After covering the subject of whether a person should dress in layers while hiking in the Pacific Northwest, Nick and Graham talk about what kind of features they want in a camera for travel (8:00). Nick describes his Duffer Suit and how it allows him to be ignored when he takes pictures (21:20). Graham describes the psychological reason why Leicas kept the bottom-loading system for as long as they did (24:00).
We get a bit of a non-update on the Scamera project and what the guys worked on the past two weeks (30:45).
Graham starts us off with a discussion of the role features play in the design of cameras. Features here are defined as non-essential elements that make the process of making a photograph easier (6:15). As an example, he and Nick run through the features associated with focusing.
In the spirit of the thing, Nick talks about features that he would like to see developed that either has not already been implemented or have not been widely implemented (26:05).
The hosts discuss the concept of a 35mm camera that could accommodate image sizes from 24mm by 24mm to 24mm by 65mm with several sizes in between (33:50). This camera would have a drop-in mask or a mask that is adjustable from the outside and would advance the proper distance no matter what format it is shooting at the time.
Nick does his best to make the system much more complicated than the original vision but while providing a good argument on the merits of the additional complexity (46.30). Graham counters with the engineering and design process that takes many iterations to find the proper solution.
They then start to talk about what features are desirable for this type of project (55:30).
Nick tells the tale of taking apart his Nikanon scamera, shooting pinhole cameras and playing with putty (1:07:00).
Zeb Andrews’ recent appearance on The Lensless Podcast sparked a discussion about slow shooting experiences and value of a photograph of an experience vs. the experience itself (1:31:00). They also discuss the IM Back digital back for film cameras as a core component of a camera build.
Nick starts off the episode by talking about what a universal camera design is and why it might be nice to have (5:15). From there they talk about existing cameras that can be considered universal and how different qualities are more flexible than others. Nick describes the Mercury Camera System, a system that was designed from the start to be a universal design (22:40). Graham puts forward the concept that the APS film format should be considered a universal film format while name-dropping Mike Gutterman (28:30).
They move on to talking about the features of a universal camera (35:15) and what is most important about it. After that, they talk about how to approach a design of a universal camera (47:39).
This time around Nick and Graham discuss photographs they have taken and how they inform the cameras that they build and how the cameras that they build allow for photographs that are different from the ones they can take with off-the-shelf models.
Nick talks about issues with parallax in viewfinders (13:45) and the solutions to address the issue in cameras. Graham grabs a couple of cameras off his shelf to verify what Nick says. They take a moment to revel in Voigtlander fandom (20:05) and then get back to business.
They move on to SLR through-the-lens viewfinders and their advantages and disadvantages (23:45) along with the advantages of the pentaprism on SLRs (29:30).
Some viewfinders have very little information and some have an overload of information and this balance can can affect the shooting experience (36:20).
They discus “viewfinder” cameras like the Trip 35, cameras with little or no information in the viewfinder (30:30).
Filter effects are discussed and how to use them without seeing the actual taking image (44:38).
They eventually make their way to large format cameras and viewfinder issues with view finding (53:25).
With the subject of viewfinders completed, our fearless hosts moved on to poking the bear (Graeme of Sunny 16 Podcast) and his call for the smashing of all Scameras on sight. Nick and Graham (note how OUR Graham spells his name correctly) have responded to this heinous call with a call to action of their own: Modify these cameras into worthwhile photographic tools (1:26:20).
For this episode, Graham and Nick talk about focus and focusing mechanisms in cameras. Nick asks whether focusing is necessary and Graham talks about one of his favorite Flickr people, ChetBak59 (https://www.flickr.com/photos/129558209@N02) and his use of out-of-focus areas of images to great effect (9:15). Nick challenges Graham to take a photograph where the out-of-focus areas is the point of interest and the in-focus areas are secondary (14:58).
At 16:00 the boys finally get to the definition of focus and how the lens creates this focus on a film plane or sensor. They then talk about the different methods to adjust focus in a camera-lens system (26:41).
They also talk about how focus is verified so we get the result that is expected (38:25).
With all that silliness about focusing complete, talk turns to a camera Graham built over the previous week, the Sixty7 Woody (1:10:30)
Nick and Graham start off the show talking about slide film and the forthcoming Kodak Ektachrome along with some Agfachrome that Graham stumbled upon several years ago. They then begin with a description of what the purpose of a Film Transport Mechanism is and why it’s an important part of any camera build.
Graham describes the three major film handling systems in use today (14:39) and then goes on to talk about a bunch of different systems that are either no longer in use or represent only a tiny fraction of cameras in use today. He did forget completely the Disc camera system though you can probably understand why that one slipped his mind.
They talk about Heather Oelklaus (19:21)and her pinhole panel truck Little Miss Sunshine and how she uses an array of paper negatives to produce large-scale pinhole images. You can visit her web page at CameraKarma.com to see a video of her truck and the process she uses for large-scale images.
Graham mentions Corey Canon of The Lensless Podcast and his discussion of building a single-shot 8X10 as a way of focusing the image-making process and eliminating distraction (1:08:00).
Nick talks about his dream film transport system that allows any spacing for any format in a single device. (1:10:45).
Nick reviews two books that he finds are valuable to the homemade camera builder (1:31:30), Adventures with Pinhole and Homemade Cameras, John Evansand Experimental Photography, A Handbook of Techniques, Marco Antonini, Sergio Minniti, Francisco Gomez, and Gabriele Lungarella.
Nick floats the idea of a pinhole bird feeder (1:40:15), sure evidence that this episode has gone way too long.
This is the second half of a two-part episode. In this half, we talk about the aperture.
Nick and Graham start off talking about the purpose of an aperture on a camera and the collimation of light that is required for a sharp image. Graham floats the crackpot concept of using variously-sized holes in lens caps as aperture controls (10:22). Nick then talks about the optical test-bench he wants to create (14:18).
Returning to the real world from their flights of fancy, they discuss the issues with apertures that get too small and the issues with the wave portion of the particle-wave behavior of light (15:48).
The effects of various numbers of blades in a given aperture are discussed in relation to the holiday movies that make their appearance on The Hallmark Channel (17:47).
Nick describes a lens that uses rotating shutters, rotating apertures, and rotating neutral density filters in a single barrel (29:00).
They discuss what type of aperture each would work with on a quick and simple build (34:32).
Nick talks about a camera he is in the process of designing that uses a dead Fujifilm GX680 body (36:42).
Nick talks about his experience with the Sixty3 plastic panoramic camera that Graham designed and built (49:50) though it takes Nick a bit of time to realize what Graham is hinting at. Graham also discusses another build, the Sixty7 pinhole camera (53:50) made with a Graflok 6X7 back.
This episode was originally planned to cover both the shutter and the aperture but as the recording topped two hours, we decided to separate the two concepts. In two weeks we will continue as we focus on the aperture.
Right off the bat, Graham can’t remember the name of the camera repair guide he read. It’s Camera Maintenance & Repair by Thomas Thomosy.
Contributor to the forums on the Homemade Camera Podcast Flickr group, Flaver-D’s projection-TV-lensed experiment is discussed (12:10) and how having an adjustable aperture is not always very important. Nick brings up the concept that along with shutter speed and aperture, you can use neutral density filters to control exposure as well (12:35).
They discuss the Garbage Cam Build of listener jojonas on Flickr that uses a magnifying glass and black and white printing paper to get some very interesting effect (22:55). They also talk about how the movement of shutters can cause distortions in the image such as the famous forward-leaning race cars from the 1930s (38:25).
The boys try to tackle the concept of slit-scan photography such as that produced by James Guerin, maker of the Reality So Subtle pinhole cameras (41:15).
The Phochron XA shutter tester is mentioned at (58:00) and how it can help with determining the accuracy of settings of older shutters.
Nick reminds us that in the early days of photography the Guillotine was a handy way of creating a consistent shutter opening (1:13:00). Almost immediately afterward they talk about Flickr group member Jonas and his schematic for a shutter that employs magnets from headphones to actuate.