And just what the hell is APS?

Discussion in 'Lo-Fi Cameras' started by EASmithV, Mar 30, 2009.

  1. EASmithV

    EASmithV Member

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    Yeah, I know what APS is, but not really... Is it just like re-spooled 135 in a auto-loading cartridge? It's been a long time since I used an APS camera...

    Is there any way to re-load/ load your own APS film? And how do I go about self-developing?
     
  2. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    Well, it's smaller than 35mm, has only one sprocket hole per frame, and as I understand it, has some magnetic coding to permit the cameras to record info on the film such as format and quantity of prints (not that all cameras do that, nor do all processors pay attention to the data). In short, it's probably one of the more tedious things to try to work with. We have two APS cameras in the Elph series here, but haven't done much with them lately.

    DaveT
     
  3. AgX

    AgX Member

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    The Advanced Photo System was launched as a multilateral project by the major film and camera manufacturers. (Canon, Fuji, Kodak, Minolta, Nikon and seemingly Agfa)

    The idea behind APS was

    -) smaller format of 16.7 x 30.2mm (to achieve this a new range of emulsions was designed)

    -) easier loading (drop-in)

    -) automatically readible data on the film to steer the automated printer
    for the intended aspect-ratio of the print, for the lighting, for photographer data etc. (to achieve this a new base with added magnetic layer is used. Data is stored optically and electronically.)

    -) a new form of storage (the processed film comes back in the original cartridge complete with index print)

    -) some data on the cartridge
     
  4. Steve Roberts

    Steve Roberts Member

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    I bought an Olympus mju i 75 Zoom weatherproof deluxe (or some similar permutation of all that, and there may have been "Turbo" and "GT" in there as well!) a little over a week ago. Two reasons for buying it were curiosity and cheapness (couple of quid at a car boot sale). I've yet to run a film through it. Like the OP, I wondered about reloading a cartridge, possibly with cut-down 35mm but I think it will be difficult/impossible because the cartridges don't look very user-friendly (the film stays in them even after processing) and think the perforations could be an issue - I'm guessing that the perfs tell the camera how far to advance the film. I put it in the same category as 126, 120 and Disc, ie an attempt to steal the bottom end of the 35mm market which, like the others, was doomed from the start because of various permutations of cost of processing, complexity, quality of end product and ultimately because, all said and done, 35mm is a pretty good cheap and cheerful all-rounder with an established following. I may leave mine in the car for occasional use on the basis that I won't shed many tears should it get nicked.

    Steve
     
  5. AgX

    AgX Member

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  6. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    APS was indeed a cooperative venture, with development of various things parceled out to various manufacturers, but I think the slowness of bringing things about helped sabotage its future. There was a point where there was even a Nikon SLR for APS, but as far as I know, there was never a B&W film, and only one slide film available (and that had to mailed to Europe for processing which didn't excite the US market). The combination of few available emulsions and few serious cameras never got it past the casual amateur market.

    I haven't used it much lately, but I own a Canon Elph Jr that is quite nice as a snapshot camera and is not much bigger than a pager.

    DaveT
     
  7. AgX

    AgX Member

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  8. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    It is a pain in the neck unless you want machine prints! On the plus side, it was a convenient format for the occasional point-and-shoot snapshooter. Nice and small cameras, super-easy loading, and stores easily after processing, well protected from light and dust. If you want to make RA prints, proofsheets, etc., there are better options. The films are little cassettes with film somewhere in between 110 and 35mm. The film is designed to be processed, scanned, and printed, then rolled back up into the cassette and stowed. A picture is a picture, and you can still get the film some places, but it definitely was a short-lived format, and now, like 110, is nearing total death. Also like 110, it was an almost entirely point-and-shoot product, with most APS cameras being cheap or cheapish (with a few nicer options). The problem will be in the future when people want reprints but nobody has the proper lab equipment to make them. I have cracked the cassettes open and sleeved and printed pix for people before. With the market today, and films available, I would only use it instead of 35mm for conceptual reasons. Maybe doing a project about the digital transition and/or the death of film, blah, blah, blah, etc., etc.
     
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  9. RH Designs

    RH Designs Advertiser Advertiser

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    As I understood it (from a photo marketing professional at the time) APS was an attempt to revitalise the camera market because the 35mm market was saturated and sales had dwindled. It was also, cynics might say, an attempt to up the profits of film manufacturers by reducing the format size but keeping the price the same. I suggested to said professional that dig*tal would probably take over before APS managed a significant market penetration as APS didn't really offer any significant advantages. I think people soon realised that such "advantages" as panoramic prints were simply produced by cropping the negative and the quality was inevitably reduced. However, as with disc, the smaller format demanded higher quality films and that meant that 35mm gained similar improvements and so remained ahead of APS in terms of print quality.

    Just my 2p worth. I never bought into APS anyway.
     
  10. bill williams

    bill williams Member

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    I don't load/reload, but I do developer. I have a couple of APS Elphs, and for some applications, I really like using one. I bought about a hundred Fuji and a few Kodak cartridges on EBAY. I have an old Yankee 35mm/120 tank that I use to develop the film in. C41 only of course. I had to modify the yankee spool to take the more narrow APS film. Works very good! Recently I found an old Nikkor plastic tank and its spool has also been modified to take APS. I store the developed and cut negatives in a 35mm print file.
     
  11. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    IIRC, Kodak did put their 400CN films in APS cartridges for a while, so you could get b/w images from an APS camera. The problem with the format was, as previously mentioned, it was so late to market that it was essentially stillborn. If they had gotten it out the door four or five years earlier, it could have had a viable life, but by the time it came along, digital was reaching the consumer/prosumer market.

    As to APS SLRs, Nikon and Minolta both marketed interchangeable lens SLRs for APS - the Nikon Pronea and the Minolta Vectis. Pricetags and funky names combined with limited utility and strange ergonomics/cosmetics did them in. The Minolta looked kinda like a rangefinder but without any rangefinder windows on the front, and the Nikon, well, just the name sounded like an eye disease. Plus the fact that they never came out with a model (much rumored) that would take Nikon F-mount lenses. The fact that whichever system you went with required their own unique lens mounts with a new, specialized set of lenses doomed the APS SLRs.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 30, 2009
  12. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Scott;

    I have a Pronea and can exchange lenses with my Nikon 2020 just fine except for the focal length differences between APS and 35mm sizes. Also, some regular lenses block the mirror movement in the APS camera due to focal length.

    APS was designed, as I said before, to be "compatible" with digital by having the same image size on-sensor or on-film. It also had the three standard film/video formats available and the capability of recording more information per frame than any existing digital format, but this was never realized.

    The films had a light sensitive stripe for recording data at exposure time and also a magentic stripe to record data after the fact. There was even a model for talking pictures using a tiny soundtrack. None of this was fully utilized.

    PE
     
  13. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Well, I guess I'm just confused then. Maybe I confused the Pronea with the Vectis ( which I KNOW did not have a standard Minolta mount), or the Pronea wide-angles were not backwards compatible to the F-mount cameras. Whatever. I think we sold all of two Pronea cameras and maybe a half-dozen Vectis SLRs in the four years I worked at the store. Yes, the capabilities of the system were vastly underutilized.
     
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  15. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    The Canon APS SLR took regular EF lenses for sure. Not sure about the other brands.
     
  16. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    You can buy scanner attachments to scan APS negatives.

    It doesn't make room for professional photographers to process themselves easily or print easily.
     
  17. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    They are easy to print. I use a small screwdriver to open the APS cannister and then roll out the film. I use a 35mm roll holder with a paper mask to hold the APS film in my enlarger and then I make prints from it easily.

    PE
     
  18. Ralph Javins

    Ralph Javins Member

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    Good morning;

    In the camera arsenal is one Minolta Vectis 40 "Date" APS format camera. It is a fairly nice P&S camera with a fairly wide range zoom lens. Quite a capable "normal people" camera. I am getting a bit concerned about its weight, though. It is getting quite thin with the increasing inability to find something to feed it.
     
  19. StorminMatt

    StorminMatt Member

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    All I have ever seen as far as APS film is cheapo consumer-grade C41 film. This in and of itself was enough of a deterrance for me. And I am sure others felt the same about it.
     
  20. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Matt;

    My APS film was simply marked with a speed and the Kodak logo, there was no specific film type associated with it so it would be rather impossible from that informaiton to know the formulation used such as Portra or Gold for example. Actually, a separate formula was used due to the smaller format.

    PE
     
  21. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    I have an Elph 2 that I bought at a thrift store for $1. It works perfectly, and is a neat little camera. I only wish I could get black-and-white APS film, since I have no color darkroom capabilities. Developing is no problem, many minilabs can do it, but I don't know about scanning. Perhaps just laying it on the glass would work, but I have never tried.
     
  22. Photo Engineer

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    It works well on my scanner when placed in the 35mm holder or laid flat on the glass. Either way.

    PE
     
  23. nickrapak

    nickrapak Member

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    I have a Minolta Vectis S-100 SLR that I got brand new on the cheap. It is smaller than any of my other film SLRs, and still delivers adequate quality for point n' shoot shooting. I have several rolls of various film, ranging from 400 speed C-41 color to 100 speed E-6 film (Yes, it existed). For those people it was aimed at, APS was an ideal system. No dealing with negative strips, point and shoot, and the lab can theoretically scan it easily. However, digital was even more ideal. No negatives, and you get digital files automatically. I look at APS less like Disc film, and more like 828 film: A good concept, but bad timing. I will still use my camera until film is no longer available readily.
     
  24. Someonenameddavid

    Someonenameddavid Member

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    The Vectis camera was unique in that it was named after the Latin name for the (English) Isle of Wight (cf Beatles "when I'm 64"... every summer we can have a cottage on the Isle of Wight, if it's not too dear)... and that was all to commend the system. I wonder if Pronea lenses work on Nikon APS sized sensors
    David
     
  25. Photo Engineer

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    Pronea lenses ARE for Nikon APS lenses and most current digital sensors are APS sized.

    Some D70 lenses work on the Pronea, but some Pronea lenses stick too far into the D70 body and bump the mirror. In addition, the contacts on both series are different, and depending on what lens or attachment you use, you do get less functionality.

    PE
     
  26. Brac

    Brac Member

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    It's true the Minolta S-1 and S-100 Vectis SLR's will only take lenses with the dedicated Vectis mount. There was also at least one early Minolta digital SLR which also had this mount & took these lenses, plus Minolta made a special wide angle lens for it. I bought my S-100 several years ago at a very low price, at a shop selling discontinued goods (not just photographic). I've been very happy with it as it's not too bulky and the results have been very satisfactory. At one time Kodak did put one of its higher quality emulsions in APS cassettes (an ISO 200 "High Definition" film) and Fuji even did a ISO 800 colour negative film at one point. It's still possible to get the film developed and scanned to CD, which is what I do, but I guess the format's days are numbered. Some years back I was able to buy some VHS cassette sized plastic cases which would store several developed film cassettes and their index pages. I thought that was a very neat idea.