What's New at 120studio.com

2015 June 28

Canon Shutter Count

I like Canon DSLR's, and their new EOS Rebel T6S is a great little camera.  

One place where Canon could really improve is in making the shutter count more accessible.  Most of us wouldn't buy a car with a hidden odometer. 

Here's something a lot of people don't seem to know.  If you had another Canon DSLR, and you use the old memory card from it, the numbering will pick up where that one left off. 

So, if you go by that, it would look as though your new Canon has taken thousands of pictures already.  Don't go by that.  The only way to know for sure is to access the shutter count.  There are programs for Windows and apps for smartphones.  There's also a program for Linux called gphoto2.  Check your distro;  some of them have it available in the package repositories.  Earlier versions of gphoto2 and libgphoto2 do not support the newer Canon DSLR's.  You might have to compile from source to get the newest one running on your machine.

At least Canon didn't make the data completely inaccessible, which I'm sure they could have done. 

Vintage Electronics

Proprietary stuff to keep you from fixing or testing your gear is one of the most annoying things that manufacturers do.   (That, and using insta-fail components.) 

Short-term, a lot of companies probably think that's a good strategy.  Long-term, they lose business.   This is one reason for buying vintage electronics.  Just know that this has some pitfalls, too.  Soon I'll be posting the first installment of that buyer's guide on here.

Film Developing

If you can do this kind of developing already, then you can do C-41 (color negative film). 

Some people skip the black & white and go right for the C41 immediately.  This kit contains all the chems you need, except the distilled water.  More about this subject in an upcoming article.

2015 June 24


Medium format (120 film, 6x6 cm)
Ilford HP5 Plus 400

Radio Fun

Amateur radio terminology is full of arcane terms like Z-matching and QRP.  But you don't have to know any of that to have fun with radio.

Like film, radio is a classic, analog technology.

With a even a semi-decent tuner, and an external antenna made of this, an AM radio has the potential to tune stations from hundreds or even thousands of miles away.

With this one, I can now tune stations in several languages, and a couple of international broadcasts in English. 

Imagine my surprise when this old clock radio started to tune Radio Havana Cuba.  On the AM dial.  I don't care much for politics, but I will say this.  In the USA you're free to criticize the government, and people do that all the time.   (Just go ahead and try that in Cuba, and see what happens.)

This is one of the freedoms we have that many countries don't, and I'm thankful for that.  God bless the USA.

RHC does play some good music, though.  I can also tune a Canadian time-signal station, and some radio station from the Southeastern USA.  Station identification is once every hour... maybe I'll find out which station it was, next time.

Once you mod it to take an external antenna, almost any AM radio can bring in the stations.   Or, use a loop antenna and you don't even need to modify the radio.

Real radio is a part of our heritage worth preserving, if only we can save it from all the RF noise being generated by legions of cheap LED light fixtures, switching power supplies, and plasma TV's.

Get yourself a real radio like this one, and tune even more stations.


2015 June 21
Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all you dads! 

New article... A Super-Cheap AM Antenna

Crop of a small area.  Canon EOS Rebel T6S, 18-55mm lens.  RAW export. 

The lightning bolt was much sharper in the original photo, but the post-processing sort of blurred it.  The RAW editing software I'm using is way old;  it actually doesn't recognize any of the newer Canon DSLR's.  Actually it's a wonder that old software worked at all on this photo.

The software upgrade will have to wait until I do some system upgrades, which... who knows.  The old, slow system I have now is good enough to do 99% of what I require, but RAW export and 48-bit editing would be nice for those rare times when I actually use RAW. 

The main thing will probably be to build a new system for image editing.   As these cameras get into 24 MP and higher, it really starts to bog down the older systems.

As for the lightning, read here to find out what this has to do with radio listening!

2015 June 20

The Rust of Autumn, 6x4.5 cm
Fujichrome Velvia 100

Thinking of getting into the larger types of film?  Here's a new article on Medium vs. Large Format.   I might add to it later, but a reader has been asking me about this very topic, so here you go!

2015 June 15

New article:  Hot Chassis.  If you're into vintage radios and such, this could save your life.  Even if you don't fix electronics, you should know what you're buying so you can enjoy it safely.

Photo was taken with the new Canon EOS Rebel T6S

2015 June 12

I'm planning to do an article on developing color negative film (C-41), but in the meantime I've been trying to restore a vintage stereo receiver. The difficult thing about this one is that the circuit traces are all made of solder, so they melt through if you're not careful.  And once that happens, good luck getting them back together. 

This was common tech for the late Sixties and early Seventies. 

We'll see if the radio works now.  That reminds me;  I've also got another article in the works:  a buyer's guide to vintage electronics.  This is something I've been wanting to do for a while.

2015 June 5

As promised:  Canon EOS Rebel T6S Review.   I'll be adding to it as I put this camera through its paces more thoroughly, but so far...  love it.  Actually, this camera is even better than I thought it would be.  Check it out, or order yours today.

Oh, and just for fun, I'll eventually be reviewing the new Motorola smartphone.  This, from a guy who can't stand smartphones.  Should be interesting.

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