Polaroid Snap Instant Camera

I first discovered this camera a couple of years ago when I wanted to get an instant camera for various social events.

I had been to a few social gatherings where some friends of mine were using the Fujifilm Instax Mini instant camera and I really thought it was lovely that I was able to take home an instant picture of the occasion.

Prior to that I hadn’t really thought about instant photos except for the old polaroid instant cameras which were used by my family during the 70s/80s.

I therefore started looking into the types of instant cameras that were available but at a reasonable price as I wasn’t sure how often I would actually use it so didn’t want to spend a small fortune only for it to end up sitting in a drawer several months later.

Whilst looking at the various styles I really liked the look of the Polaroid Snap Cameras as their style really reminded me of the late 70s / early 80s with the colourful rainbow stripe across it.

These cameras come in various colours but were quite pricey at the time (around £105 I recall) which was a little higher than I really wanted to pay. However, to my luck, the pink version suddenly came up in a sale at Urban Outfitters and was reduced to around £49.99. At that price I decided to buy it and it really helped that I loved the pink colour any way (the other colours remained at full price).

I also loved the fact that a really cool case in different colours had been designed for the camera and I bought a contrast white one from Argos for around £15.

What I love about this camera is that it has a magnetic lens protector and it’s very much the same weight of a compact camera so can easily be carried in a handbag on a night out. It has a viewfinder which pops up when pressed up and then closes back into camera when not in use.

What I wasn’t so keen on when I started using it was the type of photo quality you get. This is because the camera uses ZINK Zero-Ink Printing Technology. I found the colour quality to be rather hit and miss.

You can select 3 different types of colour options on top of the camera from full colour, to slightly muted colour and black and white. You can also select a style of print from normal frame, to a border frame and a 4 frame photo (like a Photo Booth) where the camera takes four shots rather than a single one and prints it onto the same piece of paper.

The other downside to this camera is that it doesn’t let you know how many prints are remaining (there are 10 per pack) so unless you keep count (which I struggled to do when at a busy party), I would find myself taking a further picture for it finally to flash at me to state there was no more film and the instant photo moment would have passed so that kind of defeats the object of being an instant camera.

Also, the zinc paper does take a while to print and slowly comes out of the camera so it’s not particularly ‘instant’.

For all it’s faults, it certainly has provided great entertainment over the past few years and I’m pleased that I’ve got full use out of it and it hasn’t sat in a drawer as I worried it may do.

Personally though, I’m pleased I got it for the price I did and didn’t pay the original price as to me, I’m not sure I could have justified it for the print quality of the photos and the inconsistency of not knowing if I have enough paper in there for the photo.

The Zinc paper is cheaper overall per photo than the likes of fujifilm instant film so that is where I think the compromise is.

Since I bought this camera, it has reduced in price to around £69.99 – £89.99. This is because Polaroid have now brought out a newer model called the Polaroid Snap Touch Instant Print Camera with an LCD Screen so you can digitally view the picture on the back of the camera before you print it. There is also bluetooth connectivity and the newer model takes an SD card up to 128gb, which enables you to continue to take photos even if you run out of paper and print them later. This newer model currently retails for around £149.99.

Below are some photos I’ve taken so you can decide for yourself the quality of the images:

 

 

 

Trip Magazine Issue One

It’s great to see other people keeping film photography alive and I was very excited when I learnt on instagram about this recent magazine that had been made by @trip.zine

@trip.zine describes it as a visual love letter to the Olympus Trip 35. It’s ultimately a visual magazine which comprises of pictures taken by the Olympus Trip 35 from 20 photographers from across the world.

It’s A5 in size which means it’s easily portable and is printed on lovely quality 150gsm silk paper.

The photos are amazing and it provides so much inspiration as to what photo’s could be taken using this smart little compact camera.

I’m really happy with the purchase and I wasn’t surprised to recently discover that there aren’t many copies left for sale so if you’re interested, I’d buy one before they sell out.

They retail at £8 (plus postage costs) but in view of the quality of the magazine with over 60 pages of 35mm film photography, I personally think the cost is well worth it.

This magazine is something I will certainly keep as it’s truly unique and special.

I really admire @trip.zine for publishing this magazine and I do hope there will be further issues for sale in the near future which I will most definitely purchase.

The magazine is currently for sale online at http://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/609019891/trip-zine-issue-one?utm_medium

Their shop name on Etsy is TripZine.

Olympus Trip 35

I was first made aware of this camera when I was recently in my local second hand camera shop and a young guy popped into the shop and put this model of camera on their counter asking if they had a case for it.

The chrome and black, accompanied with the really cool style lens really caught my eye and it helped having Olympus Trip 35 written on it so I knew I could do some more research about the camera online once I got home.

I found that it’s a 35mm compact film camera (which means it doesn’t have interchangeable lenses) and was produced from 1967 (hence the cool design) until 1984. I also discovered that David Bailey had promoted the camera in some adverts during the 1970s so couldn’t help but take a look at these on youtube.

I am too young to remember this camera originally but I can imagine it was a great travel camera back in it’s day.

I had been after a compact film camera to accompany my Pentax K1000 for times when I needed something a bit more lightweight and compact to take film photos with so I knew this was the camera for me.

After further research I found that two types of shutter button had been produced on this camera. The first was the chrome shutter button which later changed to a black shutter button.

I immediately decided that I wanted an Olympus Trip 35 with a chrome shutter button as I personally preferred how that looked overall on the camera.

These cameras are very common (because so many were produced) so they are very easy to get hold of. They can also be bought quite cheaply from £5, with the price increasing with older models and if they’ve recently been refurbished.

Within an initial enquiry to all my local second hand camera shops, they all had one in stock but unfortunately all with the black plastic shutter button.

In the end I purchased mine on eBay for less than £40. It came with the case, original instruction manual and a miniature flash (which still works!) so I was really happy with my purchase.

The only slight flaw with the camera (hence why I think it wasn’t for sale at a higher price of around £70-£80) was that the light seals needed replacing. I wasn’t put off doing this myself as I found a website http://www.cameramill.co.uk/product/olympus-trip-35-light-seal-kit/ where I could purchase a light seal kit for £4.20

This website also provides two lots of the kit (in case of any mistakes) and instructions about how to remove the original light seals and fit the new ones. I found it really easy to replace the old light seals and my camera works great.

The camera overall is automatic and by that I mean that you turn the lens to single person, group of people or landscape mode to take a picture. It takes some practice to make sure your standing at the correct distance for each of these modes so your picture doesn’t come out blurry. There are also aperture numbers for you to choose from if you add a flash to your camera that you would pick instead.

If you’re not using the flash, the camera requires well lit conditions to work as it is has a solar-powered selenium light meter. The shutter will not fire if it’s too dark and a red flag will show in the viewfinder to confirm this is why the camera won’t work.

Overall this camera is great for a simple point and shoot camera without having to put too much thought into taking the picture. I can see why it had ‘Trip’ in the title as I can imagine it’s a great travel camera.

When I got my first roll of film developed I was amazed at the quality and sharpness of the photos. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting great photos because of the camera’s simplicity but it clearly has a really good lens.

I discovered online that this camera is very popular and there is a little cult following for this camera. There is a great website http://www.tripman.co.uk who is dedicated to the Olympus Trip 35 camera and you can buy refurbished camera’s through them too.

Here are some photos I’ve currently taken on my trip:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pentax K1000

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In previous posts I mentioned that my Zeiss-Ikon camera no longer worked and I needed to find a replacement.

After much research I finally decided on the Pentax K1000 SLR camera. I know that I wanted an SLR 35mm camera and I also knew that I wanted it to be as manual as possible so I could learn the basics of photography on it.

There is plenty of information on the internet regarding this camera and I heard from people I had spoken to that it was a good ‘student camera’ to learn on. I had also read that it is a good robust quality camera.

This camera has a shutter speed of 1 /1000th to 1 second and a centre-needle metering in the viewfinder. There is a battery that is required for the centre-needle metering system. However, what is great about this camera is that it’s still fully functional if the battery runs out. This means you’d have to work out the exposure yourself (you can’t go too wrong with the ‘sunny 16’ rule) or alternatively use an external light meter. This is one of the main reasons I picked the Pentax K1000 over the Canon AE-1 because if the battery dies on the Canon AE-1, the mirror will lock up so no more photos can be taken until the battery is replaced.

I really liked the fact that the Pentax K1000 was manufactured from 1976 to 1997 which made me think it must be a good camera if it was in production for 21 years.

Whilst in production, from what I’ve read, it was initially manufactured in Japan and then in other countries. The earlier models state Asahi Pentax on them where as the later models only state Pentax which again, from what I’ve read, the quality of the materials produced on the later models isn’t always as good quality.

I therefore decided that I wanted an earlier ‘Asahi Pentax’ version. Thanks to the timespan of manufacturing of these cameras, they are very easy to get hold of but they are going up in price every year.

I decided that I wanted my camera to be in an excellent condition and was willing to pay a little extra for this. After much searching in my local camera shops and online I finally managed to find an older style ‘Asahi Pentax’ that was cosmetically in beautiful condition, fully working with the light meter working correctly and the light seals newly replaced on eBay from a reputable camera dealer with an SMC Pentax-M 1:2 50mm lens (Asahi Optical Co.) included. What was also lovely was that the camera came with it’s original case which again was in immaculate condition and also the original cool 70’s  blue and white embroidered strap. I find the strap extremely comfortable to wear when using the camera.

I think the pictures do come out really nice on this camera (will show examples in a later blog) and I’ve learnt a lot about shutter speeds and aperture since using this camera.

It is a proper solid, well built camera and I’ve certainly not regretted my purchase and have had much joy in using it.

When I started using the camera I did feel rather restricted in the lens I was using so decided that I wanted to purchase some further lenses, ideally for wider shots and a zoom type lens for closer shots of wildlife when I’m on the beach etc.

I managed to find a copy of the ‘Complete Pentax user’s guide K1000’ by David Kilpatrick on eBay. This gives great information regarding the mechanics/use of the camera and also the types of lenses available.

I visited my local camera shop, Clock Tower cameras in Brighton (www.clocktowercameras.co.uk) where I was able to purchase two of the lenses I was after.

The first one was the SMC Pentax-M 1:2.8 28mm lens (Asahi Opt. Co. Japan) which I was able to pick up for less than £60 and is in excellent condition and gives wider angle shots.

The second lens I purchased from there was the SMC Pentax-M zoom 1:4 75-150mm lens (Asahi Opt. Co. Japan) which again was in excellent condition and cost around £30. The zoom is quite a good general zoom lens but if you wanted really detailed shots, you definitely need a larger zoom. For me though I was happy enough with this purchase.

I learnt from my local camera shop that the wider angle lenses are more costly than the zoom lenses for this camera. They told me this was because people don’t always want the bulk of carrying the zoom lenses around so they’re ultimately not as popular.

The main lens I use the most out of the three I currently own is the 28mm lens because of the coverage I can get in a shot. If I was taking a picture of something closer up (such as a portrait) then I would opt for the 50mm lens. When I need to zoom in then I obviously use my zoom lens.

I use this camera a lot and I’m currently trying different films, both in colour and black and white, to see what types of pictures each film produces.

 

 

 

Vintage Camera Manuals

When I decided to use my Zeiss-Ikon camera again (before I realised it no longer worked) I couldn’t quite remember all the functions because it had been a while since I last used it.

When I originally purchased the camera from a vintage camera shop in Arundel there was never a manual included and the owner at the shop had given me a basic run through at the time of how to use it.

I therefore looked on the internet to see if I could find a copy of the original manual.

I came across this fantastic website which has been invaluable to me for other film cameras (and vintage flashes) I have since acquired.

The website is http://www.cameramanuals.org

The gentleman who runs the website, M Butkus recommends a donation of $3 (which can be done via PayPal) if you find any manual you download useful.

I personally make a donation every time I download a manual from him as I think it’s only fair as it has helped me understand my vintage film camera’s, especially when I’m unable to find an out of print hard copy of the manual.

Hello and Welcome

Hello and welcome to my blog which I created out of a passion for film photography.

I used to shoot using film cameras pre-digital age. I also love instant cameras which I have been using over the past few years when at parties etc.

I am a Hand Knitwear Designer and also have a passion for other crafts such as sewing, jewellery making and using a knitting machine but when I accidentally slipped on some ice in my garden and broke my writing arm in several places at the end of December 2017, I found I could no longer knit or do any of my other craft hobbies for several months.

For several weeks I was pretty much housebound as I had to keep my arm as still as possible to help the healing process.

Once I was able to go outside again, I saw everything with new fresh eyes and really appreciated everything around me that I’d previously taken for granted.

I still was unable to knit, write or pursue any other of my craft hobbies but I desperately needed a creative outlet.

Seeing everything around me made me want to take photos which I initially started to do with my mobile phone, then a point and shoot digital camera. As I was able to gradually move my arm more, I decided to dig out my Zeiss-Ikon Rangefinder film camera from the late 1950s which I hadn’t used in over 10 years but thought it would be fun to shoot black and white film photography.

Unfortunately when I got the film developed I discovered the shutters on my camera no longer worked (something which I had neglected to check before loading the camera with film) and after visiting several second hand camera shops I was informed it would cost three times more to repair than to just buy another one.

Although I was disappointed with the outcome of the blurred black and white pictures from my first roll of film plus the fact my lovely Zeiss-Ikon had gone to camera heaven, it renewed an old interest in me for film photography again.

I loved the whole process and excitement (like many film photographers) of taking photos and not knowing how they would turn out until they are developed.

My love of film photography began and now continues which I want to document on this blog……