Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Project: Foth 6x9 Pinhole Part 5

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

It's been a while, but the story continues... Armed with a roll of HP5, it was time to test the re engineered Foth 6x9 Pinhole. It was a nice sunny day, the meter suggested 1/2 at iso 400 with the f250 pinhole so off I went to Freedom Fields Park. The 'automatic' 1/2 and 1 second speeds on the Prontor shutter were used throughout, so easy to use, and I'm calling the test a success. But I'd forgotten why the shutter was in the parts bin. It opens the blades briefly when cocking the shutter. Not a problem with pinhole photography or so I thought, and it wouldn't have been on a dull day or with slower film. Unfortunately, in bright light and with HP5, it's just enough to create ghost images and flare. I must remember to hold my finger over the pinhole when cocking the shutter. Here are the results. It's not art, but it is pictures!

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Ilford in Out-of-Stock horror

I'm out of b&w in 120 format. I have been for a while, and hadn't got round to ordering any and I need some to try the re-engineered Foth Pinhole. Well, I was in Plymouth today and thought I'd drop in to London Camera Exchange and pick up some HP5 or Delta 400 or whatever they might have. I know it's cheaper online, but I thought I'd try supporting a local shop for a change. It's a great little shop. Always have boxes of Ilford paper on the shelves, along side stocks of film and a window full of second hand gear. Worth the extra to support a proper photographic shop. But you know what? They were out of stock! They had a big order from Ilford coming in the next day. Trouble is I'm not in town for a while and a 50 mile round trip is a bit much for a few rolls of film. I suppose I could have tried Jessops, but meh, don't have the same warm fuzzy glow for them. Out of stock! I hate when this happens.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

I want your old cameras!

Yes, I'm asking you to send me your old film cameras. I know you all have them stuck at the back of a cupboard, and I know you're never going to use them again. Be honest, you know that too. What I'm after is anything made up until around the mid '70s. Ilfords, Agfas, Kodaks, Voigtländers, Konica Pop? 35mm, 120, 127, whatever, working or not. You know the sort of thing, the ones made before the days of motor winds and zoom lenses. But heck, even if you have a Nikon F100 you just have to donate, send them to me!! Why? Well the working ones can be fun to try out and the broken ones can be either be fixed or they can donate parts to daft projects. This Poor Ilford Sportsman 300 for example, has selflessly given its shutter to a pinhole camera I built. It cost 99p from the 'bay, so don't go thinking I'll be making a fortune selling them on. So what have you got? I'll be sure to give you a credit when they turn up here in the Agitated Dog. Go on, send me a camera. Oh go on, please!

Monday, 21 February 2011

Multi Exposure Fumblings

I'd seen some examples of overlapping multi-exposure panoramas. Mostly done with Holgas, but a few with various other vintage folders too. I thought I'd have a go. The key requirements are a film wind separate to the shutter cocking mechanism so you can wind a bit, fire, pan a bit, shooting between the frames. It's not about precision. My Agfa Isolette is ideal and infact the only camera I own that can do it. Not as easy as it sounds, and I was disappointed by attempts until I introduced a bit of colour in PS. Yeah I know.
There are 3 overlapping exposures in the example above, I think 6 in the one below. Anyway I liked a couple of them enough to maybe try it again. This is HP5 developed in Rodinal, maybe I'll try colour film next time and not resort to the evil post processing!
Taking this further, there's is a technique that's become known as microclicks. I've not really tried for that here, but Google it. There are some great examples out there.

Pinhole Workshop

Last week I ran a year 6 school science project for a local school. We made pinhole cameras from 400g tin cans. We used 5x4 sheet film, the kids helping with the developing. These are a couple of is a posters I designed showing the making and using of the camera.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Rollei Black & White Disposable

A few years ago, Ilford black & white single-use cameras were everywhere. I never used one, but I was often tempted. So last year when I was working on a photo project with a local school, I thought they'd be ideal. Except they were no longer available. No one had any. Even the 'bay drew a blank. Well, it's too late for that project, but I've just found these at Firstcall. 27 exposure, 400iso, built in flash, just like the old Ilford ones. I might just have to buy one and try it out. Get them at

Scanner Woes (again)

Image used without permission. Not one of mine, no no no.
My Scanner and I don't get along. I chose this one, a Microtek Scanmaker 6100 over the Epson equivalent for two reasons. It scans film up to 5"x4" and came bundled with Silverfast SE. Just as well, as Microtek's own ScanWizard software doesn't work. More of that later. Out of the box, I couldn't get the first one to work. Or the second one. I took it back to the shop to see if they could help. They couldn't. They called Microtek support who couldn't help either. It turned out that my stripey scans were a result of part of my 120 neg strip obscuring the calibration window. Which in turn was the fault of the design of the film holder making it impossible to scan the middle frame of strip of 3 6x6 negs without the one end of the strip going over the calibration window. I abandoned the film holder and ended up just placing the film directly on the glass. Not ideal.
More frustration was caused by Silverfast pre-scan timing out while the scanner warmed up. BING! 'An error occurred, cannot start scanner'. It took ages to realise that after the first error, a second prescan would work fine. Then there's its tendency to scan the wrong bit. Not every time, just maybe 10% of the time. Often enough to be irritating, it'll shift the scan area an inch or so one way or the other. In Mictrotek's own software, it always scans the wrong bit, making ScanWizard totally useless.
One day it started clunking. Which got louder until it jammed. I had to take it apart to bend some cable clips out of the way of the scan head. Then it started putting mysterious 'phase' lines across ever scan. That was cured by replacing the PSU.
Then last week, the 'An error occurred, cannot start scanner' problem became a permanent fault on the prescan. So I find myself reading scanner specs and again. Looks like the 6100 is dead this time. But a new USB cable, plugged into a different port and we're back in business. Until next time.

See also:
Scanner Death
A Tale of Two Scanners