Camera Plans

What camera gear should I bring to Vermont this weekend for Bellana’s graduation festivities? I’m thinking… all of ’em. My Nikon Z5 mirrorless, Dad’s Pentax K1000 35mm, and my Nikon FG-20 35mm. I’ll probably bring all of my lenses too. I just need to figure out how to pack it all up.

The two film cameras are both loaded. The K1000 has a half finished roll of Fuji Superia 400. The FG-20 has a fresh roll of Fuji Superia 400 as well, but I have the ISO set to 200 because King JVpes on youtube said it will look cool. I tried it once in Disney and he was right. Thanks! The K1000 has the Pentax 50mm prime lens on it. The FG-20 has the Gemini 80-200mm zoom with the KtoF adapter. I’ll probably take them as is, but bring my Nikon 35-70 lens too. I only have one full frame lens for the Z5, the 40mm prime lens, so that’s going too.

What additional film should I bring? I have a roll of Porta 800 that I bought for Disney but didn’t use. That’s coming. I will put that into the Pentax when the current roll runs out. I have a roll of Cinestill too but is that appropriate in this case? All of my other color film is Fuji Superia. I have a bunch of Kentmere black and white film too, but I don’t think I want to shoot black and white this weekend. Or do I? Maybe I’ll bring a roll or two.

I am really looking forward to this weekend. Seriously looking forward to it.

Folding Cameras

I think I have decided that I want my gateway into medium format film cameras to be a folding camera because it’s not enough to be indulging in a dead technology, I have to go for a DEAD, dead technology.

Looking at you, Mamiya 6.


I’ve read that one of the issues with mirrorless cameras is battery life. Today I’ve watched the battery nosedive from 80% to 40% in just a few hours.

I’m already through todays roll of film, and we have many hours to go today, so we are transitioning to the point and shoot for a while. No clue how much juice that sucker has left, but I’ll use it or lose it, boss.

Driving Means More Obnoxiousness

We were going to fly to Florida for our nearly two weeks at Disney World. Now we’re driving. This means a few things. Obviously it means we’re leaving earlier and getting home later and it also may mean cutting the last day at the parks a little short. It means we’ll have a car with us for the whole time which implies we can leave the resort if we need to (as in, we need to buy protein bars or something). It also means gas money. We are going to do our best to leave the car in the parking lot for the whole trip. Disney provides transportation between everything on the resort so we will be able to travel all over the place without using our car. That’s the goal, and it’s worked fine the two times we’ve stayed on the resort in the past.

There are other things that driving allows too, and for me it means I have the opportunity to be WAY more obnoxious. Heh Heh.

I was planning on taking two cameras, the new Z5 and the film FG-20. I was planning on taking one lens for each camera. I was also planning on leaving some of my film behind, just the two rolls of ISO 800 film that I picked up from Amazon not too long ago, out of fear of X-Ray/CT scans at the airport. I was also planning on bringing some envelops with me so that I could ship film off to the lab a couple of times, rather than fly home with them and risk a second X-Ray/CT scan.

Now that we’re driving? All of the lenses are coming. All of the film too. No more worries about luggage space on the plane. We’re taking the Mazda because it’s the bigger of our two cars, and with just me and Jen on the drive we can fill up the back seat as well as the trunk. That means we can take the kids’ suit cases so they don’t have to check their bags, and it also means nerd boy can take his big camera bag rather than just putting the two cameras into his carry on backpack. Oh yeah, babie. Robbie is going to be photographically insufferable. Insert maniacal laughter here.

Driving also means we will have to load up on protein meal replacements for the drives down and back. I was likely going to do that anyway, but this just adds an extra couple of days to consider. It also means Jen and I will need to do laundry more often, though possibly the same number of times but needing to do the first loads earlier in the week. Something like that.

What else does it mean? I’m thinking! We might end up listening to an audiobook during the drive. Something like that. Maybe I’ll put together a Rob’s driving while Jen is sleeping music playlist. I once made a playlist of favorite guitar moments from the Big UK Three, Clapton, Beck, and Page. I shuffle it and let it go. It runs for a few hours. I only get the urge to use that playlist on long drives. Maybe it will get some use.

That reminds me! Total change of subject.

On Monday Jen, Bellana, and I went car shopping. We were in our second dealership and we found The Car. As we sat down in the office to start the purchase process, the classic rock station playing in the background (it was a Boch dealership. Ernie Boch, Jr is a rocker. Jen and I saw his band play at the Brad Delp Memorial concert back in the stone age. Ernie and the Automatics. Two ex-members of Boston were in the band. Or was it three ex-members… I can’t remember if Fran Sheehan was in the band or not, but Barry Goudreau and Sib Hashian [aka Dwayne The Rock Johnson’s father in law] were) played the Golden Slumbers medley by The Beatles. Pretty much my favorite thing in the entire Beatles catalog. I took it as a sign from the music gods that we were buying the right car.

Not long after that the radio played Trampled Underfoot by Led Zeppelin. I haven’t heard that one in years. The next song they played was Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton. I thought to myself, two songs by two of The Big Three in a row. If they play something by Jeff Beck next it will be more proof that universe approves of the car purchase. They did not play a Jeff Beck song next. Oh well.

But wait, there’s more!

Last night we went back to the dealership to pick up Bellana’s new car. The song that was playing as we walked in the door? I’m a Man by the Yardbirds… with Jeff Freakin’ Beck on guitar. Holy Shit Nuggets! They weren’t consecutive, but the universe gave me all of The Big Three. Woah!

Anyway, back to planning the trip and being obnoxious… I can’t think of anything else right now. I’m sure I will later, and I am sure I’ll write a 50 page essay describing it. Until then, go listen to some Jeff Beck and then maybe go buy a car.

The 2008 Point and Shoot

Last week I was looking for something in the film draw in my desk and I saw my old point and shoot. It’s a Casio EX-S10. I bought it just after Jen and I got engaged, back in 2008. I used to sneak it into concerts. I stopped using it in 2015 or so because I couldn’t find the charger and the battery was as dead as a door nail.

When I setup the new mirrorless camera on christmas day I stole the memory cards from my DSLR and my Nikon point and shoot. At lunch today I went looking in my camera bag to see if I could find any old, forgotten cards to put back into the point and shoot. There was a pocket in the bag that I seem to have forgotten about because when I opened it up, there was the Casio charger!


The engagement point and shoot is about to live again!


I checked the memory card and there were about 100 pictures on it. There were a few from our 2014 Niagara Falls trip, a bunch from our friend Carolyn’s wedding, and a few from one of the monster snow storms that pummeled us back in February 2015. All of the keepers were already on my Flickr account, including this one:


I doubt I will use this camera very much going forward, but I will use the memory card. The biggest, forgotten card in my camera bag was 2 gigs. I had put it into the Nikon point and shoot, but immediately replaced it with the 4 gig card that was in the Casio. Four gigabytes on the Nikon gives me about 460 photos. That’ll due for now. Eventually I want to get two seriously huge cards for the Z5. The little Nikon can get the 16 gig card back when that happens, and the DSLR can get the 32 gig card back as well.

The moral of the story here though is, the little Casio point and shoot is going to live again!

Used Cars and Cropped Sensors: A Boxing Day Story

Happy Boxing Day, whatever the hell that is.

Today has been a day for used car shopping. I mentioned that we had become a one car household. Well, that didn’t last long. We gave our Mazda CX5 to my step daughter. After a week of driving it she was very displeased. I’m not sure exactly what her issue was but she wanted to trade in the car and get something smaller with better gas mileage. Okay, so maybe I did know what her issue was. We said no, just give us the car back and we’ll help you buy a new car. Today became that day.

We journeyed South to The Auto Mile. If you live in Massachusetts, you know of what I speak. We found something suitable at the second dealer we visited. A not-too-terribly old Hyundai Elantra. We then spent eons handling financing and paperwork and insurance calls and all of that. The car may be ready for pick up tomorrow, or failing that Wednesday. When we pick it up Bellana will take ownership and we’ll take the Mazda back and be a two car household again.

The car purchasing process went very smoothly, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s the second most stressful shopping experience one can have in modern day America. The only thing worse is buying a house, and that is WAY worse. In the end though, all went well and Bellana will have a more suitable car going forward. I am pleased.

The other note worthy story on this day after christmas has to do with my awesome new camera. My seriously ass kicking new camera. My old camera is a Nikon D90. The sensor on that camera is cropped, meaning it is smaller than a full frame sensor. The term “full frame” is not a standard, as every camera manufacturer has it’s own spec, but basically it’s supposed to be about the same size as the film that is exposed when the shutter opens on a 35mm camera. For Nikon, cropped sensors are called DX and full frame sensors are called FX. They make lenses that are specifically designed for one or the other, though they can be used interchangeably. the catch when you mix DX and FX is that the focal lengths the lenses see are different and, I didn’t know this until late last night, the resolution on the images might be off.

A month or two ago when I was researching upgrading my D90 for the first time, I am pretty sure I wrote a post about it, I was looking at new DSLRs and mirrorless cameras that were DX format so that I could use my existing collection of (three) lenses. The camera that Santa brought me is an FX format. I knew that my lenses would work fine (with an adapter as the mirrorless cameras have a new lens mount) so I didn’t think twice. Then, after uploading a bunch of pictures to Flickr, I took a look at the resolution of the images that were uploaded and was really surprised to see that it was lower than images from my D90. The D90 is a 12 megapixel camera and the christmas Z5 is a 24 megapixel camera. How could Z5 pics have a lower resolution than D90 pics?

To the Google I go!

Oh, that’s why. When the Z5 sees a DX lens it automatically crops the images down to 10 megapixels because there is a percentage of the sensor that the lens does not cover. It makes sense when you think about it. I just didn’t think about it at first. The images it takes are still seriously awesome, it just means I will need to get an FX lens to take full advantage of what the new camera has to offer. Nikon makes a few budget friendly Z mount prime lenses, including a 40mm and a 28mm, both with apertures that open up to less than f3. I think the 40mm goes to f2 and the 28mm goes to f2.8, though I might have those backwards. I’ll start with one of those lenses, probably the 40mm, and will hopefully be able to swing it before Disney World next week, though we did just buy a car so who knows. The lenses I have are perfectly fine so if I can’t get it done in time I won’t be upset, I’d just like to have 24 megapixel shots of Mickey Mouse if possible, you know?

And there you have it, the two major stories from Boxing Day 2022. What’s up for the rest of the day? Well first I am going to wait for my stomach to stop hurting due to trying to eat my lunch (three meatballs totaling five ounces and about 30 grams or protein, assuming Google gave me accurate information), and then we’ll see. I think I am going to start taking down christmas decorations, specifically the tree as it’s dead dead dead. I might also go food shopping because christmas is over and it’s time to start cooking meals for reals again. For now though, wish my stomach luck.

I Don’t Want to Work Tomorrow

The kids are here today. They go to their father’s house tomorrow morning and stay there until Christmas Eve. Then they stay over until Christmas morning before going back to their fathers until the day after New Year. Then on the 4th we hop on a plane and fly to Disney World for the better part of two weeks.

Christmas is one week away. That means we have five grueling work days to go before the first of the two holidays. Then we have a holiday, then four grueling work days until the second holiday which extends into a two week vacation. Damn, I hope it’s warm in Florida in January. We did February in 2020, now we try January.

I don’t want the kids to go, but if we’re going to monopolize their times on the trip to Florida then we should give dad equal time before we leave. It’s fair, even if it sucks donkey balls.

We finally completed the last christmas decoration of the year tonight. We bought this year’s ornaments and hung them on the tree. Can you guess what mine is? Of course you can. It’s a little camera. I’ll see about getting a picture of it later because what’s more artsy then a camera taking a picture of a fake camera?

We’re spending the day with Wes Anderson movies today. The French Dispatch is on right now. Is everyone in his movies a veteran of James Bond movies? I think so.

Flash Fail

I don’t like using a flash when I take pictures. I just don’t like the way it looks. I use it sometimes, all of the indoor Christmas decorations pics from yesterday (except the owl) had the flash on, but generally speaking I avoid it as much as possible. When I was a kid and we had our cheap little point and shoot camera I thought the flash was a requirement. When Dad bought his SLR he had a separate flash that mounted on top of the camera but I don’t really remember him using it at all. The only times I remember him using the camera were outside during the day. Specifically, our one trip to Niagara falls where he let me use the camera for a while and I realized I kinda loved it.

When my sister found the camera in Dad’s dresser the flash was there and I took it with the rest of the stuff. I never tried to use it though, until today. I knew from my million or so viewings of how-to-use-your-manual-slr videos on the youtubes that there is a shutter speed setting for using an external flash. What about the aperture though? How do I know how to set that? Back to the youtubes I go. I watched a couple of videos this morning and it made perfect sense. The flash has an ISO setting and when you set it to your current film speed it tells you what aperture to use and the approximate distance the flash will be effective.

I set up my film camera, which currently does not have any film in it, to see if I could at least get the flash to flash. The unit wouldn’t turn on so the batteries must have been dead. I found the battery door, opened it up and… The last time the batteries were changed was probably some time in the mid 80’s. They have been sitting there all of those decades and one of them leaked like crazy. I was pretty surprised that only one of them leaked, but it was enough. The terminals are all corroded and changing the batteries didn’t work. I watched still more youtubes on cleaning battery connections and I know what I need to do before I try again, I am just not entirely sure I want to bother trying. Like I said at the start, I don’t like using a flash. I might try to use it on Christmas morning, or something, but other than that? I don’t really see myself going through the trouble of setting it up. Maybe this weekend I’ll try to clean the terminals, just to see how that goes. Until then, I am not going to worry about it.

On an unrelated note, our plans for New York this weekend have been canceled. Not because of Covid-19 paranoia, but because of some back pain issues. We’re still planning to go to Bellana’s concert in Vermont on Sunday. We’ll have to see how it goes. I doubt I’ll bring a film camera there. It’ll be too dark in the room and I don’t want to use a flash.

Squee, I Say. Squee


See that? That’s a picture of my film camera using one of Dad’s camera’s lenses. I don’t have film in that camera at the moment so I didn’t shoot any pictures, but since it’s an SLR and the viewfinder actually looks through the lens (unlike rangefinders or mirrorless cameras or point and shoots) I was able to test setting the aperture, focusing, and zooming and everything seems to work fine. Focusing is tough, but it is tough with the Nikon lens too.

I haven’t tested it with Dad’s 50mm prime lens because I am afraid to. That lens is the best lens I have in the house and I don’t want to break it. I will test it at some point though, and I will test it on my digital SLR as well because it is also a Nikon and both of my Nikons have the same lens mount. I’ll have to figure out how to set the aperture though as the DSLR does that digitally and Dad’s lenses both do it manually and I am not sure how the two will work together.

This may seem like a little thing, but it’s really a “squee” worthy moment for my dumb ass.

Squee. Seriously.

The “U” Word Scares Me and My Wallet

Last night my camera scared me. I took out the memory card so I could upload the picture of my cat that I posted here last night. When I put the memory card back into the camera it errored. What was that? I took it out and put it back in… same error. I went all Nintendo on it’s skinny ass and blew on it as well as the card slot and it was fine again. I took a few pics this morning and I just uploaded them to Flickr and I put the card back in and it’s fine.

Sigh of relief.

It got me thinking though… I bought my DSLR in January 2010. That was 12 years ago. That seems like a long time for a tech gadget. A really, super long time. When should I start considering thinking about the “u” word? You know… upgrade. Realistically, I probably should have been asking myself this question five years ago (at least), but even though I know I can probably fix this problem by picking up a new memory card, I have to start thinking about what camera comes next.

I went on Nikon’s website to see what they have available these days. For DSLRs , the D5600 is marketed to advanced beginners and it costs $700 without a kit lens. The D7500 would probably be what I looked at if money wasn’t an issue, but it costs a grand for just the body.

What about mirrorless? That’s the future, right? Shouldn’t I get on the wagon before it leaves that homestead? The Z fc is clearly the coolest camera on the Earth at this time. Yes, it’s a retro inspired, hipster focused gimmick, but now that I am nutty over old manual film cameras a mirrorless camera based on an old design is right up my alley. I’ll take one to go, thank you. Except that it costs $959 without a lens, and the lens mount is different than my DSLR so I will need a new lens as well and the price with a kit lens is $1,099.95. There is also the Z50, which I think is the same guts as a Z fc, and that will be $999.95 with a lens.


I don’t want to leave Nikon-land and I don’t want to buy a used camera…


Maybe I should start looking at Fuji… those probably cost a mint too.

Anyway, here are some pictures I took around the living room just to make sure everything still works. I put a mono filter on the RAW files in honor of the gloomy camera atmosphere.

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