Tag Archives: Kodak

Nikon F (1959 – 1973) and FTn Viewfinder

Up to this point, I’ve only ever used one other Nikon film camera, the Nikon EM. After spending a few weeks talking with friends, I decided it was time to get a proper Nikon SLR. Something a little older. A classic Nikon. That’s when I learned that I really didn’t know a lot about Nikon SLR’s. My friend Maurice Greeson suggested I start with the Nikon F. Before I continue, I’m sure a seasoned Nikonian will correct me if I describe something inaccurately. Please do, no offense taken.

Maurice gave me a Nikon FTn viewfinder/exposure meter with a 50mm Nikkor-S f/1.4 lens. All I had to do was find a Nikon F body, which isn’t hard to do. What is slightly hard to do is find one on eBay in acceptable condition. As I was searching, I’d send Maurice an email and ask, “What about this one? Or, this one? This one?” What I didn’t understand is the F was originally sold with a standard prism viewfinder. The eye-level penta-prism can be interchanged with a waist-level viewfinder, as well as the FTn. The FTn is essentially a viewfinder with a built-in light meter. When changing the lens on the camera, the meter coupling pins must be indexed with the lens. To summarize, the FTn needs to know what aperture values are available on the lens you are mounting. This was something entirely new to me, but it makes sense.

The Nikon F was manufactured from March 1959 to October 1973. The F was known in the 1960’s as the camera used by photo journalists, capturing images from Vietnam, the US exploration of Mt. Everest, and the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo space programs. There were eight types of viewfinder screens available, as well as interchangeable high capacity backs and motor drives. Originally priced at $186 USD (camera and 50mm f/2 lens), that’s about $498 today, the camera attracted both professional and amateur photographers.

According to the serial number on my Nikon F, it was produced between April – July 1970. This camera is a tank! According to kenrockwell.com, the camera and FTn viewfinder alone weigh 1.92 lbs. When you add the lens, it’s easily over 2 pounds. If I were a photojournalist in Vietnam and found myself in a dangerous situation, I think I would have used this camera as a weapon.

The FTn viewfinder and photographic screen both have 100% coverage, giving the photographer a bright viewing area. The camera has a split-image focal screen and a titanium foil focal-plane shutter. The FTn has an ASA range from 6 to 6400, shutter speeds are 1 sec – 1/1000th sec and bulb.

The Nikon F is a classic camera. This camera set the bar for SLR cameras and showed the world that Nikon, and Japanese camera manufactures, were capable of producing exceptional photographic equipment. Special thanks to Maurice Greeson for donating the FTn, lens, and book Nikon F Handbook of Photography (1971 Edition) by Joseph D. Cooper and Joseph C. Abbott.

Camera: Nikon F (with FTn Viewfinder) (1959 – 1984)
Film: Kodak BW400CN
Process: RepliColor SLC
Scanner: Epson Perfection V600 Photo

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Kodak Instamatic 300 & Camerhack 135 to 126 Adapter

The Kodak Instamatic is a camera that I recall from my childhood. My parents and grandparents had them before moving to Kodak 110 cameras in the 1970’s. Kodak’s 126 film was introduced in 1963 and was marketed as an easy-load film cartridge. The film itself is 35mm film, paper backed, with a single sprocket hole per frame to allow each 28 x 28mm shot to advance through the camera. It wasn’t until 1987 that Kodak discontinued the format.

Camerhack in Italy has designed and 3-D prints a 135 (35mm) to 126 film adapter kit. The cartridge allows you to load standard 35mm film into a reusable cartridge so it can be used in a classic Kodak Instamatic, or any other camera that used 126 film. Claudio from Camerhack includes a detailed instruction booklet that guides you through the process. And even better, he’s also created a YouTube video that walks you step-by-step through loading, shooting and re-spooling.

 

Here are my tips for using the Camerhack 135 to 126 FAK:

  • Plan to sacrifice a roll of 35mm film. This will help you practice loading the cartridge in the light. When you’re ready to load your favorite film in the adapter, you’ll be ready to do it in the dark.
  • With your sacrificed roll of film, practice advancing the film in the camera. Instamatic cameras have a needle inside that is tripped by a sprocket hole when the film is advanced. You’ll find that each camera does this a little different. For example, my Kodak Instamatic 300 and Kodak Hawkeye Instamatic advanced very differently. Which leads me to the most important tip.
  • Listen for the click. With my Kodak Instamatic 300, I had to press the shutter, take the shot, press the shutter button down (doesn’t actually open the shutter), advance the film until the shutter advance would CLICK. The key for me was holding the camera up to my ear and listening for that click to know that the film had advanced. The click is the key to success!
  • Following Claudio’s instructions, if you decided to roll the film (in the dark) back into a 35mm cartridge to have it processed at a lab, know that the sprocket holes will get a little chewed up by the camera. This is caused by the needle inside that I mentioned earlier. When you roll the film back into the cartridge, wind it slowly.
  • Only use a 24-exposure roll of 35mm film. Keep in mind that the original number of exposures on 126 film cartridges was 12 to 20. Using a 24-exposure roll should give you 16 to 20 images depending on the spacing between each shot. Using a smaller roll will also prevent the film from scratching when you load the film adapter.

Camera: Kodak Instamatic 300 (1963 – 1966)
Film: Ilford HP5 Plus 400
Process: D-76 (Stock) 7:30 @ 20c
Scanner: Epson Perfection V600 Photo

Kodak Instamatic 300 (1963 - 1966)


Olympus OM-1 MD (1974 – 1979)

Up until last fall I didn’t own a single Olympus camera. Not by choice. They just never seemed to come up on my camera radar as a need to have item. I found someone in the local online classifieds selling an Olympus OM-1 with 50mm lens for $100. The seller indicated she was searching for some other used gear, so I texted her with some items I was willing to trade. When we met and I inspected the OM-1, I found that the film rewind knob had been broken and a poor attempt to fix it was made. And worse, the shutter advance would move, but nothing moved inside the camera. I went ahead with the trade and took it to a local camera shop and learned that the repair was going to be more than the value of the camera. Kind of a disappointment, but with the attitude of nothing to lose, I decided to take it apart and see if there was anything obvious that I could identify as broken. I’m terrible with repairs. I barely know which end of a screwdriver I should be using. And my repairs generally involve a lot of cussing and frustration. This time I surprised myself and managed to get the film advance to work. I took the film rewind knob to my friend Maurice, who has far more patience and repair knowledge than I ever will. He had the knob back together with new parts in no time at all. After everything was working, I cleaned up the outside of the camera and replaced the light seals on the back.


The Olympus OM-1 was released in 1972 as part of the new OM system. Like the Pentax K-1000 and Canon AE-1, the OM-1 has a large following. It’s an all mechanical camera with a full aperture TTL CdS exposure meter that’s represented by a needle visible in the viewfinder. And this camera has a big, bright, beautiful viewfinder. The viewfinder on the OM-1 has made it one of my favorites. It’s a solid camera body, but also compact and lightweight (675g).

To me, the best feature on the OM-1 is where they placed the shutter speed and aperture settings, the lens! At first, this kind of threw me a curve-ball, but the more I use it, the more I like it. With the camera up to your eye, looking through the viewfinder, naturally your left hand is going to be on the lens for focus. Why not put both shutter speed and aperture settings on the lens? You see that you’re under or over exposed with the meter, so using your left hand that’s already on the lens barrel, you can quickly change your shutter speed or f-stop value. My OM-1 is currently paired with a fast 50mm f/1.6 Olympus Zukio lens.

I’m glad I added the OM-1 to the UTFP fleet of cameras. It really is a fantastic SLR. The viewfinder is better than any Nikon, Canon or Pentax camera I have that was made during the same period. The lens is sharp. Moving the aperture control and shutter speed to the barrel was a brilliant move by Olympus. I like having the switch to the meter on top of the body so I don’t forget to power it off. One thing I don’t like on the OM-1 is the film advance. It has a long swing to it, maybe more so than other SLR’s made in the 1970’s.  And if the film advance on this body had issues, it’s likely going to happen again. However, if another one came up in the local classifieds for the right price, I wouldn’t hesitate to get it as a backup or parts body.

It’s probably a good point to note, though I refer to this camera as an OM-1, it’s really an OM-1 MD. Shortly after the OM-1 was manufactured in 1973, Olympus started to quickly add accessories and lenses for the OM System. One new accessory was a Motor Drive. The updated OM-1 MD had the necessary mounting holes in the bottom of the body where the OM-1 had none, this being the only key difference.

These images were shot on Kodak Ektachrome 100 (Expired 2007). This is some of my favorite slide film and I’m looking forward to shooting some more Ektachrome in the OM-1 when Kodak re-releases it later this year!


2016 Laundromat Project

In late 2015 I decided to do a small personal photographic project for the upcoming year. One subject, one camera, one roll of film. I selected the Pentax Spotmatic and a roll of Kodak Tri-X 400.

Pentax Spotmatic (1964 - 1973)

The subject was to photograph different laundromats in Northern Utah. The locations I selected were: Terrace Laundry in Washington Terrace, Wash Tub in North Ogden, 4th Street Laundromat in Salt Lake City and Hart’s in Roy. The purpose of a personal photographic project is to take you out of your element, try something different, and challenge yourself.

You get a lot of strange looks, questions and questionable looks when you show up at a laundromat with an old camera, not laundry. So, how was this experience? I follow photographers on Twitter that make entire books or zines out of this type of photography. To me, it just felt lazy. I discovered that this type of photography is not my style. If I were to do it again, I would photograph the people in the laundromat, not machines and signs. I learned something about myself, and used this roll to practice developing film at home. Process: D-76 (Stock) 6:45 Min @ 20° C, scanned with an Epson Perfection V600 Photo.

[2016_01_31] Terrace Laundry - Washington Terrace, Utah

[2016_01_31] Terrace Laundry – Washington Terrace, Utah

[2016_01_31] Terrace Laundry - Washington Terrace, Utah

[2016_01_31] Terrace Laundry – Washington Terrace, Utah

[2016_01_31] Terrace Laundry - Washington Terrace, Utah

[2016_01_31] Terrace Laundry – Washington Terrace, Utah

The idea was to photographic inside various laundromat's in Northern Utah.

[2016_01_31] Terrace Laundry – Washington Terrace, Utah

[2016_03_25] Wash Tub - North Ogden, Utah

[2016_03_25] Wash Tub – North Ogden, Utah

[2016_03_25] Wash Tub - North Ogden, Utah

[2016_03_25] Wash Tub – North Ogden, Utah

[2016_03_25] Wash Tub - North Ogden, Utah

[2016_03_25] Wash Tub – North Ogden, Utah

[2016_03_25] Wash Tub - North Ogden, Utah

[2016_03_25] Wash Tub – North Ogden, Utah

[2016_04_29] 4th Street Laundromat - Salt Lake City, Utah

[2016_04_29] 4th Street Laundromat – Salt Lake City, Utah

[2016_04_29] 4th Street Laundromat - Salt Lake City, Utah

[2016_04_29] 4th Street Laundromat – Salt Lake City, Utah

[2016_04_29] 4th Street Laundromat - Salt Lake City, Utah

[2016_04_29] 4th Street Laundromat – Salt Lake City, Utah

[2016_04_29] 4th Street Laundromat - Salt Lake City, Utah

[2016_04_29] 4th Street Laundromat – Salt Lake City, Utah

[2016_07_10] Hart's - Roy, Utah

[2016_07_10] Hart’s – Roy, Utah

[2016_07_10] Hart's - Roy, Utah

[2016_07_10] Hart’s – Roy, Utah

[2016_07_10] Hart's - Roy, Utah

[2016_07_10] Hart’s – Roy, Utah

[2016_07_10] Hart's - Roy, Utah

[2016_07_10] Hart’s – Roy, Utah


Expired Film Day 2017

Expired Film Day 2017

Expired Film Day 2017

Camera: Graflex Crown Graphic Pacemaker (1955)
Film: Kodak 4×5 T-Max 400 (Expired April 2002)
Process: D-76 (Stock) 6:45 Min @ 20°C
Scanner: Epson Perfection V600 Photo

Old Warehouse - Salt Lake City, Utah

Old Warehouse – Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City Public Safety Building - Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City Public Safety Building – Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City Public Safety Building - Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City Public Safety Building – Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City Public Library - Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City Public Library – Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City Public Library - Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City Public Library – Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City Public Library - Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City Public Library – Salt Lake City, Utah


Canon New Sure Shot

The third version of Canon’s Sure Shot made in in 1983 ($150 USD) was sold as the New Sure Shot in the United States, AF35MII in Europe, and the Autoboy 2 in Japan. The New Sure Shot is a simple point and shoot 35mm camera featuring a 38mm f/2.8 – 16 lens. The camera focuses (near, medium, far) with a triangulation system using a near-infrared beam for autofocusing. Pressing the shutter button down halfway accomplishes prefocus. Powered by two AA batteries, the film advance is automatic and the exposure is controlled electronically. To test the camera, I used some expired Kodak Gold 200. The film really achieves that expired look in the blue tones.Canon New Sure Shot (AF35M II) (1983)


The Official Girl Scouts of America Camera

The Official Girls Scouts of America Camera was made in Chicago by The Herbert George Company in 1956. The camera is an Imperial Mark XII Flash camera that’s been re-branded. These plastic-bodied cameras were the first to be manufactured in several colors, and various face plates were installed. They also made the Official Boy Scouts of America Camera and the Official Brownie Scouts of America Camera. I found this camera at a thrift store, in the original box, with the original flash unit, original flash bulbs, original batteries, and one roll of exposed 620 color film.

The Official Girls Scouts of America Camera

The camera features a green plastic body, a fixed focus (about 6 feet – infinity), one shutter speed (about 1/30 – 1/60 sec) and a single aperture (about f/11). Composition is done with an eye-level viewfinder, creating a 6×6 image on 620 film. In a film changing bag, I re-rolled some expired Kodak T-Max 100 120 black & white film onto a 620 spool to test the camera. I developed the film in New55 R5 Monobath. The images make me think the lens is not lined up with the film plane inside the camera because they are blurry on the left side, but in focus on the right. It might be worth investigating and trying another roll of film. If you have some thoughts, please make sure to leave me a comment.


Miranda G – Part 1

The Orion Camera Company in Japan, later renamed for marketing reasons to the Miranda Camera Company, primarily made SLR cameras between 1955 and 1978. Two unique items that made Miranda different from their competitors were: 1) almost every camera had an interchangeable pentaprism that could easily be changed by the photographer, 2) they never made their own lenses, relying on other manufacturers to produce them. Miranda was the first Japanese company to manufacture an SLR with a removable eye level prism, something that Nikon adapted in 1959 (Nikon F). According to the Miranda Historical Society online, it’s not uncommon to find a seller who has any of knowledge about Miranda cameras or lenses.

The Miranda G was manufactured and sold in 1965. It features an interchangeable pentaprism and focus screen. The interchangeable focus screen were made in 8 types and attracted photographers who were interested in photomicrography (photos taken through a microscope) to astronomical photography (photos taken with a telescope). The camera has shutter speeds of 1 through 1/1000 sec, and bulb mode. The standard lens that this model came with was a Soligor 50mm f/1.9. The Miranda G does not have an internal light meter.

Special thanks to Maurice Greeson for donating this camera. He not only gave me the camera and Soligor 50mm lens, but included: Soligor 28mm f/2.8 lens, Soligor 105mm f/2.8 macro lens, Soligor 80-200 f/2.8 telephoto lens, macro lens reversal ring, chest-level viewfinder, original leather case, and manual. All of these items are in mint condition! I was worried at first because the camera doesn’t have a light meter, but that also eliminates the issue of having the correct battery type. I used my Gossen Luna-Pro to meter about half of the environments I was shooting in. The best way for me to describe using this camera can be done in one word: enjoyable. This camera feels so comfortable in my hands. It has a nice balance with the 50mm lens. I did try the wide 28mm on a few images I’ll share next week, but kept going back to the 50. Maybe it’s more my style, but I found it easier to compose my images. For the roughly short lifespan of the Miranda G, it’s a basic SLR and fun camera to use. Note, the self-timer is permanently stuck in the down position, but an issue this small wouldn’t stop me from using this camera. I really don’t have anything negative say about this camera. The viewfinder, and chest-level viewfinder, are bright and clear. The additional shutter release on the front of the camera seemed odd at first, but somehow the slow squeeze on the front makes more sense than a downward pressing motion.

Ogden High School - Ogden, Utah

In July, my wife and I took a group of Chinese exchange students on a tour of Ogden High School in Ogden, Utah. The school was built in 1937 as part of President Roosevelt’s “New Deal,” a Works Progress Administration project that cost tax payers 1.2 million dollars. It was the first million-dollar school built in the U.S. The design style of the school is Art Deco and matches other Ogden City landmarks like the Ogden City Municipal Building and Peery’s Egyptian Theater. All three historic buildings were designed by the architectural firm Hodgson & McClenahan. In 2006, Ogden City residents voted to fund a $95.3-million-dollar bond to repair, renovate, and update the school. The high school has been the backdrop for several movies and television shows. These images were shot with the Miranda G on Kodak Tri-X 400, metered with a Goseen Luna-Pro S.


Minolta Hi-Matic F

The Hi-Matic series was Minolta’s most popular line of consumer rangefinder cameras. The F was produced in 1972 as an economy model. Not only economic in price, but in size and weight. The Hi-Matic F weighs 350g and measures only 113 x 73 x 54mm.  With a small footprint, the camera does have a nice 38mm, f/2.7 Rokkor coated lens. The CdS meter on the camera automates the aperture and exposure for shutter speeds from 4 to 1/724 sec. On the lens itself, a flash guide number is printed so the photographer can select distance to the subject for flash photography.

While the camera is small enough to carry wherever you go, the absence of any manual controls make it feel like a point-and-shoot. The Hi-Matic F is a great all-purpose camera. It would make a nice addition to a street photographers kit because of its discreet size and shutter sound. My test shots were made with Kodak Tri-X 400, and scanned on an Epson Perfection V600 Photo.


Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day

At some point I bought a second Pentax Spotmatic from a thrift store without a lens. Not sure what to do with the extra body, I decided to purchase a pinhole lens cap on eBay and try my hand at some pinhole photos. Using Pinhole Assist on my iPhone, I was able to capture an accompanying image with the settings used for each film shot. Within the app you start by metering with the phones camera, set the film reciprocity, make any necessary calculations for aperture, and then save your profile for future use. These images were made on Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day, April 24, 2016.

Pentax Spotmatic with f/150 45mm Pinhole Lens Cap

Camera: Pentax Spotmatic with 45mm – f/150 Pinhole Lens Cap
Film: Kodak Color 200 – Expired (donated by Mike Williams)
Other: MeFoto Backpacker Travel Tripod, Pinhole Assist for iOS