Lightseal replacement on old cameras

I recently acquired a Yashica Mat-124G. As usual with vintage cameras, the light seals were rotten: gummy pieces of it were falling off.

Rather than shelling out the $10 (+ shipping) or so that some people are charging for replacement seals, I thought I would try to DIY. I found a blog post where someone had used adhesive-backed felt (available at most craft stores). So, I got some from Amazon since my local craft store did not carry any.

I cleaned out the old light seals with some Goof Off. Then, cut some 2-3 mm strips of the felt. I placed one, which went in crooked, so I ripped it off. Then I noticed all the lint. Just that small operation shed lots of lint. It was clearly visible on the cutting mat, and on my fingers. So, that was no good. I would not recommend felt. Maybe there is “photo grade felt” that does not shed? Anyway, I will be buying some bulk adhesive-backed closed-cell foam for the light seals. There are many listings on eBay, typically shipping from Hong Kong.

New gear: Fuji GW690iii

I just acquired a used Fuji GW690iii medium format rangefinder camera from eBay. It makes eight 6cm x 9cm negatives on one roll of 120 format film. It’s pretty fun to use. While a little unwieldy due to the size and weight, it is a simple camera and very quick to use: fixed lens (90mm f/3.5), all mechanical, no exposure meter. I use the Pocket Light Meter app on iPhone. Focusing is fast: a quarter turn covers the whole range, and the rangefinder focus is bright.


And the first roll of film I shot, developed at Indie Photo Lab, in Philadelphia, right near where the pictures were taken.


OS X's new Photos app and Aperture

UPDATE: Well, once you restore the old Aperture library, iTunes sees it and allows you to sync the iPhone to it.

When you migrate your existing Aperture library to the new Photos app, it does away with all the Aperture Projects. So, all my old organization was gone.

Luckily, there's a way to recover the old Aperture library. In ~/Pictures, all the migration did was to rename the "Aperture Library.aplibrary" file to "Aperture Library.migratedaplibrary". Just Get Info on the file, and modify the extension. Open Aperture, and see all your old stuff return.

I have not figured out how to get the iPhone to revert to syncing with the Aperture library rather than the Photos library.  😡

Photography tip: back button AF

The video is a bit long-winded, but the info is pretty great.

  1. Switch the AF mode to AF Continuous, i.e. focus follows subject as long as AF button is depressed.
  2. Use the AF On button if your camera has one, or reassign the AF Lock/AE Lock button to be AF On. I.e. pressing the button engages AF. 

So, now, this will be a little weird, but focusing is now done by depressing the AF On button with the thumb as opposed the partially depressing the shutter release.


My Polaroids (and one Minolta)

In addition to the Polaroid Models 240 and 350 pack-film cameras that I bought, I also acquired three other Polaroids. (Well, technically, two Polaroids and one Minolta.) They are all integral film cameras, i.e. there is no peel-away layer.

The first below is a Spectra QPS, then a Minolta Instant Pro which shot on Spectra film. Minolta licensed the technology to produce the camera, which featured more image controls than the original Spectras. Later, Polaroid would produce its own version called the Spectra Pro. Finally, the SLR 680, a descendant of the groundbreaking SX-70 (also see the Wikipedia article). The SLR 680 used a different type of film, which was not gel-based and thus was not amenable to manipulations after exposure. On the positive side, the film is faster, allowing for more flexibility in taking conditions.

Film is available from The Impossible Project.

image from
Polaroid Spectra QPS

image from
Minolta Instant Pro

image from
Polaroid SLR 680