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Thursday, 02 April 2020


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It is just so great to see an example of a lone business continuing to provide support for a way-out-of-date item, allowing it to be still used rather than just admired sitting in a display case or, worse yet, buried in a land fill. It is particularly shameful to me when a still prosperous company just willfully chooses to discontinue support for something. It is one of the worst aspects of current industrial behavior world over. Funny that we can "store" data but can't store spare parts. Admittedly, I don't know if they still do this, but Audio Research was an audio firm that proudly maintained the tradition of servicing anything they ever made, no matter how old. It was one of the reasons I purchased their products. I know not everything can be sustained forever but no way should obsolescence come as quickly as it does for many very fine things.

“ there's no way to get a clear view of that particular chasm and waterfall by the roadside because of the trees in the way”

This very morning on another website that I pop up on from time to time I was mentioning how great a used tv station news van would be for that situation. A van with all the accoutrement for going to wherever news is happening, and perhaps roads are not happening, plus they usually come with a 52 foot telescoping mast with a pan tilt mount at the top of it. They are usually well equipped for the sort of creature comforts one would like when waiting for people to do something stupid - I mean newsworthy.

Taking care of my 90 year old mother makes things like antique racing cars and big ass camera stands kind of superfluous at the present time, but those old news vans turn up really cheap from time to time.

Also - If you want to retrofit some modern batteries into an old NiCad powered device, the folks at your local radio controlled cars, airplanes, and drones hobby shop will usually have all sorts of batteries and chargers that will work.

Yet more also: Nice Rolleiflex, but aren’t you a Xenotar man?

happy for your batteries.
and of course, to see that there are still nice people on the world :-)

If only that SLR Rollei was digital, the TLR is so elegant in comparison.

> The part of this in short supply are the battery housings

Seems like a prime candidate for some 3d printing!

I see these great compositions when I'm out on the road, but when I park up I can never find the shot again. It's at least partly because it involves going down on one knee in the middle of the road, on a blind bend.

The last time I tried this (on a road I know quite well), I couldn't find the shot as usual. But I did find a few good images, each completely different from the one I'd stopped for.

Perhaps this is the way to do it; park up somewhere where I never usually stop, and see what I can find at a place I have never given more than a fleeting glance to.

Once again your anti-tree sentiments come to the fore :)

Just kidding. Glad you got out ok.

Mike, the Rolleiflex 6xxx series is a beautiful system, but the scarcity of batteries acquiring such a system seem like a risky proposition. With the proliferation of 3D printers, I wonder if one could print (or has already created a model-for-3D-printing of) the battery housing.

Looks like you are going put some film through the 6008 and TLR very soon. That also means getting closer to darkroom printing. That's real progress.

Glad you have the battery and charger situation taken care of, Mike. Looking forward to seeing some pictures! Stay safe.

I expect that you will be dazzled by the photos you get with your 6008AF.

I had a 6008 for a while. Optics were as good as it gets. Incredible B&W and color negatives. Built like a tank. Unfortunately I found the ergonomics a bit cumbersome and never bonded with the camera. The only thing I miss is the image quality.
Bought used for a great price and sold for even less -but that's life.

Subsequent drift was into Rollei and Yashica TLRs. Fully manual everything appeals to me more.

Have fun.

I am not being accusatory, Lord knows I have too many cameras myself, but my question is why the Rolleiflex 6008 over that Exakta 66 you bought a while back?

[In my little back-to-film project I hope to try out all the film cameras I have. --Mike]

It's interesting to me that the battery housing is the limiting factor. Given that I imagine the "smarts" for these batteries (in terms of current regulation, overvoltage protection, yada, yada) would be in the circuit board on the charger, this seems like a prime opportunity for 3D-printing to come to the rescue.

The housing should be easy to model in CAD, and 3D printing doesn't have high set-up costs (just high marginal costs) so someone could be up and running selling them in very short order without any real investment. The internal metallic contacts that connect the NiMH cells together should be easily assembled from standard electronics. I would imagine that that the only tricky thing might be if there are proprietary contacts that mate the battery with the camera side, which would be a lot more of a hassle to fabricate if they need to be custom made.

I wish I knew more about the ins and outs of electronics, this seems like it would be fun stuff to get involved with...

I have a Contax 645. Beautiful camera but the thing would go through a 2CR5 battery every 10 rolls of 120 film. I bought an external battery grip for it that takes rechargeable "AA" batteries. While it adds considerably to the bulk of the camera, it really helps to keep the cost of operation down. You still have the option of taking the battery grip off and travelling lighter when you wish.

Three rolls of film are hanging to dry on my shower rod this morning. Two were shot with my Mamiya 6MF+50mm in beautiful light in a rural cemetery I discovered with graves dating back to the 1830's (no Social Distancing necessary!). The third shot with my Voigtlander Bessa R3A and a 50mm Summicron in downtown (deserted). I've been using some of my infinite time at home to finally learn digital camera based negative scanning with Negative Lab Pro LR plugin, and hope to make some prints. Both of those cameras are a pleasure to use. Lemonade from lemons.

I love my Rollei SLX! If I could afford one of the better 6xxx series bodies I would jump at one. I too got my batteries repacked but find one set doesn't hold a charge very well. That really sucks but the other one lasts and lasts. I bought a 150mm lens for my SLX but it won't fire. The 80mm and 50mm are stunning lenses. Have fun with yours Mike! I'm jealous lol.

A regular frustration when I lived in New England was desirable shots obscured by trees.
Hugh's mention of a TV van as an elevated shooting platform brings Dorothea Lange to mind. She shot from the roof of a pickup truck.

>>Go Out Empty.

Wisdom indeed. Might I also suggest that if you plan to shoot medium-format, have a tripod in the trunk or back seat just in case? Your work does not seem to require a lot of spontaneity, which would be difficult anyway if you're using a waist-level finder, so why take the time and effort to shoot medium-format film, only to have to shoot at a wider aperture than you'd prefer or risk camera shake (or both)?

Further to my comment above, I happened to drive along the same bit of road today. I could sort of see what I'd stopped for last time, but the shot had gone.

The light was different, I was different. You can't go back.

Don't pull off the road. If you're only going to stop for a couple of minutes, put out orange cones. You can get them on Amazon. Just don't do it if you have lots of cops around.

I once had a Chevy Tahoe that I really didn't care about, except that it would carry everything. I also had a fold-up step ladder that would collapse to about 4 feet, and I'd use the ladder to get up on the roof of the truck. It's amazing what you can see from six feet above the road. If you put up a tripod, you have to be really careful not to fall off the truck backwards.

Oh. I was considering the 6xxx series for my portraiture work, mostly because of the one-of-a-kind 180 2.8 lens. It's the only 180mm les for medium format with 2.8 aperture and leaf shutter. Most other leaf shutter 180's don't go lower than 4 or 4.5, with the notable exception of the Fujinon 180 3.2.
But the price scared me off. While the cameras can be had for cheap these days, the 180 2.8 is still expensive.

If a railroad photographer is lucky, an active railroad will take down the trees every 40 years or so. The area west of the famous Horseshoe Curve near Altoona, PA, is a prime example.

Mike, looking at those Rolleis brings back memories of my friend's Rollei SL2000 (a modular 35mm camera). Also it's successor SL3003.
They were great cameras, super comfortable to use, and quite ingenious. You could switch to BW film from color in mid roll.
I never understood why they weren't more popular.

Started with the 6003 back in 1993, and eventually moved into a 6008 and have been with Hy6 for some 8-9 yrs. Largely shoot with a digital back, the Leaf Credo 60 and love it. Bought lenses over the years when folks didn't want them, and have enjoyed them all. Still use the Schneider 60 bought in the mid-90s, and its just lovely with the digital back. The Hy6 offers some real advantages over the 6008, about another stop for handholding (better mirror dampening) and ability to go digital, but its not quite as charming. Oddly, the Hy6 is closest to an electronic Hassy V, but takes all those lovely Schneider lenses. And with a very good manual focus confirmation (which you can adjust for each lens differently) your old manual lenses are spot on.

Eric Hiss Of Rollei USA has allowed us to continue to use our electronic Rolleiflex medium format cameras as long as possible. I'm also with Mike in purchasing a system when the prices were down due to the introduction of digital cameras.

If you get a deal on these lenses, ge it service to prolong its use, same with battery rebuild too.

DW Photo GmbH are clearly to camera making what Heritage are to guitar making. Heritage make guitars at 225 Parsons Street, Kalamazoo, an address that many guitar players will recognise. The people who make Heritages are the same people (or were the same people in 1984) who used to work for the company that formerly occupied that building. They are (were, in 1984) using the same tools that they used when they made guitars for that former company.

But the guitars they make don't have the name of that other company on their headstock. And, although many people don't understand this, it's the name which makes the difference in how a guitar sounds. Unless it has those particular six letters on the headstock, in the right order, it's just never going to be as good as a guitar which does.

(Disclaimer: I own two Heritages. I also own a guitar made by the former occupants of 225 Parsons Street.)

Why don't you just take photos of the battery from all angles and submit it for 3D printing.
Seems like a plastic case could easily be printed if there was enough demand.

There are specs for the internal sigma filter holder for a SDQ camera. That might have less demand than this.

Why manufacturers don't support batteries is a real mystery. c.1999 my group at Kodak was issued a Kodak DCS620 (SOTA then with its 3mp sensor) and a few of its proprietary NiCad battery packs. We used that camera for a long time, far past its obsolescence, and the lack of replacement batteries finally killed it. The company had discontinued the batteries and the camera at the same time; we could never find any more and our maintenance crew couldn't help.
A colleague of mine, a working pro, found a similar situation with his Leica DMR (the R8 with both film and digital backs). Proprietary batteries, no longer supported. He found a 3rd-party supplier for them, but cost and intermittent availability finally sent him to Nikon.
I'm glad you've found a way to keep your Rollei working!

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