Sunday, June 22, 2014

Final Post on A true roll of junk film

About 5 years ago, I rekindled my joy for photography by rediscovering analogue photography. I started this blog as a way of sharing my experiences. I was searching for a name for the blog and decided that 'Parahanga'  (Maori word for 'junk' or 'stuff') was perfect for my attempts to do things the old fashioned way: by  making heaps of mistakes and enjoying the process!

I've been struggling to keep up with this blog; most of my stuff goes direct to Flickr; I have been finding myself with less and less to say, despite the fact I was taking as many photos as I have been before. Its been more than one year since my last post; I've decided to make this my final one. I won't delete the blog or let the domain lapse, I just won't update this blog anymore. If you are interesting in keeping up with me, check out my Flickr account.

That being side? Why not go out in style? Last Sunday, my mates took a little trip to Whatipu. He's a brewer (quick shout out to White Cloud Brewers!) and were going take pics of kegs, beer bottles and various brewing apparatuses.  I was equipped with my Canon AV-1, a digital Nikon 5200 and my untrusty little Holga. I was really wanting to shoot my Hasselblad, but unfortunately the 120 back was broke. I had a hankering to shoot 120 film, and the little black Holga on my shelf was screaming 'Pick Me! Pick Me!'. So I did.

My pics for the my AV-1 and digital were fine. My pics from my Holga were a fine mess. Seems like everything that could go wrong, did. The infamous lawman Murphy was in fine form that day and the during development of the negatives. What you see is here is a fine array of overexpose, underexposed, vignetted, light leaked, unevenly exposed, double exposed, wrinkled, dusty, scratched and otherwise fucked up roll of Fujifilm 400 ASA.

Its not entirely the Holga's fault, as I was loading one of the rolls of film in to my Rondinax 60; the paper backing wouldn't separate from the film and pulled it out of the light proof box. Thus, nearly all of the roll suffered from light-leak hemorrhages. I actually proud of the fact that I continued to develop the roll, as normally I would have flung it across the room and called it a day. Nope, I chucked it into a dark bag and managed to get it mounted on steel reel for normal tank development. Not only that, on my first try (which was a first for me as well - there is usually a minimum of 51 attempts to get the film on the spindle!).

The film was awful and interesting at the same time... on several of the shots you can see the ink from the paper backing; I have never see that happen before. Perhaps the film got wet or too humid. All of them are flawed, but when you are a 'junk dealer' like, me that's part of the trade! When I scanned these, I tried to do as few corrections as possible, I wanted to keep all aberrations. So here are the final shots for my final posts for; all blights preserved:



Sunday, January 6, 2013

Pentax MZ-5N Review

The Pentax MZ-5N was one of the cameras I won in my 'Pentax bundle' auction in December 2012.  Like the Z1-P, its fully automatic.

First Impressions:
Like the Z1-P, its very plasticky. It came with 28-80mm 3.5 lens, as I mentioned earlier I am not a big fan of  zoom lenses. The camera has a nice weight to it, the feel is nice as well - but perhaps it just me as I have small hands.

Giving it a Hoon:
I shot a roll of 12 exposure Fuji Superia 100 ASA and developed it normally. Here is a sample of shots I took at the Winter Garden in Auckland domain:

Final Thoughts:

This camera was actually easier to start using that the ZP-1. To test it I just put everything on automatic. The pictures were pretty good. As with the ZP-1, I went about using this camera without using the manual; in this case, the manual wasn't needed. Here are a few notes:

  • This camera takes 2 Lithium CR2 batteries, I couldn't find these cheaply in New Zealand so I ordered them from the UK at a reasonably cost.
  • The Autorewind will pull the leader into the cartridge. 
  • The Pentax F 28-80 Zoom lens is nice and sturdy, if a bit plasticky. 
Overall its a good camera. There is nothing that would make go 'wow!' about it, so I would probably shoot some of my other Pentax's before giving this one another go. Even though this camera was simpler to use than the ZP-1, I prefer the ZP-1. The off the top of my head score for this cam: 7 outta 10.

Some links for this Camera:

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Pentax Z-1P Review

I've won a whole heap of Pentax 35mm cameras before Christmas in an auction, in fact probably more than I could ever have use for! The first one I decided to test out was my fully Automatic Pentax Z-1P. This is just a mini review so check out the review links below for more in depth review:

First impressions:
The first impression at looking at the body was that its plasticky. While I don't dislike plastic, I really like a bit of metal on my SLR's. However upon picking up, it felt as solid as any DSLR i've handled - and its heavy duty plastic, so it feels quite rugged - that is a big plus. It has 28-200 3.8 Zoom lens. Not a big fan of zoom lenses, as I prefer the simplicity and speed of a prime lens, but it looks well built.

Giving it a hoon..
My prior experience with 35mm SLR have only been been AV priority SLRs (namely my much beloved Canon AV-1).  This camera is fully automatic which through me for a curve at first but ended up loving it in the end! The thing that through me off was how to use the dials. I decided that best way to learn was to bypass the RTFM logic and dive right into taking photos. After about 5 minutes of fiddling around, I finally managed to put it on fully automatic. After that it was smooth sailing.

I shot 2 rolls of Fuji Superia 100 (12 exposure) and developed them with Tetenal C-41 kit (normal processing). These where taken at Bayly's Beach in Northland New Zealand on Christmas Day 2012:

Final Thoughts:

I liked it alot, the experience shooting a fully automatic 35mm SLR does have more appeal to me now than before. Here are a few things that annoyed me, all quite minor:

  • Zoom Lens - the friction holding the 'zoom' together wasn't strong enough to keep it contracted while I was walking - so the zoom was always extended when I needed to take it for a shot. This did not effect performance. Overall, though I still prefer prime lenses, it was good fun to use!
  • Autofocus - As with all autofocuses, even DSLRs, if you want to fine focus on something, you'll need to switch to manual or your camera will beep itself to death try to guess what you focusing on.
  • Autorewind - This is probably typical for most 35mm SLRs, it will suck the film leader back into the cartridge. If you self develop film, it means that you have crack open the cartridge in a changebag/darkroom and spool. Not a bit deal, but extra work. 
  • Fiddly Buttons - Figuring out the buttons is not intuitive, but once you are set, its a proverbial piece of piss to take pics.
  • Funky Battery - thankfully this camera has a working battery, but it looks quite unusual and might be hard to replace in NZ (Lithium 6V 2CR5)
Would I shoot this camera again? Yes I would, the automation and picture quality is pleasing. If you can tolerate the quirks above, you might be able to score one cheaply in an online auction. Price? I haven't seen enough of these around to give an accurate price.

Off the top of my head score: 8.5 outta 10. 

Here are some links should you consider adding this camera to your collection:

Pentax Z-1P Manual would advise downloading this.
Pentax Z-1P on Ebay  (may yield null results)
Pentax Z-1P on Trademe (may yield null results)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Expired 126 Film Cartridge Getting Stuck

I've recently had problems with expired film in 126 Cartridge - it wouldn't wind and would get stuck before the first frame. I have 8 cartridges, I've shot 3 but I've had 3 cartridges which seemed jammed. I really was hoping that it wasn't my SL26 camera - as it turned out, thankfully, it wasn't. So if you are trying 126 film (thats very expired) for the first time, this post may be useful.

What seemed be be happening was that the tape holding the film to backing paper had become undone (the film is 26 years old, so its not unlikely the tape just doesn't become sticky and more. When winding the film, it causes a 'log jam' and won't advance the film from one side of the cartridge to the other.

It could also be that I have had the film in the freezer since I bought and perhaps some condensation made it through the protective foil holding the cartridge.

Unfortunately I couldn't rescue the 'jammed' film, however for the next cartridge, I tried something different. Instead of winding the film in my camera, I wound very slowly with a fifty cent coin (any coin will probably do). I was slowly able to come through most resistance until the tape section came out. The tape was frayed at the end, so I cut it off with a hobby knife. I then put a new piece of tape over the old and popped in the camera and Viola! - it went to the first frame.

So while this won't rescue films that are jammed in the cartridge, if you are working with very expired cartridges you might want to manually wind them first. Disclaimer - I've manually wound 3 films so far and was able to rescue 2 of them - so 2 out 3 ain't bad?

Quick Recap:

  1. Use a coin to slowly wind the spindle on the cartridge, if you come across resistance just very gently apply force.
  2. have the emulsion face turned toward you so you can see the film come out. 
  3. When the film comes out, trim any jutting tape away.
  4. Tape it back down.
  5. Pop in Camera, wind to first exposure.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Zen and the Art of Rondinax Developing

For those who want an simple way to dive into home negative developing, I can't think of an easier way of getting started than to get your hand on the Agfa Rondinax 35U.

The Awesomeness of the Rondinax

The Rondinax 35U is daylight film developing tank, meaning that you don't need a darkroom for developing 35mm negatives. For those people who previously have used traditional plastic / steel tanks to load film, you are are in for a treat:
  • No Darkroom Required. You might need a change bag for certain situations, but I'll cover that later.
  • Spooling Film is no fuss! - This is great for beginners. You just put the clamp on the film and the Rondinax will almost do all the rest for you. Although I can now easily spool film now, I still prefer the Rondinax I have minimal contact with the film. This means less scratches and scuffs on the negative. That is always a plus. 
  • Minimal Amount Developer Needed. I think the smallest single developing tanks use 300ml of developer, the Rondinax only uses 200ml. Save your precious developer fluid. Its very economical, especially for colour development.
  • Colour and B&W - though the instructions in the manual are for B&W film, its just as easy (so long as you keep your temperatures constant) to develop colour film with a Tetenal c-41 kit.
  • Very consistent development - I've developed in tanks and the Rondinax, I've always gotten the most consistent results out of the Rondinax over my other tanks. 
The sub-awesomeness of the Rondinax

So whats bad about the Rondinax? There are a few things to consider:
  • One film at a time: Rondinax is a film-at-a-time type of tank. This means that it can take a lot of time, especially if you do colour development. I don't mind at all, if I wanted speed I'd shoot digital :)
  • Its made of Bakelite: There is nothing wrong Bakelite if you take care of it, however it doesn't seem to age a well as other plastics. I've had a couple of chips in my Rondinax, but nothing a bit of super glue couldn't fix. 
  • Temp Control: -The Thermometer doesn't go up to 38 C for colour development, so you'll just need to buy an extra thermometer.
  • Needs the film leader out. This is a nuance with modern 35mm cameras. By default, many automatic cameras will rewind the film all the way into the canister. The film leader, that small strip at the end with perforations only one edge gets sucked in. Well, you'll need to have the leader out.  I know of two methods for retrieving: film leader retriever and cracking the film open in a darkbag. I haven't used a film leader retriever before but have used the darkbag method several times. What you'll need is the film canister, can opener, Rondinax, and darkbag. Once in the darkbag, crack open the film from the bottom (not the top bit with the plastic bit sticking out). Place the film in the Rondinax and spool it.
Other Stuff 'bout the Rondinax:

What amazes me is these boxes has been around for 50+ years. It was based of a patent by Ernst Leitz dating to the late 1930s (ever hear of Leica?) and the design and use is very efficient and user friendly. Later Leitz partnered with Agfa to make Rondinax that I use. Here is a great link on the Rondinax's history, though you'll have use a translation program as its in Francaise.

What should you pay for your Rondinax? Its a bit of a mixed bag - I have paid as much as $100NZ (for the first one) and recently I pounced on a $40 Buy Now on You can see cheaper Rondinax's on Ebay, but by the time you are done with shipping and exchange rates the price comes closer to $80NZD. Note, if you do see one on Ebay, don't be afraid to ask the seller if they will ship it to NZ, even if its plastered on their listing that they will not ship overseas. I've found most sellers will actually ship to NZ (must be some of that Hobbit charm).

If you are looking for a rondinax manualclick here. If you are looking for more detailed how-to of using it, check out this superb Rondinax introduction from Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find any English videos of how to use the Rondinax 35, but if you do find one, make sure post it in a comment here.

A couple of final tips:
  • If you have manual rewind camera, don't wind the film all the way into the cartridge, leave a little something for your friend, the Rondinax.
  • When spooling your film, don't ever tug needlessly after you meet resistance. Use the Rondinax cutting lever as soon as you feel a firm tug. If you are not sure, check the exposure counter to see where you are at (eg if its pointing at 36, and you have 36 exposure film, then its time to cut). The only time I messed up a roll in the Rondinax was when I pulling too tightly after feeling the first sign of resistance.
  • While it is Daylight box (meaning that you don't need a dark room or dark bag), having a changing bag is going to be really useful for emergency situations such as removing stuck film in the camera or the above mentioned film leader rewind problem. 
Parting Thoughts:

This is a very well designed daylight box - its perfect for beginners or extremes amateurs such as myself. Though I may overpaid for my Rondinax, I am reminding of the words of Gucci who said "Quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten".

26 Years after Expiration Date (Old 126 Film)

I've recently bought a little Rollei SL26, its a gorgeous little camera. Trouble is that film is not available for it these days, and it hasn't taken to 35mm to 126 kindly. So I bought some extremely expired film of Ebay and would give it go. I developed 29 year old film before here, and it turned out alright. This film was 3 years younger (1986 vs 1983) and was ISO 100 (previous film was ISO 1600). I thought that given it was younger and ISO 100 it would turn out better than my 29 year old. But my 29 year old film had one advantage, even at ISO 1600... it was frozen, I am certain that my Ebay film was probably stored in a garage somewhere. The film was Fujicolor HR100.

Noneless... here are the results. I have shot 2 rolls, and 2 rolls of film are unusable (the film jammed upon spooling). The best results came when I nearly double development time (instead of 3:15 for average C-41 development, I did 5 minutes. They are almost monochromatic and have a massive colour shift

Ok so these aren't going win National Geographic awards, but there is a certain charm and artistic dreaminess to them. They are almost pastel and have a massive colour shift, but it was fun shooting the camera. I am not sure if the other film

The Polaroid 600SE - I'm not selling it.

The Polaroid 600SE was my first really serious investment in a pack film camera. I had picked up several cheap pack film cameras in the past for less than $15NZ in the past. I did some research and the 600SE seemed like the way to go for getting some serious quality packfilm shots.

I am writing this because I nearly put this on to sell on The word is nearly. The camera is heavy. Its hard to lug around. Sometimes the viewfinder was bit tricky to use. In the end, as I was writing the ad, I actually convinced myself there is no way in hell I am selling (yet)! I am not sure if I am a good ad writer or just being sentimental but after looking at the shots I took with the 600SE, I am sure I can get alot more mileage out of the camera.

For a great review of the Polaroid 600SE, go here instead of reading this post.

--- My Almost Ad to Sell My Polaroid 600SE -------------------------

Ultimate Polaroid Camera Christmas Package 
This is the Polaroid 600SE. Its been my main Polaroid camera and great work horse. I've recently taken photos with it; a sample of pictures are here. This is a working camera.  These are harder to come by in NZ, I bought this one the USA.  
Here's what you get:
  1. Polaroid 600SE Body
  2. 127mm Lens with cap 
  3. 3 Hoya Close Up Diopters for ultra close up shots: +1, +2, +4
  4. 3 Packs of FP-100C Fuji Film, expired 4/2012 but kept fresh in fridge and works.
  5. lens cloth
No fungus. The body has wear but its perfectly functional. This isn't a dainty instax camera, this thing is built like a truck: its a heavy beast and built to last. If you are digital photographer and are curious about film, this is a any easy gateway into film. 
The diopters - they take a bit of practice - but the you can take close ups up to 5.5".  Here's more info on Flickr Just keep in mind, this is rangefinder, not SLR, so you'll have to bring out the tape measure for accurate shots. 
This takes Pack Film, and if you haven't shot FP-100C before, it is gorgeous. This the type of film that you peel apart after an allotted time, not the type that slowly develops in front of you. FP100c is much larger than instax mini and bit larger than instax wide. Plus you get 3 packs of refridgerated (not frozen) packs. 
What it doesn't come with is light meter. You can also use an app called FotometerPro if you have an iPhone. Find it here:, its .99 ¢.  
Because I know you'll ask, there is no buy now. And for god's sake, no bidders who are going to put this on display, get out there and shoot!