“Slow” marine animals show their secret life under high magnification. Corals and sponges are very mobile creatures, but their motion is only detectable at different time scales compared to ours and requires time lapses to be seen. These animals build coral reefs and play crucial roles in the biosphere, yet we know almost nothing about their daily lives.
Brassing is one thing, chipped paint is another. The former gives your camera a classy vintage look, the latter makes the camera look ugly. Case in point, my recently acquired Nikkormat FTn. Most lettering and markings on the camera look like on the photo below. Not exactly a pretty sight.
Fortunately, this issue is easy to fix courtesy of the Lacquer-Silk Fill In Paint stick which can be had for the meagre sum of €2.78 at Micro-Tools Europe. This web store, by the way, is a veritable treasure trove of all kinds of camera repair tools and paraphernalia.
The stick lets you restore letters in a matter of minutes. Rub the stick on the letters, let it sit for a couple of minutes, then wipe the excess paint off. That’s all there is to it.
Here is what the final result looks like. Much better, methinks.
I went a bit overboard removing the excess paint, so I managed to wipe off some paint from the letters (you see it clearly on the photo above). Applying the stick one more time took care of the problem.
I have a brand-new and unopened AmazonBasics SLR/DSLR backpack, and I’m giving it away to a lucky reader of this blog.
To participate in the giveaway, follow this blog or subscribe to it via email using the Email Subscription form. If you already follow the blog, leave a comment indicating that you’d like to take part in the giveaway.
The giveaway is over, and the winner is Peter from Denmark. Congratulation!
Allow me to introduce a new member of my little camera family — Nikkormat FTn. I bought this well-worn work horse for a pittance. Judging by the overall shape, the camera was heavily used, but not abused. There are a few dents here and there along with a fair share of scratches. Naturally, there is also some brassing which gives the camera this special vintage look. My only real concern is something that looks like friction traces and a tiny dent on the shutter curtains. Fortunately, this doesn’t seem to affect the shutter’s performance, so fingers crossed. Basically, the only thing the camera needed was a thorough cleanup. So I spent an evening doing some serious scrubbing and polishing.
I paired the camera with a NIKKOR-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 Ai lens that was sitting idly in a storage box. Anxious to try my shiny vintage Nikkormat FTn, I loaded a roll of Ilford XP2 Super 400 into it, jumped on my bike, and traversed the city looking for something interesting to shoot.
Although the camera’s light meter worked, the exposure readings were wildly off — most likely due to the fact that I used a regular alkaline button battery instead of a long-gone mercury PX625. Being a fully-mechanical camera, Nikkormat FTn can function perfectly well without a battery, and I used a Gossen Luna Pro F light meter (a really nice, albeit a bit bulky, device) to calculate exposure settings. After taking a handful of random shots, I ended up near the Klostervangen social housing blocks, where I shot the rest of the roll. Coincidentally, the buildings were constructed around the same time as Nikkormat FTn was introduced. But while the camera’s design has stood the test of time, the high-rises look today as charming as car parking structures.
Nikkormat FTn turned out to be pleasant in use. Despite its weight (it’s a real back-breaker, actually) the camera is comfortable to hold. Usability-wise, Nikkormat FTn is probably the best camera I’ve ever handled: a readable frame counter, bright viewfinder, a shutter speed dial mounted around the lens — these and other creature comforts make using the camera a rather satisfying experience.
The only fly in the ointment is the camera’s focusing screen. Nikkormat FTn uses a focusing screen that has a 4 mm circular microprism surrounded by a 12 mm diameter matte surface. It’s usable, but less convenient than a split-screen focusing screen.
Because of its weight, I doubt that Nikkormat FTn will become my grab-and-go camera, but I easily see myself taking it for a photo walk once a while, especially if I can figure out how to get the light meter going.
Photocrumbs is another spare-time project of mine. Every now and then, I need to quickly throw a handful of photos on the web without going through the rigmaroles of using a full-blown photo sharing solution. So I cobbled together a super simple single-file PHP app for instant photo publishing. Photocrumbs is essentially a single PHP script (plus a favicon.ico file) which can be deployed in a matter of minutes on any web server with PHP and the GD library. Drop the script into a directory writable by the server, and you are good to go (see the project’s page for more detailed installation instructions). To publish photos, simply copy them into the photos directory.
Photocrumbs’ claim to fame is the expiration functionality. When enabled, it automatically deletes photos that are older than a specified number of days. This way, you don’t have to remember to manually remove temporarily published photos. This feature is disabled by default, but you can easily activate it by editing the appropriate settings.
Other Photocrumbs niceties include the ability to add descriptions to each photo (either by entering text into the UserComment EXIF field or by creating an accompanying .php file), and support for basic EXIF info. For each photo, Photocrumbs displays key info like aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and timestamp.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 110,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 5 days for that many people to see it.
Look, there is a new film camera in my photo bag! I was leisurely browsing a local auction website the other day when I stumbled upon this Nikon L35AF unit. I didn’t actually need a new film camera, but at a measly $25 (that’s the price of a cup of coffee and a sandwich here in Denmark), how could I not buy it? I’m really glad that I succumbed to the temptation, as the camera turned out to be in excellent condition with virtually no signs of use. The package also included the original strap, the equally original lens cap, and a swanky (by 80s standards, at least) CS-L35 leatherette carrying case.
The model I’ve got is an earlier version of the camera with ISO limited to 400. But it can squeeze 38 exposures from a regular 36-exposure film roll. If my math is right, this basically gives me a free roll of film for every 18 rolls I buy. I can’t really add much to what has already been written about Nikon L35AF elsewhere, so I limit myself to features I personally like and dislike. Despite its plastic exterior which gives the camera a slightly junky look, Nikon L35AF is solidly built and its boxy shape makes it easy to handle. Better still, the rubberized grip gives you a firm hold on the camera. The lens is Nikon L35AF’s pièce de résistance, and it’s every bit as sharp as everybody says. The camera uses regular AA batteries which are readily available pretty much everywhere. Other highlights include fast focus, reliable exposure metering, manual ISO selection, and an exposure compensation lever for photographing backlit subjects. I also appreciate the lens cap with an integrated blinder that covers the viewfinder. This ensures that you don’t take pictures with the lens cap on. As for dislikes, there is only one fly in the ointment: the flash which pops up automatically in low light situations. Although it’s possible to prevent the flash from popping up by holding it with a finger (and still get properly exposed photos), this is not the most elegant approach. As soon as the camera arrived, I loaded a roll of Kodak Professional CN400BW into it and went shooting. Here are a couple of photos for your viewing pleasure.
All in all, Nikon L35AF lives up to its reputation, and I have a feeling that it might become my go-to compact film camera.
Hot on the heels of the latest release of the DSLR Dashboard app comes an updated edition of the Instant Guide to DSLR Dashboard. Along with a new cover, the 3.7.1 version of the guide features updated content and screenshots which reflect changes in DSLR Dashboard 0.30.23.
If you’ve already bought the Instant Guide to DSLR Dashboard, you can get the latest release of the guide as described in the Updates chapter.
If you happen to use digiKam for managing photos scanned from negatives, you’ll appreciate the application’s capabilities to add and edit EXIF metadata. Using digiKam’s dedicated interface for managing metadata, you can add key EXIF values, such as maker, device model, aperture, shutter speed, ISO, focal length, etc., to the scanned photos (provided you have these data handy).
However, digiKam doesn’t allow you to apply the same EXIF data to multiple photos in a single operation. Adding the same maker, device, ISO, and focal length to a set of photos one-by-one can be a bit of a nuisance, but you can use a simple trick to work around this limitation. Start with adding EXIF values to a single photo. Select then the rest of the photos, choose Image → Metadata → Import EXIF, pick the processed photo, and press OK. This will apply EXIF data from the processed photo to the selected images.
Mimosa is the name of the last remaining film lab in our city. Compared to the rest of the photo stores in Aarhus which peddle pretty much the same assortment of mainstream photography stuff, Mimosa is decidedly different. For starters, the store carries a relatively large selection of reasonably priced films, including popular films from Kodak and ILFORD.
Mimosa offers C41 processing only, but the lab accepts regular black-and-white films for processing in Germany. Of course, Mimosa also carries chromogenic films like ILFORD XP2 SUPER 400 and Kodak Professional CN400BW, which can be processed using C41 chemicals. The store offers same-day film development (usually within an hour or so, depending on how busy they are) which is only slightly more expensive than next-day processing. Mimosa’s staffers are friendly and know a thing or two about photography. They are always ready to help and have a chat about all things photography.
So if you happen to be in Aarhus, and you run out of film (or anything else photography-related), you might want to stop by Mimosa. Who knows, you might even bump into me.
By the way, Mimosa has a long and fascinating story (in Danish), and it has been in business in one form or another for over 100 years.