Eric G. Rose – Where It's At

Tag: calgary

Camera Review – Olympus 35RD

by on Feb.28, 2012, under Camera Review, Cameras, Film, Scanning

Yesterday I saw an announcement for Nokia’s latest cellphone.  What makes this important to me was the claim it sported a 41 megapixel camera.  Should be interesting to see just what the image quality will be.  Being the contrarian that I am, I have decided to do an in depth review of a 64 megapixel pocketable point and shoot camera, sans phone.  This little modern wonder is the Olympus 35RD, produced in the 1970’s.  To get 64 megapixels requires one further step, you must scan the 35mm film it uses.  I found this little beauty in an antique store here in Calgary.  It was just sitting there looking very lonely and forlorn so I just had to buy it and take it home. Cost me all of $10.  Yes my parents had problems with me bringing home puppies and kittens too.

Front view Olympus 35RC - Reviewed by Eric Rose Fine Art PhotographyOnce home I fished out a roll of 35mm Fuji color negative film from the refrigerator and loaded this baby up.  The meter proved to be operational but the battery was leaking so I replaced it.  The shutter sounded good, no oil on the aperture blades and the foam seal around the back door looked soft and light tight.  Time to put it through it’s paces.

I am use to rangefinders as I have both a Leica M3 and M5 so focusing this camera was not a problem.  The patch could have been a little brighter but it sure beats the focusing patch in my Olympus XA.  The XA seems to have a cult following but it certainly does not have anything over this camera.

The features I immediately recognized as nifty were the flash settings.  On the main aperture rotating ring there is a green thunderbolt.  If you are using a fully manual flash set the camera to this setting.  Then look under the lens and you will see a little tab where you can set the Guide Number (GN) of your flash.  From then on just focus and the camera will set the proper aperture (f-stop).  Heck we had to wait until the mid 2000’s to get this kind of functionality on digital SLR’s!  Another feature I appreciate is the ability to meter through filters that are added to the taking lens.  Many small rangefinders have the light sensor on the body rather than in the lenses light path.  If this is the case in my opinion it renders the camera useless.  For those of us that love to take manual control of a camera this little baby allows us that freedom as well.   Just move the aperture ring off of A for automatic, set your shutter speed and the camera’s meter will suggest the f-stop you should use.  Makes it easy to bias your exposures plus or minus for tricky lighting conditions.

The lens on the Olympus 35RD is a razor sharp 42mm f1.7.  Something or a rarity these days.  Fast lenses are not being produced by point and shootTop view Olympus 35RC - Reviewed by Eric Rose Fine Art Photography manufacturers due to cost and the new digital sensors being able to shoot in low light with ever better performance.  However I like the ability to use fast lenses for their wide open shallow depth of field look.  Something that is impossible to get with the newer cameras unless you spend mega bucks.  Many have said that the only way you can tell the difference between images taken with this lens and a Leica 35mm f 1.4 ASPH Summilux-M is through a microscope.

The proof is in the pudding so to speak.  My usual method of testing any camera or lens is to take a bunch of real world photographs that will highlight any strengths or weaknesses of the test equipment.  I am not really all that interested in laboratory measurements and voodoo speak.  My main test criteria is for a camera and lens to be able to handle low contrast, high contrast, straight lines, edge to edge sharpness, focus accuracy and exposure accuracy.  Ergonomics, sound and just general vibe are also important.  One thing I must say is that this camera is so quiet sometimes I couldn’t tell if it actually took the picture.  If this is something that is important to you then definitely seek out one of these little gems.

On the downside I found it hard to focus with my glasses on.  It was possible, but worked better if I took my glasses off.  I didn’t have to worry about scratching my $1200 pair of specks as the viewfinder has a plastic guard around it.  Hey Leica, learn something.  Maybe the later Leica’s have plastic guards now but my M3 and M5 sure don’t.

The following photographs are scans of drug store 4×6 prints.  No Photoshop wizardry  has been added beyond making them look like the original prints.  You can see for yourself that this camera performs very well.  The detail in the shadows was exceptional while not blowing out the bright areas.  The glint on the bright silver tubing on the chairs was well controlled with nice little stars.  The camera’s meter handled complex meter situations well too.   You can also see in the shot of the fence that there is no perceivable distortion or fuzziness at the edges.  Most shots were taken between f8 and f16.

This camera really has a “vibe” factor of 4 out of  5.  The Olympus XA has a full house 5 but it harder to use and the image fall off in the corners is bothersome unless that is the look you are going for.  This little camera will find a place in my computer bag for daily film shooting.  Those poor Leica’s are going to whine and moan I know it.

Sharpness test Olympus 35RC - Reviewed by Eric Rose Fine Art Photography

close focus test Olympus 35RC - Reviewed by Eric Rose Fine Art Photography

bright highlights test Olympus 35RC - Reviewed by Eric Rose Fine Art Photography

extreme exposure range test Olympus 35RC - Reviewed by Eric Rose Fine Art Photography

low contrast test Olympus 35RC - Reviewed by Eric Rose Fine Art Photography

 

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Crossfield Alberta

by on May.01, 2011, under Cameras, Darkroom, Developing, Digital, Friends, Location, Travel

Photograph of Crossfield Store by Eric Rose

Crossfield Store

Not very far from Calgary, a city of over 1 million, is the quiet town of Crossfield.  Crossfield has a population of 2861 according to their official website.  Two weeks ago the population jumped by 3 as my wife and I plus one of my photo buddies Mark Bingham ventured out to enjoy this sleepy little town.

One of the things that strikes me about these small prairie towns is the quality of light.  For some reason it seems brighter and clearer than in Calgary.  This is probably true since they don’t have the pollution we suffer on a daily basis in Calgary.  I think I read somewhere Calgary is the asthma capital of North America.

Part of this clarity renders white buildings, very white and very bright.  This combined with a deep dark blue sky offers the photographer some wonderful contrasts to play with.  A person might be tempted to add a polarizer to enhance this even further.  This would be a mistake in my opinion, at least for the subject pictured above.

It’s hard to find a building in one of these towns without a half ton truck parked out front.  Since these rural residents enjoy their open spaces and it seems they don’t like to park next to each other as well.  Hence the vehicles are very well spaced down the street.  You can’t be in a rush either.  Chances are a car or truck will pull up right in front of you blocking what you are trying to photograph.  The curious passengers will either just look at you in amazement trying to figure out what you find so interesting or will actually ask you.  What a refreshing change from the city where I have had things thrown at me while photographing along busy streets.

One more thing I enjoy about these small towns are the young bucks cruising up and down the main drag, in first gear, punched out mufflers announcing their impending entrance to every young gal in town.  Reminds me of my youth in Calgary.  We use to disconnect our mufflers, or for the better off buy Thrush Mufflers, and cruise the “circuit” downtown.  Pink slip racing was the order of the day.  If you pulled up beside a Hemi Barracuda or Duster 6 Pack you knew you would be eating dust.  I use to have a 1967 Belair station wagon.  Real chick magnet!  Not.  Until I lit up the backend and took out one of those Mopar muscle cars.  Yup my wagon was a sleeper.  The 327 was totally blueprinted, all kinds of extra goodies added to the motor and cranked out over 430 hp.  I would go through two automatic transmissions a year.  It just tore them apart.  Back in those days we didn’t worry about gas mileage.  I suspect this baby got in the single digits.

Those were the days.  Road Runners, Chargers, Barracudas, GTO’s, Da Judge, Firebirds and the Camero.  Corvettes were for sissies or old guys with bad hair pieces and heavy jewelery.

I took my Linhof Technica IV out to Crossfield in addition to my Nikon D700.  Had a lot of fun setting up my shots with the Tekinator. Metering, adjusting swings and rise all those activities that allow you to drop into the “Zone”.  Apologies to Ansel for using his great system as a pun.

I made two film images that day.  Both ruined by a bad film holder.  The image above was shot as a backup with my D700.  Lucky I did.  Will this discourage me from using my LF gear in the future.  Not in your life.  It’s only a little bit about creating images and a lot about soothing my soul.  I find film photography to be very relaxing.  I love the pace, the contemplation, the excitement over getting it all right.  I still get excited about seeing my negatives for the first time after a bath in the fixer.  Watching the image emerge in the developer when printing brings me right back to working along side my dad in the darkroom.  It also reminds me of my newspaper days, teaching darkroom technique to people who themselves are seeing their images come up for the first time.  All this is missing from the run and gun digital photography most people practice.

I will be increasing the population of Crossfield by one once again in the near future.  I still want those images on film.  Digital is nice but for me at least it has no soul.

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Diners, I LOVE Diners

by on Apr.27, 2011, under Friends, Location, Travel

Ever since I was a kid going to a diner with my dad or grandfather was a real treat.  I loved the stools covered in either red, brown or black leather.  Naturally I would catch it for spinning around on them, but hey that was part of the overall experience.  The smells of eggs, pancakes, hash browns and coffee run very deep for me.  It’s one of my happy places.  No wonder I battle my weight!

The Galaxie Diner

Brad Myhre's World Famous Galaxie Diner

Brad Myher started this diner close to 20 years ago.  For Calgary it was a welcome treat from the over priced yuppie cafes so prevalent at the time.  Brad called it the Galaxie after the car.  I remember when his first daughter was born 15 years ago.  We go back a long ways.

Over the years I have seen staff come and go, but most stay for quite awhile.  They enjoy working for Brad (who wouldn’t!), enjoy the customers and the funky vibe.

The food is fantastic while still keeping to a “grill / diner” menu.  I bought my 1970 VW Combi van from one of Brad’s first cooks.  Yes that’s the same van that cratered on me in my “No man left behind” blog post.  Mr. Happy and I have been running the roads for a lot of years.

One of Brad’s loves beyond his wonderful family are smoked meat deli’s.  Especially the ones you find in Montreal, Quebec.  I guess the plane fares to Montreal were beginning to add up so Brad started his own Montreal styled smoked meat deli next to the Galaxie.  The choices of meats and condiments is staggering.

The Galaxie as we call it has been featured in Hollywood movies and many local and national commercials.  The interior is that 30, 40, 50’s authentic.  I did a photo project on the place when I first started going there and gave Brad a bunch of 11×14 matted and framed silver gelatin black and white prints.  Two of which have been hanging in the place for over a decade.  The Chevy Chase movie “Snow Day” was filmed in Calgary.  Some of the scenes were shot in the Galaxie and my photos can be seen hanging on the wall.  My claim to Hollywood fame!  Well ok, I admit I am grasping a bit there.

Galaxie Counter

Galaxie Counter Top

Today I partook in a Galaxie experience.  Had my usual veggie burrito with hash browns, salsa and sour cream.  I can feel my heart slowing down just remembering it.  Steaming hot coffee in a bottomless cup keeps the conversation going.  I’m going to Turkey in a few weeks and found out our waitress, or do we call them serving persons now, had been to Istanbul.  Got the skinny from her on what to see.

One of the many things I love about my Galaxie experiences are the many varied people you get to meet there.  Sitting at the counter could expose you to an oil baron on one side and a homeless guy who lucked into a few bucks on the street on the other side.  Either one of your stool buddies could become a wealth of entertainment for the next hour while you each enjoyed your breakfast or lunch.  The diner is a real equalizer.  If you are one of those affected people you will not want to eat with us locals.  We have a way of cutting through the crap.

On the other hand everyone from suits to those sporting mohawks are welcome at Brad’s place.  Hope to see you there someday.  Check out one of my Galaxie Diner shots taken with my Rolleiflex TLR here.  It’s the one in the middle of the table and chairs.  The original print has some of the sumptuous chrome detail I have ever gotten.  Gotta love that Zeiss glass!

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