Month: August 2018

Dodged That Ebay Bullet

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Ebay, I love it like a rich old guy loves his twenty-two year-old girlfriend. I spend lots of money on it  and have a great time doing it. Damn the consequences. Until the money runs out. When I come to my senses, and freeze the spending, Ebay will whisper sweet nothings in my ear via push notifications. “Item you looked at has been discounted!”. “Auction is ending in 10 minutes!” “You have been outbid!”- to be honest sometimes I’m not even sure what it was that I bid on in the first place.

This morning I dodged an Ebay bullet which would have amounted to about $250 smackaroos. It was a Kiev 88 medium format camera. This camera is a beautiful Russian copycat of a Hasselblad. I have always wanted a medium format camera in that style. There are four brands which produced similarly built cameras. Hasselblad, Mamiya, Bronica and Kiev. The quality is generally listed in that order as well. The Kiev though was the most financially attainable for me.

Bing! “An item similar to items you have viewed is ending in 10 minutes!” A Kiev in good working condition for less than $200. It only took as long as it takes to read that lovely little Ebay notice to convince myself that I truly needed it. With dollars to euros conversion and shipping it would be nearly $25

Like impulsively buying a candy bar at the checkout counter, I bid. Instantly, I felt dirty. I have bills to pay like everyone else. I have, kids, animals and a husband to feed. I need cash to support my film habit. I need cash to support my coffee habit. And worst of all, I have so many cameras and accoutrements that I have no more room to add to my collection. As a responsible adult, I failed.0.

I put my phone with that blighted Ebay app in the kitchen. I started a second pot of coffee, my guilt even blacker than the liquid in my cup. I went downstairs to fold laundry for the last 8 minutes of the auction before I had to pay the bill.

After what I had deemed about the right amount of time, I went back to my phone to see what exactly I owed.

First I read “You are no longer the highest bidder! Bid NOW!”

Then “Auction ends in one minute! Bid NOW!”

Followed by “That one got away from you!”

And lastly “Don’t worry, here are some similar items!”

I started to scroll through their suggestions. I found another Kiev 88 for a similar price. I thought about, I really did. I took a long swig of coffee. After plopping my phone down on the counter, I grabbed a camera and went outside to photograph my kid chasing chickens. Not today Ebay, not today.

Analog Glass on Digital Cameras

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Money. It can’t buy happiness. But it can buy camera lenses. And camera lenses are basically happiness. I mean, let’s face it, I’m writing a blog about photography, you’re reading a blog about photography. Pretty clear what makes us 

I have a lovely set of Olympus OM-D EM 5 micro 4/3 (m4/3) cameras. They are beautiful, durable, affordable and surprisingly diverse. And the best part is with the proper adapter, you can use old film lenses on them. Have old Nikon glass you loved in the days of film? Use it! Have a Canon lens you couldn’t part with? It will work! You can pick them up on Ebay for a little bit of nothing. I picked up a prime 135 Hanimex f/2.8 for $30.00. I shot one of my favorite photo series with that lens one night during an impromptu fire breathing session. None of my other lenses were fast enough. There certainly many pros to adapt analog lenses, but there are a few cons as well.happy right? I’m not rich. But I’m not unhappy either.

The Pros:

They are super affordable. You can buy fast lenses, f/2.8 or wider, for less than 

100.00 on Ebay or from online camera stores with reputable used departments. I recommend or They have excellent rating systems that will let you know 

what kind of condition the lens is in. That’s one heck of a deal considering that a m4/3 35-100 f/2.8 lens -used- is almost $800.00. I don’t have that kind of cash just laying around. And since most of my paying work is real estate, I can’t justify it.

If you are hybrid (film and digital) shooter like myself, you can switch between your film camera and your digital camera easily. You don’t have to buy multiples lenses for different systems.

The crop factor on a m4/3 camera is almost 2x the size of a 35mm camera. Meaning that a 50mm f/1.4 film lens is is going to be 100mm f/1.4 on a m4/3 camera. Again, if you are a decent bargain hunter you can come away with an amazing zoom lens.

The Cons:

Another downside is the crop factor. It is listed above because it favors someone looking for a telephoto lens. But utilizing a wide angle lenses is a bit of a problem. Your 16mm wide angle lens becomes a 32mm lens. Cutting the the field of view in half.These old analog lenses are all manual when connected to with an adapter. Manual focus, manual exposure. This can be cumbersome in a situation that require quick focus or quick thinking. There is no way to let the camera do the thinking for you. However, could be considered a silver lining to some. New shooters who are trying to learn shooting manual on a digital camera will have no choice with lenses. Much like learning to do math before reaching for a calculator.

Adapters can be a bit of a hassle unless you have multiples. I have several Nikkor adapters which I keep on my favorite film lenses. But if you only have one adapter, hunting for it to switch lenses on the fly might mean the shot you wanted slipped by. But adapters are $10-$25, so for very little you can circumvent this problem entirely.

There are many different sources that argue for and against the use of analog lenses on digital cameras. If you shoot on a professional basis you should look into investing in digital lenses, in the long run, it will save you time, which is money. But for a hobbyist in search of a cost effective means to produce creamy bokeh or a fast nighttime lens have a look at some old glass. If its well cared for, the images produced in many situations will be better than the cheaper digital lenses in the same price range.

New Life for Yashica 44: Shoot 35mm

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When my grandfather passed away in 2015 I inherited his camera collection. There were some beautiful specimens

in the mix. But the camera that stuck out to me was a petite mint colored Yashica 44. In a collection of bulky black 

cameras this one was certainly unique. I instantly that imagined that it was my Pap’s favorite, because it was mine and I wanted a way to connect with him.

Right away I wanted more than anything to shoot everything with this camera. But there was a problem. This 

adorable little camera shoots 127 film. To be completely honest, I had never even heard of 127 at that time. I always have a stockpile of 35mm (which was just a little too small) and some 120 (which was just a tad too large).

Knowing that this film would have to be 

Fortunately, after reading a bit more about this diminutive TLR, a solution presented itself. You can convert these little babies to shoot 35mm. I won’t ordered from an online supplier I started searching. Looking at the prices I became a bit discouraged. The price per roll is about 10.00. And the film produced 10-16 

Don’t forget to cover the film counter. Otherwise your images will be blown out.

images per roll. That just wasn’t going to cut it for me. When I start shooting I like to know I have plenty of shots at my disposal. I don’t want to have that internal debate about whether it’s worth one frame or not.

go step-by-step here but you only need a screwdriver to remove the film roller. Once you’ve removed the film roller, don’t forget to cover the film counter window. I neglected to do this and as a result there are squares on my first roll where part of the frame is completely blown out. Save the film roller bar and screws and if you decide you want to shoot 127 you can 

easily put the film roller back. No harm done.

Center you subject as much as possible to avoid sprockets running through your subject.

Because 127 film is bigger than 35mm you will expose over the sprocket area as well. The result is similar to Holga 35mm sprockets. Personally, I like the  sprocket effect. It gives the images an authentic film feel, not like some cheesy film border slapped on a digital image. But it also means that you will need to make sure your subject is mostly centered in your image. Otherwise you will have sprockets running through your subject. 

You will need a light meter to help you in your shooting with the 44 though. It doesn’t have one built in. You may also rely on the Sunny 16 Rule while you are out and about. But you will have to estimate if you get into anything less than bright sunshine.

I actually recommend converting the Yashica 44. It is a beautiful, sturdy camera that in my experience produces excellent images. Cameras should be used, not just displayed. With 127 film going extinct, 35mm will keep this little gem from becoming nothing more than a shelf queen.