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 Post subject: Re: SDN Photography Talk Thread PostPosted: 2010-03-11 12:13am
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(Crossposting' this from elsewhere)


Instant film photography isn't quite dead.

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There are piles of old Polaroid cameras in junk & thrift stores, and almost all of them are totally, utterly useless. The remaining stocks of Polaroid film are well into expiry by now, and being sold for preposterous rates. There is no non-Polaroid source of 600 film, the press-button/picture-spits-out kind that is most familiar. However, the Polaroid packfilm cameras are worth saving, because Fuji still makes color and black-and-white instant packfilm that is compatible with Polaroid cameras and backs with a few minor adjustments.

If you want to get into instant photography you can often find these packfilm cameras quite cheap. I got mine for $20 apiece from a thrift store; one came with a case and filters. The Land List has a basic rundown of all Polaroid and some other instant-film cameras, so you know which ones you can get film for.

There isn't much difference between the two that I have, except one - the Model 330 - only has two film speeds (ISO 75 and ISO 3000), one aperture apiece, while the other - the Model 230 - adds two more speeds and two apertures per speed. This one I bought second, and I bought it mostly because while Polaroid's packfilms were ISO 75 and 3000, Fuji's are ISO 100 and 3000. Having a built-in ISO 100 settings makes it a lot simpler to use Fuji's film, as these cameras both use automatic exposure.

They are in good shape, but they need to be modified to use modern batteries. This is the type of battery they were designed for:

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It clips into a holder and the leads snap on to the terminals. However, these batteries aren't made any more, exist only in back stock and are offered through certain retailers, and are alkaline, so they don't last as well. That battery was bought in 1978; it still has enough voltage to power the meter and shutter, but for how long?

I'm converting the cameras to use lithium AAA batteries. The batteries and holders are easily available from the grocery/Radio Shack, and since they are 1.5 V each, it is simple to make a 3-volt setup for the 330 and a 4.5-volt setup for the 230. Also, I could only find holders for lithium 123 batteries online, and hell if I am going to pay $11 shipping for an 80-cent part.

In order to fit in the new batteries and their holder, I first have to extensively landscape the battery compartments. They aren't terribly big, and there is a lot of plastic already in there to form the battery clips.

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Thankfully, it's 1970s plastic. When it isn't soft, it's brittle, which is great because the first step is to rip all that out.

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I started with that much, but decided to be safe rather than sorry and pulled out a little more, including the molded posts.

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With the battery compartment squared away, the next thing was to work on the battery holder. The four-cell holder I needed for the 230 was too big, and I needed to size it down anyway because the batteries are connected in series. So I chopped out cell #4 (the one connected to the negative wire).

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Doing this caused the negative terminal in cell #3 to fall out, which was just fine. The black wire with cell #4's neg terminal goes there to replace it.

This proved to be the most obnoxious part of the whole process. The manufacturers never intended people to move the terminals around on their cheap plastic battery holders, so every aspect of this was a chore. The terminal couldn''t be uncrimped sloppily, couldn't be inserted into the new hole without a lot of enlarging, and couldn't be securely re-crimped. I'm counting on a lot of CA glue to make up the difference.

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With all the carving and gluing done, I snipped and stripped the wires, braided them together, put in the batteries, and tripped the shutter to make sure the camera's wiring was all good. It was - IT LIIIVES!

The holder, all tucked away:

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That's one Land camera saved from needless oblivion. I just have to hard-connect the wires, buy some film, and do a few minor tweaks so the Fuji pack will work in a space made for a thinner Polaroid pack without wasting half of my shots.

I'm pretty stoked to be able to give instant film a try, since I've never shot with it before.

The 330 and 230 pose with 'Grandpa' Model 95A. The 95 is a rollfilm camera and the film is no longer made, so I don't know what I'll do with it yet - convert it to packfilm, convert it to regular film, cannibalize it for other projects, or try to sell it as-is.

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 Post subject: Re: SDN Photography Talk Thread PostPosted: 2010-03-12 03:01am
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I'd like to start dabbling in photography, but as my cash-flow situation is quite tight the only thing I can afford is a cheap $100-200 digital. Can anyone offer me any tips as to what is the best of the down-market digital cameras? I was also thinking that I could counter-act some of the disadvantages of a low-quality camera by touching up the photos in Photoshop - which I don't have any experience with - can anyone recommend a good tutorial or guide to basic photo retouching?

Obviously there's a lot of stuff out there on Google, but I was pretty impressed with the photo-a-day threads and thought you guys would be a good quality filter.

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 Post subject: Re: SDN Photography Talk Thread PostPosted: 2010-03-12 04:08am
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Garibaldi wrote:
I'd like to start dabbling in photography, but as my cash-flow situation is quite tight the only thing I can afford is a cheap $100-200 digital. Can anyone offer me any tips as to what is the best of the down-market digital cameras? I was also thinking that I could counter-act some of the disadvantages of a low-quality camera by touching up the photos in Photoshop - which I don't have any experience with - can anyone recommend a good tutorial or guide to basic photo retouching?

Obviously there's a lot of stuff out there on Google, but I was pretty impressed with the photo-a-day threads and thought you guys would be a good quality filter.

You can try reading dpreview.com for reviews. Panasonic and Canon and Fujifilm have some interesting cameras to try, and they cover a pretty wide range of prices. For Panasonic, try to pick cams with Leica designed lenses. Not too sure about Sony and other brands though.



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 Post subject: Re: SDN Photography Talk Thread PostPosted: 2010-03-12 09:36am
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You could get an old manual/metered film SLR on that budget too. You'd be able to play with depth of field and learn how to use the shutter speed/aperture relationship in a way that you never could with a P&S. You would also not have to deal with the generally mediocre image quality of older/cheaper digicams (noise problems, low dynamic range), which is often frustrating.

Upkeep in the form of film and prints would not be terribly expensive if you are only shooting a roll or two per month, which is about my rate.

In short: film SLR = better for learning about cameras; digital P&S = better for taking shitloads of pictures on the cheap.

As for digital darkroom tutorials, the website Cambridge in Colour is a good place to start re: basic Photoshop stuff, as well as just playing with all the knobs to see what they do. More advanced or specific needs can be met with more specific searches/queries.

e: prices, so you see what I mean:

Pentax MX with 50/2 - $118; Olympus OM1 with 50/1.8 - $92; Olympus OM-2n with 50/1.4 - $118; Minolta SRT-201 with 50/1.7 - $69; Minolta X-700 with 35-70/3.5 - $88; with 45/2 - $75; with 50/1.7 - $72; and so on.

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 Post subject: Re: SDN Photography Talk Thread PostPosted: 2010-03-18 02:19pm
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I got my hands on a 1928-ish Kodak 1A Series II Autographic. It's in surprisingly good condition - the bellows look good, the stylus is still there, the shutter fires at all speeds, everything moves smoothly, and it should be a user once I figure out how to load a 120 spool in a 116 chamber.

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 Post subject: Re: SDN Photography Talk Thread PostPosted: 2010-03-23 05:01pm
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Bounty wrote:
I got my hands on a 1928-ish Kodak 1A Series II Autographic.


So by next year you'll be using a pinhole camera, yes? :wink:




Some may have noticed that my photos have gone B&W this year, there's a bit of a story behind that. It all started last fall when I found set of B&W negatives from a long forgotten portrait session, I got in touch with the photographer to have prints made and in the process I was introduced to the world of B&W photography. From there I started looking through all kinds of stuff in the local libraries and eventually I discovered two very nice magazines; Soura and Silvershotz. Both have amazing photos, there's no gear talk, just photo talk (stories behind the photos) and some tips for making the pictures (Silvershotz was where I learned to do Photoshop toning).



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 Post subject: Re: SDN Photography Talk Thread PostPosted: 2010-03-25 02:50pm
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 Post subject: Re: SDN Photography Talk Thread PostPosted: 2010-03-25 10:11pm
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Holy crap! :shock:
Looks like I finally have a reason to get a new computer.

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 Post subject: Re: SDN Photography Talk Thread PostPosted: 2010-03-30 11:43pm
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Posting this around: World Pinhole Photography Day is April 25 this year, for anyone who might be interested.

I'm going to try to find a junked-out box camera and convert it for delicious pinhole rollfilm goodness. I didn't take any photo classes in high school, so I missed out on sitting for ten minutes in the hallway making a photo of some lockers with a coffee can. Time to reclaim my squandered youth!

http://www.pinholeday.org/

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 Post subject: Re: SDN Photography Talk Thread PostPosted: 2010-03-31 02:54pm
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Simplicius wrote:
I didn't take any photo classes in high school, so I missed out on sitting for ten minutes in the hallway making a photo of some lockers with a coffee can. Time to reclaim my squandered youth!


Back when I was in high school, we had to build our own pinhole cameras in shop class and take pictures with them. It was pretty good fun, we used 8x10 sheets of paper as the film in our cameras and then contact printed them to get the final prints. I think my shutter was a piece of electrical tape over the pinhole. Those were good times.



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 Post subject: Re: SDN Photography Talk Thread PostPosted: 2010-04-09 05:48pm
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phongn wrote:
I love me some computer algorithms:


It gets better - Adobe is pulling out all the stops with CS5:


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 Post subject: Re: SDN Photography Talk Thread PostPosted: 2010-04-18 01:21am
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Cross-posting:

Building a Pinhole Camera (The Hard(er) Way)

Why not the easy way? Well, all right - get a hollow object, poke a tiny hole in it, stuff some photo paper in, and seal it all up with electrical tape.

But if you want something a little less arbitrary...

Design

Design starts with calculating the basic parameters of the camera, which is pretty easy. First decide what kind of light-sensitive medium to use. Photo paper? Sheet film? Roll film? What size will the image be?

Next, decide on a field of view. Normal, wide, and super-ultra-mega-wide are all achievable. Long focal lengths can be done, but is mostly useful if you want to take pictures of the sun.

Once you've done so, find the diagonal of your chosen frame size. This gives you a rough 'normal' focal length. To find other focal lengths you can scale them to the 35mm frame's diagonal and that format's standard focal lengths, or be more precise and use a calculator like the one at the bottom of this website.

The pinhole will make an image circle with a diameter 3-3.5 times the focal length, which tells you what the minimum focal length needs to be for the pinhole to expose the whole frame.

Lastly, you can calculate the pinhole size yourself (there are like a zillion formulae out there) or pick the optimum pinhole size for your given focal length off a table. I used tables because a.) I got two concurrent results, whereas the equations each gave me different options and I had no independent basis to choose between them, and b.) the result off the tables happened to fit a standard sewing needle size (#15).

If you want to calculate it yourself, you could use Petzval's, Rayleigh's, et al. equation: diameter = 1.9*sqrt(focal length*0.00055), focal length in mm. Or you could choose another formula as you please.

With this info you can figure out your camera's f-number and exposure factor, but that's not relevant to construction. Film type and format, focal length, and pinhole size are going to shape the design.

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 Post subject: Re: SDN Photography Talk Thread PostPosted: 2010-04-18 01:24am
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Construction

If you have a darkroom, or a friend with a darkroom, or a school with a darkroom, you can use photo paper or sheet film in your camera. With the problem of film winding eliminated, you can basically make a box to size with a pinhole at one end and good light sealing, and you're done. You could even make the box deeper than it needs to be and make an adjustable film plane arrangement to have multiple focal lengths in one camera.

If you have/want to use roll film, though, the best place to start is with the shell of a roll film camera. That's what I'm doing.

Example: The Model 1

The Model 1 is built from a No. 3A Folding Pocket Kodak from the 19-oughts. It was labeled "Good for parts" and on sale for $6. This is the kind of camera you want for your project. The bellows, lens, shutter, appearance, can all be busted to shit - all that matters is that the body is all there, there's at least one spool that's the original film size, and that it's dirt-cheap.

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"Parts," as purchased

A word on film sizes: if you want to use 35mm film, a 35mm camera is best for the conversion. If you want to use 120 film, either a 120 camera or a format larger than 120 are best, though 620 is workable. 127 and 828 cameras will just give you headaches, as will 126 & 110. (I recommend using 120 film because the film advance is simple and DIY-able, plus the negative is a good size.)

(Click for bigger)
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Initial concept sketch, before important stuff was calculated. Not to any kind of scale.

Design parameters of the Model 1 are as follows: 120 roll film, frame size 2 1/4" by 5 1/2". Focal length: 50mm. Pinhole size: .262 mm (#15 needle). F-number: 191.

First thing to do was taking the thing apart and cleaning as I went. The old leatherette covering the metal parts of the chassis was first to go, so I could get at the fastenings underneath. I peeled it off and threw it out, and sanded the aluminum underneath to get rid of all the old, dry glue. It (and the metal) were pretty soft, so I only needed 150-grit sandpaper to clean it up nicely. Damp paper towels were the best thing for cleaning up the dust.

After that I started removing all the 'real' camera fittings that are now unnecessary. I kept them because I have a weird thing about building cameras, and they were in good enough shape to maybe use someday.

All the bits I took off were held on by screws (tiny, slotted) or by rivets, which I dealt with using a file, hammer, and nail set. Drilling them out would probably have taken less time, but that's okay.

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All those holes and gaps will be filled with epoxy. Final finish on the metal parts will be black-painted canvas.

The body shell is thereby prepared. I also made a drawing, a bit more to scale, showing the refined concept and the constructions needed.

(Click for bigger)
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Looks a little less like "hey guys i drew a camera."

There are basically three things I need to do on this project - make the pinhole & shutter, seal up and re-finish the body, and adapt for 120 film (new film gate, spool adapters, and 'moving' the frame counter window.)

Oh, and since Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day is coming up, my goal is to have this thing ready to take pictures in a week.

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 Post subject: Re: SDN Photography Talk Thread PostPosted: 2010-05-08 10:17pm
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Some dude bought a 200/1.25 lens and will attempt to put it on his 4x5 monorail.



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 Post subject: Re: SDN Photography Talk Thread PostPosted: 2010-05-10 11:03pm
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That's pretty neat, but I imagine it would be extremely unwieldy to use. If he wants to use it for portraits he'll have his work cut out for him hitting focus on, say, the eyes, and with a depth of field that shallow I doubt he'll be able to get a whole face in focus.

I don't know that it would be the same optical quality, but Beseler Vu-Lyte document projectors have 450mm/3.6 triplets (so a 120/1 equiv. from 4x5 to 35mm). They're popular with DIY digital projector builders, but the first time I saw one I immediately thought "view camera."

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 Post subject: Re: SDN Photography Talk Thread PostPosted: 2010-05-26 11:12am
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:lol: :lol: :lol:


Admittedly, your image of May 8, 2010, recently posted on APOD, is a dramatic one. It is hard to imagine our tire tracks across a desert on the surface of another world. It is a truly amazing achievement for which you are to be congratulated. That said, we do not find the image in its present condition suitable for publication. If you want to correct the following technical errors and resubmit it we will be happy to reconsider our decision.

Tilted Horizon Line

The most obvious error and most objectionable is the tilted horizon line. You should turn on the grid display to avoid this in the future. That said, your image could still be corrected using the Crop & Straighten tool in Lightroom.

Vignetting

The second problem with your image is the noticeable vignetting. In certain circumstances, vignetting can be a useful artistic technique. Not so here. This can be corrected in Photoshop, but consider using a different lens next time.

Dynamic Range

This image has a wide dynamic range, from nearly pure white to total black. In this type of situation, you should always consider making an HDR image. There is plenty of information on the Internet about this technique. Otherwise, use the Adjustment Brush in Lightroom to dodge and burn the horizon line.

Black and White

Frankly, these days black and white is only suitable for “art” photography, which this is certainly not. Most of the images of this sort, which appear in National Geographic, are in color. Besides that, your choice deprives the viewer of the subtle reds of the Martian landscape. Please consider shooting in color all of the time.

Sincerely,

WBTL



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 Post subject: Re: SDN Photography Talk Thread PostPosted: 2010-05-26 11:49am
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From La Pura Vida: 10 Oeuvres Aspiring Photographers Should Ignore.

Quote:
Stephen Shore was the ultimate Nothing photographer. To the untrained eye, or even to the trained one, his photographs seem artless. What’s the subject? Why this scene and not some other? Is this some sort of trick? A test? There’s nothing there. It’s only after repeated viewings that the framing, precision, and subject matter of Shore’s work begin to seem profound. Unfortunately, that’s too late for many young photographers. They’re already off shooting Nothing, hoping to follow Shore’s footsteps. Why, it’s easy. You find a gas station or a parking lot or a wall or something, maybe an antique car. The colors must go together since you found them like that, right? Line them up and…Sorry to disappoint you but you just exposed a big fat 8 x 10 of Nothing.


and

Quote:
William Eggleston is a pioneer of color photography, and a legend. For the last forty years he’s been “at war with the obvious,” working in a “democratic forest” where everything visible is equally viable as subject matter. Trees, dirt, signs, houses, carpet, red ceilings, naked men, old men with guns, tricycles, etc. Working in this manner, he inspired many photographers to look no further than their immediate surroundings for inspiration. Then came digital cameras, and then the internet, and then Flickr. Eggleston may have won the war with the obvious, but now the obvious is getting its revenge in the form of the millions of banal, boring, dull photographs that are being uploaded to the web everyday. We don’t need to go far to find the ‘democratic forest,’ in fact, we may never be able to escape it.


win it for me.

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 Post subject: Re: SDN Photography Talk Thread PostPosted: 2010-05-26 10:59pm
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Doors Open Toronto is almost here, I can't wait until the weekend!

We're going to try and get as many of the fancy buildings as we can in the downtown area then work our way back to home if we have time. Hopefully the crowds aren't too crazy this year.



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It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning
- Henry Ford

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 Post subject: Re: SDN Photography Talk Thread PostPosted: 2010-09-21 10:17pm
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Fuji X100 Finally, at long last, someone has the brains to stick an optical viewfinder on a large sensor compact camera. It's about time. Styling's pretty nice too, reminds me of a Leica from the top and the Olympus Pen F series from the front thanks to the lollipop handle self-timer. I hope this camera sells like hotcakes and they eventually make an interchangeable lens version, that would be absolutely killer.



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 Post subject: Re: SDN Photography Talk Thread PostPosted: 2010-09-23 10:01am
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The Fuji X100 looks cool, though its price tag of 1000USD makes me pause a little. I don't personally expect Fuji to get back into the interchangeable lens market anytime soon. If they do, it would be something possibly co-produced with Cosina with an M-mount on it for M-mount rangefinder lenses. I wouldn't mind such a combination, especially if the sensor crop is 1.5x.

There're also reports that Ricoh might do out a module for M-mount lenses too on their Ricoh GRD. That would be interesting.



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 Post subject: Re: SDN Photography Talk Thread PostPosted: 2010-09-30 01:36pm
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While browsing for downtown camera shops I came across a deal for nearly expired Velvia 50.
I shall now indulge my inner Ken Rockwell. 8)



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I'm not sure why people choose 'To Love is to Bury' as their wedding song...It's about a murder-suicide
- Margo Timmins


It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning
- Henry Ford

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 Post subject: Re: SDN Photography Talk Thread PostPosted: 2010-09-30 02:16pm
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J wrote:
While browsing for downtown camera shops I came across a deal for nearly expired Velvia 50.
I shall now indulge my inner Ken Rockwell. 8)

Just remember to call it RealRaw. :mrgreen:

I wouldn't hurry too much shooting that film, either, because ISO ≤ 200 films usually preserve quite well past their expiry dates in the fridge and even better in the freezer. I once shot just for the kicks a few rolls of Elite Chrome 100 that was 12 years past its expiration, but kept in the fridge all the time, and the results were not too far off from non-expired Elite Chrome of the same speed (i.e. they were quite usable with no fogging and only a slight color shift). Of course Elite Chrome is an amateur film, which preserve somewhat better in the fridge, since they are designed for room temperature storage, but I have used even pro films 3-4 years past their expiration without problems.

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 Post subject: Re: SDN Photography Talk Thread PostPosted: 2010-10-04 04:43pm
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Marcus Aurelius wrote:
Just remember to call it RealRaw. :mrgreen:


Oh don't you worry, I'll be sure to use every Ken Rockwell buzzword. :D
The calm before the RealRaw Velvia project

I think nature hates me though, I'm planning to use the film for photos of autumn leaves and golden sunshine, unfortunately the sun disappeared and has yet to be seen since I bought the film last Thursday. The leaves are changing colour nicely but I don't have nice blue skies and puffy clouds to complete the scene.



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I'm not sure why people choose 'To Love is to Bury' as their wedding song...It's about a murder-suicide
- Margo Timmins


It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning
- Henry Ford

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 Post subject: Re: SDN Photography Talk Thread PostPosted: 2010-10-04 06:51pm
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J wrote:
Marcus Aurelius wrote:
Just remember to call it RealRaw. :mrgreen:


Oh don't you worry, I'll be sure to use every Ken Rockwell buzzword. :D
The calm before the RealRaw Velvia project

Are you planning to shoot half frame? Nothing wrong with that, but it's extra work to separate the images if you want to scan the film, since most scanning software won't do that automatically. Half frames are not very good for projection either, which is IMHO the best way to appreciate slides, plus you can annoy your friends and family with a traditional slide shows, no Microsoft products involved. :mrgreen:

Ironically, this is the season when I load my camera with Portra 160NC, Reala or E100G in order to show the senescence in naturalistic and GRIMDARK colors. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: SDN Photography Talk Thread PostPosted: 2010-10-04 07:59pm
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Marcus Aurelius wrote:
Are you planning to shoot half frame?


Yup, I've come to prefer the 4:3 ratio of digital and half-frame over the traditional 3:2 ratio of 35mm film. I can't project the slides anyway since we don't have a proper screen nor the space to set one up, plus we'd have to borrow a slide projector from our parents (on a sidenote, both our parents have Olympus cameras, an OM-2 from my parents and the Pen FT on my husband's side. What's up with that?). Scanning isn't an issue since we've found a place to do it for us, their problem, not mine. Yeah, I know, I'm such a considerate person. :P



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