User Review – Bronica GS-1

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Bronica GS-1 system map
Scanned system overview map from Butkus.org – this guy has saved my butt many times with manuals from older film cameras, please take time to donate to his website!

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GS-1 polaroid
(test shot of my wife, hopefully she won’t mind me posting this here!)

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ultra rare 500mm
Found this on eBay for a Buy it now price of $2400

Speedlight G
I couldn’t imagine shooting with this setup, looks pretty bulky, but TTL flash….

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Bronica GS advert July 1984
Here’s a black and white ad from a Singapore newspaper in July of 1984

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Concrete 6x7
Seems like Bronica is making a statement about the other 6×7 player in town here – ad from an American Photo mag 1992

The Bronica Edge
The Bronica Edge – Seems like the GS-1 was good enough for Playboy photographer David Mercy. The ad also points out an important fact: Bronica was the only company to offer a medium format SLR in each of the major formats (6×4.5, 6×6, and 6×7)…

Free Bronnys!
Damn, a free extra body giveaway! Too bad I had just started my freshman year in college at this time, and I know I didn’t have the money lying around to sink into a medium format system!

Bronny American Photo 1991
Holy crap, look at this offer, buy a GS-1 system and for $250 more you got a 65 or 150mm lens!!!! (ad from American Photo 1991)

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Tonya-1-e1301543234559
Fuji 400H + 100mm – Back when I thought that I wanted to shoot models… Dev & Scan by Richard Photo Lab
Butterflies
Portra 160 + 110 Macro, I can’t remember if I used the G-18 extension tube on this shot
Jhurt2-e1293609423112
Portra 160 NC (I miss NC…) + 100mm. Richard Photo Lab Dev & Scan

  1. Focus and compose your shot and set your exposure
  2. trip the mirror lock up switch (on the bottom of the camera on the left side of the lens)
  3. take the shot
  4. move the MLU switch back to its normal position (I also re insert the darkslide at this point – not necessary, but I just like to do it anyways…)
  5. trip the multiple exposure switch, to set the camera for a multiple exposure
  6. wind the crank, this will lower the mirror
  7. set the multiple exposure switch back to normal
  8. wind the crank again, this will advance the film to the next frame
  9. get setup for your next shot!

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*just be aware that it takes some time to build up a kit, unless you buy from someone selling a package deal.

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Analog as F**k – a Minolta HiMatic AF2 review

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nice in b-ham
it was nice to be in Birmingham

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chicken
a shot from my one test roll with this camera on Expired FP4 – I certainly wasn’t going to chicken out with the camera on this trip!

23531373123_a8f263a0ee_z
My HiMatic AF2 with a Lance Camera Strap – if you love the corded strap look, but don’t want to pay the price of some of the other ones out on the market, give these guys a look…

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You only have to hear “Beep-Beep-Beep” a couple of times before you know what it is, I could just imagine dads back in the 80s yelling out “I’m not too close!”. Also the Film window with the orange indicator is a nice touch, it tells you when the camera is loaded (since there is no film window)

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b-ham
Overview of the city

A lawn elephant displaying Alabama pride:

a is for elephant
Yes, this was sitting in someone’s lawn. While we had stopped to get our bearings (waiting for the GPS to load), I ran out and took a quick shot. I really like how the flash created highlights in the metal

I know that people talk about the lost art of reading maps and atlases, but the fact that we have interactive maps and GPS on our phones is nothing short of amazing, I could just imagine how turned around we could have gotten on this trip 15 years ago…

navigate
We did a lot of this…
sai photo
a lot of this too…

I didn’t know this before hand, but Birmingham has a strong mining and iron working industry.  One of our stops was a closed iron factory, Sloss Factory:

inside sloss water tower 2

I always like to keep my eyes open for little details like this that someone thought to write:

live for happiness
Good thought for 2016 and beyond…

Birmingham also was ground zero during the Civil Rights era.  I didn’t get a chance to visit the 16th Street Baptist Church, but I did run across this historical marker downtown:

freedom
also, you have to notice there’s not much distortion in this shot, just a little on the bottom left.

 

bham map
The flash really brought out details on this map…
thank you for visiting
No, thank you Birmingham, I will be back!

Because of the photos from this trip, I now have made the HiMatic one of my daily diary cameras (the other being my Olympus Stylus Epic), these are cameras that I keep loaded with film, and I make it a point to photograph constantly around the house.  My wife, my child, the visitors that we have, our dogs, whatever might seem to have a bigger meaning 5, 10, 15 years down the road, I’m making photographs of it.  Sending the film off and getting 4×6 prints (and my negatives!) back.  This is the perfect camera for this…

Oh, and the title of this post?  While we were in Birmingham, one of my friends noticed the HiMatic, and he remarked that it looked ‘Analog as fuck’, to which I replied “Why yes, yes it is…”

 

PS – I’d like to give an extra shout out to Lance Camera Straps, I loved this strap so much, that I bought a second one, so I have one on the HiMatic and the other on my Leica M4P

 

Holga, we hardly knew you (1982-2015)

 

These are my Holgas, there are many like them, but these two are mine…

 

You’re responsible for my first experience using film bigger than 35mm, you changed me forever, I want you to know that…

Before I met you, I was a different type of photographer:

I was uptight

I was dogmatic and rigid

I made my photographs a certain way, with a certain type of camera.  It had worked for me for over ten years, and I hadn’t planned on changing anytime soon.  Until I returned to college in 2004 to pursue a BFA in Photo, and you were a requirement for my intermediate photo class.  You were boxy and plastic, you felt cheap, hell you looked cheap.

You were also uncompromising, you asked me to do a lot but you gave me so little to work with:

  • one shutter speed (1/100 of a second – which wasn’t always 100% accurate)
  • “two” apertures
  • zone focus
  • a wide angle plastic lens that I couldn’t change
  • and you weren’t light tight, all sort of weird leaks always made their way onto the film, so much that taping you up with black gaffer tape was just an excepted ritual to prepare a new out of the box Holga to shoot its first roll of film

Your name here

You asked me to let go, let go of that sense of control, of those set in ways that I had.  Besides, you didn’t have a range of 8 f-stops, you didn’t have a shutter speed of 1/2000, you didn’t need to make sure you were in perfect focus.

You weren’t about all that technical minutiae

You were about feeling the photo

The motto that was frequently associated to you and your similarly equipped brethren was “Don’t think just shoot”.  I always hated that saying because it made everyone who chose you to make their work look as if they didn’t have a clue of what they were doing.  And some didn’t, to them you were just an inexpensive toy to have fun with, and that’s okay.  If there’s one thing missing in photography these days it’s fun.

But there were others, many others who saw the uniqueness of the photos you produced as the element they needed to create their statement to the world.  Those hazily sharp / unsharp images could be interpreted as a dream, or a nightmare; there was always that additional layer of meaning that the viewer was confronted with.  Maybe that’s why people either loved or hated the photos you made, you weren’t a tool that made literal photographs.

I bonded with you immediately, you were that fresh start that I didn’t know I needed.  I was hooked from that first roll of Tri-x.  Soon, you were all I wanted to shoot with.  Maybe it was those larger negatives, maybe it was the freedom I felt when I was photographing with you.

With you Always

 

Now the news is that more of you are going to be produced.  The factory in China that manufactured you just up and destroyed and scrapped all their machinery.  All retailers informed Holga fans that once their stock was gone, that was it.  That’s a shame, you were the perfect teaching tool in today’s progressively digital world.  Who knows how many more generations of artists you could have influenced…  We had over 30 years with you, but that wasn’t long enough. Now, you’ve been relegated to a footnote in the history of film photography, a victim of the massive digital photo industry that won’t seem to stop until it’s consumed all that is analog, after all film is now a niche, and the Holga was the nichest of niches….

Me?  I’ve neglected you over the past couple of years.  When I load up to go shoot, I see you lying there, a thin layer of dust starting to settle over you.  You’ve been waiting for me to load you with film.  To continue working on that project we were so excited about years ago.  And I pause for a moment, thinking about all the photos I’ve made over the last ten years with you.

stars,stripes,andaluminum

 

I think that just two years ago, we were on our way to Chicago for me to attend my very first professional portfolio review, and the looks of some of the reviewers and fellow photographers when I opened my print box to reveal eighteen carefully selected 11×14 photos we had made together.  We heard some positive feedback, and some negative.  Of course that’s always to be expected, you’re an acquired taste and not everyone loves your flavor.

Sunflower

 

You taught me, to let go.  Frame it loose.  If I had second thoughts about the photo I was about to shoot, shoot it anyway.  Film in the grand span of things, is cheap.   I don’t often wonder about what kind of photographer I would be now if I never would have been forced to use you.  Would I have eventually found my way to you?

 

 

Film is WORM

 

I don’t think that they consider your film important enough for a Viking’s funeral, still from Youtube user Mukeybear

 

As film photographers in 2015, we get used to addressing a certain set of questions whenever we are out shooting:

cialis online What’s that? [Or as a current meme goes – WHAT ARE THOOOOOOOSE??!] (Since most people that shoot digital are used to certain camera body types, most common being a DSLR, they are naturally curious or confused when they see cameras like rangefinders, TLRs, Large Format cameras, pinholes, Polaroids)

You can still buy film? (Why yes, yes you can…some places you can even walk into a camera store and give a person behind a counter money in exchange for boxes of film!)

canada pharmacy online Why are you shooting film? (I, personally generally answer this question either sarcastically or snarky [which I know that I shouldn’t] depending on how my mood is that day. Maybe the person is genuinely curious as to why, not trying to attack your medium of choice, but sometimes they are trying to attack your medium of choice so maybe they need a little bit of snark…)

How are you going to see your pictures? Where do you get film developed? – Now, this is actually a question to be addressed…

Why do I say that? Dealing with getting film developed is seen by most non-film photographers as one of the major negative (no pun intended) reasons not to attempt the whole film photography process. As the years go by, we see lab after lab close down, labs abandoning certain processes (like developing slide film), or abandoning their film processing all together. Now there are film labs out there that are doing tremendous business, we all know them; Richards, cialis ou viagra le plus efficace Indie Film, The Darkroom, get viagra prescription uk NorthCoast, generic sildenafil Dwayne’s, viagra without a prescription FIND, and many others. And those labs are great, there’s a reason why they are doing the business that they are. But for those of us who don’t want to mail off their film all the time (or don’t live close to these labs), or don’t want to get their hands dirty developing themselves, there used to be another option if you shot 35mm only.

That option for 35mm shooters? The 1-hr photo lab.

Remember the drugstore 1-hr photo? Drop off a couple of rolls, come back in an hour to prints (if you wanted them), some decent low res scans, and sleeved negatives! All for a fairly reasonable price.

Why would you use drugstore 1 hour processing????

  • Maybe you’re doing a personal 365 day or 52 weeks photo project
  • Maybe you bought a used camera and you needed to test it out
  • Maybe you’re selling a camera and you need to test it out

Whatever the reason, the 1-hr photo lab was a nice way to experiment with different films, before you moved on to more serious shooting, or started using those same films in larger formats. Personally when I returned to film back in 2009, I was at my local Walgreen’s at least 2 to 3 times a week, adjusting back to my Nikon F3 and F4s, seeing if I liked 400H more than Portra 400, re-learning to shoot film. And that Walgreen’s got used to seeing me, the technician might say something like “nice photos” when I came back to get my negatives and scans. It was nice.

As the years passed, Walgreen’s (and other 1-hr photo places) began to stop developing film. Minilab equipment was stripped out of their stores (wonder what happened to it), and the ones that continued to develop film in store….their quality control went visual viagra waaaaaaaaay down. Expired chemistry. “Technicians” that didn’t understand what film was and how it should be properly handled (I heard a story of a photographer seeing a photo lab employee using an un-sleeved negative strip to clean their fingernails).

Now many of these places are committing what to us should be the ultimate sin (even more than lab employees cleaning their nails with your negatives):

Film is now being sent out for processing, and you get a CD of scans, but…..no negatives.

They are destroyed, too much of a hassle (read: cost) to properly sleeve them and mail them back to you.

Throwaway culture has come to film photography.

But you’ve got the scans though right? Your photos are right there for you to view, and email them to your friends and family, post those suckers on Facebook, and hell if you wanted to print them you can do that too! You might be able to squeak a decent 8×10 out of those scans.

Photo CDs (even the archival ones) don’t last forever and since a lot of computers / laptops these days are dropping CD / DVD drives, you might not be able to even view them in 10 years.

But the negatives are supposed to be always there, film was designed as an archival medium, there are numerous cialis preço articles showing health express photos comprar viagra made from 100+ year old negatives, some of them the earliest examples of color processes. Black and white examples go back even further. Our negatives are designed to outlive us.

Our great grandchildren should be able to look at old slides they dug out of a box in the garage.

Or have a print made from a 50 year old negative.

Film is write once, read many times…

User Review – Mamiya 7 Medium Format Rangefinder

Hello, today I’d like to talk about the Mamiya 7 medium format rangefinder camera. I guess I should start by saying that I like to photograph…..alot. Things like Resolution Charts, MTF curves, and all those quantitative lens performance measuring tools mean absolutely nothing to me, I just care about how a camera feels in my hands, and how I feel shooting it and the images I can make with it and its lenses. For me the Mamiya 7 is the one of the best options for when you want Medium format quality, but you want to carry a lightweight package, and you don’t want a TLR.


Personally, I’ve wanted one of these cameras for the past 7-8 years before I was able to buy one. Even with it being a film camera, the depreciation of film gear has still left bargain (or as I like to say shooter) grade cameras bodies + one lens still hovering around $1000-$1100, usually for the body + standard 80mm. If you want the newer 7II (which up to recently Mamiya still sold brand new), be prepared to pay at least $1700-$2300 used depending on condition for the same setup.


What’s the difference between the two versions?

  • The 7ii came in two finishes, a champagne silver finish, or a flat black. The original 7 only came in a titanium finish.

  • The 7ii has multiple exposure capability. 
  • Different dark slide controls, the original 7 has a dial that you turn, the 7ii adds a lever that folds out.
  • Strap lugs; the original 7 has its lugs on one side, so the camera hangs vertically on you. The 7 ii has the lugs in the standard position like any other camera.

Not worth the extra $$$ in my opinion, that money could go towards an extra lens.
Speaking of lenses, it’s an oft repeated statement that the lenses for the Mamiya 7 (and 6) systems are some of the best lenses, not just for medium format, but for any camera system ever made. I only have experience with the 80mm, and it’s pretty damn good.


Okay, the important part; how does the camera shoot?

The Mamiya 7 feels like an extension of your hand, the grip is very well designed, with handgrip grooves in perfect place for your fingers. The film advance is smooth for having to advance the large 6×7 frames in a single stroke (or multiple small ones, if that’s your thing).  The shutter sound registers a barely audible “click”, it is a great camera to shoot people candidly (once they ignore the camera’s size), landscapes, cityscapes, and environmental portraits are this camera’s forte!

It also makes a good street camera* (if you are willing to shoot medium format on the street that is, 10 shots before changing film changes your rhythm – that is unless someone starts producing 220 black and white film again [Ilford, looking in your direction!], or you get some of the remaining color 220 that’s left out there)

In all honesty, if you’ve shot any rangefinder style camera, the experience is the same, just a larger camera to hold.  The first time I looked through the viewfinder, I was amazed at how bright and large the rangefinder patch is (having only shot with a Konica Auto S2 and an Olympus 35sp – both patches had dimmed over the years), the framelines move to indicate parallax error as you focus.  And like any other interchangable lens rangefinder, the framelines change depending on what lens is attached.

Speaking of lenses, not many to choose from, not that you need a lot with a camera like this;

43mm Ultrawide

50mm Wide angle

65mm moderate wide

80mm Normal

150mm Tele

210 Tele

The 80mm F4 lens is a great walkaround lens, sharp and provides a slightly wider than normal field of view.  It’s FOV is equivalent to a 40mm in 35mm terms.  The only downside (if you can call it that), is that the Mamiya 7 + 80mm is considered a tad cliche because of it’s “look”, you know how certain camera / lens combinations (like a Leica + a 35mm Summicron, a Hasselblad or Rollei + 80mm Zeiss Planar) give a distinctive signature?  The Mamiya 7 + 80 has one of those distinctive signature looks to it.

 Okay, enough talk, how about some photos?

after buying the 7 in December of 2013, it pretty much became my feature camera for all of 2014

I believe these three are all Fuji Acros

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Tri-X

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going home

Fuji 160s

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Life is Beautiful

His and Hers

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Heaven Can Wait

Portra 400:

In these Streets

Alcohol Stays Inside Flag
Just some images (okay, a lot of images) from my 2014 – the year of the Mamiya 7.  In conclusion, this is one of those cameras that if you are able to get your hands on, you might not be able to let go of it.  Highly recommended…