Coping: So Long SLR

There must have been a bloom of nostalgia somewhere, this week.

After I did the article on the odd break-up of shortwave radio and its replacement by streaming and MP3 pods on Peoplenomics I went out to work on cleaning the shop more.  In the process came across a Minolta XG-7, I think it is, SLR camera.  Good assortment of lenses, too.

Hitting the web (sure they must have some value?) the answer came back ab out $75 bucks and that’s with the Vivitar Series 1 large telephoto lens.

(Continues below)


One thought led to another:  Where can we get film?  Hard to come by, process, and who uses slides?

Seems like a ring-around-the-rosy to shoot analog, process, print, scan, and then have the picture back in digital where it was going in the first place…

Well, what about a digital backplane for it?

Again, mostly struck out.  While there may be a few out there that could be worked with little attention to detail by a professional camera repairperson (are they any left?) it’s not my cup of tea, for damn sure.

Elaine had been given it by her late father, who had picked it up in about 1970-1975…somewhere in there.  The leather case is in poor shape but there’s still a certain magic to a good SLR.

My first camera (other than a Brownie) was my dad’s 2 1/4 by 3 1/4 Graflex Speed Graphic with the sports viewfinder and a couple of great lenses.  Had a 35, 50, 85 and I think a 110 or 120.  Again, with a disposable (mail-in, pictures come back) disposable box camera, I had little use for the Graphic.

The few times I did use it, there were some amazing things to be done with it.  One of which was the rolling shutter.

The way this worked was there was a slit in dark material (horizontally) instead of the iris type lens, that it also had.  When you wound up the roller shutter (the speed of the roll was adjustable) you could make the roll slow enough so cars would appear to be leaning forward (or back) – it was fun to play with.

On the other hand, loading sheet film in the black bag was less so.  You had a package about the size of a pack of smokes.  This had two black metal covers and some flip-things.  You took off the metal slide, fished out the exposed film.  Then working by feel, you got the notches right in one hand (keeping it off the emulsion, thanks) and then got the fresh sheet loaded.

Sometimes you ended up with double exposures, while other times it was a bother getting back unexposed blanks.  In time, it was a learned art.

About then, former wife and three kids and such, and the Graphic went down the road to a collector in Olympia Washington.  Gave be $100 for the camera and lenses.  He got a great deal.

Now the SLR’s are leaving my life.  Somewhere back then, the family had a Pentax K-1000 – a solid basic SLR to learn on.

But those days are long gone.

Today, if I want a picture, I turn on the GoPro in HD mode and freeze a frame and clip as desired.  Easy.  I like easy.

One of the guys down at the airport showed me his latest high-dollar SLR a year, or so, back.  He’d given more than $20,000 for it.  And it turned out 50 MB images.

For a couple of bucks over $400, you can pick up a Nikon D3400 24.2 MP DSLR Camera with 18-55mm VR Lens Kit 1571B (Black) – (Certified Refurbished). I have always had good luck with refurbs (computers, TVs and such) so that sounded pretty good.

Since the Minolta lenses won’t fit, though, something like this kitg, consisting of Nikon D3400 with AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR + Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED Lens + 64GB, Deluxe Accessory Bundle and Xpix Cleaning Accessories sounded interesting until I started fishing around for $700.

Nope.  Too much.

Cameras are full of mystery to me.  Like how come the Canon PowerShot SX420 Digital Camera w/ 42x Optical Zoom – Wi-Fi & NFC Enabled (Black) Canon PowerShot SX420 Digital Camera w/ 42x Optical Zoom – Wi-Fi & NFC Enabled (Black) is $229 while the smaller zoom of the Canon PowerShot SX620 Digital Camera w/25x Optical Zoom – Wi-Fi & NFC Enabled (Black) is  $249?

I mean help!  Why would I give up half of the telephoto range and pay $20 more?  Faster WiFi?  I need to read.

For now, I have an old Canon and I have to slide the card out of it and into the computer to move pictures around.  But is that working?  Yes.

I put my wallet back in the pocket.

Maybe I don’t need to buy a camera after all.  The old PowerShot works, the USB microscope lets me read so yeah…maybe it is possible to remove something from the shop without buying three new things to replace it.

It’s a remarkable concept.  One that is very, very dangerous to economic growth of the country.  But it’s sure to help mine…might help yours, too.

Weekend In the Shop: Plans In Your Head

Another point about cleaning out the shop this week:  It occurred to me that there are two types of home handy-bastards:  The kind that uses plans and the kind (like me) who generally don’t.

This is not to disclaim the use of a paper and pencil for a few things.

For example, when I was building the deck on the house about 10-years back I remember putting in the concrete for the posts and then measuring a couple of times.  Post to desired top was going to be so many inches.  Back off 5-1/2 inches for a 2-by-6 and either an inch and a half for 2 by 6 decking or 1-1/4 for 5-quarter decking and that was close enough.

But I keep thinking that one of these days I’m going to actually follow a plan for something.

One of my chores this weekend is to use three sheets of birch plywood. I finally tired of moving them around so I picked up some casters, a couple of three-footer hunks of piano hinge, and by the end of the weekend I should have two nice roll-around blanket storage boxes.  Elaine will find cushions for them and one in front of each window in the guest quarters.

Which gets to the next problem:

Does anyone make a REASONABLE software package for the home builders?  Yes, I got the copy of Ted’s Woodworking Plans – there’s some good stuff in there – but I am more of a roll-your-own type.

I want to sketch something up in software, maybe on a 1-inch grid background, right?  Then have the software generate a cut list for me.

I took a look at CutList Plus and it’s $89 for the entry program and it doesn’t do things like edge-banding figuring for those of us who get tired of cutting edgewise  pieces for plywood.

The Community Edition of MaxCut is free – and it supports edge banding.

Normally, I’d be all over the free program, EXCEPT that Fine Woodworking points out that there is a plug-in to port SketchUp models directly into CutList and that is pretty cool.

Thoughts on this are welcomed.  I should have kept going on the concept laid out in Peoplenomics half a dozen years back.  Had the idea for something called the PublicDesignLibrary where we could all exchange plans for everything and by using a standard format (I happen to like .DXF) then we could build something, measure it all out, toss it out into the public domain and presto!  Neat stuff in the shop.

One More Project

The old wood lathe I bought from the fellow across the street 10 years ago, before he died (for $15 bucks), is working up to the top of my do list.

I’ve got a sand blasting nozzle and media, but do I want to spend $134 on a tabletop metal sandblasting cabinet?  For a few projects? Not really, thank you.

But I have lots of glass, weather-stripping, and hinges and such – and I have the idea of making a sand blasting box from wood.

Anyone ever come across plans for such a critter?

BTW, I have done some neat wood finished on old wood by lightly sandblasting and then staining.  Talk about depth of grain!  Yeeowwee!

$26 bucks for the gloves and 3-hours of labor to save $135?  Sheesh…

OK, off to the weekend…more on Peoplenomics tomorrow.  Big week this one coming up.  My consigliere will be in town.  A giant (and fellow University of Colorado Longwave discussions) plus an extra class ham, and pilot….we will try some of the anti-gravity and space-time/levitating stuff to see where it goes.  SO, see you Monday and…

Write when you get rich!

20 thoughts on “Coping: So Long SLR”

  1. You could build your own dark room & develop your own film. You are a handy guy. Ebay sells the kit. I bought a couple of old SLR 35mm cameras & lenses at a garage sale & listed them for sale on ebay. So far no sales, but I go by the theory “there is an ass for every seat & eventually someone will take it”. I prefer my Nikon Coolpix S6800 using an SD card to transfer pics to my laptop.

    • Cost benefit analysis. Digital time from picture to output: 1 second.
      Dark room? 3-hours.
      Even with my time nowadays at 33-cents an hour…didn’t even cover film and developer costs, lol

  2. Harbor Freight has a full size floor model bead blaster that you have to assemble for cheap the gloves and hoses did not last long but easy to replace and it is very good idea to have a couple of tubes of GE 100% silicone to seal all of the seams during assembly I have had mine for 10yrs and still works great and if you are still planning on building a rat rod you will need one

  3. “I have the idea of making a sand blasting box from wood.” My dad made one and had it in his shop. Don’t remember what he used for the legs – old metal stand of some kind – but it was at standing height. I’ll go over to my sister’s place this weekend and see if I can get to it to take a couple pictures. I’m sure there were no plans – he didn’t work that way either.

  4. I have made two sand blasting boxes out of those thick appliance boxes. Silicone a piece of plastic for the window. After you are done with the project and it looks like it could sit for awhile, just throw it on the burn pile. Disposable Sand blast/paint box, could have a market.

  5. I LOVE my Canon EOS-10D SLR! I don’t take that many pictures but the ones I want need to look good, first time. It’s only six megapixels but that’s more than enough for me. The camera is way obsolete and Canon has much more refined ones for those who wish to pay. The best things are that it’s paid for(Craigslist find), and that I found a film version with a lot of lenses! The film camera was dirt cheap(CL again) and I never use it. I just bought it for the lenses. The other essential lens was a wide angle add-on, and I use that all the time. I have less than $250 into the most versatile camera I’ve ever owned. I can even have it slaved to the computer with free software. From my POV, SLR is essential, and DSLR is as good as it gets.

  6. Your piece brings to mind the old Graflex Press camera that passed to me as the “official photographer” for my Sou Indiana high school back in the 60’s. Cool thing was the keys to the school darkroom ALSO passed to me; it had a mack-daddy exhaust fan so me & my hoodlum friends could have a smoke during school hours and no one was the wiser. The 120 pack on the Graflex had a light leak, so the Superintendent loaned me his $1,000 Yashica SLR for the remainder of the school year. Loaded that baby up with Tri-X and shot lots of great sports photos!

  7. I remember you talking about that old guy across the street, back in the day. (Dick Chinny’s father?) Must mean I’ve been reading your blog for a lot longer than I’d thought.

    BTW, that new animated ad you’re running is très ennuyant. It keeps hijacking my scroll and resetting back to its level. If your goal is to get more sticky minutes (are those even still a thing?), it must be working because I’m having to constantly go back and find my place in the column, meaning I’m spending more time here than anticipated. If it’s “clever” programing, I’m going to have to boycott until it cycles out. Anything that labels itself “destructive technology” isn’t on my to-do list.

    • Yikes! Don! At $450 do they have, oh, you know…a FREE version? I can get a lot of gopro for that kinda dough

      • Yes, it is costly, but sometimes ya just gotta bite the bullet. I use it as a point and shoot camera and can get birds in flight while I ambling around the country. It also has stood up to the humidity, drizzle and bumps of walking through the jungle. As I use it almost every week it has paid for itself as I send some of the photos to the grand kids as part of a Nature Club to get them interested in nature. Have a great day!

  8. Very nostalgic, George. I have a few years on you. My Dad was a photography buff and bought a 4″X 5″ Speed Graphic which I very much enjoyed using during high school. Great for getting into football and other events as the “high school photographer” by having a ‘professional’ camera. No credentials needed.
    I could also sell car crash and other pictures to the newspapers (there were papers then). I could change the film carriers in less than a second. Developed the film and enlarged in our garage darkroom. Good to keep the kid off the streets and out of trouble.
    A lot of learning and fun during those years.

  9. Dear Baizuo Fighter,

    Do pardon this interruption of ongoing monumental issues for a moment to attend to tiny matters of photons. The Chinese Academy of Sciences offers a detailed mention of the first quantum video conference completed between Chinese academics in China and Austria with token placement of indigenous farang. Trust beLIEverS.

    Secondly, FB labourers who have completed Farmville chores may wish to review the wider CAS newsroom index page’s content and tabulate instances of the word “first”.

  10. George, it would be so nice for us if you would have a picture posting day so we could send in some of what we consider are great shots. Whaddya say?

  11. One gripe I have with DSLR’s – their size. I like taking pictures, a hobby photographer, so what do I take it with?

    Ricoh GR. Look it up. The best thing I’ve ever bought for photography. The only thing it’s lacking is zoom, but you can always zoom in with your feet.

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