A trip to London with Instax Square

These were taken in October 2019 during a trip to London. It is my first time to London. It is a refined city and everywhere are historical buildings. Even the offices and retail shops are frequently situated in historic sites. Surrounded by these aged sites, I think it would make people thinking more long term and devote more time to reflect their life.

Ionly brought my Instax Square with me this time because of its light weight. I glad that I brought a film camera as it would fit my mood at the moment.

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Interestingly, I used Ross London Xpres 75mm F3.5 lens for this Instax camera. The lens was made in UK as well. It seems to be a perfect fit for this trip.

Original camera manual

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Chinese New Year

This is probably one of the most quiet Chinese New Year. Most of the time I’m staying home for this holiday. Luckily I purchased some flowers before the holiday began. Hence I still have some new subjects to take pictures with. I also took a few new pictures using the 135 films on my Rolleiflex.

I also took the time to fix some of my cameras. I have taken off the lens from my Instax Wide for sometime. Now I tried to install another lens from Zeiss Ikon. I used that in an Instax Mini before and I like the feeling of its pictures very much. This Chinese New Year is the best period I can do these unfinished businesses.

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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.

https://www.scmp.com/business/companies/article/2178450/once-treasured-hmv-retail-hong-kong-winding-looking-buyers

 

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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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Instax Square SQ6 Modification

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Instax Square SQ6 Modification

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Instax Square SQ6 Modification

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Instax Square SQ6 Modification

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

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