to scan film, or not

I’ve recently taken up film photography again. But processing is expensive.

To have 24 exposures processed and scanned at 6MP at Downtown Camera costs $12 + tax. That’s a pretty good price for black and white.

I can process at home (yay stinky toxic chemicals!) for a bit less. I’d need to buy a scanner, and the cheapest film scanners come in at around $300.

What to do, what to do?

she says I’m boring her camera

pentax mx + 40mm f/2.8 pancake

I missed my old Pentax MX. Of all of the cameras I’ve ever owned, it was probably the one with the most charm – and I don’t mean that in the same way that former Eastern bloc cameras were “charmingly” unreliable.

The MX doesn’t do much, but does all you need. It is tiny, but it’s a very solid chunk of metal. The shutter/mirror makes a very civilized little klipp! when fired. All the controls are where you’d expect them. The pancake 40mm lens gives my MX a snub-nosed appearance. I used to have the bigger and heavier 50mm f/1.4, which some lens nerds consider to be one of the finest lenses ever made.

Sure, it has its faults. The advance lever will poke you in the eye if you change shutter speed on the fly. And, well, y’know, film.

a narrow escape

I narrowly avoided buying an old Speed Graphic camera on eBay today. I regretted bidding almost immediately; film is a pain, and I’m glad I didn’t win. It would have been a nice ornament, but nothing more useful.

fauxlomo

Portpatrick, with the Gimp faux lomo effect
Portpatrick, taken with a Fujifilm MX-1200 pretending to be a lomo

For probably no better reason beyond babbittry, I’ve always half-wanted a lomo. Half-wanted, that is, because of my previous experience with “Russian” photo gear (I’ve had a Lomo TLR, a Fed rangefinder, and a Pentacon six) and its legendary quality control. I’m also so done with film.
A while back, Donncha wrote about a  GIMP Lomo Plugin. While it looked handy, the link to the code is now dead. You can find what I think is the same one here: http://flelay.free.fr/pool/lomo2.scm (or a local copy here if that link dies: lomo2.scm). Just pop it in your .gimp-2.2/scripts/ directory, and it’ll appear as a filter. The original author‘s comment on Donncha’s blog contains good settings: Vignetting softness=1, Contrast=30, Saturation=30, Double Vignetting=TRUE.

I knew there was a reason I retrieved my old 1.3 megapixel Fujifilm MX-1200 from my parents’ house. And that reason is fauxlomo!

fake plastic trees

They’re setting up some kind of christmas filmset in the parking lot – an ad, maybe? There are many fake trees in the parking lot, some with lights, and what looks like rolls of fake snow. There are also a hotdog stand and a London Underground sign – wha?

the monopoly on free money

from a familiar note
It’s a licence to print money! Well, Monopoly® money, that is. But you can’t have everything; it doesn’t stop people from trying, though.

The above image is copyrighted, trademarked, service-marked and intellectually-propertized 15-ways-to-Sunday by Hasbro. I hereby acknowledge that I’m a very naughty person to have nicked it for my website, and have felt good and contrite for at least the last 5 (five) seconds. But then, since Hasbro own the rights to my earliest published writings (long story: they bought Database Publications, for whom I used to write) and are sitting on the goldmine that is the film rights to Stardodger (my first, and only, game), I think they’ve done okay from me.

Goodbye, Star Wars Tree

burnt-out mini mall, Kennedy & Eglinton
The mini-mall burned last night. Looks like the centre of the fire was the gift shop in the middle of the block. The rest of the block is pretty badly damaged, though. It looks like the place will have to be rebuilt — or replaced with a condo block, which seems to be the fate of shops in Scarborough.

I hope that noone was hurt.

So, goodbye Yoga’s, with your selection of teas and Sri Lankan groceries. Goodbye Star Milk, the mom, pop and smiley baby store with your VLT in back and dodgy videos over the drinks cooler. Goodbye Poondy Bread, purveyors of that which has paneity. Goodbye Amma, ace Sri Lankan takeout food shop, the place where I developed a taste for really spicy food.

But most of all, goodbye to the gift shop. Even though I never went in there, I’ll miss the sun-yellowed unsold toys in the window; the almost-Transformers and plastic racing cars.

One toy, unsold through two summers, perplexed me most. It was a cardboard tube wrapped in tinsel. Cardboard tags with pictures of Star Wars characters were attached to it with those nylon annoyances you get on new clothes. It resembled more a christmas decoration than a space weapon, which I think it was supposed to be. We called it the Star Wars Tree, and I’m guessing it wasn’t officially licensed from Lucasfilm.

It’s all gone now, washed away by the fire hoses.

Kitchen Stories

We just watched Salmer fra kj�kkenet, a Norwegian/Swedish film about kitchen efficiency in Norwegian bachelors’ homes in 1950. It’s a very touching comedy, and it even has a musical saw!

gone digital

I got rid of nearly all my film camera equipment yesterday. Digital was calling, and I was barely using what I had. To Burlington Camera, I traded in:

  • Cosina-Voigtländer Bessa R 35mm rangefinder outfit, comprising:
    • Bessa R 35mm rangefinder body
    • Ultron Aspherical 35mm-f/1.7 lens
    • Nokton Aspherical 50mm-f/1.5 lens
    • Apo Lanthar 90mm-f/3.5 lens
  • Pentacon Six TL outfit, comprising:
    • Pentacon Six TL MF SLR body
    • Carl Zeiss Jena Biometar MC 80mm-f/2.8 Lens
    • Pentacon Six TL WLF
    • Pentacon Six TL metered prism
    • Pentacon Auto extension tubes
  • Voigtländer Vitoret 110EL 110 camera outfit with matching V200 flash
  • Yashica Yashicamat MF TLR
  • Yashica Electro 35 GTN 35mm rangefinder camera
  • Olympus Stylus Epic Infiniti 35mm AF compact
  • Metz 20BC6 Flash

…  all towards a Nikon D70. I like it a lot.

There is some film equipment I kept, like the amazing 15mm f/4.5 SW Heliar lens. I even bought a Bessa L body from Cameraquest so I could keep using it with my Kaidan KiWi panoramic head. I also kept the Zero Image pinhole camera, as it’s too nice to sell.

Coming back from the camera store, the taxi driver was an artist fae Balornock. I guess there’s a lot more people fae Balornock than in Balornock.