Canon Canonet QL17 GIII: The First Rolls

Kodak Portra 400

Kodak Portra 400

After much anticipation I have to admit that I am a little bit let down by the film that was returned to me this evening. There are a few things that may be at play here. 1) The developer is just a local shop that may or may not be be using the best practices. 2) The scans I am posting here are mediocre at best. 3) I chose the wrong film for the setting. 4) The photographer is the weak link.

Kodak Portra 400

Kodak Portra 400

Most importantly though, I am happy to report that the camera behaved as expected. Since these were my first couple of rolls put through this new (to me) camera I was interested in checking a few things such as the metering, the advancing of film, light leaks, lens issues… I was happy to report that the camera is in excellent shooting condition considering its age and price. Now it is just time to work out some of the other issues. First on my list will be to find another developer that may have better developing methods and can return higher quality scans.

*All of the images posted here were resized, but are otherwise untouched scans from the developer.

Fujifilm X-TRA400

Fujifilm X-TRA400

Fujifilm X-TRA400

Fujifilm X-TRA400

Kodak Portra 400

Kodak Portra 400

Fujifilm X-TRA400

Fujifilm X-TRA400

Fujifilm X-TRA400

Fujifilm X-TRA400

Fujifilm X-TRA400

Fujifilm X-TRA400

Kodak Portra 400

Kodak Portra 400

After a Long Absence, the Film is Starting to Roll In

The first two rolls of film that I have developed in a long, long time have finally shown up. The film was old, 10+ years and were found in the bottom of an old moving box. One roll was half exposed from about 15 years ago and the other was still in its packaging.

Hong Kong (Olympus Stylus, Fuji X-TRA 400)

Hong Kong (Olympus Stylus, Fuji X-TRA 400)

I had very low expectations for the rolls of film, especially the one that was already half exposed (18 of 36 frames had been shot). The film was not sitting in the most protective environment, but in the end it was a pleasant surprise to see that both rolls were developed without too many problems.

The film was shot in an old Olympus Stylus point and shoot. Next week I’m hopping to get back my first couple of rolls back from my first outing with the Canonet QL17. Until then here are the Olympus Stylus photos:

Taipei, Taiwan (Olympus Stylus, Fuji X-TRA 400)

Taipei, Taiwan (Olympus Stylus, Fuji X-TRA 400)

Taipei, Taiwan (Olympus Stylus, Fuji X-TRA 400)

Taipei, Taiwan (Olympus Stylus, Fuji X-TRA 400)

Hong Kong (Olympus Stylus, Fuji X-TRA 400)

Hong Kong (Olympus Stylus, Fuji X-TRA 400)

Hong Kong (Olympus Stylus, Fuji X-TRA 400)

Hong Kong (Olympus Stylus, Fuji X-TRA 400)

Hong Kong (Olympus Stylus, Fuji X-TRA 400)

Hong Kong (Olympus Stylus, Fuji X-TRA 400)

As far as the film is concerned, I was happy with the color and grain and have bought some fresh rolls to run through the QL17.

Arrival of the Canon Canonet QL17 GIII…So Excited!

The Canon Cononet QL17 GIII, what a beautiful camera.

The Canon Cononet QL17 GIII, what a beautiful camera.

In a way this is all about getting back to the first influences photography had on me. My father (tomcollinsphotography.com) starting shooting this camera back in the 60s. Most of the early images of my childhood are taking with one of these and I even found a photo of me when I was 13 or 14 with the QL17 around my neck. What a privilege it was to shoot a ‘real’ camera.

After on and off searched of eBay and watching the price of the QL17 go higher and higher I finally decided to pick one up. There are dozens to choose from and I was willing to spend a little extra to get a fungus free, cosmetically clean copy. Thanks to a fantastic seller on eBay I found the perfect copy, perfect considering it’s a 40 year old camera.

Nothing 'retro' about this camera, it's the real deal. I can see where it may have been the inspiration for modern retro cameras from Fuji, Canon, Nikon, Olympus...

Nothing ‘retro’ about this camera, it’s the real deal. I can see where it may have been an inspiration for modern retro cameras from Fuji, Canon, Nikon, Olympus…

It appears that the QL17 sells from around $50 to $300+ for pristine copies. I picked up mine right in the middle of that range. I’m not going to go into a review of the camera yet, this is strictly an enthusiastic new owner of an old classic wanting to share his excitement.

And the location where brand new full frame sensors are loaded 24/36 at a time.

And the location where brand new full frame sensors are loaded 24/36 at a time.

It is hard not to make immediate comparisons to one of Leica’s rangefinders.

The QL17 proudly standing shoulder to shoulder with the Leica M9.

The QL17 proudly standing shoulder to shoulder with the Leica M9.

The view most of us are familiar with.

The view most of us are familiar with.

The QL17 GIII and its 40mm f/1.7 lens and the Leica M9 with a 50mm Summicron (f/2).

The QL17 GIII and its 40mm f/1.7 lens and the Leica M9 with a 50mm Summicron (f/2).

Some More Macro Work (iPhone)

Flower buds peaking through and ready to bloom

Flower buds peeking through and ready to bloom

I’ve never really been a big macro shooter, but I have always admired the work and effort that goes into capturing a macro photograph. With this little conversion lens I’ve been having fun around the house grabbing a few macro shots here and there, from the kitchen to the front yard. No fancy tripods, no expensive macro rails, no focus stacking and no sophisticated flash configurations, just a tiny little lens screwed onto the back of my iPhone and shot handheld.

This little snail is a little smaller than the size of a dime.

This little snail is a little smaller than the size of a dime.

And a couple things from the kitchen…brussels sprouts!

A freshly washed brussels sprout

A freshly washed brussels sprout

Brussels sprout sliced in half

Brussels sprout sliced in half (I should have added something to the scene to put this into perspective. These layers are fractions of a millimeter thick.)

More Fun with the Bitplay Snap! 6 and the Wide Angle Lens

Greetings

I’ve had the Snap! 6 for a few weeks now and have had a chance to use the macro and wide-angle lens converter. The macro has been a lot of fun and I have some updates for the previous post, but that’ll come in a few days. For now, I wanted to share some images taken with the iPhone 6 and Bitplay’s Snap! 6 case and lens combo.

The iPhone 6 has an equivalent focal length of 29mm and with the wide-angle converter you’re shooting with approximately a 20mm lens. The wide-angle adaptor is small, really small. So small that you need to be careful where you place it when you take it off otherwise you’ll be looking all over for it like I have already done a couple times.

One

In the photos below you can get an idea of just how small it really is. Here it is pictured next to the Ricoh GW-3 wide-angle adaptor. Interestingly, both the Ricoh and iPhone with conversion lenses give you approximately the same focal length, 21mm on the Ricoh and 20mm on the iPhone.

Both of these lenses get you down to a 20/21mm focal length.

One of these costs $20 and the other $200. Is one of them 10x better than the other?

One of these costs $20 and the other $200. Is one of them 10x better than the other?

Just for fun I threw in a few Ricoh photos that were shot in approximately the same spot as the Bitplay lens. Clearly these two cameras are not the same tool, but it’s fun to see what they look like side-by-side.

20150206-R0002659 IMG_2325

Do I like the wide-angle lens? Yes, absolutely, it definitely adds a lot of versatility with virtually no sacrifice to the iPhone’s size or weight. On top of that for only $20 you’re getting this AND a macro lens so it is kind of a no-brainer. Now I really want to try out the Bitplay 3x telephoto lens. I am looking forward to getting my hands on one of those.

Waiting to Cross (processed with VSCOcam)

Waiting for a Watch

Watch Repair

101 on its own

101 on its own (processed with VSCOcam) 

Another side-by-side comparison with the Ricoh GR with GW-3 wide angle conversion lens (21mm) and the Bitplay Snap! 6 wide-angle lens (20mm).

Processed with VSCOcam with 4 preset

(processed with VSCOcam)

20150206-R0002657Pros:

  • This lens adds a lot of versatility to the iPhone with no size or weight penalty.
  • It’s $20 and that includes a macro lens too!
  • Performance for posting to the web, email, Facebook, Instagram…is perfectly acceptable and let’s face it, this covers 95% of what we do with our images.

Cons:

  • There is a significant amount of distortion, but remember, this lens is the same price as a few drinks at Starbucks.
  • It is easy to misplace.

Some Quick Macro Work with the Bitplay Snap! 6

Marco lens attached to Bitplay Snap! 6. Can you find the little owl sitting in the corner?

Marco lens attached to Bitplay Snap! 6. Can you find the little owl sitting in the corner?

This is the first time I’ve had a case that would accept lenses for the iPhone and I was excited to give the macro lens a shot so I grabbed an old crusty barnacle and a dollar bill and gave it a shot.

The first thing I noticed was how close the working distance is to the subject. I’m estimating the working range to the subject is about 1cm. That indeed gets you very close to your subject. The drawback is that sometimes at this distance the iPhone blocks some of the light reaching the subject.

Considering that I was shooting with a lens that cost price of a few drinks at Starbucks and an iPhone I was very impressed. Since I don’t have any cameras that have macro capabilities I can see myself having a lot of fun with this lens. It is $20 well spent.

It's two something.

It’s two something.

White balance seems way off with the lights I was using and the iPhone. I fiddle with it a little and tried to get the balance right in Lightroom.

White balance seems way off with the lights I was using and the iPhone. I fiddle with it a little and tried to get the balance right in Lightroom.

The very fine hair from a our cat's tail. She wasn't amused.

The very fine hair from a our cat’s tail. She wasn’t amused.

Yours truly.

Yours truly.

Bitplay – SNAP! 6: Quick Field Review

A few months ago I came across a Kickstarter campaign for the Bitplay SNAP! 6 case, but was too late to get in on the initial batch. To my surprise while I was out shopping with my wife today I came across one of their cases on the shelf right in front of me.

Not only that, but they had the two lens conversion kit that attaches to the case. Needless to say I was pretty excited to see both of these items ready for purchase. As far as price goes I was surprised how inexpensive the case and lens kit were. I can’t recall what the projected retail price was going to be from their Kickstarter campaign, but I paid less then $40 for the case and $20 for the two lens kit. Not bad at all when you consider that it makes the already capable camera in the iPhone a much more enjoyable shooting experience.

Taipei crosswalk from above. (iPhone 6 with Bitplay SNAP! 6 and edited in VSCOcam)

Taipei crosswalk from above. (iPhone 6 with Bitplay SNAP! 6 and edited in VSCOcam)

The case really isn’t much bigger than any standard iPhone 6 case and is smaller than several other protective cases I’ve seen. The key to this case is its dedicated shutter release. If you recall, one of the main reasons I liked the Nokia 1020 was because of the ergo friendly grip and the dedicated shutter release. The grip on the SNAP! 6 isn’t as bulky as the Nokia 1020’s, but the benefit is that with the SNAP! 6 case your phone is still easily pocketable.

The mechanism for the shutter release is completely mechanical and is neatly hidden within the walls of the case and works perfectly. A Small added benefit is the ability to add a wrist or neck strap to one of the case’s three attachment points.

Being able to hold the phone in a more conventional way with the shutter release just below your right index finger is a huge plus for me. There’s no awkward bending of fingers to reach the shutter release and there is far less chance of introducing camera shake when taking photos.

Pros:

  • Much more comfortable to hold in your hand when taking photos
  • Small, about the same size as any other iPhone case
  • Ability to add a wrist or neck strap
  • It’s mechanical, no battery drain
  • Less camera shake

Cons:

  • Since the release button is actually triggering the volume down button you may inadvertently be lowering your volume
  • It’s plastic (I’d be willing to pay more for an aluminum case)
Unmistakeable, Taipei 101. (iPhone 6 with Bitplay SNAP! 6 case)

Unmistakeable, Taipei 101.

Processed with VSCOcam with 5 preset

Walking and texting

I’ve only had a chance to take a couple photos with the two lenses: one macro and one 0.68x wide angle lens. The 0.68x wide angle lens give you the equivalent of a 20mm lens in 35mm terms and the macro lens is marked as 1.5x. The macro lens lets you get close, very close.

The dial of the Ricoh GR with the Bitplay SNAP! 6 case and macro lens.

The dial of the Ricoh GR with the Bitplay SNAP! 6 case and macro lens.

I’m hoping to get a chance to use the lenses more over the coming weeks and I’ll be back to share my photos and findings.