Monday, December 31, 2018

Mobile Photography, Noise, Speed and All

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Nokia Asha 300

Mobile Photography:

Noise, Speed and All

'Five frames with the Nokia Asha 300, taking in the noise, speed, and all of the night traffic'

My previous post, the Evening Groove, got me excited at the possibility of using the Nokia Asha 300 again as the camera for my Mobile Photography posts. Images from the point-and-shoot 5MP rear-facing camera of the candy-bar feature phone are very much more than what I was getting on my current mobile. A totally unexpected exposure for me, with challenges and opportunities to look forward to.

Nokia Asha 300

The Nokia Asha 300, a 2011 vintage feature phone, comes with a 240x360 pixel 2.4-inch non-adjustable resistive touchscreen, just big enough to be used as a framing screen rather than for viewing composition details.

Image resolution from the fixed focus F2.4 lens is 2592 x 1944 pixels, the phone has 140MB of internal storage which can store up to a maximum of 112 JPEG images, and the camera does not come with a flash.

Admittedly, the night shoot session turned out rather well for me. With the noise, limited ISO and shutter speed capabilities of the camera, I was quite happy to see how images turned out. And again, with the aid of a few edits in post-processing, I couldn't ask for more.


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Wishing one and all!

Monday, December 24, 2018

The Ride #II, Konica Big Mini Jr. BM-20

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Konica Big Mini Jr. BM-20

Analog Diary:

The Ride #II, Konica Big Mini Jr. BM-20

'Five frames with the Konica Big Mini Jr. BM-20, a ride down the LRT line, again'

Another roll of expired film, and another ride on the Light Rail Transport (LRT) from the downtown central station to my stop. This was the day I went down to do the street shoot of the Divali (Deepavali) Street Bazaar, which I posted about recently. The camera that I took along for the outing was the Konica Big Mini Jr. BM-20.

Konica Big Mini Jr. BM-20

By itself, the BM-20 is a stylish black (or red) box with rounded corners and has a rectangular patch for a lens housing that extends out of the body slightly when it is powered on.

It is small and light enough to fit in the palm of your hand or in your pants pocket, with a wide-angle 34mm F3.5 lens that should take in the vistas and perspectives probably better than most mobile camera lenses.

Konica Big Mini Jr. BM-20

A small quirk for the BM-20 and a whole range of other make cameras that were produced during the time period is the auto flash that is persistent at even the slightest indication of underexposure. Against the very bright external ambiance as seen from the front carriage of these shots, however, the flash on the camera was rather well behaved.


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Monday, December 17, 2018

Digital Moments, Yashica ML 35mm F2.8

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Olympus E-P5, Yashica ML 35mm F2.8

Digital Moments:

Yashica ML 35mm F2.8

'Five frames with the Yashica ML 35mm F2.8 lens, an odd one out'

The Yashica ML 35mm F2.8, which can be a rare find among the selection of Yashica ML lenses, a series of multicoated pro-line lenses developed and produced by Yashica (Kyocera). This series was designed to fill the gap between Yashica's own consumer-grade DSB lens line and the state-of-the-art Contax/Yashica Zeiss T*, all of which were built at their manufacturing facility in Japan.

Olympus E-P5, Yashica ML 35mm F2.8

The series is also acknowledged as excellent performers, even at wide-open aperture when adapted to crop-sensor digital bodies. Looks like the ML 35mm F2.8 as well, as can be seen from these images posted here, is no exception.

To top off the accolades, this unit is sometimes referred to as the 'poor man's Zeiss', and in passing, is compared equally or even better than the Distagons.
Yashica ML 35mm F2.8, rear mount

From what is available on the Net, while there is not too much of it, the ML 35mm F2.8 was produced in two versions, an earlier version with 7-elements in 6-groups, identified by the diamond knobs on its rubber grip, and a later with 6-elements in 5-groups which comes with square knobs.

An anomaly I found is with the copy of the lens that I have. The lens has a fairly large pin protruding out of the backplate of the lens mount assembly.

This configuration will not let me mount the lens to either the Yashica FX-3 Super 2000 or a Contax RTS II, both of which I have in my collection. The lens, however, can be mounted to the M4/3 FX/CY adapter without any problem.


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Monday, December 10, 2018

Mobile Photography, Evening Groove

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Nokia Asha 300

Mobile Photography:

Evening Groove

'Five frames with the Nokia Asha 300, catching the golden hour'

Continuing where I left off with the On A Bright Sunny Day post, which was with images recorded way back with the Nokia Asha 300. The phone, out of the storage bin, powers up nice and steady with its camera working just as fine.

Nokia Asha 300

Using the camera on the phone is a delight, straight and simple. Being a pure point-and-shoot, all you have to do is to frame the image and press the shutter, there was nothing to set or adjust.

And for the acid test, it was just out on the front porch, on a most beautiful and lovely evening.

While the sun was already down, the ambiance of its red-golden glow still lights up the sky, and coupled with the effect of domestic lighting and the street lights which was already turned on, the moments were truly a photographer's delight.

The images, sharp and clear and with the cool contrast rendering, were quite beyond the expectation. I was not disappointed.


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Monday, December 3, 2018

Sea of Yellow and Red, Konica Big Mini Jr. BM-20

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Konica Big Mini Jr. BM-20

Analog Diary:

Sea of Yellow and Red, Konica Big Mini Jr. BM-20

'Five frames with the Konica Big Mini Jr. BM-20, in celebration of Devali'

I ended up having a roll of expired Kodakcolor 200 negative film in one of my camera shipments recently and wondered how the images will look like once the film has been exposed and developed. Just as well, I also have a Konica Big Mini Jr. BM-20, a fully automatic AF film camera, in my collection, and decided to match the two for a street walk.

Konica Big Mini Jr. BM-20

The Konica Big Mini Jr. BM-20 is one of the models of the Konica Big Mini series, an iconic low-priced series of point-and-shoot fully automatic autofocus (AF) 35mm film cameras produced by Konica in the early 1990s.

The Big Mini models set itself apart from other makes of the same genre with a fantastic range of F3.5 Konica lenses that is renowned to be very sharp with excellent contrast rendering. The BM-20 has a 34mm F3.5 lens.

A 34mm lens (almost the 35mm that many street photographers talk about) is also the focal length for street photography. It is a nice compromise between a nifty-fifty which street photographers may find a bit tight, and the wideness of the 28mm which sometimes calls for a fair amount of cropping. Just as well, the lens is just about perfect for both a cramped narrow street shot or the landscaped vista.


Konica Big Mini Jr. BM-20

Going by specs I found for other models, the BM-20 may include an automatic shutter speed range of 1/80 to 1/250 second, and lens aperture opening of F3.5 to F16 (not verified). My unit, however, came with a dead LCD panel which was located on the left of the top plate. I can only assume that the panel is for the film counter and whatever else it is supposed to have.


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Monday, November 26, 2018

Digital Moments, Yashica ML 28mm F2.8

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 Olympus E-P5, Yashica ML 28mm F2.8

Digital Moments:

Yashica ML 28mm F2.8

'Five frames with the Yashica ML 28mm F2.8, a very good lens, better than the price suggests'

An excellent lens by any standards, the Yashica ML 28mm F2.8 lens is part of the Yashica ML series, pro-line multicoated lenses developed and produced by Yashica (Kyocera) to bridge between their consumer-grade DSB line and the state-of-the-art Zeiss T* within the Contax/Yashica system.

Olympus E-P5, Yashica ML 28mm F2.8

These lenses were made in Japan, at the same factory where the legendary Zeiss Contax T* lenses were made. Finished with a different coating, images rendition are slightly less contrasty, but colors and contrast are great. While not of Zeiss standards, these lenses do have their moments with acknowledgment of being of high quality.

The ML 28mm F2.8 is of 7 elements in 6 groups construction with 6 aperture blades and a minimum focusing distance of 0.3 meters, and as part of the ML series, these lenses share a common bayonet mount with the Contax RTS and Yashica FX-1 series cameras. Though not of all metal, the rings are plastic, the built quality of the lens is very good, with functions that are all smooth and snappy.

On a 2x cropped-sensor digital camera body, for example, the E-P5 which is my normal digital camera, the lens is equivalent to a 56mm focal length lens, while on ASP-C sensor cameras with 1.5x crop-sensor, it will be a 42mm equivalent. The 40-55mm focal length range is the common standard for prime lenses of the 35mm film SLR cameras era.


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Monday, November 19, 2018

Mobile Photography, On A Bright Sunny Day

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 Nokia Asha 300

Mobile Photography:

On A Bright Sunny Day

'Five frames with the Nokia Asha 300, a look across the maritime construction yard, and the bay at sunset'

As I mentioned in my earlier post, I was quite disappointed with the early images from the consumer-grade smartphone and I am quite reluctant to use the camera further, for a while at least. Having said that, and for the need of another camera to keep up with my Mobile Photography posts, I went for a dig back and managed to salvage a stack of images captured with the Nokia Asha 300 feature phone which I was using quite a while back.

Nokia Asha 300

The stack of images includes this set of views taken on an outstation trip to a huge oil and gas fabrication facility. It was a very bright and sunny day and we were looking across the ground from the 7th-floor rooftop of the administration building.

Later in the evening, the golden hour was another joyous moment as I enjoyed the sunset from the hotel balcony looking over to the cove and the island across the bay which becomes a perfect stage for the setting. It looks like the Nokia Asha 300 is just as capable of capturing the essence of the scene as well.

What is most interesting to me is the fixed focus F2.4 5MP camera on the Nokia Asha 300 is very capable of doing a very good job with images in bright daylight situations. For images otherwise, the cable connectivity of the phone is an easy path for connectivity and uploads to post-processing apps, an idea to look forward to.

Together with the interest in the analog and film cameras, and now a bit with the digital past (maybe only momentarily), it should be fun to see how things play out and add to the strength of this blog.


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Monday, November 12, 2018

Take Your Pick, Olympus XA4 Macro

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 Olympus XA4 Macro

Analog Diary:

Take Your Pick, Olympus XA4 Macro

'Five frames with the Olympus XA4 Macro, choices of what have you at the stalls of the Ramadan Bazaar'

The final post on a mini-series with images from the Olympus XA4 at the Ramadan Bazaar, a series which took off with Squaring the 28mm, All Set and ReadyThe Ladies Are All Smiles, and finally, this post. Though captured on a street-smart 28mm F3.5 lens of the Olympus XA4 on a single roll of negative film during a single outing, the images were squared off to the 1:1 aspect ratio from their original 3:2 via the desktop image post-processor.

Olympus XA4 Macro

The square format, or images in the 1:1 aspect ratio, is a beautiful format to work with. It works well when you are trying to simplify the composition when eliminating superfluous elements or empty spaces. The composition itself can do away with the much-vaunted one-third rule, placing the subject in the center of a square frame, for example, or close to the edge, works just as well.

As a street photographer's camera go by, the capsule-style Olympus XA4 35mm film camera might be just the right choice for you. The camera is fitted with a 28mm F3.5 super sharp focal length lens and is highly recommended for landscapes, people at work, at play, or for when and where you can get in right into their midst.

Olympus XA4 Macro

The camera reverts the focus distance back to the optimum 3 meters when you close and re-opens the capsule cover, sets the AE system on automatically, and you are ready to shoot in the instant you slide back the capsule cover.


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