Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Everybody Needs a Hobby

I bought a German rangefinder from about 1956, with a lovely little 48mm f/2, and a classic Synchro-Compur shutter. See:

It's actually something called an Iloca 'Rapid' from 1956, built in Hamburg and rebadged as the top-of-the-line Argus.

Rangefinder is in wonderful shape, photocell is dead, the shutter speeds sound 'off', but hey.

And I find myself seriously contemplating opening up the shutter to clean it. The front elements just unscrew; that in itself is some fraction of the way in...

Oh, and look - conveniently enough, the internets provide complete instructions:

I have a reasonable set of tools (check); my corner CVS stocks lighter fluid (check)...

...somebody needs to talk me out of this....

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Internets Have Failed Me

(or, Things Not Learned While Looking Up Other Things)

OK, a couple weeks ago, there were lots of stories on Steve McCurry and The Last Roll of Kodachrome.

I posed the question: "OK, Who's going to get The Last Roll of Tri-X?"

(My answer: Salgado)

So I got to poking around the early days of 35mm. Oskar Barnack, Leica, 1925, yadda yadda.

To compete in this new segment of the photographic market, Kodak bought the Nagel Werkes in Dec. 1931, and brought the first Kodak (Nagel) Retina 35mm camera AND its associated 135 Daylight Loading Cartridge to market in 1934.

(Obscure Fun Fact: Kodak also briefly sold "235" Leica cartridges and "435" Contax cartridges. ("335" was for some stereo camera.))

Now, Doc Augie Nagel HELD the German patent on the 135 cartridge. And so I'm wondering if Kodak bought his company just to get access to the patent, or did he design it out while on the Kodak payroll?

The internet will not answer this.

It's one of those topics where the Internets turn up ONLY the close-to-useless Wiki text, but copied on a hundred different sites.

I can find the patent for the APS cartridge, but not for the 135 cartridge.

I may need a research library with real paper books.

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Sunday, August 08, 2010


When I was about 5, my family took me on a family vacation that included a factory tour of Hershey's.

I seem to have been deeply imprinted by the experience of meeting a 1000-gallon open vat of liquid chocolate.

In the mid-80s, I took my new bride to Hershey - only to discover that THEY NO LONGER GAVE FACTORY TOURS. (Instead, they tried to send you on an amusement park ride that described the process. Not the same. No.)

With a little research (this was pre-internet...), I discovered that Hershey of Canada still offered factory tours, so the next year we went up to Smiths Falls Ontario, and took the tour.

This year, I was going to take my kids to Ontario, and figured I'd check out Hershey.

"The factory that produced Hershey Kisses and other confections for 45 years closed its doors in December 2008, when the chocolate giant relocated its manufacturing operation to Mexico.

"The move put 400 townspeople out of work and took with it the town's main tourist attraction, which drew about 425,000 visitors per year."

This is my Sad Face :(

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Sunday, August 01, 2010

Annals of DIY II

I spent a very pleasant morning running three more tanks of b&w film.

In their wisdom, Kodak has discontinued the one-liter size of XTOL developer... so, if you want to use the stuff, you now have to buy the FIVE-liter package.

Five liters of stock developer is a LOT of soup. XTOL can be cut 1:3, so that's potentially up to 80 rolls of film. A preposterous amount of soup.

Now, I had A FOURTEEN YEAR BACKLOG of b&W film waiting for processing - I've done something like 32 rolls this month - and so far, I've used up a total of three of the five liters. (I'm still a few rolls from being caught up, but I think everything that's left is at least from this year.)

A liter will developer as few as 2 rolls of 120 film (full strength), or as many as 16 rolls of 35mm (diluted).

The stock solution supposedly keeps reliably for two months, maybe six.

So (ignoring my backlog still on hand) I now have to go out and shoot somewhere between (minimally) [four rolls in the Rollei], and (maximally...)[32 rolls of 35mm], in order to efficiently use the developer Kodak sold me. In the next month or so.

Sometime soon I run out of acetic acid, and will have to get myself to a Real City to buy more, as there's none for sale locally, and it's prohibitively expensive to ship. (It comes under HazMat rules.)

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