Collecting Cameras

My Olympus OM-1 is back from repair and CLA

Late last year I checked all of my cameras for proper functioning and was disappointed to find that seven of them needed repair. One of them was my Olympus OM-1. This camera was a gift from a longtime friend in 2011 and I’ve put about one roll of film through it every year since. The last time was in 2020, and it worked great. When I checked it late last year, the meter was reading several stops off.

I sent it to John Hermanson at Camtech Photo Services. He repaired the meter and cleaned, lubed, and adjusted (CLA’d) the body. He also adapted the body to use a 1.55-volt SR44 silver-oxide battery. That’s a handy upgrade — the OM-1 natively takes a 1.35-volt 625 mercury cell, and those haven’t been available for a long time.

When I got the OM-1 back, I loaded some Fujicolor 200 into it and carried it everywhere I went until I spent the roll.

Olympus OM-1 and a whiskey

The camera worked beautifully, of course. Here are some images I made with the 50mm f/1.8 F.Zuiko Auto-S lens.

Denny's
Welcome to McDonald's
Red barn
Knight
Father and daughter

I mounted my 21mm f/3.5 Zuiko Auto-W lens for a few frames because I hardly use it and I want to get to know it better.

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Power Tower
No Outlet

My OM-1 was in great condition when I got it, and I took good care of it over the years I’ve owned it. But after CLA, all of the controls were next-level smooth and sure.

For most casual photography I reach for my cameras that have an aperture-priority mode, such as my Olympus OM-2n. Match-needle metering like my OM-1 offers usually feels like a hiccup step in my flow. But I didn’t feel that way at all on this roll. Shooting my CLA’d OM-1 was pure pleasure.

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Schwinn parts

While I had the roll of Adox HR-50 in my Olympus OM-1, I made a series of photos of my bicycle. Some years ago I bought a 1986 Schwinn Collegiate from a Craigslist seller, had it overhauled, and have been riding it ever since. I like its springy seat and upright riding position. The bike has a few dents and the paint is chipped here and there, but it rides well.

The 50mm f/1.8 F.Zuiko lens and the Adox HR-50 came together to render my bike in ways that pleased me deeply. These photos show a rich range of tones, and the selective focus adds dimension and depth. They could be a little sharper, but I’m not sure I’ve fully dialed in my scanning and sharpening settings yet.

Schwinn parts
Schwinn parts
Schwinn parts
Schwinn parts
Schwinn parts
Schwinn parts

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Film Photography

Schwinn Collegiate

A series of photos of details of my bicycle.

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Film Photography

Shooting Adox HR-50

Whitestown

I suppose idle curiosity made me choose Adox HR-50 when the good folks at Analogue Wonderland offered me yet another roll of film to try. HR-50 is a specialty film aimed at landscape and streetscape photography, which is right up my alley. It’s also a relatively new film, as ADOX introduced it in 2018.

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Analogue Wonderland sent me this film in exchange for this mention. Buy Adox HR-50 from them here. Or choose from one of the 200 other films they keep in stock every day!

But then I put off shooting it for several months. As I read about it around the Internet, I got the sense that this film performs best in Adox’s HR-DEV developer. The Massive Dev Chart doesn’t even list times for most popular developers for this film. So how would my usual labs process it?

Fortunately, I was learning how to develop my own film. I figured that after I started getting repeatable results, I’d give this film a go. I bought the smallest bottle of HR-DEV to go with it. All of my preconditions met, I loaded the roll into my Olympus OM-1, mounted a 50mm f/1.8 F.Zuiko lens, and took it on photo walks over the next several weeks.

Church doors

Given the film’s slow speed I looked for bright days to shoot it. Even on lightly colored subjects like this sandstone church, HR-50 returned rich, even tones.

Whitestown UMC

I brought the HR-50 out on lunchtime walks through my neighborhood, as well. It kept doing a great job of capturing a good range of tones. I am especially pleased with its rich blacks.

Flowering tree in the front yard

HR-50 even does a good job rendering the sky without using a filter.

Stone column

I made a few photos where the sun was not behind or to the side of the camera. In those cases, the photos came out a little dark and lacking a little shadow detail. I don’t know whether that’s the OM-1’s metering or some characteristic of the HR-50.

Retention pond

Even when the sun reflected off a surface, the HR-50 refused to blow out.

No outlet

Despite this film’s stated use for streetscapes and landscapes, I moved in close for a few photos. HR-50 kept giving me the same solid range of tones and imperceptible grain.

Posies

I developed this film in HR-DEV diluted 1+49 per Adox’s time and temperature instructions. I scanned them using VueScan and my Canon CanoScan 9000F Mark II. These might just be the best results I’ve ever gotten from my home development and scanning. Nothing like using a film’s recommended developer to remove risk.

Ash leaves

Interestingly, Adox does not recommend using Rodinal, my favorite developer, with this film. It also does not recommend D-76, which makes sending this film out to a lab for processing a challenge as so many of them use D-76 or one of its clones.

I like this film. I’ll use it again. Especially since I have so much HR-DEV developer left!

Like what you see? Buy some Adox HR-50 for yourself at Analogue Wonderland here.

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Swings at Lugar Plaza

Swings at Lugar Plaza
Olympus OM-1, 50mm f/1.8 F.Zuiko
Kodak ColorPlus
2019

Now that we’re into November I’m thinking about this blog’s traditional end-of-year posts, one of which is the ten images I like best that I made all year. I may have made more images in 2019 than in any other year, but I’m a little disappointed that I’ve made few that satisfy me deeply.

As I upload my work to Flickr, I add the few I like best to an album I call Portfolio, which you can see here. My ten 2019 favorites will come from these. This image, of a newly installed public swing in front of the City-County Buidling in Downtown Indianapolis, is in that album but won’t make the ten-favorite cut. I like the almost 3-D effect of the swing canopy jutting forth from the plane of the City-County Building exterior, though.

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Film Photography

single frame: Swings at Lugar Plaza

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Film Photography

Same scene, different cameras and films

Sometimes I shoot the same things more than once with different cameras and films because I know the composition works. Recently I shot a scene with my Argus Argoflex Forty on Kodak Ektar 100, a few days after I shot it with my Olympus OM-1 and 50mm f/1.8 F.Zuiko lens on Kodak ColorPlus. Here are the two photos.

On the Circle
Copper roof redux

It’s remarkable to me how different these two photographs look even though they’re of the same thing.

First I see how the Argoflex Forty’s 75mm lens (for 620 film) is longer than the 50mm lens (for 35mm film) on the OM-1, which creates the effect of the copper-roofed Columbia Club building appearing to be different distances away.

The 1×1 and 3×2 aspect ratios also give different impressions of the scene.

The day I went out with the Argoflex Forty the sun was fully out, while the sun was behind a cloud at the moment I made the photo with the OM-1. This certainly influenced the way these lenses and films rendered the scene’s colors.

But those lenses and films have their own characteristics regardless of the light. I find ColorPlus to yield far warmer earth tones than Ektar under any circumstances.

I have no conclusions to draw. I just find this interesting.

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Park

Park
Olympus OM-1, 50mm f/1.8 Olympus F.Zuiko
Kodak ColorPlus
2019

When I was a kid in the 1970s, downtown in my hometown was full of neon signs. Many of them, like this one, did mundane jobs like point people to parking. As a kid the neon helped me feel that downtown was alive and vital and important. The backlit plastic signs that slowly replaced them seemed so banal.

This old-style neon sign keeps doing its job on a parking garage in Downtown Indianapolis. I’ve parked in this garage before, many years ago. I had frequent business in the building next door, and they validated my parking. Unlike most Downtown garages, you don’t park your car yourself. You hand your keys to an attendant who gives you a receipt and parks your car for you.

Analogue Wonderland provided me this roll of Kodak ColorPlus in exchange for this mention. Buy yours from them here.

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Film Photography

single frame: Park

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