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.

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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!

George@ure.net