Posts Tagged ‘analog photography’
I like my Yashica Electro 35 GTN a lot. It’s a stylish rangefinder camera capable of taking excellent photos. The only fly in the ointment is its size and weight. The camera wouldn’t fit even the largest pocket, and at 750g, it weighs more than my trusty Nikon D90. In other words, schlepping Yashica Electro 35 GTN around is not always fun. So I reasoned that a lightweight, no-frills, inexpensive film camera would be a useful addition to my analog toolbox.
While there are several cameras that meet these requirements, I went with Olympus XA2 for several reasons. This camera features a unique capsule design, and it’s so small that it easily fits in the palm of my hand. Better still, there are plenty of Olympus XA2s on eBay at very reasonable prices. I bought mine in near mint condition for ~75 U.S. dollars (this included the original box, manuals, and A11 flash as well as shipping and handling). But if you are not picky, you can find one for much less.
I won’t bore you with a description of the camera’s features as they are covered extensively elsewhere on the web. I’ll just say that it’s a real gem of a camera which feels great in the hand and is ridiculously easy to use. The only thing you need to remember is to set the focus slider to the appropriate focus zone, and the camera does the rest. I took my Olympus XA2 for a short photo walk, and here are a few photos for your viewing pleasure.
If you want to know more about Olympus XA2, the XA2 page should be your first stop.
While digiKam is first and foremost an application for processing and organizing digital photos, it also features tools for working with film negatives.
Before you can process negatives in digiKam, you need to digitize them. If you don’t have access to a film scanner or a lab that offers film scanning services, you can digitize film using a DSLR camera (there are plenty of tutorials on how to do that on the Web). The rest of the process assumes that you are using the latter way to digitize film negatives.
Open a RAW file containing a film negative in the editor (choose Tools → Image Editor or press F4). Crop the original file and apply lens correction if necessary. Choose then Color → Invert to transform the negative into a positive image. In case you work with the color negative, the converted image most likely requires some additional tweaking. First of all, the converted image is likely to have a strong blue tint. The easiest way to remove it is to use digiKam’s Auto-Correction tool. Choose Color → Auto-Correction and select one of the presets. In many cases, the Auto Levels or Equalize presets do a decent job of correcting the colors. If the colors still look slightly off, you can adjust them further using the Colors → Color Balance tool.
The Invert feature in combination with an Auto-Correct preset provides a quick-and-dirty way of converting negatives, but digiKam has another tool designed specifically for processing color negatives. To access it, choose the Color → Color Negative command. The Color Negative Film interface contains several handy features that can help you to convert the negative and tweak the resulting image. While the Invert tool uses a generic profile for converting negatives, the Color Negative Film interface offers film profiles for many popular film types. So the first step is to select the appropriate profile. For better results, try to enable the Color Balance option, too. If the used film is not in the list, you can use the Neutral profile as a fall back.
Although choosing the matching film profile may yield a better result, the converted image may still require some work. In most cases, you may need to adjust the white point to remove the remaining blue tint. You can do this either manually or automatically using the appropriate buttons. Usually, the automatic white point adjustment does the job, but the resulting image needs to be brightened up by adjusting the Gamma input value slider.