More with the Pentax Auto 110


After trying the Orca black and white film, I have shot a roll of Lomography Tiger 200. Of course, the Pentax shoots this at 100 so a bit of over-exposure is to be expected. What I didn’t expect was the amount of grain visible in the photos. Good detail though.

Pentax Auto 110


I’ve been after one of these tiny marvels for ages. Something about miniature cameras really fascinates me. Reading all the reviews of how good the viewfinder is, and seeing some quite excellent images taken with one on Flickr convinced me that I really had to get one.

After a little while looking, I found a very nice little example with the 24mm lens for a reasonable price – £33. To go with it I got 2 rolls each of mono and colour film from Lomography.

Initial impressions were excellent. I had forgotten how easily 110 cartridges are loaded (open camera, insert cartridge, close camera, wind a couple of strokes). The viewfinder really is bright and clear. The 24mm lens (handily, 110 is almost identical to micro four-thirds in crop factor so that equates to 48mm) focuses down to 40cm. And it weighs next to nothing!

So I took the wee beastie out in the garden, and for a few strolls in the lanes around my house, loaded with the Lomo Orca 100 mono film, and afterwards sent the film off to the Silverpan lab in Bristol for dev/ scanning. (Not the quickest service but really good to to deal with and very good value for 110 processing).

Here are a few examples. All have had fairly standard treatment in Lightroom (shadows/highlights/sharpening). Some other frames showed a pattern of white dots which Silverpan reckoned are causes by light leaking through the Lomography film backing paper. To stop that, they recommend sticking tape over the frame counter window. We’ll see what effect that has for the next roll.

Update: a slightly different version of this post is now up on

7artisans 25mm f1.8 lens for Fuji

Macro, Reviews

I recently bought a Fujifilm X-E2 camera, with the very highly regarded 18-55mm f2.8-4 zoom lens. It’s a very nice lens indeed but it makes the whole package less than compact. So I got a bargain 7artisans lens off eBay. I’d had one of these before on an XT-1, but now on the X-E2 it makes a lovely petite combination. I haven’t has much chance to try it out yet, but this is an effort with a fairly large aperture. Probably f2 or 2.8.

NB this is simply processed with the “Neg” preset from Thomas Fitzgerald

Pet peeves


Lately I have been taking part in the many photo challenges on the Gurushots website. It’s quite addictive! There is good work on show, but also some egregious rubbish. It’s got me thinking about my pet peeves in photography. The stuff that makes you want to bang your head on the table in frustration and boredom, and wonder why the photographer thought it should go into any kind of competition.

Here’s a list which I shall maintain as I think of new entries.

  1. Beach views with the photographer’s bare feet in the shot.
  2. Silhouettes or shadows of someone doing a “wacky” jump or adopting a silly pose (including yoga positions), usually in front of a sunset, often wearing a fedora-type hat.
  3. Someone appearing to hold the setting/rising sun between thumb and forefinger.
  4. Any view of Kirkjufell in Iceland.
  5. Long exposure views of the little waterfall near Kirkjufell.
  6. The red houses in that fishing village in the Lofoten islands.
  7. A cat if it’s not doing anything interesting. Cats are fine animals but their range of facial expression is almost nil.
  8. Over processed portraits, HDR’d and sharpened to the point of torture.

9. Antelope Canyon illuminated by shafts of sunlight.

In which I try a Ricoh 500G, a Minolta X700, and an Olympus XA2

Film, Reviews

After the Smena I branched out into Japanese cameras, starting with the wonderful Ricoh 500G. I wrote an article for 35mmc describing the experience. You can find that article here but suffice to say I loved it, and still do (= I still have it).

Here’s an example image on Fomapan 200:

and one on Lomography 400:

Next, the Minolta X700. I spent some time trawling review sites to identify a good but not hugely expensive SLR. I also have an aversion to Canon and Nikon if I can avoid them, I should add. I don’t know why really, they make excellent cameras and I have owned a few digital cameras from both. But I feel other makers are more interesting. Anyhow, the Minolta X700 seemed very highly thought of. I duly found a nice one for £45, added a 50mm f1.7 lens for another £35, and off I went.

First impressions: very solid; great viewfinder; astonishingly loud, nay violent shutter/mirror slap. Wow, I nearly dropped the thing when I took my first shot! But I persevered, got used to it and took some nice shots. I added a Sigma 35-70 lens for a bit more versatility too.

Here are some shots on Ektar 100:

And some on TMax 400

However I sold the camera as it was just too heavy. I kept the 50mm lens for a while, and still have the Sigma 35-70. I’ve now just bought an X370, which is a fair bit lighter but is still solid and has a great viewfinder.

So we move onto the Olympus XA2. Of course the glamour model of the range is the original XA rangefinder, but have you seen the prices they are going for? Ridiculous money. The XA2 is, if anything, a better street camera. It is basically in focus from 6 feet to infinity, so it’s perfect for quick grab shots. The lens may not be as fantastic as the one in the XA (reputedly), but it seems pretty darn sharp to me.

A trip around Hereford, with the XA2 loaded with Acros 100 on a very bright summer’s day. The film seems ideally suited to bright, contrasty lighting and the XA2 with its 35mm lens is great for city shots.

Of course, it also does colour … I tried some Tungsten balanced Kono Kolorit 400T.

One thing is for sure, this little gem of a camera is a keeper!

Panasonic FZ1000 (briefly)


Everyone seems to rave about this camera so I had to scratch that superzoom itch and try one out.

I found a nice example on eBay, mint condition and boxed. It’s a heck of a beast with that huge 25-400 equivalent lens, and the usual gamut of Panasonic bells and whistles. Autofocus is very fast and the EVF is big and bright, although I could not get it totally sharp no matter how I twiddled the diopter adjustment. With the 20 megapixel inch sensor, you can get a decent quality image.

However I found that for the size of the thing, I was expecting a longer reach. 400mm is not bad, but it is not long enough for birding or astrophotography. So for me it was neither one thing or the other. Too big for an everyday camera, not powerful enough for the type of photos I wanted to use it for. I sold it for virtually what I paid for it, so no great loss for a few weeks’ experimentation. If I get another superzoom at any point it would be something like the Nikon P900. Meanwhile I will borrow my wife’s TZ80 if I need a compact with reach.

Rediscovering film…continued


After the Zorki I decided that Soviet cameras were the things to collect. I bought a Fed 4 but returned it (bust light meter). Then I found the Smena 8M. A plastic wonder of a camera. It feels like something given away with breakfast cereal and the shutter lever can be a pain, but it can take really nice pictures. Apparently millions of these were made and I can see why.

These are just a couple of shots taken with Lomography 400 film.



Rediscovering film

Film, Reviews

Yeah, I know, I’m not the first. But I had a long history of film photography before buying my first digital camera at the dawn of the new millenium. About a year ago I bought my first (of the new era) film camera, a Rollei XF35. I didn’t realise but the mismatch between the battery it was designed for, and the safer versions that you buy now, meant that it consistently underexposed by about a stop. So all my images on colour film had a very distinctive feel to them. Such as:



On the other hand with XP2 sometimes this came out alright:


But anyway the rather hit and miss nature of the camera put me off.Plus it had a very dim rangefinder patch. I sold it on eBay, actually for a decent profit.

My next camera was a Soviet model, a Zorki 4. This can take some lovely photos:

35405076884_fc2aeb5de3_k_dand some stinkers. I think it’s sprung a light leak.  On the other hand I did scan this myself with a flatbed scanner so perhaps I’m at fault!



More to come….