Friday, August 1, 2008

New Purchase - Ansco Anscoset

I just picked up this camera on Tuesday, 07/29/2008 at a thrift store by my apartment during my lunch break at work. This particular model was first released in 1961 and has a f/2.8 Rokkor 45mm lens. It uses a Selenium meter, meaning thtat batteries are not necessary. That is definitely not a bad thing. The placement is slightly off, towards the upper left when staring at the lens of the camera, unlike the Canon/Bell & Howell Canonet, whose selenium cell is around the lens itself. It cost me around $20.

This camera was in pretty admirable shape, and when I did some test winds and tripped the shutter a few times, it sounded as smooth as a new camera. I was pretty impressed at its condition. The leather case has definitely seen some action, wearing around the back flaps where it snaps onto the body is evident. It's pretty clear someone enjoyed this camera, both by its working condition (with little to know cosmetic damage) and by its case's wear. I'm kinda happy to give it a new home.

I noticed some quirks with the camera right off the bat when I opened the cover. First, the focusing ring seemed to be a slight bit tight. I can turn it fine, it just is somewhat sluggish. Upon testing of the camera itself, while somewhat tight for twisting the focusing ring, the focus is nice and tight. I was sort of worried about it at first, but now I'm fairly confident that I'll be able to live with a focusing ring that is a little stiff.

The second thing I noticed is that the film advance lever is quite the opposite to focusing ring. It's sort of strange how that works, isn't it? The film advance lever is nice and smooth, but honestly will take a little getting used to, as so little effort is needed to advance the film. Again, in the grande scheme of things, for a camera that's going on fifty years old now, this little camera handles like a dream.

The third quirk I noticed is the camera's controls. I'm somewhat at a loss to exactly know what to call it. I mean, the camera has settings based off of the EV (Exposure Value) rather than the aperture and shutter speed. I'm somewhat at a loss as to what to call it. Semi-Automatic? Quasi-manual? Sure, I set the EV, but I don't really mess with the aperture and shutter speed. I can set the EV above or below what it says, hence over or underexposing the frame... I'm somewhat at a loss right now. Either way, it works absolutely fine in normal sunlight - the negs were right around as dense as my shots normally are when I shot in direct sunlight. Where I found the problem is when I was taking pictures in relative shade. It was around a EV of around 10 when I noticed the negs getting thinner and thinner. From what little research I've done regarding Selenium Light Meters (I also found a Canon/Bell & Howell Canonet) have taught me that the Selenium light meter tends to trail off in the terms of accuracy the less and less light there is. Again, it can be worked around fairly easily.

I've done one test roll of film. Aside from what I've just talked about, I've also noticed some more indications for this camera. The Rokkor (I can't get enough of that lens maker's name... I'm such a nerd...) 45mm f/2.8 is remarkably crisp. Some of the pictures were taken off of my balcony, and the power lines across the street were both visible and rather crisp. The meter is incredibly accurate when it comes to brightly lit scenes - there's little if any variation. The Selenium cell's placement is slightly off putting, as is the dial showing the EV, but this will simply take some getting accustomed to this camera. The Parallax Correction is pretty spot-on, and the only time it really becomes a problem is when I'm around 3-4 feet from the subject. I'm working on a second test roll where I'm trying to stem the thin negative in soft and subdued light problem. I'll post when I get that one done, but as it stands now, I'm pretty happy with my new old camera.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

New Polaroid Camera bought - "The Reporter"

I just bought this at another thrift store on Sunday, 07/28/2008. I got it for $3 and change. The camera's model is "The Reporter". It was first on the market in 1971. I've done some preliminary tests using it, and I am pretty pleased with it so far. First, it uses AA batteries like the Polaroid Minute Maker, and it has a front cover so it's light meter isn't constantly sapping the batteries. It's also a decent amount more compact than the LandCamera 210 that I've been working with for some time now.

I've done some playing around with it, and I've noted:
  1. It has no focusing aid in the viewfinder, and the focusing mechanism is a ring around the lens like most contemporary cameras. Normally I'd say that would be a bad thing, but I've had to get pretty good with guestimating my distance with my LandCamera 210. The 210 has a focusing aid that is based off the size of a human head - put the head between the two lines without overlapping or any gaps and it should be in focus. This would be great if I shot more people, but it's mostly useless for my purposes.
  2. There are three ISO settings - 75, 3000, and 3000 ER. The 75 behaves how it should, as does the 3000 (with the aperture mask covering the shutter making the aperture f/58). The curious part is that the 3000 ER removes the aperture mask. I did some testing, and it appears that this mode is for shooting indoors without flashcubes. Everything shot was just as I thought it should be. This alone has me really fascinated by the camera.
  3. It has a tripod mount. Yes, the camera has a tripod mount! I was pretty surprised by this fact. If only I had it for the 4th of July and fireworks and fountains! It can't be helped, but that's another plus to this camera.
  4. Just push the button, the picture is taken. Very much unlike the 210. I do like this as it helps me work a little more quickly.
  5. I could be mistaken, but it appears that there is a hole for a cable release by the shutter. Again, this is a very nice part of the camera.

I will likely still use the 210, but I must admit that it's quite nice to have more than one option when it comes to shooting with Polaroids. The Cable Release and Tripod Mount are most interesting - I will likely be using those two features fairly regularly for some of the projects.

The focusing ring seems slightly loose and the rollers and film slot had some chemistry deposits on them, but aside from that, the camera was in fantastic shape with little dust. Unlike the other similar camera we saw at the same thrift store... Which we used for pricing of the camera. I will likely be trying the Reporter out with the FP-100C shortly, but I do know it handles FP-3000B admirably. At most, I anticipate to turn the dial a little towards the dark.

Edit: Upon using the camera some more, I'm sort of noticing that it seems to vignette the edges a little bit. While it's not too big of a problem, it still is something that is noticable, especially with dark shots. I could be imagining it - more tests are needed.

Finished piece - 07/27/2008

This is the first finished piece using Fuji FP-100C. The emulsion didn't lay down as well as I had hoped it would, but that is almost to be expected. I do worry about using the emulsions on pieces with such detailed surfaces, and these fears are not unfounded. The hardest parts I had was with the ears. Aside from that, the Fuji film is really showing what it can do, and I am pretty pleased with it.

It wasn't TOO difficult - the learning curve with this new emulsion is somewhat abbreviated, but still present. I think I may need to soak the emulsion for longer than I did on this piece. I did that on the first bit of emulsion at the bottom by the feet of the bunny, and it seemed to be more pliable. I don't quite remember exact times, but it was around by the 2 minute 30 second mark. I just remember this much because the glue between the emulsion and the paper became incredibly soupy.

For my own reference, the piece is refered to as EIP-0001.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Art Show ending tomorrow (as in Friday - I've not slept yet so it's still tomorrow)...

It's somewhat weird. I'm slightly conflicted here. I mean, this WAS the first art show I've taken part in. While it was largely stressful and everything, I'm actually going to miss it. My crazy side would go check up on the cards I have there with my e-mail address on it. Well, it just appears that I'm likely going to need to get back into the grind. Oddly enough, it seems like I genuinely missed working on the Emulsion Instrumentality Project.

I should be able to buy some more Fuji FP-100C - I'm really liking the stuff alot. Just from the experience I've had so far, it's less messy and tricky to work with, more color fast, and slightly more durable. So far, the biggest difficulty I have here isn't so much procuring the film for the emulsion lifts, but it's the lack of stuff to put it on.

I have some ideas at the flea markets that I saw, but if I really am going that route... Well, let's just say that my pieces are going to grow more and more complex. I've been eyeing a certain ~3 foot ceramic cat that looks like it could be fun to use. Aside from that, I only have a clear acrylic frosted bunny rabbit wearing a blue vest that has a light that goes into the bottom.

I have some other ideas I'm working on... But right now I just mostly need more supplies. I'm going to pick up my pieces either Saturday or Sunday, depending on assorted plans for the weekend. Since the show ends tomorrow, I think I may drop by there with the little digital and maybe the Polaroid 210 and some FP-100C. I'll have to think long and hard what to put pictures from my parts at the art show onto. It would need to be something adequitely triumphant.

Polaroid Emulsion Lifts onto an old Polaroid Camera...

These are different angles of a Polaroid Swinger that I found at another thrift store. Since the Swinger uses roll Polaroid Film that is no longer in production, I decided to say forget it and cover it with emulsions. I think it turned out quite nicely.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Excuse the scan - crappy scanner

The scan quality isn't likely too great, and I needed to clean it a little, but this is part of what Fuji FP-100C is capable of. I'm not even sure if I'm going to use this shot for any emulsion lifts. I really like the shot alot.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Learning Curve for the FP-100B Emulsion Lifts

'Twas a valiant effort for doing the emulsion lift onto the GameBoy Advance SP, but alas. I ran into some decent problems with the process. Well, a few issues, to be honest.

1) It appears that I may need to boil the Black and White emulsions for far longer than I originally thought. As I peeled off the film, I noted white splotches placed near the center of the shot. I am thinking it's due to the glue not being completely loosened and coming along for the ride. It is looking like I'm going to have to boil them completely until the film fully separates from the frame.

2) Getting the emulsion to stay on the surface of the GBA is proving to be problematic. I may actually need to place a thin layer of Mod Podge onto the GBA before I put the emulsion on to give something to grab onto. After that I'll have to put more onto the top. At least, that's what I am thinking at this point. When I started to take off the tape, some of the emulsion came along with it. This could be disheartening, but only time will tell. Perhaps it can be solved with a little pre-treating?

I may want to hold up on working on the GBA just yet. I love that little GBA, so I want to make sure I do my best with it. It wasn't a complete failure, as I've learned a good amount from it all. Always a learning experience.