What Camera for that 'Once in a Lifetime' Flying Saucer pic?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by Steve Roberts, Dec 7, 2005.

  1. Steve Roberts

    Steve Roberts Member

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    Hi All,

    I learned a lesson last weekend when out with my other half. It was primarily a walking trip, not photography, so when we came across something interesting that she wanted recording for posterity, I said "No problem!" and whipped out of my rucksack the Konica P & S that lives there for such occasions. I do occasionally check the 3v lithium battery and all had been well with it a couple of weeks before. However, on this occasion the camera was totally dead, wouldn't switch on let alone anything else, and the battery state was shown as "empty" (to use a polite expression, which I didn't at the time). Well, of course the problem was that the ambient temperature was hovering around freezing, and after ten minutes nestling in my armpit (not something I'd recommend) the battery was re-inserted and the indicator showed it as being 100%, so I did what I needed to.

    I've been caught out by batteries dying in cold conditions before, but with most of my elderly SLRs that only loses the metering and the full range of mechanical shutter speeds can still be selected. Even with my electronic shuttered Pentax K2, there is a default shutter speed of 1/100th which could be used in the event of a once in a lifetime event such as the ever-hoped-for flying saucer putting down on the A38 in front of me. With the P & S, I would have been completely scuppered had the battery just been totally dead or reached the end of its life through terminal neglect on my part.

    All of which raises the question of what is the optimum camera to keep in the glove compartment/rucksack or wherever "just in case". I'd suggest that it needs to be fairly small and light, it could have a meter, but must have a shutter that's not dependent on the meter or on batteries, and with a reasonably fast lens. Next question is what to keep it loaded with? The film might be in there for a long time, in extremes of temperature, should be fairly fast but not so fast that 'goes off' too quickly. Colour or b/w? B/w is my preferred medium, but a "grab shot" might be to one side of my normal material and might demand colour, but then again if I was forced to photograph my flying saucer in poor light, I'd probably appreciate the flexibility of my own processing in b/w.

    Apologies if this has been discussed before, although my search didn't find it, but perhaps it's food for thought and a few interesting suggestions.

    Best wishes,
    Steve
     
  2. titrisol

    titrisol Member

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    A Holga!
    that way my UFO pic will look credible
     
  3. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    My 'always with me' camera is a Canonet QL17 GIII. I find it will fit in most coat pockets, I even carry it as a back up to my OM-1 (which is also a take everywhere camera). The QL17 only requires a battery for the metering, if the battery dies the camera can still be used fully manually.
     
  4. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    My usual go-everywhere camera is the Voigtlander Perkeo II, and it's usually loaded with Tri-X.
     
  5. bobfowler

    bobfowler Subscriber

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    I'd pick a Retina IIa. It's small, reasonably light, has a good rangefinder, is all mechanical, and has a 50mm f/2 Xenon. Load that puppy with Tri-X and keep it handy.

    Second choice, a Nikon F (a beater) with a 35mm f/2.8 (also a beater). Why? 'Cause if the car gets a flat, you can use the F as a wheel chock while you change the tire, and still use it later on to shoot pictures...
     
  6. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    I've got two compact cameras (three if you count a Canonet QL 17 as compact, which in my book it's not quite): A Canon SureShot Telemax and a FED 50. The Canon SureShot Telemax has a two-position lens (38mm and 70mm), which is handy, and it's very compact; however, it does rely on its batteries for auto-focus and auto-exposure, so it doesn't really qualify for the specified criteria.

    The FED 50, OTOH, does meet all your requirements. Note that this camera is not closely related to the better-known FED series that's derived from Leica rangefinder designs. The FED 50 has got a non-interchangeable 38mm f/2.8 lens and is manual focus, but without any focusing aids, aside from an indicator in the viewfinder that points to icons representing various distances. It's an auto-exposure camera, but it uses selenium cells around the lens and requires no battery to operate. You can set the aperture manually, but when you do the shutter speed is fixed at (IIRC) 1/30 s. You can set the ISO speed from 16 to 400, so it's not great for ultra-high speed films. It takes surprisingly sharp photos. You can pick them up on eBay for a song, but usually they ship from former Soviet countries, so shipping sometimes takes a month or so.

    As to film, I'd say ISO 400 color print film is a good carry-around film, although I also often shoot ISO 200 color print film in my two carry-around cameras. If you want to do B&W, I might suggest a chromogenic B&W film rather than a conventional one because of the chromogenic films' reputation for wide latitude. (I've currently got some Kodak chromogenic B&W in my FED 50.) AFAIK, all chromogenic B&W films have a nominal ISO speed of 400. I prefer 24-exposure rolls in my carry-around cameras because I'm unlikely to shoot more than a couple of photos per outing with them. Of course, if a UFO landed in front of me, I'm sure I'd want truckloads of film! :wink:
     
  7. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    Go d******l.
    It will make it much easier to Photoshop Bigfoot piloting a flying saucer past Nessie into the picture. :surprised:

    I have a tiny fanny pack that contains a CL, two lenses, a digisix meter, a tiny autoflash, several filters, a tablettop tripod, cable relase, extra film and batterries. All in a package so small that it is difficult to justify not grabbing it as I go out the door.
    My Lomo LCA is always in my jacket pocket in winter time.

    Bring on the Martians!
     
  8. Elox

    Elox Member

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    Actually, i do carry a d******l P&S for color snaps. :smile:

    But I normally have a Dacora Royal 6x6 folder in my car. It is light, simple, and easy to carry. The Dacora, a small meter, and a couple of filters reside in a 7x4x1.5" pouch that I can either attach to my belt or carry with a strap.
     
  9. BradS

    BradS Member

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    Hey, if you've got a rucksack, why not throw a crown graphic and a graphmatic in there? No battery - no problems.
     
  10. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

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    Almost any 6x6 folder will make images as good as your P&S 35 mm, and they're not a bunch bigger. Bonus: battery independence. I've got three of these, and not a one has a battery door or compartment anywhere. Of course, a 6x9 will give a bigger negative, but you only get 8 on a roll; that could be seriously restrictive (even though I habitually carry a couple spare rolls of TMY, it takes too long to change film).

    If you can find one, a 6x4.5 folder really fixes this up -- it's smaller than a 6x6, and you get 16 frames on a roll (except for a few Zeiss models that only give 15).
     
  11. mark

    mark Member

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    7x17. That way you can include the guy pitching the hubcap into the air.
     
  12. voceumana

    voceumana Member

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    Any mechanical camera--35mm compact rangefinders, 120 folders, even a Minox B would be a good choice.

    Some thoughts: in 35mm, you can bulk load short rolls so it doesn't have to stay around forever waiting for you to finish the roll; likewise for 120 6x6 or 6x9.

    Don't keep in in the glove box, though. The heat build up will get it too hot. Use traditional black & white film. FP4+ or HP5+ would be OK choices in 35mm or 120; for Minox, go for the 100-125 speed film that is available.

    Charlie
     
  13. Steve Roberts

    Steve Roberts Member

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    It would have to be a fully mechanical d******l camera that doesn't need batteries! Perhaps a "wind-up" camera, along the lines of the wind-up radios and torches that can be bought.

    Some great ideas coming up!

    Best wishes,
    Steve
     
  14. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Welta Welti.

    It's a folding 35mm camera, with 50mm f:2.8 Tessar lens - coated.
     
  15. phfitz

    phfitz Member

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    Voigtlander Perkeo or Bessa66 loaded with Kodak Tmax400. Great tiny little cameras, fine lenses and Tmax is extra hardened so it can live in the car. Very nice film in all respects.

    You asked.
     
  16. Charles Webb

    Charles Webb Member

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    All of my flying saucer photographs are made with a Retina 1a or a lla loaded with Tri X. I am very fond of the 1a even though it has no RF. Most all of my "saucer" shots have been more than fifty feet away, so no problemo.
    Charlie..............
     
  17. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    Even the most casual reader of "The Area 51 Tribune" knows that battery-free digital cameras are among the most common of alien technologies. Well known since the Fifties. Of course, the bigwigs at Ever-ready and Duracell have pressured the government to keep it buried.