Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Krappy Kamera Kollection - volume the first

By now if anyone has talked with me at length they probably know of my long-abiding love of what has come to be called "analog" photography. That is to say, it is not digital, it requires film, and that means it's gotta be processed by someone who knows what they're doing (not me.)
Despite the considerable expense of shooting on an outdated film format and getting it developed I love the results that can be achieved with it. However... I may have sorta gotten in over my head in collecting them.
I took the time to actually photography every single one I take pictures with, so people can see just how many different reticles/viewfinders I gaze through on a given day. It's a ridiculous amount; and yes, they are very specialized at times.

Now, starting top left we have my beloved Korean sparkle lomo... shoots 35mm film, no flash, you have to wind the film by hand. I love how it looks. Also love that it takes standard 35mm, since I can cart it around, have something unusual, and still be shooting it old-school. I've yet to see what a roll of film looks like out of this since I'm lazy at getting things developed.
Below that, the tiny red and black box is my iKimono. It has a tiny drawing of a cat on it, and that with the fact that it fits in the palm of my hand made me fall in love with it. It shoots 110 film, which officially approached extinction as of this winter when Fuji announced it was no longer producing 110 format film. Now it would appear that backstock and Kodak are the only ones producing, and unfortunately it allappears to be 400 speed color film. I'm betting it could make some lovely images in b&w, but we'll never know. I've already shot 3 rolls on it, can't wait to see what comes of them.
The bottom, looking like some demented child born of the unnatural union of a spider and a brick, is my darling Oktomat. 8 lenses, yes, that fire something like .5 seconds apart, so you get a moving picture. It makes this keen rattling noise when the shutters go off that makes me think of old telegraph machines. Takes standard 35mm, so easy to indulge if I can remember to load the film firmly so it actually moves forward when I manually advance it.
Top center is my Shironeko Holga(literally translated as "white cat holga") which is also a carrier of 35mm film. It was created specifically to attract and take pictures of cats (I guess it's a pastime in Japan? That's where it hails from). It comes with some features you won't find elsewhere, like little flashing LEDs and a button that meows or makes some atrocious electronic warbling that's probably supposed to be an angry cat howling. All I know is that when we get that sound -and they rotate through 5 whenever you push the button- that Chaucer looks at me as if I've just said something incredibly stupid and walks off. If I had to guess, it's probably cat speak for "D'oh." It does its job of attracting cats very well, and the noises are bizarre enough that they don't rush right up and sniff it, which is what they all do to every other camera I have. The only experiments I've run and developed were done on 100 speed film. Even with the included flash, which I used liberally, a lot of the pictures came out grainy or dark. I blame the film, not the camera, and will try again with 200-400 speed film.
Below that is my beloved Cheki! Fuji Instax 7s Cheki,to be exact. While this guy takes some highly specialized instant film that I have to buy in bulk from Korea in order to get it for less than $10 for a 10-shot pack, I adore it. It's bulky, it's not at all sleek, and it looks like a giant piece of chocolate. But on the plus side, it DOES let me see what I took pictures of within a few minutes. I've gotten familiar with how to frame with it, how to adjust for lighting conditions, and after 100 shots I can now say that it produces some rather cute small insta-photos. Definitely intend to keep it in my collection.
After that are my oldies but goodies, the Nikon N60 given to me by my parents for Christmas in my 16th year. I've taken VERY good care of it and it still works for the most part. It occasionally gets alzheimers and forgets where it was in a roll, or if it was supposed to be on or off. My guess is the wiring is loose somewhere in the housing and I am not skilled enough to take it apart and locate it. Either way, even being well over a decade old it still takes glorious photos.
Early this spring it was retired for our trip to Japan and instead we purchased a Nikon N80 to take with us. Aside from one small mishap where it didn't recognize the film or that the back was closed (a loading mistake on my part) it performed flawlessly and gave us lovely shots of our trip. If I could afford a Nikon digital, I would get it. But these guys do darned fine in its stead and there's just something about the smell of film out o the cannister and the sound of it advancing within the body of the camera that you don't get with a digital. IMHO a digital gives mediocre photographers the chance to take a ton of photos until they get one good one. I personally like the idea of having to stop and think to be sure that you like the shot and have everything set up correctly. The limitations of film force perfection. Even though it's a bit artificial, eventually doing that for every shot would become habit. Then I could perhaps allow myself to graduate to a digital SLR.
Of course, all of these krappy kameras in the photo and most of the pictures that end up on this blog or elsewhere had to be taken with something, right? Well, our faithful workhorse is the Canon A550 Power Shot. I've taken so many photos with this guy since we got it 2.5 years ago that it's about to fall over from exhaustion. While I'm not pleased with how it does with indoor shots and handles bright lights it gets the job done. Behold! Rockin' it Facebook-photo style:
We've been talking about picking up another one to cover for this since it's getting worn out, but when I take a look at what's available in terms of 10 mpx+ cameras with their shady quality in shade and inside shots and the price, I don't feel a huge need. Maybe once we're in the new house we can find a decent one that'll do well with the light levels both inside and out, and it'll be on sale? That's my hope.
Secretly I do some day want to pop a D40 body on my current Nikkor lens and see what I could do with it given enough time. *sigh* Ahh, dreams....
But Helen, you might say (if you knew that was my first name), that certainly doesn't look like an overwhelming extravagance of plastic fantastic photographic love. You're given to hyperbole and exaggeration but....what gives?
And to that I say... note that this is entitled Volume the First. I believe in giving the reader enough of a break to process without killing their eyes. There is more to come! (There always is. I'm an obsessive collector of things I find nifty.)

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