Take another year to finish a roll with Kodak Retina iia

I’m the type of slow photographer. This time I used more than a year to finish this roll of 35mm film. I still remember the first picture I have taken in Taiwan during X’Mas 2018. I just finished the last picture two weeks ago.

I like this Kodak Retina iia camera. It looks so classic and has a very vintage bellow. It is special when you take out to shoot. The lack of auto or semi-auto mode don’t bother me at all. Almost all my film pictures were taken in manual mode, using cellphone for light metering. It is already a luxury to have a range finder system for me to focus on.

Normally I use ISO 400 for 135 films. It is convenient for both indoor and outdoor shooting. For the pictures from this roll, I forgot the film I used. It should be a Kodak ISO 400 film. It appears a bit too coarse-grained for my taste compared to the Protra film I used before. The pictures are mildly washout, not sure if it is because I’m storing the film inside the camera for too long. The earlier pictures look a bit more washout than latter pictures.

For the focusing, this Kodak Retina has a clearer viewfinder than my Canonet QL17. However, the colour looks more pleasing in my previous 135 roll with Canonet QL17. But I suspect it is due to the difference in film.

In these 135 film pictures, I have a feeling of ‘slowness’ when I look at the pictures. In photos with my Olympus mirrorless digital camera, I have a feeling of ‘instantaneous’ or ‘freezing motion’. It should relate to the time required in manual focus in my film camera. It takes much longer time to compose and hence most subjects I shoot usually quite static. It is probably what we need in our world nowadays. Things change too quickly for us to catch up. It’s time to slow down and see the world in a different perspective.

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Shooting 35mm film on Yashicaflex

Recently my friend has tried to use my 135 old Pentax camera that I brought online. It turned out the camera has some issues and she stopped shooting that roll. I have extracted the film out and tried to use in my Yashicaflex to shoot 35mm pictures. Because Yashicaflex is designed for 120 films and hence it will shoot a much wider picture like panorama.

It needs some tricks to shoot 35mm film in a twin lens reflex. I used a roll of 35mm to measure how far should I turn the knob in order to position the frame correctly while minimising the distance between each frames.

The TLR pictures look very special. It is different from what you take with a normal 135 camera. This is partly due to different mindset when you frame the picture and the impact of the viewfinder in TLR versus the usual 135 camera. Naturally I tend to shoot more pictures in vertical than horizontal as it needs some sleight of hands to take the horizontal picture. And it is less intuitive as I need to use the sport finder in TLR to take.

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Moments like these

Tonight I had dinner with my family and my good friends. Nice restaurant, good food, great accompanies, interesting conversation, joyful moments and dim light. I just felt the impulse to take pictures. People who indulge in old cameras would understand that the mobile phone camera can never satisfy your desire in taking pictures at times like these, even for certain popular phone that was considered to co-develop with the top notch camera company.

It’s lucky that I have a modified Instax Square camera with me. The native Instax camera can’t help as it is not particularly suitable for low light situation. With the vintage lens, I have all the manual control I needed, using F5.6, 1/25s.

Analogue picture is imperfect. It also took me considerable time to guesstimate the aperture and focus to use. People always wondered if I’m using my mobile phone to take pictures when I use the light meter app. I think the imperfection is more ‘human’. It reflects the imprecision, struggles that we have in preserving the moment in an artistic way. In digital camera, it comes too easy and everything comes so perfect, which lacks the imperfection that shaped the humanity.

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HMV has gone; these are our last instant pictures

I took this pictures in HMV last year to test out the world first modified Instax Square camera. The results was quite good. But at that time, a staff warned us that we cannot take pictures in the shop. He said “you guys shouldn’t do ‘such’ thing in a record shop. “. Oh…’such thing’.. I admit I did feel a bit offended with this term. I was in my “street photographer hat” at that time and I can’t help snap one more picture before I stop. In retrospect instant pictures did survive longer than the location that we took the pictures. Sadly speaking that it is proven correct again. Recently HMV has decided to close down their 25 years old CD and DVD stores in HK, including this flagship shop in Central. These became my last Instax pictures in HMV. I now felt it is probably the right thing to fire the shutter despite the warning of the shop keeper.

If you are interested in HMV, let’s take a look at the news report.



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World First Instax Square SQ6 modification with a Voigtlander lens

These days I felt in love with the Fuji Instax Square camera. In the era that Polaroid still made new cameras and films, I was only a small kid. Occasionally I had one or two Polaroid taken in the restaurant or in shopping mall during Christmas time. Up to today, I still have the fascination over Polaroid camera as well as its signature square format film. I can still feel the magic of square films. It gave a feeling of classic while Instax mini or Instax Wide format has a more modern feeling.


Turn Instax Square into an interchangeable lens camera

It is a good touch for Fuji to re-make the classic while giving it a Fuji twist. The length of the film is exactly the same length as the long edge of Fuji Mini film. What is the implication? The film size exactly fits the covering image zone of a 6×6 lens, which was widely used in twin lens reflex and some old folding camera. I installed the Ross London 75mm lens onto it. Afterwards I switched to a Voigtlander Color-Skopar 80mm lens. All went very well.  It became an interchangeable lens camera.

In terms of composition, I realize the best shooting distance with my lens is 1 meter. This camera strikes the best balance of camera size vs film size. In the past, the Instax mini camera is so convenient but the film size is a bit small. Instax wide has a decent film size yet its camera is a bit too large. Instax Square has attained the best of both world.

More updates on Instax Square modification in the new few weeks. Please subscribe our blog!

Here are some sample pictures.


Instax Square SQ6 Modification


Instax Square SQ6 Modification


Instax Square SQ6 Modification


Instax Square SQ6 Modification

Feel free to contact me if you are interested to get your Instax Square modified.

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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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