Sunday, December 23, 2007

Homemade foamcore 8x10" Large Format Pinhole Camera

King Edward Hotel - World Pinhole Camera Day
First of 2 shots with my foam core 8x10" homemade camera. Shot with 20 year old Kodak litho ISO 8 film, 3.5 minute exposure. This was my entry into world pinhole day
After some sage advice from experts on developing the litho film to get more midtone greys. I am experimenting with extreme dilution the D76 developer to try to get more tones out of the high contrast lithographic film. I think it is working even though this shot may not be the best example as I was shooting towards the bright part of the sky.
Brick Works Old Style
The tones worked out very well in this following photo.
Casa Loma Without a Lens
The pinhole is approximately f310 with a 80 degree field of view making for a 2.5 to 4.5 minute daylight exposure.
The following is a longer over 10 minute exposure made late in the day under grey sky. The thing I like about a 10 minute exposure in a city is that people go about their business invisible to the eye of the camera. Except for the almost invisible people sitting still on the picnic table, middle right if you need directions. I should have pushed the development a bit longer to bring out more details in the dark areas.
The good thing about this ISO 8 litho film is that it can be developed under a safe light where you can view the film developing. Also it can be pushed or pulled many stops just by changing the developing time.

The Irony of Shooting With My Homemade Foamcore 8x10" Pinhole Camera Just Across the Road From 2 High End Camera Stores

Brick Works

A bit About The Camera

I used this pinhole I built for my digital camera.

Surprising enough the lens hood is needed.

Foam core is strictly home craft although using a special tool/knife designed to make butt joints in foam core really makes life easy plus strengthening the design. The body is held together with paper glue and book binding tape, really quite solid.

The important elements other then the pinhole is finding some old working 8x10" film holders. I use a film holder that has a double dark slide so I can take 2 shots.

The only moderately difficult part is the combined film holder (holder)/tripod mount. I made mine out of picture framing wood stock as it already has the ledges cut into it.
Build one frame and attach the foam core body to the one side and the tripod socket to the bottom. The other side with the lip has a strip of foam rubber al the way around the lip. The slide holder when placed against the rubber seal should  fit nicely with a light tight seal between the camera and the film holder. The last piece is another frame without seals that with the help of two ratchet clamps brought from a hardware store that is placed over the back of the film holder and clamps it to the camera body.

I'm sure with a wood working shop you can do better. Because exposures are so long no shutter is needed. Expose by holding a dark cloth over the pinhole, then remove the dark slide, then remove the black cloth to begin exposure. Reverse to end exposure.

Be creative I have an idea for a 360 degree pano.

A couple of references 

 CK Pinhole Photography Resources and Links

Monday, October 22, 2007

Infrared Converted Olympus C-4000 4M pixel P&S

Infrared Converted Olympus C-4000 4M pixel P&S
I am fascinated with all forms of imaging so for a while an infrared conversion of a point and shoot camera has been on my to do list. Early in October I was browsing Henry's Camera Surplus Store when I noticed that they had a 3meg pixel reconditioned Olympus point and shoot (P&S) on sale for $30. So I had my project. While not quite yet as the menu was only in Japanese and I don't understand the language. So back to Henry's to up grade to a 4 Mpixel C-4000 zoom had to lay out an additional $20.

Now the conversion. I wanted a camera that was sensitive enough to be handheld so I knew I had to replace the hot mirror (the little piece of glass in front of the sensor which reflects (filters out) most of the infrared and stops it reaching the sensor.

I researched some background on the disassembling of a c2000z here and here. As each camera is slightly different I had to play it by ear in a few places but it was mostly as advertised.

My original idea was to scrape the hot mirror coating off the filter. Unfortunately I used a abrasive that was too hard and I scratched the glass surface. I think next time it will work if I use steel wool (should be slightly softer then glass). So I had to order a custom cut watch crystal from a local watch repair place. Because the index of refraction of the mineral glass is higher then that of the original cover the thickness ordered was 2.5mm instead of the original 2.8mm.

In the mean while realizing the camera would be very myopic and could not focus to any where near infinity I put the camera back together without the glass sensor cover. What I did not realize was that how good the camera would be as a super macro camera. I am thinking of buying another one to use just in this mode.
Infrared Super Macro MyopicInfrared Super Macro Myopic (no sensor cover glass)

I adapted my deep red infrared filter by lining the ring with foam weather stripping. I purchased the filter for a few dollars at the local camera show. I brought it to use on my 1953 Zeiss Contax IIIa.

Honey Don't You Listen To Anything I Say? How Many Times Must I Tell You Thursday Is Garbage Day!Film Infrared

Finally one week later $25 poorer the watch crystal came in. Much easier taking the camera apart the second time. Now it has no trouble focusing and still works in macro mode. Total cost for the project including the filter was less then $90.
Infrared Photograph of a Photographer Taking a Photograph of The Grand Bend SunsetInfrared Photograph of a Photographer Taking a Photograph of The Grand Bend Sunset

All the above shot were hand held without using the flash. The camera for maximum image quality is usually set at ISO 100. For best results it is best to do an in camera custom white balance using a white sheet of paper. This might not be necessary for all filter types. My filter still lets in a good deal of dark red so the true infrared is in the blue and green channels, a custom white balance is necessary to remove the dominant sensitivity to visible light in the red channel.

You can go here to see a Flickr slide show of my infrared work.

Toronto Zombie Walk 2007 or Zombies Around the World United

Zombies in Infrared

Some more in this 7MB PDF slide show.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Brash American 1956 Argus C44 versus Precise German 1952 Zeiss Ikon Contax IIIa

My second vintage camera in as many months. This is a dangerous trend!
Brash American 1956 Argus C44 versus Precise German 1952 Zeiss Ikon Contax IIIa
Brash American 1956 Argus C44 versus Precise German 1952 Zeiss Ikon Contax IIIa
Lens German f2.8 versus German Zeiss f1.5
flash x-sync versus strange cable
Maximum shutter speed
1/300 versus 1/1250 of a second
Minimum shutter speed
1/10 versus 1/1
No versus Yes
Self timer
No versus Yes
slight edge to the Zeiss
Smoothness of focus, film advance and speed
clunky versus as smooth as silk
Distance scale for hyper focal length
easy to read by looking down at camera versus badly placed hard to read scale.
Setting f stops
easy because end of lens does not rotate versus difficult because end of lens with f stop rotates making the controls rotate around the camera also because of the smoothness of the focus unless you lock the focus (easy to do) changing f stop could affect focus position.
Sound of shutter starter pistol versus silencer
Ease of changing lens
very difficult versus less difficult
Ease of loading film
better design and built in takeup reel versus removable take up reel and clumsy loading partially outside the camera
$55 versus $280
Fun factor Argus as the Zeiss is just too  precision crafted to use as a fun camera
Reliability  Zeiss still going strong but the Argus is dead  may it  RIP 
Image Quality You be the judge but I suspect the legendary Zeiss f1.5 will win out

Which is Which Canon 350D, 1956 Argus C44 and 1952 Zeiss Ikon Contax IIIa?
Which is Which: Canon 350D, 1956 Argus C44 or 1952 Zeiss Ikon Contax IIIa? 

Highway to Nowhere

Flag Man

"The Girls Never Stop"

Ivy Path

Sea Wall In Artic Aqua

Ilford ISO100 Test

Art Square

Answer to which is which lens question:

Top: 1956 Argus C4 50mm lens at f11 at 1/100sec
Middle: 1952 Contax IIIa at the same setting
Bottom: Canon 350D 24 - 105L set at 40mm equivalent f9 1/40sec with polarizer

Saturday, January 27, 2007

New Years Resolution

Last year's new year's resolution for photography was that "I would take a much larger number of photographs of people in all types of settings". I thing I have been very successful.

This year I gave my self possibly a harder to keep resolution. My resolution for 2007 is: "put more mood into my photographs."

First step in my half baked plan is to figure out what mood really is I don't mean the text book definition provided by our learned experts.

Foolish me my first thoughts are maybe the media makes a difference so when someone offered me a canon film body compatible with my lens for next to nothing I jumped at the chance. Back in the old days I shot holiday and travel photos without any skill or desire so I do know a bit about shooting film but not much.

Anyway I digress more about modern film cameras in a later blog.

My next thoughts was that maybe a vintage camera will give a vintage feel and mood to my shots. So I purchased this 1956 made in the USA Argus C44 range finder camera. The C3 the forefather of the C44 named the brick (shown in the Harry Potter Movies) sold 3 million copiess and established 35mm as the major film format, but the c3 has a cheap lens system and is quirky.

Besides the fact that people don't believe its 50 years old the 50mm f2.8 lens is not bad and the pictures it takes do seem to have a vintage feel maybe because of the lack of ease of use, you can be the judge. You can even with great difficulty swap lens in the field.

Three rolls later and its up for sale as I brought a new /old vintage camera a German Zeiss rangefinder this time and I am thinking two vintage cameras makes me a collector. But I am having second thoughts its too shinny maybe I will keep it.

So, so far I feel a vintage camera does alter the mood of the photographs. Only slightly because of the camera but more so because I am associating the experience using the old camera with the vintage periods of the 40s and 50s.

Vintage Church