Sunday, March 31, 2019

Please stop, Winter!

Random Musing...


From Discussion Elsewhere:
"If it were a top-break in .41 Magnum, you could pair it with a bullpup in...let's go with 9x39, and...I'm struggling to think of the right shotgun equivalent, USAS-12? And then shoot some YouTube videos. 
Every gun dork on /k/ would instantly worship you with a level of allegiance that makes Renfield look only lightly attached to Dracul."

Friday, March 29, 2019

Illegal Targets

500sq/ft lofts starting at $1,050/mo.
The allure of marketing on social media is level of demographic focus it can have.

Sometimes that focus can be pretty generic, such as the fact that I talk a lot about photography and visit a lot of photography -oriented groups and sites, so I see a lot of ads for camera stores, photo accessories & classes, and that sort of thing.

It can be more specifically focused, too. Say I'm selling McMansions or renting luxury lofts on the canal here in Indy. I could target my advertising to zip codes with a median household income above a certain threshold.

What happens if those zip codes aren't sufficiently racially diverse? Are the ads then discriminatory?Taken to its reductio ad absurdum, if I am a maker of "male enhancement" products or feminine hygiene products and I pay to advertise exclusively to one gender, is that sexism?

That's a little optimistic...

"[I]magine the New Zealand shooter walking into a US church with armed security and a quarter of the parishioners carrying."
Seriously? Which church would this be?

Based on my own observations, if one in ten CCW permit holders carry their guns even most of the time, I'd be shocked. Most people tend to get permits so they can carry a gun along in the car "in case they have to go someplace dangerous", sadly.

It's changing, but slowly.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Wait, what?

"Over recent decades, the size of bullets fired by the typical handgun has increased."
[citation needed]
"Police seizures of guns in other cities, including Chicago, also show a growing share of large-caliber handguns."
Even as the .40's share of the new gun market dwindles, the used gun market is awash in .40-caliber department trade-ins. When a poor person needs a cheap gun for home defense, a $299 ex-police Glock 22 is a compelling purchase. Improperly secured guns stolen from family members are the likeliest source of crime guns.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Rules of Engagement

There's an article up at SI right now to which I feel the need to offer a counterpoint.

It opens thusly:
"Precious few of the tactical-training courses I’ve taken devoted any amount of time to the art of stealth while defending the home. That’s mostly because being quiet and hiding doesn’t do much for participants who paid to shoot hundreds of rounds downrange while moving, reloading, diving for cover and yelling “Clear!” as they pie a room and take out a cardboard army of bad guys (not that there’s anything wrong with that)."
The entire article is about the need for stealth with one's home defense shotgun, and not making any noise as one moves about one's domicile while looking for intruders.

I'm going to totally avoid discussing the advisability of actively clearing one's house in search of a bad guy, as well as whether a long gun is the right firearm to use while doing so, and focus on the "stealth/don't give away your position" thing that is such a recurring subject in general home-defense advice.

To very loosely paraphrase a big city major crimes detective of my acquaintance who has investigated more than a few of these sorts of incidents, most of the time someone is in your house, it's because they think you aren't. (I mean, unless you live the sort of life where you have targeted assassination squads after you, and I'm afraid that that sort of thing is way, way outside of my lane.)

Lying silently in wait in the dark for someone to shoot is often a recipe for a Negative Outcome.

Alternatively, you could ask "Who's there?"
Even if it is a bad guy and not a family member, pet, or drunk neighbor, ensconcing oneself in a safe position, dialing 911, and loudly announcing that you have a gun and have called the cops is likely to save money for carpet cleaning bills and legal fees.

A friend quipped "What, and no advice to drag the body inside?", which was funny, but...y’know what? I got to thinking about that, and this is more pernicious than that.

Jes’ drag ‘em inna house” is something that most non-dumb people who have watched some TV police procedurals can suss out for themselves as bad advice. It trips the BS detectors of all but the most clueless.

But this? This feels right exactly because it sounds like how ‘bad guy in the house’ scenarios play out in Hollywood. The bad guy is never a tweaker who’s after a watch and some jewelry and who bolts when they realize the homeowner is there and armed. (It’s also never the homeowner’s husband home a day early from a business trip.) It’s always some elite killer team or serial murderer who’s there specifically to get the homeowner. And why wouldn’t you want to hide and ambush those guys?

Darryl Bolke preaching the gospel of the gauge at Tac-Con '18. No running, diving, or cardboard armies of bad guys involved.

UPDATE: A clarification has been posted, which I am reproducing below.
"Editor’s Note: This column, running in the April 2019 Shooting Illustrated as “Stealthy Scatterguns,” spurred a few comments from readers who seem to have skimmed over the larger point of the article. At no point does this article suggest or intimate that homeowners ought to seek out criminals inside a home. At no point does this article suggest that homeowners ought to sneak up and shoot potential criminals unaware. At no point does the article say that stealth attacks are preferable to calling the police and holing up in a defensive position. It doesn’t say these things, because homeowners ought to call the police and retreat to a designated safe room. However, there are time when stealth and investigation remain prudent.

Unknown noises are a fact of life, and not every unknown noise will (or should) drive people to immediately retreat to a safe room while dialing 911. Law-enforcement officers will not be happy arriving to a suspected home invasion only to find that your storage bins in the garage fell over, particularly if this happens on a regular basis.

Additionally, even if a homeowner suspects a burglary or home invasion is taking place, children and other family members may be in other parts of the home. Getting children to a safe location is paramount before settling into a defensible location and announcing you are armed. Anyone who’s gathering information about an unknown noise or getting family to a safe spot inside the home would do well to move quietly.

We regret leaving room for incorrect inferences to be made, and that is entirely the fault of the editors.

Hey, look!


Tuesday, March 26, 2019


There was an interesting Facebook discussion surrounding a Wikipedia article on the "Depopulation of the Great Plains", which noted that some counties in the rural heartland had lost as much as 60% or more of their population from their peak in the early 20th century (all but one on the list had its peak population between 1900 and 1930, and the sole exception peaked in 1940.)

If you grew up reading the Little House on the Prairie books, and know enough history to know about the Dust Bowl, none of this will come as a surprise to you. The Great Plains were settled by eager homesteaders, either from Back East or new immigrants from the great immigration wave of the 19th Century. These people would stake their claims and, as documented by Laura Ingalls Wilder's lightly fictionalized memoirs, find out that the high, dry Great Plains were simply not suitable for subsistence farming.

During the discussion Bobbi noted that since they'd been edited heavily by Wilder's daughter, the proto-libertarian Rose Wilder Lane, the Little House books may have possibly made the homesteading subsistence farming life look less grim than it was.

While the books ended on an upbeat note on the farm, in real life, Wilder's attempt to farm a Great Plains homestead was a bust, and the little family abandoned De Smet, South Dakota for the greener hills of Missouri in 1894. (De Smet is in Kingsbury County, which had a population of 8,562 in the 1890 census. Its population peaked at 12,805 in the census of 1930 and was barely over five thousand in the most recent census.)

Anyway, this left my always-open Wikipedia browser tab open to the entry for Rose Wilder Lane while I browsed The Online Photographer in another tab while eating dinner at my desk this past weekend. While reading there, I ran across this comment:
"I love the irony that Android, as an operating system, was originally intended for digital cameras."
I seemed to recollect that to be the case, and I wanted to double-check my memory. So I clicked my Wikipedia tab with my mouse and immediately faced a quandary.

I was eating dinner at my desk, and my keyboard tray was full of a big steaming bowl of paneer masala instead of keyboard. I could reach for my keyboard, or I could...

  • "After high school graduation, Lane returned to her parents' home in Mansfield and learned telegraphy at the Mansfield railroad station."
  • "The advent of radio in the early 20th century brought about radiotelegraphy and other forms of wireless telegraphy. In the Internet age, telegraphic means developed greatly in sophistication and ease of use, with natural language interfaces that hide the underlying code, allowing such technologies as electronic mail and instant messaging."
  • "Today, most instant messaging takes place on messaging apps (such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Viber and Telegram), which by 2014 had more users than social networks."
  • "Originally developed as Facebook Chat in 2008, the company revamped its messaging service in 2010, and subsequently released standalone iOS and Android apps in August 2011."


Rose Wilder Lane to Android (operating system) in four clicks! This would be my kind of party game.

Monday, March 25, 2019

So that's about how this is gonna go...

Overheard in the Office...

Bobbi walks in the office, and sees this on my computer screen...

RX: "Wow, from back here that looks like a grim clown." 
Me: "It's the Vermont state seal, which is, in fact, a grim clown. It's also the state demonym, which is the coolest in New England. Mainers, Granite Staters, Bay Staters, Grim Clowns..."

Sunday, March 24, 2019


 Wayne Dobbs of HiTS won High Lawman.

Cindy Bowser won High Lady in the match, and then won the head-to-head bracket shootoff among the eight highest-scoring women in the match.

Rick Remington won the head-to-head bracket shootoff among the sixteen highest-scoring men.

Match scores are posted at the Rangemaster site.

I had a dismal score in the match, largely due to not checking to make sure my gun was, you know, loaded on a stage. (The slide went into battery on the last shot of the previous stage, and I just stuffed a fresh mag into the holstered gun, so it's obviously loaded, right? Sigh. Press checks, how do they work? There went fifteen points right there.)

The weather and range conditions conspired to ensure that my experience was far from unique, though, and my score still squeaked me into the ladies' shootoff. I managed to beat Vicki Farnham 2-0 in my first bracket, but got roflstomped 2-0 in my second bracket by eventual winner Cindy.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

They have such high hopes, I almost feel bad for them.

NBC News this morning conducted an all-hands evolution to announce that The Mueller Report Has Been Submitted!

I mean, nobody knows what's in it yet, and there aren't any more indictments coming from it but...but...well, something or other. It's really important!

The Mueller Report has become to the #RESIST crowd what Obama's Birth Certificate was to certain folks on the other side eight years ago: They're sure that this is going to be some special thing that makes the horrible events of the last two years unhappen. That all their collective outrage will have been for a reason. It's magical thinking at its finest.

Saturday Morning Music...

I like it. It's got a sort of late '80s/early '90s British shoegaze-y vibe to it.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Lots of Dots

It was interesting to see how much more common MRDS-equipped handguns have become at Tac-Con over the last three years.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Automotif CXLXXI...

 Seen in the Wendy's parking lot in Bowling Green, Kentucky, about half a block from the intersection below...

Slow travel...

Last year, when I drove down to Shawnee, Oklahoma for the EDP class, I did the drive as one long marathon haul. I blew out of Indy in the pre-dawn darkness, with the sun coming up about Terre Haute, and rolled into the Holiday Inn Express parking lot with a bit of glow left on the western horizon.

That was only 740 miles, and the run to New Orleans for Tac-Con this year (well, actually Westwego, just on the far side of NOLA) was another hundred miles further than that.

I decided that I was about shut of ten-plus hour days on the interstate in a convertible whose top was so drafty you couldn't hear yourself think.

Instead, I booked a room for the night in Cullman, Alabama on the way down, and again on the way back. I have to say that that is the way to roadtrip if you're not under crushing time pressure. A five or six hour drive allows one to get a leisurely start in the morning, check out of the hotel after rush hour is over, and still arrive at your destination before evening rush hour has started. Plus I'm accumulating points I can burn at my next inevitable stay at the Holiday Inn Express in Alliance, OH.

(Just be sure you don't get *too* leisurely about your departure if you're leaving, say, Cullman, which is on Central time and driving to Indy, which is on Eastern, lest your projected 4PM arrival actually be at 5PM. D'oh!)

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Rush to Irrelevancy?

The CD changer in the Zed Drei's trunk crapped out years ago, and the cassette player in the head unit followed it shortly thereafter.

There's so much wind noise at highway speeds that getting a new stereo hasn't been high on my priority list, anyway.

Therefore I listen to the radio, and that means I just keep it tuned to NPR. It's not a good audio environment for music, so that means talk radio.I suppose I could listen to right-wing talk radio, but I prefer to be lied to polysyllabically.

Driving cross country is like island-hopping from NPR island to NPR island with little zones of country music and radio preachers in the interstices. Usually.

However, once past Tuscaloosa, Alabama, I couldn't find a good NPR signal until I was almost on the outskirts of New Orleans. On the way down to Tac-Con, I got preached at across Mississippi, but on the way back, I decided to listen to Rush Limbaugh.

I swear to God, from Hattiesburg to the Alabama state line, that dude did nothing but bitch about Millennials. Is this a new conservative thing? Because declaring your movement off limits to an entire generation is, makes poor Rush sound ot-nay oo-tay ight-bray, if you know what I mean.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Match Shot

Tac-Con 2019 Match winner Rick Remington shooting in the head-to-head elimination brackets on Sunday morning.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Thanks, Bosma

So, now Kentucky has joined the Constitutional Carry brigade...

Meanwhile, this is the first legislative session in the last four, if I'm remembering right, that we haven't even bothered to introduce a bill here in Indiana. House Speaker Brian Bosma is in the hip pockets of lobbies who are still assmad about strong preemption getting stuffed through the legislative process in 2011, and therefore he dutifully sends Constitutional Carry to die in committee.


My right shin is in a really amazing amount of pain right now.

I'm hoping this is barometrically-related.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Overheard in the Kitchen...

RX: "Did you forget that you have ham here in the refrigerator?" 
Me: "I tossed what was left of my ham.
RX: "Well, whose ham is this?" 
Me: "I dunno. Is it opened?
RX: "No." 
Me: "Then I guess it's whoever's. It's communal ham. Which is also the name of my next band."

Monday, March 11, 2019

Pictures From an Expedition

At the corner of College & 22nd, I noticed the broken handset dangling from this pay phone. I hit the power window button and brought the camera up to snap a photo. Just as I framed it, the light went green and Bobbi hit the gas, since our lane ended ahead and she needed to get over to the left.

Fortunately I had inadvertently left the camera in Aperture Priority mode with the lens wide open, and the resulting 1/1600th shutter speed was fast enough to catch the shot without motion blur. A little cropping and messing with the colors in Photoshop got a not-unpleasant result.

Incidentally, if you go look at the intersection of College Avenue and 22nd Street in Google Street View, that handset's been dangling a while.

Down at Indy Reads Books, there's a row of three hulking black Underwoods sitting in the window.


How about we just leave the clocks where they're at now?

This idea seems to be gaining in popularity.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Gaining momentum?

With Maine and New Hampshire having both passed Constitutional Carry laws, I thought it was pretty neat that a person could drive from the Bay of Fundy to Burlington, VT strapped and without need of a permit.

Looking at a map posted by NJT the other day, it occurred to me that if either Nebraska or Iowa went to permitless carry, one could drive from Biloxi to Couer d'Alene without requiring a permission slip for your blaster.

Friday, March 08, 2019

Not really surprising...

Hi Point's social media account posted a picture on social media of some dude's 9mm carbine that he'd launched a squib into and then filled the barrel behind the squib with subsequent shots. Hi Point replaced the barrel under warranty, but some folks were amazed it didn't blow up.

It’s not surprising in a blowback gun, especially with a pistol cartridge.

Think about it: The breech isn't locked. The bolt is only held closed by its own mass and the weight of the recoil spring. Which is going to give first, the recoil spring or the walls of the barrel? In this case, the bolt is acting as a pressure relief valve.

Assuming someone who didn't notice that there were no holes appearing in the target was capable of noticing anything, he'd notice more flash and ejecta from the ejection port with each shot, accompanied by the brass being flung out of the gun with increasing force on every shot.

Similarly, someone stacking bullets behind a squib in a revolver should theoretically notice constantly increasing flash from the b/c gap with each shot.


Thursday, March 07, 2019

Not actually by them, just by them...

Via Jennifer...

Super Manicure Brothers! Call of Beauty! Sid Meier’s Glitterization!

I had fun thinking up names!

“I ask one thing: Do right by my daddy.”

Back when Marko and I were roommates in Knoxville, we got HBO for the sole purpose of being able to watch Band of Brothers when it came out. Therefore there's precedent for me getting a Netflix subscription, simply because I can't miss the forthcoming Frank Hamer picture.

It helps that the screenwriter wrote some of my favorite Westerns, and it seems like he was motivated to do an honest depiction of Hamer:
When 86-year-old Frank Jr. arrived, he had an escort comprised of his son Frank III and several nephews and relatives. Frank, himself, had a heavy bandage on his right elbow, covering an infected water moccasin bite. He wore suspenders, a Texas Longhorns ball cap, outsized sunglasses, and he was packing a sidearm at his rear waistband. We all sat in an empty Austin steakhouse at 11 am, at a dark back table, sipping shots of bourbon. After my introduction and explaining why I was there and what my mission was in terms of giving Frank Hamer his due, Frank Jr. stared across the table and said, “I’m still fixin’ to hunt up that Warren Beatty and put a bullet in the sonuvabitch.”
I'm so stoked.

Turns out that there might be another reason to get a Netflix subscription...

A post shared by Love Death + Robots (@lovedeathandrobots) on


So, once upon a time, I bought a Frommer Stop. This is an intriguing little historical footnote of a pistol whose main purpose in existing is to serve as the answer to a Trivial Pursuit: Firearms Edition question:
"The two major pistols to operate on the long recoil operating principle are the Webley Mars and the ____________."
Thing is, when I finally got around to test-firing it, it didn't extract the spent shell.

On closer examination, most of the extractor was gone.

Now, on a blowback operated pistol the extractor isn't, strictly speaking, what you'd call necessary. On a gun like a PPK or Hi Point or Colt 1903, the extractor is only really needed to extract unfired rounds from the chamber. Tip-up barrel blowback autos like those from Beretta or their Taurus clones don't even have extractors. During firing, the spent shell is blown backward out of the chamber by the equal and opposite reaction to the same gasses that push the bullet out the front.

On a short recoil operated pistol, i.e. one where the barrel and breech travel backward locked together for a length of travel shorter than the length of the cartridge, you might still get some functionality with a broken extractor. There might be enough residual chamber pressure at the moment of unlocking to kick the spent case out of the chamber, although without the extractor claw to hold it in position to meet the ejector correctly, there could still be issues.

On a long recoil operated arm like the Frommer Stop, however, the barrel and breech remain locked together all the way to the rear, and the extractor is needed to hold the shell in place against the breechface as the barrel returns forward. Without the extractor, the round will likely just stay in the chamber.

No problem. Just buy a new extractor, right? Ha ha ha.

So, maybe make a new extractor? I worked at Coal Creek Armory at the time, and we had a full machine shop and gunsmiths on the premises who could build a gun from scratch with a lathe and a mill and a block of steel.

Okay, first, it wasn't like just the claw was gone. That would be easy enough to weld up and re-cut. This would require fabricating an entirely new part, and it's not like machinist's drawings were available for the piece.

So just get another Frommer Stop extractor and duplicate it! Except that I could count the number of Frommer Stops I've seen in the wild in my 25 years of manning gun store counters and attending gun shows without taking off both mittens.

Eventually, after a couple years of trying to find one locally that we could borrow to copy, the acquisition of a second gun was required to duplicate the part.

(This memory was brought up by a discussion on old cameras on the internet last night. And an extractor is a lot simpler part than anything you're liable to find in, say, a Ducati Sogno.)

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Time Measurement...

I was doing some research on the Canon EOS-1N film camera, and ran across some photos taken during the invasion of Iraq.

Not the Gulf War, but OIF.

"Surely," I thought, "this is some sort of anachronism. That was 2003..."

Nope. The Global War on a Noun has been going on for so long that we were a couple years into it and working photojournalists were still using film cameras.

I went and double-checked my timelines and, sure enough, in 2003 we were still in the very first generation of commercial purpose-built DSLRs: The Canon EOS-1D and Nikon D1X would have been the pro-grade models then.

At the same time, the 35mm Canon EOS 1V and Nikon F5 were probably the ultimate iterations of the pro film camera. They were bomb-proof, mature technology, and the infrastructure to handle 35mm film was still ubiquitous.

On the other hand, the 1D and D1X were developed from the same bodies, should be just as tough, and should simplify getting images home from the field.

Obviously, many were still sticking with film and that makes it feel like a long time ago, in a more real way than just looking at the dates on a calendar does.


Tuesday, March 05, 2019

The Retail Apocalypse continues in '19...

"There's roughly 52 square feet of retail space per person in the US, compared to 19 square feet of retail space in the UK, according to CoStar.

This market oversaturation suggests the US is still in the "early innings" of mass store closures, according to a report last October by the advisory firm Cowen and Company.
The Macy's that anchors what's left of what used to be an indoor mall just up the road is making the go-aways, probably finally killed off by the super Target across the parking lot. (And the super Target is likely feeling the pinch from the new Meijer.)

Unlucky ship...

The battle of Lissa in 1866, which saw Rear Admiral Tegethoff's Austrian fleet defeat a numerically superior Italian force, had an affect on ship design for the latter half of the 19th Century. (Possibly because Austria was such a naval underdog.)

What was unusual about the battle is that Tegethoff formed his main squadron into a rough wedge and charged the Italian battle line, seeking ramming attacks and close engagement. This was outside the rather staid "line of battle" tactics that had been most common for the last couple hundred years.

For this reason, late pre-dreadnought ironclads tended to all feature rams and have an emphasis on main armament that could fire directly forward. Everyone wants to copy a winner. And while Tegethoff was shooting from the hip in an attempt to neutralize his opponent's advantages, taking ships outside their designed envelope, now ships would be built from the ground up with situations like Lissa in mind.

In a race to keep up with the local squadrons of European colonial powers, China ordered some state of the art ironclads from Germany. They were scheduled to be delivered in 1884, but France was in the middle of a war with China and asked if the Germans would please hold off on delivering the ironclads until France had finished beating China. The Germans obliged and it was another year before the ships were delivered.

When they arrived, the Dingyuan and her sister ship, Zhenyuan, seriously altered the balance of power in the China Seas.

Following the fashion of the time, they had ram prows and a pair of staggered wing turrets, each with a brace of 12" Krupp breech-loaders. These turrets were arranged so that all four guns could fire fore or aft, as well as having a limited arc to each side where a four-gun broadside was possible.

I'd say that the effects of firing a 12" naval gun right across your own decks is best left to the imagination, but we don't have to use our imaginations. During the First Sino-Japanese War, at the Battle of the Yalu, Admiral Ding Ruchang was using the Dingyuan as his flagship. Worried about the superior gunnery prowess of the Chrysanthemum Fleet, he tried to pull a Tegethoff, ordering his ship to close with the Japanese and open fire at a closer range.

The ship's captain, on the other hand, wanted nothing to do with closing with the Japanese line and ordered the crew to open fire at extreme range. This happened while the Admiral's staff and some Royal Navy advisors were still on the flying bridge, and one of the advisors recollected being catapulted by the blast in his memoirs. (It didn't actually destroy the flying bridge, that happened later by Japanese shellfire.)

When I found a book focusing on the battle, I had to order it. It's such an interesting period in naval history.

Monday, March 04, 2019

You're doing it wrong.

Some dude up the road in Marion was walking about with an unholstered pistol stuffed down the front of his trousers. He says he felt the gun starting to slip down into his pants and grabbed to catch it, causing it to discharge... right into his junk.

Dude didn't have a toter's permit, either, so there's every chance he's getting charged for it, too.

And to rub extra bonus salt into the wound, if you will, dude has made news as far away as Sacramento and DC.

To the surprise of absolutely nobody, it was a Hi Point.

If only they made a device designed to securely attach the gun to your waist and cover the trigger.

Changing my mind, at least a little...

Initially when I stuck my toe back into the film photography world, I was pretty down on late-model Canon EOS cameras with auto everything. I wanted knobs and dials and the full retro experience.

I've since softened on that, at least to an extent. At least for the higher-end stuff. Having used the digital full-frame EOS 1Ds Mark II and fallen in love with it, I'm looking at the EOS 1N in a new light.
It helps that I've got a few good EF-mount lenses to go with it.

Hopefully once the weather turns I'll be able to get out in the neighborhood with it some more.

Sunday, March 03, 2019


So, cameras that used roll film (as opposed to sheet film, like that used in large format cameras) generally required the user to thread the end of the roll onto a takeup spool. In an attempt to make a more user-friendly volkscamera sort of experience, Kodak launched the 126 film format in the early Sixties.

Dubbed the "Instamatic", a name obviously intended to signify ease of use, the film was all spooled up in a little plastic cartridge which you could just drop into the camera and then remove when you'd shot up all the exposures. The film itself was about the same size as 35mm film, but the camera exposed square images on it.

About a decade later, Kodak followed up with a second Instamatic film format, the 110. This used film that was as wide as the 16mm film used in subminiature cameras, but with only one row of indexing holes. The frames were half the size of a 35mm negative (the same size as a current Micro Four Thirds camera sensor, coincidentally.)

To combat worries that the film would be too grainy if enlarged to a useful size, Kodak even came up with new emulsions that would permit decent sharpness with 5x7s, maybe even 8x10s with good glass.

Unfortunately the vast majority of 110 cameras were cheap, plastic-lensed abominations, and the reputation for taking poor pictures has stuck with the format. Most customers' 110 photos I printed at the lab were garbage.

What the 110 format allowed, though, was the first advent of the take-anywhere, truly pocketable camera. There were some decent ones on the market, too; built well, with quality glass.

Pentax made an entire interchangeable-lens SLR camera system in the 110. The lens that's on there is the standard prime, a 24mm f/2.8. (Since the negative is half the size of 35mm, that gives the same field of view as a 48mm lens on a regular full-frame camera.)

Interestingly, the shutter also functions as the aperture, so all lenses have the same maximum aperture of f/2.8. It's a real SLR, with a pentaprism, TTL light metering, the works. Pentax sold a suite of lenses, a flash, a motor-drive/grip, and other accessories. They made them from '78 until '85.
Rollei's A110 is a little metal brick of a camera that is slid closed and then open again to advance the film, like a Minox spy camera. The 23mm f/2.8 lens has a reputation for being one of the better 110 lenses made.

Fujifilm discontinued 110 film production in 2009, but you'll find some in cold storage on eBay and elsewhere, and Lomography started producing it in 2011. I just got a roll from Amazon that I'm going to use to test the little A110 and see if it works!

Friday, March 01, 2019

When art & photojournalism meet...

I hadn't seen this amazing spread of photos, titled "Afghanistan: Chronotopia", before. It's definitely worth a look.