Friday, January 30, 2015

Complicated-Looking Point & Shoots...

So, the intense battles among the Japanese camera manufacturers for SLR market share in the 1970s resulted in a saturated market. Lots of people wanted to take pictures, but the SLR camera, festooned as it was with dials and knobs and buttons, was off-putting to somebody who wanted to take pictures of their kid's birthday parties and the occasional vacation picture at the beach. On the other hand, point-and-shoot cameras were one-and-done affairs; sell one of those, and that's it, whereas if you sell an SLR, you're opening the customer up to repeated purchases of lenses and flashes and accessories...

This led to an interesting offshoot in the evolution of SLRs: Simple, practically point-and-shoot, SLRs marketed to beginners. While modern DSLR cameras certainly can be, and are, marketed to beginners, they typically retain the ability for full manual control. These older film ancestors were... different in that respect.
The Nikon EM, introduced in 1979, was a departure from traditional Nikon SLRs, which had been tank-like, all-metal things. The EM was smaller, lighter, and less expensive than usual, containing a large amount of plastic in its construction. The body's lines were sculpted by Italian industrial designer Giorgetto Giugiaro, better known for the Lotus Esprit, BMW M1, and DeLorean. Internally, it was conceptualized as an "SLR camera for women".

The top of the camera, instead of the usual array of knobs, had a dial for setting the film speed and a simple selector for auto exposure, a manual 1/90th second exposure (in case the batteries went tango uniform) and Bulb, for using a cable release.

The shooter still had to dial in the aperture, but the camera would pick the shutter speed, and beep politely to let you know if the required exposure time would be 1/30th of a second or longer, which could cause blur from camera motion. The camera used the entire array of standard Nikon "F-mount" lenses, thus serving as a gateway drug to further Nikon purchases.

In 1983, Canon released the T50. This camera goes several step further than the EM in the easy-to-use department. For starters, it has a built-in motor drive, so film loading and advancing is automated, but you still have to rewind manually at the end of the roll.

The T50 uses Program mode for all shooting: Set the aperture ring on the lens to "A" and the camera handles all the aperture and shutter speed chores. All you have to do is drop the film in and manually set the ISO, focus, and watch out for the blinking "P" in the viewfinder, which lets you know if a shot is no bueno.

These cameras are generally available for a song and the best part is that they use Canon's FD mount. Unlike the Nikon F or Leica R, when Canon went to autofocus SLRs, they completely changed their lens mount (from the FD to the EF) and the orphaned lenses are dirt cheap. By way of illustration, I picked up a 70-210 Macro and a 100-300, both in excellent condition with front and rear caps, for $100 shipped. For the pair.

Minolta's Maxxum 3000i, released in 1988, is entirely automated. Drop the film in and it loads itself, reads the DX code on the canister to set film speed and is ready to go. It's an autofocus and the lens mount is still in use as the Sony "α" mount. If the Nikon EM was a synchromesh manual gearbox and the Canon T50 was a paddle-shifted twin-clutch manual, this is an actual automatic transmission.

The top of the camera is practically devoid of controls. There's an off-on switch, a button for the self-timer, and a button that selects "Hi Speed" mode, which is basically a shutter-priority mode that selects the fastest shutter speed to stop action.

All in all, it's about the least-intimidating film SLR I'm ever seen. No wonder this Lomographer loved it; it fits in with the Lomo "just shoot" ethos perfectly.


Couldn't sell ice cream to the inmates in Hades.

The shooting industry makes money in spite of its marketing skills. If the kitchen appliance industry possessed this level of savvy, we’d all be cooking over fires in the back yard.

Grab a random gun store customer and ask them to name five competitive shooters and they'll say "Jerry Miculek and..." Some might name Rob Leatham or Julie G., too, but unless they actually compete themselves, that'll be the extent of it.


That was some effective marketing.

I was lying there in my pyjamas watching the Today show, having successfully gotten the last of the trash to the curb (the can went out last night, just in case) when a commercial for Chick-fil-A's breakfast menu came on the tube.

"Dang, that looks tasty!" I think to myself. So I pulled on some clothes, hopped into the Zed Drei, and now I am dining on some tasty, tasty Hate Chicken.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

2,000 words.

Is taking pictures of your "EDC" out in random public places a thing now? I ask because here's this guy coonfingering his gat in what appears to be a "How Many Of The Four Rules Can You Break At Once?" contest, allegedly in a McDonald's.


RandoMosin Musing...

I'm still kinda looking for the right hex receiver 91/30*. Then again, I'm still looking for the right M38 but, day-UM, have you seen the kind of blood money 38s are bringing these days? Without the fruity folding bayonet it's a lot handier and more useful than the M44, and I should have picked one up when they were cheap. I have as hard a time acclimating to the $250+ M38 as I do the $400 used Smith & Wesson Model 10.

Anyhow, it's not any kind of urgent quest. At some point in the future I will be in a gun show with money in my pocket and the right gun with the right price tag will cross my path.

*I've got a '44 Izhevsk 91/30 and a '53 Hungarian M44, but it's not the same as a hex-receiver 91/30 and an M38...


Conference call for work this morning got all up inside my OODA loop.
"New OODA Loops! They stay crunchy, even in milk!"
The ice cream machine should be running shortly.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

QotD: Return On Investment Edition

A person will go on the internet and get into knock-down, drag-out verbal brawls over the superiority of their choice of consumer goods, from phones to video game consoles to automobiles. Why? Because they have invested in that thing and nobody likes to be told they made a bad investment.

If someone will argue that passionately... and perhaps even irrationally ...over something in which they've invested only $163.98 (with free shipping for Amazon Prime members!),then how much more will they argue irrationally for something in which they've invested their very identity as an individual, their entire self-worth as a human being?
"It’s because when you are invested in an ideology, you have to make reality subordinate to that ideology. And when the physical evidence points to the possibility that your ideology doesn’t match reality, then you have to deny that reality, or face the possibility that you ideology is wrong. It’s much easier to dismiss historical records or claim that a video was doctored than to examine your beliefs and concede that everything you believe is wrong."
Nobody likes to think they made that dumb of an investment.

I have to say it was a good day...

So, on Monday we took advantage of Bobbi being off work to jaunt downtown. First stop was at the old Stutz factory, now the Stutz Business Center, for lunch at Bearcats. The fare is typical pub chow, tasty enough and reasonably priced. I had nachos and a bowl of chili while Bobbi had their pork tenderloin sammich. The wall art was all old auto advertisements, not all of them for Stutz...

That car looks like a doozy!
After that, down to the State Museum to take in the Prohibition exhibit. (Only up through February 15th, if you haven't yet seen it.)
"Ninety bottles of booze on the wall, ninety bottles of booze..." The annual consumption of the average American in 1830.
My ongoing quest for the perfect short-faced bear photo was stymied on this visit by the fact that the entire museum was festooned with knitted goods for reasons into which I did not enquire.

I do not think that actual short-faced bears wore knit scarves.
Bobbi browsed the gift shop while I sat down for a minute. The chairs were right under the staircase to the second floor...
Nikon Coolpix has a setting that will apply artificial vignetting to make the glass Nikkor act like a plastic Lomo, for some reason.
On the way home we stopped at Goose the Market...
Obligatory "DISOBEY" sticker on lamppost above dispenser for hippie paper. I guess dissent is patriotic again?
While a candy store holds no fascination for me, I could not work here.

The Meatening.

The photos on this page were taken with a Canon EOS 20D, a Nikon Coolpix S6500, and a Samsung Galaxy S II. The Ilford FP4 is still in the Canon A-1.

Not that kind of tool.

To my surprise, when this article referred to something being unmasked as an "NSA tool", they weren't referring to Michael Hayden.

Sorry for the delay...

Post is up at the other blog this morning.

Webley and H&R autos

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Seventy years ago today...

...advancing Red Army units liberated Auschwitz, and that's why this is Holocaust Memorial Day.


 Someone had put knitting projects all over the museum.

A pair of Canons.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Tuckered out. More later.

Fun and full day out with Roomie. Went downtown, did fun stuff; museum, lunch, grocery shopping*, that sort of thing. More later.

*It's easier to rationalize buying bresaola if you call it "groceries".


Which one to take downtown? Hmmm...

I smell smoke, pass me my fiddle...

The first segment in that '80s midnight movie classic, Heavy Metal, was set in a run-down, crime-infested future version of New York City. Like Escape From New York, this was just simple extrapolation of the arc Gotham had been traveling for the last century, projecting it into the inevitable future. Let's face it: 1970s New York was a dump and only getting dumpier.

The turn-around of the city in the Nineties was nothing short of amazing. I may find the politics and personalities of the last three mayors despicable, but there's no denying that they made the trains run on time. An inevitable side-effect of the city's transformation is a skyrocketing cost of living, and class warfare is always a winning campaign platform in those conditions. The current mayor basically ran a campaign against golden eggs by promising everybody a slice of goose meat.

Certain recent news stories make me wonder if de Blasio will be able to get Manhattan back to status quo ante Dinkins in one term, or if it'll take a second one to finish the job.

Everything old is new again...

via The Online Darkroom.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Your... well, my moment of zen...

Busted caps for the first time this year on Wednesday. I didn't bring a timer or anything, just dragged the table back to somewhere between fifteen and twenty yards and started thumbing rounds into the Ruger's magazines.

Why are those tables all the way up at about seven yards when I get there? I like to think that whoever it was wasn't shooting steel, but that might be giving people too much credit.

I ran through two sets of mags for the 22/45; one hundred and twenty rounds of plated Federal. One failure to fire. Wasn't doing much except playing tunes on the steel... "Ting! Ting! Tang! Ting! Tang! TingTingTing! Tung! Tang!" ...just seeing if I remembered how to work a gun. Yeah, I've been pretty good about dry-firing, but I can lie to myself about my sight alignment when I'm dry-firing; the steel doesn't lie.

Used up the last box of Sumbro in the Glock 19. Fifty rounds with no malfunctions brings the total to 1800 rounds with no malfunctions or cleaning or lubrication since I installed that T&E part. The pistol has lived a life of benign neglect, but it's only 200 rounds from getting a bath now. Ejection has become more erratic in the last three hundred rounds or so.

Hopefully back to the range tomorrow.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

That explains the camera thing, then.

Over on a forum I frequent, a fellow shooter who I believe works as a pilot said about model railroads:
"I'll admit it is my only interest that either is not tied to my livelyhood or doesn't have armies of statists trying to take from me. As such, it brings me a large degree of relaxation."
...and suddenly my enjoyment of this film camera thing made a lot more sense.

Once I actually started getting paychecks for writing, blogging became a lot more of a busman's holiday. The digital SLRs are something I justified as being worth buying for work use; editors like good pictures.

The armies of statists thing? Those two little .25s I purchased at the gun show as collectible historical curiosities are as abhorrent to the Antis as any modern pistol. In my mind, they're hardly even part of the same hobby that includes AR-15s and plastic pistols, and yet I have to expend mental energy and political effort defending their ownership.

But the film cameras? Those are just for fun and nobody's trying to take them away or will look at me askance for owning them. I can parade through Broad Ripple waving around a Leica or Olympus and it's not any kind of political statement. I can tell the waiter at the brewpub that the reason I look happy is because I just got a new camera and not worry about it turning into a philosophical debate.

It's a little refreshing to have a hobby that's just a hobby and that I don't have to defend to anybody.

(Yes, there are some places in rural America that are a lot more gun-friendly than the national average, but outside of some wide spots in the road in Alaska or the intermountain West, if you're the kind of gun nut I am, then you're probably a lot gun nuttier than even the waitstaff at the Stuffed Moose Saloon.)