Polaroid SX-70 Camera

Since I wrote my blog about the Polaroid 600 camera, I have been completely obsessed with taking photos on a Polaroid camera.

The main reason is because I love the size of polaroid film. I feel the detail that comes from the photo is much greater than what I ever got on a mini instax film.

I was using my Polaroid 600 box camera quite a bit but quickly found myself getting frustrated with it. This was due to it being quite boxy which I struggled with taking out and about everyday with me unless I took a larger bag. I also quickly realised that I didn’t have much control on the focusing, which is fine if I’m taking a picture from a long distance but on shorter distances the photos were hit and miss.

I really love the design of the SX-70 folding camera and particularly loved the chrome and tan detail of some of the models so I knew that this was ultimately the Polaroid camera I would really love to have.

There are different types of the SX-70 folding camera but thanks to the Polaroid book by Rhiannon Adam I was able to decide that I would like to own the SX-70 Alpha 1 which came out around 1977.

The key differences that the Alpha 1 model has to the earlier SX-70s is that they have a built-in tripod socket, a guaranteed split-focus viewfinder, neck strap lugs and a fill flash capability where the flash isn’t limited to just being fired in low light conditions.

I had already decided if I was going to purchase one of these then I would need to pay a fairly high price for one if I wanted it in great condition. On eBay they are extremely popular and can go for quite a bit of money if several people get into a bidding war. There are some that come up cheap on eBay but they are often untested which I feel personally, you could end up paying even more to then get it refurbished. Also, I found that the Alpha 1 models don’t seem to come up as often for sale as the earlier models.

After much research I ended up purchasing my camera from a company called Revival Studio who are based on London. They sell refurbished polaroid cameras and they also come with a 6 month warranty.

The camera was immaculate and beautifully restored. Since the Alpha 1 model has the neck strap lugs, I was able to attach an original strap to the camera which makes it great for carrying around over my shoulder.

I’ve not been disappointed by this camera. I absolutely love it. The folding option makes it quite compact so I can also put it in an everyday handbag.

What’s also great is that I can use 600 Polaroid film in the camera if I use the Mint Flash Bar. I do tend to use the 600 film more than the SX-70 film because of the wider range of editions Polaroid Originals do. The cheapest place I’ve found the flash bar for sale is at Mr Porter where it costs £60 instead of around £80 which seems to be the usual price. You can also use the flash bar for the SX-70 film if taking photos indoors.

Another great accessory for this camera is the Mint SX-70 Lens set which can also be purchased from Mr Porter for £60 so again is cheaper than other websites that sell it for around £85.99. I was pleased to buy mine from there and delivery in the UK was really quick.

I purchased the camera back in September but wanted to experiment with it for a while before I blogged about it.

Since the camera is very transportable I do use it several times a week and I’m beginning to get a real feel for how it works and the best ways to take photos and when to use the light and darken switch depending on the film I’m using in the camera.

I’m at the early stages of experimenting with this camera and currently have tried both the Blue and Pink 600 Duochrome film, SX70 Colour film, 600 colour and black and white films and also expired films which have produced some interesting results!

I’m going to be blogging about the different film types and filters I’ve currently been using with the camera and some of the actual photos over the next week.

Highgate Cemetery Tour with the Diana F+ Camera

On Saturday 20th October I visited Highgate Cemetery to do a Lomography workshop using the Diana F+ camera.

You’ll see from one of my other blog posts that I already own a Diana F+ camera so am familiar with how it works, but I’ve always wanted to visit Highgate Cemetery so thought this would be a good opportunity to finally go.

The cost of the workshop was £20 which included a loan of a Diana F+ camera, a roll of black and white 120mm lomography film, entry to Highgate Cemetery’s East side plus development and scanning of the film that was used during the workshop.

I arrived at the cemetery’s box office (where the meeting point was) and quickly saw how popular this workshop was going to be since there were a few of us.

There were several employees from Lomography who also attended the workshop so they were able to split us into two groups.

Before we went into the cemetery, we were given a handout about occult photography in the 1800’s. We were told that with the Diana F+ we would be able to create some ghostly style images and were even offered some tissue paper if we wanted it to create an ectoplasm effect.

There was a whole bunch of Diana F+ cameras in different colours on display at the meeting point which were pre-loaded with black and white 120mm film. The nice thing was that we were allowed to pick a camera ourselves rather then just be handed one.

We were shown the features of the camera and were informed that we’d always be best off using the cloudy setting on the camera for UK weather even on a bright sunny day. The day of the Workshop was very bright and sunny which I was pleased about since we’d be outdoors. I’d also learnt something new as I personally would have used the Sunny setting if I hadn’t have been told this.

We were talked through how double exposures can be taken on the camera to try and create a ghostly effect. We were also shown how we could take pinhole photos if we removed the main lens and took a longer exposure in bulb mode.

Since the film only has 12 shots, we were also able to purchase more film if we needed it for an additional £5. I’d thankfully thought ahead and brought my own Diana F+ camera with me and some spare black and white Lomography film. However, I initially used the camera they loaned for the workshop since it already had the film pre-loaded.

We proceeded to walk round the East Side part of the cemetery and it certainly didn’t take very long to use up the 12 shots. I then used my own Diana F+ camera with the spare film I had brought with me.

I decided to take the used film home with me rather than let Lomography develop and scan them since I have my own flat bed scanner that I scan my photos on and I wouldn’t have to wait for them to post me the negatives after scanning the film etc.

Here are the results of the photos I took using the camera that Lomography loaned me during the workshop:

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I can see why Lomography used this particular camera for the workshop as the heavy vignetting produces a great dreamy effect which I think works really well with the graveyard shots and also the black and white film gives them an old fashion feel.

Here are the photos I took using my Diana F+ camera and the black and white 120mm Lomography film I own:

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I think most people will agree that the photos I took using my camera are a real disappointment and this is because the backing paper from the film has imprinted itself onto the negatives.

I can see this has happened on a couple of the shots too using the loan camera from lomography but it’s not been no where near as bad as my film.

I’ve since discovered this will most likely happen if the film is expired or not stored correctly.

I normally store my film in the fridge, however, I have to admit that I had originally intended to use this black and white film in my Diana F+ camera several months back for another project which I didn’t end up doing and I lazily left the film on the side and didn’t end up putting it back in the fridge. We’ve also had quite a warm summer in England and the room where the film was left does get very warm so I think this has definitely been a contributing factor.

Overall, I found the workshop great fun and the Lomography staff were really nice and extremely supportive with any queries we had throughout the workshop which ran from 1pm-5pm.

I thought the workshop was great value for money and such a good thing to do around Halloween time.

If they run one next year, I would highly recommend it to anyone who can get to London and is keen to try out the Diana F+ camera.

Double Exposures with my Lomography Sprocket Rocket Camera in Kuala Lumpur

Back in September I visited Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia for the day along with my husband and a couple of friends.

I knew my husband would be taking lots of bulk standard photos during our visit there with a digital camera so I decided to mix it up a bit and load up my Sprocket Rocket Camera with some LomoChrome Purple 400 35mm film.

I’d figured that whilst visiting I would be taking a lot of landscape shots, which the Sprocket Rocket Camera is great for since it’s panoramic and as mentioned in previous blog posts, I love the sprocket hole effect.

Unfortunately on the day I visited, the weather was really bad and constantly rained. This meant I didn’t manage to take as many photos as I had originally planned.

Also the frame counter on my camera didn’t seem to be working properly and I’m still not sure whether this was me not loading the film correctly or if the film had got slightly jammed or due to the torrential rain, in my haste to try and take photos quickly, I just wasn’t using it correctly.

Either way, since the frame seemed to remain constantly around the 3 mark and didn’t seem to count upwards beyond that number, I knew that I would most likely end up with multiple exposures which is exactly what happened.

It transpired after developing the film that several of the photos I’d taken ended up being multiple exposures and here they are:

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Here are a couple of shots that I must have managed to move the film on correctly so they didn’t end up as a multiple exposure:

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Trying to take photos or do some sightseeing in bad rain was certainly not a pleasant experience and although I didn’t manage to take as many photos as I had hoped, I’m pleased I at least managed to take a couple.

 

International Film Swap

Through my blog  I was recently contacted by International Film Swap Group and asked if I would like to join in taking pictures on a roll of film, then posting it to somebody in their community in a another part of the world who would reshoot the film and get the film processed to create some cross country double exposures.

I was really interested to see what effects the photos would have if I did this via their group so I immediately agreed.

After agreeing, I was contacted via email from one of their member’s called Mathias who is based in Stockholm, Sweden. His instagram page is @haexes if you’d like to check out his work.

He suggested that I shoot a colour roll of 35mm film that I would then post to him and he would flip the roll and re-shoot it to produce a red scale fusion effect.

I had never heard of flipping a roll of film before to create this effect so again, I found this really interesting and was really looking forward to seeing the results.

After some further discussion with Mathias on what type of colour film would work  for the red scale effect, I decided to use Fujifilm X-TRA Superia 400 35mm film.

I shot the film using my Pentax K1000 camera as I knew this particular camera would allow me to shoot the film at ISO 800. I had wanted to double the ISO from the original 400 since the film was going to be double exposed.

Mathias used his Olympus Trip 35 camera for the re-shooting of the film.

We had both agreed from the beginning that I was not going to give particular details of each shot I had taken as we wanted the finished photos to be more free style. Instead, I gave Mathias a brief overview of where I had taken my shots which I confirmed were of Brighton Beach and some other sites nearby such as the West Pier, a statue and the I360 along with a couple of flower shots to create a bit of a mixture.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect when Mathias developed and scanned the film except I knew it would probably look quite creative and very lomography-esq since part of the exposure would be of a red scale type of photo which would create a fire effect.

Today I received the scanned photos from Mathias and I was really impressed with the images we had managed to combine on the film.

Here are a few of my favourite images we took:

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We’ve decided to do a further film swap together, this time using black and white film. Mathias will be shooting the film first then he will pass it onto me to re-shoot and I will get the film developed and scanned.

I’d be interested to know what other people’s opinions are of the double exposures. Do you like them? or is it something you wouldn’t want to do in your own photography?

If anybody reading this blog post is interested in doing a film swap with me, please contact me as it really is great fun to do.

PhotoKlassik International Magazine Review

I first heard about this magazine through a fellow blogger called karenshootsfilm where she had noted that the magazine were on Kickstarter trying to raise enough funds to publish their first international magazine about analogue photography.

This magazine has been produced for a while for the German market but due to the popularity of it, they felt it was time to produce an international English version.

For sometime I have been trawling the local newsagents in the hope I may one day find a magazine purely dedicated to analogue photography. There are plenty dedicated to digital photography (sometimes with an article about analogue photography here and there) but I’d yet to find a magazine like this.

I therefore knew I wanted to invest in the Kickstarter scheme and subscribe to it for a year.

Thankfully a lot of other people must have felt the same way since they managed to reach in excess of their target on Kickstarter and the magazine was published.

It’s a quarterly magazine and the first edition then needed to be printed once the Kickstarter pledge had ended so I had to be patient and wait a couple of months to receive my copy.

On first impressions, I was a little underwhelmed by the front cover page. To be honest, if I was looking in the photography section of the magazines of my local newsagents I think I would have most likely missed this because I find the front cover photo misleading.

For me personally on initial glance I thought it would be a magazine related to classical music or some form of music due to the woman holding the violin. I also wasn’t that keen on the Red and Grey type set which seemed a little dated to me (and not in a cool retro way). The caption on the front where it states ‘The entire world of analog photography’ is quite small and overshadowed by the photo so again, I probably wouldn’t have read that.

However, I’m a big believer of ‘never judge a book by it’s cover’ so I was keen to see what contents were inside.

The magazine is very thick and reasonably heavy and is printed on good quality, glossy sheets of paper.

Although I knew the magazine would be about analogue photography, I wasn’t sure exactly what type of content it would contain, whether it would be about the technical side of how to use a film camera etc or more articles on analogue photographers.

I certainly wasn’t disappointed. The content is great and varied. There is a section on Portfolios, gear talk & techniques and the world of analogue.

I wondered if a magazine so thick would have a lot of adverts but it hardly had any and was full of good quality decent content which I found very interesting and read every single page.

A couple of my favourite articles to mention was one about Bellamy Hunt from Japan Camera Hunter. It was really interesting reading about his photography background and how Japan Camera Hunter came about.

Another one was the One Hour Photo Re-Imagined which mentioned some analogue photography shops around the globe that I wasn’t aware of and would definitely like to visit if I’m ever abroad in their countries.

Since I’m a massive fan of instant photography, I absolutely loved the article about Lovers of analogue photography which was dedicated to the subject of instant film photography over several pages.

PhotoKlassik International was so much more than just an analogue magazine as it has introduced me to some new photographers who I had never heard of before and really liked their photographic work. I also learnt about new shops and some interesting information about some cameras and film which would have taken me hours to research and find on the internet.

Overall, I think this magazine is great and I’m not disappointed in purchasing it.

It is quite an expensive magazine (£17.90 per issue) so this may put some people off purchasing it but I feel the price tag is justified for the quality of the content inside the magazine. Plus since it’s quarterly, I think the price is reasonable.

Through Kickstarter and because I signed up for the annual subscription, I did pay slightly less than the cover price (I think it was around £15 per issue with postage costs).

If I had only bought the first issue and not subscribed, I certainly would have signed up for the subscription now and I’m really looking forward to receiving my next copy in a few months time.

If you’re interested in purchasing this magazine, click here. If you enter code PKIFIRST10 you’ll receive a 10% discount on a one-year subscription where four issues will be delivered to your door.

 

Contrast Filters – Black and White Dark Room Photography

Last week I had the chance to try out a contrast filter for developing a photo during  my black and white dark room photography lesson.

I’m already aware of contrast filters being used on cameras on the lens.

Contrast can be high and low (depending on whether you want your picture be dramatic and bold or if you’re after a more subtle and soft photo).

I learnt that in the darkroom, you can use contrast filters to alter the tonal contrast of your prints (providing you use multigrade or multi-contrast paper).

Contrast filters are built into some enlargers but if the enlarger you’re using doesn’t have this, then a contrast filter can be added to the enlarger (usually fitted into a slot below or above the negative holder).

A contrast filter on the enlarger will allow some light through and alter the way the the tones look on the enlargement.

Contrast filters for the enlarger are numbered and go up in half increments as follows

00 0 1/2 1 1 1/2 2 2 1/2 3 3 1/2 4  4 1/2 5

The lower the number (e.g. 00), the lower the contrast.

The higher the number (e.g. 5), the higher the contrast.

One final thing to note is that when a contrast filter is used on the enlarger, the exposure time will be affected, so I would always need to do a new test strip with the filter in order to work out the new correct exposure time needed.

The title image in this blog is a photo taken during my recent trip to Singapore on my Pentax K1000 camera using Kentmere 100 black and white film. I used a 3.5 contrast filter in the enlarger to make the hotel building more darker and at the same time, make the sky almost white.

Typewriter and Polaroids

On a recent trip back from Singapore I watched a couple of documentaries on the flight.

The first one was called ‘Instant Dreams’ which was all about Polaroid Photography so I was in my absolute element watching this.

The second documentary I was drawn to watching was ‘California Typewriter’ which is about a Typewriter shop in California and people whose lives are connected by typewriters (including Tom Hanks who I discovered through this documentary that he is an avid typewriter collector).

I began to think how I would love to own a typewriter again. Being a child of the 1980s, I inevitably did own a typewriter back then which I remember being beige and brown that my parents had bought me at a car boot fair but I stopped using it once the ribbon ran out and my parents never bought a new one for it.

My mum also briefly owned an electronic typewriter when she did a typewriting course and I remember I used to practice her homework which helped me learn to touch-type. She eventually sold the typewriter onto a friend.

The documentary had re-ignited a love for typewriters and I knew I really wanted to get one but I kept thinking what would I use it for and could I really justify buying one?

Then I started to think about all the Polaroid photos I had been recently taking and how it would be quite nice to label the dull white frame ones.

Unfortunately for me, my hand writing is terrible and I just feel that it would really let the actual photo down if I just wrote on them.

I think at some point I must have subconsciously seen some polaroid photos that had been typewritten and thought about how I’d much prefer to do that.

I also like writing fiction and although it’s very easy to write it on a laptop, I do tend to get distracted by misspelling and re-reading, re-writing etc so like the thought of having a typewriter to be able to bash out the story (errors and all) without the distractions, then refine it on my laptop.

At this point I therefore felt I could justify getting a typewriter but I would be patient and wait until the right one came along rather than go out of my way to really look for one.

I don’t really have a lot of time to visit boot fairs etc and I also didn’t like the thought of buying a typewriter online as I wanted to try it first as I really do believe that you need to get a feel for it to see if you’ll work well with it.

Every now and again I like to visit a shop in Brighton called Snoopers Paradise as they are well known for selling second hand items and it’s not far from Zoing Image where I buy a lot of my camera film.

After popping to Zoing Image to get some film, I decided to pop in there and as luck would have it, Stall number 52, owned by a gentleman called Lexi, specialises in servicing and selling typewriters.

There were two typewriters I was interested in on his stall. The first one was a Triumph Tippa from the 1960s which was cream in colour. However, when I tried it out I quickly realised the keyboard was a ‘QWERTZ’ one which meant it was a German model so was no good to me. The standard British keyboard is ‘QWERTY’.

I also liked a blue Brother Model 200 typewriter from the 1970s which he also had for sale. I was particularly drawn to the font of this model which I think is a Pinta Typewriting Font and thought would look great on the Polaroid photos.

I tried out the Brother machine and really liked the feel of how it typed and it was in such an amazing condition, almost like it had never been used.

I really liked the colour of it and it was great that it had been serviced with a new ribbon so I could get typing on it straight away.

The typewriter cost me £30 and I personally feel I got a real bargain in view of the fantastic condition it is in.

Lexi was really helpful and also provided me with the original case which was immaculate and an original typewriter manual for the machine so I could easily learn how to use it without having to spend time looking online trying to find one.

If anybody is in the Brighton area and are looking for a typewriter, then I’d highly recommend visiting his stall.

I can honestly say I’ve not been disappointed by my purchase. I’ve been using the typewriter every day since I got it.

Here are a couple of Polaroid photos I’ve typewritten on so far. The first two were taken with Polaroid colour film:

The next three were taken with Polaroid 600 colour film which expired in 2009: