Dateline 20 June 2016 

 

Kemptown Carnival – 4 June 2016 – Organised by Grahame Singleton

Report by Grahame Singleton

This was an extra summer season event that provided the opportunity for lots of street photography. There were no less than 9 stages on a route along streets just inland from the Main Parade seafront road. These featured a great variety of live music, arts, street theatre and community performances. A parade along the route witnessed the biggest Carnival parade that Kemptown has ever seen with over 400 participating parade performers.

Four of us, Colin Hodsdon, Steve Lawrenson, my long suffering wife Denise and myself caught an early morning train down to Brighton. Then we made the long walk to Kemptown. After a strong coffee we were ready for the parade at 10.00am. The weather was kind and the crowds were all having fun. The colourful characters in the parade provided a great variety of subject matter to capture, and all of them pleased to be on-camera. A small selection of my pictures are shown below. The music was too loud at times, especially the Samba Drums. We found somewhere to sit down for lunch and then returned to take yet more photographs of the event. Exhausted by all the activity we boarded a bus at about 4pm, up the hill to the station and home. It had been a long and tiring day but we had some great images to remember the event. Roll on next year.

Photographs  Copyright Grahame Singleton 

War On The Watercress Line – 12 June 2016 – Organised by Stephen Hewes

Report by Peter Flower

This was another of the extra events for the summer season. The Mid Hants Railway Watercress Line runs a regular programme of weekend special events throughout the year and Stephen had chosen a visit to this one as being particularly interesting from a photographic point of view. As indicated by the title the principal theme was one of re-enactment of the Second World war years. In addition to people dressed up as soldiers and airmen from both the British and American forces, complete with vehicles and equipment, there were Air Raid wardens, nurses, Home Guards and very many 'civilians' in appropriate dress for the period. Some were even carrying gas mask boxes! Additionally, there were at least two German military prisoners of war.

In addition to the overall authentic look of the scene there were little touches like the application of tape to windows, to minimise blast damage, and covering up of station names so that 'enemy agents' would not know where they were. All of this took place against the backdrop of the stations which retain their period appearance, complete with old posters and metal advertising signs. The enjoyment is further enhanced by the numerous volunteer station staff, the steam trains that were running a regular service between the four stations, and the ability to view the engine restoration work that is being carried out.

The story of our journey to Ropley station was an interesting one. Sadly, the number of members who had expressed interest in the trip diminished as the date approached. However, it seemed that five of us would be going and Stephen volunteered to take us in his car. At the last minute two more dropped out. (I described it as being like the Agatha Christie novel “And Then There Were Non” where victims die one by one) As it was Stephen chauffeured Jill and myself in comfort to Ropley where we met up with Peter Welch. After a trip round the engine sheds we set off on the train to Alresford.

An advantage of the event was that the entrance fee allowed unlimited travel on the rail throughout the day so we were able to make several journeys up and down the line to see the activities at the other stations. Although the weather forecast had not been too promising beforehand we only experienced rain on the journey down and for a very brief period late afternoon. As a result we were able to wander around in the dry and to enjoy our photography. There was no shortage of photogenic subject matter or variety, as can be seen from just a few of the images which are shown below. This was a very enjoyable day out.

Photographs Copyright Stephen Hewes 

Photographs  Copyright Peter Welch 

Photographs  Copyright Jill Flower 

Photographs  Copyright Peter Flower

 

Project Photo 100 – from 7 May 2016 – Organised by Stephen Hewes

Peter Flower

Members were invited to take part in this event which involved taking a photograph each day for one hundred days and posting it up to a special Flickr web site. The following members who signed up to the project are still going strong at the time of writing - Stephen Hewes, Mick Higgs, Paul Renaut, Les Dyson, Peter Welch, Lester Hicks, Grahame Singleton, Rosemary Calliman, Jill Flower and myself. The project is not without its difficulties. On some days you attend an event that provides the possibilities of dozens of images to choose from and then on another you struggle to come up with an idea for just one. However, the project has resulted in an amazing variety of subject matter and some very good images. The project is now nearing the half-way mark. Readers can view the total input on the Flickr web site, but I have selected some of the 'faved' images and others chosen at random from the participants to show below.

 

Copyright photographs - Rosemary Calliman, Stephen Hewes, Peter Flower, Peter Welch, Paul Renaut,

Grahame Singleton, Mick Higgs, Lester Hicks, Les Dyson, Jill Flower

PENTAX K-70 Camera

Techman

Pentax has just announced this new model. It has a compact body that is dustproof and weather-resistant. It has newly developed noise-reduction technology to provide super-high-sensitivity shooting at ISO 102400 (standard output sensitivity), capturing beautiful, lively images of nature without a hint of grain, even at higher sensitivity settings. A combination of PENTAX-original SR (Sensor-shift Shake Reduction ) mechanisms with 4.5-shutter-step compensation and a high-resolution image sensor (24 Mp) produces rich gradation and true-to-life texture. By incorporating a hybrid AF system - which harmonizes the advantages of a contrast-detection AF sensor and an image-plane phase-matching AF sensor - the PENTAX K-70 assures responsive, high-accuracy autofocus operation during Live View shooting using the LCD monitor. The optical viewfinder provides a large, clear image field with an approximately 100% field of view, allowing you to keep the subject in sight at all times. It has a fully articulated Vari-angle TFT colour LCD monitor featuring an air-gapless structure with tempered-glass front panel.

Pentax supply problems

Techman

In a separate announcement on 27 May 2016 Ricoh Imaging Company, parent company of Pentax, made the following announcement about the effects on camera supplies resulting from the recent Kumamoto earthquakes.

We anticipate some impact on the future production of our lens-interchangeable digital SLR cameras, interchangeable lenses and digital compact cameras, because some of our suppliers in this region have been affected by the earthquakes and the continuing aftershocks. We apologize to our customers and all affected parties for any inconvenience this might cause, and will try our best to restore the situation to normal as soon as possible. We truly appreciate your understanding of this difficult situation.

 

Polaroid Postscripts

Peter Flower

In Newsletter 81 I wrote a brief history of Polaroid, its dynamic founder Edwin Land, and ultimate demise of the company after decades of success. I follow this up with just a few extra items of information.

Small Polaroid images of Andy Warhol and Debbie Harry

I mentioned these small unique Polaroid prints by Warhol, seen on the display of the Danziger Gallery at the Photo London exhibition. I omitted to mention the price. I'm not certain if they were both the same price but I did note that the Debbie Harry image was priced at £11,500. I realise that you should not value works of art by the square inch but if you did these photographs would rank up there with many of the greatest!

Debbie Harry Polaroid original by Andy Warhol – Acknowledgement to Danziger Gallery

Relations between Kodak and Polaroid

Prior to Edwin Land's development of the camera system he had invented the process by which polarising could be applied to a thin plastic. This was subsequently used in sunglasses , to cut glare, and for polarising filters used in photography. Kodak bought supplies from Land which were used in their polarising filters. I mentioned that Kodak supplied film to Polaroid. For a period of twenty years every frame of film assembled by Polaroid was made by Eastman Kodak. Indeed, in the mid-60s Polaroid were Kodak's third largest customer. (Strangely, only behind two large companies in the American tobacco industry to which it supplied components for cigarette filters!) It was only when the SX-70 camera was introduced in 1972 that Polaroid totally manufactured the new-type film for it. In 1968 Polaroid had revealed to Kodak brief details of the proposed new model and discussed a contract that included this new product. Kodak said that it would only supply negative for the new film if Polaroid would let Kodak offer an instant photography system of its own. Land would not agree to this and so Kodak refused to extend the deal to cover SX-70.

It was at this point that Kodak set out to develop its own instant print camera system. Kodak introduced its own instant film products in 1976, which were different from Polaroid's in several ways. Kodak instant film was exposed from the back without a mirror, the opposite of Polaroid's film which was exposed from the front with a mirror to reverse the image. As can be seen from the following images the initial Kodak models lacked the elegance of the SX-70.

                                       Polaroid SX-70                     Kodak EK-4                         Kodak EK-6

Having inspected the new Kodak models Polaroid immediately commenced legal proceedings, claiming a number of patent infringements. This process took several years, initially to establish the infringements (which were proven) and then a further lengthy period to agree the level of financial compensation. Kodak not only had to pay a huge sum in damages but was also ordered to withdraw their product from the market. This resulted in yet further costs to Kodak as they were forced to compensate existing users who could no longer buy film for their cameras.

Polaroid Instant 40” x 80” Camera

I mentioned this very special camera which was used by American photographer Joe McNally on his project called “Faces of Ground Zero”. This had earlier been used to make life-size images of works of art in various museums. I should explain that the 'camera' was not actually transported between locations. In fact the components including the huge lens were fabricated into a sort of camera obscura at each site. I have since found a couple of images which give an indication of the difficulties involved in operation. These were taken in daylight conditions to show the process, which would in fact take place in total darkness. The first photograph shows the process of focusing the lens. Ideally the room would be dark and the light hitting the subject being photographed would be projected onto this film plane. One operator, outside the room, would focus the lens by listening to the shouts of the operator inside the lens looking through the loupe. On the top you see the brown film negative that will be pulled down the vacuum frame to the floor prior to the exposure. The white paper is used as a spacer to verify focus around the image area. When it’s time for the exposure, both operators are inside the camera, in the dark, wearing infrared goggles. The infrared light source is on the extreme right of the frame in the yellow lamps. The operators pull the negative down to the floor. They expose the film, then create a sandwich of the negative, the white roll of positive “sheet” material at the bottom and the “pod” developing chemicals. The sandwich then goes through the stainless steel rollers, seen below the frame, at the bottom. The sandwich was then suspended inside the camera. The film was developed for about two minutes and then peeled apart.

The second image shows the sandwich being peeled outside the 'camera' under the lens.

Acknowledgement © Stanley Rowin

Olympus Camedia C-211 Digital Camera (with instant print facility)

It is often assumed that Polaroid were alone in the instant print market, apart from Kodak who were forced out after the lengthy legal battle over patent infringements. However, in addition to Fuji there were others who showed an interest. In July 2000 a joint announcement between Olympus and Polaroid revealed a new camera in North America.

As can be seen the camera relied on a small 2” colour LCD viewfinder to frame the picture. It was promoted as a camera that combined the strength of both companies, to offer filmless digital image capture together with a built-in instant photo printer. The prints were quite small, with an image size of 2.874 x 2.25 inches. The digital images from the 2.1 megapixels CCD sensor could be recorded onto removable memory cards with capacities from 8MB up to 64MB. The big advantage of the Camedia was its superior lens system in comparison to most Polaroid cameras at that time. It had a 5.4 - 16.2 mm F2.8 - F4.4, 8 elements in 6 groups lens (equivalent to 35-105 mm lens on 35 mm camera) complete with autofocus and macro mode. The C-211 ZOOM complete with 8MB SmartMedia removable memory card, Polaroid Type 500 film pack, 2x LB-01 long-life lithium batteries, Camedia Master software, Mac/Windows USB cable, strap, instruction manual and quick start guide had a suggested list price of $799.

President Obama Polaroid photographs

In June 2012, in the run-up to the re-election of President Obama, arrangement were made for photographer Chuck Close to take some portraits in Washington, DC. Chuck had been using the 20×24 camera and Polaroid film since its inception and made portraits of over 100 people with the camera. John Reuter, a photographer since the early 1970s, was part of the team involved in this portrait project and reported on it in the September-October 2013 edition of Photo Technique magazine. (Reuter joined Polaroid Corporation in 1978 as senior photographer and later Director of the legendary 20x24 Studio)

The following images show one of the portraits and President Obama viewing the resulting prints.

Acknowledgements to Chuck Close and John Reuter

Anyone interested in full details of the event can reach them via the following link -

http://phototechmag.com/anatomy-of-a-photo-shoot/

Meet the New Swinger

One of the most significant common design factors that I came across in my research on Polaroid cameras was their use of lenses that were limited to a maximum aperture of f/8. This allowed the cheaper models to have fixed focus lenses or zone focus systems. I mentioned in my previous article that Polaroid brand cameras are currently available that can print virtually instant pictures using the Zink paper process, whilst at the same time capturing digital information onto a memory card. This seems an ideal solution but the shortcoming remains of image quality, small lens apertures and the lack of any optical zoom capability. The availability of portable battery-powered printers using the Zink system allowed me to come up with a better solution. The replacement for the old Polaroid Swinger is shown below.

My Samsung Galaxy camera has an f/2.8 zoom lens with 21 times zoom. This can be linked by Bluetooth to the Polaroid Zip printer. Pictures can be selectively printed either directly after they are taken or from a picture gallery. The images from the portable printer are 3” x 2” but of course the saved photographs on the camera are available for subsequent printing to larger sizes if required. The result is a kit which can be easily carried.

© Photograph by Peter Flower

The following photographs of Marc Cullender were taken in his Reigate cafe. It can be seen that within a short time of taking the original photograph, on the left, he is holding the print of this in the second photograph.

© Photograph by Peter Flower

It should be added that this system works with any mobile phone or tablet with Bluetooth or NFC that has Android or Apple iOS by use of the free downloaded Polaroid ZIP app.

Town Traders – Project for the 75th Anniversary

When I presented the instant print to Marc Cullender in his kitchen he immediately produced from a shelf above the print of himself taken by me in 2012. This was just one of the many photographs that I took of about thirty traders in Reigate. These were displayed during the society's anniversary celebrations. The one of Marc was taken outside the premises on the opposite side of Bell street before he relocated to his present, much larger, one.

© Photograph by Peter Flower

 

Fujifilm Vision 2016

Techman

Coincidental to the previous articles on instant photography some interesting information comes from the annual report of the company at March 2015. Most readers will be aware of the success of their X series CSC cameras in recent times. The progress is reflected in their financial reports over recent years. Overall losses in 2012 and 2013 were followed by a modest profit in 2014 and spectacular jump in 2015. Most publicity for the company concentrates on their digital cameras but awareness of the the instant photography models under the brand name Instax is limited. In the annual report this sector is mentioned under their Vision 2016 intentions, quoted below -

Strong Sales of Instant Photo System Worldwide. Under the concept of “Photo Life—Enrich Your Life with Photography,” the Company is deploying products and services that make taking a photo more enjoyable, with a print that can be decorated and given to somebody as a gift. One such product, and one of Fujifilm’s proprietary products, is the Instax instant camera that has been catching the attention of primarily teenage girls and women in their 20s in East Asia since around 2007 and has gained a solid reputation all over the world. The idea of a print that can be seen shortly after a photo has been taken was perceived as novel by the digital native generation (those who have grown up in internet and PC environments and carry with them digital cameras, smartphones, and other devices and communicate via the internet). The Instax instant cameras have served to rapidly increase sales. We are currently expanding sales channels, not only our existing channel of camera stores but also department stores, which can be expected to attract customers from the target demographic. We are aiming to expand the target customer demographic and further enhance sales around the world in the years to come.

 

Borough of Reigate & Banstead Arts Council Newsletter

the headlines…. June 2016

The following brief report appeared in this edition -

Throughout the festival Reigate Photographic Society exhibited 50 stunning photographs with a wide range of subjects and styles taken by their members. They asked visitors to the exhibition to choose their favourite and vote for it- an extremely difficult task with such amazing images to choose between.

 

'Different' Projects

Peter Flower

I described my experimentation with instant prints using my existing Samsung Galaxy camera and Polaroid Snap printer using Zink paper.

Do you have a project of your own that you would like to share with our readers? I know that some of you have had cameras adapted to take infrared photographs. It could be that you have experimented with pinhole photography, either with a kit camera specially provided for the job or by fitting an existing camera with a pinhole in a lens cap cover. You might have played with Lomo-style cameras or adapted legacy lenses from old cameras for use on your modern digital camera. Or, perhaps, used remote controls to capture wildlife photographs in your garden. There are endless possibilities to extend our photographic interests. It would be interesting to hear of your experiences and I would like to feature them in the Newsletter. Please contact me if you are prepared to share information on your own project.

 

And finally . . . . . . .

If I wreck this one perhaps he'll buy the new D500

 

STOP PRESS – Hasselblad X1D announcement

Peter Flower – 22 June 2016

After publication of this Newsletter a formal announcement was made by Hasselblad of an exciting new camera. The announcement came in the form of a livestream event on the web by Perry Oosting, CEO of the company, from Gothenburg, Sweden. There had been rumours of a new camera for some time but the announcement came too late for me to include by the publication date of 20 June 2016.

This is the second new model to be announced in Hasselblad's 75th anniversary year, with the possibility of more to come at the Photokina show in Cologne on 20-25 September 2016. In an introductory video at the event mention was made of the company's landmark models. The first camera, made in 1941, was the HK-7 which was supplied to the Swedish air force. The first consumer camera, the 1600F, was introduced in 1948. This introduced the concept of a medium format single lens reflex with modular construction, comprising lens, body and film back. Then followed the 500C in 1957 and a series of upgrades over the years. The first camera on the moon in 1969 was the specially adapted Hasselblad 500EL/70.

These images show the early Hasselblad models – HK-7, 1600F and 500C

Images from Hasselblad

In a departure from their medium format reflex cameras 1998 saw the introduction of the XPAN, which used 35mm film. This was designed to take wide-format pictures but had the unique ability to switch between wide images and normal 36x24mm ones on the same roll of film. In 2002 the H-System digital models made an appearance.

Unlike the previous 6cm square format of the previous reflex film cameras these used a 6x4.5cm sensor. These retained the modular construction. In 2014 Hasselblad introduced the first CMOS sensor in medium format cameras.

Hasselblad X1D – This is a light and compact medium format mirrorless camera with a 50MP CMOS sensor. It has dust and weather sealing, a 3" 920k-dot touch screen and a built-in 2.36M-dot (XGA) electronic viewfinder. Wi-Fi and GPS are built-in, and the camera includes dual SD card slots. Lack of a mirror or focal plane shutter also mean there's no camera-induced shake to worry about. As with the Hasselblad H6D, the X1D has a top flash sync speed of 1/2000sec. The lenses have shutters in them, so every shutter speed offered by the camera can be used with flash without the loss of power that typically comes with high speed flash sync modes. A new range of lenses called XCD has been announced to go with this new body. They much smaller than the company’s H series lenses. An H lens adapter will also be offered to allow use of existing H system lenses with full autofocus operation.

X1D camera - Images from Hasselblad

These images give some impression of the compact size, but it is only when direct comparisons are made with other manufacturer's models that the true extent of the amazingly small size and weight become apparent. For comparison purposes I have chosen three other models. The Pentax 645 shares the same medium format sensor and megapixel count. The Canon EOS 5DS has a smaller 35mm equivalent sensor, but with the same megapixel count. The Nikon D5, flagship model, is also 35mm equivalent but only has a 21 megapixel sensor.

The statistics are as follows -

                    Hasselblad X1D           Pentax 645Z                  Canon EOS 5DS                Nikon D5

Megapixels    51 Medium-format       51 Medium-format          51 Full-frame                   21 Full-frame

Weight          725g                          1550g                            930g                              1415g

Dimensions   150x98x71mm             156x117x123mm            152x116x76mm               160x159x92mm

 

The extent to which the Hasselblad is so much lighter and smaller is obvious. The only current full-frame comparable model that I am aware of that betters the figures is the Sony A7R 2. This is only 42 megapixels with a weight of 625g and dimensions of 127x96x60mm.

The following picture compares the Hasselblad with some other leading models.

 

The camera is due to go on release in the autumn. It will be priced at £5990 body-only. At this price it is unlikely to have a great effect on sales of the likes of Nikon and Canon to enthusiast photographers. However, it should act as a wake-up call to these companies that they really do need to react. As it is they are now being squeezed by more compact models such as this Hasselblad from above and quality cameras from such companies as Sony and Fujifilm from below.