Hello 1971, how are you?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by LumbermanSVO, Sep 1, 2012.

  1. LumbermanSVO macrumors 65816

    Mar 15, 2007
    Denton, TX
    A few years ago my Grandfather died of complications due to his long career firefighting. He had retired a few decades ago but the health issues had already taken hold and he spent most of his retirement in a rocking chair watching TV.

    The best part of his day was when us grandchildren would come over, he loved spending time with us far more than the adults. Whenever he had the energy to wonder about the property he taught us how to drive a stick, wrangle the horses and spin a wrench or two. He was a very intelligent man that I wish I had spent more time around.

    I felt very honored that in his last few days I was one of the only people he had asked to see, almost everyone else he asked to leave so that they wouldn't see him in that condition. I spent a few hours with him and a couple days later he was gone.

    Recently my cousin asked me to come out to his house to visit, we hadn't seen each other in a long time. Yesterday I made the trek out to his house and had a brew with him and caught up on life. He knew I was getting into photography in a big way so he had a box for me. In this box was a Minolta SR-T 101 and a couple lenses(58/1.4, 135/2.8) that my Grandpa had bought in 1971, including all the documentation and a few accessories.

    Today I took the body down to my local shop and asked them to give me a walk through on how to use it(I've never shot film) and about any peculiarities it may have. The guy walked me through all it's functions and did a mechanical evaluation of it and replaced the very dead battery.

    The body has a couple problems, the shutter speed appears to run slow. When set on 1 second it's actually at 3. How much it is off at higher speeds is questionable. The seals on the back door are worn, on the border of allowing light leaks. For $35 they are replacing the seals and I should be up and running.


    So I'm planning to shoot with this camera and see what I come up with. Has anyone here used this particular camera? If so, thoughts? Does anyone have any advice for someone going from digital only to film? Any advice on buying film? Any other info/advice?
  2. Doylem, Sep 1, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2012

    Doylem macrumors 68040


    Dec 30, 2006
    Wherever I hang my hat...
    Interesting story. Coincidentally, my first 'proper' camera was a Minolta SRT-101B. A family friend had bought it, on holiday, duty-free, and passed it onto me. It would have been about the same time, 1971. For about a year I only had the 50mm lens. It was the camera that gave me an interest in photography (in fact, I've only owned three SLR cameras since then: 2x Nikon FE and my current DSLR, Nikon D200).

    Shooting film in 2012 presents as many problems as opportunities. Frankly I wouldn't recommend it. The moment I unpacked my D200 I knew that my film days were over. But I understand your feelings for your grandfather, and that using the camera might give you some 'connection' with him.

    Getting set up to do your own dev/printing is quite a business; I remember building my own darkroom, with dry side and wet side, in a spare bedroom. I'd shoot some transparency film and get them processed by a decent lab (if you can find one :confused:). In this way you can dip into the world of film without too many 'set up' expenses. After a few weeks or months you may be relieved to get back to digital. Either way, have fun... :)

    Just Googled the camera: the SRT-101b is the same camera as yours (the European version). Check YouTube for camera walk-throughs that might be helpful. Is the on/off switch on the baseplate? Not very convenient!
  3. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    My first DSLR was a Minolta SRT102 that I purchased in 1972 at Service Merchandise (remember them?) store in Naples Florida. It was a great match needle body for the price.

    I would suggest just keeping the camera as a keepsake. I do know any technical reason to leap backwards into film. Honor him by doing photography, but digital photography with a modern DSLR. Start by doing an nice stilllife of his Minolta, any accessories and a picture of him
  4. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    That was my first "real" camera too, though I quickly added a 201. It's a good solid camera. I took one apart once, and found that a string connects the light meter needle/circle in the pentaprism to the lug on the body that moves the aperture ring on the lense. String!

    Minolta lense accessories were very complete... macro lenses, a 250mm reflex telephoto, etc etc.

    I wouldn't use it as my main shooter, but if you want to develop a nearly unique "look" - why not shoot film and scan it? Haunt the camera swap meets for interesting Minolta lenses and accessories... it's where I got all of mine. Where abouts are you? If you are close to the BC coast perhaps we should meet?

    Wow. Memories...
  5. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    You can develop E-6 and B&W with a tank and reels, a dish washing tub, aquarium heater and a changing bag or lightless room, thermometer and some beakers.

    Given today's film scanners, it's not all that expensive to set up. I developed film in the kitchen for years, up to 5x7 sheets. You may have to alter the development time if the aquarium heater doesn't quite go hot enough to reach the recommended temps, but I've done that and it's not all that difficult. A film scanner is the single-most expensive piece.

    With the demise of Kodak though, you're left with Tetenal as the only real option or a single-purchase development kit, but 3 baths should be easier than 6.

  6. MacCruiskeen macrumors 6502

    Nov 9, 2011
    If you're only developing b&w, you can skip the heater. Basic B&W processing is easy and doesn't require much in the way of stuff or space. Printing needs a bit more. My darkroom takes up a corner of my home office. But the stuff can be had cheap, because there's a lot of usable used darkroom gear floating around.

    A nice old Minolta is a perfectly respectable camera and you can certainly have fun with it. It might cost you about $100 or so to have a tech do a complete CLA that would take care of your shutter issue.
  7. Designer Dale, Sep 2, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2012

    Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Mar 25, 2009
    Folding space
    I come from a film background like Doylem and did all my own darkroom work when I was in college. My advice is to stick with black and white and have someplace like Costco develop and do the prints for you. If you like the process of working with film, processing B&W really is easy once you get the film in the developer tank. Building a light-tight film loading room isn't really to difficult. I did it in a basement storeroom. You can also get these things called dark bags for loading film in daylight.

    I don't know about the Seattle area anymore now that Seattle Filmworks is gone, but Glazier's Camera might offer custom processing and printing. My local shop down in Lakewood is Robie's Camera and they have film services.

    If you are interested, I still have my bulk loader. It's a light tight box with a crank that loads a 100' roll of film into re-useable canasters. It's yours for the asking. Go to B&H.com and enter the keywords "bulk film" to find film and canasters.

    I always relied on a hand-held light meter when I did film. If I still have it I'll let you know by PM.

    PM or email me if I can do anything for you.

    BTW: Hope you enjoyed your trip to Glacier NP. I was planning on that this fall, but it fell through. I did get to Gifford Pinchot NP and Olympic NP. I've got to get around 500 shots through edit and post...


    EDIT: While visiting Mt. St. Helens a few weeks ago, we met Gary Rosenquist, the photographer who took the sequence of photos of the 1980 blast. He told me he took the photos with a Minolta on a tripod.

    Link to the Rosenquist Blast Photos
  8. toninikkanen macrumors newbie

    Nov 8, 2007
    Kodak didn't stop making and selling E-6 kits yet; and if they did, Fujihunt E-6 is available as well. And C-41 is still going strong with good kits available from all of these manufacturers too.

    The good thing with B&W is that the chemistry is so simple, you could cook usable stuff up with components from the pharmacy if you had to...
  9. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    Adorama, B&H and Freestyle are all without the Kodak kits, you can still get individual chemicals but not the kits- more's the pity because I preferred the 6-bath system to the 3-bath ones when I did my own processing. I Googled the part number as well as the phrase and while the information is still on Kodak's site, no vendors seem to have it in stock. The Fujihunt kits only seem to be available in Europe, and the OP is in the US, so that's not useful.

    Doing C41 is an option, but requires getting up to 110 degrees F, which means more expensive heaters- unlike E6, the higher temps are for mixing the chemicals, so I'm not sure that simply extending times gives you a fix. I know that extending dev times with E6 because I developed all my rolls that way prior to buying a Jobo back when I shot film.

  10. gertruded macrumors 6502

    Jul 5, 2007
    Northwestern Illinois
    I have halide negatives and prints of relatives from the 1800's and early 1900's. It is very nice to have them. I just pulled out my Pentax k1000 and took some B&Ws of my new great granddaughter and I together.

    Where will your digital images be in 100 or 150 years. In what format, on what media, and viewable by whom and with what equipment.

    Just saying.
  11. acearchie macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2006
    I still shoot film (mostly 120film now) but I have a few friends still shooting on 35mm.

    I don't know what it's like in the US but in the UK I still find it a doddle! I personally wouldn't recommend B&W as a lot of rolls aren't C41 development and the shops around me won't take it and it will have to be sent off.

    C41 is the standard process for colour photo's and most film labs will offer it as a service.

    My local lab is about 10 miles away and I can get a roll of 120film for £3 developed which is cheap considering when I first started I was sending the rolls of to wales for £4 development!

    I personally scan myself as I have the means and the time and enjoy the process, I find that the scans you get from the labs aren't that great anyway.

    I would buy a colour film maybe ISO 400/800 and a B&W C41 film (ilford make one) so it can be developed at the lab like the colour photo's.

    Start small and don't expect much. If the photo's don't work it will be a nice keepsake and look good on a book shelf or something. If they do work it might start an interest in the aesthetics of film photography!

    In terms of metering if the camera gives you some dodgy exposures I suggest a light meter. If you have an iPhone there is a great light meter app which works perfectly for my use and I haven't had any exposure issues!
  12. juanm macrumors 65816


    May 1, 2006
    Fury 161
    Wow, a DSLR in 1972! Minolta was really ahead of its time! ;)
  13. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    Get real. In 100-150 years, your digital images will still be digital files. This means that the medium doesn't matter. You just have to keep-up with them--be they stored on hard drives, flash drives, flash cards, stored in the cloud, or whatever. There will not come a time when you will receive an edict saying: "Henceforth and forevermore, you will not be able to read the JPEG format."

    You may substitute your favorite format for "JPEG." And if some totalitarian dictatorship outlaws your favorite digital image format, then you will still have enough warning to convert your old image format to Big Brother's new image format.

    As for the equipment that you will use to view your images, digital images are not tied to s particular display technology. You will use the same equipment that you use to view everything else.

    Your comment sounds like the musings of someone who has never actually dealt with old chemical photographs. Because they are stored on physical media like film or paper, they can be physical damage--tears, burns, cuts, spills, light bleaches, etc. Light bleaching is a particularly serious problem. It causes color shifting in color images and fades to white in monochrome.

    This came crashing home to me while looking archiving old photographs including a 50+ year-old photograph of my grandmother, brother, baby sister, and me. My sister was nowhere to be seen in the paper photograph. It was only after I enhanced the scanned image that I discovered that my baby sister was sitting on my grandmother's lap. My sister had faded into my grandmother's apron.

    For decades now, professional photographers have scanned their chemical photographs and enhanced them in Photoshop. If you can find film and the means to process it, then go for it. If you want to preserve your photographs, then you will be well served by scanning them to a high-resolution digital format. Then archive them to long-term digital storage.
  14. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    With respect... but this is in fact a serious concern. Magnetic and optical storage media rarely will last multi-decades. It only takes a few bad bits to render a digital image unusable (as opposed to an analogue photo which can be seriously scratched and still be viewable).

    The type of media changes. Macs have not been able to read (natively) 3.5" inch floppies for - years at least. I retired my old tired PC with with the 5.25" floppy drive about 8 years ago - and having that drive at all made that system a dinosaur. What if you stored your images on Zip Drives? A Bernoulli Drives?

    File formats fade away - how many people can open a WordStar 2000 document? Those were ubiquitous at one point. I moved from WordStar to WordPerfect to WordPro. There were active documents, and I took the time to convert them as I moved from platform to platform and from decade to decade. Mostly. I still occasionally find an old floppy (or directory!) filed with documents in a format that I can't currently read. Ooops.

    National archives are spending great gobs of money to keep old machines, with old OSes, and old applications running because that is the only sure way of maintaining access to the old digital formats.

    So yes... gertruded is entirely correct. All you need to create an image from a negative - at a the most basic level - is a light bulb, and some chemistry.
  15. LumbermanSVO thread starter macrumors 65816

    Mar 15, 2007
    Denton, TX
    Hey guys, sorry for the delay in getting back to this thread, three day weekends do a number on my work schedule the following week or two.

    Computer problems don't help either...

    It won't be replacing my digital by any means, just adding to it. ;)

    I won't be doing any of my own developing either. I'm coming up on a MAJOR lifestyle change soon and my living space will be smaller than the average bathroom:eek:, toting around chemicals wouldn't be the best use of my available space.

    I like this idea, thanks!

    Older methods of building stuff can be quite, uh, interesting... :p

    I live in a Seattle 'burb but sometimes find myself in Blaine, Ferndale or Bellingham, WA on Wednesday evenings. If you are ever around when I'm up there I'll buy you dinner.

    I'll shoot you a PM soon...

    I enjoyed Glacier and will be returning next year. I cut the trip short though as nothing was going right for me, including killing my MBP, leaving my only functioning computer this old '06 MacMini. Oh well, next year will go much better!
  16. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    As someone who actually uses files that are decades old, I call B. S. WordStar did not go obsolete and become useless in one fell swoop. When you have mission critical files, then you take care of those files when the manufacturer goes out of business or simply stops supporting the format. One way that this is done is to maintain one or more computers with the software to handle the old format(s). Another way is to convert the files into currently supported formats.

    In the case of graphics files, old formats are trivial to maintain or convert with GraphicConverter. It supports just about every format there has been except maybe cave drawings and sky writing.

    As for media problems, you come across as someone who never learned how to copy files. Just because files were stored on 5.25" floppies in the past does not mean that they must be stored on 5.25" floppies in perpetuity. They are digital. They may be copied to other media. Files can be copied to local storage. They can be copied to network storage. The networked storage is owned by a firm that drops the service, then the files can be downloaded and copied elsewhere. It has happened in the past. If it happens in the future, then it will be dealt with in the future.

    Just because you are sloppy about maintaining your old files does not mean that everyone is. The fact that you are so sloppy indicates that the files are simply not that important to you. For people whom old files are critical, maintaining old files are really not that big a deal.

    Properly archived digital files require much less storage space that an inventory of film negatives and paper prints. Digital files will also maintain their integrity much better as well.
  17. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    You should read my post again with care before tossing out the accusations, thank you very much.

    I did note that I was moving my files from one platform to another. As careful as I was, I did occasionally find files that were left behind. Graphic Convertor has not always been available, and regardless it doesn't help with the hardware issues.

    Sometimes a piece of hardware that you are maintaining for legacy purposes goes 'poof' and you are then left looking for a replacement. It can be done.. I can still find working 5.5" drives I'm sure... but it's work.

    You also are assuming that digital files are under constant care and supervision. This is not always the case. Often somebody may have tucked a bunch of old drives away for safe keeping, and lost track of them. Once found again.. often by somebody else ... they can be virtually useless now if old enough. Unlike negatives you can't even hold them up to the light to see if the contents are worth the effort to recover. You either toss them or go to effort to recover them since that is the same effort as just previewing them.

    Give me an 'analogue' negative from 100 years ago, and within a day I could recover the information. I don't even have a darkroom at home.

    I'd bet you eggs to doughnuts I can find some digital data that is less than 15 years old in my junk drawer that would take you much longer to recover. I have no doubt you could... but it wouldn't be easy. And it's not within the realm of the average user.

    You may work with old files every day, I've been working with digital files for 30 years. Heck... my first digital data was stored on punch cards. If I gave you a stack of those - less than 40 years old - could you recover the data? Especially if a few were spindled?

    A friend of mine recovered a suitcase of old glass plates (negatives) from the late 1880s several years avon. Using the current technologies, and with no special training or equipment we recovered all the information. The plates were simply abandoned in an attic, as most data is. It's not as easy to do the same with abandoned digital data.

    ps.... digital files will not necessarily preserve their integrity much better than analogue. It only takes a few flipped data bits to render an entire document useless. Or a small section of an optical disk to peel, or a small section of magnetic tape to flake, or a few spindle holes to be punched in a card. You can randomly removed 10% of the letters from a document, and it's still legible. Or scrape a photo and still see who was there.
  18. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    Sorry. I took for granted that you were having trouble moving files across platforms. Copying files--even graphics files--across platforms has been a solved problem for decades.

    Anyone with the sense God gave red brick would have archived their 5.25" (not 5.5") floppies more than a decade ago. Sloppy.

    Huh! The files should be archived and catalogued. Constant supervision is not necessary.

    One would keep a century-old chemical negative because it is an irreplaceable resource. However, a high-quality scan of the image is accessible within minutes, not days.

    You are still stuck on unarchived floppies. If you made the bet with my about my files, then it is a bet that you would lose. BTW, it is "dollars to donuts," not "eggs to donuts."

    You can't get beyond your assumption that the original medium is the exclusive medium. Data on punch cards can be copied to electronic form.

    It is one thing to recover old plates. Storing suitcase full of plates in an attic, however, is not an intelligent archiving strategy.

    Still stuck in the past. I notice that you did not explain the evils of paper tape.
  19. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    Fair enough... but just be clear, we are not talking about my files in particular - but old digital files in general. For the most part I've been able to move my data along with the times. I've also not been clear about why I'm harping on the past. The past is a good indicator of what may happen to the present. If data was orphaned 20 years ago, then it can be orphaned again.
    No argument, actually. But I did maintain a 5.25" drive long after I needed to because a) some of us don't work as technicians, we just work with technology and sometimes it's more important to work at our living than to systematically archive and catalogue every disk. I came from a time when people stored most data on floppies. Moving all of that data was not a trivial occupation. Especially if one chose to move it to a technology that did suddenly go 'poof'. Zip drives disappeared from the market quite suddenly. Luckily I was using those for backup and not primary storage. Then I moved my backups to small magnetic tapes. Luckily for me I didn't need the backup data because that was another technology that suddenly went 'poof'.

    Then I moved from OS/2 to Macs. All of my data was formatted HPFS and had to be moved to HFS+.
    Supervision as in "We need to know what is where, and what format it is in, and what formats we can read, and what formats we are about move away from, and can we identify all the data that is currently in a format that we are about to obsolete? And then we need to assign the resources to move that data over, and to ensure we maintain the integrity of the old data until we know that the data in the new format is properly backed up. And then we need to locate the backups of the data in the old format (which are may be themselves in a format we can't read any more) and properly trash them so that they aren't taking up valuable storage space on the shelves." That's what I mean by "supervision". And I'm not talking about big companies... I'm talking about individual people and small businesses.
    As long as I hadn't scanned it into a graphics format that was obsolete. Or stored it on a hard drive formatted by an obsolete OS. Or stored it on an optical disk that started peeling. I suppose I could spend a bunch of time and resources moving the photo file every few years from one source to another, and of course upgrading the database file so that the data that tells me where to find the digital can be found is not itself obsoleted, and of course maintaining the backups and keeping them up to date.

    I'm not saying that all of the above isn't possible. Lots of organizations do it every year. I'm saying that it is more difficult than just putting a negative (or a paper document, or whatever) back onto a shelf for another 20 years. And every time an organization guesses wrong about a technology and heads down a dead-end, they risk losing data. Flle formats and programs do go 'poof'. Some file formats are in fact proprietary. For instance.... just about all camera RAW file formats are proprietary. If a camera maker goes 'poof' (Can you say Kodak? Minolta?) and you don't move your proprietary RAW image files over quickly enough - you may lose access to their tools to make the conversion.

    This is all in theory - but I've seen lots of people - ordinary individuals - who want to be photographers, writers, etc lose information because they were - in your words - "sloppy". Though I'd prefer to use the word "busy" and "engaged" with their profession... which uses technology as a tool, not as their profession.
    And who died and made you the emperor off regional colloquialisms? It happens that my community eggs are sold in numerous road-side stands, are cheap and of excellent quality. Rather vapid doughnuts are available at only one coffee-shop (and as a Canadian I gotta tell you this is not something I'm proud of). "Eggs and Doughnuts" makes much more sense. And BTW it's "doughnuts" and not "donuts" unless you come from the country that changed how it pronounces the last letter of the english alphabet 'cause the fellow writing the alphabet song was a bit lazy and couldn't be bothered to figure out the rhyme for "zed".
    Yes. It can be, and it should be even. But it isn't always. And sometimes it's been spindled or mutilated so it can't be.
    Tell that to the family of the poor Chinese photography who was documenting the workers and gold miners of Barkerville. They had a mass of stuff they inherited. They were busy raising families and making living. They finally opened some suitcases.
    :) Luckily, I'm not quite that old. But I was a fair whiz on Telex machine at one point.
  20. notjustjay, Sep 11, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2012

    notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    I think snberk103's point stands.

    Consider the very post made by the OP. Consider what that might look like 50 years from now. Someone posts in the year 2062 "my grandfather passed away and I was just given a box of old stuff. I found a box of plastic discs labeled 'photos'. I think this was some old storage format from 1995 or 2010 or so. How do I access these?"

    Or, even worse: "I managed to find an antique computer with a DVD drive to try to read the discs, but they are coming up as unreadable. I can see that the substrate is cracking and peeling on some of them."

    Now what?

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