Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Hexanon 50/2

Konica Hexanon—M 50/2, a yummy lens, tack sharp, and similar to the Nokton 50/1.5. Too many 50's? Never!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Dear Mr. Erwitt

I found this dog panting furiously out the window of this 5th wheel. We were both riding along Brotherhood Way in San Francisco, going about 40 m.p.h. Other than man, dogs IMHO are the most photograph-able animal. They, like man, seem to claim the landscape they inhabit, and when photographed they seem to speak directly to us about us, about themselves, about the condition of the world.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

For a Friend

A daylight demonstration of loading 35mm film onto a stainless steel reel.

Gather what you'll need (the basics). ^

Trim lead edge square. ^

Orient reel properly. ^

Secure lead edge using the clip, or your thumb (if clip is absent). ^

Pinch/squeeze edges of film slightly. ^

Wind film onto the reel by rotating the reel counter-clockwise. ^

Cut film to release it from the canister. ^

Place film in tank, and cover.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

It's All Good, Now

The one camera that has intrigued me (along with the Leicas), was the Canon P. I tried several times in auctions to acquire one, but the price for a good one, with a smooth shutter curtain always shot past what I was willing to pay. I've always had my eyes peeled for one locally, but it never came up. I finally got one off a seller on RFF, and it's safe to say it's all good, now.

~click images for a larger view~

I've heard the P described as "the sweet spot" in the evolution of the rangefinder camera. I don't know about that, but I think it's safe to say it is the sweet spot in the Canon line of V/L cameras.

It is a beauty to look at, and could easily be the prettiest RF camera around. I've seen pictures of the very rare black version of the P (see Cameraquest.com), and I know it is highly collectible, but to me the black version lacks the beauty of the chrome.

Sure It's Pretty, But How does It Handle?

My initial impression of shooting with the camera is that it handles beautifully. The P is small and has a very nice heft to it. While the viewfinder is a little cluttered with frame lines, and seemed a little flare-ish at times, it is much brighter than the VL. The P is quick and a pure joy to use

My only complaint is with the film advance lever. I like to shoot with my thumb under the advance lever, and with most of my cameras (like the M pictured below) I have that luxury.

With the P I can't do that. It locks down and won't budge beyond a few millimeters (see below).

I tried cocking the shutter and then not allowing it to return all the way, but I started running into film-advance problems, where the shutter wouldn't fire until I fully cocked it, moving the advance mechanism from its start point to the end point, and back again (locking the advance arm).

Using it normally, to advance the film, you have to change your hand position very slightly to get at the tip of the advance lever (compare the thumb positions above). This is no big issue, really. I mean I'm not a photojournalist, nor am I missing important shots because I'm having to slightly change my thumb position. It's really very minor.

The P does strike me as being one of the quieter cameras that I've used. I'm not sure if that is true or not, I'll have to do a comparison. The metal curtain gives it distinct sound, higher in register and different from the Leica's muffled cloth curtain "schwoop." I would place it in the broad range of rangefinder shutter sounds lying between the Leica and the Bessa R & R2, which has a metal shutter, resulting in a sound that reminds me of an SLR. I'm not referring to volume here, but sounds. I'm staying away from the "volume debate. " I did a non-scientific volume comparison between an M7 and a R2, and was amazed that the R2 wasn't louder, as I thought it would. It was just different.

Btw, the lens pictured on this P is a Canon 50/1.8.

If you like shooting rangefinder cameras, for all the normal reasons we all do (e.g., small, quick-handling, quiet, great optics, quality construction) you would absolutely love shooting with the Canon P. I now know why it has its proponents, and why they are so adamant about what a great camera it is.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


How cool is shooting with a Minolta CLE and a 28mm lens. The CLE was my exclusive shooter for about three months, until I decided to put it down for a while. I'm starting to miss it.

I like the 28mm focal length. That's my limit though. I've no desire to go wider. I posted this image because I hadn't seen it in a while and I like to look at it for some reason. The lens is a CV 28/3.5

RFF Book 2

The recent buzz at Rangefinderforum (RFF) emantes from a thread announcing the sudden effort to launch Rangefinder Photography, Book 2, a sequel to the highly regarded Book 1 (of course). Book 1 featured two photograhs from 25 photographers, and included biographies, camera information, and descriptions of photographs. It was genreally a celebration of all things RF.

The original intent of the organizers of book 2 was to double the number of participants. This plan was quickly ammended and now the planned number of participants is at 100, with two photographs each. The book is already shaping up to be something really special.

I'll be spending some time sorting through my images, and selecting the two that I'd like to include in the book. Stay tuned to RFF as things are moving quickly.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Canon 50/1.4

Another great lens, another great 50mm.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Same, but Different

The same, but different. At the time I found humor in these two locations. They were side-by-side, just two of many. I really just wanted to capture them to look at them later, maybe mount them side-by-side, to revel in the differences.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Two Lenses

My foray into rangefinder photography and the accompanying GAS (gear acquisition syndrome) has put several lenses into my possession, and on the front of my cameras. Most of the lenses are fairly new to me, leaving me with the enviable task of learning the characteristics of each. I've come to appreciate a few, two in particular, and both are coincidentally Cosina Voigtlander lenses. Here are the results from both a Nokton 50/1.5 (color), and a APO 90/3.5, both at, or very near, wide open.

I've been really liking the Nokton, it's a big, gorgeous, high-quality lens that I love to look at—especially right down the inside of the barrel when wide open. And while the 90 gets less usage, because of the focal length, I've never hesitated to twist this beuaty onto the front of a camera.

These images were just a test, really. I was "house-bound," for a while, working from home. To relieve a spat of restlessness, I picked up my camera and walked around the house, eventually deciding that I'd shoot this paint can both with the 50 and then the 90. I knew I'd have to shoot near wide, and that both lenses work very nicely on this end of the range.

BTW, both images were made using Fuji Superia 400. The b&w image was converted using a simple switch to grayscale mode.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Something on the Street

The feeling was that something was there, something that caused me to cross the street, to hurriedly pull the camera up to my eye, to snatch the moment. Something called me.

It was the shadows, I think.