Chris Damkat

art, science, news, ... all things wonderous

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Cameras

I've expanded my interest in photography to the analogue domain recently and have started collecting some nice equipment. Since the explosion of digital photography analogue equipement has become very cheap. Here I show some nice pictures of my items, no extended technical specifications or performance tests, just nice pictures, mostly.



My digital cameras (minus 2)

My digital cameras (minus 2)

Next to my analogue cameras I also have a few digital cameras:

a Nikon D40x and D1
a Canon 300D, G2 and G5 (i.e. the missing camera)
the Panasonic G1 and the Olympus  E-PL1 (micro four thirds cameras)
and finally a Olympus C-765 Ulta Zoom (also missing)

Most of the cameras I bought second hand, older models are cheap now! Only the D40x and PL1 I bought brand new.

The D40x (2007) was my first serious camera, and I bought it before all the other cameras in the picture.
Although the sensor might not be up to the state of the art the results still please me. I think the advance
in sensors has actually not been 'that' big. What still counts most is photon noise and the size of the sensor. There just
is a fundamental limit to the quantum efficiency. So just get a fast lens and pictures look great, e.g. the 30mm f/1.4
Sigma lens on the D40x.

The D1, the oldest camera, I actually bought quite recently. It is one of the first DSLR models of Nikon.
It was introduced in 1999, which makes it about 12 years! old by now. It stills works with some digital glitches
now and then when the power gets low. I had to buy a replacement battery. The autofocus on this camera
is still amazingly fast. The megapixel count is limited, however, 2.7 MP, but who needs more actually when viewing
on a computer monitor or making 10x15cm prints? Nikon D1 on Wikipedia

The Canon G2 (2001, bottom left) I bought especially to convert to IR by removal of the IR blocking filter.
I read a description on the internet beforehand, canon g-series IR conversion, and it was quite easy to remove the filter in this camera.
The only thing I didn't have was a clear replacement filter. You need to put a clear filter in order to correct for the focus
as a filter will actually extend the 'focal length'. My solution was in the end to take a few pieces of a cd casing and put them in.
I think two layers did the trick. Although this is of course far from ideal, it doesn't really show in the resulting pictures.

The Canon 300D (2003) was one the first DSLRs that made DSLRs mainstream because of its lower price.
The reason why I have a Canon DSLR next to my Nikons is that Canon has a smaller flange focal distance. This smaller
flange focal distance allows me to mount the older, cheap, and widely available M42 screw mount lenses on it with a
simple adapter ring. On a Nikon I wouldn't be able to focus to infinity. M42 lenses have become quite popular.
Often you can find good prime lenses for less than 40 euros. For example the 300D in the
picture is mounted with a Takumar 50mm f/1.4. The only 'downside' is that you'll have to do manual focusing
(metering is still automated in Aperture Priority mode).

The m43 cameras, the G1 (2008) and the PL1 (2010), represent the recent developments in digital photography:
the so-called mirrorless cameras. These are cameras without a reflex mirror, but they do have a larger
sensor (compared to compacts) and interchangeable lenses. These cameras have become very popular recently.
They are compact, have (almost) DSLR picture quality, and interchangeable lenses. Furthermore, because
of the lack of a mirror the focal flange distance is very small, and with an adapter virtually any lens can be mounted
on the cameras. I have adapters for M42 and M39 lenses but also C-mount lenses can be mounted. The C-mount
lenses are intended for cameras with small sensors and often do not cover the full m43 sensor. On the other hand,
this gives interesting bokeh and vignetting effects. m43 with c-mount lenses on Flickr.

The other side of the story, that older cameras are cheap, is that I'm trying to sell my C-765 and not really
getting the money for it that I would like to see.... :-)


Last Updated on Sunday, 05 February 2012 14:22
 

Belfoca II

The Belfoca II, a medium format camera with a coated Bonotar 10,5cm f/4.5 lens. With it you can take
square 6x6cm negatives or rectangular 6x9cm negatives on a 120 film roll. With the switch seen below you can
select your format, of course this only changes you view finder, as I found out after shooting and roll development.

I was under the impression I was shooting square 6x6 shots, but if you don't put a 6x6 frame inside the camera you will
naturally expose a 6x9 area of you roll, stupid me! But this is also partly the joy of this old stuff, real lomography.
Some photos still turned out quite well, and maybe even more interesting.

Above, not much going on in the classic cameras, just a lens, shutter, and box. You can see that you will
always expose 6x9 if you don't have a 6x6 frame inside (which I don't have). And everything is manual,
so manual metering!


Last Updated on Friday, 09 September 2011 18:52
 

Big lens: Schneider-Kreuznach TV-PROCLAR 135mm f/1.2 !!

This is a very big lens, a 135mm f/1.2, that's serious. I actually have two of them, one with yellow coating and one with blue coating.
In the picture above it is put next to a Nikkor 50mm f/1.4. As you can see, this is not a standard lens for normal cameras.

It appears to be from a projection device, or some special imaging equipment.
The image circle is as big as the lens itself: approx. 13cm (135mm/1.2).
Unfortunately, the back focal distance is only about 1cm, so it is difficult to take pictures with using a normal camera.

But, as you can see above, I did take some pictures with it. I actually didn't need a camera at all for this.
I simply put some photographic paper in the back lens cap and exposed by taking off the front
cap for several seconds and putting it back. So above you see the inverted scans of the paper negatives.
The lens actually has a field of view which is close to normal, as the image circle is about equal to the focal length, and a nice shallow DOF.

The lens is branded Schneider-Kreuznach and the lens cap states 'Grundig', a brand I know for television sets and audio.
The lens is actually not that heavy, it is a plastic lens, this is also stated inside the lens cap, 'Kunststofflinsen', together with a warning for
cleaning with alkohol, benzin or aceton, as it will damage the lens.

Last Updated on Friday, 09 September 2011 18:34
 

Pre-AI-story

Over the last few years, I ended up with quite a collection of so-called pre-AI nikkor lenses. See the pictures below.

 

These are the NIKKOR-H 28mm f/3.5, NIKKOR-HC 50mm f/2.0, NIKKOR-S 50mm f/1.4, NIKKOR-H 85mm f/1.8,
NIKKOR-P 105mm f/2.5 and the NIKKOR-Q 135mm f/3.5. Most of them are still in perfect condition. Moreover,
their construction seems indestructible, no plastic anywhere, pure metal, and robustly built. If you don't
mind manual control you can often buy these old but good quality lenses for quite a bargain.

These manual focus f-mount lenses can still be used on the current digital bodies. They fit directly onto my D40X although
you have to use manual metering. For more advanced bodies they need AI-conversion, that is: making
an aperture coupling ridge at the bottom of the lens. If you don't need perfect quality conversion, you can do this
yourself with a dremel, as I did with some of these, to use them on my D1 and modern analogue bodies.
See some more about the evolution of the Nikkor lenses on:
http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/nikortek.htm

Here are some closer views of the lenses. As you can see three of the lenses are branded Nippon Kogaku,
while the other three are Nikon branded lenses. Nippon Kogaku is an 'older name', from before some mergers took place.
See some more info on the history: http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/companies/nikon/nikkoresources/index.htm

As already mentioned these lenses need a conversion to make the metering work on modern (pro) bodies.
These are 'pre-AI' lenses which means, that although they have a f-mount, they use a different aperture coupling
system. This is what the small silver 'forks' are used for: they couple with the metering prong on the old bodies,
such as the Nikon F, and Nikkormats.

This coupling is illustrated in a picture of my Nikkormat FT with the NIKKOR-P 105mm and its hood:

In the close-up you can see how the meter coupling works. Also you can see that the shutter speed
on the Nikkormat is set using a ring on the lens mount.

Last Updated on Friday, 09 September 2011 18:28
 

Homemade Pinhole Camera

Above you can see a pinhole camera I made a little while ago.
Since I have a pile of second-hand photographic paper, it was worth a try.

The 'wood' you see is MDF board. I used a 4x5 inch film holder as reference for size. Drew some lines and sawed some pieces
to make the box, used some nails to hold it together (but be careful not to split the MDF).
Glued some thick black paper (from a black envelope for photographic paper) on the seams on the inside,
since absolutely no light should leak in during the long exposures. To hold the film cartridge I glued some
U-shaped plastic beams to the back, these hold the cartridge nicely (see below). I also added some flaps to
the top and bottom of the back to block the light falling through the small opening left between the cartridge
and the box.

For the creation actual pinhole I used a part of a beer can (as you prob. see). I hammered a needle though it and
sanded down the rough edges. Did no calculations on the size or whatever, just not too big and not too small.
You can find some theory behind it on the internet: http://www.google.com/search?q=pinhole+size
I glued this to a ring part of an old lens on which I can fit a cap to block the light and control the exposure.
For this you probably also use something like a small M42 extension ring.

It takes about a 30 seconds to 1 minute exposure in decent day light, on a cloudy day this may increase to something like 5 minutes.
As negatives I used the photographic paper, in my case some old 9x12,5cm Agfa Brovira Speed.

For results see: http://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisdamkat/tags/pinhole/

Last Updated on Saturday, 05 June 2010 20:54