and will sneak into little corners and cling to glass. If your gear comes in contact with sand, get it out quickly, but gently. The best thing to use in a soft brush to remove the sand grains. If you try air (compressed, canned, hair dryer, hand dryer, etc.) you risk pushing the grains further into the camera and scratching the glass. A cleaning cloth can also aid in rubbing the sand into the glass and thus scratching it also. Another easy preventative measure for sand is to keep a protective filter (and lens cap when not in use) on the end of your lens.


* Heat- Extreme heat isn't good for too many things, including electronics or film. Try to avoid leaving gear and accessories in direct sunlight, or in the trunk of a car for extended periods of time. The other issue with heat is the switch from the air conditioned indoors to the outdoor summer heat and vice versa. This can cause condensation to develop inside your camera, and may also cause your lens to fog. The same basic thing can happen to your camera and lenses that you've seen happen to your glasses or car windshield- a fast fog or haze created by a quick temperature switch. To prevent this from happening put your equipment in an airtight plastic bag before taking it from one environment to another. Let the equipment gradually adjust to the new temperature and then remove it from the bag. Do the same thing when going back to the original environment. It may sound like a pain, but it won't actually save you time to skip it. If your equipment fogs, it can take a while to defog. Also, since the moisture from the condensation will penetrate into your equipment, it will cause fungus to grow. If the fungus is not removed in a timely manner, the fungus can etch the glass which will ruin the clarity of you shots for as long as you use that lens. Fungus may be difficult for the untrained eye to detect, and is sometimes costly to clean. The condensation can also cause rust and internal problems in your camera which will affect its functioning.


* Sunscreen- Sunscreen and other oily or liquidy substances can cause problems with your electronics, sure. But it can also make for a huge mess, whether it's sticky, or oily and slippery. If your gear gets slippery, you run the risk of dropping it. If you're traveling with sunscreen, bug repellent, or another non-photographic substance, it's best to keep them in different travel bags. If the two will be in close proximity of each other, place your gear and your bottles or tubes in zip lock baggies when it's not in use. This will help protect it from leaky bug repellent, spilled sunscreen, melted ice cream, daiquiris, salt, water, you name it.


* Loss and Theft- It seems that gear theft is a little more prevalent in the summer months with so many people traveling for summer vacations. There's a bunch of different steps you can take to prevent your equipment from being stolen, and other steps to take if it is stolen. Last summer we went over this topic pretty extensively, so read the article HERE. Many of the same tips also apply for lost equipment, but if you're especially forgetful and tend to put things down and then forget and leave them, you may want to take a few extra steps including wearing your camera on a neck strap, having a traveling buddy look out or remind you to double check that you have everything when moving from one place to another, and purchasing in a loss recovery product such as the ImHONEST System.


Basically, think smart this summer. Take the appropriate gear to the corresponding environments. Pay attention to the elements, and inform yourself of what to do if something goes wrong. Happy traveling and vacationing!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Nikon Collectible Cameras

We currently have an amazing selection of Nikon Anniversary and Collectible Editions in-stock...

F2A (Photomic) 25th Anniversary- Nikon USA presented this special edition model to commemorate the 25th anniversary of its establishment in the United States. 4,000 of this special edition was only made, only in the chrome finish, and has a silver plate under the shutter release with the inscription '25th Anniversary'. [In-stock, EX and LN conditions. Prices range $399-819. Find them here.]
F3P- The 'P' is for "press", and is a special F3 version for photojournalists shooting in extreme climate conditions. The larger controls were created for easier use with gloves. It also has the greatest sealing against dust/dirt and moisture because of the elimination of certain features including the cable release socket, self timer, multiple exposure lever, viewfinder blind, and back cover locking lever. The F3P has an additional film pressure roller and improved rubber seals. This model also has a taller shutter speed dial, modified meter switch, and a hot-shoe contact on the prism. [Multiples in stock with different back and motor options. Condition and prices vary. Find them here.]
F3 Limited- Similar to the F3P (above), this camera appeared only in the Japanese internal home market in 1993, with an addition of about 2,000. Has a HP titanium-coated prism housing, higher-profile shutter speed dial, a hot-shoe contact attachment, a fixed Type B focusing screen, a splash-proof shutter release (without cable release screw thread). The viewfinder blind and multiple exposure lever features were also eliminated from this model. [In-stock, LN condition, $1599. Find it here.]


FM2/T Titanium 1994 Year of the Dog- This special edition camera is one of the rarest since the edition was only 300 cameras. This camera was not offered to Nikon dealers as a regular product, and was produced in the Chinese Year of the Dog, which was 1994. [In-stock, LN condition, $2999. Find it here.]



FA Gold/ FA Grand Prix '84- A special version of the FA plated with 24-carat gold with a high-quality lizard leather covering. The FA was voted 'European Camera of the Year 1984', and so the camera was produced to commemorate this honor. 500 were made. Comes with a 50mm F1.4 AIS lens. [In-stock, EX condition, $1539. Find it here.]

FM2 Millennium Limited Edition, Year of the Dragon- 2000 of these were made commemorating the new Millennium Year 2000. 2000 was the Chinese Year of the Dragon, which represents fortune and good luck. The camera has a Chinese dragon illustration under the FM2 marking on the front and is also marked with 'Year 2000' on the back. The camera comes with a matching Nikon 50mm F1.4 AIS lens. [In-stock, EX+ condition, $849. Find it here.]



F5 Limited/ F5 50th Anniversary NPK- In 1998 Nikon introduced this special version F5 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the first Nikon 35mm camera. Production of these was limited to 2000 units. The early Nikon lettering style (of the Nikon I) is used on the front of the finder. On the back is the old 'Nippon Kogaku' trademark logo with '50' below it. The camera is black and gray. (This is the only auto-focus camera from all of the above). [In-stock, EX condition, $889. Find it here.]

Friday, May 20, 2011

Two Vintage Instant Photo Cameras

The first one here is actually an accessory rather than a camera. It's a Nikon Speed Magny 100 Back for Nikon F cameras. (If you are unfamiliar, a Nikon F is a manual 35mm camera.)

shown attached and viewed from the front of the camera
The Speed Magny back attaches like, and in place of, the regular back. The accessory comes down from under the camera (is also huge and heavy, weighs approx. 4lbs without the camera and lens) and takes instant pack films like Polaroid 107 and 108. The device takes the light and image coming through the lens and basically bounces it around a series of lenses and mirrors inside the unit and then magnifies and projects it, creating a full-frame pull-apart image (3.25 x 4.25") instead of a "small format" 35mm image on the film.
view from the back
Produced from the early 60s-early 80s. Things to keep in mind: the long optical path takes away about 5 stops of light. It is also not recommended with wide angle lenses. There are 3 versions- 100 (for F, pictured), 110-2 (for F2), and 100-3 (for F3).
back not attached to a camera body
  
We currently have two versions in stock. Find it on KEH.com.


*****

Switching gears but staying within the instant film realm, this is a Polaroid Big Shot....
vintage advertisement for the Big Shot

Produced for only 2 years, from 1971-73, this camera takes 100 series pack-films and is designed for close-up portraits. It is also a large unit, and bigger than most Polaroid cameras. It is a fixed focus camera with a distance of about one meter. The camera uses a rangefinder system to position the photographer and subject at the correct distance. The focusing is often referred to as the "Big Shot Shuffle" due to the fact that the photographer must "shuffle" back and forth to get the subject in focus. The camera has a 220mm lens, single speed shutter, and a built-in socket and diffuser for Magicube flashbulbs/ X-Cubes.

Andy Warhol with a Big Shot

Warhol made this camera famous because he was particularly fond of the camera and often shot celebrity portraits in his studio with it.

You can however, shoot things other than portraits... just don't expect fast focusing and keep in mind that your subject will only be in focus at one fixed distance.
shot with a Polaroid Big Shot

We currently have one in stock, BGN grade, and AI/ INOP (the shutter is erratic) $45.  
Find it on KEH.com.

Want to see more Big Shot shots? Check out the Flickr group: Polaroid Big Shot

Thursday, May 19, 2011

An Odd Request

Just something a little funny for your Thursday... sometimes we get odd requests, like this one to draw a dragon on a customers box...


Request completed x2


Notice: all dragon drawing requests have been completed and fulfilled. No more are available at this time.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Introduction to Large Format Cameras

Continuing on in our film series, we have an introduction to Large Format cameras...


There is multiple sizes and types of camera systems within the large format world. Sizes start at 2x3, and go up from there. Common sizes are 4x5, 5x7, and 8x10, but specialty sizes do exist, such as 8x20

A monorail type view camera is the most versatile, and nearly all are modular, permitting the addition of larger or smaller backs, different bellows, extension of the rail, and other attachments.

Field cameras are designed to be portable, compact, and light weight with only small compromises of adjustments.

The press type camera differs from most view cameras in that it is primarily intended for hand-held use. It is similar to a flat-bed field camera in it's box construction, but includes a viewfinder and a rangefinder. A similar design, often called a technical camera (like Linhof Technika), extends the adjustment capability of the press camera.
2x3 Century Graphic, folding camera

Beyond sizes and types, large format cameras also differ in both finish and bellow types. You have options of metal frames or wood frames. Large format cameras are some of the only camera formats to commonly come in different wood types and finishes. This aspect can make some of the large format cameras the most beautiful and unique looking from other formats such as medium, 35mm, and digital. 

Bellows come in either the standard accordion type, or in a bag bellows option. With either one, it's essential that the bellows don't have any rips, tears, or even tiny pinholes in them, as these will cause light leaks.

8x10 Tachihara wood (cherry) field, folding camera
 
Taking price and ease of use into consideration, a Graphic Press 4x5 camera, such as a Crown Graphic with a 127,135, or 150 lens, would make a good starter camera. It's inexpensive and easy to use, with a built-in rangefinder to make focusing easier. The camera also folds up to a small box for portability, like a field camera. The one compromise to these is that they have limited movements or adjustments.

For something a little more heavy duty or for studio use, a monorail camera is your best choice. Although more cumbersome, these types of cameras feature more movements or adjustments. A basic 4x5 Calumet, Cambo, Toyo, or Horseman camera are good choices. More expensive view cameras have more precise gear driven movements, and are generally part of a system of accessories.

4x5 Cambo Wide

If you're wondering why someone would want to shoot large format, the larger negative makes a world of difference. The large negative or transparency has a much higher resolution and will produce a very large and sharp print (4x5 is 16 times larger than 35mm -24x36). You can also make a contact print for artistic or alternative processes, which is still large enough to view without enlarging or magnifying. Perspective control is also one of the neatest things a view camera has the ability to do. You can increase or decrease the depth of field with the swings and tilts (the Scheimpflug principle), or correct convergence with the front and rear standard.

4x5 Horseman, monorail type

4x5 Toyo View

Large format film comes in individual sheets, whether you're shooting negative, positive, or instant peel-apart film. You can purchase these films from professional photo suppliers and labs, as well as having them process the film for you. Or, for black and white film, you might want to try processing it yourself. Tray processing is easy, but so is scratching the film, and you are also standing in the dark for the whole process. Tank processing is good, but uses lots of chemistry. Rotary drum processing works very well and uses a small amount of chemistry. Read more about where to buy and develop film here.
5x7 Linhoff Tech, folding camera

Although large format can have some amazing and beautifully detailed results, there are a few things to keep in mind before making the jump. Aside from being fairly heavy, cumbersome, and slower to work with, large format is very expensive to shoot, around $5.00 a shot for 4x5 (film and processing)... Which brings us to pre-visualization, or being able to anticipate a finished image before making the exposure. With a smaller camera, we can see the subject through the viewfinder and release the shutter at the desired moment of exposure. A view camera favors a more contemplative approach and each shot must be carefully composed and exposed. The process needs practice and patience, and is not the system for on-the-go, or in-the-moment photography. 

I suggest buying old film to practice loading the film holders in the dark. Be sure to mark or number the film holders to keep track of each shot and take good notes (exposure, any filters used, amount of lens tilt, etc). Practice looking at the ground glass when using the movements... everything is upside down on the ground glass and may take some getting used to.

a large format lens and shutter

In addition to the camera body and lens, you will also need a few accessories to shoot with. Film holders, a cable release, dark cloth, changing bag, focusing loupe, light meter, and definitely a good, heavy tripod are all must haves.
a lens board to attach lens to camera body
4x5 film holders

* To find large format cameras and accessories, visit KEH.com

Related articles:
* Tilt-shift options
* 4x5 Leonardo Pinhole Camera
* Repurposing- LF film holder to photo frame

-SS

Monday, May 16, 2011

Wink Photostrips

Wink is a special delivery printing service linked to Shutterfly (one of the largest online photofinishing companies) that creates photostrips from your digital images. You can either use your own digital pictures that are saved on your computer, or link it to a social media website such as Facebook, Flickr, or Shutterfly, and use the photos directly from there.

Wink gives you three different vertical layouts that fit 3-5 photos, similar to what a photo booth would offer. The site itself is clean and very easy to navigate, giving you step by step instructions on how to use photos from different outlets. You can even add effects to the photos like Black and White, Sepia and Vivid. The best part is the price, a flat $2.50 with shipping included. Shipping is quick- your photostrip prints will arrive in 3-5 business days. The quality is also great for such a low price, on par with that of most regular 4x6 prints you can order from Shutterfly.

Ease of use is a big part of why I used this site in the first place, instead of fooling with Photoshop to try and create my own photo strip effect. With how easy it is to create, anyone who has pictures on their computer or social media website can use this service. About 2.5 Billion photos are uploaded to Facebook every month, why not do something with them rather than have them floating in cyberspace for all eternity? What really intrigued me about this service was that it was different from just the normal 4x6 snapshot prints. These will make great gifts for friends and family members, or if you're like me, decorations for your work desk or fridge.

Website: http://wink.shutterfly.com/


- Mollie Clark

Friday, May 13, 2011

Vintage Ads: Film

Since we've been talking about film a lot recently, it's only fitting...