Ever since I started collecting cameras again, the Konica C35 has been on my must-buy list. I was influenced by collectors all over the Internet; everybody seems to really like this little autoexposure rangefinder 35mm camera.
Because the C35 is popular, it often sells for more than my soft $50 limit. Patience over several years paid off recently when I came upon this C35 for about 30 bucks. It was icing on the cake that I found one of the all-black models; the C35′s top plate is more commonly chromed.
This is actually a C35 Automatic, a 1971 successor to the original 1968 C35. It added automatic flash synchronization, which fires an attached flash in time with the shutter setting for greater flash versatility. When you attach a flash to a non-Automatic C35, the shutter fires only at 1/25 sec.
The C35′s specs are solid. The lens is a four-element Hexanon, 38mm at f/2.8. The Copal B mat programmed shutter fires from 1/30 to 1/650 sec. Aperture is set by the shutter blades, which means that this autoexposure camera matches lower shutter speeds with larger apertures, and higher shutter speeds with smaller apertures. At the extremes, f/2.8 fires at 1/30 sec, and f/14 at 1/650 sec. The C35 reads light with a CdS meter above the lens. The lens focuses from 3.3 feet. The camera takes film from 25 to 400 ASA,
The C35 is all metal. It weighs under 14 ounces and stands about 4.75 inches wide, 3 inches tall, and 2 inches deep. It’s smaller and lighter than any Canonet and larger and heavier than an Olympus XA, but it’s still plenty light and easy to carry. The protruding lens makes it hard to slip in a front pants pocket, but I had no trouble carrying it in my coat pocket.
The C35 takes a dreaded, banned 625 mercury battery. Mine came with an unmarked battery of the wrong size. It made contact and moved the exposure meter, so I shot with it.
To shoot, press the little button on the bottom of the lens barrel and twist until Auto on the focus ring lines up with any of the numbers on the guide number ring. If a flash is attached, line up Auto with the flash’s guide number. Then twist the little ring right around the lens until your film’s speed appears in the little bubble window below the lens. Wind, frame, make sure the exposure needle inside the viewfinder isn’t in a red zone (indicating over- or under-exposure), twist the focus ring until the rangefinder patch lines up with the subject, and press the button.
Sunny days are few and far between during Indiana winters, yet I wanted to use my C35. So I loaded some Fujicolor 200 and went looking for colorful scenes despite the overcast. I got a lot of oversaturated reds in my test roll.
I drove out to Terre Haute to visit my old friend Michael. This great billboard has stood on the outskirts of town for decades now. The conditions and the camera worked together to make the yellow really pop. I’ve photographed this sign before with far less dramatic results.
However, the C35 really washed out this shot, making the yellow wall a dingy white. So I rescued it in Photoshop.
I stopped by Terre Haute’s wonderful Indiana Theater for a few snaps. It was built in 1922 in the Spanish Andalusian style. It seats 1,674. Alas, it shows no sign of being in operation, though its Web site is up with photos of this theater’s stunning interior.
The C35′s lens is said to be very contrasty, but I wasn’t getting great results from it on this overcast day. In the photo above, everything under the theater awning is a touch underexposed. For the photo below, I stuck the C35 to the door glass to shoot inside. The highlights all blew out. Thankfully, a little Photoshopping lessened the effect.
I saw plenty of movies at the Indiana when I lived in Terre Haute. I’ve never enjoyed the moviegoing experience as much as I did there. This is a detail from around one of the doors.
The cold stiffened my hands, which curtailed my photography. So I picked up my friend Michael and headed to Sonka’s, a favorite watering hole. We sat in a front corner by two big windows where the light was sufficient to get this shot. You may remember Michael as the friend who sold me his delightful Pentax KM.
I loved the C35 Automatic’s easy usability but my test roll returned mixed results. (Check out my entire Konica C35 Automatic gallery here.) People on the photo forums generally say they like 400-speed film in the C35; I shot 200. Maybe the mystery battery that came with my camera wasn’t doing my exposures any favors. And maybe the C35 is simply a better sunny-day camera. I am intrigued enough by this little camera to fiddle with these variables and give it another tumble.
Do you like vintage cameras?
Then check out my entire collection!
When I opened Google Reader Wednesday night and saw a pop-up message announcing that Google would retire the service on July 1, I actually gasped and felt dizzy.
Reader is Google’s feed-reading service, which is a way of following blogs and other Web sites. Most sites offer a feed in a format called RSS, which has been around for almost 20 years as a way for Web sites to say, “Hey! I have new content here!” Feed readers allow others to subscribe to those updates, so they don’t have to keep visiting the Web site to check for new content.
RSS and feed readers are simple and work really well, but they haven’t caught on beyond the geek crowd. We geeks love RSS and feed readers, and Google Reader was probably the most popular choice. But most non-geeks follow their blogs in other ways, such as via Twitter and Facebook. WordPress.com, which hosts this blog, offers a “follow” feature that delivers new blog posts right to your e-mail inbox. Geeks are in the minority on the Internet now, and apparently Google wants to invest its resources on products that get wider use.
There are other Web-based feed readers out there. I will find one, switch to it, and eventually get used to how it works; life will go on. But meanwhile, I’m actually going through the stages of grief! At the moment I’m in denial, hoping that Google is listening to the groundswell of protest against this move and is thinking about reversing their decision.
I love to photograph church cornerstones.
I especially like the ones that quote Scripture. This one’s both clever and obvious.
In Metea, they hew to Proverbs 3:6.
This isn’t exactly a cornerstone. But no matter; I love its lettering. From Romans 1:16.
This plate shows the common practice of naming the church and calling out its key dates.
I come upon lots of little country churches while I’m on the road.
I also find large, prosperous old churches in bigger cities.
I attend West Park Christian Church today.
Some cornerstones are verbose.
Some cornerstones get right to the point.
Churches with roots in the 1800s are usually proud of it.
1900-1910 must have been a time of unprecedented church construction.
I used to attend North Liberty Christian Church.
Hard times forced us to sell. We took our cornerstone with us.
We found a time capsule inside the cornerstone! Read about it here.
See a historic panoramic photo of
West Park Christian Church here.
Not long ago I gave one of my old cameras to a teenager I know who has a budding interest in photography. I had three Pentax K1000s and three delightful SMC Pentax M f/2 50mm lenses; he now has one of each. I hope he enjoys his new old camera! But I doubt he can appreciate that film photography has never been less expensive.
Not that it’s less expensive than digital photography. My everyday camera is digital – a wonderful Canon PowerShot S95. I take it on every road trip, get it out for family events, and sometimes shoot it just for fun. My S95 cost $400 and I bought a spare battery for $40. I bought a $5 SD card to store images, which I reuse after transferring images to my computer. For that initial outlay of $445, I can take great quantities of photos indefinitely.
Of course, film photography has ongoing costs for film and processing. I buy 35mm Fujicolor 200 for about $2 a roll and get it processed and scanned at CVS for about $6. If I shoot 35mm black and white film, or if I go for good old medium-format 120 film, either is available for as little as $4 per roll. But CVS can’t process those films, so I mail them to a processor who charges $14. So my total cost per roll falls between $8 and $18. In 2012 I shot about 20 rolls of film. If I use $13 as a rough mean cost, I spent $260 last year. You can buy a passable point-and-shoot digital camera for that money.
Still, film is a better value now than it was when I was a kid in the ’70s and ’80s. I remember film costing $3 to $6 per roll, depending on what format I was shooting. I shot a lot of 126 cartridge film, which I remember being the least expensive. Processing at my friendly neighborhood Hook’s Dependable Drugs ran maybe $7, which was a giant amount of money to me then. So I took to mailing my film to Clark Color Labs, which processed it and sent me prints for maybe $4. (The Clark prints faded within a few years; the Hook’s prints still look fresh today.)
When I take inflation into account, the differences become stark. I used the inflation calculator at the Bureau of Labor Statistics for these calculations. In 1980, shooting a $3 126 cartridge and getting $4 Clark Color Labs processing is equivalent to spending almost $20 today. If I splurged on medium-format 620 film at $5 and Hook’s processing for $7, I spent the equivalent of an astonishing $33.50 today!
In reverse, my $8 Fujicolor 200/CVS processing combo is only about $3 in 1980 dollars! If film and processing had been as inexpensive when I was a boy as it is now, I would have taken a lot more pictures!
The Pentax K1000 is a fine
starter camera. Read about it!
They say that the first secret of success is simply showing up. For those of us who work in software development, I say that means going to the office every workday.
Marissa Mayer, the new CEO of Yahoo!, seems to agree. She recently told the Internet company’s employees that they would no longer be allowed to work from home. She thinks that employees need to work in a Yahoo! office to create the highly collaborative culture Yahoo! needs to be successful. The decision has polarized the press, some of which vilify her for what they call a family-unfriendly move, and some of which praise her for a bold move aimed at righting a long-troubled ship.
Sure, the technology exists to develop software almost anywhere. But making software of any size and scale is not a solitary pursuit. Lots of people have to work together closely to make it happen. And my experience after more than two decades making software is that the best working together happens face to face.
The second best working together happens when almost everybody works remotely. The company that makes WordPress, the platform I use for this blog, famously embraces a “distributed workforce” with more than 80 percent of its employees working somewhere other than in the company’s offices. I wish that any software product I’ve worked on in my entire career worked as well and was as enjoyable to use as WordPress! If the goodness of WordPress is any measure, a distributed workforce really can work. But I think what makes it work is that because almost everybody works somewhere other than the office, they have to embrace the technologies that make it work.
That’s hard to do because most of those technologies are terrible. Chat and instant-messenger software seems to work pretty well and are the notable exception. Voice and video conferences are a pain to set up, and it’s fairly routine that calls drop or the quality of transmission fades; “Can you hear me now?” is a common statement on conference calls. Information-sharing tools such as file shares, wikis, and the like need people whose job it is to manage them or it soon becomes impossible to find things in them.
If everyone depends on these tools, there is enough impetus to tune them to work as well as they can, and to make working through them the norm despite their shortcomings. But when only a small portion of a software team works outside the office, that impetus simply isn’t there.
But more importantly, it is simply easiest to reach people who are in the same place as us. When most people work in the office, the people who work remotely can easily be left out of key conversations and become marginalized.
In one of my past jobs, one of my employees had an unexpected life change that forced her to move far enough away that commuting to work every day was impossible. Because she had been a longtime successful employee, I allowed her to work from home. She drove in every other Monday to maintain her office relationships, but the office momentum ran on face-to-face interaction and when important conversations spontaneously happened she was usually not there to participate in them. For a long time she tried hard to stay plugged in, but her enthusiasm finally waned and she started to ask for projects she could work entirely alone. I had some, but most of them were not as important to the business as what everybody else was working on. There’s no way to get around it – it stalled her career. She seemed to understand and accept this, but it was a bit of a shame nonetheless.
This is why I say that having everybody work in the office together is really best. It avoids the awful collaboration technologies, lets us play to our natural human strengths around face-to-face interaction, and keeps everybody fully engaged and involved.
I’m not opposed to someone working from home on occasion. When someone is doing a task that requires protracted concentration, sometimes home offers fewer distractions than a bustling office. And sometimes you have to meet a repairman at home, or one of the kids turns up sick. You can often get some work done while you’re dealing with these things. Heck, a couple years ago I worked from home for three days after a bad ice storm made driving treacherous.
But now I say no when someone who works for me asks to work from home after 3 pm each day so they don’t have to pay for after-school child care, or every Monday to take a turn staying home with an elderly mother, or Tuesdays and Thursdays because they live far away and would like to cut back on the commute. Although I’m sympathetic to their needs, I can’t meet them and keep up the tight collaboration my company needs to be successful.
Actually, I care a great deal about work-life balance. I work very hard to plan projects carefully so that people who work for me seldom have to work extra hours to keep up. I very much value going home at 5 pm myself so that I can have plenty of time with my family and to relax.
In the end, people who need to work from home need to find a line of work where it makes sense. In 1994 I took an 18-month career detour to edit technology books. I really could do that job from anywhere, and except for an occasional phone call with my authors or my boss I could work alone for hours and hours and be incredibly productive.
But that doesn’t work in most software-development shops. And apparently, it doesn’t work in Marissa Mayer’s Yahoo!, either.
The old National Road was built in the early 1800s to connect the East to what then passed for the West, but which we know today as the Midwest. In the 20th century, the old road became US 40, more or less.
This is one of the “less” parts – the only gravel alignment of the National Road I’ve ever found, and I’ve explored it all, from Maryland to Illinois. This is County Road 725 South, near the tiny town of Reelsville in Putnam County, Indiana. US 40 lies about 1,000 feet to the south. For whatever reason, US 40 wasn’t routed along this alignment, and so it was never improved to modern standards. It’s about as close to the 1800s National Road experience as you can get.
I’ve written extensively about the
National Road. Here’s a list of posts.
I feel like such an Internet curmudgeon. In my day, sonny, we used Netscape 1.0 to surf static HTML Web pages that were coded in Notepad, and we liked it!
I try all the new Internet gewgaws and gimcracks but don’t like most of them. Twitter? What’s the point? Pinterest? Wow, what a colossal waste of time! Instagram? Crappy lo-fi photography? Bah! Bah to the whole lot.
Except that I’ve been posting photos to Instagram more and more lately. Film photos, taken with old cameras from my collection. It feels so subversive! And it’s so easy now that the iPhone Flickr app lets you save your photos to your phone. I choose a film photo from my Flickr stream, save it to my phone, bring it into Instagram, crop it, apply a filter, et voilá.
And thanks to iCloud, these photos automatically show up in a folder on my PC. It was super easy to upload them from there to WordPress, where with a couple clicks I made this slideshow out of them.
Hm, I’m enjoying a lot of modern Internet technology there. Maybe I’m not as curmudgeonly as I thought.