From the Archives:
What’s wrong with this picture? (P365 – April 17). . .and a bonus

So we went to The Farm today.  The plan was to work on the renovations and stay over in the trailer.  Unfortunately, the furnace in the rig has decided not to work this spring.  It was a raw day, and my one small space heater wasn’t going to cut it.  So we headed home and brought the rig home to get it serviced.


Here’s the challenge: there’s something visibly wrong with the rig in this picture. I’m not referring to the flag or light poles; it’s not an optical illusion issue.  Can anyone spot it?  (Rest assured we made it home safely despite the issue.)

And here’s a bonus:  an LAFD training film on steering from the late 50s/early 60s.  I just love the old Seagrave Anniversary Series and Crown Firecoaches.  There is so much interesting history here which was merely daily life when it was filmed.  Note the firemen riding the back step of the Crowns instead of using the jumpseats, and the Captain standing up to don his gear in the open cab while moving.  If you watch closely around 5:22 you can see one of the 1930s ALF Duplexes.

Watch Part 2 for an interesting Oshkosh.  At the very end it goes sailing by with a fireman riding on a step halfway up the back of the truck.  Innocent times.

Hat tip to Dave Statter.

Instax 90 – Week 71 results

The Fuji Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic is a nice little camera that seems smaller than its name.

I found it to be “point& shoot” easy to use. It has two shutter buttons, one on top and one on the front such that one is always in easy reach regardless of the orientation of the camera. The shutter fires quickly with a soft click, and the images are ejected with a soft whir. There is none of the loud drama of an integral Polaroid.

I experimented with the various shooting modes and really enjoyed the double exposure feature. (See Cricket below.) The film develops in a minute or two, and the images do not need to be shielded. Fuji has Impossible beaten on this score.

My jury is still out regarding the neck strap. In general I find them to be a good idea, but this one seemed to be always in the way.

I took a while to warm up to the size and experience of Instax, but I really love the Mini 90.

201407 Instax90_003Beau
201407 Instax90_004Soul of a Dog II
201407 Instax90_005Macro mode
201407 Instax90_002Cruise Night

Holga 120N – Week 74

201407 Instax90_001

The Holga 120N was my entry into medium format. Prior to my return to film about 2 years ago, I knew nothing of things larger than 35mm. The Holga was an inexpensive way to learn. It features a zone focus plastic lens with symbols for Portrait, Single Person, Group, and Landscape. A switch selects different apertures for sunny or shaded, and the single speed shutter can be switched to bulb mode if you wish. Film advance is via a knob on top with a red window on the back of the camera.

I’ve found it works best with 400 ASA film, so I’ve loaded a roll of Portra 400 for the week.


Camera Wiki

You can still buy them new. Mine came from Four Corner Store.

Week 73 – Olympus OM-PC


Produced between 1985 and 1987, the OM-PC was the last consumer level model in Olympus’ OM line. It features program, aperture priority, and manual modes.

Aperture is selected by a standard ring on the lens. Shutter speed is adjusted using a ring on the camera body behind the lens in similar fashion to the rest of the OM cameras.

My example was an eBay bargain. It sports a 35-70 zoom lens. When it arrived the mirror was loose, but a quick dab of superglue fixed it. I’ve loaded a test roll of Kodak Hawkeye traffic surveillance film.

Camera Wiki

Minolta X-7A – week 69 results

Many cameras leave an impression with me. I either want to use them again immediately or I really dislike them. The X-7A was neither. It feels like a perfectly adequate SLR with a few slightly odd controls. It didn’t annoy me, but I didn’t love it either. The on/off switch is odd, and I often found I’d left it in the wrong position. I liked the fact that the meter works in manual mode, unlike my XG-series cameras.

Results were mixed. It seems to have a slow shutter.  Half of my images came out like this:

201406 MinoltaX7aE

This week’s film was Lomochrome Purple, which I developed at home with a Unicolor kit.  It’s supposed to have interesting color shifts, and it did not disappoint. At slower shutter speeds, the images were fun.

The Burgermobile

The Burgermobile





Beth & Cricket

Beth & Cricket

Back on the shelf with it. It will probably end up on the Repair or Sell pile. I’m very happy with the Lomochrome however.

Week 72 – Beirette


This small viewfinder was manufactured in East Germany sometime between the mid 1970's and mid 1980's. I believe it is an early VSN model. It features a 1/125 shutter, f2.8 lens, and scale focus delineated in meters. Exposure is assisted by a series of symbols on the lens barrel in similar yet inverse fashion to the SMENA cameras. In this case shutter speed is varied according to the film speed, while aperture is varied according to lighting conditions.

Mine is a relatively recent eBay acquisition. I've loaded a short roll of Ilford FP4 for the week.



Camera Wiki



Week 71 – Fuji Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic

The newest addition to my collection is the Fuji Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic. This latest addition to Fuji's Instax line has a more refined look and better controls than previous Instax models, and it has the advantage of film being available in major discount stores.

It features multiple shooting modes including portrait, sport, landscape, bulb, macro, and double exposure. Flash can also be manually controlled. I've been shooting with it all week and will post as soon as I can scan some images.


Fuji website

They are in production and available from many sources.


Nishika N8000 – week 68 results

Well, the N8000 wasn’t a complete failure.

By that I mean it made images, and even decent ones.

As a 3D camera, I’m not impressed. The amount of time needed to make a decent animation is more than I’m willing to spend. Perhaps better software could save it.

As a camera in general, the 3D ‘function’ compromises its usefulness. It’s large and cumbersome, with limited controls. On my example there is a problem with the film advance causing it to alternately skip exposures and then to double expose. I expected to find ripped sprocket holes when the film returned from the lab, but I didn’t.

I left the images in half-frame diptychs as they came from the scanner. If you look closely near the edges you can see how the 3D effect was achieved.

201406 Nishika026


201406 Nishika023


201406 Nishika021


201406 Nishika020

Model T

Back on the shelf with it.  I can’t say I’d recommend buying one.

random musings from the life of a firefighter, paramedic, train buff, photographer, family man