Thursday, March 26, 2015

Time to get your Argus out

Winter and spring are now trading days here in the North. Coats still hang near the door, however soon they will not be needed. Once people in the north headed outdoors for the warm weather and didn't come back inside much until the weather got cold again. Back in the 1930's during winter a warm house and entertainment from the young days of radio was popular. Radios sold well. In summer radios often sat quiet in the hot house and no one was buying a new radio. Now that was a problem for the International Radio Corporation of Ann Arbor MI.  During the cold months there were lots of radios to make and everyone was working and making money. But not in the summer. Now cameras were something people used in the summer so IRC decided to make one. The result, the Argus A, became one of the most popular cameras of the time. IRC changed it's name to Argus Corporation and stopped making radios. The next camera in the line, the C3 became the most successful camera of all time. And all this happened as a result of the seasonable habits and inventiveness of the people of the great industrial north.

Today neither the North nor the seasons have the influence they once did. Argus now exists in Ann Arbor as a museum. Fortunately, today many Argus cameras remain ready to take pictures. So with the warm weather returning to the north the time is right to get an Argus and head outdoors.

The images here were taken with an Argus C4.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Rokinon Automatic MC 1:2.8 f=24mm

A while back the external hard drive that I had a lot of my older negative scans stopped working.  Unfortunately, I hadn't gotten around to backing it up. I figured it was just a problem with the case and that the drive was probably okay. Anyway it took me a while to get around to taking the case apart and putting the drive in another case. Fortunately once I did I was able to see the drive again. And this time I backed the files up immediately. Anyway now I have access to some stuff that I hadn't written about before and some images I am revisiting.

I did write about the Rokinon 24mm three years ago.  At the time I had mostly used it on my digital camera. Since then I have used it a few times with film. I found it to be a good performer. Especially for a lens of this focal length that is usually fairly cheap. I remember I got this one for under $10 because the seller said there was a problem with haze. It turned out the haze was just some film from cigarette smoke that was easily cleaned. Even in good condition this lens was selling for around $20 to $30 on Ebay a few years ago. However I did look at recent sales on Ebay and it was selling for between $50 and $77. Not sure what the reason for the increase is other than people are using it on digital. And it does do well on digital where the crop factor can eliminate the edge problems that this lens can have.

So here are some images from the Rokinon 24mm. The B&W are on Legacy Pro 100. The color are Fuji 200. The last image of the Cinema Theater in Urbana IL, is where the late movie critic, Roger Ebert, watched movies when he was growing up. It was called The Princess Theater then. I also made a gallery a while back which mostly has digital images made using and M42 adapter.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Spartus Rocket Camera

The Spartus Rocket comes from the early Space Age. Made in 1961 it sold for $4.75 ($37.08 today). I got this one at an antique shop Saturday. Aside from a small chip it is in good shape. The handle which is often broken in cameras of this type looks brand new. The Spartus Rocket uses 127 film. Up until the later 1960's when Kodak Instamatic's came along 127 film was very popular for consumer level cameras. The negative was a little bigger than 135, however it still allowed for a fairly compact camera. The 127 image size was especially popuar for slides. I think the Rocket is one of the nicer looking designs for this type of camera. From just playing around with pushing the shutter and using the viewfinder it seem like a handy camera. Like most cameras of this type there isn't anything to adjust. There is one shutter speed and the focus is fixed. It is point & shoot in its purest form. 

I have read that a company named Maco will still be making 127 film. Also there are various companies that sell 127 that has been cut down from 120 film. Usually this film is fairly expensive.  Probably more than I am inclined to pay to shoot the Spartus Rocket. Still it is a nice display camera. It would fit well into many early 1960's themes.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Start of a New Season

I imagine the image above may hurt some people's eyes. Still if you have read some of my past posts it does seem I have an occasional fondness for often ridiculed cameras. Last year I didn't see many such cameras. For a long time I could count on the cheap plastics being present at garage sales and thrift shops. However last year it looked like people must have finally cleaned all these cameras from their drawers and closets.

So at the start of a new season I was surprised to see a whole bin of these cameras at a thrift store that I visited on Saturday. I decided just to take the ones which were not grey or black. The five cameras above are the result. The Pink Eyelash camera says it has a 28mm lens. Other than that they are fairly ordinary.  I don't remember ever seeing anyone use one of this type of camera back in the years when they were prominent. From what I understand many of this type of camera were used as promotional items and often ended up tossed in a drawer. I actually have another of the Lexxus camera. The pictures it takes are not bad. They are consistently fairly sharp in the center and soft on the corners.

I don't feel in a big hurry to take pictures with these new finds. Although in the past I have found that a few of this type of camera, will take surprisingly nice images. And even some take bad images that are nonetheless interesting. Anyway at least they are some nice colors for the Easter season.