What's New at 120studio.com

Site news archive - January 2018 (Click here for current)

2018 January 31

Needed this entry to remind myself that January has 31 days!  That, and here's a new article...

Bridge Cameras

New:  Panasonic DMC-FZ1000.  Introduced in 2014, still available now.  Still worthwhile?  Find out!  I've got a bunch more photos to include;  will post them soon.

2018 January 29

Weather, Sky & Outdoors

New:  Acu-Rite Digital Weather Station.  An informal review, with some thoughts on selecting one. 

2018 January 26

Updated:  Panasonic ZS50 Review.  Because (A.) my camera actually died a while ago, and (B.) there seem to be some common issues with subsequent models in the ZS series. 

I really wanted a compact superzoom like this, too.  Do the issues eclipse the usefulness of the camera?  This is something you'll have to decide for yourself, but maybe the article will help you.

Film Cameras

A reader asks about the Light Seals article, wondering what thickness to use for the Minolta X-700.  I don't have my X-700 in front of me, but offhand I wouldn't recommend the one-millimeter foam.  2mm should be better, and you could probably even use 3mm, depending on the compactibility of the foam.  I cut mine from a foam brush, sort of guesstimating, but I'd say the pieces were probably between 2 and 3 mm thick.

After they compact down for a while, they will take the shape and thickness they need.  Don't worry if at first the camera back doesn't close quite as easily.  Even foam brush material will flatten down after a while.  (Black yarn sort of does, but it's very slow.) 

Once in a while I like to browse the film camera gear on the 'bay.  Never know what's out there... I just spotted a Holga point-and-shoot film camera, haven't checked if this is current production or not.  I also noticed a serviced Canon AE-1 for sale on there, new light seals etc.  Check this link;  maybe you need a backup film rig while your light seals dry.  I still have to install that light seal kit in the Mamiya RB67!

2018 January 23

This is another one from those rolls of expired "original Velvia".  If you want to see what these pictures looked like without any curve adjustments, etc., here's an example.  What a difference.  When slide film is a couple stops over, most of the color and contrast are gone.  But there's still tone information there, which is often not the case with digital photos.

Once again, these are the light-leak sections of the film, cause unknown.

This picture was supposed to go with the Milwaukee Hand Truck Upgrade article.  I still might include it.  As you can see, the toe plate is a lot bigger than standard.  That's because I welded on a piece of 1/8" steel, then painted it to match the factory color as closely as possible.

2018 January 18

New Gallery:  Expired Velvia Slide Film

2018 January 15
Martin Luther King Day


Working on something, whether it be a tripod or a welding project, I find that it's easier to look at a watch than a phone.  Here's a quick review of an inexpensive quartz watch that's actually pretty good:

New:  Timex Expedition Quartz Watch

2018 January 12
Friday evening

Just playing around with the weather gauge.  8 PM:  50 deg. F;  barometer 28.64 in. Hg;  heavy downpour. (30 minutes later: 45 deg. F, 28.65 in Hg, downpour tapering off.)

Not even a week ago, it was zero Fahrenheit in the mornings.  This morning it was 59 or 60.  Intermittent heavy rains all day. 

But now there's supposed to be a sudden freeze again, and this weekend the lows will be back near zero.

The speed with which weather conditions change seems unnatural.  You're watching the temperatures on your weather station, and at first you begin to wonder if there's something wrong with it.  And then you hear the downpours:  this is weather for May or June.  Well not really even that. 


Four Views of a Tree With The Moon

35mm color negative film, this one. 

2018 January 11


Fujichrome Velvia 50 (35mm)

This photo is from last spring, but I only just noticed that I never posted the article that was supposed to go with it.  This is not really a winter project, but it could be. 

New Article:  I-Beam Saw Horses

And actually, with the 40-degree weather we had the other day, there were people out there wearing shorts.  After about two weeks of bitter cold, it really did feel like April weather outside.

2018 January 5


Many are recovering from the East Coast blizzard of 2018, a storm system which brought snow as far south as Tallahassee, Florida.  The pressure dropped 53 millibar in 21 hours.  There was even thunder and lightning.  There was over a foot of snow in some locations.

And for the weekend, according to the National Weather Service:

"Valid 12Z Fri Jan 05 2018 - 12Z Sun Jan 07 2018:

...An arctic outbreak will keep temperatures 20 to 30 degrees below average across the northeastern U.S..."

"12Z" is 7 AM Eastern Standard Time.

Large Format Photography

Large format isn't just about getting "a picture";  it's the epitome of the photographic art.  You do large format not simply for the image quality, but also because there's something special about the whole process. 

Here's my somewhat worn copy of Using the View Camera by Steve Simmons.  Every now and then I refer to it for some thing or another;  it's even got a section on creative ideas.  A great first book on large format, since it covers most of the core topics.  The reciprocity charts in my old edition could benefit from some updates, probably, but at least it's got Kodak Tri-X in there. 

The book has chapters on camera movements, choosing a lens, using the Zone System, and quite a bit more.  I may do a full review on it, but if you're getting into large format, this one should probably be on your bookshelf.  Get yours here if you don't already have it.

2018 January 4


Full Moon on a Very Cold Night


The unusually cold weather that began in late December is still going on.  One night the temperature fell below zero Fahrenheit, actual air temp (not the wind chill). 

Cold air is not something you can capture directly on film, obviously.  But I've wondered: are there ways to give the impression of a bitter cold night, without resorting to the usual photographic devices (icicles, snow, etc)...?  I mean, can you capture the essence of a cold winter night indirectly?  I don't know for sure, but it's fun to try.

Many times when it's really cold, lots of us have gone from a car to the store without the use of especially warm clothing.  We figure we're going from a heated car to a heated store, and hey, it'll only be less than a minute in the cold each way.  But when you're out trying to get a photograph of some landscape, and the sun's not out, and you have to trudge hundreds of yards, or a mile, or more in the snow... that's when the cold really sets in. 

And yes, the picture is grainy and has lots of base fog, because I like that.  In fact, this is not even half as gnarly as I was going to leave it.  I like shooting 400 or 800 color negative film that was sitting on a shelf, not in a freezer, for unknown years before I threw it into the camera and guesstimated the shutter speed and aperture (incorrectly-- hence the elevated grain and fog).  But it would have been almost as simple to use transparency film and careful metering, and get a more realistic impression of the scene (if that's what you're after). 

Which reminds me... eagerly awaiting the re-appearance of Kodak Ektachrome. Last I checked, it's supposed to be on the market within the next couple of months. 

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