Another one bites the dust. The Mamiya C330, last model of one of the longest-running twin-lens reflex rollfilm camera designs in history, has been officially discontinued, following into oblivion its budgetpriced sibling, the late C220.
With a bit of snooping we’ve been able to track the development of the new Advanced Photo System that Kodak, Fuji, Canon, Minolta, and Nikon plan to introduce in April 1996. In the August issue we explained how the system would use magnetic striping of film to provide information to the camera and how the camera might add information useful to the film processor.
We’ve heard of commemorative cameras finished in silver, gold, platinum—even titanium—but Konica’s latest is done up in rhodium. You say you’re a little rusty on your Periodic Table of the Elements. Well, rhodium, no. 45, is a metallic member of the platinum family that has a rosecolored luster and is said to resist scratches and oxidation.
Another tale from Richard Clayton, who has been working at Bel Air Camera, in Los Angeles, for the past few years: A customer came into the store to pick up his prints and was appalled to find Japanese symbols on every photograph and negative.
Ever wished a colossal photography museum would plop itself down next door? Then whenever the mood hit, you could stroll its galleries and feast your eyes. Well, don’t look now, but it just happened. The California Museum of Photography, in Riverside, now exhibits select photographic shows, not next door but actually in your home.
The picture of a beautiful model by a rural train line, illustrating an ad in a New Jersey newspaper, struck one reader as a bit too familiar. He remembered seeing it in Edward Sarkis Balian’s column for Sbutterbug magazine and wrote to Balian informing him of its uncredited use.
How quick are your single-lens reflexes? Very, but to grab shots like these, you also need a sharp eye and a fast trigger finger!
1st ($300) In the eye of the tiger: We get balloon pictures by the carload, but most of ‘em, uh, fall flat. Why? Because colorful as they are, they’re predictable and lack a sense of scale. Happily, such is not the case with this captivating balloon shot of a iilliputian harnessed balloonist floating past the outsized helium head of an inflated feline.
Darkroom techniques — both basic and exotic— dominated our October 1944 issue. One article tackled the then-common problem of film reticulation—crazing patterns in the emulsion. We told not only how to prevent it, but also how to make it happen if you wanted to be creative.
We’ve said it before: The most useful zoom point-and-shoot is the one that starts at a true wide-angle focal length (that’s 28mm) and goes to a decent portrait length (around 70-80mm). Two zoom cameras from two big names should help further this cause:
Minolta has just introduced its longest-ever zoom model P/S, the Freedom Zoom 135EX, equipped with a 38-135mm f/3.5-9.2 lens. It thus joins the Canon Photura 135 and the Samsung ECX1 in the 135-andlonger class, but it is the most compact of this lot and the only one in a conventional shape—if that concept still has any meaning among point-and-shoots.
We got an offbeat suggestion recently from Norman Rothschild, who has been known to supplement SLRs with a posse of point-and-shoots. “Use them for black and white. If you don’t want to bother with processing it, just send it to Kodalux.” So we decided to give it a try.
What’s the best camera carrying strap? I think I’ve found it!
Why most autofocus teleconverters won’t autofocus
How to tell you aren’t being hornswoggled by “free-film” offers
What in photography has shown the greatest advance in the past 40 years? The SLR camera? Autoexposure? Autofocus? Films? Flash? Processing? Electronics? None of these. Anyone watching the photo scene this many years knows it’s camera straps.
Can it go head-to-head with Nikon’s F4S using technology developed for amateur cameras???
A “Ducky” New Flock of Custom Functions
In the five years since Canon unveiled its pro-caliber EOS-1 AF SLR, the company’s other 35mm’s—its burgeoning corps of amateur cameras— have dazzled consumers with nonstop technical and conceptual innovations. The 10S had multi-point autofocus and threezone flashmetering.
If God were a photographer, He would have created an eighth day in the week for taking pictures of His handiwork. Then all photographers would have one full day each week just to shoot! And we would have the extra time needed to run complete comparison tests on the plethora of new 35mm color films released each year.
After 15 years as a successful architecture and interiors photographer in Washington, D.C., Maxwell MacKenzie stopped shooting only for clients and started to shoot for himself. The prodigal photographer returned after an absence of many years to the place of his birth, Otter Tail County, Minnesota.
We’ve done it again. For the fourth year running, we’ve come up with nearly a whole book full of single-page how-to articles, each jam packed with useful information to improve your picture-taking and solve persnickety problems, thus making your hobby more rewarding and fun.
They say of real estate, location is everything. Ditto for dust. If your darkroom, film-drying cabinet, or film-changing table is in a carpeted area or in a room with thick, cloth drapes, you’d better learn good spotting technique, because you’re always going to have dust problems.
Fireworks photographs are always captivating—frozen images of bursting color that take you back to the dazzling display itself, complete with crowds, noise, and the smell of powder. But somehow, most of the drama seems lost in a still photograph.
The handheld meter remains one of the most valuable tools for a photo enthusiast. We have illustrated the major types of handheld meters and the ways in which they are commonly used. Two considerations are paramount: 1. Meters provide a reading designed to reproduce a medium brightness level (referred to as 18-percent reflectance neutral gray) in the resulting photograph.
Situation: You’re leafing through a magazine or book or browsing around a picture show or gallery and you come upon a photograph that’s really phenomenal. “Can I possibly learn something from this inspiring picture even though there are no technical data?” you ask yourself.
Ignore any rumors you may have heard about the difficulty of slide duplicating. Today’s film and equipment make duplicating slides almost as easy as taking the originals. You can also save a bundle since having quality dupes made commercially can run several dollars apiece.
Sure, these pictures may border on clichés, but they are clichés that never fail to grab us. We’re all suckers for that frame-filling drama of OP Sol looming large on the horizon. And we all know how to get those shots of big suns—just shoot the horizon with that fabulously expensive, superspeed, extra low-dispersion glass, apochromatic tele, right?
To get Pop Photo Online, you’ll need a computer (PC compatible or Macintosh) with a modem (we highly recommend one capable of at least 9600 baud), plus an account with America Online (AOL). For PC users, we suggest you get the Windows version and at least 4 meg of RAM (memory) if you want to view pictures and other illustrations.
Babies are definitely among the most appealing and popular photo subjects on earth, but alas, the overwhelming majority of baby pictures are photographs only a mother could love. What can you do to raise the 1evel of your baby pictures? First, avoid the common mistakes:
The more resolution you want in a digital image, the more data it takes. More data means larger files, which require more computer memory and take a longer time to work with or transfer. Besides, how sharp does the image need to be? The trick is to get the best balance between file size and image resolution.
Capturing the right moment during the excitement and action of a live performance can be backbreaking work for concert photographers, but if you love cheering crowds, loud music, and backstage access to famous musicians, then maybe you’re cut out to be one.
Do you want to learn as much as you can about shooting flowers, portraits, wildlife? How-to books will give you information in depth. We’ve listed some excellent books that deal with the most popular topics. You will find more in your library’s card catalog or the Books in Print at the library or your bookseller.
There really are no effective formulas for composing good landscapes. Nonetheless, the general suggestions that follow can probably help you get better ones. 1. Every landscape should have a focal point. This is the center of interest, the part of the picture your eye is drawn to.
So you’re in the market for an accessory flash? Are you a fool to buy your camera maker’s expensive unit and ignore the cheaper strobe made by an independent manufacturer? Are you an even bigger fool to buy the top of the line, when a more modest unit would be fine?
There’s one simple secret to using window light as a light source for portraits: Window light is a solar banklight. What’s more, almost everyone already has a good selection of studio accessories for this natural banklight: diffusion panels (curtains), light attenuators (Venetian blinds), and reflector panels (room walls).
Have you ever tried to shoot beautiful scenics or outdoor portraits on a bright day only to get back terrible prints or slides from the lab in which the highlights are all washed out or there’s no detail in the shadows? If your camera and film were set properly, then the problem was probably caused by high scene contrast.
What are the most popular subjects for photographers? People and animals are right up there, but flowers aren’t far behind. Lusciously colored, gracefully formed, it’s hard not to be lured by their beauty. You don’t need a lot of specialized equipment to shoot flowers, although particular lenses and accessories are best for specific types of shots.
Baby, it’s cold in here! And that’s the way many photographic materials like it. Film, printing paper, and batteries may benefit from storage in the fridge or the freezer. But which ones? And for how long? And how cold? Here’s a general guide:
There are several types of in-camera multiple exposure, with numerous variations thereof: Two or more completely different scenes shot on one piece of film. A shot is taken, then the shutter is cocked but the film isn’t advanced. Then another shot, taken somewhere else, is exposed on that same frame.
Forget all that sage advice about holding the camera steady while the shutter fires. Jiggle it. Twist it. Turn it. Swing it right to left. The resulting deliberately blurred images can convey the impression of movement, redefine space, or simply produce eyearresting patterns.
If you’ve daydreamed about setting up a darkroom, but hesitated because of the expense, here’s a way to make photographs sans enlarger, lenses, filters, dodging tools, analyzer, or safelights. Heck, you don’t even need a camera. How? Make photograms.
Hands on: Budget-priced construction, plastic mount, closest focusing distance of 31½ inches is unusually long. User must push “macro” switch at 80mm to reach manual-focusing-only closer range. Good, grippable, grooved zoom ring, but macro switch position gets in way.
Hands on: Virtually identical in size, weight, and handling to non-APO version: light, compact, easy to handle. But second and third lens elements have been replaced with special glass and the optical formula slightly reconfigured. Grooved, rubberized control rings provide good gripping surfaces.
Clean up your attic: You may find the makings of your family’s most important history book.
What do you need to copy?
Can you remove stains?
Hardest job? Identification
Hidden in your attic, stashed behind outgrown baby clothes and old tennis rackets, could be a treasure trove of old photographs. That haphazard assortment of faded, unidentified, and undated pictures might not seem to be of much importance, but get them organized, mount them in an album, and supplement them with nuggets of information about your family, and they will be something your children and future generations will treasure.
Re: [“SLR”] in the March 1994 issue, page 20, I believe that a single focallength lens, if made well, cannot be readily duplicated, in terms of quality, by a zoom lens of equal focal length. Why didn’t you guys line up the fscales; start the Zeiss Planar at f/4 instead of f/1.7?
Masked Culture: The Greenwich Village Halloween Parade, by Jack Kugelmass. Columbia Univ. Press, New York, NY; 192 pages, 100 color photographs; cloth, $39.95. A collaboration of five photographers and a folklorist, both photos and text are as uneven as they are fascinating. But that pretty much describes this otherworldly, it-could-only-happenin-New-York event. Best are the closeups of the spectacular and outrageous costumes and the interplay of participants and onlookers.
A collection of old, unidentified photographs can make putting together an ancestor album seem like an impossible task. Successful dating depends on knowledge about the type and style of photograph, who took it and where, and historical details such as clothing and hairstyles.
Gift of Heritage—that’s what a family, history album can be, but it’s also the name of a videotape that can be extremely helpful if you decide to embark on such a project. This tape, from Mary Lou Productions (P.0. Box 17233, Minneapolis, MN 55417; $23) is intended for those who want to put everything on videotape—and that’s another option you might consider.
The Summer Consumer Electronics Show, which has been held for many years in the Windy City, stirred barely a zephyr this year—at least in the realm of video equipment introductions. In fact, many of the new movie-making products reported here were actually introduced at press conferences before the show.
Need some product your camera store doesn't carry and doesn't know where you can get it? Here's our own clip-and-save guide to the offbeat, uncommon, obsolete—and often essential. Some of these companies also have excellent mail-order catalogs loaded with other handy items.
How many birds could Nikon engineers hit with one stone? Let’s count: The Nikon SK-6 flash bracket doubles the number of flashes per battery set; cuts the recycle time in half; snaps free of the camera body for instant, off-camera, through-thelens flash operation; eliminates red-eye; protects the mounted Speedlight from bumps; and positions the flash for optimum lighting of vertical portraits. Even if we subtract a bird from the score because the bracket deactivates a flash’s focus-assist beam, it’s still a pretty impressive tally. Compatible with most current Nikon AF cameras and with the SB-22, -24 and -25 Spcedlights, the SK-6 costs $390, including AS16 hot-shoe adapter and cable. Weight: one pound. (Nikon, 1300 Walt Whitman Rd., Melville, NY 11747.)
Humidity! Too little can shrink, crack, or split your photos; too much invites staining and fungal growth. Even an acceptable level (between 30 and 50 percent) can cause problems if it’s allowed to constantly fluctuate. For protection from this invisible villain, consider the HumiSafe Kit. It consists of an archivally safe and scalable plastic pouch, a humidity indicator card, and a rechargeable desiccant canister. You seal up your prints in the pouch with the card and canister. When the canister has wrestled humidity down to an agreeable 40 percent, you pull the canister our. Then, on a weekly basis, you monitor the card, returning the canister if humidity raises its drippy head. Cost: $19.95. (Fotek, P.O. Box 10028, Rochester, NY 14610; 716-288-8526.)
When you send your favorite photos to, let’s say, an obscure photo contest, how do you know no one will use, copy, or otherwise rip off your best work without asking, crediting, or paying you for it? Pros grapple with this question all the time, and a partial answer may be at hand with ProofGuard. Custom-printed, tamper-proof labels that you affix to photos or slide mounts, ProofGuard stickers remind others of the protected status your pictures enjoy under federal copyright laws. Prices vary depending on the size of the print order. (Century Marketing, 12836 S. Dixie Highway, Bowling Green, OH 43402; 800537-9429.)
new Multigrade IV RC Deluxe
The one product serious photographers love to hate—namely, resin-coated, variable-contrast b&w enlarging paper—is getting harder and harder to resist. The new Multigrade IV RC Deluxe from Ilford, for example, has no veiling problem and is claimed to behave just like graded paper in the contrast department — especially in the highlights. What’s more, the new “Satin” surface strikes us as the deadest matte this side of fiber. It’s products like this that make us wonder if fiber-based, b&w papers will soon go the way of fiber-based color papers, namely bye-bye. (Ilford Photo, West 70 Century Rd., Paramus, NJ 07653.)
Jobo’s Statbrush Anti-static brushes
Jobo’s Statbrush Anti-static brushes ($20-$57) don’t use radioactive polonium, with its puny two-year life expectancy, to dissipate the static electricity that makes dust stick to film. No, these new brushes rely on something more long-lived: namely you. A specially designed metal handle draws static charge from the film up through the brush’s conductive fibers and onto a solid electrical ground—your body. Result: static-free de-dusting. The one shown here (RM-2000) mounts onto an enlarger column, permitting one-handed negative strip dusting. Nice touch! (Jobo Fototcchnic, P.O. Box 3721, Ann Arbor, MI 48106.)
Photographers hip to the load-lightening characteristics of neoprene will dig Op/Tech’s new tripod strap ($25.95). Guess what it’s called? The Tripod Strap! Features include quick-disconnect clips for fast setup and the ability to tote your ’pod in either vertical or horizontal orientations. What’s more, the product’s true juicy bit—that feathery swathe of spongy neoprene—is lined with rubbery nibs that firmly glue the strap right where it belongs— on your shoulder. (Op/Tech, 290 Arden Dr., Belgrade, MT, 59714.)
new Fun Food Frame
Traditional frames aren’t the only way to display your pictures. Have you scoped out the new Fun Food Frame from Snak Shot? It’s a plastic cubicle that holds matted photos on one side and snacks or potpourri on the other. We can’t decide which side we like better! Another recent innovation: The Scrcenic. A largish cardboard rectangle that snaps into place around the outside circumference of a computer screen, it holds up to 14 wallet-size photos for you to lovingly admire as you type, type, type all the livelong day. (Snak Shot, 818-790-5168; Screenies, 707-939-6060.)
Twilight Optical-Light Frame
Transparencies beat out prints for delivering brilliant color, but the traditional way of viewing transparencies (projector, screen, etc.) isn’t exactly convenient Hoping it can change all that, the Light Quest Corp. has taken a product from professional advertising and converted it for home consumption—the backlit transparency viewer. Just like the glowing displays you’ve seen in stores, airport terminals, etc., the Twilight Optical-Light Frame is wall-hung, and it’s evenly and brightly lit. The difference is it’s smaller in scale and priced more modestly. How modestly? It depends on the size, but it’s in the hundreds. (Light Quest, 6717 Zumirez Dr., Malibu, CA 90265.)
Anyone who’s had to scissor across a 12-foot roll of background paper, knows that along about 10 feet through, your hand wants to just plain quit. And forget about cutting a straight line: Every time you open the scissors, its position changes. OIo Rolling Scissors tackle both problems. Something like a rotary-blade trimmer with a loop handle instead of a trimming arm, the cutting surfaces are two non-dulling, safety-housed, contiguous roller bearings. You can push the Rolling Scissors through 12 feet of seamless without fatigue; and as long as you aim straight, the cut will be too. Price: a reasonable $15. (Garry Brod Photo Tools, 6502 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood CA, 90038.)
Polaroid’s Captiva camera
Polaroid’s Captiva camera produces (and stores) those cute little prints roughly the size of baseball cards. Instantly, natch. Now an upgraded version offers a few more features, a couple of which have never appeared on an instant camera before: a date/time stamp and wireless remote control. The date/time feature should suit a lot of business uses that require precise dating. By the way, the camera also features a new self-timer and a name with more punctuation than a Proust novel. Captiva Datc:+. (Polaroid, 575 Technology Square, Cambridge, MA, 02139)
Like pieces of the Berlin Wall, photo products have migrated Westward since the recent revolutions in eastern Europe. One such is Fomapan, a black-and-white film from the Czech Republic available in two formats (35mm & 120) and two speeds (ISO 100 & 400). Unusual attributes include processing times for thirteen different developers (Hear that, Forte?) and a selling price that’s 40 percent less than domestic camera fodder—two bucks for a 36-exposure roll. Is it any good? With a name like Fomapan, it better be! (Foma USA, 3237 Longfellow Ave., South, Minneapolis, MN 55407; fax 612-729-4453.)
Honest, forthright answers to your most probing questions
Lens test? No Leica!
Phooey on new format
Sigma a stigma?
Your Leica M lens test [August ’94, page 44], while accurate and informative, was somewhat incomplete. In the beginning, Leica lenses had a high (by modern standards) curvature of field and softness at large apertures because the technology of the time could not overcome them.