What I'm up to lately, and the aftermath of PMA


Fisherman's Wharf

I have some Provia 400X and Efke IR820c film on order. The Provia 400X has been promised to be out by Fuji for quite some time, but they've been trying to sell down their stocks of 400F. The Efke IR820 is apparently the same film formerly sold by Maco as their 820c. The people who used the old Maco film say that it was a true IR film with a clear Wood Effect, so I'm hoping that the restarted Efke film will be the same.

One of the former Kodak film engineers says that you can never truly restart a film once they've stopped making it. So it's guaranteed to be different from the way the old IR820. But most folks can't really tell the difference between different versions of the same film... so it's also a matter of how picky you are.

I am hoping to compare IR820 against Kodak's High Speed Infrared and Ilford's SFX whenever it comes out. Also, if budget permits, I'd like to answer the question I've always wanted an answer to.... do any of the really really cheap Lee IR filters work with IR820? I've also got a gel holder on the way and I got a deal on gel Wratten #29 and a Wratten #87 filters, so those will be tested first, with the Lee filter tested later.

I've also got some sample rolls of the recent finer-grained reformulated Kodak print films to try out. I've been waiting until I can shoot them against each other with a model.

More ho-hum cameras at PMA

The only non-SLR camera that impressed me out of PMA was the Sigma DP-1. I'm waiting to see how much it's going to cost when it gets out.

Kodak was selling an ISO 8,000 P&S camera. Now, I'd like to remind folks that with both digital sensors and film, the appropriate ISO to shoot at is somewhat arbitrary. Ilford's Delta 3200 and Kodak's T-Max P3200 are both not really 3200 speed films, but because they look OK when pushed to 3200, they are sold as such. I'm betting that the camera, with the 8 megapixel sensor, is not going to look very good at ISO 8,000. However, remember that everybody who doesn't compare on maximum zoom will compare based on maximum ISO speed, so it's just another race the camera manufacturers are in.

Cool things out of PMA

Gepe made a inexpensive GPS that fits on your hotshoe and records your geolocation every time you trigger the shutter. I wonder how well it works on film cameras.

Lensbabies is making medium format Lensbabies now for the Mamiya 645 mount and the Pentax 67 mount. Sadly, given that the Mamiya RB67 doesn't have a focal plane shutter, it's much harder to make a Lensbaby for it.

The Elinchrom Skyports look awfully interesting. They are priced lower than the PocketWizards and the integration with Elinchrom strobe units looks handy.

Full frame Nikon?

There's endless flamewars about Nikon and their next move. Will Nikon make a full-frame camera given their current obsession with the DX format? Some hot rumors were going around before PMA about the Nikon D3X, with either a 1.1x or 35mm-fullframe sensor.

Eventually, they need to. There's hard optical limits that will eventually prevent even optically perfect lenses and sensors from reaching levels of resolution.

The 4/3rds mount is hitting these limits first, of course. The big problem with the 4/3rds mount is that all of the lenses are optimized for the small sensor size, so it's unlikely that they could enlarge the sensor any. This made a lot of sense back in 2000 when everybody was extolling the virtues of a small sensor. But now people want high resolution and low noise together, and that makes bigger sensors look better. Hence, unless companies want to get off the megapixel race, sensor sizes will need to increase.

It's an open question about how big of a sensor Nikon could make that could still take DX-series lenses. The DX mount is still sized to clear a full-frame mirror and prism, so it's a matter of how big the image circle on the wide angle lenses ends up being. I've heard numbers like 1.3x and 1.4x tossed around by armchair pundits.

Also, if Pentax is smart, they'll release their 645 digital to compete with the high-end Canon full-frame bodies instead of the Hassleblad. Pentax was showing prototypes of their camera, but they've been doing that for quite some time now.


I didn't sleep at all last night. Why? Because I was worried something at work would crash on account of the different daylight savings time. I'm not going to sleep well tonight, for roughly the same reason.


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