Cameras, games, Japan stuff.

Monday 22 September 2014

P-Sharan STD-35e Pinhole Camera

Recently I wanted a pinhole camera to use at school demonstration about light, and after a quick internet search I decided upon the P-Sharan STD-35e kit.  Made in Japan, the STD-35e is constructed of heavy gauge, black cardboard, and the kit comes in a convenient flat-pack format. Assembling the camera takes about one hour and requires no cutting or gluing - simply press the pieces out of their frames, fold in the appropriate places and use the included double sided tape to stick down the folds as as outlined in the instructions.  After assembling the camera, you simply load a 35 mm film and you are ready to shoot.

The above image was taken on Kodak Utramax 400, at an exposure time of approximately one second in the full midday sun.  Not the sharpest image, with a lot of shadow in the foreground. This image was taken while hand holding the STD-35e, but the cameras base plate comes with a standard thread for mounting the camera on a tripod.  This would help in a achieving a sharper image, and essential for taking long exposures at night.  The pinhole is 0.16 mm in diameter, with a 20 mm focal length at F/130.  Being so simple to use, and requiring no batteries for operation, I plan to take the STD-35e out again for a more in depth evaluation.  If you are curious about pinhole photography and don't mid a bit of paper folding, this could be the camera for you.  The P-Sharan STD-35e can be had for around $35.00 and you can visit the Sharan website for more information.

- harajuku32

Monday 1 September 2014

Yashica-A tlr Camera - First Outing

I recently acquired a Yashica-A twin lens reflex (tlr) camera after deciding to get back into shooting film.  I think I shot my last roll of film in 1999 on a Minolta slr, and since then it has been all digital.  I was intrigued by the medium format film size and also by the twin lens system - one for focus and the other for image capture.  The Yashica-A is fully manual with basic mechanical controls for aperture, shutter speed and focusing.  The shutter release mechanism must be cocked before taking a picture and the manual film advance lacks an automatic stop, requiring one to look for the advancing number through the red window on the rear of the camera.
I took the camera out for a test run, loading it with a roll of Ilford XP2 Super 400 film.  The Yashica-A has no light light meter, and because I do not own one, I had to guess the exposure based on the ambient light conditions.

I was pleased with the results from the Yashica-A. WIth a maximum shutter speed of 1/300, I expected the images to be quite over exposed with the ISO 400 Ilford film, however careful aperture selection can help to minimise this. The sample images are straight out of the camera with no editing.  

 With only twelve frames available on the film, it was refreshing to think about a shot before committing, unlike digital where it is all too easy to fire off successive frames without thinking too much subject matter and composition.  I also like the Yashica-A's top down viewfinder, which provides a big, bright viewing area for composing your shot.

 Throughout the day the Yashica-A attracted several curious stares, and even a couple of comments from people on the street who saw the camera hanging off my shoulder.

I thoroughly enjoyed shooting with the Yashica-A and I'm looking forward to taking it out with me again.  I would highly recommend the Yashica-A, or any other tlr camera to anyone who is interested in medium format photography, and looking at getting into shooting film.  There are many other brands of tlr cameras around, they are often available for a low price, and the fact that they are (mostly) all mechanical and require no battery, means that all you need pack for your day are the camera and a few rolls of film, and perhaps a light meter if you own one. Furthermore, when you are not using your tlr camera it will make an attractive ornament in your home

- harajuku32