Bikes and beaches

Summary of the 2016 summer film photography season.


Summer started with the conclusion that the optical camera digitizing setup was not yet ready for film production - at least not for prime time. The problem continues to be uneven backlight for film scanning. New and improved scanning lamp requires more light area and individually adjustable leds for perfectly even illumination across film frame. Building entirely new scanning lamp was postponed. Instead film rolls were sent to a specialist shop found through auction site who could also scan film with industrial scale Kodak Pakon F-135 scanner.

Pakon scanned film images were found to be good enough for many purposes and some Kodak film scans were superb even. Decision was made to use Kodak film when possible for the time being. Optical digital camera scanning setup might be slightly better than Pakon when completed. Highest quality optical scanning will require another pair of trained hands and eyes.


Two entry level pocket rangefinders were brought back to active service. Vivitar 35ES and Revue 400 SE were loaded with film and pictures were taken in mechanical mode without batteries. Exposure was metered using Selenium powered light meter again requiring no battery power. While both cameras could take pictures without batteries it was found that using camera's own electronic shutter priority exposure mode gave more consistent results. Battery is needed for the camera to meter light and adjust aperture automatically. Image quality of rangefinder lens is excellent for both Vivitar and Revue cameras but only when stopped down to f8. Lens requires vented hood to avoid flares.

First roll of film was taken with Carl Zeiss Jena MC Flektogon 35 f2.4 lens. This lens has strong following and good reputation by those who enjoy the most traditional Zeiss look available. Lens requires stopping down for good corner sharpness. Less seasoned photographers might get better results with selected Minolta Rokkor or Konica Hexanon lenses. Somebody who knows how to use Zeiss lenses might still prefer Flektogon.


Concept for Rokkor on M645 was introduced. This is a project to adapt Rokkor lenses for Mamiya 645 medium format cameras. The adapter is relatively easy to make for close up photography. In close up mode Rokkor lens will cover medium format film entirely. It will be more difficult to adapt a Rokkor for M645 for standard photography. Lens body requires shortening so that the lens could sink into camera's mirror box for infinity focus. Original Mamiya lens may be needed for composing a shot, then lift up mirror and install adapted Rokkor to take the picture. In theory this should work and more Rokkor image could be seen on larger film than before, if the project produced a finished adapter.

Pentax-110 small film format lenses were adapted and used with digital Lumix GF1 with good results. Inexpensive Pixco PTX110-m4/3 adapter allows joining small Pentax film era lenses with modern mirrorless digital cameras. Pentax-110 lenses do not have iris. When adapted they remain wide open at f2.8 limiting image quality. A custom iris was used to test lens quality stopped down to about f3.5 and f8. Even modest stopping down improved image quality in corners. A new product was invented and proposed - custom built f4.5 iris for Pentax-110 lenses that can be installed inside Pixco adapter without modifications to lens or adapter. The iris will be available when the first ones come from 3D printing house.

Some twenty rolls of film and only a handful of digital images were taken during the summer. Being able to see results from a stopped down Pentax-110 lens on digital camera made it more desirable to take more digital photos again.

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