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Sunday, 26 December 2021


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Found a mint condition Canon A-1 body a few weeks ago and got some inexpensive FD lenses from the big auction site. I had forgotten how nice that camera was. When you look in the viewfinder, which is the apparent size of a lake, all you see is the scene and red LED readouts of the f stop and speed. After at least 30 years of lying in someone's drawer it properly exposed a roll of Kodak 400.

Emboldened, I put the ridiculously valued Zuiko 40/2 pancake on an old Olympus OM4ti, both of which have been in my own drawer for years. The viewfinder is bigger than a lake, more like a small sea. Back when, the pancake used to cost $300, and even that was the outer boundary of Zuiko lenses. Now the Japanese sellers are looking for $2500 for it.

I briefly put mine up for sale, and got offers of $1800 for it from collectors. That convinced me to go use it instead. The OM 4ti with the pancake is one of the all-time great haptic pleasures. The Oly has a cloth shutter which limits sync speed but results in a silky smooth sound and feel. Pure joy.

That's my seasonal photo gifts to myself. Hope you have a good one yourself, Mike!

The m.Zuiko 30 mm macro.

And a book.

I didn't get anything photo-related but plan to sell most of my film gear, and some digital too, in order to upgrade my drone and my printer. I suppose that would come under resolutions though so I'm probably jumping the gun.

I am lucky to have 4 brick-and-mortar camera shops within walking distance of my home.
3 of which are well stocked in 2nd hand film equipment.
I don't celebrate religious holidays, but on my walk on Dec. 23rd I gifted myself an end-of-year present; a Nikkor-P Auto 10,5cm 1:2.5 in original plastic case and all.
Not because I needed it - I already own a Nikkor 105mm 1:2.5 Ai - but because I was curious if I could see and appreciate the difference between the two.
The earlier 10.5cm is said to be derived from the Sonnar design, and the later from Xenotar.
I hope to have time during the holidays to compare the two.
Nikkormat EL w Nikkor-P 10.5cm 1:2.5 (Sonnar type)
Happy holidays and New Year to you Mike! - and thanks for contributing in making the past couple of years bearable for me.

Nothing! - but in recent years my wife and I have taken the view that we have everything we need and there’s no need to buy each other unnecessary things. In any case, the things we’d each like cost more than is reasonable for a present; in my case that might be a Canon R6 plus a lens or two (say £4000+) or a new M1 Pro MacBook Pro (a mere £2000). Instead we go away for a short holiday to a nice hotel either in January or December and spoil ourselves rotten.

Christmas here in England has been very constrained. Thanks to Omicron we’re being very cautious. Our daughter in the UK has an evil cold and stayed away (not Covid; she took a PCR test which came back negative), while our other daughter in the US has had to cancel a post-Christmas visit to us because of a) the CDC recommendation to not travel to the UK, and b) the possibility of catching it which would impact on her return to the US.

Never mind; with any luck, next year will be better!

I got myself a second-hand GX8. I didn't need another cameea, but I always wanted to try that one, so for the low prices they're avaliable right now I just tough "why not?".

Not entierly photo related, but I also got a M1 MacBook Air 16Gb/256gb. Paired with a couple of external SSD/HD and connected to a good monitor it's a super capable and versatile computer for my work (photography and graphic design).

My wife gave me two photobooks. Ernst Haas, New York In Color: 1952-1962. Gordon Parks, The Atmosphere Of Crime, 1957. Both are great. No big photography presents for myself as I already did that earlier in the year. Today I was looking at a Godox flash for my X-T4 that I will likely get, the mini 350F.

This Christmas holiday I've taken on the massive task of keywording 14 years of digital images. That's kind of a torture present to myself. Actually, it can be fun, because it's like my catalog becomes richer and more accessible the longer I do it, and occasionally I find a hidden gem.

No holiday purchases, but I did spend. couple hours of my covid-sequestered Christmas evening reading Kent Reno's Ground Time again. Very enjoyable. Happy New Year!

What I got was time with my family. In 2019 I was scattering my birth mother's ashes, in 2020 we were locked down and this year we had my sister in law and boyfriend over for a lovely week. First time since 2018 we were together.

Gifts given to myself … kinda for the holiday season.

1. Ricoh GT-2 teleconversion lens for the Ricoh GR IIIx camera. Converts the IIIx to a 75mm focal length.
Note that it also requires the GA-2 adapter.
Also, since I do use a 40mm external optical vf with the IIIx I had to get a 75mm vf to use with this GT-2. Fortunately Voigtlander still makes these for a “reasonable” price.

Whew! The bill really added-up for this one impulsive doodad! But so far it’s been a terrific addition for my smallest camera.

2. Chizu (“The Map”) Reprint Edition
by Kikuji Kawada, 1965, reprinted 2014 by Nagasawa Publishing
Three years ago I decided to stop buying books of b&w photography. My principle photographic interests all lie in the realms of color capture and reproductions. And with a library of over 700 books I just don’t have space for many more books! But undeniable exceptions do appear, and Chizu is a perfect example. Photo books and zines have a very rich history as primary media for photography in Japan. Some years ago my participation in researching the Provoke show in Chicago really opened my eyes to post-war Japanese photo books, among which Chizu became one of the most rare and prized. The first edition of Chizu was a very small run and is virtually impossible to find. But fortunately Nagasawa recreated much of the original edition’s gestalt, including the rich gravure printing. It’s a very unique experience to view. So I couldn’t resist getting a numbered copy while I still could.

3. Modern Times: British Prints, 1913-1939
by Jennifer Farrell and Gillian Forrester, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2021
The strongest influences for my photography come from media other that photography. Early and mid-(20th) century modernism is near the top of that list. There were whole new ways of vision and expression invented during short outbursts of creative energy during the first 50 years of the century, especially the "inter-war" years. Nowhere is this more vividly evident than about 20 years in British printmaking, mostly various types of linocut printing. I really wanted to see this show at the Met but other travel and Covid made it impractical. The associated catalog was the next best thing. And it’s excellent.

So I've more than adequately given myself some holiday cheer! Ho, Ho, Ho!

Hi Mike,
A belated Merry Xmas to you and your family.
I’ve stopped asking the family for photography things, and now buy them myself. I’m not buying new things, mainly second-hand / “vintage’ (in the seemingly new designation for online sales). It’s easier for me to keep tabs on prices etc, than give my family the instructions.
I’ve had something of a mishap with a recent lens purchase - a Nikon 50mm f/2 Nikkor-H Auto - my first with online buying. Contrary to description, it has fungus, and sticky aperture, with barely moving focus ring (bought for $40 USD, with a partial refund after discussions). The local servicing shop said that while they can remove the screws, they can’t remove the front bezel in order to access the objective.
I’ve yet to pick it up, but in the meantime, after trawling Richard Haw’s site, I’ve just bought some precision JIS crosspoint screwdrivers, to kick-start my entering into the world of DIY Nikkor repairs. More gear to come (rolls eyes).

Two main gifts and a couple of accessories that I bought for myself:

A base M1 MacBook Air that was on sale for $799. With a credit on my card I effectively got it for $644.

And a Panasonic S5 that will become my one-and-only full-frame camera after I sell off the rest of my Sony gear.

I bought two small, light and sharp Sigma primes as well: the 24mm f/3.5 and the 45mm f/2.8. Both the camera and lenses, like the MacBook, were purchased at very good discounts.

I suspect the only other lens I will eventually buy for the S5 will be the Panasonic 24-105mm f/4 zoom.

My present to myself was a nice looking Nikkor 5cm f/2 Sonnar in LTM to use on my M type 240. It's totally messed up (though it looks great!) so my second present was a reminder that if the price is too good to be true, there's probably a reason and my third present is that my optical engineer friend is going to fix it and sell me a Nikkor 13.5 cm f/3.5 to round out my lens kit (21 -> 135) for cheap.

My family says that I am impossible to buy for; I think they just don’t like me, so I had to buy the Vivian Maier book myself.
I am perplexed with the Amazon link, which is for USA purchases. I followed the USA Amazon links through to the Canadian site, but I have no idea if TOP will get credit. Can our humble editor offer any insight?

I just couldn't resist buying something(s) for myself for Christmas. I have been using a Fuji X100V a lot. That is a surprise as I bought it to play with and it has become my main camera.

I have found just occasionally I wanted a slightly wider or longer view. So, I bought the wide-angle and telephoto convertor for it.

Upsides; they keep the same f2 aperture (the aperture rings works as it should) and the camera knows automatically (via magnets) they're mounted.

Downsides; they shade the internal flash and the filter size on the telephoto is different.

The travel kit is still very compact.

Two rolls of HP5, and a copy of "Between the Wind" by Ben Horne. `i'm a lucky Dad!

Well, I'll say it's for Christmas: silver Fujifilm X100V - used, because B&H and others have been back-ordered for a long time.

I got two books to add to my growing collection, Uncommon Places and Modern Color that feature the works of Stephen Shore and Fred Herzog. I’m up to 4 books now as they join Here Far Away and Treasured Lands. I think I was introduced to all of them via TOP.

LensBaby kept having sales and sending me gift cards.

It worked:

LensBaby Obscura, combo pinhole, zone plate and sieve plate.

LensBaby Trio, an odd, interesting combo of three 28/3.5 fixed aperture lenses in one mount, Velvet, Twist and Sweet effects.

Something I wanted was a big sale on a Sony A7C, but it was not to be. Post Christmas sales?

A Christmas full of aberrations!

My son gave me a lovely RA-4 print he made during his undergraduate studies a decade ago. Most of his work was either wet B&W or digital color. He only did a handful of RA-4s.
I love it.

I'm treating myself to some "Apple things": I've bought the latest iPad Mini and am awaiting delivery of a high-spec new MacBook Pro.

I'm really looking forward to the new MacBook, which will replace an old Toshiba Win 8.1 device which, realistically, hit end-of-life a couple of years ago, but which I kept limping along while waiting to switch to a Mac when I retired (which I did in November). The iPad Mini is more speculative, but I'm hoping I can use it with the laptop as a graphics tablet (there is, or so it's claimed, an app for that).

With those under my belt (and draining my wallet) I've resisted all thoughts of cameras and even lenses. I'm also holding off an upgrade to my iPhone 7+ with the thought to see what the iPhone 14 might offer next year.


For myself and my photo-curator spouse, it's books, despite our mutual resolution to cut back. In descending order of size, Mitch Epstein's new "Property Rights," the interesting Guido Guidi/Gerry Johansson double-book collaboration, Raymond Depardon's hefty "Paris-Journal," Pentti Sammallahti's "Me Kaksi" ("We Two" in English), and the early Sophie Calle "The Hotel." I favor books that both include photographs that I like and have physical book-making that I like. The acquisitions that arrive after Thanksgiving get wrapped up without opening and they become the xmas gifts. This year's group is unusual for us: more European, male, and black-and-white than our norm. But still, they remind us of how many rewarding mansions there are in the glorious house of photography.

My wife gave me the new OM System 20mm 1:1.4 PRO. Wow, I wonder how she knew. Gave her beautiful jewelry. Also a very photo related treat.

Hi Mike, I didn’t get anything photographic for Xmas. That’s okay. I’m girding myself for a big purchase in the NewYear. However, I did get my wife a m4/3 Lumix 30/2.8 macro lens . She had been musing about macro extension tubes and I thought, hmm, macro lens might be better than tubes. I think she likes it.

I decided to gift myself a Sony FE 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G OSS Lens to act as an intermediary between my Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 G OSS Lens and the Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS Lens. I bought it from KEH and it should be delivered sometime in the next week. I'm Really looking forward to it

I bought for myself the National Monuments book recently reviewed here.


At your suggestion, I asked for (and received) a copy of David Pye’s The Nature and Art of Workmanship. I’ve enjoyed it so far!

Normally we would not celebrate Christmas with presents, because, you know, we're Dutch and do Sinterklaas instead. But this year my wife wanted a Nintendo Switch for us all for Christmas, so I went all out with games for her, my daughter and myself, and a couple of books for them.

This was actually one of our better Christmas celebrations, with only a visit to my mother and just hanging out at home as a family. Not bad you can decline invitations because it gets too crowded.

My friend has interested himself in Foveon sensors for a long time (as consumer of data from sensors associated with very large mirrors[*] Foveon is terrible idea for me – who would want to lose precious photons which have struggled[**] across most of the universe in layers of silicon in front of photosite? – but can see that photographically it is interesting idea). Seems almost clear Foveon is dead now, so since obsolete technology is always most artistically interesting and in gratitude for long-term loan of very lovely modern copy of Supro guitar amp (also obsolete technology), I bought him surprisingly cheap DP2 Quattro with all its bits for his Christmas & birthday (today). I think he is pleased.

[*] We all got the best Christmas present we may ever get this year: although much terror lies ahead, I will not quickly forget watching this. Who could not be moved by seeing that last sight of a machine built for the joy of discovery and which so many people have worked so hard on is not fully human.

[**] In fact photons can not struggle as for photons all things happen at the same time (this is one reason rather silly 'tired light' idea is wrong). But it is nice to think that they can.

@ Mike: I ordered my copy of Chizu directly from Akio Nagasawa at the link in my comment. It is expensive but it’s quite an exquisite work of book art.

Can you imagine any Leica product with a 1.4 aperture that costs only $40. I couldn’t either…until I saw these mugs. I can’t wait to brew some coffee and decide if they produce a nicer “bouquet” than my old mugs.

(photo shot with the Ricoh GRIIIx)

Finally added the little Olympus 17 f1.8 after having accrued all the big pro lenses I needed. It will likely stay on my EM1. There's a tie-in to the photo-related New Years resolutions question you mention, so I'll follow-up when you post that one.

"...4 brick-and-mortar camera shops within walking distance of my home."

Exactly where do you live, Niels!? Or perhaps more importantly- in what space/time continuum?

Chizu is already soldout at Mack (https://mackbooks.eu/) and only 14 copies are left at Amazon. Anyway the MACK website is worth a visit.

Not exactly photo related, but related to your blog, I got a set of 19mm NATO straps for my watch (a Tudor Black Bay 36), and a lug replacement tool to add a little bit of colour to my wrist (and day).

Hope everyone had a great holiday season!

Cheers, Pak

Actually as a birthday present because I will not see my brother again for a while, I received a customised Ordnance Survey map with a photo lifted from my Typepad blog. It was quite a surprise when I recognised my own photo!

As Mike will tell you, Typepad's blogging platform softens any image you load up on it, but the photo doesn't look too bad at all. Allowing for the bleed, it's about 650 pixels wide on the map cover, printed 5" wide.

There's a few jaggies visible from the 0.66 mp image, but only if I view it from closer than 10". It leads me to think that an image that printed up with pixels half the width and height of these would be good enough for most purposes, and certainly enough for a 5 X 7½" print. Er, that's (rounded up a bit) 3 mp.

The customised map can be of any 40 X 40 km area you choose, even if the edges are part way through a grid square. I think this came direct from the OS:


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