Wednesday, August 17, 2011

J66 Kicks

I have finally become aware of the Fujifilm 500AF that uses Instax Wide film. This camera is rare and expensive if found. Apparently it’s similar to the Instax 100/200/210 with the major difference of a usable autofocus. The elusive camera sells for about $300 if one appears on ebay. You can see the camera here, thanks to Lance of

You know what camera is NOT sought by instant film enthusiasts? The Polaroid J66.
Polaroid Land Camera J66 , Andrew D. Barron©8/17/11
On my last visit to the thrift store, the ladies brought out some interesting specimens that were all but forgotten in the back. The first was a Land Camera J66. I didn’t know anything about it, it was pristine, so I had to pick it up. It’s design is similar to the 95b, but also similar to the pack film cameras I have (210 & 320). After I handled a counter full of junk cameras, mostly early digitals, she said, “You have some kind of camera obsession.”
Polaroids, Andrew D. Barron©8/17/11
My SX-70 missed the bus for this photo: my collection spanning polaroid evolution. This J66 is in perfect condition. I paid too much, so fair warning to you out there: if you find a J66, do not pay more than $5 for it. They have really crappy single-element lenses and have no appeal aside from the cool or retro factor. My J66 will soon turn 50. Countdown to 12/25/2012: Polaroid style.
Polaroid Land Camera J66, Andrew D. Barron©8/17/11
Mrs. [husband’s name] tells an interesting story of 50 years of cultural change. I have several unanswered emails out there concerning the conversion of my Land Camera 95b to take 4x5 backs, a polaroid pack, or to a straight pack film conversion. I wouldn’t mind discovering a workflow where I put an Instax Wide into the 95B, and develop it in a Instax 210 or hacked apart Instax 100. Unfortunately, the 95b is a less desirable choice for conversion behind the 110a/b and 95a. There are folks out there who use converted roll film cameras as hand-held, 4x5 rangefinders. I think that is pretty slick.

The other camera I picked up is a OneStep Talking Camera. It is a late-era, integral film camera that has three prerecorded prompts to elicit smiles. An empty 600 cartridge with some charge allows for previewing.

This camera is practically unused, in the box. It isn’t too hard for me to see why! The manual has a date of 9/94.

Loading five film cameras has shrunk my blog content lately. It will be a lot to deal with when I get the film back though. I like shooting with the Minolta Zoom 110 SLR, though the viewfinder is fairly small and dark and the metering lights aren’t very helpful. I also have been enjoying the horrendous CLUNK of the Konica Autoreflex T’s shutter. I find the 57mm lens a bit hard to get used to framing. (Too much ’nifty fifty’ with my digital Nikons). It wasn’ the best idea, but all of the 135 film I used was very expired and poorly stored.

This blog gets traffic from people looking for a self timer for the Hipstamatic (no, it doesn’t have it), and increasingly from people interested in the Instax 210. I tried quite a number of things with that camera to add variety. What I really need to to is find a way to make filters attach more securely. Since the lens retracts completely, this is harder than it seems. The real trouble with the Instax 210 is the focus range of two settings. The focusing problem led me to learn of the 500AF. Here’s an Instax shot where I forgot to shift to infinity focus.
Frankport at Sisters Rocks, Andrew D. Barron©8/17/11
I keep shooting with my digital cameras too, especially my infrared D5000. There were some deer wading up the Rogue River on Sunday. The little normal lens wasn’t enough to feature them, but with a control point in SilverEFEX, here they are:
Deer on the Rogue, Andrew D. Barron©8/14/11
These weird colored ones, swapping the red for blue channels, are the only false-color infrared shots I seem to like. Often I increase the saturation of the blue sky. This one from Rome, Oregon in June is one of my all time favorites. For some reason, it has no views in my flickr photostream.
Rome Oregon fuel pumps, Andrew D. Barron©8/17/11
Okay, back to the southern Oregon coast this week:
Landslide trees at Otter Point, Andrew D. Barron©8/17/11
Mostly, I am pleased with the black and white versions of infrared shots. I like the dark skies and the white vegetation.
Trees at Sisters Rocks, Andrew D. Barron©8/17/11
I get considerable mileage from my point and shoot, but it has a limited range of f-stops. Still, nice photos are made from the P6000:
Sunset at Sisters Rocks, Andrew D. Barron©8/17/11
That brings up another topic. I was told the P6000 was a good candidate for infrared conversion. The lens is adequate, the megapixel count is high, and the camera has a lot of manual control. However, I do not think it would perform very well as an IR camera. The RAW format is NRW, and noise at iso400 and above is very noticeable. Since IR images are generally less sharp and noisy, you don’t want a limited sensor, nor a limited lens. It is an affordable option though, and I wouldn’t mind seeing some 715nm converted P6000 photographs. The Lumix LX5 might be a good candidate for a point and shoot too. On both cameras, I wonder if the lenses have problems with hotspots.

My biggest problem with point and shoot cameras is the very limited depth of field. Sure, you can set the aperture to the minimum and things will be sort of clear, but with such a tiny lens, well, you got shots like this:
Lights, fence, bulbs, Andrew D. Barron©8/17/11
It’s okay, and worlds beyond the Land Camera J66, no doubt. If you’re interested in converting a J66, there is a nice blog here, and an interesting 120 roll film conversion here

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