Monthly Archives: October 2013

52 Cameras: Week 9 part 2 – Voigtlander Brillant (Brilliant)

There may be more photos coming. I shot a roll of Lucky Film B&W at Fairview Cemetery but Visions Photo Lab only processes black and white on Wednesdays. Visions is a great independent lab, they still do E-6 too.

My head’s not that round but I still have a goofy shadow in the foreground.

Rosario Cemetery - f16 @ 1/75

Rosario Cemetery – f16 @ 1/75

Usually the problem with this camera is getting enough light since the aperture is so small (f7.7). Using Fuji 400 on a sunny day, I had the opposite problem. The fastest shutter speed is 1/75, minimum aperture is f16, and I didn’t get any filters with the camera.

Rosario Cemetery - f16 @ 1/75

Rosario Cemetery – f16 @ 1/75

The lens’s vignetting really shows up with bright color film. I keep forgetting to use the frame counter instead of the red window. The frame size on this camera is 6cm X 6cm instead of 6X9. If I use the counter I get 12 images. If I use the frame numbers on the backing paper, I only get 8. The shutter was sticking so I only got four so it’s a moot point for this roll.

Rosario Cemetery - f16 @ 1/75

Rosario Cemetery – f16 @ 1/75

The images are really soft but I like this one with a raven.

Rosario Cemetery - f16 @ 1/75

Rosario Cemetery – f16 @ 1/75

This is a strange variant of the Brillant. The only picture I’ve been able to find that has the Voigtar 75cm/f7.7 lens and T/B/75/25 shutter speeds is on an older Bakelite body with a rotating accessory door. Mine is hinged. The older versions also had apertures of f7.7 (f9 widest on some), f11, and f22 which used a rotating punched disk. This camera has f7.7, f11, and f16 but uses a diaphragm. I have no idea who made the shutter. In addition to sticking, the timer isn’t working so I have to dissect it. Maybe there will be a label somewhere inside.

52 Cameras: Week 9 part 1.5 – Voigtlander Brillant (Brilliant)

I finally scanned the negatives from the first test with the Brilliant. That was before it was camera of the week, hence the 1.5.

I bought some cheap film from Four Corner Store. It’s Shanghai GP3 ISO 100 Pan. I don’t develop at home yet so including processing, it ended up being more expensive than grabbing a roll of something that uses a more common developer.

Hydrant with veil - f7.7 @ 1/25

Hydrant with veil – f7.7 @ 1/25

Hydrant with veil, double exposure – f7.7 @ 1/25

Hydrant with veil, double exposure – f7.7 @ 1/25

I ball-parked the time using the ‘B’ (bulb) setting.

Zoe - f7.7 @ ~ 1 sec.

Zoe – f7.7 @ ~ 1 sec.

What looks like grain is mostly the texture of the paper.

Sitting pretty - f7.7 @ ~ 1 sec

Sitting pretty – f7.7 @ ~ 1 sec

I think I have one roll of the Shanghai left and I probably won’t get any more. The numbers from the backing paper show up on longer exposures. If it was light through the film counter window, there would only be one number per frame. The only thing I can think of is that the light through the lens is reflecting off of the paper and coming back through the film, exposing the numbers. The acetate is really thin and the backing is a single layer of cheap black paper with gray numbers. Adding insult to injury, the gray numbers don’t have enough contrast against the black paper to be read through a red window. The Brilliant has a film counter but we wasted a roll trying to use it in my girlfriend’s JEM JR.

52 Cameras: Week 8 part 2 — Nikon Coolpix 885

For what it is, a 12-year-old point-and-shoot, it’s a pretty good camera. All of the exposure information is taken from the Exif data written by the camera. I didn’t realize until I was captioning the pictures that they are all at widest, 8mm (38mm equivalent on a full-frame camera), or maximum zoom, 24mm (114mm equivalent).

She got really nervous when she realized her calf was on the other side of the fence.

Elk in Los Alamos -

Elk in Los Alamos – ISO 100, 24mm, f4.9 @ 1/148 sec.

Too many people gathered around so she led the calf back into the woods.

 Elk in Los Alamos - ISO 100, 24mm, f4.9 @ 1/422 sec.

Elk in Los Alamos – ISO 100, 24mm, f4.9 @ 1/422 sec.

Black Mesa from NM 502 - ISO 100, 8mm, f2.8 @ 1/80 sec.

Black Mesa from NM 502 – ISO 100, 8mm, f2.8 @ 1/80 sec.

Jemez Mountains at sunset - ISO 100, 8mm, f2.8 @ 1/249 sec.

Jemez Mountains at sunset – ISO 100, 8mm, f2.8 @ 1/249 sec.

The Bataan Memorial Building was built as the New Mexico State Capitol building in 1900.

Bataan Memorial Building, Santa Fe, NM - ISO 100, 24mm, f4.9 @ 1/326 sec.

Bataan Memorial Building, Santa Fe, NM – ISO 100, 24mm, f4.9 @ 1/326 sec.

It’s not too obvious in these reduced photos but the sensor has some stuck pixels. There’s a red dot in the bushy tree above the calf in the second elk picture and some dots in the sky of the Jemez picture.

A Tale of Two Scanners

My printer, a Canon MP480, has a decent scanner but no light or adapters for scanning negatives or slides. While every spare cent was going towards tuition at the now-defunct College of Santa Fe, I bought a cheap scanner. It’s an ImageLab FS-5C05. I think I paid about US $50 for it on Amazon. Not total crap but not great either. It scans to an SD card or internal memory. There are no drivers or settings. It’s 5 megapixels, or about 3600 DPI. Its sensor is a bit noisy, it uses too much JPEG compression, and the click stops for each frame never line up correctly. That said, it does a passable job for snapshots and you can line the negatives up pretty well by ignoring the stops and using the little LCD on the unit as a guide.

I bought a Canon CanonScan 9000F about a year ago but just set it up last week. It does a great job scanning prints (max 4800 DPI). Negatives (9600 DPI) are a mixed bag so far. The trays don’t hold the negatives very flat — I had to insert them wrong side up (convex side of the curl up). The exposure level seems to vary a lot depending on where in the tray a negative is located. It comes with an adapter to hold 120mm negatives flat. I may have to make something that does the same for 35mm. I need to make a shield too, for negative sections that don’t reach end-to-end in the trays. I’m hoping that will help the exposure variation. When 35mm negatives are selected as the source in the software, it expects a perfectly aligned 36X24 mm frame. On the Olympus Pen-EES half-frame negatives, this created some strange crops even when both exposures were visible in the tray frame. It’s far from obvious if there is a way to resize the scan area for negatives. The software doesn’t have resizing frame handles the way it does for scanning prints.

Aside: Obviously, I like Canon hardware. My first digital camera was an A70 (died), I had an SX20is (stolen), and I have an SX10is and an EOS 60D in addition to the MP480 and the scanner. However, if you have trouble after warranty, don’t bother with their “customer loyalty” program. It seems like a good deal — trade in your broken gear for refurbished goodies at a discount. Nope. Whole lots of nope. The discounts are off of MSRP, which no one actually gets or even asks. You don’t get the same warranty and there’s no way to know if something is open-box-can’t-be-sold-as-new or waaaay broken and repaired. It *does* come with heaps of shitty attitude from the phone reps.

Anyhoo… On to some photos.

Both images are rotated since the Olympus uses portrait format half-frames. Both have the half-frame break and scanner borders cropped and both are resized for the web. The ImageLab cropped a little top-to-bottom, which is left-to-right on these rotated frames. The Canon scan is flipped horizontally due to having to load the negatives wrong side up. The Canon cropped quite a bit off of the bottom (side of the half-frame) — consistent with not being able to choose anything but an ideal 35mm frame size. I did a LOT of clone tool dust cleanup on the ImageLab scan (it’s on the sensor) and ran a mild noise reduction filter. On the Canon scan, I did a little dust edit but the negatives are pretty clean. I left the “snowfall” on the right side of the image. It’s not dust. I read a few complaints about it in reviews but I haven’t seen any solution. It’s hit or miss. Rescan and it may be gone or it may be different. The ImageLab scan is a little green and the Canon scan is a little blue. On this photo, the ImageLab scanner did much better on color and exposure.

The car wash from Breaking Bad - ImageLabs

The car wash from Breaking Bad – ImageLabs

The car wash from Breaking Bad - CanoScan

The car wash from Breaking Bad – CanoScan

Other than web-prep (rotating, flipping, resizing) I left these alone. You can really see the quality difference in the Canon sensor. The ImageLab overexposed and the Canon underexposed — both by quite a bit.

Albuquerque Crowne Plaza - ImageLab

Albuquerque Crowne Plaza – ImageLab

Albuquerque Crowne Plaza - CanoScan

Albuquerque Crowne Plaza – CanoScan

Web-prep only. The ImageLab got the exposure right. The Canon is really underexposed, the sky is full of noise, and there’s the snow again. At current prices, the Canon is about 3 times the price. When it was the new model (when I bought it) the differential was about 8X.

Big-I - ImageLab

Big-I – ImageLab

Big-I - CanoScan

Big-I – CanoScan

So far, the Canon is really disappointing. I can tell the sensor is up to the task — when it gets it right, the scans are glorious. At 6 minutes per negative raw scan time, plus rotate, crop, and flip, I don’t know if it’s worth it to retry until it gets it right. The next test is to use a TWAIN driver and bypass the rather lame Canon software altogether.

Other items of note: If you get a Canon scanner, do NOT use the default installation. It installs an ArcSoft photo editor and ArcSoft Connect, an always-on spam daemon that’s a pain to completely uninstall. The install also uninstalled the scanning software for the MP480 without asking. Not cool bitches, not cool.

That Four-letter Word Volume 1

A series on work-themed cartoons, funny or interesting things from work, and lots and lots of FAILS.

Before [some unnamed place where I am still employed] was privatized, work was actually fun sometimes. Don’t get me wrong, I still show up and try to give taxpayers value for their money but now I’m just another corporate drone with a 401(K).

It was fun playing a terrorist in an exercise

It was fun playing a terrorist in an exercise

These days, it's more like this

These days, it’s more like this

Every once in a while it's still fun

Every once in a while it’s still fun

I hadn't seen a mohawk and a skinny tie in a long time

I hadn’t seen a mohawk and a skinny tie in a long time

Sure I get to poke fun at lopsided scans of management gibberish…

So let it not be communicated.  So Let it be done.

So let it not be communicated. So Let it be done.

And goofy typos and topics…

Later rescheduled to the 24nd

Later rescheduled to the 24nd

Just like grandma used to make

Just like grandma used to make

But more and more my sympathies lie with the protesters.

52 Cameras: Week 7 part 2 – Olympus Pen EES

This is a fun camera to use. It did well considering I suck at guesstimating distance and I forgot my human rangefinder card. I took it with me while we did a tour of Breaking Bad locations.

John B. Robert dam in Albuquerque - CanoScan 9000F at 9600 DPI

John B. Robert dam in Albuquerque – CanoScan 9000F at 9600 DPI

Waiting for the vacuum cleaner repair guy - CanoScan 9000F at 9600 DPI

Waiting for the vacuum cleaner repair guy – CanoScan 9000F at 9600 DPI

Same negative scanned with the old 5MP ImageLabs

Same negative scanned with the old 5MP ImageLabs

Because it’s 1/2 frame, The Camera Shop of Santa Fe couldn’t scan right away. I was impatient so I just had them process the film and dusted off my old scanner. Literally. It was covered in dust and sadly some is inside on the sensor. I had bought a nice Canon CanoScan 9000F a while back and finally set it up. I’m still learning my way around the new scanner so hopefully, results will improve. Images are resized but no exposure or color correction. On the 3rd image I used the clone tool in Photoshop to clean up dust and cat hair.

I’ll do a separate post about the scanners and put up some more pictures from the Pen EES.