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Tag: All Content © Manny Santiago (Page 1 of 2)

Modern Japan with the Pinhole Holga

Modern Japan with the Pinhole Holga

In part VII of the series Manny Santiago looks at Modern Japan via the Pinhole Holga Panoramic. Generally available in the 120 and 35mm format, Holga pinholes have essentially the same bodies with the lens replaced by a pinhole. This lensless body produces infinite depth of field, meaning everything in the scene will be reasonably in focus.

The family of pinhole cameras has a base of the Holga 120PC without the lens while the Holga WPC (Wide Angle Panoramic) shoots 120 film in unique panoramic sizes; either 6x9cm or 6x12cm format for a super wide angle view. There is the Holga 135PC, modeled after the Holga 135mm camera and there is the Holga 3D Stereo Pinhole camera which shoots two pinhole images per shutter for dual side by side images. These images can then be mounted to view in 3D with a 3D viewer.

The basic principle of pinhole photography is that light passes through a pinhole rather than a lens to expose the film directly. The image on the film will be reversed but the advantage is there is no optical distortion so there is no need to focus and the angle of view is much greater.

Both a tripod and cable release are necessary for use with pinhole photography due to increased exposure times. Since there are no standard exposure times for pinhole photography, all approximate exposure times are to be used as a starting point. The key is to bracket.

HOLGA WPC & 3D PC f/135
Sunny – ½ sec.
Overcast – 2 sec.
Sunrise/Sunset – 18+ sec

Modern Japan with the Pinhole Holga

The Modern Japan Gallery

Modern Japan with a Makina

Modern Japan with a Makina

In part VI of the series Manny Santiago looks at Modern Japan with a Plaubel Makina, a series of medium format press cameras with leaf shutters and rangefinder focusing with collapsible bellows. The original Makina was manufactured by Plaubel & Co. in Germany from 1912 to 1953. Plaubel was later sold to Doi Group, which designed new Makina cameras that sold from 1978 to the 1980s. The Japanese-made Plaubel Makina was a major redesign with Nikkor lenses and integrated metering. It was manufactured first by Copal and later by Mamiya.

Models 67 and 670 have Nikkor 80mm f/2.8 lenses. Both models take ten 6×7cm exposures on 120 rollfilm, while the 670 model also accepts 220 rollfilm (20 exposures per roll). Model W67 is similar to the 670 model, but with a wide-angle Nikkor 55 mm lens (roughly equivalent to a 28 mm lens in 135 format). The 55 mm was considered one of the sharpest and most flare-free of any produced during the analogue photography era. The 69W Proshift has a 47 mm Schneider Super-Angulon and makes eight 6×9cm exposures per roll of 120 film. The lens is mounted on a sliding flange which allowed for perspective control in the same manner as shifting the front standard of view camera.

Modern Japan with a Makina

The Modern Japan Gallery

Modern Japan with Bronica Zenza

Modern Japan with Bronica Zenza

In part V of the series Manny Santiago looks at Modern Japan via the Bronica Zenza (ゼンザブロニカ?), a Japanese brand of medium format roll-film cameras, a single-lens reflex model first appearing in 1958. Partially named after the company’s founder, Zenzaburo Yoshino, and reputedly derived from Zenzaburo Brownie Camera. The Bronica Z and successor Bronicas, using Nikkor lenses, are all cult classics. Bronicas are workhorse cameras for wedding and portrait photographers and secondhand Bronica cameras are still widely used by professional and serious amateur photographers, due to superior image quality over smaller film and digital sensor formats as well as affordability.

After the death of Zenzaburo Yoshino in 1988, Bronica was acquired by the lens manufacturer Tamron which discontinued the brand’s single-lens reflex models (SQ, ETR and GS) in October 2004. Bronica’s last model, the RF645 rangefinder camera, was discontinued in October 2005.

Modern Japan with Bronica Zenza

The Modern Japan Gallery

Fan faces at Fujirock (Manny Santiago)

Modern Japan with Horizon S3

In part IV of the series Manny Santiago looks at Modern Japan via the Horizon S3 Pro Panoramic. The Horizon is a mechanical swing-lens panoramic camera manufactured by Krasnogorskiy Zavod in Krasnogorsk, Russia, known for their range of Zenit cameras.

The Horizon was produced in two formats: the 205pc, which took 50.5×110 mm wide frames on 120 film, and the 202, which took 24×58 mm wide frames on perforated 35 mm film. The 202 has been superseded by the S3pro, a redesigned and improved camera with silent rotation and more exposure times.

An older version called the Horizont, produced in the Soviet Union in the 1960s, had an all-metal, rectangular body and a removable viewfinder. The technology of the “202” is basically the same, but the body covering is plastic, and has an integrated viewfinder, making it larger. Additionally, the 202 features a slow-speed shutter mechanism, with exposure times of 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250 of a second; the S3-Pro has exposure times of 1/250, 1/125, 1/60, 1/30, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2 and 1 second, slower rotation than the 202, and silent rotation. It has been appropriated by Lomo.

Modern Japan with Horizon S3

The Modern Japan Gallery

Modern Japan with a Nikon N80

Modern Japan with a Nikon N80

In part III of the series Manny Santiago looks at Modern Japan via the Nikon N80 Film Camera manufactured for amateur photographers with advanced skills from January 2000 worldwide. The successor to the F70 it was based on a stripped down version of the F100.

Three versions of the F80 are available, the F80, the F80D which has a different back that can imprint date information on the frame and the F80S which can also imprint exposure data between frames in addition to the date information. Using the exposure data imprint function will slow the F80 varying on film speed and temperature. So why the hell would you want that?

The F80 was chosen by Nikon to be the basis for the popular Nikon D100 digital SLR. The chassis was also used by Fujifilm as the basis for the FinePix S2 Pro and S3 Pro, and by Eastman Kodak for the Kodak DCS Pro 14n and DCS Pro SLR/n. It was the SLR film camera precursor to the DSLR, the infamous “missing link” in the chain from analog to digital.

Rumors were abound during 2005 that Nikon would make a successor to the F80, and discontinue most other film cameras apart from the F6 and the F80 replacement. Early in 2006 Nikon announced that they intend to drop production of all film cameras apart from the F6 and FM10.

Modern Japan with a Nikon N80

The Modern Japan Gallery

Modern Japan with Holga 120S

Modern Japan with Holga 120S

In part II of the series Manny Santiago looks at Modern Japan via the Holga 120S. The Holga is a medium format 120 film camera, made in Hong Kong, known for its low-fidelity aesthetic. The Holga 120S – The original Holga, since discontinued. Fixed shutter speed, adjustable focus, plastic 60mm f/8 meniscus lens, two-position f-stop switch, hot shoe, and 6×4.5 cm film mask.

Most Holga cameras use a single-piece plastic meniscus lens with a focal length of 60 millimeters and utilize a zone-focus system that can adjust from about 1 meter (3 feet) to infinity. Like any simple meniscus lens, the Holga lens exhibits soft focus and chromatic aberration. Other Holga variants, denoted either by the letter ‘G’ in their model name, or the name WOCA, feature a simple glass lens, but are otherwise identical in construction. The manufacturer has since outsourced supply of the varying plastic and glass lenses to contractors in Japan and China

There is an aperture setting switch on the camera with two positions indicated by pictorial ideograms: sunny and cloudy, with a nominal value of f/11 and f/8, respectively. Due to a manufacturing oversight, this switch has no effect on pre-2009 production cameras, and the actual aperture is around f/13, giving the Holga just one aperture. The problem is reported as having been fixed in cameras post-2009, providing two working aperture settings of f/13 and f/20, and earlier cameras are modifiable to provide two usable settings. Apertures of f/10 and f/13 work well for ISO200 speed films, while settings of f/13 and f/19 tend to suit faster films of around ISO400.

The Holga was originally designed to accept either a 6×4.5 format or a 6×6 (square) format. However, once the camera went into production, vignetting (darkening of the corners of the finished photograph) occurred when the camera was modified to a 6×6 format. Hence, early Holgas had their film size switches tightly fixed to shoot only 6×4.5 format. Many owners removed both this restriction and the 6×4.5 film mask as well, finding the resultant vignetting a desirable effect.[6] Later Holgas such as the 120N come with two masks for both the 6×4.5 and 6×6 format. Holgas can even be modified to use 35mm film.

The Holga has one shutter speed – approximately 1/100th of a second. The camera can shoot 16 exposures per 120 roll in 6×4.5 cm format or 12 exposures in 6×6 format. Film is advanced by a knob on the top of the camera, and frame numbers printed on the backing paper of the film can be viewed through a red window on the back of the Holga. The number of frames chosen is indicated by the black arrow.

The Holga’s low-cost construction and simple meniscus lens often yields pictures that display vignetting, blur, light leaks, and other distortions. The camera’s limitations have brought it a cult following among some photographers, and Holga photos have won awards and competitions in art and news photography.

The Holga camera was designed by T. M. Lee in 1981. It first appeared outside China in 1982 in Hong Kong. At the time, 120 roll film in black-and-white was the most widely available film in mainland China. The Holga was intended to provide an inexpensive mass-market camera for working-class Chinese in order to record family portraits and events. However, the rapid adoption of the 35mm film format, due to new foreign camera and film imports, virtually eliminated the consumer market for 120 roll film in China. Seeking new markets, the manufacturer sought to distribute the Holga outside mainland China.

Within a few years after the Holga’s introduction to foreign markets, some photographers began using the Holga for its surrealistic, impressionistic scenes for landscape, still life, portrait, and especially street photography. These owners prized the Holga for its lack of precision, light leaks, and inexpensive qualities, which forced the photographer to concentrate on innovation and creative vision in place of increasingly expensive camera technology. In this respect, the Holga became the successor to the Diana and other toy cameras previously used in such work. A Holga photograph by photojournalist David Burnett of former vice-president Al Gore during a 2000 campaign appearance earned a top prize in a 2001 White House News Photographers’ Association Eyes of History award ceremony.

Recently the Holga has experienced renewed consumer interest outside China due to the increasing popularity of toy cameras, and a continuing counterculture response to the increasing complexity of modern cameras.

Modern Japan with Holga 120S

The Modern Japan Gallery

Modern Japan with a Lomo LC-A

Modern Japan with a Lomo LC-A

Modern Japan with a Lomo LC-A

In part I of the series Manny Santiago looks at Modern Japan via the Lomo LC-A. The LOMO LC-A (Lomo Kompakt Automat) is a fixed lens, 35 mm film, leaf shutter, zone focus, compact camera introduced in 1984. The design is based on the Cosina CX-2, the main difference being that the lens bezel is fixed (unlike the rotating one of the CX-2). The original LC-A lens was manufactured by LOMO in Russia. This changed in 2007 and lenses on subsequent models have been made in China. Some LC-As were sold badged as Zenith, or Zenit, a trademark of KMZ (Krasnogorsk Mechanical Works).

The only automatic function offered by the LC-A is exposure. All other functions — winding, rewinding, focus — are done manually. Aperture could also be set manually, through a lever system, though exposure is completely automatic when the camera is set to “A”. The shutter speed is fixed at 1⁄60 s and ranges from 2 minutes to 1⁄500 s. The aperture range is f/2.8 to f/16. The automatic exposure system compensates for changes in light levels after the shutter is opened by increasing or decreasing the shutter speed. This, in conjunction with the rear-curtain flash-sync, results in interesting effects with flash photography in low ambient light levels.

The lens is focused by selecting one of four zones (0.8 m, 1.5 m, 3 m or ∞). Setting it to ∞ in low light settings allows for long exposures. When cross-processing slide film, these long exposures can result in extraordinarily strange color effects, one of the reasons the LC-A became such a cult camera.

The Modern Japan Gallery

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah Get Seriously Hysterical

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah Get Seriously Hysterical

Even as the first throbbing electro-cadences of Hysterical‘s opening track fade in, and the thought that this could be the unpublished coda to “Upon This Tidal Wave of Young Blood” pushes its way into your head, you have not heard this album yet. The initial nervousness dissapates as soon as leadman Alec Ounsworth croons “Open Road”, the drums pound louder, and the somehow firmer more manly guitars soon shake the gnawing feeling that you have heard all this before, and you realize about the third listen through that there is no looking back.

Many might say that Hysterical, the first new album for the band in more than three years, picks up where their self-titled indie breakthrough left off, but that would be to ignore a major evolution in the band, its members and, most importantly, the music. For what is any band without its digressions? And where would The Clap (great diminutive) be without their dissociative 2007 sophomore effort Some Loud Thunder, whose songs reeked of potential yet couldn’t run a solid connective thread to unite the album? Certainly not at Hysterical. What about the chops they built up in four years of almost nonstop world touring? The abortive attempts to record Number Three in 2009 leading to what by all appearances seemed to be the untimely demise of the Little Band That Could? Flashy Python anyone?

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah Get Seriously Hysterical

Clap Your Hands Say YeahIt was at their final show at Fujirock 2009 in Japan that you could feel a certain trepidation in the misty mountain air during the first few songs, which may have caused many in the crowd to wonder if the band that had seemingly found a way to supercede the record industry (The Internet! Mail! Who knew…?) was destined to implode before they really ever got warmed up. Despite shaking off their early chilliness and killing the capacity crowd a few new songs thrown into with the rest of their short but infectious live set, there was a bittersweet funk in the air as they encored with “Let The Cool Goddess Rust Away” and it wasn’t the cherried joints poking up in the dusk sky.

The thing about The Clap has always been a stirring kind of intangible mystery to the music which makes for a beautiful kind of anxiety, that sense that they might not be able to hold it together any longer and were about to follow Ounsworth’s warbly voice off the road, clapping and yeahing all the way down into the annals of if only. At first listen the monikers of the hiatus-CYHSY albums–Flashy Python and Uninhabitable Mansions–among other projects, seemed to confirm that despite these solid musical efforts, the various solo projects were destined for the dusty bottom of the dollar bin at whatever stores still actually sell cds.

 Hysterical Cover © Cyhsy (HESO Magazine)

Hysterical

Picking up Hysterical‘s lp sleeve, at first glance there seems to be a sentimental tinge to the various track titles, “Misspent Youth” and “Yesterday, Never”, as if this album is a message to the dancing satans of the past to back off, but not too far (and keep dancing). Although that doesn’t stand up to examination as soon as Robbie Guertin (guitar, keyboards), Lee Sargent (keyboards, guitar), Tyler Sargent (bass guitar), and Sean Greenhalgh (drums, percussion) chime in with their respective instruments, all pointing toward jumping into the same car and driving to the same place this time around, which, even if the members don’t necessarily know where that is, at least they are all in the same car. This is especially noticeable on the album’s eponymous second track, which alongside “Maniac”, the first single from the album, seems to shake off any ideas of latent rust and point them firmly down that open road Ounsworth first mentions in “Same Mistake”.

The decision to take a hiatus after playing the Fuji Rock Festival seemed to have served its purpose, causing the members to experience a renewed desire to make music together, even if they didn’t know that was the case. In spring 2010, Ounsworth, Greenhalgh, and Sargent reconvened in Philadelphia, as well as at CYHSY’s Brooklyn practice space, to toss around ideas that would be developed by the band, eventually culminating in the songs on Hysterical. 2010 became the year the Clap came back, spent time creating their new material and recording dozens of different demos in order to construct–and then tear apart–each song, giving them the ability to see what worked and what didn’t.

“The band works best together by letting stuff happen,” Sargent says. “That was the problem with the second album, things weren’t allowed to naturally progress. Whereas on this one, they were and so there were a lot of musical ideas generated.”

Ounsworth says, “For me, it’s all about us coalescing.”

Collaborating with producer John Congleton, known for his work with Okkervil River, Explosions In The Sky, Clinic, and The Mountain Goats, at Hoboken’s Water Music, proved to be exactly what the band needed.

“It was a nice process,” Sargent says, “everyone playing together in this big room. It’s not like you have people separated into these soundproof rooms where they can’t really look at each other. We’ve tried that before and it takes away that chemistry.”

Congleton has employed characteristics of Phil Spector’s trademark “wall of sound” production mode, with multi-layered keyboards, noticeably bigger, bombastic percussion, explosive guitars and worked particularly on coaxing the best of Ounsworth’s trademark vocals. The origins of what you once loved about the band are still peppered throughout the twelve songs, but with production values more in tune to The Clap’s idiosyncrasies, achieving a more seasoned sound.

Clap Your Hands Say YeahBefore encoring their paean to jamband scratch-rock “Cool Goddess” at Fujirock 2009 CYHSY did herald Hysterical‘s rock-opera epic finale, “Adam’s Plane”, with its initial stark piano tones that turn to eddying rhythms and propulsive melodies echoing in your head long after the song weighs in around seven minutes. The tentative nature of their set had mirrored their precarious start as a band in a world without a record label. Music executives nervously asked themselves, “How long could they last?” Yet as their energy and talent carried them through the wasteland of the Modern Music Business–and the body of their playlist on stage–the realization dawned that to be more than that one band, they would have to take another tack. The Industry smiled and feigned a pat on the back stance. The band realized that those quirky characteristics which once endeared them to millions would need to mature into smart music, hence the hiatus–which was not very long. The Industry “Huzzahed” and shook its fists in surviving the end of their ubiquity, but too soon! It was only once they has rebanded with renewed devotion, as well as a new approach to making music, that moving from the strictly upbeat meat of “Yellow Country Teeth” toward more of a mixture of introspective chords and speculative genres, could they close the show with two songs from two different eras, signalling to one and all that despite all the hysteria, that initial independent mystery still drives the car down the open road, it’s just a nicer car with a better sound system.

See the full gallery of photos from the “last” live show (as the original band) at Fujirock in Naeba, Japan

Upcoming Japan Live Shows

  • 1.6.12 // Tokyo, Japan // O-EAST
  • 1.8.12 // Nagoya, Japan // Club Quattro
  • 1.10.12 // Osaka, Japan // Big Cat

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