Kodak Six-20

Canon PowerShot S80

Just a little camera pr0n, of my Kodak Six-20’s lens assembly. I’ve been looking through old photos lately and this one struck my fancy when I came upon it. This vest-pocket-sized folding camera has lovely Art Deco details on its body.

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Collecting Cameras, Photography

single frame: f/6.3



Mr. and Mrs. Mount

Mr. and Mrs. Mount
iPhone 6s

At church, all the stained-glass windows have names of original church members painted on them. Our congregation dates to around the turn of the 20th century, and the main part of our building was completed in 1909.

Two blocks east of our church is a street that bears this family name.

I’ve written lately of wishing for good in-camera JPEGs from my digital cameras. This photo is straight from my iPhone 6s, no editing. That happens more than I care to admit with my iPhone. I only wish the phone were easier to hold and use as a camera.

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single frame: Mr. and Mrs. Mount



Sunny day photos from the Canon S95 in Positive color mode

Southern Fancy

I’m still experimenting with Positive color mode on my Canon PowerShot S95. Last time I experimented the skies were cloudy. So when I got some rare bright sun one recent Sunday afternoon, I took the S95 into downtown Zionsville. Above and below: a colorful Grumman van, at 50mm and 35mm, respectively.

Southern Fancy

Given that my goal is easy digital shooting, I’m happy to report that these photos needed minimal processing. Like last time, I used Lens Profile on each photo to correct barrel distortion. Man, I wish the S95 did a better job of it in the camera. But this time I got smart and created a macro that does the job in one click.

Noble Order

I also chose to tone down the highlights in a couple of these photos, as the S95 didn’t navigate strong contrast as well as I would have liked. If I had shot RAW, I could probably have rescued those highlights even more. But then I would not have gotten these great colors. At the moment, I think I made a fair trade.


The bicycle amuses me. It’s been here so long that the chain has gone rusty.

Bench and Steps

I didn’t have a lot of time; I was on my way somewhere. So I just made some quick snaps of anything colorful.

Wine Shop

Positive color mode does saturate the reds.

Red Vans

I like this enough that I think I’m going to make it my default setting. I look forward to taking my first road trip with the S95 set this way. The colors and details are good, and the post-processing is minimal. I’ll love both the first time I come back from the road with 400 photos to sort through.

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Shooting the Canon PowerShot S95 in Positive color mode

Reader Retrocrank commented on this post that he’s had smashing results setting his Canon cameras to P mode, choosing Positive color, and shooting at -1/3 stop. He suggested that using these settings he’s been happy with the JPEGs the camera generates.

I’ve been shooting my Canon PowerShot S95 in RAW+JPEG mode for a few years now, but have grown weary of the post processing RAW demands. I started using it because I wasn’t thrilled with the color I got from the default settings. I really want good JPEGs straight from the camera. So I decided to try Retrocrank’s idea.

To enable color modes, I had to turn off RAW+JPEG. But then there they were, all 11 color modes. They just do some predetermined processing in the camera, things like vivid color, black and white, and enhanced blues or greens. Positive mode is meant to simulate color slide film. To set a color mode, turn the mode dial atop the camera to P (or Tv or Av or anything that’s not Auto), press the Func Set button on the back of the camera, and click the bottom of the wheel to scroll down to the menu item that looks sort of like a whisk broom. Then click the left or right edges of the wheel to scroll among the color choices.


I took the S95 with me one mostly cloudy day and shot a range of color. The only post-processing I did was to add Photoshop’s lens profile for this camera, which corrects noticeable barrel distortion.

North End

The results are pretty reasonable, as you can see. Here’s this shot before I added the lens profile, so you can see how much distortion the camera doesn’t correct. It’s mighty disappointing. I shot this at 50mm-equivalent focal length. The wider you go, the worse the distortion.

North End, distorted

I walked a little around downtown Fishers on a break from work. Positive color really seems to deliver true-to-life color, at least on a cloudy day.

Treble clef

I wasn’t choosy about subject matter — I just wanted color. So you get a pink porta-john.

Pink pots

That’s a super nice red. And I’m impressed with the muted green on those overhead doors. This is how I remember the scene in my mind.

Fire station

Here’s a brighter green to show that Positive mode doesn’t simply mute greens.


I did enhance exposure of this shot of my sunglasses on my desk, because it was too dim out of the camera.

My sunglasses

I made this dusk shot of a strip mall at maximum zoom (105mm equivalent). Zoomed this far out, the lens displays no perceptible barrel distortion.

Dusky strip mall with trucks

I’d like to find out how well these settings perform on a sunny day. If they’re reasonable, then I think I’ve found settings I can live with. The only bummer is that I still have to correct for lens distortion. That’s just a limitation of the camera’s firmware, and one I can’t fix in the camera’s settings.

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Blogosphere, Life, Photography

Chasing fake Internet points

The primary reward I receive for what I publish online is interaction with you.

Some of that interaction is of high quality: namely, when you leave an interesting comment, especially one that teaches me something I didn’t know or helps me see something from a different perspective.

But most of what I get is in the form of likes. Or hearts or upvotes or favorites or claps or whatever it’s called on whichever platform I’m on. It’s a form of acknowledgement that whatever I posted resonated somehow.

One of those platforms is Imgur (here’s my user page), where Imgurians call them “fake Internet points.” Being Imgur, there are memes.


It is fashionable now to pooh-pooh chasing after fake Internet points. Chasing them is, at the end of the day, a waste of time and accomplishes little.


Yet each fake Internet point delivers a small dopamine hit. In moderation, what’s wrong with that?


The primary place I go for fake Internet points is Instagram. I have tried to use it as a way of promoting this blog’s film-photography posts, but it’s not really working. I might get one or two clickthroughs from each Instagram post.

But my followers keep clicking the little heart on my posts, and it feels good to get them.

When you chase fake Internet points you need to consider return on investment and opportunity cost. Do the good feelings you get from likes, favorites, et. al., seem like a reasonable reward for the time you spent posting? And would that time you spent posting have been better spent doing something else?

make time to write in this blog: I get up early and write in it each morning. It’s because the reward I’ve received for doing it seems to be worth it. Your comments have taught me so much. They’ve also affirmed me as a photographer. Also, it’s just smashing fun when one of my posts gets shared around the Internet and gets a lot of visits. But most importantly, I’ve found community through this blog and many other photography blogs.

I post to Instagram opportunistically, that is, when I have some downtime that I couldn’t profitably use in some other way. When you find a new Instagram post from me, you can assume I had five minutes between appointments with little to do but wait. It’s a nice use of my wait time for the return I get in those sweet, sweet fake Internet points.

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Comparison: Canon PowerShot S95 vs. Pentax K10D and 28-80 SMC Pentax-FA

Welcome to probably the least likely camera comparison on the entire Internet. But these are the two good-quality digital cameras that I own. So I’m comparing them.

I’ve loved my compact Canon PowerShot S95 from the moment I got it. It’s so small and capable. But I’m not impressed with the JPEGs the camera generates. So I shoot RAW all the time and use Photoshop to do a handful of adjustments that give the results I want.

I’ve yet to fully figure out my large, heavy Pentax K10D DSLR, but I do respect that it can use all of my manual-focus Pentax lenses. For this comparison I used my 28-80mm f/3.5-4.7 SMC PENTAX-FA lens, which offers a zoom range close enough to the S95’s 28-105mm (35mm film equivalent) range to make the comparison useful.

For the comparison I set both cameras to set white balance automatically. I meant to set both cameras for automatic ISO selection as well, but it looks like I inadvertently left the K10D set at ISO 400. All other settings were whatever they happened to be, which is essentially camera default.

I’ve written several times how I wish the S95 returned usable in-camera JPEGs. The photo below might be the first time I’ve shown you a JPEG straight from the camera. This photo shows both common S95 faults: how white balance runs cold, and muted colors (typical of all Canon digital cameras, I hear).

CR 800

Here’s what this photo looks like after one minute of work in the Photoshop RAW processor. First I manually adjust color temperature until I’m satisfied. Then I click “Auto” above all the basic settings (exposure, contrast, etc.) and then tweak them. I finally use the built-in lens profile to correct distortion, because the S95 doesn’t go far enough to correct it in camera.

CR 800

In contrast, the K10D gave me usable in-camera JPEGs in every shot.

CR 800

A tiny bit of work in the Photoshop RAW editor brought out what is, to my eye, more natural warmth and color, and helped un-wash-out the sky. All I did was tweak the basic settings a tiny bit.

CR 800

From here on out I’ll show just the RAW-processed photos. At this cemetery gate, the S95 struggled to navigate the shadows, and I had to bring out the details in Photoshop.

Salem Cemetery

The Pentax K10D handled the shadows much better.

Salem Cemetery

I was surprised and disappointed by this photo from the S95. This is exactly the kind of scene I’ve shot over and over using this camera, with lovely results. I couldn’t Photoshop this one credibly to the level of warmth I saw at the scene.

Salem Cemetery

The K10D nailed it.

Salem Cemetery

Maybe the S95 was having an off day. Maybe comparing it to the K10D with its larger sensor makes the S95’s performance just seem worse than usual. Maybe my eyes see more keenly now than in 2010, when I got my S95 and it impressed me so. Maybe the camera really does perform worse now than when it was new — although I can’t imagine how that is physically possible.

Salem Cemetery

Whatever: the K10D blew the S95 away in most of these photos, in that the K10D’s photos are simply more appealing. And the K10D is even older than the S95, having been released in 2006.

Salem Cemetery

One place where the S95 did edge out the K10D was in focusing close. I should have put the camera into macro mode — it’s not hard to do, and it would have let the camera focus on the C. But even in regular mode it focused on the E immediately with a cheerful bee-beep and I made the shot.

Salem Cemetery

In contrast, the K10D would simply not focus on anything in this frame. That 28-80 lens hunted like mad. So I turned on manual focus with a single lever flip and brought that C in sharp with the lens’s focus ring. The S95 has a manual-focus mode, too, by the way. But it involves using the tiny wheel on the back of the camera to focus, and you have to trust your eyes reading that 3-inch screen to know when you’ve focused correctly.

Salem Cemetery

This is the only pair of photos where it’s hard to tell which camera I used. First the S95.

Salem UMC

Now the K10D. On the in-camera JPEGs, the church’s doors were lost in the shadows. Photoshop fixed that easily in both RAW images.

Salem UMC

I have really loved my Canon S95. It is so tiny yet has returned wonderful images for years. Over the last few years I’ve been shooting it RAW+JPEG, which coincided with the time my satisfaction with the in-camera JPEGs trailed off. I think I’ve figured it out: lots of in-camera JPEG-optimizing settings are unavailable the minute you turn on RAW. I think the camera assumes you’re going to post-process and don’t therefore need the in-camera boosts. Well, I want those enhancers and the RAW file. I guess I’m out of luck. But I’m growing weary of all the post processing. I’m ready for a camera that delivers good-enough JPEGs at the second I touch the shutter button.

The Pentax K10D delivers usable in-camera JPEGs. But it slips into no pocket in any coat I own. Slung over my shoulder I am keenly aware of it at all times — it might be the heaviest camera I own, heavier than my wonderful Nikon F2AS. And I haven’t found the right lens for it yet. The 28-80 I used here tends to a little chromatic aberration and too frequently blurs the foreground in long shots. My 35/2 delivers good work, but I shoot it in manual-focus mode most of the time because the K10D focuses it accurately only 1 or 2 out of 10 times.

Because do a lot of documentary work, such as on my road trips, I really want a camera that slips into my pants pocket, offers a zoom range starting with at least 24 or 28mm and running to at least 85mm, does credible close work, and yields usable JPEGs. The S95 ticks all but the last of those boxes.

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