Photographic Pornography

There are a lot of Canon fans out there who think all them white lenses are Canon, but surprise, not all that is white … as they say… it’s just you don’t see these white Nikon lenses much in the wild because they are … expensive

So tonight’s post is simply about photography pornography…

example 1

example 2

example 3

Three film cameras I would shoot with today…


How not to purchase a Camera or anything else — or all that glitters

It is great fun to shop for vintage film cameras, especially now when the days of film are waning, but still active.  A couple of cautions come to mind however, and I will share them with this rather obvious tale.

When you are looking at the purchase of a film camera to use, and not one to display, first and foremost realize that some makes and models have value as a collectors item. These rare and pricey cameras, aside from being expensive, may be impossible to fix and maintain. This leads to having expensive paper weights as far as cameras go.

Additionally, beware of purchasing a camera for which batteries and film are impossible to get or rare. For example, 120 medium format film is widely available in color and black and white emulsions, while the related 220 film is only available in color negative. So it would be a bad choice to get a 220 Hasselblad back for example, especially in gold, but probably any Hasselblad…

In fact any of the gold cameras are probably not going to be good investments even for collectors, because interest in them is probably declining. Such as this outlandish Nikon FA – the single most failure prone Nikon ever made…

The secret of Nikon users is that FA really means fix it again .. and while you probably should stay well away from any Nikon FA, this gold one with it’s impressive price tag, will make you [probably] upset when it refuses to work.  But what about this gold FM?

I would tell you that no 35mm camera is worth what this thing would cost…  and if you scratch it up? I have several scratched up FM’s but none of them are gold plated…

nor this Leica…






But – hey it’s just me. I’m not sure a regular old Leica M4 is going to be in my budget. It may however be just what you want.

And don’t let my one-sided opinion keep you from getting that gold Contax on the top of this article.. But if you do buy one of these, I sincerely hope you would take it out and shoot a few rolls of film with it.. and I hope you enjoy it very much…


35mm Film Cameras – Not what you might think

Here are a couple of ebay listings for two usable 35mm cameras. Aside from the value to collectors, what is the photographic difference between this vintage Leica M3

and this vintage Nikon FM

The Nikon has a motor drive, a built in light meter, a faster top shutter speed, a faster f1.8 lens, allows you to view and focus through the lens, shoots faster, and is more reliable. The Leica costs $3000, while the Nikon is about $200.

Technically, because we are talking about shooting with film, which is the limiting factor in image quality, both of these cameras when used correctly, will yield the exact same negative. And because of that fact, they will yield the exact same print in the darkroom. [or off a scan if that is how you work]

So why buy the Leica? Purely for it’s collectable value. If you are into gear, and specifically into Leica, this is enough justification. If you are wanting to shoot film, the Nikon is a more reasonable investment. This is especially true in the days of the last swan song of analog photography..


Getting into film

Getting [Back] Into Film Photography
There is no doubt that digital photography is great. I mean it has color and effects and photoshop and instant editing. Every few days or so they come out with a better camera, a sharper lens, and a better printer. Or maybe photography has not been more involved for you than an iphone and instagram. There is a whole different world of photography out there. I am talking about film photography and wet darkroom printing. I am going to limit myself to black and white, not because it is impossible to make color images in a darkroom. I did that for many years before digital imaging was invented. Color however actually looks really great in digital, and little can be gained by purchasing equipment needed to process color film and paper. You can do this, and don’t let my opinions disuade you from doing this. Some of those who explore this old world craft are making incredible images and having a great deal of fun and learning a great deal.
I am writing this now because the time is approaching when film and paper and chemistry may be difficult to obtain. There is a resurgance in film photography occuring right now, and there is no telling for how long this may continue. In fact some of the equipment you may want to buy such as cameras and lenses, which a few years ago were being given away have taken on some value so buyer beware as they say.
So then, how do we begin to explore the black and white darkroom process? The good news is that if you already have a digital camera, you won’t need to but a film camera to make prints. You can actually make negatives from digital images to start out. This assumes you have access to a photo quality inkjet printer, but you could have someone print them for you. At any rate the method is fairly straight forward. Take the image you want to work with into photoshop and convert it into a nicely toned black and white print. Then invert the image to make a negative. Adjust the levels to make sure you don’t have any expanses of completely white areas. Print at photo quality on a sheet of transperancy film. Make your print about 5×7 or so. There you have a negative without even using a film camera… Read more about how to make a print from this [or any other negative] in the next article

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