Took a year to shoot a roll with Canonet QL17 camera

I got this Canonet QL17 last year from a flea market. It is actually a flea market counter setup by a camera shop during Chinese New Year time. Got this at a very low price. The camera is workable but not perfect. Its lens might have little signs of fungus. It looks quite challenging to clean that so I decided to shoot this as is. So there are some issues but none of them can’t be overcome – built-in light meter not working, viewfinder is difficult to focus, a bit heavy, etc.

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It took me a whole year to finish this roll. I took 10 shots or so in the first few weeks. Then I left the camera to my father and sister and thought they might be interested to shoot. At least this was what they said at the time. Eventually they shot none. I took a few pictures here and there when I back to my old home. Recently I decided I should finish the roll to see what I have shot. It took me a week or so to finish the last 15 pictures.

I forgot what I have taken before, not until I got the pictures printed today. The pictures are hilarious. It includes dogs in the street, girl crying, boy laughing and other random pictures. I like the feeling of the pictures. The color tone is emotional. It also has some raw feelings. The occasional out-focus didn’t bother me much. It’s part of life, isn’t it? It usually happened during some interesting moments in dim lighting. Sometimes kids are in action and hence the focus wasn’t that accurate. Strangely it did convey to the audience that the moment was special in this way. The out-focus makes the picture stands out from other “proper” shots.


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Black and white pictures with Lego Contessa Nettel camera

Suddenly I wanted to take some black and white pictures with my Lego Contessa Nettel camera. It seems to be a perfect match of black and white pictures with a century old instant camera. It also fits people’s impression of an old cameras.

I felt satisfied to carry such an old object to the street to shoot black and white pictures, especially shooting things like Aliens from Toy Story. It adds some playful elements to it. Who said vintage photography always serious?


The pictures taken in metro below looks like 30 years ago. It reminds me the old advertisement.


These pictures were taken with this Lego modified Contessa Nettel camera.


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Lego camera to the beach

It is not the first time I take Lego Instant Camera – Contessa Nettel to the beach. With a camera with 100 years old, we really need to understand its characteristics to realize its full potential.

The old lens made in 1910s don’t have modern coating. It means that it ideally used with a hood. Otherwise it will easily have flare and other optical nuisance. We should avoid taking pictures under bright sunlight. It also applies to other instant cameras. In these pictures, most of them I use F16+1/3, 1/100s to shoot. These are shot at about 4-5pm. The sun is not at its brightest but still offer ambient light. I like these hours and perhaps even so when it is a bit later, such that I can use a more wide-open aperture.


IMG_1548.editedIMG_1553.editedIMG_1550.editedIMG_1551.editedIt is always challenging to take pictures for kids. They don’t always follow instructions.

I discovered that the yellowish on the “dot frame” pictures are due to the expired films of one year ago or so, rather than due to the camera. Because in the “comics frame” picture the colour doesn’t show yellowish at all. But I like the yellowish vintage colour tone.

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The blossom

Recently I purchased two plants at home. I’m obsessed to take some instant pictures for them. Focusing and composition are challenging as the objects are so close. The viewfinder are likely to have some biases. I’m using again the Lego instant camera – Contessa Nettel in shooting these pictures.

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Shooting with modified Mini 70

I like shooting with my modified Instax Mini 70 as it is so light and convenient to carry around. Its outlook is modern yet its pictures looks old, thanks to the Ross London F3.8 lens.



Modified Instax Mini 70 with Ross London F3.8

Refer to “Instax Mini 70 modification” for more details on the camera.

Its light size means it doesn’t raise undue attention when I was shooting. I tried to take pictures in the metro and it is just perfect. The lens glass was old. It has some interesting characteristics under the sunlight. It looks a bit yellowish in some pictures. I’m not entirely sure it is purely due to the lens, or because the films are old.

Note that the left picture has the vintage yellowish colour.

I’m using F4, 1/25s to take this pictures. If it is the original Instax Mini 70, it will shoot with flash light and the colour will look very unnatural. Of course, you will also raise the attention of the passengers.

Shooting in the metro. Still go unnoticed.IMG_1543.edited

It is one of my favorite place in HK. The Star Ferry and the clock tower in Tsim Sha Tsui.




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Lego + expired film II

Shooting with expired films is an indulging experience. The pictures are so unique and there are always surprises. I particularly like shooting expired films with people. It reminds me a proverb in Chinese: With clothes the new are the best, with friends the old are the best.




This is a sequel to “Lego Instant Camera shooting with expired films“.


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Lego Instant Camera shooting with expired films

So old camera should use old film. It makes a lot of sense, right? For my 100 years old Lego Instant Camera, I gonna use some “really old film” – Fuji Instax Mini film expired in Mar 2014. Merely from the package you can see it looks quite old school. It is given by my old friend Clarice in Singapore. I asked around my experienced Instax friends and no one ever used films that expired four years ago. Four years don’t seem like a lot but it is indeed a long time for Instax film. There are chance that the film ink pack may dry out and explode when the roller pressed the pack.


Old film expired on March 2014

So here is the results. I’m surprised that it is still working properly. It is interesting to see the colour of the picture looks very old. My camera lens was produced at 1913 and hence it has no modern day coating. Therefore the colour was quite vintage in normal film to start with. In this expired film the vintage feeling compounded. The colour tone and saturation look very different. It appears like these pictures were taken in the 1970s.




Cosplay with Lego camera

There was also an interesting incidence. I saw a cosplayer and she was doing some shooting in the park. I introduced myself and did a shooting with this sci-fi cosplayer with my surreal Lego Instant Camera. She was impressed by the picture. I think it was probably added a new dimension for cosplay – this is cosplay x old film cameras x Lego.


The following is a comparison of a normal film and an expired film. The feeling is completely different. While the left (normal film) shows the vivid colour of the rose, the right (expired film) seems like peeking into a window that connected to the past.

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