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Plastic memberberries

That’s what I use the most to shoot right now. Surprise, m*********er.

You know, many of us GAS-afflicted spawn have the fantasy that someday we will sell everything and keep just a system to do our work. Or two. Okay, there’s my Leica rangefinder and my second body plus all the lenses; then, you can’t tell a man to get rid of his two Nikon Fs with differents prisms and lenses from 20 to 300mm; and it would be cruel to take that cutey patooty Leica R6 from him, and of course there is the Viso II for Leica screw bodies with matching Leica IIIa and a ton of Telyts…Geez, I won’t live enough lives to actually use all this stuff but I swear to God that I will riddle with bullets the motherfucker that tries to take one camera from me. It simply isn’t rational. There are chaps who work in an office, act normal all week long but then, when the weekend comes they go watching soccer and go totally apeshit and call the ref things that would make a truck driver blush. Everybody’s got a bug; mine is cameras, and I don’t think it can be cured.

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Internets beware: here be chrome & leather

We can finally announce that we have gone online with our own store. Finally Camera Store Barcelona is its own man in the Internets. We will keep our presence in ebay, and I will try to mislead you to our ebay store as often as ever, but now we also have our own thing. Migrating our store has been a lot of effort, but the sight of so much leather & chrome really eased it all a lot.
Of course, I’m inviting you to check our new store out, here at our site. And I’m just inviting you, which is quite mild, because my lawyers told me that installing a plugin that went apeshit and spamming pop-ups would have undesired legal consequences. The consequences will never be the same, said a philosopher. Yes, we are proof that rehab from 4chan works in some cases.
On the serious side now, as you can see, we’ve gone nuts and are offering insane discounts, up to 30 to celebrate we’re in the ‘nets. From now to the 19th, If you want to go and steal a shiny, shiny chromed gizmo from us, now it’s your chance.

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Instant Auto. Take this, other large format cameras.

Look at the finder. Isn't it gorgeous?
Look at the finder. Isn’t it gorgeous?

If there were analog cameras that truly were another breed were the Polaroids. The reasons that they were totally different beasts from the far more common 35mm and medium format cameras lies in the much larger area that the polaroid had to expose; you see, for all effects, the Polas were large format cameras only that its negative (because all Polaroid film involved a negative, and the really clever ones didn’t show it to you) was used only once on a single contact print.

The fact that they were dumbified large format cameras amazes me. Dr. Land, the designer of all Polaroid cameras very much followed the path set up by designers of 6×9 folders that were the rage until the popularisation of the 35mm cinefilm format in the early 1930’s by Leica. If you take a look at the first Polas from the 1950’s, the similarities are obvious. The folding served more purposes than just coolness: it was intended for portability. See, the exposure area being larger meant that the focal distance of the lenses involved had to be in proportion; this made for very large cameras, and here’s where the folding shines: it could be collapsed into the body when not in use and it was much lighter than any other alternative. With time, the designs were more and more simplified in order to cut costs and being able to sell the cameras for cheaper. What you see above, the Type 80, was an involution on the concept: it simply got rid of the bellows and changed it for rigid thermoplastic integrated into the film compartment; with setting operable from the both the body and the fixed lensboard.

Continue reading Instant Auto. Take this, other large format cameras.

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In Soviet Russia lens shoot through YOU

Industar! Industar! INDUSTAR! Sounds like the name of a horror flick from the nineties. I love it.
Industar! Industar! INDUSTAR! Sounds like the name of a horror flick from the nineties. I love it.

Today you gonna read me delve even deeper into madness and talk Russian lenses. Shall we? Ok, now. Once the bug has bitten you and you have the old glass flu, russky lenses are so conspicuously there that you can’t ignore them. Many despise old Soviet glass out of plain prejudice: because it’s a product of the commie economy. Which sure had its issues, but we are talking glass & helicoids now.

For all of those who talk crap on Soviet lenses without knowing shit: you should know that when most Soviet lenses first hit the (very controlled commie countries’ only) market in the 1950s, they were on par with its Western counterparts (I won’t say ‘competition’ because they didn’t share markets), both mechanically and optically. Take into account that many optical legends like the Biotar, the Macro-Switar, the Zoomar, the Angeniéux Rètrofocus, the first Summicron… were mass marketed for the first time in the 50’s.

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Old vs. new lenses. Old wins. FATALITY

J-8, one of those lenses with many unmeasurable qualities just at home on a Leica III
J-8, one of those lenses with many unmeasurable qualities just at home on a Leica III

Once I saw post in a forum in which some chap asked whether he should buy old glass (actually he mentioned a few models like Pancolar, Super-Takumar, etc.) or stick to the zoom kit lens he got with his brand new DSLR. And you know, opinions are like asses: everybody’s got one; there were all kinds of answers, but one fella made me smile telling the guy that both all those classic lenses and newer ones were better at taking pictures than we are photographers. That is and isn’t true.

To be fair, lenses formulated in and after the 1980’s beat hands down older lenses at key aspects like flare, contrast and resolving power. Coating tech may not look so glamourous as optical design, but the revolution came from there.

Continue reading Old vs. new lenses. Old wins. FATALITY

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Zeiss my shiny metal ass

Suffer, bitch
Suffer, bitch

What you see above is a Contax G1 camera body. Well, more exactly, this is the part in which you can verify that it was made in Japan by Kyocera, which, if you didn’t know, at the time when this camera was released was known in the West for making copying machines. The system was a flop. Not because the cameras and the lenses were bad: they weren’t. In fact, the lenses are on par with Leica, which is to say that they’re as good as a photographic lens can be. They failed because there was no market for such a product. Them guys at Kyocera failed to understand why they would totally fail at selling “Contax” cameras made in Japan.

It was because they weren’t Zeiss.

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Quantum of badass

Watches fer butches

Russophobia: Russians say you have a bad case of it whenever you criticize anything Russian or from Russia. They do it as much as Americans say you are anti-them whenever you don’t like something done by their government; well, in the case of Americans you won’t hear it as much just because many of them are so happily ignorant of everything that happens abroad. I myself have been accused of Russophobia sometimes because how I talk about Soviet cameras. What should I do? Saying they’re not bad compared to Japanese cameras? You’d call me a liar with good reason. Truth is I’m much of a russophile and I celebrate Russia and Russian culture as much as I celebrate American, and for one time, I’m not joking. That is not to say that I think that Russian or American governments always exert a good influence over the world, oh no.

I’m more exactly a nostalgic sovietmaniac, in the sense that I collect gizmoes from or related to the old Soviet Union. Again, no nostalgia about the USSR politically.

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Medium format smells funny

Attachment-1

Sniff, sniff, something’s rotten in filmland, people. The last few years have seen an acute decrease in price of used medium format camera gear, specially pro medium format stuff. The only MF cameras that still fetch a big moolah tag are those specifically intended for amateur use, and even those are pretty cheap compared with what they used to be. Digital has finally killed 120 film in the pro area. Not only digital backs for medium format systems are cheaper and better, but there are also non modular cameras with ENORMOUS image sensors like the Leica S series, capable of taking huge images. Also, smaller full frame digital sensors are becoming better and better. Pro photogs are not like us, boys and girls, but mostly boys, errr… Ok, from the beginning. I was saying that, unlike amateurs, who like shiny and chrome and complicated, pros like matte black and easy.

Continue reading Medium format smells funny

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Central shutter X-travaganza: Zenit fourfivesix

Yes, the filter thread is bent. Geez, will you always see only the bad side of everything?
Yes, the filter thread is bent. Geez, will you always see only the bad side of everything?

You know, in the 1960’s central shutter 35mm SLRs were the rage. Big camera makers, specially German but also Japanese, incorporated them into their offer as a cheaper option for those who wanted to see what they were shooting through a lens. This means they aimed them at amateurs, universally. Those camera systems were pretty limited if compared to the pro focal-plane shutter systems: most models were fixed lens cameras, specially the Japanese, so if you wanted to shoot a different focal length than that of the native lens you had to use an optical adapter, similar to that crap used in the cell phones nowadays when them hipsters want to shoot ‘fisheye’ or ‘tele lens’. The adapters did the job, but optical quality was quite meh. Kodak’s approach to this tech was a system with three optical elements built in camera with a bayonet for objectives that could contain one or more elements for different focal lenses. Anyway, the range of focal lengths was quite poor.

Continue reading Central shutter X-travaganza: Zenit fourfivesix