Film Photography Podcast 197

Posted: 09/14/2018
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Film Photography Podcast
Episode 197 - September 15, 2018

The FPP welcomes Robert Hamm of the Hamm Camera Company. Robert is the inventor of the NuBox 1 and Pin Box 120 film cameras. Other topics include Wedding Photography, New Cyanotypes , JollyLook Camera, Minolta A5 and more!


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Film Photography Podcast – Episode 197
September 15th, 2018


Hey Internet Folks, it’s the Film Photography Podcast, your favourite Internet Radio Show that’s all about film! Joining Michael Raso in the studio today is Leslie Lazenby, Mat Marrash, Mark O’Brien, and a special guest, the Hamm man himself, Robert Hamm. And of course, you, our studio audience. So what is on the table today, well we have Wedding Photography, New Cyanotypes, the JollyLook Camera, the Minolta A5 and so much more!

Wedding Photography
While there are some people out there that love shooting wedding, and others who dread it. But here on the FPP, Michael has plenty of experience with wedding videography, and Robert still does a lot of wedding photography. Leslie is another former wedding shooter (who says the best part about shooting a wedding is driving home after it was done) and Mat has also shot a handful of weddings. And while there are often some clashes between the still photographer and the videographer, Robert says the best thing to do is to get there early and build a relationship with the other guys. It just makes the day go smoother. As for crews, most weddings that Robert does he can run solo, the rest he has about three others that come along as help with setting up equipment, getting that b-roll footage, or work as a two-man drone operation team. As for gear, Robert does a lot of work with Digital cameras for weddings, but recently he’s been adding film into the process as a whole. It’s mostly because a lot of brides are liking the work, and even if the client doesn’t ask for it, he still brings a few rolls of film to shoot and mostly B&W film. There are even couples using Super8 or 16mm film to capture their wedding beyond the digital video capture. The trouble is once you’ve shot a few weddings, Mat comments, the trouble is staying out of the way of the photographer because you’re at the wedding just as a guest. But as Robert mentioned, the best thing you can do as a photographer at the wedding is getting to know the couple. Work with them on how they want the wedding photographed, get a shot list, managed expectations. All of that goes towards preventing an unhappy couple, or worse, a bridezilla, which thankfully Robert has never experienced yet.

A Canadian Rangefinder – The Minolta “Eh” Five.
Mark O’Brien has a great little Minolta Rangefinder cameras. Now mostly we know about the classic Hi-Matic Line. But today Mark has something a little bit older. The Minolta A5 is the final model in the A-Series rangefinders, released in 1960 is your standard fixed lens rangefinder with a Rokkor 40mm f/2 lens, matched with shutter speeds between B, 1 sec to 1/1000 second, which is pretty fast for the era as most cameras the top speed was 1/500 second. The camera has no meter and is fully mechanical so you don’t have to worry about batteries, just use an external meter or sunny-16 to get the exposure. There is an accessory shoe and a PC-Socket on the lens for flashes, and you can use either Electronic (X-Sync) or Flash Bulbs (M-Sync) with the camera. For Mark it feels good in the hand, everything is well laid out, nothing sloppy or strange about it. You can pick one up fairly inexpensive online, eBay prices are all under 100$. Leslie does have a tip for searching, look for a misspelt listed, with Minolta spelt wrong. Mostly because people are drawn towards the Canon or Yashica rangefinders. And probably the coolest feature is the ‘bad-ass’ M-Logo on the front of the camera. The A-Series was replaced in 1962 with the Hi-Matic line of fixed lens rangefinders.

A New Formula – Mat and the New Cyanotypes
Mat’s been playing around with alternative processes for the past year. And he’s been doing some high-end processes, such as platinum/palladium, which is far from cheap. But in a recent visit to the darkroom, he noticed someone working with a New Cyanotype process. Now, Cyanotype process has been around for close to 160 years and can be fairly toxic. This new formulation as Mat explains is far less toxic, but it is still fairly dangerous, don’t drink it and avoid skin contact. The colour look is much bluer/indigo. It’s also far faster, the original being close to half an hour in direct sun, whereas the new process is only three minutes! And it all has to do with the new sensitizer in the formula. Now you do need to get some paper, something that can hold chemistry, something like a watercolour paper, or as Mat uses the Hahnemuhle Platinum Rag, and you just brush on the chemistry. The chemistry is best purchased in kit form, both the Photographer’s Formulary and Bostick and Sullivan. This is a contact print process, so you lay your negative in direct contact with the sensitized paper. You can even use digital negatives. But if you are shooting film, you have to shoot B&W film, most films out there will work, just don’t go with TMax 100 because it has a UV Blocking layer, this means that 3-minute exposure turns into 4 hours. If you’re looking to get into Alt processes, then Mat recommends Cyanotype, it’s fairly straightforward and inexpensive to start off. It works best for outdoor, landscape scenes. While it can be used for portraits, the skin tones will be blue. In fact, even Michael is ready to get off his butt shoot some 4x5 and make some Cyanotypes.

A Not so Jolly JollyLook – Leslie’s First Impressions
The JollyLook Camera is a strange little beast that was supported by a Crowd Funding Campaign, however, there’s been a delay in getting the cameras out to the supporters, but you can get them through a Retail Store. But a day after Leslie saw this online, her’s arrived in the mail. So what is this camera? It’s a folding Instax camera, made out of recycled paper material for the most part, but the lens and a few other parts are plastic. For film, the camera takes regular Fuji Instax Mini. The bellows are a beautiful red camera which is what drew in Leslie right off the bat. So what are the camera’s specs, the lens is a 110mm Meniscus lens with adjustable apertures between f/8 and f/64 + a pinhole option, there are two shutter speeds 1/250” or 1/160” along with bulb mode. As you might have guessed, there’s no automation, Leslie uses an app on her phone to set the exposure. Another note of warning, if you keep cranking, you will just crank out more images. Of course, Leslie ran into a lot of difficulties with her first run with the camera, so she sent a message to the guys behind the camera, and to her surprise, got back right away. So the early model cameras faced some quality control issues, including part of the light trap getting bumped out of the body. They have fixed this particular issues, and even offered up replacements for any of the defective units, as a point of honour for the company.

Who is Robert Hamm and the Hamm Camera Co?
There are plenty of people who listen to this show that backed the NuBox 1 and it was a huge success for Robert’s first ever Kickstarter Campaign. So for those who don’t know, the NuBox 1 is a modern modular box camera like the Kodak Brownies of old. The camera was inspired by an Agfa box camera which contained the exposed film of his grandfather, whom he (Robert) had never met. He would go ahead and disassemble the camera, learning how everything worked, and inspiration struck, he could duplicate the camera, from the lens, shutter control. And everything about the camera would be in the public domain. And thus Hamm Camera was founded! But he took it all a bit further, with a faster shutter speed, an adjustable aperture, even fully removable lenses to change the field of view. It is the box camera brought into the new century. And while he’s got a prototype, and some early production models, the biggest issue has been the lenses as the Meniscus style lenses aren’t readily produced and modern lens configurations just don’t work in a box camera. It also didn’t help he’s poisoned himself twice during production (but he’s not dead yet)! So to fill the gap in time waiting for the parts for NuBox 1, he created something else, enter the PinBox. The PinBox is a camera you can build yourself and get a beautiful pinhole camera in the process. The idea is to encourage people to discover the joys of photography and constructing your own camera. The PinBox is made out of cardboard and compressed paperboard and cut using a Cricket Cutter. When you purchase one, you get everything you need to build the camera from scratch or using the provided parts. The PinBox, like NuBox 1 is a medium format camera taking 120 films, and shoots a 6x6 negative. And it, like NuBox was successfully funded by a huge number of backers, showing that like Robert, the Film Photography community is dedicated to the craft and love a new camera. And for those waiting for their NuBox 1, shipping is starting this month (September) and running through October! Plus, you can get access to the design plans and buy parts like lenses direct from Hamm Camera, to build a box that is all your own! Got questions? Shoot an email to rob@hammcamera.com!

That’s it for this episode, but don’t worry, we’ll be back in a short two weeks! Until then join the community over on Flickr, like us on Facebook, and sign up for our newsletter! You can shoot us an email at podcast@filmphotographyproject.com or by regular post Film Photography Podcast PO Box 264, Fair Lawn, NJ 07410.

Alex Luyckx is an IT Professional at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario. He loves shooting both film and muskets as well as reading and reenacting history. He has a particular love of Military History from the French-Indian War up to the end of the Cold War. You can follow along with his adventures at www.alexluyckx.com/blog.

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