Rants and discussions, Sony A200 DSLR and Sony DT 35mm F/1.8 SAM prime lens

Sweeping away bad attitude

Sweeping away the seasons. Sony A200 DSLR. Sony 35mm f/1.8 SAM lens. Open source software.

Woooah!  Colour on Tight Fisted Photography!  What’s going on?  I’ll tell you what is going on.  Sort of an epiphany moment – an insight that I was gathering in my last post – the Four Commandments of Creativity.  I’ve developed (pun) a love for home processed b/w film photography.  It was sort of planned – my drive for finding personal style.  Nothing is changing there.  However, I was getting sucked into some daft gear based elitist nonsense – you know it, the old film v digital bollocks.   The New Tight Fisted Photographer will use whatever gear that he has to hand – whatever it takes to create the image.  Just as important to me as an amateur – whatever gear and method gives me pleasure and satisfaction.  Film gives me most satisfaction – and the results that I like, but digital is sometimes so convenient.

I had a perfectly good DSLR rolling around in a dark dusty drawer, forgotten, because I forsake digital entirely.  This week, I took it out, cleaned it, sorted out my lenses, and ordered some new goodies.  It’s like having a new camera all over again.  I never used it to full potential.  I am of the opinion that an entry level DSLR can be either an overweight, clumsy auto toy for hipsters and tourists, or it can alternatively be a great learning tool for photography.  I would like to improve my photography, and in particular, I’d like to learn more about using artificial light and with portraits.  Ideally in time with medium format film.  But for now, convenience points to this sadly neglected digital camera as a way in.

I always say – it is the Learning Curve that keeps me interested in Photography as a hobby.  I’m going to be less reluctant to use a digital camera.


Film Dark Room, Lubitel 166B, Sony DSLR A200 and Sony DT 50mm F/1.8mm SAM prime lens

Learning to Develop Part II

120 Negatives – Big Negatives! Drying. Taken with Sony DSLR A200 and Sony DT 50mm F/1.8 lens. Starring Nita.

I once read an old pre-digital treatise, that half of the reward of amateur photography lay in the darkroom.  I can see that now.  Maybe that should read that half of the enjoyment of modern b&w film photography still lays in the development.  It’s hard to explain in the digital age.  Not everyone would get it.  Nita’s nine year old tells me that she likes the cameras that show you the image instantly.  Instant gratification without much effort.  That’s the only failing of digital photography.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to give up the DSLRs.  It’s as I’ve said before, the salt n’ shake phenomena (potato crisps that you have to add salt to and shake yourself).  The more effort that you put into creating an image, the more rewarding it is.  That’s my attraction to film, but it doesn’t or shouldn’t degrade good digital photography.

So far, I’ve developed five 120 films.  I’ve had the pleasure of seeing five wet babes … sorry, developed negatives, swaying from pegs in our bathroom.  One tip for followers in my steps – keep a real ink and paper notebook, and keep recording and perfecting your method.  One of the reason’s I’ve not blogged, is that I’ve been using pen and paper to record my crappy efforts.

So far I’ve only used Ilford ID-11 as a developer.  I’ve developed two types of film – Ilford HP5 Plus 400, and also Foma Fomapan Classic 100.  I’m mean.  I dilute my developer stock to 1:3 stock/water.  This increases developing time.  For the Ilford HP5, 20 minutes at 20C; for the Fomapan 100, 13 minutes at 20C.  That can be a lot of  agitation, with 10 seconds within each minute.  Stopper for up to 100 seconds including agitation.  Fixer for between three and five minutes including agitation.I’ve also started to conserve my tight fisted credentials by re-using both Stop and Fix dilutions.  I’m aiming for between four and five uses per concentrate.

Tasks to complete from my developer diary?  1) develop 35mm b&w.  2) try microphen developer. 3) learn more about pushing and pulling.

Learning is so much fun.  Here is a photo that I took and developed:

Wisbech Moon Market. Lubitel 166B TLR camera. Ilford HP5 400 120 film. Developed in ID-11


Models and themed photoshoots, Portrait, Sony DSLR A200 and Sony DT 50mm F/1.8mm SAM prime lens, The East English Fens of East Anglia

Fields of Barley

Children of the Corn. Portrait of a girl in a barley field. Sony A200 DSLR camera. Sony DT 50mm f/1.8 SAM lens.

In the Barley Field with Mum. Sony DSLR, as above photo.

The barley was so beautiful near to ours, that it had to be used for a piece of photography yesterday evening.


Models and themed photoshoots, Monochrome, Sony DSLR A200 and Sony DT 50mm F/1.8mm SAM prime lens, Witchcraft and Horror

Weird Fun with Anita

Down on the Farm, or Cracked. Sony ADSLR A200 camera. Sony AF DT 50mm f/1.8 SAM lens. Open source post process and b&w conversion with UFRaw and Gimp.

I think that  should categorise this one as Glamour?

Jessop Macro kit, Sony DSLR A200 and Sony DT 50mm F/1.8mm SAM prime lens

Something New from the Car Boot Sale

Jessop macro kit – 2 x tele-converter and three extension tubes with Sony DSLR mount. Taken with the Sony DSLR-A200 and Sony DT 50mm f/1.8 SAM lens.

Well, not as ancient as my usual purchases at the car boot sale.  I bought something for one of my digital cameras at yesterday’s sale!  What are the chances of bumping into something with a modern Sony DSLR mount at a local car boot sale?  Pretty slim I’d say.  I don’t see much modern gear for Canon or Nikon at the local sale, never mind for Sony / Minolta.  My usual purchases are classic film cameras.  But yesterday, I did just that.  A Jessops macro-kit, consisting of a Jessop MC 2x Mx/AF tele-converter, and three Jessop M-Xi extension tubes – 31mm, 21mm, and 13mm.  All with a Sony / Minolta Alpha-mount!

The seller explained that he had bought them for his Canon, not understanding the difference in mount.  He said that he had seen similar sold on Ebay for £60.  Well, I’ve checked them out, and I’d guess Ebay price for the kit might go £40 – £80.  The Tele-converter is still listed new on the Jessop website at £80.  How much did I pay?  I knocked him down to £23 (well, £25 with two movie DVDs in the price) for the whole kit.  A wee bit more than I’d spend on vintage camera equipment, but a nice buy still I feel.

Using them behind the Sony DT 50mm f/1.8 SAM lens?  Focus has to be manual – even with just the tele-converter (although it gives me the option now to use the 50mm prime as a 100mm MF prime when I need it.).  The auto focus just doesn’t find it’s target with the tele-converter behind the nifty fifty, despite claims to be AF.

With the extension tubes added, it turns the 50mm into a macro lens.  I’ve not had time yet, to experiment with different extensions or the tele-converter, nor using them with my 35mm prime lens.  D0F is incredibly shallow at macro with all tubes and tele-converter, making hard to focus anything but a flat surface (see the 20p coin below).  I’ll try for better results when I have better light and more interesting subjects, but for now I achieved the below results.

Test One. The Feather. Jessops 2x tele-converter plus all three extension tubes behind a Sony DT 50mm f/1.8 SAM prime lens

The 20p UK coin. As above, tele-converter, three extension tubes, 50mm prime lens on the A200.

The Pencil tip. As above. 2x tele-converter, three extension tubes, 50mm prime lens.

I’ll play more when I get time.  As I stated above, the tele-converter alone can double the focal lengths of my prime lenses should I need that.  I want to try the kit with my 35mm prime, and to experiment with and without the tele converter and various tubes to see if I can improve that DoF with less magnification.  I also need good light!

I don’t think that macro photography is going to be me, it’s done far better by others with better gear, but it’s worth £23 to play with that option.

Models and themed photoshoots, Sony DSLR A200 and Sony DT 50mm F/1.8mm SAM prime lens

Cosplayers at MCM London Comic Con – 5 and final digital (film to follow)

MCM London Comic Con. Homestruck Troll. Sony DSLR-A200 camera. Sony AF DT 50mm f/1.8 SAM lens.

Clicking on the images will take you to the Flickr set for my photos from the MCM London Comic Con Expo event.  IDs are welcome, both of characters and cosplayers should they wish.  I can tag them on FB.   I hope that someone enjoys this collection.  All shot on the digital SLR Sony A200.  I do have many frames to develop on both 35mm and Ilford medium format films, to be added to the gallery later.

MCM London Comic Con. Deadpool. As above.

Models and themed photoshoots, Sony DSLR A200 and Sony DT 50mm F/1.8mm SAM prime lens

Cosplayers at MCM London Comic Con – 4

MCM London Comic Con Expo. Cosplayer. Sony DSLR-A200. Sony AF DT 50mm F/1.8 SAM lens.

Still processing the images from the Sony DSLR.  It’s all work no play this week, so no time to even look at the films yet.  No idea who the above comic character represents, not my best photo, but the most viewed of those that I uploaded to Flickr yesterday.

Dogs and animals, Rants and discussions, Sony DSLR A200 and Sony DT 50mm F/1.8mm SAM prime lens

Freeze the Lurcher!

Lurch like a Lurcher. Sony A200 DSLR camera. Sony AF DT 50mm F/1.8 SAM lens. Gimp 2.8 post process.

Not an easy task – our nine month old dog is a rotten model, only stops to sniff the ground in a most unsightly manner.  So today was a beautiful Spring day (not had much of them).  Lots of light, harsh as it was.  Thought I’d make an attempt to take some dog action shots, using a digital SLR.  I picked up the Sony DSLR A200 camera, fitted with the new 50mm prime.  To capture action, you need to be able to set a super fast shutter speed, and be able to take lots of snaps fast.  The 50mm f/1.8 lens is pretty fast, but if I’m to capture and focus a moving target, I’d prefer a decent depth of field – nothing too sharp, as it would be too hit and miss.

Despite the strong light, I opted for ISO400.  Why? – for that fast exposure, at a moderate aperture.  For exposure mode I selected S Shutter mode.  I set this to 1/3200 sec. One stop from full speed on the Sony. The S exposure mode selected an aperture of F5 on this shot, which was fine.  Another other option that I selected for fast work – I almost always shoot in RAW format when capturing digitally, but here I wanted the camera to process fast, enabling me to shoot more and faster.  So I selected .jpeg fine.  Finally, I set Autofocus to continuous.  Giving me a decent chance of focusing on a moving target on multiple exposures.  Post process on free open source Gimp software included cropping, increase in contrast using levels, and a little sharpening using Unsharpen mask.  I’m not sure if I over did that enhancement.

Trying to freeze action shopts is fun, I should do it more!

As for our lurcher dog, Flint, he was having a whale of a time.  He was jumping over the ditches, running across the fields and chasing the crows away.  He had fun.

Models and themed photoshoots, Sony A200 DSLR and Sony DT 35mm F/1.8 SAM prime lens, Witchcraft and Horror

Keeping the Faith

With Samhain coming, the East Anglian Fens abound with strange rituals in the orchards and fields.

I’m an Atheist, but my lady partner is a solitary witch.  I like sharp detailed unedited photos – but my witch is teaching me imagination.  We bought a Halloween part-skeleton prop from a discount store.  We named him Yorik.  The fun that you can have with a cheap prop and a bit of imagination!  We found a disused livestock shed near to our home, in order to shoot this.  I pushed through the brambles and made sure there were no dead drug users inside (it happens around here).  Clear, Nita joined me.  She used red wool to lay the pentagram, placed Yorik’s skull in it, lit some tea candles.  In this one, she rolled up her trousers to give an atmosphere of naked dancing.  Light provided from the indirect Sun filtering through brambles, and the tea candles.  I turned down the exposure a few clicks to bring out the candle light.

At home, I converted the RAW to B&W and increased contrast using the free and open source UFRaw software.  I used channels, and selected for red – this made the red wool glow white!  I hope that it’s pleasing to someone else.  We like it.  Thanks for the imagination witchy girlfriend.