Monday, August 28, 2006

Imperial Continental Camera

I found this camera for $3 US at a thrift store called Savers, similar to Goodwill. This is truly a crappy camera. The Imperial Continental Camera was made by Herbert George Co, Chicago, Illinois, USA. There are other Imperial cameras by the same company, the most common being the Imperial Mark XII. I also have an Imperial Snapshot camera, a small, plastic box camera. If you do a search on eBay, you will see various other Imperial cameras. But you may not find this one. I've searched all over the web and have not found a single reference to this particular camera. Is it so bad that even crappy camera collectors don't care about it? I doubt that is possible. Maybe they only made them for a very short period of time, or they are made so poorly that they just couldn't carry on through the years.

Sorry for the nasty shots, I didn't feel like getting out the tripod...
The camera takes 620 film, producing eight 2 1/4" x 3 1/4" shots. It sports a fixed focus 88 mm Stylar lens, whatever that may be worth. I'm pretty sure it is glass. The most striking feature of this camera is its blatently ugly design. It is fairly large for a 620 camera, even one that takes larger photos. The front slides out to make the camera even larger. It's a good thing I took the camera apart to fix the shutter, because I didn't know this at first. I just thought the front was loose. It doesn't really fit together very well. The shutter mechanism is very sloppy, with lots of room for the parts to move up and down, so it sticks a lot. I have to hit the button very quickly or the shutter stay open. This actually seems to more of a design issue, as opposed to a problem of age. Kind of like the Diana clones have really screwy shutters. Also, the knob on top is missing, so advancing the film is painful. Age, of course, not design. The viewfinder is basically good for aiming in the general direction that you want to shoot, and nothing more. It is not shaped like the actual photo being taken. I guess the square front of the viewfinder is ill matched with the round eyehole on the back.
So how does it work? Quite well, I think, if the toy camera look is your thing. It has a nice blur effect around the edges, particularly on one side. It randomly leaks light, apparantly right across the middle. You can see the picture falls off around the edges. Some random vignette. All around, plenty of toy camera effects. Nice vintage quality to the shots. I like it! A great find, and I plan to use it more in the future. Not a display camera by any means, but fun to use.

The shutter stuck, so I had to shake the camera to unstick it...then I just shot again, cuz that's what I do.

UPS Sucks!

I'll have a decent photog post in the next day or so, but I want to put out some negative publicity for UPS, because I hate them. They misdelivered a package of mine today. I call them, and they say, well, that's not our problem because the computer says it was the sender for a formal investigation. Around Christmas, I found a sweet lot of cameras on ebay. UPS lost the package. Their answer: We are not responsible for losing your package. Contact the sender for a formal investigation. Twice before that I've had packages delivered to the wrong condo building, even though the buildings are clearly marked. Answer from UPS: Once we show it as delivered, it's not our fault. I refuse to use UPS anymore, and any company that uses UPS, I guess they don't get my business. My purchase shouldn't be a crapshoot. Here's my money, what are the odds of getting my product? 50%? 90%? If I'm paying for a service to have something simply brought to me, I expect 100%. If I pay $15 for a pizza and it might not actually be delivered to me, am I going to order that pizza? Nope. So screw you, UPS. Oh, and HP sucks for not including a USB cable with a printer. Why the hell would I buy a printer for my computer and not hook it up to my computer?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Underwater Holga

I've been wanting to turn my Holga into an underwater camera for awhile, and finally got around to building a waterproof casing. I spent many hours on the design and implementation, making sure the seal was absolute, as you can see:

A very complicated mod. I did tape the end up, to make sure the zip in the Ziploc didn't unzip. Laugh if you will, but it worked! The images aren't perfect, but the concept works.

I had no problem advancing the film or turning the focus knob. The focus is off because I'm focusing through water, I'm sure. The dress was a bit busy and blends in with the water. Next time I'll probably try her in a swimsuit or something darker for contrast. The mess on the second shot was a developing error from film overlapping. The last shot was supposed to show her hair floating towards the camera, but it mostly just looks goofy. I couldn't really see what I was aiming at, so the shots were somewhat random. Not much else to say about this experiment! Simple, somewhat effective, and worthy of future usage.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Expired Polaroid Type 88

Picked up three packs of Type 88 that expired in September of 1996 on eBay recently.

I'm trying to make it last, since expired Polaroid is tougher to least the kinds I can use. Took a couple shots around Phoenix.

The tones are muted and lean towards orange. The El Camino was actually bright yellow on the sides, so you can see how much darker the film is. I also decided to try a few emulsion transfers. Tried and failed. This first was with wet watercolor paper. This is the print and the transfer. It was developed for 15 seconds to leave the dye on the goop side.

As you can see, I mostly just got globs of blobs. Almost pretty, but just ugly enough to be...ugly. Looks kind of like someone crapped on my artwork. The second set shot was done with dry water color. Again, the print and the transfer.

Even less successful! Looks like denim. I actually like the prints, with the ultra faded tones and the goop stuck to them. These are my first two attempts, so I assume I will get better at some point. This film may just be too old...or it's too warm (around 84 degrees F in here)...who knows. I'll keep trying, though! I've read that the newer emulsions don't transfer, but then I've read that people still use the newer stuff. I think I'll save this expired film for actual prints. I want to go around some of the Hispanic (or Latino, whatever you prefer) areas of town, with the brightly painted store fun to shoot some in Nogales, too, but that's a longer drive. Whatever, I want to use the film to maximum effect!

Monday, August 14, 2006


This has absolutely nothing to do with photography, but my mind was drifting this morning and thought up something silly. I propose a new word to describe a blog that explains something, as opposed to a blog that is about life or whatever: bloq! A combination of blog and faq. I considered blaq, but that has entirely different and possibly interesting connotations. So if three years down the road it's all the rage (like who the heck ever heard of a blog five years ago?), you heard it here first! I googled 'em, so I know I'm first. Doesn't mean it's not stupid, but it makes me feel...powerful. Good morning!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Lubitel 166B + Found Film

I bought a Lubitel 166B on ebay recently, shipped from Ukraine. Nice looking little camera...heavier and more solid that I expected. I've read mixed reviews, but most of the negative remarks came from "real" camera users, as opposed to toy camera users.

I haven't used it yet. Figured out all the little levers on the front, but I'm not sure how to focus yet. Turn the knob, I know, but it's hard to tell what's going on in the viewfinder. And there is a little magnifying glass that you can use with the idea. There are a few good Lubitel sites on the web, so it won't take me long to figure it out.
The best part, though, was finding a roll of film in the camera!

I assumed it was black and white, and developed it with Diafine for 4 and 4. It's very thick film and has an old film texture to it. I think it was actually color, though it wasn't orange like other old color film I've developed with Diafine. The images were pretty vague and funky, and the film was close to opaque, so I'm thinking it was color film. No lab I know would risk developing it in their chemicals not knowing what kind of film it was, so I would have used Diafine regardless. I pulled these three off of the roll. One was fairly visible, the others were very faded. All were of a family in a living room.

Not sure why some of it is positive and some negative. Here is the last shot converted to black and white and inverted:

Pretty psychedelic shots! Looks like it could be in the late 1960s or 1970s? Hard to tell for sure. I always wonder what happened that someone shot a roll of film and just forgot about it until it's pulled out 30 years later.
Can't wait to try it out for myself!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

I'll have a decent post in the next few days. Took 15 rolls of film in Utah, so I have a lot of developing to do. Took two colors rolls that were a bust. Way too dark in the canyons, I guess. Here are a couple shots...

A view of Zion National Park from Angel's Landing, shot with a Fujipet:

Zion from below, with a Holga::

More to come! Shot a couple rolls of expired, should be interesting.

I turned on word verification for comments, as I'm starting to get spam. Hope that's not a pain in the ass for the few people that leave comments!