What's New at 120studio.com

2018 May 21



Here's one of those $10 multimeters that was supposed to be pretty good.  This one didn't work properly, but I noticed that it sometimes worked when pressing on the mode selector dial.  It appears to have an intermittent solder connection where the battery holder connects to the circuit board.  Fixable, maybe;  or maybe not.

This was supposed to be for quickly checking voltage or continuity, but yet again, cheap tools made "quick" into anything but that.  Like most forms of cheap goods, cheap multimeters present the illusion that you can get $200 worth of quality for ten bucks.  A DMM with intermittent solder joints is not something I'd want in a toolbox, because it'll be when you most need it that the solder joints decide to go open again. 

There's an Olympus compact 35mm camera on the workbench near it.  This is one of the later, made-in-China Olympus 35mm point & shoot cameras.  Had to do some basic camera maintenance on it, getting ready for a test roll of film. 

2018 May 19-20


Here's another camera similar to the Minolta Hi-Matic AF2, but this one needs some repairs.  The film advance sticks a little bit;  shutter doesn't work;  not sure what else might be wrong with it.  Whether it's repairable (by me) I don't know, but there's a lot to be said for a camera that's already been CLA'd and film tested, and just works.

2018 May 17


Panasonic FZ

A reader asks about the FZ300 and FZ1000, wondering if either of these would be good for pictures of moving animals.  Both cameras offer AF tracking, but you might find that you have to change a setting here and there to get the best results.  In fact, your best results might not even be with the tracking AF.

First, image stabilization can actually slow down the AF when you're trying to focus on an animal that's moving.  So, try turning off image stabilization.

Another thing to consider is what type of focus area the camera is using.  I've found that the single-point AF is the most versatile.  With no image stabilization, try turning on the Burst mode and using the single-point AF. 

As for the FZ1000 vs. the FZ300, I would go for the FZ1000 because it does much better at high ISO.  Unless you know the photography is going to be in full sunlight, you may find you're using the higher ISO's fairly often for wildlife photography. 

See also the FZ-1000 Review.

2018 May 13



May 7, 2018
120 Kodak Ektar 100
Zenza Bronica SQ-A with Macro Zenzanon-PS 110mm
f/16 @ 1/15th second

Film developed May 7, 2018 with Unicolor kit mixed 4/23/18 (roll #4).

2018 May 11


Site Updates

At the time a couple of the film articles were written, there were actually not as many film selections as there are now.  So I've updated a couple of them.

Film Camera Review

In Getting Started With Film,  I was going to do some more in-depth reviews of the cameras mentioned.  However, that article probably should have included some more of the basic, all-manual SLR's which don't rely on computerization.  (The AE-1 was actually the first SLR with a microprocessor.)

New:  Chinon CS.  A 1970's film SLR with the basic features. 

2018 May 7


New:  Classic Review:  Bronica SQ-A.  6x6 medium format camera.  I'll try to get some pictures scanned in soon for an SQ-A gallery.  I still have a bunch from the RB-67 that I'll try to put together soon, as well.

2018 May 5-6


Film Developing

New:  Tap Water vs. Distilled for Film Developing

New Film Stocks;  Thoughts on Tech Innovation, etc.

Recently I noticed Bergger Pancro 400, a relatively new (2016) B&W film that's made in France.  It's a double-emulsion film, meaning it should have a wide latitude and would probably do well with push-processing.  They make it in all sizes through 8x10... no, wait, they also make 13x18 sheets!  And they make 5x7, so that's helpful for the many who have those cameras today. 

I've also got this roll of Ortho 25 that I want to try.  ISO 25, fine grain!  Orthochromatic films are the ones where you could have a safe-light on in the darkroom.  That means they also will not "see" anything through a red filter. 

Amazon needs to fix that "Discontinued by Manufacturer" thing next to the Superia film, because the film is still being made.  (I've emailed them at least a couple times.)  Superia is my go-to film for a lot of things.  The digital industry guys may still get headaches knowing there's a cheap, ready supply of film, but I think by now they must realize that it was smartphones which drastically affected their market.  Ironic that a type of digital camera was the reason.

There are many film photographers now, including many who'd only ever used digital.  We are intent on making film to exist for generations so that our grandchildren can enjoy it.  Not some "digital film" hybrid, but real film.  We need a film camera that's not a toy camera, has no electronics beyond about 1976 technology, and doesn't try to use a famous camera brand to market something we were not actually looking for. 

The Konica C35 is auto-only, but an all-manual camera built like that would be perfect.  Even just a viewfinder camera like the Trip 35, but with manual aperture and shutter speeds.

Picture of the Day

I updated this with a better scan.  (Not scan, but actually a post-scan.)  Scenes like this are difficult because post-scan adjustments can clip the highlights.  This happens a lot with machine scans when they have it set for high-contrast.

The clouds in the bright areas have most of their tone detail now. 



Minolta Hi-Matic AF2
Fujifilm Superia 400 (35mm)
Developed 4/30/18 @ t=168 hours after mixing
Roll #3 in 1-liter batch mixed 4/23/18
C-41 chems stored cold when not in use

2018 May 4


Provia and FL-D Filters

A reader asks whether Provia needs an FL-D filter for use with a 5500K fluorescent light. 

There was a time, fairly recently, when I was thinking of trying something like this.  And I got a Kodak CC30M or thereabouts, which might be a good place to start. 

What I was going to try is a test roll with two or three different filters, including an FL-D filter just to be sure.  Since you can change the filter each picture, it only uses at most three or four pictures on a roll.  If you're going to test that way, though, it might also be a good idea to try a couple of different lights.

CFL's even at 5500K might produce a greenish cast without the filters.  I never did get around to trying this. Mostly I shoot daylight, or use the unfiltered lights to get various color effects which obviously you wouldn't want for certain things.  Somewhere I might have some ones I've shot with fluorescent lighting, but I think nearly all my Provia slides are from outdoors. 

He also wonders if the macro stand would accommodate 9x12" sheets.  Certainly the base is large enough.  At that distance it's really a question of what lens.  You might not even need a macro lens at that distance, just a close-focusing prime lens. 

Film-Scan Macro Lens

Another reader asks whether a Nikon 40mm 1:1 macro lens would be any good for camera-scanning film with a Nikon D3400. 

The 40mm is lower-priced than some of the other macro lenses, which makes it a good possible choice (except for an FX camera).  The lens requires an ultra-short macro distance, which can be useless for regular macro enthusiasts.  (Maybe not "useless", but it does limit the range of subjects).  This was why I didn't decide to go with a 40mm macro lens, but it should be OK for film scanning.  Generally, the 40mm focal length would have more distortion, but I believe you can download lens-distortion correction data for this lens so that your D3400 will essentially have zero distortion with this.  So, I think the 40mm with a D3400 and a macro stand would be great.  Even if you were getting distortion with the lens, you could set the Lens Distortion plugin in your favorite image editor and fix the distortion that way.

I would very much choose a dedicated macro lens rather than extension tubes.  The 40mm is a good normal or medium focal length on a DX camera, almost to where you could just leave it on there all the time. 

If you know for sure that you're only ever going to use a DX camera, then the 40mm DX lens would be good.  If you thought you were ever going to use an FX camera, then get an FX-compatible lens.  If the choice were between the 40mm Micro-Nikkor and a used Tamron SP 90 AF macro, I'd get the Tamron.  (With a used one, I might get the international version, but realize there's no service or support with that).  The image sharpness on the SP 90 is well-known to be excellent. 

2018 May 2

Wednesday evening

New:  Film Camera Review:  Minolta Hi-Matic AF2.  There's also a new photo gallery linked from there.

New:  Hi-Matic AF2 Gallery

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